Page images
PDF
EPUB

criminal cases. If the evidence raises a probable presumption of guilt, then it is the duty of the Justice to commit the party io jail, or to take bail.

Mr. Ritchie protested against the sending the case up. He could not imagine any offence to be more trivial in its character than the one which they had been inquiring into that day. He contended there was no evidence whatever to criminate the accused. The facts, briefly stated, were these : Three men, two of them at least British subjects, were brought on shore in manacles, and it was determined not to receive them in that condition. They were accordingly freed, and told they could go where they liked by the first officer in the county. Under these circumstances one of the number escaped in a boat that happened to be passing at the time. No riot took place; no combined attempt to rescue the man. Yet, a man rushes down after the permission of the Sheriff, and says, “Bring back that boat, or I will shoot you.” No sort of distinction was made between Wade and the other men in the boat; any one of them might have been shot down. What citizen could do otherwise, in such circumstances, than interfere? What jury, after such evidence, could convict these gentlemen? The Court could not, he was sure do so, unless there was a desire to favour certain quarters. Why was it that this case was to be tried differently from many others that came up frequently? If any one of the audience present had been on the Queen's Wharf on the day in question, and not acted as did Dr. Almon, he would have been wanting in his duties as a citizen. As regards Mr. Keith, there was hardly a shadow of evidence against him. One man said " he took hold of me," and another, “he took hold of me,” and it was obvious he could not have taken hold of both. Again, Dr. Smith's name was hardly mentioned at all in the affair. He repeated his belief, in conclusion, that if such a trumpery case were sent to the Supreme Court, it must be because there was a desire to pay certain deference to some quarter or other.

Mr. Roche said he thought the Court had full jurisdiction over the matter. It was a transaction that occurred on that portion of Nova Scotia where the Magistrates of Halifax had full jurisdiction. It was a transaction between a policeman and a citizen who, from a motive of humanity, prevented the loss of life. If he had been on the wharf he would have acted just as did Dr. Almon.

The Mayor said : This is not an ordinary case. Let me however first observe, I am not acting with reference to any foreign Power or any one else. I am discharging my duty fearlessly as a magistrate. If instead of bringing these parties under the police anthority and trying the case in a summary manner before the Police Court, I see fit to transfer the case to another tribunal, I do not think I am acting unjustly. I am doing that which I consider myself bound to do. By so doing I am not prejudging the case. The accused will go before a just tribunal. They have the grand jury, and then the petit jury. For all I know the Crown officers may not see fit to send it up to them. I think it is unfair to say that I am acting from extraneous motives. Men are allowed to have their own sympathies; but I would think myself unworthy to sit here if I allowed myself to be influenced by them. It is absurd to say there is no case against these gentlemen. It has been sworn most positively that Dr. Almon did know beforehand that Hutt had a warrant, for he looked at it and said, “ It is a shame.” Therefore it cannot be pretended that Dr. Almon did not know he was interfering with the police in the discharge of their duty. It was not against any foreign Government, but against his own, that he was acting. The writ was issued by me under the requisition of the gentlemen holding the position of the representative of Her Majesty in this province. To say that this was an ordinary case is absurd. It becomes us, having regard to the dignity and justice of the administration of the law in our own country, not to treat it as a trivial matter, but as one of importance. As regards Dr. Smith, it cannot be denied he was aiding and abetting Dr. Almon. Nor is it possible for me not to associate Mr. Keith with the other two gentlemen. Therefore, under the sworn evidence adduced here, it is impossible for me to make any distinction whatever between them.

Mr. Ritchie-If your Worship cannot make any distinction between them, I do not think it is worth while to say anything. I would not recommend them to say a word to-day.

Mr. Roche-I am not influenced in the slightest degree by the oration of the Mayor. I draw my own conclusions from the evidence; I will not be a jackal to a lion anywhere else.

Hon. Attorney-General said I think the Mayor has the authority to proceed in the way he indicates. The law is open to a more summary mode, and the offence can be dealt with as a police offence. It is entirely discretionary with the Mayor, as a police magistrate, or as a justice of the peace, to pursue the one course or the other; but I cannot help feeling the force of the arguments that his Worship has adduced with regard to the relations of this transaction, and the peculiarities which must distinguish it from a

A

justified in exercising his own judgment as to the proper course to pursue n the case before us.

