Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

ed with indulgence. I scarcely can state the hardship I have suffered, without appearing to recriminate. At no time have I ever been tried, examined, or questioned, or to my knowledge ever specifically accused. .

I did, it is true, enter into an agreement, to expatriate myself: but I solemnly assert, that my motive was not any personal apprehension, but the desire of restoring peace and saving bloodshed in my country. That agreement has been interpreted and executed too much in the spirit of the times when it was made. When in fulfilment of it I went to Portugal, I was again put in prison, and against my will transported violently into France. The minister then resident in Portugal knows this fact. It is not necessary to say, I have committed no faults. If I had, they have been secretly atoned for, But I have no other crimes to answer for, than those of a heart too warm, and feeling for the misfortunes of others. And with respect to treason, no man's actions ever gave a stronger denial to that charge. Yet, when conciliation is held out to all, I am excluded. My case is said to have been investigated ; though it is impossible to know it but from myself: and my forbearance to give it publicity, for which I should have credit, turns to my disadvantage. I had hoped, that all justification of myself might have been rendered unnecessary by the indulgence with which I should have been received, so that I might have, deposited my wrongs upon the altar of conciliation.

One felony I have committed, and one only. I have left an enemy's country, and with the passport

[ocr errors]

of a British minister. Conscious of my own honor, and relying upon an administration on which the public relied for the reparation of many evils, I have thrown myself upon its justice. Of this crime I now stand charged. For this I am to commence la new exile, and to finish my days, far from my native country, from those to whom I am united, and to whom I have given existence, without the time to make one necessary preparation for such a separa

tion.

You, sir, whose mind is as the source of candor and true wisdom, will feel what is best in such a case. Length or repetition is useless with you : I fear tó have been already too prolix.

I have the honor to be, Sir,
With the highest respect,
Your faithful humble servant,

WILLIAM SAMPSON.

My wife, in the agony of her distress, wrote to him also, and to several others. She never had an answer, save from Mr. Fox, so great was the terror that hung round us : but that noble, generous man, sinking under the weight of heavy. infirmities, and oppressed with affairs to which man's strength was not equal, found time to reply to the voice of an afflicted woman.

He strongly interfered in my behalf. My cause was said, by the news-papers, to have occupied the deliberations of the privy-council. I have been told, from great authority, that he who

[ocr errors]

stands next to royal majesty, did interpose. But the peep-of. day-boys had seized upon the conscience of the King, and banished mercy.

I had sent a letter to Mr. Grattan, which was put into his hands in the house of commons. He never answered it: but I'was willing to excuse this neglect. The terror of a peep-of-day-boy-government, for it was evidently one part Fox, and three parts peep-of-dayboy, might have imposed upon him the necessity of apparent incivility and unkindness.---But I shall say more of him, if time permits, before this narrative is closed, and shall then explain the meaning of a peep-of-day-government: a subject however that would deserve more time than I can give it.

By the interference of various friends, my departure was delayed until the latter end of April, and I was permitted to see such friends as chose to come to see me, Mr. Sparrow having orders to take down their names, and their abode. Every one made me generous offers of pecuniary service, and of any other I might require. I had some time before lost an amiable and beloved sister : her excellent husband, then inconsolable for her loss, came from Portsmouth to visit me. But the heavy affliction that hung over him, only served to add weight to my own cares. I was able, nevertheless, to keep that cheerfulness of temper, which is the reward of a conscience void of reproach, until the moment of bidding adieu, and that moment never will be lost to my remembrance.

Mr. Sparrow, and his family, withdrew from delicacy, and left us to ourselves. We involuntarily

grouped together in a circle.--My wife and I stood opposite each other : our two children, tears in their little eyes, filled the interval, and held a hand of each looking at one and the other in sorrowful anxiety. We bound each other by the tenderest engagements to cheerful resignation, and made it the mutual condition of our future love. But I saw in the eyes of this best of women, that she had little hopes of seeing me again. And indeed, so infirm was my health, there was but little. Those who know the 'state in which I arrived at New-York, and the cruel sickness I have since endured, will readily believe

me.

I was sent down in a post-chaise with Mr. Sparrow: and in consideration of my health, was allowed to repose every night. My expense was defrayed by the government, and I had certainly nothing to complain of in respect to the treatment I received. I dined and spent one evening in a genteel private family, of the acquaintance of my guide, and arrived on the fifth day at Falmouth.

The only thing that I can recollect worth notice on the road, was a drove of miserable looking people, whom we met walking bare-footed along, and limping with soreness and fatigue. There were men, women, and children--both men and women had children on their backs, and were leading others by the hand. I thought that perhaps they were minors, as we were then, if I recollect, in Cornwall, but they proved to be of that race which the unfeeling call the lazy Irish, who were travelling in

search of labour and drudgery, in hopes, at the end of their hard campaign, to be able to carry home wherewithal to pay their tythes, their taxes, and their rent.

We met some sailors, also, who had been with a whaler to London. It was a ship that had been three years on a South-Sea voyage. The hands were all impressed in sight of their native land, where they had hoped, perhaps, to pour their hard-earned wages into the lap of a joyful wife-might they not, like me, have children, whose innocent smiles were their delight? Had they not human feelings? And though their hands were hard with labor, their hearts might be more tender than those they were to serve. Where is human justice to be found? These unhappy men were not even suspected, and yet

their

punishment was worse than that of malefactors.

I lived, as I said, near a fortnight in Falmouth, waiting for the packet. Lord Spencer, the easier to get rid of me, had sent me at the government expense; and I had received a letter, informing me, from him, that my conveyance to America was to be defrayed—I therefore had made no provision. But finding that neither the Packet-agent, nor the Collector, Mr. Pelew, to whom I was consigned, had any orders, I thought it necessary to write on that head. And as I had come into England with views of peace, so I was determined to leave it. I made up my mind to see every thing in the fairest light, and to avoid every sentiment of resentment that could at best serve to ruffe my own mind, and injure my

« ForrigeFortsæt »