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mitted no crime, nor was charged with none ; that I had not ran away from my country, but had come with the most authentic passports; that I was not afraid to speak to any minister, or to any man living; but that Mr. Walpole was, to my certain knowledge, as well informed of every thing respecting me, as any
letter of mine could make him. God help you, then, says he, for you will be sent, like a convict, over the bar! He added, that though it was as bad as death to him, if it was discovered, that he let me write ; nevertheless, he would incur the risque for my sake,
My reluctance to write to Mr. Walpole, arose from the utmost moral certainty, that I could tell him nothing new: besides, I had seen, in a newspaper, which the Danish gentleman had received from his ambassador, that the state-prisoners of Ireland, in violation of the pledged faith of government, and the honor of Lord Cornwallis, had been transported to a fortress in the Highlands of Scotland.
To the agreement made with them, as I have before said, the faith of government, and the honor of Lord Cornwallis, had been pledged, in such a manner, that the Chancellor Clare, who negociated for the Lord-Lieutenant, had made use of those memorable words. It comes to this _“Either you must trust the government, or it must trust you: and the government that could violate an engagement, so solemnly entered into, could neither stand, nor deserve to stand.” Such was the sacred character given to this engagement, to which I was also a party, by the minister who was the agent in it. Another of these ministers, Lord Castlereagh, as I have before stated, . acknowledged to another of the prisoners (Doctor M'Nevin)“ that they (the prisoners) had honorably fulfilled their part," and assured them, “ that the government would as religiously observe its part.” And Mr. Cooke only desired to know of the prisoners,“ how much time would be necessary for them to dispose of their property previous to their going abroad." Yet, now I found that they were to be in defiance of every obligation, by which men, not lost irredeemably to honor, could be bound, to be once more emerged in dungeons; and now, at the time I write to you, four long years of the flower of their lives has been consumed in hard captivity!
Of what avail, then, to draw distinctions between their case and mine? To say that I did not invite the French--that I had labored to save the lives of
my enemies that I had endeavored to prevent both civil war or bloodshed that I had sacrificed every thing to love and compassion for my country. If the certainty that I was pure, humane, and disinterested, could be any protection to me, it would have been so to others; for, amongst those immolated to the dæmon of destruction, were men of as perfect truth, and as exalted virtue, as ever yet the light of heaven had shone on. No! but the love of country was the general crime. Corruption was the thing to be destroyed or be maintained'; and those who lived by it, who rioted in it, could never forgive those who would oppose it. This was the great secret. They
knew it, and I knew it. But they knew that I had exposed it with some effect, and I was never to be forgiven. I might, indeed, and could, upon just occasion, forgive; but they could not.
“ Forgiveness to the injured does belong
I scorned, therefore, to draw any distinction between my case and that of any other of the prisoners. They were rebels, undoubtedly, and so was I.-I had not invited the French--but my enemies had invited the Hessians. And I did not hesitate to say, that in the general prostration of law, constitution, humanity, and justice : whilst the heaven was red with the corruscations of cottages in flames, and the earth crimsoned with the blood of human victims: whilst the groans of those, agonizing in torture, ascended with the thick smoke that rolled as the incense of canibals to the idols of their bloody worship: When justice winked as she went by, and villainy exulted ; and the tears of innocence deflowered, dropped heedless, and unavenged, upon the bloodstained earth: whilst the darkness alone sheltered the houseless fugitives from their pursuers, and the despairing mother lurking in the hiding-places of the wild tenants of the fields, stretched out her powerless hands to feel if her shivering offspring, without other covering than the mantle of the night, were yet alive and near her! I did not hesitate to say, in such a moment we must rebel ! We must not be disarmed! Whatever specious pretext may be urged for the com
mission of such crimes, they are not to be endured by honorable men: but if they be committed in fur-. therance of usurpation and of robbery, they are to be resisted as treasons of the blackest die. Horrid alternative! On the one hand stood rebellion, on the other, treason and murder ! The fury of party left no middle course. I preferred rebellion to murder and treason, and it is for this that traitors have called me traitor, whilst I have cast the appellation in their teeth. I do call heaven to witness, that in whatever I have done against my enemies, further than a few sportive sallies of imagination, with which I have been charged, I have never listened to any other voice than that of conscience; and that neither interest nor resentment ever governed menor did I yield too easily to the warm feelings of my heart. I never acted but from conviction that I was scrupulously right. It required courage to face the dangers of those times; and,
“ WHERE I COULD NOT BE JUST, I NEVER YET WAS
I would not willingly be a rebel; yet, if driven to the cruel extremity of deciding between treason and rebellion, I felt for which I was best fitted, and that I should rather die a rebel, than live a traitor. You may judge, however, with what confidence I could address a minister, whom I knew to be already in possession of my case; and who had, for so great a length of time, left it unnoticed, and me unprotect
ed. Yet, that no blame might be imputed to me hereafter, for my omitting to accept of this occasion, or any pretext remain to my enemies to misrepresent the facts, I consented, as you shall be informed in
Mr. Walpole—A Trick-Minister of Police-Cor
I BEGAN my letter to Mr. Walpole, by referring him to the communications which I knew had been already made to him: reminding him, very respectfully, of the protection it was his duty to af. ford me, and how little it would tend to his good re putation hereafter, when better times should come, and enquiries be made, to have been consenting to so very refined and barbarous an execution, of a man to whom he could impute no crime. I told him, moreover, of the dangerous state of my health, and requested, that since he would not see me, a medical person might at least be allowed to visit me. I added, that upon the faith of a solemn agreement, I had written to my wife and children to come to me.