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I CORWEN. -.- i








I THE QUEEN v. JONES AND HIGH AT. It will no doubt be in the recollection of our readers that, some months since, proceedings were instituted by the Government against certain parties said to be im- plicated in enlisting seamen for the Confederate cruiser Georgia, in contravention of her Majesty's proclamation of neutrality, and of the provisions of the Foreigh En- listment Act. The extraordinary efforts of the Govern- ment to apply those provisions to cases which have ari- sen, and the great expenditure of ability and legal know- ledge upon those cases without any definite result, have invested the Statute in question with an interest and importance which assuredly never attached to it in the minds of its framers and, accordingly, when it was an- nounced that two Liverpeol merchants were to be pro- secuted under the Act before the Judge of Assize, pub- lic curiosity was ouce more, and not unnaturally ex- cited. The trial of Messrs. Jones and Highat took place at Liverpool on Saturday. The charge was specifically that of enlisting, or endeavouring to enlist, a number of seamen and others in the service of the Confederate Navy There was a strong Bar on both sides, and al- though the jury found a verdict fsr the Crown on all the counts in the indictment, the defendants' counsel have raised a point, involving an exception to the juris- diction, which must be settled by a superior tribunal before the defendants can be brought within the penal- ties of the Act. The Georgia, as our readers know, was originally named the Japan, and was built in the Clyde, and de- spatched thence in the spring of last year ostensibly on a voyage to China, and registered in Glasgow as the property of Mr. Thomas Bold, a partner of the defend- ants. While the Japan was still in the Clyde, a number of seamen were engaged for that vessel by Messrs. Jones and Highat, and were despatched to Glasgow or Green- ock to join her. The Japan, having so far completed her crew, sailed from the Clyde, but on proceeding down channel went over to the French cosvst, where she fell in with a steaintug, which latter vessel was taken in tow and brought into the harbour of Brest. There the steaintug discharged her cargo, consisting of gllns, shot, and shell, into the Japan. There also the J "pan chang- ed her commander, re-engaged her crew, and thence sailed for the coast of Africa as a Confederate cruiser under the Confederate flag, and commanded by an "fficer bearing the commission of the Confederate Govern- ment. Now, if it had appeared that the crew hired at Liver- pool had passed, under the agreement made there, into the service of the Confederate States, there would have been no defence, and the crew, as well as the defendants, would have been clearly within the provisions of the Foreign Enlistment Act. But it appears there were two hirings -one for a voyage ostensibly from the Clyde to China, the other for a cruise in the service of the Confederate Government. The first engagement was cancelled at Brest, the second was entered upon in that Port, and voluntarily, as it appears, on the part of the men. It was proved, no doubt, that one of the defend- ants was present when the latter agreement was signed But the offer of bounty and wages was made by Lieut. Manry, as the officer in charge of a Confederate cruiser, and not by Mr. Jones on behalf of himself or his part- ners, and the men closed with the offer of their own free will, looking, of course, to the commander of the Georgia for the fulfilment of the agreement. Nor does it appear that the crew complained of being deceived by the defendants. Whatever may be alleged as to the conduct of the crew, it is difficult to understand how a breach of the Foreign Enlistment Act can legally be brought home to the defendants. That Act unques- tionably provides, that if any person shall hire, retain, engage, or procure, or shall attempt or endeavour to hire, engage, or procure any person or persons to enlist, or to. enter or engage to enlist, or to serve or to be em- ployed as an officer, soldier, sailor, or marine, either in land or sea service, for or in aid of any foreign Prince, State, or Potentate, &c. he shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanour. But the Act also provides, that this hiring or procuring, to constitute the offence in question, must be committed within the United Kingdom, or in any part of Her Hajesty's dominions elsewhere." The crew of the Japan were perfectly free to quit that vessel at Brest if they felt disposed to do so. They preferred to enter into a new agreement with the Commander of the ship in her condition as a Confederate cruiser. This was a hiring not within Her Majesty's dominions, but within those of the Emperor of the French, and the offence, if any, was one against the neutrality of France, and cognizable only by french law. The counsel for the Crown insisted, and they seem to have had the Court with them, that inasmuch as the Japan, at the time she passed into the bands of Lieutenant Maury, and hoisted the Confederate flag, was still on the British register, the offence of hiring occurred within the British jurisdiction. We can hardly suppose that, except for the purpose of a prosecution, such an argument as this would have been used, much less relied upon. The only effect of regis- tration is to give a vessel the protection of the British flag, and where a change of ownership takes place even between British subjects, the law requires that there shall immediately be a new registry, otherwise the ves- sel Ipso facto ceases to be a British ship. When, there- fore, the Japan passed into the hands of the Confederate Government, she ceased absolutely to be a British ship, and it seems impossible to maintain legally that any act committed on board of her was committed within the British jurisdiction. Unless, therefore, the Crown can conviuee the Court above that the hiring or procuring occurred at Liverpool, we cannot understand how they can sustain a conviction under the foreign Enlistment Act. In making these observations, we must not be under. stood to censure the Government for bringing this pro- secution. It is the duty of the Executive to see that the law is respected, and where they have to deal with a Statute of such doubtful interpretation as the Foreign Enlistment Act, they may well be excused if they make mistakes in the application of its provisions. But we do i; ,t think that the people of this country will approve of a prosecution got up with the aid of detectives and spies, and, perhaps, also at the instance of the American Minister. The leading witness for the Crown in this case, Francis Glassbrook, otherwise Rivers, is a fellow who coolly admitted that he had received X3 to rejoin the Georgia, after he had seen the American Consul at Liverpool, and received a retaining fee from that official to assist in getting up the prosecution against Messrs. Jones and Highat. On this man, on the Liverpool detective Maguire, and, it would seem, on the American Consul, the Crown have relied in procuring evidence against the defendants. The case must be a bad one which needs such assistance, and the cause of law and order is not served by the use of such materials. How- eve, a Liverpool jury have thought otherwise, and the defendants must abide the issue of the decision of the Court before which the legal objection to the verdict will be discussed. -Shipping Intelligence.





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