Though there is not one of us that would be willing to surrender one jot of our Provincial dignity at the dictation of any persons or any communities or important, yet at the same time we must feel that just now there are delicate relations subsisting between nations. We should not fail to respect the delicacy of those relations in which the parent State may be involved ; and therefore we should look beyond the mere individual considerations that would be presented were the transaction merely local in its complexion.

The Mayor then stated that the evidence raising at the least “a probable presumption” of guilt, to use the words of the Statute, and the present proceeding being merely a preliminary investigation, it was his duty to call upon the parties to give bail to answer the charge against them at the next sitting of the Supreme Court.

Dr. Almon addressed the Court for a few minutes. He thought after the feelings manifested by his Worship that it would be as well not to have the case tried before him. He then went on to explain how he had become mixed up in the affair. The night the “ Chesapeake " was brought into this port he was informed that an American officer, with a boat's crew, had gone on board a British vessel lying in Sambro harbour and taken out and handcuffed a sick man. He was told that the man's name was Locke, a Nova Scotiana mistake as to the name, he afterwards found—and that he was then a prisoner on board the American gun-boat. He was determined that no Nova-Scotian should be kept a prisoner in British waters in a Yankee man-of-war. He therefore went to the AttorneyGeneral, who said he would have the man brought out if it were shown he was actually on board under the circumstances stated. This occurred at 11 o'clock at night. In the morning he went to another gentleman, and it was decided to put the whole affair in Mr. Ritchie's hands. Mr. Ritchie found out there were two other Nova Scotians beside the other, prisoners on board. The proper measures were taken to make this known to his Honour the Administrator, and the Government demanded that the men should be given up. The American captain remained two hours without acknowledging the letter on the subject, and wrote, saying that he had three men on board, inducing the belief that he had never received the letter in question. He (Dr. Almon) heard that these men were to be delivered up the next day, and that one of them was to be taken prisoner immediately afterwards. Perhaps the Mayor would have had to send him to a land where law is a mockery, and justice is denied ; where judges have been imprisoned for giving a decision different to that of the man who sits on the throne of Washington; where that safeguard of civil liberty, the habeas corpus, is no longer in force.

Dr. Almon then went on to call Mr. Roche's attention to a matter in which the city authorities were interested. He asked why it was the city police have been engaged in hounding Braine and his associates about the country. The true reason was, the evidence of these men was known to be material in the case of the “ Chesapeake," when it came to be adjudicated upon, and it was therefore found advisable to drive them out of the province. He then went on to say that improper use had been made of the telegraph line during the time of the “ Chesapeake" excitement. He had on several occasions of emergency sought to get a message sent over the wires on a Sunday, even concerning cases of life or death, but he had been invariably refused. But while the “Chesapeake” was on the coast the wires were actively employed on the Sabbath, transmitting information along our own coasts and to Washington respecting her movements. No one, however, could be surprised at this, when it was recollected that in this country the telegraph was under the control of the Americans.

It seemed that the revolver was rapidly becoming the favourite writ in this country. It was used at Sambro ; at Liverpool or Bridgewater-he forgot which-the only writ used in the attempt to arrest Braine was a telegram from Mr. Gunnison, and a revolver in the hands of Dr. Davis, the American Vice-Consul. He asked whether the officer who boarded the British vessel at Sambro, and stole the trunks of the men he had illegally captured and confined, was not the real pirate and robber. In conclusion, Dr. Almon pleaded “not guilty, in accordance with the form prescribed by the law.

Dr. Smith made the following defence :

" I went down to the wharf from motives of curiosity, not anticipating what was to take place. I did not interfere until after the scuffle commenced, and then only to prevent bloodshed.”

Mr. A. Keith's defence was as follows:

“I heard that two men were to be released at the Queen's Wharf on the 19th, from some person in town. I went down there from motives of curiosity, and did not interfere

until the scuffle took place. I did not interfere with the policemen then to prevent him from discharging his duty."

