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Mr. Barnabas Bidwell, a citizen of the United States, who had been returned as a member of the House of Assembly of the province of Upper Canada. And your Lordship was pleased to desire that we would take the same into our consideration, and report to your Lordship our opinion whether Mr. Bidwell has any right to sit as a representative in the Assembly of Upper Canada under the 31 Geo. 3, c. 31, or under any other Act of Parliament referred to in the accompanying case; and in the event of our considering that Mr. Bidwell has no claim to a seat in the Legislative Assembly, your Lordship was also pleased to desire that we would inform your Lordship whether we consider Mr. Bidwell's son, who was born in the United States of America since the Peace of 1783, as also ineligible.
In compliance with your Lordship's request, we beg leave to report that we are of opinion that Mr. Bidwell has no right to sit as a representative in the Assembly of Upper Canada under the 31 Geo. 3, c. 31, or under any other Act; and we are further of opinion that Mr. Bidwell's son is also ineligible.
We have considered the general question to be of very great importance, and as it has been for some time depending in the King's Bench, we were desirous of waiting the decision of that Court before we gave our opinion on it. The judgment has been lately pronounced, and after very elaborate argument it has been decided that a person in the situation of Mr. Bidwell is not a natural-born subject of his Majesty, but an alien; and that the son of such a person, born in the United States after the treaty of 1783, is also an alien (i).
This question, therefore, which has been so long and so frequently agitated, may at length be considered as finally determined.
The Right Hon. Earl Bathurst, J. S. Copley.
&c. &c. &c. Chas. Wetherell.
(i) The case here referred to is Doe d. Thomas v. Acklam, 2 B. & C. 779. See also Doe d. Auchmuty v. Mulcaster, 5 B. & C. 771.
(7.) Joint Opinion of tlie Kings Advocate, Sir Christopheb Bobinson, and the Attorney and Solicitor General, Sir John S. Copley and Sut Charles Wetherell, as to the Status of Slaves escaping/ to a British Settlement, and as to whether ihy can be lawfully sent back to the Foreign Country from which (hey have escaped. 1826. We are of opinion that a person held in slavery in a foreign country, and effecting his escape to a British settlement, cannot, under the statute 5 Geo. 4, c. 113, be lawfully sent back to the foreign country whence he so escaped. We see no reason to change the opinion we have already given upon this point. We think the Act consolidating the laws respecting the Slave Trade has not altered the state of the question. The removal of slaves under the circumstances above described comes within the general prohibitory words of the Act, and is not included in any of the exceptions. We think the removal would be illegal whether the persons were lawfully or unlawfully in slavery in the colony from which they had escaped. In answer to the remaining question, we are of opinion that persons escaping to a British settlement from a foreign country where they were lawfully held in slavery, and, of course, not born under the King's allegiance, are aliens. The rest of this question, viz., whether they may be dealt with as aliens, is so general that we cannot venture to answer it in its present form. If your Lordship will be so kind as to state in what manner it is proposed to deal with them, and under what law, we will return upon this point an early answer to your Lordship for his Majesty's information.
(8.) Joint Opinion of the Attorney and Solicitor General, Sir John Campbell and Sir R. M. Bolfe, as to the Claims of two Persons resident in the Mauritius before the Cession of the Island to the Privileges of British Subjects after the Cession.
Temple, December 28, 1838. My Lord,—We have been honoured with your Lordship's letter of the 21st ult., transmitting to us the copy of a despatch received by your Lordship from the Governor of Mauritius, forwarding a correspondence relative to the claims of two persons named Malvesgy and Bestel to the privileges of British subjects.
Your Lordship requests us to report our opinion whether, under the circumstances disclosed in these papers, these two gentlemen, or either of them, are or are not entitled to the character and privileges of British subjects.
We have now the honour of reporting to your Lordship, that the question whether these gentlemen, or either of them, are or is entitled to the privileges of a British subject, depends on the question whether they did or did not avail themselves of the right given by the Treaty of Paris to repudiate their allegiance to Great Britain, and to continue, as they were before the conquest of Mauritius, subjects of France: prima fade, if they continued to reside at Mauritius for a period of six years (which was the term allowed by the treaty for parties to quit the ceded countries, and dispose of their property), they must be considered as having intended to become British subjects; and we are clearly of opinion that if they once became British subjects they could not afterwards divest themselves of that character by taking the oath of allegiance to France, or by any other act. In this respect we see no distinction between subjects who have become so by cession or conquest and natural-born subjects.
