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as that of Chief Justice Powell, in refusing me liberty, applied for on writ of habeas corpus, most clearly proves that these men were blind on the subject of allegiance. They neither appreciated justly the value of natural allegiance, nor understood the distinction between that and local allegiance, which alone their sedition law regarded or could regard. And here it is necessary to explain. I have said that the law of natural allegiance has ceased, as it concerns people emigrating to America, and becoming citizens of the United States; and, I do say so. It has ceased as an international law, from necessity; and its cessation in this character, has been manifested by the act of our Government setting at liberty native-born Britons, sworn citizens of America; but, it has not ceased, as an international law otherwise; far less as a national law. Its cessation, as an international law, between Britain and America, has not taken away its power over a British subject while he remains within his Majesty's dominions ; neither, I trust, are my most valuable rights and privileges held under it, to be taken away at the arbitrary will of Councillors Dickson and Claus, aided by Chief Justice Powell: no, nor even by my own act of submitting to a trial while my powers of reasoning were weakened by the oppression and cruelty of provincial tyranny, no doubt enforced by the orders of Sir Peregrine Maitland. By a right understanding of the law and principle of allegiance, the Canadian Sedition Act, infamous as it is, can yet be made perfectly consistent, so far as British rights are in question. Let it be understood that, the oath of allegiance which it requires to be taken, is merely that which confirms local allegiance, and all difficulty, in its interpretation, is done away—all inconsistency is at an end. With this understanding, it merely says
to aliens and outlaws, take care of yourselves till the oath of local allegiance has put you under the protection of the British Government; and it makes a clear distinction between these persons and native-born subjects, who, of their own right, have a claim to that protection. Further, an alien cannot be tried for treason till he takes the oath of allegiance. The native-born subject, who has neither been outlawed, nor has sworn allegiance to a foreign government, can be tried for sedition and treason, though he has not gone through the ceremony of swearing allegiance, seeing that his natural allegiance subjects him to prosecution for such a crime. The Canadian Sedition Act empowers governors, and others, to order aliens to depart from his Majesty's dominions, and to imprison them in case of refusal, that they may not carry on seditious and treasonable practices with impunity; but, it never empowered them, nor was it ever necessary to empower them, to order native-born subjects, thus arbitrarily, out of the province; for the moment they could be convicted of sedition, they could be punished for that crime ;-the moment they could be convicted of treason, they could be put to death. They could, under accusation for the first offence, have liberty till trial by finding bail. On a special charge of treason they could not find bail; yet they could not be condemned till an overt-act was proved on trial by two witnesses,
I now come to the grand practical requisite for Upper Canada,—the matter of first importance for the British Parliament to determine, as to the obligation of allegiance; and, it is very simple. It is to fix a certain time within which a person having sworn allegiance to the King, in Canada, shall not lawfully throw off such bond of allegiance, and fight against the King, say, one year, two years, three years, or more.
The confiscation of property upon desertion, in time of war, is one just and necessary principle of practice ; and, thus fixing a time to restrict persons as to changing sides, and taking part in warlike operations, would complete all that is required. Under existing law, any man in Canada who has become a British subject, merely by taking the oath of allegiance, can unquestionably step into the United States, take the oath of allegiance to the Government of that country, and return immediately, in time of war, to fight in Canada against his Majesty's crown and dignity. I appeal to every rational being, if this is not an awful state of affairs: I ask, whether this alone did not call loudly for consideration, and whether it does not now imperiously require the attention of the British Parliament? I ask, if the necessity for settling this single point did not justify my first political Address in Upper Canada ;-did not prove the value of opinion being free; and, does not demand inquiry into the state of the province ?
PARLIAMENT, AND THE PEOPLE.
AFTER Councillor Dickson was so well satisfied with my Address, in favour of the free ingress of American settlers, as to offer me 500 acres of land for writing it, my hope was, that he would finish the Niagara Township Report, sign, seal, and deliver it; nor did I cease to entreat of him to do so. But, no: the Report was doomed to remain in the honourable hands to which it was committed by the worthy magistrates and others who drew it up. He and Councillor Clark went off for Little York, to be present at the opening of Parliament, 5th February, 1818 ; and, my purpose was to follow them, on my way to England, as soon as the Address was published at length in the Niagara Spectator, which it was the 12th February. On that day, and while the newspaper was preparing for press, the Gazette arrived, containing the President's speech; from which I extract the following clauses:
“ His Royal Highness the Prince Regent has been graciously pleased to devote the proceeds of the estates vested in his Majesty, under the provisions of the statute to declare certain persons therein described aliens, to compensate the loss of individuals by the invasion of the enemy."
“To carry into effect the gracious intention of his Royal Highness, some further legislative provisions may be required.”
“ Honourable Gentlemen, and Gentlemen, “ His Majesty's Government having countenanced a migration from the United Kingdom to the provinces of Lower and Upper Canada, it is expected that great benefit will result to this colony from the accession of an industrious and loyal population, and I recommend to your consideration how far it may be expedient to assist the emigrants by providing the means to defray the expense of the location and grant of land bestowed upon them by his Royal Highness the Prince Regent in his Majesty's name.”
The reader will not, at first, see any thing very wrong in these clauses of the opening speech of his Honour the President of Upper Canada; but I would wish him to read them over again; and, by way of puzzle, question himself on the subject before perusing my remarks, which will be severe: not wantonly, but, in duty, severe. Deceitful, and often unmeaning, slang, has injured Upper Canada beyond all conception; and the above extracts will prove good examples for illustration.
Having said, that I shall be severe in my remarks upon these clauses of the President's speech, it may be well, in the first place, to say something of the President himself.
Colonel Smith served his Majesty in the American revolutionary war, and afterwards settled in Canada. I had but two or three short conversations with him, and my first impressions, that he was a good, well-meaning man, never changed. As a Pre