The Court then adjourned until Wednesday at 12 o'clock, when Messrs. Almon, Smith, and Keith entered into a joint bond for 2001. each, with two securities for 1001. each, for their appearance at the Supreme Court in ...vil.

No. 21. Lord Lyons to Earl Russell.(Received February 16.) (Extract.)

Washington, February 1, 1864. I HAVE the honour to transmit to your Lordship further papers relative to the affair of the “Chesapeake.”

The first of them is a letter from Mr. Seward, stating the impression produced by the papers which (as I had the honour to report to your Lordship in my despatch of the 18th ultimo) I placed in his hands on the 16th instant. Your Lordship will observe that Mr. Seward, while acknowledging that the proceedings of Major-General Doyle, the Administrator of the Government of Nova Scotia, seem to have been conducted in good faith, affirms that his Excellency “ought to have relinquished to the Agents of this Government the stolen vessel, and the pirates found on board of her, subject to the express engagement of this Government to answer to the British Government any claim that it might have, either upon the ship or the men.”

Mr. Seward seems to forget the flagrant violation of Her Majesty's territorial jurisdiction committed by the United States' officers, and the necessity it imposed on the Administrator of the Government to be more than usually careful to make it apparent that Her Majesty's rights had been vindicated. It may be observed, also, that there were no persons found on board the “Chesapeake” to whom the description of “pirates” can well be applied. The two men who were on board, and who were seized and put in irons by the United States' officers, when they took possession of the vessel in the British harbour, appear to have been British subjects who had gone on board the “ Chesapeake ” after her arrival at Nova Scotia, and who had no connexion with the previous seizure of that vessel by the passengers. The only man taken by the United States' officers who was implicated in that act of the passengers was Wade, who was not taken on board the “Chesapeake," but was violently seized by those officers on board a British ship in a British harbour.

I have thought it right to communicate a copy of Mr. Seward's letter to MajorGeneral Doyle.

I have to-day placed in Mr. Seward's hands copies of the letter of the AttorneyGeneral of Nova Scotia, and of the report of the proceedings against the persons concerned in preventing the arrest of Wade at Halifax, which form the fourth and fifth inclosures in the present despatch.

The remaining inclosures relate principally to the demands on the Governments of Canada and New Brunswick for the extradition of men concerned in the seizure of the “ Chesapeake” at sea.

Inclosure 1 in No. 21.

Mr. Seward to Lord Lyons.

My dear Lord Lyons,

Department of State, Washington, January 18, 1864. I HAVE received your Lordship's papers relating to the case of the “Chesapeake” at Haiifax, described as follows:-An extract from a despatch from General Doyle, Administrator of the Government of Nova Scotia, to you, dated the 6th instant; a copy of a telegram from General Doyle to you, dated the 14th instant; and a copy of a letter from the Mayor of Halifax to the Provincial Secretary, dated the 30th of December last.

It gives me pleasure to acknowledge that the proceedings of the Governor-General of Nova Scotia in regard to this matter seem to have been conducted in good faith towards his own Government, as well as towards that of the United States.

It appears. to the President, however, that the Governor-General, as the executive officer of the province of Nova Scotia, under the circumstances of that extraordinary case, ought to have relinquished to the agents of this Government the stolen vessel and the pirates found on board of her, subject to the express engagement of this Government to answer to the British Government any claim that it might have either upon the ship or the men. It will be fortunate indeed if the delays which have resulted from the opposite course adopted by his Excellency do not encourage the same or other offenders to the commission of new crimes against the peace and dignity of both countries. We shall await the termination of the judicial proceedings which have been instituted in the case with deep interest, and it can hardly be necessary for me to say, that in the view of this Government, no adverse decision of the provincial tribunals can modify the claim of the owners of the vessel and cargo to the full restitution which has been asked by this Government.

I am, &c. (Signed) WILLIAM H. SEWARD

Inclosure 2 in No. 21.

Lord Lyons to Major-General Doyle.

