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might be sent out of the country with other convicts, who, it was understood, were about to sail.
ambassador whilst he resided there, and since then by me; and that, to prevent the possibility of any evasion, British subjects were requested to conform to that MOTION RESPECTING ALIENS.] Sir John regulation. At the request of the goNewport rose, pursuant to his notice, to vernor of this city, I renewed that order, call the attention of the House to a letter &c." Then came the letter from J. H. from the Under Secretary of State for the Addington, esq. to Edward Cooke, esq. to Home Department, to the Colonial De- which sir James Duff had referred in juspartment, respecting the admission of tification of his conduct: it was dated aliens into this country. In all periods May 4, 1813, more than eighteen months of our history, the Legislature had taken before lord Bathurst's dispatch, and was care to keep open the ports and harbours to the following purport: Sir; in order of Great Britain, for distressed strangers; to prevent, as far as may be practicable, and it was the glory of this country, that the introduction from the Continent, of when protection could not be afforded to aliens of suspicious character into this them by other nations, they were sure of country and its dependencies, it appears finding an asylum here. At an early to lord Sidmouth desirable, that instrucperiod of the French revolution, precau- tions should be given to his Majesty's tionary measures were adopted; and ministers at foreign courts, and to the though it was not incumbent on him to British consuls and agents on the Contidiscuss the propriety of that law, yet it nent, to require that such persons as may was material to observe, that the Legis- propose to embark for any part of the lature had placed strict guards over those British dominions, should, in the first inwho were entrusted with the exercise of stance, apply to them to be furnished its powers. This was enough to shew the with passports for that purpose; and his jealousy of Parliament on the subject. lordship is also of opinion that, in all cases, With the first French war the first Alien when either the character of the person Act expired; it was revived soon after applying for such passport, or the object the commencement of the second French which he has in view, may be objection war, and nearly in the same form and able, it would be expedient to refuse it. manner, and with the same powers and N. B. A printed copy of this letter was restrictions, as the former Act. What, forwarded on the 6th of May, 1813, from then, was the surprise of himself and of the Foreign Office, to all his Majesty's several other members, when they found, consuls in foreign countries, for their on the discussion of the conduct of sir guidance."* Now, he would ask the James Duff, that the following letters were House, whether there ever existed a case laid before the House? The first was a in which such extensive powers were so copy of a dispatch from lord Bathurst to delegated, or conveyed in a manner sa sir James Duff, dated November 29, 1814, loose and improper? But there was someto this effect:-"Sir; It having been re-thing further, which marked it more presented to his Majesty's government, strongly. It would have been a great that you have directed the masters of dereliction of duty not to have communiall British vessels touching at Cadiz, not to depart from that port with any Spanish subjects on board, unless such Spanish subjects should be provided with your passport, or with one from the government of Spain, I am to request that you will acquaint me how far this is founded on fact," &c. In answer, sir James Duff wrote as follows: "I beg leave to represent to your lordship, that in virtue of the orders of his Majesty's government, it has been the practice at this port, since June 1813, to allow no aliens to go passengers in British merchant vessels or packets, to any of his Majesty's dominions, unless provided with proper passports, sanctioned by his Majesty's
cated to the House the reasons of taking such an extraordinary step; but between the interval of writing this letter and the discovery of it, the Alien Act, which would have expired, was re-enacted and brought specially before the House. Was not that the period at which this letter should have been submitted to the House? Was it not proper, as the question did not pass sub silentio, and some of his Majesty's ministers participated in the debate, that this measure should have been communicated? During that time, this circular
*For copies of the several documents referred to in the course of this debate, see Vol. xxix, pp. 596, 740.
