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he shall be kept in solitary confinement for the whole or any portion of such imprisonment, as to the court shall seem meet."
Interpretation clause.) By sect. 47, " for the interpretation of the postoffice laws” it is enacted, “ that the following terms and expressions shall have the several interpretations hereinafter respectively set forth, unless such interpretations are repugnant to the subject or inconsistent with the context of the provisions in which they may be found ; (that is to say,) the term “ British letter” shall mean a letter transmitted within the United Kingdom; and the term “ British newspapers” shall mean newspapers printed and published in the United Kingdom liable to the stamp duty and duly stamped ; and the term “ British postage” shall mean the duty chargeable on letters transmitted by post from place to place within the United Kingdom, or if transmitted to or from the United Kingdom, chargeable for the distance which they shall be transmitted within the United Kingdom, and including also the packet postage, if any; and the terin "colonial letter” shall mean a letter transmitted between any of her ( *791 ] Majesty's colonics and the United Kingdom; *and the term “ colonial newspapers” shall mean newspapers printed and published in any of her Majesty's domimions out of the United Kingdom ; and the terın “convention posts” shall mean posts established by the postmastergeneral under agreements with the inhabitants of any places; and the term “ double letter” shall mean a letter having one inclosure; and the term “double postage” shall mean twice the amount of single postage; and the term " East Indies” shall mean every port and place within the territorial acquisitions now vested in the East India Company in trust for her Majesty, and every other port or place within the limits of the charter of the said company (China excepted), and shall also include the Cape of Good Hope ; and the term “express” shall mean every kind of conveyance employed to carry letters on behalf of the post-office other than the usual mail; and the term “foreign country” shall mean any country, state, or kingdom not included in the dominions of her Majesty; and the term “foreign letter” shall mean a letter transmitted to or from a foreign country; and the term “foreign newspapers” shall mean newspapers printed and published in a foreign country in the language of that country; and the term “foreign postage” shall mean the duty charged for the conveyance of letters within such foreign country; and the term “ franking officer” shall mean the person appointed to frank the official correspondence of offices to which the privilege of franking is granted ; and the term “her Majesty” shall mean“ her Majesty, her heirs, and successors ;” and the term “ her Majesty's colonies” shall include every port and place within the territorial acquisitions now vested in the East India Company in trust for her Majesty, the Cape of Good Hope, the Islands of Saint Helena, Guernsey, Jersey, and Isle of Man, (unless any such places be expressly excepted), as well as her Majesty's other colonies and possessions beyond seas; and the term “inland postage” shall mean the duty charged for the transmission of post letters within the limits of the United Kingdom or within the limits of any colony; and the term “ Jetter” shall include packet, and the term “packer” shall include letter; and the expression “ lo rdlieutenant of Ireland” shall mean the chief governor or governors of Ireland for the time being; and the expression “lords of the treasury" shall mean the lord high treasurer of the United Kingdom of
Great Britain and Ireland, or the lords commissioners of her Majesty's treasury of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, or any three or more of them; and the term “mail” shall include every conveyance by which post letters are carried, whether it be a coach or cart or horse, or any other conveyance, and also a person employed in conveying or delivering post letters, and also every vessel which is included in the term packet boat; and the term “mail bag” shall mean a mail of letters, or a box, or a parcel, or any other envelope in which post letters are conveyed, whether it does or does not contain post letters; and the term “master of a vessel" shall include any person in charge of a vessel, whether commander, mate, or other person, and whether the vessel be a ship of war or other vessel ; and the expression “ officer *of the post- [ *792] office” shall include the postmaster-general, and every deputy postmaster, agent, officer, clerk, letter carrier, guard, post-boy, rider, or any other person employed in any business of the post-office, whether employed by the postmaster-general, or by any person under him or on behalf of the postoffice; and the term “packet postage” shall mean the postage chargeable for the transmission of letters by packet boats between Great Britain and Ireland, or between the United Kingdom and any of her Majesty's colonies, or between the United Kingdom and foreign countries; and the term “packet letter” shall mean a letter transmitted by a packet boat; and the term “penalty” shall include every pecuniary penalty or forfeiture; and the expression “ persons employed by or under the post-office” shall include every person employed in any business of the post-office, according to the interpretation given to officer of the post-office; and the terms “ packet boats” and “post-office packets” shall include vessels employed by or under the post-office or the admiralty for the transmission