Quock Ting v. United States,
140 U.S. 417 (1891)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Quock Ting v. United States, 140 U.S. 417 (1891)

Quock Ting v. United States

No. 638

Submitted April 10, 1891

Decided May 11, 1891

140 U.S. 417




Uncontradicted evidence of interested witnesses to an improbable fact does not require judgment to be rendered accordingly.

The petitioner, who is also the appellant, is a member of the Chinese race, but claims to have been born within the United States, and consequently to be a citizen thereof. He is sixteen years of age, and arrived at the port of San Francisco in the steamship City of New York in February, 1888. The officers of customs refused to allow him to land, holding that he was a subject of the Emperor of China, and within the restrictions of the Act of May 6, 1882, and the supplementary

Page 140 U. S. 418

act of 1884. He was accordingly detained by the captain of the steamship on board, and he applied, through a friend, to the Circuit Court of the United States for the Northern District of California for a writ of habeas corpus to obtain his discharge from such detention, alleging that he was not within the restrictions of the acts of Congress, but was a citizen of the United States, having been born therein. The writ was issued and the petitioner brought before the court, when his testimony and that of his father was taken in support of his pretension. He testified as to his birth, as counsel observe, with surprising particularity. His story was that he was sixteen years old; that he was born in San Francisco, "on Dupont Street, upstairs," and remained in that city until he was ten years of age, when he went to China with his mother. He also mentioned the names of three persons on the ship whom he knew. When asked how he remembered their names, he answered "When I got to China, my mother told me very often of those people and their names; she repeated them to me, and I remember them." When reminded that that was six years before, he responded: "My mother sometimes speaks those names to me very frequently." His mother was in China, and he knew nothing of the three men named. Although in the city, according to his statement, for ten years, he did not, upon his examination, show any knowledge of any places or streets therein, or of the English language. The following is a specimen of his testimony:

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