1. That it appears to this House, from documents laid before it, that instructions were issued, on the 6th of May, 1813, from the office of the Secretary of State for Foreign affairs, on the recommendation of the Secretary of State for the Home department, to all his Majesty's ministers and consuls in foreign countries, to require that such aliens as might propose to embark for any part of the British dominions should apply to be furnished with passports for that purpose; and that in all cases when either the cha racter of the person applying for such passports, or the object which he had in view, may be deemed objectionable, it would be expedient to refuse it:
letter was in force; and when the Bill, like a power for them to shift the responfor continuing the Alien Act was sub- sibility from themselves, or rather to demitted to the House, no notice was taken legate the powers of the Act to any other with respect to passports for foreigners persons. It would be incumbent on the who wished to come to this country. On House to mark their sense of that transthe contrary, there were passages directly action, and he would therefore submit his negativing the possibility of such a thing motion to them. The right hon. baronet as passports having been granted. The then moved: House knew nothing of that fact, and would not have known of it at present, if sir James Duff had not relied on this letter for his justification. But if the Legislature, for good and wise reasons, thought proper to depart from a general system, and to intrust to the highest offices of this country a temporary power under the Alien Act, was it fit that the Secretaries of State should delegate any of those powers with out the authority of Parliament? And who were the persons to whom such powers were delegated? He wished the House to consider the situation in which consuls in foreign countries were placed. It was justly remarked by an hon. and learned friend of his* on a former occasion, that if such a power had been entrusted to consuls at the revocation of the edict of Nantes, none of the victims of Louis the 14th's tyranny would have made their escape out of France. It could not be denied, how respectable soever the characters of some of those consuls might be, that many temptations might induce them to co-operate with the governments of those countries in which they resided. But it appeared that they were not only to examine into the characters of the persons applying for passports, but also into the objects which they had in view. Did not the House perceive, that such persons might have to complain of the conduct of that very consul to whom they were to apply? Was it not monstrous, then, that the power of refusing passports should be vested in such hands? Yet this was not all; many of the consuls were engaged in commercial speculations, and it might happen, that the party who wanted to come to this country wished to embark in a similar branch of trade. It was, therefore, a high breach of duty in the great officers of state to commit the execution of their powers to any such persons, powers which they exercised in this country under the control of the Legislature. It was sufficient for him to show, that in no one part of the Act was there any thing
2. "That no communication whatever was made to Parliament of such instructions having been issued until the 14th of February, 1815, a period of nearly two years, and then only in consequence of an inquiry into the conduct of sir James Duff, consul-general at Cadiz, on a subject incidentally connected therewith, although a Bill for renewal of the Alien Act, under certain modifications (in aid of which Act such instructions were avowedly issued), was submitted to the consideration of both Houses of Parliament, and passed into a law in the month of July, 1814; neither was any notice taken in the said Act of any passports having been required to be procured by such aliens as might arrive in the United Kingdom conformably to such instructions:
3. "That the extraordinary powers intrusted by the Alien Act to the principal Secretaries of State in Great Britain, or the Lord Lieutenant or his Chief Secretary in Ireland, to be exercised under the immediate view and control of Parliament, could be only warranted by the exigency of the case, and ought not in any degree, or under any circumstances, to have been delegated by those great officers of state to any other persons, without the knowlege and authority of Parliament; still less should they have enabled all the con. suls residing in foreign countries to prohibit, at their discretion, the embarkation of aliens for the United Kingdom; a power (Y)
presenting great temptations to abuse by subordinate agents, and liable to be frequently perverted to objects of extortion or oppression."
tions towards the government of this country? The letter was dated on the 4th of May, 1813, when the war on the Continent was not terminated. It had been Mr. Addington thought that the right much the practice of gentlemen opposite, hon. baronet was under considerable mis- and particularly of the member for Bedapprehensions. The letter of which he ford, to charge the Secretary of State for complained was a mere measure of vigi- the Home Department with exercising his lant precaution in the Secretary of the power under the Alien Act with extravaHome Department, to whom the execu- gant rigour; but he (Mr. A.) had discotion of the Alien Act was entrusted. It vered two papers in his office, which would be for the House to decide, whether, would shew what precautions were resorted in the exercise of his powers, there was to under former administrations. The first any thing criminal in this transaction. On was written when the right hon. baronet a former occasion, he had detailed the himself held a distinguished situation, motives which induced the department to and when a most respectable nobleman which he belonged to circulate that order; was at the head of the Home Department. and he would now repeat, that it was It was dated Dec. 16, 1806, and was adissued in consequence of the constant com-dressed to Mr. Reeves, directing that no plaints of the number of aliens-little less aliens who had not resided in England than twenty thousand-who were in this were to be permitted to come from the country, and of the necessity of prevent- Continent, except under the following reing the admission of those whose charac-gulations: they were to specify, in a deters were liable to suspicion. Various in-tailed manner, who and what they were, stances have occurred of aliens having their motives for coming to England, and arrived at the outports, who were sus- the port from which they intended to em pected of ill designs, but who were after- bark; and no alien enemy was to be sufwards permitted to proceed, because suffi- fered to come, without the passport of one cient grounds of their intentions had not of his Majesty's ministers resident on the been adduced. The principal object there- Continent. The other