But if the circumstances of their residence at Mauritius were equivocal—if, for instance, they refused to take the oath of allegiance to Great Britain, or in any respect acted as being foreigners —then the circumstance of their subsequent residence at Bourbon would be strong to show that they never meant to become British subjects.
The circumstance, particularly (as to Mr. Malvesgy), that he accepted an office in Bourbon only tenable by a French subject would be strong, if other circumstances are equivocal, to show that he never became a British subject. But if he had previously become a British subject, he cannot have ceased to be so by subsequently taking the oath of allegiance to another power.
As to Mr. Bestel, the acts done by him out of the island of Mauritius seem to be by no means inconsistent with his character of a British subject; and if, therefore, he had, as we understand the facts to be, resided in Mauritius as an inhabitant from 1814 to 1825, doiDg nothing to repudiate his character of a British subject, we do not think that his subsequent residence for ten years in a French colony for purposes of commerce can affect his right to be considered as a subject of Her Majesty.
The Lord Glenelg, J. Campbell.
&c. &c. &c. R. M. Rolfe.
(9.) Joint Opinion of the Attorney and Solicitor General, Sir Frederick Thesiger and Sir Fitzroy Kelly, as to whether an Inhabitant of the Mauritius was entitled to be considered a British Subject.
Temple, August 15, 1815.
My Lord,—We have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of Mr. Hope's letter of the 14th of July, in which he was pleased to state that he was directed by your Lordship to transmit to us the copy of a despatch from the Governor of Mauritius relative to the claim of one Louis Bonnier, an inhabitant of that colony, to be considered a British subject; and to request that we would report, for your Lordship's information, our joint opinion whether, under the circumstances stated in that despatch and its enclosures, Louis Bonnier is entitled to the privilege of a British subject, or is to be regarded as an alien.
In obedience to your Lordship's command, we have the honour to report that in our opinion Louis Bonnier must be regarded as an alien. By the capitulation,-cartels were to be provided to take the French forces to France, and within two years the inhabitants were to be at liberty to depart from the islands, and whoever did so remained a French subject. Louis Bonnier appears to have left the island within the stipulated period in a cartel (which he could only have done as a French subject), and to have proceeded to France, and to have returned only in 1815, after the peace. Unless some satisfactory explanation is given of these circumstances we cannot think that Louis Bonnier ever acquired the status of a British subject.
To the Bight Hon. the Lord Stanley, Frederick Thesiger. &c. &c. &c. Fitzroy Kelly.
(10.) Joint Opinion of tlie Attorney and Solicitor General, Sir William Follbtt and Sir Frederick Thesiger, that Hie Crown may bestow the dignity of a Knight'Bachelor on an Alien.
Temple, December 9, 1844.
My Lord,—We have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of Mr. G. W. Hope's letter of the 6th instant, requesting that we would consider and report to your Lordship, for Her Majesty's information, whether there was any objection in point of law to the dignity of a Knight Bachelor being conferred by Her Majesty on a person who is not a subject of her Crown.
It is also stated that, if no such objection exists, it is Her Majesty's purpose to confer that honour on an alien who has recently rendered important public services in the colony of British Guiana.
In humble obedience to your Lordship's commands, we have fully considered this case, and are of opinion that there is no objection in point of law to such dignity being conferred on an alien.
To the Right Hon. the Lord Stanley, W. W. Follett.
&c. &c. &c. Frederick Thesiger.
(11.) Joint Opinion of the Queen's Advocate, Sir John Dodson, and the Attorney and Solicitor General, Sir William Follett and Sir Frederick Thesiger, on the Naturalization of an Alien Woman by marriage with a British Subject in Gibraltar.
Doctors' Commons, April 15,1845.
My Lord,—We are honoured with your Lordship's commands, signified to us by Mr. Hope's letter of the 12th instant, stating that he had been directed by your Lordship to transmit for our consideration the copy of a despatch and of its enclosure, from the Governor of Gibraltar, submitting for the decision of your Lordship the question whether, under Act 7 & 8 Vict, c . 66, s. 16, aliens married to British subjects resident in Gibraltar become naturalized?
Mr. Hope was pleased to desire that we would report to your Lordship our joint opinion whether the Act referred to extends to