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BONAPARTE'S BANISHMENT


Mr. Capel Loft has addressed a letter to the Editor of The Morning Chronicle, in which he contends that it is illegal to banish Bonaparte, and that an Habeus Corpus might be sued out in his favour. The following are the arguments this Gentleman makes use of, which, however well they may be founded, we believe will make very little impression on the minds of the men who have the destiny of Napoleon at their disposal.

"Bonaparte, with the concurrence of the Admiralty, is within the limits of British local allegiance. He is a temporary, considered as private, though not a natural born subject, and as such, within the limits of 31 Car.II. The Habeus Corpus Act, our second Magna Charta, says that no subject, being an inhabitant or resident of England, &c. shall be sent prisoner into Scotland, &c. or unto places beyond the seas, c. 12. All persons within the realm of England, which includes the adjoining seas, are temporary subjects if aliens, or permanent if natural born.

"Though not on the British soil, he is within the protection of the British law. If at Plymouth, he is in a British county. An Habeus Corpus, if issued, must be obeyed; and would no doubt willingly be obeyed by the Captain of the Bellerophon. It would be issuable, being Vacation, by the Chancellor, the Chief Justice of England, or other of the Judges at their house or chambers, immediately, founded on an affidavit. And if all communication with the Bellerophon is shut out, which might enable Napoleon himself to make application, the imprisonment of any individual within the limits of the English laws and Constitution, concerns the dignity, the liberty and the rights of every Englishman; fault or error in respect to this all protective law, which being remedial must be most liberally construed.

"I am of opinion that deportation, or transportation, or relegation, cannot legally exist in this country, except where the law expressly provides it on trial and sentence.

"It cannot be expected that many authorities should be quoted in such a peculiar case: neither is it necessary, as it differs from the common cases of every day, chiefly in the greatness of the Person who is its object.

"Divested of these circumstances it is this. He voluntarily came on board; Captain Maitland received him, agreeably, as the Captain understands, to secret orders. If he is debarred of all communication and correspondence, and forbidden to land, this must be some order or for some purpose. And the Writ of Habeus Corpus is the legal mode of investigating as to all persons whether their liberty be legally or illegally restrained and all restraint of liberty is illegal, of which the legality is not clearly and strictly proved.

"I know of no law of ours which supports such a conduct, as is asserted to have already taken place, and to be further determined. And I trust we are not yet come to this, that the will and practice of the Confederates is a law to us."



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