Sir Julian Pauncefote to Mr. Blaine.


There is reason to apprehend that in future applications for the extradition of British fugitives from justice grave difficulties of procedure will arise in consequence of a decision recently given by Commissioner Edmunds, at Philadelphia, in the case of one Thomas Barton, whose surrender had been applied for by Her Majesty’s Government on charges of forgery. It will be seen on referring to the proceedings in that case, which are no doubt in the hands of the State Department, that the form of certificate of authentication of documents which has been in use since passing of the act of Congress of August, 1882, was held by the Commissioner to be defective. That form was settled between the foreign office in London and the United States minister in 1883.

The undersigned has therefore the honor to draw the attention of the Secretary of State to the decision in Barton’s case, in the hope that the difficulty which it has created may receive his early consideration, with a view to the adoption of a new form of certificate, which, if possible, may meet the requirements of section 5 of the act of 1882, and yet may not be inconsistent with the statement of British law contained in the certificate of authentication now issued by the under secretary of state for the home department in London.

Julian Pauncefote.

Form of authentication of extradition papers held insufficient under the act of August 3, 1882.

I hereby certify that I believe the signature— —, on the preceding page, is the handwriting of — —, under secretary of state for the home department; and that the signature — —, at the foot of the preceding page, is the handwriting of — —, under secretary of state for foreign affairs. And I further certify that the annexed copy of the warrant of arrest and of the depositions upon which it was granted, so certified by a magistrate having jurisdiction in the place where the same was issued and taken, and authenticated by a minister of state [Page 475] and sealed with his official seal, would be received as evidence of criminality of a fugitive criminal from the United States charged before a tribunal in Great Britain with an extradition crime under the extradition treaty between the United States and Great Britain.

[seal.]— —
Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.