TO THE EDITOR OF THE SPECTATOR.
Sir—In order to illustrate the remark contained in the last number of the Spectator respecting the; proclamation of martial law in Lower Canada, it may be mentioned, that writs of habeas corpus were lately granted in favour of Mr. PELTIER, Mr. VIGER, and others. The return of the Sheriff of Montreal was, that these persons were not in his euetody. They were in gaol at Montreal, but not in the custody of the Sheriff ! What was the meaning of this return ? It was this—Martial law being in force, they were in the custody of the military authorities, though arrested under writs issued by Civil Magistrates. The ordinary courts of law were sitting when the Sheriff was ordered to produce the prisoners; there was no hindrance to their trial, and no interruption to the execution of the processes of the courts, except that martial law, which in violation of every rule of justice, mad contrary to all established usage, the Whigs have been pleased to order shall be executed until their Dictator, having the power by his own ordinances to render it lawful, shall.be pleased, as a pre. tended act of grace, to suspend it. Mr. PELTIER is in no way concerned in
any treasonable or seditious acts. His high character, and the deserved estima- tion in which he is held by his countrymen, have been the only reasons of his
arrest. Mr. VIGER was put into gaol merely because be was a director of a popular bank. If these gentlemen had been brought before a Judge, upon their writs of habeas corpus, their discharge must have been immediate—the Crown not having a patticle of evidence against them. After these proceedings, which no man in the House of Commons thinks proper to notice, t% ith what justice can the English people be called upon to
maintain refugee Pules, who with less reason than the Canadians have opposed the Government under which they lived ? Why is this country called upon to interfere in favour of Liberal principles in Portugal, or in Spain; or to reward
Colonel EVANS, or those mercenaries to whom commissions have been granted, in order to put down in Canada the very principles of government fur the esta- blishment of which alone they pretend that they volunteered to serve in Spain ?
The People of England ought, at all future elections, to bear in mind the following acts of the Whig,.
1. They have put down in the House of Commons the privilege of debate upon petitions—a privilege through which, Lord BROUGHAM has most cor- rectly stated, all the great triumphs of popular principles during the last thirty years were obtained. '2. They have distinctly declared, through Lord JOHN Russraa, in the debates upon the affairs of Canada—and the House of Commons has confirmed
the declaration—that the right of the Representatives of a People to refuse Supplies to the Crown no longer exists, and that the Popular Branch of the Legislature is not entitled to refuse Supplies in order to obtain any change in the constitution; the declaration, and the confirmation of it, striking at the very root of a representat:ve government. ra. They have established, without contest and without opposition, that it is within the prerogative of the Crown to proclaim martial law without the assent of the Legislature, and to continue martial law in force luring a period of
i liana quiet, and during the sittings of the ordinary civil and criminal courts. Would the Tories have dared any of these acts? Would the language of the Whigs, if they had been in Opposition and the Tories had attempted any of
them, have been tempered with the slightest moderation ? Would they not have called public meetings, have issued inflammatory and violent denuncia- tions against Toryism, and have made moat just mut proper appeals to the People to resist attempts so hostile to popular privileges ? But let not the
Whigs think themselves secure from penalty. The continued appliances of their patronage to the corruption of the leading (professed) Liberals of even the
new constituencies, will not save them. The day is not distant when the Li- berals of Stroud, Manchester, Sheffield, Halifax, Devonport, Cambridge, Not- tingham, Tiverton, Taunton, Dundee, &e. will organize themselves to exclude from Parliament at any hazard, the officials who now misrepresent them. It is
preferable to have the best principles of the Constitution preserved inviolate, until better times, by a Liberal Opposition, than to have them sapped and destroyed in order to maintain in existence a weak, truckling, and vicious Administration.
However, there can be no question that the Government is bound to endea- vour to pass a bill of indemnity for having proclaimed martial law in Lower Canada. " The preemled power of suspendng laws, or the execution of laws, by regal authority, without the consent of Parliament, is illegal," is the first declaration of the Bill of Rights, (1 W. and M. session 2, c. 2;) and applies equally to Lower Canada as to this country. Who could have imagined, in- deed, that the first time a descendant of Lord WILLI A SI RUSSELL is per- mitted to lead the Liberal party of the House of Commons, this principle should have been successfully attacked ?—yes, with a success unmarked with