HC Deb 27 June 1842 vol 64 cc640-1
Mr. Hawes

wished to put a question to the noble Lord the Secretary of State for the Colonies. It appeared from information he had received, that on the 17th of last January a demand was made on the part of one of the states of America to the authorities of Canada to give up a person of colour who had been confined there for some days, and who was demanded back as a fugitive. As he understood, there was no charge made against him, and the demand was to deliver up this person, named Nelson Hackett, who had been taken across the river, lodged in the Detroit gaol, and ultimately put into the hands of his master. He wished to know whether these facts were correct and what was the policy of the Government in such cases.

Lord Stanley

said, that the statement of the hon. Member was incorrect in a very material point. It was perfectly true that in the course of this year an application was made to the Governor and Executive Council of Canada for the surrender to the American authorities of a person described as a fugitive from justice, and charged with the offences of burglary robbery. There was an act in force in Upper Canada, which authorized the Governor with the assent of the Executive Council to surrender any person being a fugitive from justice and charged with a certain specified crime, upon there being forwarded in a certain form, according to the prescribed conditions, the warrant of his committal, and the depositions taken against him, provided those depositions were such as would authorise his committal in Canada. Upon the first application to the Canadian authorities these forms were wanting, and consequently the application was not complied with, but positively refused, and the grounds of refusal were stated by the Executive Council. The depositions were then forwarded, from which it appeared that this person, a person of colour, and he believed a slave, was charged with burglary, not upon the property of his master, but that of another person. The question was then brought by the Governor of Canada under the consideration of the Executive Council; and the Executive Council, finding that the forms had been complied with, and that the case was such as would authorize a committal in Canada, thought fit to comply with the provisions of the Canadian law, and to surrender the person to the State of Arkansas.