The Trial of Alexander McLeod: For the Murder of Amos Durfee, at the Burning and Destruction of the Steamboat Caroline, by the Canadians, December 29th, 1837

Stenographic record of the trial of Alexander McLeod for the murder of Amos Durgee and the burning and destruction of the steamboat Caroline, a notorious incident in the 1837 Rebellion. The American steamer Caroline had been used by the rebels and their American sympathizers to bring men and supplies to the rebel camp on Navy Island above Niagara Falls. On the night of December 29, 1837, determined to cripple this supply line, a party of Canadians under Captain Andrew Drew seized the vessel, cut her adrift and set her ablaze. During the incident, one American named Amos Durfee was killed. Three years a[f]ter, Alexander M'Leod, former deputy sheriff of the Niagara district, who allegedly took part in the affair, was arrested in Buffalo and charged with Durfee's murder. He was imprisoned for eleven months before he was tried and acquitted. This is a substantially more detailed and scarcer account than the one published the same year at the Sun office (see TPL 2469).

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Sivu 32 - The jurisdiction of the nation within its own territory is necessarily exclusive and absolute. It is susceptible of no limitation not imposed by itself. Any restriction upon it, deriving validity from an external source, would imply a diminution of its sovereignty to the extent of the restriction, and an investment of that sovereignty to the same extent in that power which could impose such restriction.
Sivu 27 - ... allege any fact to show either that his imprisonment or detention is unlawful, or that he is entitled to his discharge.
Sivu 369 - Government to show a necessity of self-defence, instant, overwhelming, leaving no choice of means, and no moment for deliberation.
Sivu 33 - English law particularly it is held an excuse for breaches of the peace, nay, even for homicide itself: but care must be taken that the resistance does not exceed the bounds of mere defence and prevention: for then the defender would himself become an aggressor.
Sivu 17 - Columbia, laborer, not having the fear of God before his eyes, but being moved and seduced by the instigation of the devil...
Sivu 390 - In arbitrary states, this law, wherever it contradicts, or is not provided for by, the municipal law, of the country, is enforced by the royal power ; but since in England no royal power can introduce a new law, or suspend the execution of the old, therefore the law of nations (wherever any question arises which is properly the object of its jurisdiction) is here adopted in its full extent by the common law, and is held to be a part of the law of the land.
Sivu 31 - Caroline was, as the British government think it, a justifiable employment of force for the purpose of defending the British territory...
Sivu 369 - It will be for it to show, also, that the local authorities of Canada, even supposing the necessity of the moment authorized them to enter the territories of The United States at all, did nothing unreasonable or excessive; since the act, justified by the necessity of self-defence, must be limited by that necessity, and kept clearly within it...
Sivu 27 - ... on oath ; and thereupon such Court or officer shall proceed in a summary way, to hear such allegations and proofs as may be produced in support of such imprisonment or detention, or against the same, and to dispose of such •party as the justice of the case may require.
Sivu 410 - We think the proper character of the transaction was " that of hostile seizure, made, if not flagrante, yet, nondum " cessante bello, regard being had both to the time, the " place, and the person, and consequently that the Municipal " Court had no jurisdiction to adjudge upon the subject ; " but that if anything had been done amiss, recourse could " only be had to the Government for redress.

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