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· My Dear Friend
Do just as you please, I only think the county of Kildare ought to be the place. I care not where, there. Every thing will be ready, expeditiously. My family would be less alarmed if we postponed it till morning, but do just as you please I will remain here.
“ Yours, Harcourt-street, Friday.
DANIEL O'CONNELL. " To G. Lidwill, Esq.
“ You may judge my surprise, when on his entering my room, I saw him hold out some papers, which, he said, he wished to show me, as containing the substance of what passed between us on the day preceding. Before he read two paragraphs of the first paper, I observed, I could not agree with him. He attempted to alter my view. He did not succeed. I offered to meet him with my notes, and to agree on a mutual statement, if we could. He declined it. He told me, while altering, he intended to publish, but very briefly. I answered I could neither agree to the correctness of a partial publication, nor admit the correctness of such parts as he had read. He then said for the first time, that when I told him the day before, that I did not judge the communication, he, Sir Charles had made to you, rendered a call on Mr. Peel necessary on your part, he considered bis mission as at an end, and that every thing I said afterwards was reasoning. I told him I could not agree with him, for there was no other subject common between us, and that I considered he was even then on that mission. He asked were there not some things said by me, which I would not wish to have published ? I replied not, for every word which I had used, would only more strongly prove how firm my conviction was, that it was not from you any thing hostile should proceed. Then rising to depart, he said, I have shown you this paper. I answered, I will not admit what I have seen of it to be correct, and I shall make my observation on whatever you publish, and add those reasons I have given for the opinion I entertain. He then left me about four o'clock. While he was altering what he had brought with him, I wrote out the paragraph, in which I mentioned my opinion that you would not be justified by any thing which had passed in calling on Mr. Peel; he said it was substantially correct, and I must say, it was nearly what he has published on that head.
* This is the substance of what passed, committed to paper on each day, as soon as Sir Charles Saxton had left me. You know how tenacious my memory is, and how perfectly this agrees with what I related to you after each interview. If I delivered a message under these circumstances, to what re. proaches should I have exposed myself. Should I do so, because his friend had said he would avow a report, which would prove you had been unjustifiably severe on Mr. Peel? did he say he would avow any thing, which was either insulting to, or untrue of you ? did he tell you, you were either a calumniator or a liar?-no he simply said, he would avow any paper which he himself had seen, or any thing which he himself had said, neither producing the one, nor re-asserting the other. Did his simply denying your reflection or your want of spirit was neither just nor well founded, inflict any punishment on you for so mortifying an insult? reason by analogy. If a man tells me I am a liar, in a certain assertion, will my denying it, and even adducing circumstances to prove I was correct, set me right under such a charge? I will thereby shew I did not deserve the imputation. But must not I, to ease my own feelings, and satisfy the public opinion, seek other reparation for my wounded honour?
If I had delivered a message, and was called on to state the grounds of it, would it be deemed a sufficient excuse, that Mr. Peel had said he was responsible for what he had said, or what he had seen reported of him to have said, without knowing, or his avowing what that was, or that either was offensive ?—no, then there was but one plain and obvious course to be pursued by me; that was (in case you had been approached in a different manner (to call on you, either to produce some docu
ment to justify your asperity, or if you could not do so, to advise you to admit you had acted under an erroneous impression, and to express your regret.
“I am not inclined to doubt the courage of any man, if I was, the character of Mr. Peel in that way would not be raised, in my estimation, by his conduct on the present occasion. Labouring under a charge, which he has given ample evidence he deeply feels, he might have led you to the field, but, in place of that, he has compelled you to follow him to the printing office. In a transaction, in which I know I was not only accountable to the public, but, eventually, might be awfully responsible to my Maker, I acted with the most mature deliberation. Whether I am as competent to form as just a conclusion on such a subject as Sir Charles Saxton, our countrymen must judge, but, whatever that judgement shall be, I should be unjust, if I did not take the entire responsibility on myself, or I acted throughout without respecting your feelings on the occasion.
“ Your's &c.
“GEO LIDWILL." “ Daniel O'Connell, Esq. Merion Square.”
This letter of Mr. Lidwill, although couched in respectful terms, was by no means calculated to allay that asperity of feeling, which existed between the parties. Mr. Lidwill evidently did not wish to exhibit Mr. O'Connell in the character of the aggressed, but rather in that of the aggressor, although there was some difficulty attending the attempt, for it was evident, that Mr. Peel was the aggressor, in as much as the whole altercation arose on account of some words uttered by Mr. Peel in the House of Commons, defamatory of the character of Mr. O'Connell. This was certainly the first act of aggression, and in the words imputed to Mr. O'Connell in his speech at the Catholic Association, he retaliated upon Mr. Peel for the language which he had made use of in the House of Commons. Under these circumstances, Mr. Lidwill's own view of the case,
prevented him sending a hostile message to Mr. Peel, who, in his opinion was the aggressed; and, on the other hand, Sir Charles Saxton endeavoured to shew that Mr. O'Connell was the aggressed; and thus, between the two opinions, it was difficult to come to a decision, as from whom the hostile message was to proceed. Mr. Lidwill's statement of the case, however, no sooner appeared in print, than Sir Charles Saxton published the following explanatory statement.
“Dublin, Sept. 5, 1815. “Sir,-For the sole purpose of vindicating the accuracy of my statement, inserted in the Correspondent of Saturday last, and in consideration of the period which must elapse before I could make known the following particulars, in the ordinary course, I have to request you will give them an early insertion in your paper.
“Mr. Dickenson, who waited on Mr. Lidwill at my request, obtained an interview with him early this morning, and received from him the admission annexed to the requisition, which are contained in the following paper, subscribed by Mr. Dickenson.
1st. His admission that af- Although I do not rememter he had delivered the sen- ber to have heard this tence contained in my Re- expression on Thursday from port, viz. “ that it came from Sir Charles Saxton, I believe Mr. O'Connell," &c. and end- it to have been then the iming, “Mr. O'Connell was not pression on his mind that he called upon by the circum- was speaking from himself, stances to make.” Whatever and not from Mr. Peel. conversation passed between us was prefaced with an observation from mo, “ that as between ourselves, I might then he permitted to remark to him, &c." my remarks going to my view of the turn the affair in question had taken.
2dly That in using the I did not intend to charge Sir term “suppresses so much," Charles Saxton with misand again,“ studiously con- representation, in using those ceals,” Mr. Lidwill does not words. mean to impute intentional misrepresentation.
3dly. That, as well in the I admit this in substance relation, which in my first in- but there may have been some terview with Mr. Lidwill, I variation in the words of the gave him of what passed be- quoted passage. This is adtween me and Mr. O'Connell mitted in my statement. as in the written statement I read to Mr. Lidwill on the following day, he more than once repeated, that there was no disagreement between Mr. O' Connell's statement and mine, except in the very passage, which I subsequently erased, and for the insertion of which, Mr. O'Connell has since contended, viz. that he thought the office of a friend would be ill discharged by any one who should dissuade him from a hostile step.
4th. That the phrase I as- I do not recollect those sert to have been used by me, words, but Sir Charles Saxton viz. "putting together the ex- expressed himself to me as pressions Mr. O'Connell had having more strongly intimathen acknowledged, and the ted to Mr. O'Connell his excoinmunication then made to pectation of a communication him from Mr. Peel, the con- to Mr. Peel; and finding no clusion was easily drawn," variance between Mr. O'Conmade part of my statements nell's report and Sir Charles to Mr. Lidwill, both oral and Saxton's statement to me of written, and that, in my se- what had passed between them cond interview with him on (Sir Charles