letter, of a subse fore was, to remove those impediments quent date, was nearly to the same effect; from aliens in general, and to permit them and all he meant to shew by them was, to land and proceed. The persons who that these precautionary measures did not were entrusted with the power of granting originate with his noble relative. At the passports, were those who must be best time that those instructions were given to acquainted with the character and mo- the consuls abroad, nobody could have tives of the persons applying for them: dreamt of the probability of peace being but the fact was, that this power was not so soon restored. He was, however, predelegated, as the right hon. baronet had pared to prove that, independent of the conceived, under the Alien Act, but by Alien Act, the Crown had the prerogative virtue of the acknowledged prerogative of of sending strangers out of the country. the Crown, to refuse admission to aliens He then read an extract from Blackstone, of any description. Such prerogative which stated, "that as to every thing existed before the Alien Act was passed; relating to safe conduct for strangers, and, therefore, this letter left aliens to a Puffendorf had very justly resolved, it is certain degree where it found them; it left in the power of all states, to take such did not oblige aliens to apply for pass-measures about the admission of strangers, ports, and persons who knew that no sus- as they think convenient." At the time, picion attached to their conduct could however, that the Alien Act was passed, come to this country without them. Since the great majority of the House was dethis regulation was adopted, not one single cidedly agreed on the adoption of a meainstance had occurred of an individual sure of this nature. He believed the necoming without a passport, who was re- cessity of such a measure had been strongly fused admission. He wished to draw the felt, and he considered it only went to attention of the House to the general ex-authorize the Secretary of State to do that pressions of the letter; and he would ask any gentleman, whether, under the circumstances in which it was written, it could apply to any aliens but those who were strongly suspected of hostile inten
which, if it did not exist, he would, in some cases, be bound to do, in the exercise of a sound discretion on his own responsibility.
Mr. Whitbread observed, that the great
regulation was transferring the powers of the Alien Act, so far as they related to the Portuguese, to the ambassador of that nation resident here. He had been informed that the practice still continued. For the papers respecting M. Correia it was his intention to move, as soon as the present question was disposed of.
Mr. Addington said, that when the hon. gentleman first mentioned this subject in the House, it was the general impression that it was his object to bring a charge against the present Secretary for the Home Department, and he was convinced the hon. gentleman himself had supposed that it was a recent case. Upon investigation, however, it appeared that it was a case which had occurred five years ago, when Mr. Ryder was at the head of the Home department. He should certainly vote against the granting the papers which the hon. member gave notice that he would move for. He would never vote for the production of papers, unless the mover made out, at least, a primâ facie case. If the hon. gentleman only wished for these papers to enable him to fish out some matter of accusation against the Secretary of State, he should oppose the production of them. If the House were to grant these papers, the hon. gentleman might then move for all the papers relative to every case of aliens detained in this country for the last twenty-three years, Before he sat down, he begged leave to move the previous question upon the right hon. baronet's motion.
difference between the prerogative, as it was exercised before the passing of the Alien Act, and after it, was, that before the year 1793, the prerogative was regulated by law, and the Secretary of State could only justify himself by showing, that he had acted according to law. The right hon. gentleman had appeared to be greatly surprised, that sir James Duff had justified himself under the authority of the letter that had been sent by the Secretary of State. Until this justification came out it appeared as if that letter had been quite forgotten. The noble Secretary of State (lord Sidmouth) was, to be sure, as goodhumoured a person as could be. He had shewn his good humour by forming a part of so many administrations, and amalgamating his principles and opinions so easily with those of so many succeeding administrations. He considered this, however, to be an ill-humoured act as it put it in the power of any consul abroad who was in an ill humour, to refuse a passport without any good reason. The right hon. gentleman had said, that an alien could not be excluded from this country merely for not having a passport. How many strangers, however, not alien enemies, but alien friends, were, in fact, éxcluded by sir James Duff's refusing to give them passports. In order to spare the House the trouble of a second debate, he should take that opportunity of stating the case of Don Anselmo Correia, in which a most unjustifiable transfer of power had been made by the Secretary of State for the Home Department, to M. de Souza, the Portuguese minister. Because Correia had written some lampoons which annoyed M. de Souza, he applied to Mr. Ryder, who was then Secretary of State, by whom Lord Castlereagh thought the right hon. he was sent to Lisbon, a place which baronet had given to this subject a degree Beemed to be peculiarly selected for the of importance which by no means bereception of persons guilty of political longed to it. If ministers were not allampoons [a laugh.] Surely, however, it lowed to make regulations of that nature could not be said that there was any thing upon the subject, he did not know what in such an offence which justified the other arrangements they would be allowed exercise of such a power. There was no- to make. It was an arrangement that thing seditious in it, nothing which tended was, upon the whole, beneficial to the to excite mutiny or disaffection in the aliens themselves. The wish of Governarmy or navy; it was contained in a Por- ment was, that every alien should present tuguese pamphlet, which, in fact, had a primâ facie recommendation of his being never been translated into English. The a fit person to be admitted into this counhon, member next read a letter from Mr. try. If they could not produce this primâ Reeves to a Portuguese gentleman, in-facie recommendation, it became the duty forming him that it was necessary to have a certificate from the Portuguese minister, before he could receive a licence for remaining here; and contended that such a
Sir J. Newport made a short reply, in which he contended that the delegation ought not to have taken place without the consent of Parliament.