of post letters, and also ships or vessels (though not regularly employed as packet boats) for the conveyance of post letters under contract, and also a ship of war or other vessel in the service of her Majesty, in respect of letters conveyed by it; and the term “postage” shall mean the duty chargeable for the transmission of post letters; and the term “post town” shall mean a town where a post-office is established (not being a penny or twopenny or convention post-office); and the term " post letter bag" shall include a mail bag or box, or packet or parcel, or other envelope or covering in which post letters are conveyed, whether it does or does not contain post letters; and the term “post letter” shall mean any létter or packet transmitted by the post under the authority of the postmaster-general, and a letter shall be deemed a post letter from the time of its being delivered to a post-office to the time of its being delivered to the person to whom it is addressed; and the delivery to a letter carrier or other person authorized to receive letters for the post shall be a delivery to the post-office; and a delivery at the house or office of the person to whom the letter is addressed, to him, or to his servant or agent or other person considered to be authorized to receive the letter according to the usual manner of delivering that person's letters, shall be a delivery to the person addressed ; and the term "post-office" shall mean any house, building, room, or place where post-letters are received or delivered, or in which they are sorted, made up, or despatched; and the term “postmaster-general" shall mean any person or body of persons executing the office of postmaster-general for the time being, having been duly appointed to the office by hier Majesty; and the terms "postoffice acts” and “post-office laws” shall mean all acts relating to the man
agenient of the post, or to the establishment of the post-office, or to postage duties from time to time in force; and the term “ships” shall include vessels other than packet boats; and the term "single postage” shall mean the postage chargeable for a single letter; and the term "single letter” shall mean a letter consisting of one sheet or piece of paper, and under the weight of an [ 793 ] *ounce; and the term “sea postage" shall mean the duty chargeable for the conveyance of letters by sea by vessels not packet boats; and the term “ ship letter” shall mean a letter transmitted inwards or outwards over seas by a vessel not being a packet boat; and the term “ treble letter" shall mean a letter consisting of more than two sheets or pieces of paper, whatever the number, under the weight of an ounce; and the term “ treble postage” shall inean three times the amount of single postage ; and the term “ treble the duty of postage” shall mean three times the amount of the postage to which the letter to be charged would otherwise have been liable according to the rates of postage chargeable on letters ; and the term “United Kingdom" shall mean the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland; and the term.“ valuable security” shall include the whole or any part of any tally, order, or other security whatsoever, entitling, or evidencing the title of any person or body corporate to any share or interest in any public stock or fund, whether of this kingdom or of Great Britain or of Ireland, or of any foreign state, or in any fund of any body corporate, company, or society, or to any deposit in any savings bank, or the whole or any part of any debenture, deed, bond, bill, note, warrant, or order or other security whatsoever for money or for payment of money, whether of this kingdom or of any foreign state, or of any warrant or order for the delivery or transfer of any goods or valuable thing ; and the term “ vessel” shall include any ship or other vessel not a postoffice packet; and whenever the term “between” is used in reference to the transmission of letters, newspapers, parliamentary proceedings, or other things between one place and another it shall apply equally to the transmission from either place to the other; and every officer mentioned shall mean the person for the time being executing the functions of that officer ; and whenever in this act or the schedules thereto, with reference to any person or matter or thing, or to any persons, matters, or things, the singular or plural number or the masculine gender only is expressed, such expression shall be understood to include several persons or matters or things as well as one person or matter or thing, and one person, matter, or thing, as well as several persons or matters or things, females as well as males, bodies politic or corporate as well as individuals, unless it be otherwise specially provided, or the subject or context be repugnant to such construction."
By sect. 48, “ this act shall extend to and be in force in the Islands of Man, Jersey, Guernsey, Serk, and Alderney, and in all her Majesty's colonies and dominions where any post or post communication is established by or under the postmaster-general of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.”
Where a person is in custody on a charge of treason or felony, and effects his escape by force, the offence is a felony at common law ; where he is in custody on a minor charge, it is a misdemeanor. 1 Russell, 378; see statute 1 Ed. 2, st. 2, post.
Upon a prosecution for prison breach, the prosecutor must prove, 1, the nature of the offence for which the prisoner was imprisoned ; 2, the imprisonment and the nature of the prison ; and 3, the breaking of the prison.
