any departure from the due course of law, and it is in these circumstances that the law officers of the Crown have advised Her Majesty's Government that the arrests of British subjects are illegal.
You remark further that so far as appears to Her Majesty Government the Secretary of State of the United States exercises upon the reports of spies and assumes the power of depriving British subjects of their liberty or liberating them by his own will and pleasure, and you inform me that Her Majesty's Government cannot but regard this despotic and arbitrary power as inconsistent with the Constitution of the United States, as at variance with the treaties of amity subsisting between the two nations and as tending the prevent the resort of British subjects to the United States for purposes of trade and industry. You conclude with informing me that upon these grounds Her Majesty's Government have felt bound no instruct you to remonstrate against such irregular proceedings and to say that in their opinion the authority of Congress is necessary in order to justify the arbitrary arrest and imprisonment of British subjects.
The facts in regard to the two persons named in your note are as follows: Communications from the regular police of the country to the Executive at Washington showed that disloyal persons in the State of Alabama were conducting treasonable correspondence with Confederates, British subjects and American citizens in Europe, aimed at the overthrow of the Federal Union by armed forces actually in the field and besieging the cpital of the United States. A portion of this correspondence which was intercepted was addressed to the firm of Smith & Patrick, brokers, long established and doing business in the city of New York. It appeared that this firm had a branch at Mobile; that the partner, Smith, is a disloyal citizen of the United States and that he was in Europe when the treasonable papers were sent from Mobile, addressed through the house of in New York. On receiving this information William Patrick was arrested and committed into military custody at Fort Lafayette by order of the Secretary of War of the United States addressed to the police of the city of New York. These proceedings took place on the 28th of August last. Representations were thereupon made to the Secretary of State by friends of Mr. Patrick to the effect that notwithstanding his associations he was personally loyal to this Government, and that he was ignorant of the treasonable nature of the correspondence which was being carried on throught he mercantile house of which he was a member. Directions were thereupon given by the Secretary of State to a proper agent to inquire into the correctness of the facts thus presented and this inquiry resulted in the establishment of their truth. Mr. William Patrick was thereupon promptly released from custody by direction of the Secretary of State. This release occurred on the 13th day of September last.
On the 2nd day of September the superintendent of police in the city of New York informed the Secretary of State by telegraph that he had under arrest J. C. Rahming, who had just arrived from Nassau where he had attempted to induce the owners of the schooner Arctic to take cannon to Wilmington, in North Carolina, for the use of the rebels, and inquired what should he do with the prisoner. J. C. Rahming was thereupon committed into military custody at Fort Lafayette under a mandate from the Secretary of State. This commitment was made on the 2nd day of September. On the 17th day of that month this prisoner after due inquiry was released from custody on his executing a bond in