of Government to make inquiries into their individual case, which would necessarily subject them to some delay. How could it be expected that the cases of 20,000
aliens could be carefully examined by the Government, if they did not bring with them a passport or any primâ facie recommendation?
Sir J. Mackintosh contended, that the extract from Blackstone, which had been read by the right hon. gentleman, did not at all apply to the present question. When Poffendorf stated the right of every state, he only meant the inherent right of every nation to take measures for its own preservation. Puffendorf could not have had in his contemplation, how the prerogative of the Crown in England was restrained in its exercise by Parliament. Certainly there was a power in this country as well as in every other, to exclude such strangers as were conceived to be dangerous. The exercise of the prerogative of the Crown was here restrained in this instance, as in many others, by acts of parliament. Adverting to former periods, he inquired what would have been thought, had the unfortunate beings who fled from the tyranny of Robespierre, been refused an asylum, and been sent back to the scaffold? In proportion to the severity of a law, should be the lenity with which it was understood and put in force. And more particularly should a suspension of a law, founded on one of the most important clauses of Magna Charta, be guarded from a loose and undefined construction. The whole body of consuls and vice-consuls amounted to about 23 in number. It was not fitting that they should be entrusted with the power that had been vested in them. Five or six of them were natives of the countries in which they acted; and it was highly improper that they should be empowered to shut the doors of British humanity and hospitality on all those who requested admission.
quiries which would not have been made had they been possessed of a passport.
Mr. Bennet supported the motion, and alluded to the case of a distinguished member of the Cortes, now residing in honourable poverty in this country, for whom sir James Duff sent a search warrant on board the merchant ships in the port of Cadiz, which, however, be hap- pily escaped. British consuls should not thus be permitted to disgrace both themselves and their country.
Mr. Wynn rested his objection to foreign consuls being vested with the power of refusing passports, mainly on the ground that they did not resemble responsible ambassadors; but as many of them carried on trade on their own account, and might have mercantile prejudices and jealousies to gratify, they might abuse their power to forward their own speculations. The House then divided:For Sir J. Newport's motion... 21 For the previous question
MOTION RESPECTING DON ANSELMO CORREIA.] Mr. Whitbread then called the attention of the House to the case of a Portuguese gentleman, named Correia, who, some years since, was sent out of this country, under the Alien Act. He observed, that, in addition to what he had before stated, he had been positively informed, that no native of Portugal was suffered to remain in this country, except he was furnished with a licence from the Portuguese resident at this Court, and that the person in question, having offended the Portuguese resident, was refused the necessary protection. This circumstance, be conceived, ought to be fully explained. When the right hon. gentleman, on a The Solicitor General contended, that former occasion, moved for a renewal of the authority of sir William Blackstone the Alien Act, he (Mr. Whitbread) and had been properly quoted; for though several of his friends demanded informaPuffendorf, to whom he had referred, had tion on one or two transactions that had written on the general law of nations, sir taken place under this law; and they were William had applied his reasonings to the answered, that they might as well call positive law of this country. There was for explanation with respect to all the no doubt but the Crown enjoyed the power cases of aliens sent out of the country, as of deciding whether aliens should be here confine themselves to those particular inor no. The letter did not act as a pre- stances. He thought it would have been vention to the setting out of foreigners for a very desirable thing, if they could have this country, but as a salutary caution; procured such extensive information, for for should they apply in vain to our con- he had no doubt that many abuses of the suls for passports, they were still at liberty Act had taken place. The hon. gentleto proceed to this country, with this dis- man concluded by moving, "That an advantage only, that they would be sub-humble Address be presented to his royal jected, on their arrival here, to those in- highness the Prince Regent, that he will