§ Mr. F. Douglas
said, that as he saw a gentleman belonging to the home department now in his place, he should take the opportunity of putting a new questions to him. A certain foreigner had been seized under the Alien act, on the 14th of last November, and sent out of the country. One of the provisions of that act was, that any individual arrested under it should be carried, if he wished to appeal against the execution of the sentence, before the privy council. He understood that this foreigner had expressed his determination of making this appeal, but had not been allowed to do so. He wished to know what explanation could be given of these circumstances, and under what authority they had also seized his papers.
§ Mr. H. Clive
said, that he had not a minute of the facts, to which he could then refer for the accuracy of his statement, 191 but must trust to his own imperfect recoltion of them. The foreigner in question had certainly wished to lodge an appeal, not indeed before the privy council, but before a magistrate. To a magistrate he was therefore taken, who, upon hearing the facts detailed against him, did not think it consistent with his duty to interfere on his behalf. With regard to his papers, he should give a very short, and he trusted, a satisfactory answer. They were brought to the office for the home department, and forwarded from thence to the ultimate destination of the individual arrested by his orders, and according to his directions. When they were restored to him, the individual complained that they were restored with their seals broken. This complaint attracted the notice of the British government, and in consequence letters were written to the agent of the packets at Harwich, (from which place the papers had been sent to Cuxhaven), to learn in what state these papers were when they arrived at, and when they were sent from, Harwich. The answer returned was, that the portfolio which contained them was in a sealed envelop, and had been sent from Harwich in the same state in which it arrived there. From Cuxhaven they were sent to Hamburgh, and from Hamburgh to the individual in question. Similar inquiries were made of the agents of the post office at Cuxhaven and Hamburgh, as had been made of the agent of the packets at Harwich, and a similar answer was invariably returned. When the portfolio was delivered to the individual in question, he refused to break the envelop, except in the presence of a certain foreign general; he was introduced into his company in consequence of this refusal, and there he himself broke the very seals which he now insinuated were broken by others.
§ Mr. F. Douglas
said, that as the answer returned by the different post-agents was merely confined to the fact of the papers being in the same state as they were when they left the office of the home department, he wished to ask the hon. gentleman, whether the portfolio was or was not unlocked, during the time it remained under the care of the home department.
§ Mr. H. Clive
replied, that it went back to the owner in precisely the same state in which it was brought, except with the addition of a paper cover, fastened with the government seal.