Page:Littell's Living Age - Volume 132.djvu/708

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sion of an act which the English government considered wrongful. The accident that indictments were afterwards preferred or not preferred against Lawrence had no bearing on the controversy. Lord Derby has now ascertained that Lawrence has been tried only on the extradition charge, but he is not aware whether he was convicted or acquitted. If he has, in fact, been found guilty and sentenced, his exemption from ulterior liability is fully explained. A judge of the Queen's Bench division lately said that a writ of prohibition cannot issue quia timet before the judge of the other court has assumed jurisdiction. Lord Derby at first refused to surrender quia timuit, but he never adopted Justice Mellor's reasonable doctrine that it is not necessary to guard against imaginary harm. The president and his secretary of state will learn, not without astonishment, that extradition will continue for the present in direct violation of the principles which are still maintained by the English government. American diplomatists are for the most part both susceptible and energetic, and it may be doubted whether Lord Derby's official statement will not be resented as readily as a direct refusal of extradition. The opposition at home, conscious of renewed harmony and vigor, will scarcely fail to note another ministerial miscarriage. It is indeed not unlikely that Mr. Gladstone's government would have adopted the same course, for the Extradition Act gave effect to Liberal suspicions and jealousies; but one of the numerous merits of constitutional government is that the party in power is held responsible for all defects either in the law or in national policy.

If both governments would discuss without passion or prejudice the terms of a new treaty, there ought to be no difficulty in providing for the pursuit of ordinary criminals and for the security of the rapidly diminishing class of alleged political offenders. The only flaw in the American argument was that the treaty, according to the widest interpretation, made no exception in favor of political refugees, whom nevertheless the government of the United States would assuredly never surrender. The question has become less important since the days when Mr. Mill exerted himself in the committee for the protection of fugitives from despotic rule. Except Spain, and perhaps Russia, no European state is now in the habit of maintaining abroad a class of political exiles and conspirators. French Communist refugees must be dying out as successive amnesties reduce their numbers. The Americans, to their infinite credit, never even began, after the peace, the persecution of Confederates whom they had incessantly denounced and threatened during the continuance of the Civil War. It would be easy to agree in an extradition treaty that either government should have a right to refuse extradition on the certificate of the foreign minister that he considered the surrender, for special reasons, inexpedient. It would be understood that his object was to guard against the abuse of the treaty for political purposes. All ordinary criminals ought to be surrendered with the most cheerful facility. American swindlers are not guests so welcome in England that they ought to be refused to the reclamations of the victims whom they have plundered at home. Although Mr. Cross's opinion on all questions connected with criminal jurisprudence is entitled to respect, it is difficult to understand his reasons for wishing to afford protection to a foreigner against whom there is a primâ facie case of guilt. If the alleged forger has also indulged in embezzlement or burglary, he acquires no additional claim to the good offices of the country to which he has escaped. In the earlier part of the correspondence Lord Derby appeared not to share the jealous solicitude of his colleague. There had been reason to hope, when he assented to the surrender of Winslow, that he had reverted to his first opinion.

From The Spectator.


The complete intellectual strength and health retained to the last by Lady Smith, who died at Lowestoft this day fortnight, within three months of the great age of one hundred and four, opens out almost a new prospect for the aged. That a woman who was born while the United States were British colonies, whose girlhood passed away while Warren Hastings was on his trial, who was married before the battle of Arcola, — and might well have been married, had she married as early as many English girls do, before Napoleon's name had even been heard of, indeed, he was but four years her senior, — should have lived to read of the celebration of the centenary of American independence, of the proclamation of the empress of India at Delhi, and to survive the second French empire by nearly seven years, and should, moreover, have lived to such an age with-