My dear General Doyle,

Washington, February 1, 1864. I INCLOSE a copy of a semi-official letter, dated the 18th instant, which I have received from Mr. Seward, and in which he comments on the papers concerning the affair of the “Chesapeake," which, as I informed you in my despatch of the 18th, I put into his own hands a day or two before. -... I do not object to your making the members of your Government acquainted with the contents of Mr. Seward's letter, if you consider it important to do so.

Yours faithfully, (Signed) LYONS.

Inclosure 3 in No. 21.
Major-General Doyle to Lord Lyons, January 20, 1864.

[See Inclosure 2 in No. 20.]

Inclosure 4 in No. 21.
Mr. Johnston to Major-General Doyle, January 13, 1864.

[See Inclosure 1 in No. 20.]

Inclosure 5 in No. 21.
Supplement to the Halifax Reporter,dated January 19, 1864.

[See Inclosure 3 in No. 20.]

Sir, I HA

Inclosure 6 in No. 21.
Lord Lyons to Major-General Doyle.

Washington, February 1, 1864. I HAD on the 28th ultimo the honour to receive your Excellency's despatch of the 20th ultimo, transmitting to me information respecting the proceedings against the persons charged with obstructing the execution of the warrant for the arrest of Wade. . I have put into the hands of the Secretary of State of the United States copies of the

letter addressed to your Excellency by the Attorney-General of Nova Scotia, and of the · printed Report of the proceedings before the Mayor of Halifax.

I have, &c. (Signed) LYONS.

Inclosure 7 in No. 21.

Viscount Monck to Lord Lyons.

My Lord,

Government House, Quebec, January 20, 1864. I HAVE the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your Excellency's despatch of the 13th, inclosing copy of a note from the Secretary of State of the United States, demanding the extradition of John C. Braine, H. A. Parr, John Parker Locke, alias Vernon G. Locke, David Collins, George Robinson, and John Wade, fugitives from the justice of the United

Statesin reply 1 h

Officers

In reply I have the honour to inform your Excellency that I have referred this appli. cation to the Law Officers of the Crown in Canada for their Report.

I have, &c. (Signed) MONCK.

Inclosure 8 in No. 21.

Lord Lyons to Mr. Seward.

Sir,

Washington, January 30, 1864. I LOST no time in communicating to the Governor-General of Canada the note dated the 13th instant, in which you did me the honour to inform me that you considered it possible that John C. Braine and others, fugitives from the justice of the United States, might have taken refuge in Canada, and that you would therefore ask that the necessary measures should be taken by the Canadian authorities for their extradition, in pursuance of the 10th Article of the Treaty of Washington.

The Governor-General has informed me in reply, that he has referred this applica. tion to the Law Officers of the Crown in Canada for their Report.

The Governor-General had not any reason to suppose that any of the persons named had come within Canadian jurisdiction.

I have, &c. (Signed) LYONS.

[blocks in formation]

Government House, Fredericton, New Brunsuick, (Extract.)

January 21, 1864. I HAVE the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your Lordship's despatch of the 5th instant, and am gratified to learn that the Cabinet of Washington appreciates the prompt action of this Government in reference to the alleged piratical seizure of the United States' steam-ship “ Chesapeake.”

A determination to observe in the strictest manner the requirements of international law, and to fulfil every obligation of international courtesy, will, I trust, always be found by the Government of the United States to exist on the part of this Province,

In my despatch of the 28th ultimo I informed your Lordship that I had issued my warrant, authorizing the arrest of the parties implicated in the transaction referred to. Since that date three of those persons, David Collins, James McKinney, and Finns Seeley, have been arrested at St. John.

The Honourable J. H. Gray, of St. John, one of the Counsel for the accused, applied to me on the 31st ultimo on behalf of his clients for copies of the requisition upon which my warrant authorizing the arrest was founded, and of the depositions which accompanied it.

I accordingly transmitted the required documents to Mr. Gray, at the same time stating my reasons for declining to entertain his application as a matter of right, whilst I acceded to it as an act of courtesy for which persons in the position of the accused might fairly look. At the same time I informed the United States' Consul of my decision.

« PreviousContinue »