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Imperial Parliament

The Illustrated London News, vol. 40, no. 1131, p. 168.

February 15,1862


British Subjects in the Northern States of America.—The Earl of Carnarvon asked if there was any truth in the report as to the manner in which Mr. Shepherd, a British subject, had been thrust into prison in New York, and also his treatment while under confinement. It had been stated that the letters addressed to him from the British Embassy had been torn open, and that he had been pressed to renounce his nationality and take the oath of allegiance to the United States in order to facilitate his liberation.—Earl Russell was understood to say that, in the explanation furnished by Mr. Seward, Mr. Shepherd was considered a citizen of the United States. He had been arrested on suspicion of being a spy, and the American law, as interpreted by its law officers, gave to the President in times of emergency the power of arrest. There was no objection to lay the correspondence on the table.—The Earl of Carnarvon was surprised to hear that the report was correct; and he hoped that when the correspondence was produced it would appear that the Government had not only remonstrated against the injustice, but had claimed compensation for the imprisonment.


...The Blockade of the Confederate Ports of America.—Mr. Gregory referred to the civil war in America, and said he believed he was in a condition to prove that the blockade of the Southern ports was nothing but a paper blockade, and therefore, according to a statement made by Earl Russell last Session, ought not to be recognized. He would take an early opportunity of bringing the whole question before the House....


British Subjects in America.—The Earl of Carnarvon stated that, in addition to the case he had mentioned the other evening of a Mr. Shepherd, who was compelled to take the oath of allegiance to the American Government by the Federal authorities, there were other persons who had been compelled to take the same course in order to obtain their release from imprisonment.—Earl Russell said that a correspondence on the subject had taken place, and had been laid before Parliament, and from that it would appear that the Federal Government alleged that these persons had been engaged in treasonable conspiracies, and, the President having exercised his legitimate right in suspending the Habeas Corpus Act, he was not prepared to say that the detention of those persons was illegal, or demanded more decided Interference on the part of her Majesty's Government.—The Earl of Derby stated that he would be glad to know if any law or precedent could be quoted to justify the compelling of the subjects of one Government to take the oath of allegiance to another.—Earl Russell said that the person whose case was particularly in question had given notice of his intention to become a naturalised American citizen.

THE BLOCKADE OF THE SOUTHERN PORTS.—The Earl of Malmesbury inquired what was the real state of the blockade of the Southern States, as it bad been asserted by Mr. Mason that six or seven hundred vessels had run the blockade. It that were so, it was clearly such a blockade as was not justified by international law....


Right of Neutrals.—Mr.Cobden gate notice that on an early day he would call attention to the subject of international law in reference to the rights of belligerents in America.

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