Proof of the nature of the offence for which the prisoner was imprisoned.] The statute de frangentibus prisonam, i Ed. 2, st. 2, enacts, “ that none thenceforth that breaks prison shall have judgment of life or member for breaking of prison only, except the cause for which he was taken or imprisoned did require such a judgment, if he had been convicted thereupon according to the law and custom of the realm.” If the offence therefore for which the party is arrested does not require judgment of life or member, it is not a felony. 1 Russell, 379. And though the offence for which the party is committed is supposed in the mittimus to be of such a nature as requires à capital judgment, yet if in the event it be found of an inferior nature, it seems difficult to maintain that the breaking can be a selony. Ibid. It seems that the stating the offence in the mittimus to be one of lower degree than felony, will not prevent the breaking from being felony, if in truth the original offence was such. Hawk. P. C. b. 2, c. 18, s. 15; 1 Russell, 379. A prisoner on a charge of high treason, breaking prison, is only guilty of a felony. Hawk. P. C. b. 2, c. 18, s. 15. It is immaterial whether the party breaking prison has been tried or not. Id.
Where the prisoner has been convicted, the certificate of the clerk of *assize, &c. with proof of identity, will be proof of the nature [ *795 ] and fact of the conviction and of the species and period of confinement to which the party was sentenced. 4 Geo. 4, c. 64, s. 44, ante, p. 412.
Whenever a party is in lawful custody on a charge of felony, whether he has been taken upon a capias, or committed on a mittimus, he is within the statute, however innocent he may be, or however groundless may be the prosecution against him ; for he is bound to submit to his imprisonment, until he is discharged by due course of law. 2 Inst. 590; i Hale, 610; 2 Hawk. c. 18, s. 5.
A party may therefore be convicted of the felony for breaking prison before he is convicted of the felony for which he was imprisoned; the proceeding in this instance differing from cases of escape and rescue. Inst. 592; 1 Ilale, 611; 2 llawk. c. 18, s. 18.
But although it is immaterial whether or not the prisoner has becn convicted of the offence, which he has been charged with, yet if he has been tried and acquitted, and afterwards breaks prison, he will not be subject to the punishinent of prison breach. And even if the indictment for the breaking of the prison be before the acquittal, and he is afterwards acquitted of the principal felony, he may plead that acquittal in bar of the indictment for lelony for breach of prison. Hale, P. C. 611,612.
Proof of the imprisonment and the nature of the prison.] The imprisonment, in order to render the party guilty of prison breaking, must be a lawful imprisonment; actual imprisonment will not be sufficient; it must be prima facie justifiable (1). Therefore where a felony has been committed, and the prisoner is apprehended for it, without cause of suspicion, and the mittimus is informal, and he breaks prison, this will not be felony, though it would be otherwise if there were such cause of suspicion as would form a justification for his arrest. Hawk. P. C. b. 2, c. 18, s. 7, 15; Hale, P. C. 610. So if no felony has in fact been committed, and the party is not indicted, no millimus will make him guilty within the statute, his imprisonment being unjustifiable. Id. But if he be taken upon a capias awarded on an indictment against him, it is immaterial whether he is guilty or innocent, and whether any crime has or has not in fact been committed, for the accusation being on record, makes his imprisonment lawful, though the prosecution be groundless. Hawk. P. C. b. 2, c. 18, s. 5, 6.
The statute extends to a prison in law, as well as to a prison in deed. 2 Inst. 589. An imprisonment in the stocks, or in the house of him who makes the arrest, or in the house of another, is sufficient. i Hale, P. C. 655. So if a party arrested, violently rescues himself from the hands of the party arresting him. Ibid. The imprisonment intended is nothing more than a restraint of liberty. Hawk. P. C. b. 2, c. 18, s. 4.
It is sufficient if the gaoler has a notification of the offence for which [*796 ) the prisoner is committed, and the prisoner of the offence for *which he was arrested, and commonly, says Lord Ilale, he knows his own guilt, if he is guilty, without much notification. 1 Hale, P. C. 610.
Proof of the breaking of the prison.] An actual breaking of the prison with force, and not merely a constructive breaking must be proved. If a gaoler sets open the prison doors, and the prisoner escapes, this is no felony
in the latter. i Hale, P. C. 611. And if the prison be fired, and the prisoner escapes to save his life, this excuses the felony, unless the prisoner himself set fire to the prison. Id. In these cases the breaking amounts to a misdemeanor only.
The breaking must be by the prisoner himself, or by his procurement, for if other persons without his privity or consent, break the prison, and
(1) State o. Leach, 7 Conn. 752. Where the sole object of a prisoner illegally confined, is to liberate himself, he is not liable, though other real criminals, by means of his prison-breach