to complain of the treatment of a British vessel and her commander on the ground that the Spanish law had been violated by that treatment. It is obvious that so long as the British or any other Government complains of the violation of right it is necessary to ascertain the nature of the laws of which the violation is alleged, otherwise the complaint can only be directed against harshness of administratf rigor.
That Her Majesty's Government were not singular in believing that the writ of habeas corpus can only be suspended by authority of Congress has since the date of your note been abundantly shown. A judge issues a writ of habeas corpus to bring up the body of a minor enlisted and detained in the ranks of the U. S. Army. Not only is the writ disobeyed but a sentinel is placed at the door of the judge. The circuit court of which he is a member having the matter before them decide that they do not doubt their power to regard the return made by the deputy marshal as insufficient in law and to proceed against the officer who had made it and that if they do not proceed further it is because they have no physical power. If this view required confirmation it may be said that very able lawyers have written in support of this doctrine.
To recur, however, to the remonstrance which I directed your lordship to address to Mr. Seward I have to observe that Her Majesty's Government never had it in contemplation to controvert an authoritative declaration of the law of the United States in respect to the liberty of persons residing therein. what Her Majesty's Government doubted was the authority of the President to set aside the law and privilege of habeas corpus by his sole will and pleasure. That doubt has been shared by the circuit court of Washington and by many of the most eminent lawyers of a country fertile in men of legal attainments and judicial fame.
In the particular case of Mr. Patrick it appears that that gentleman was a partner in a firm with another gentleman who has taken part with the South and that the correspondence of enemies to the Government was supposed to be conveyed by means of their firm. When it is considered that a year ago two members of a firm who belonged one to the Northern and the other to the Southern States were considered equally loyal citizens; that a commercial firm cannot be dissolved in a day; that letters sent through a firm are not usually submitted to the pr of that firm; that no pains were taken to ascertain the character and political sentiments of Mr. Patrick before he was subjected to the indignity and pain of an arrest, this case unavoidably suggests the reflection that the possession of arbitrary power in whatever hands it may be placed is sure to lead to abuse. Among the necessities of civil war this wanton and capricious arrest of Mr. Patrick cannot be reckoned, and the remonstrance of Her Majesty's Government must remain on record.
You may give a copy of this dispatch to Mr. Seward.
I have, &c.,
DEPARTMENT OF STATE, Washington, January 13, 1862.
Right Honorable Lord LYONS, &c.
MY LORD: You have kindly left with me a copy of an instructions which you had received from Earl Russell, d ated on the 22nd of November last.