Stone Collection: Volume 24 - Item 7
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7. Edward Bates, Opinion of Attorney General Bates on Citizenship (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1862). (27 p.)
Review of case law regarding U.S. citizenship. This review was requested by Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P. Chase to determine whether an African American seized off the coast of New Jersey was qualified to command a costal schooner. The Attorney General concludes that the answer to Secretary Chase’s question is yes. “And now, upon the whole matter, I give it as my opinion that the free man of color, mentioned in your letter, if born in the United States, is a citizen of the United States, and, if otherwise qualified, is competent, according to the acts of Congress, to be masters of a vessel engaged in the coasting trade” (italics in original).