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FRITZ CONTZEN v. UNITED STATES.

decided: December 3, 1900.

FRITZ CONTZEN
v.
UNITED STATES.



APPEAL FROM THE COURT OF CLAIMS.

Author: Fuller

[ 179 U.S. Page 192]

 MR. CHIEF JUSTICE FULLER delivered the opinion of the court.

The petition alleged that appellant was a naturalized citizen of the United States at the time it was filed, but it contained no averment that he was such citizen at the date of the alleged depredation. If he was not, the Court of Claims did not have jurisdiction to adjudicate upon his claim, and its judgment must be affirmed. Johnson v. United States, 160 U.S. 546.

It appeared that Contzen was born in Germany, February 27, 1831, and came to Texas in July, 1845, and that he was not naturalized under the statutes of the United States in that behalf prior to October 20, 1861. His title to citizenship at that time is asserted on the ground that he was embraced by a collective naturalization effected by the admission of Texas into the Union.

[ 179 U.S. Page 193]

     It is not disputed that citizenship may spring from collective naturalization by treaty or statute, nor that by the annexation of Texas and its admission into the Union all the citizens of the former Republic became, without any express declaration, citizens of the United States.

And the first question is whether Contzen was a citizen of the republic when it became a State.

The declaration of independence of Texas was adopted March 1, and proclaimed March 2, 1836, and the constitution of that Republic was ordained March 17 of that year.

Section six of the "General Provisions" of that instrument read: "All free white persons who shall emigrate to this Republic, and who shall, after a residence of six months, make oath before some competent authority that he intends to reside permanently in the same, and shall swear to support this constitution, and that he will bear true allegiance to the Republic of Texas, shall be entitled to all the privileges of citizenship."

By section ten it was provided that: "All persons (Africans, or descendants of Africans, and Indians excepted) who were residing in Texas on the day of the declaration of independence, shall be considered citizens of the Republic and entitled to all the privileges of such." 2 Charters and Constitutions, 1760.

The fundamental law of the Republic thus identified as citizens only such persons as were residing in Texas on the day of the declaration of independence or should be naturalized according to its provisions.

Section 10 also provided that: "No alien shall hold land in Texas except by titles emanating directly from the government of this Republic;" and by an act of 1837, appointments of aliens to military ...


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