Billeder på siden

gravely reproved the immorality of the government, adding a prophetic warning, that such crimes could not long prosper.-(See Appendix No. IX.) He was a man of very unusual talent, and I believe never so desperately engaged in deeds of blood as the rest of the body known by the name of the battalion of testimony.

It was a part of the tactics of the faction, before the laws were totally abolished, to deny the most positive facts. When that was impossible, they said, government did not give such orders; and that the courts of justice were open. The confessio. of a man of this kind, were all-important to the substantiation of truth ; and having had some intimation that Mr. Bird wished to reveal every thing in discharge of his conscience, I went, accompanied by Mr. Grattan and my brother, from Lord Moira's, at a pretty late hour, and staid until this extraordinary man had written upon two and thirty pages of large paper, which he did without stopping, 'not only his own doings, but those of others of the battalion of testimony associated with him. Of these were Mr. Newell, a painter, who used to go about in a robe with a mask, and a wand to point out his victims, who were immediately seized and dragged to the dungeon or to execution. Mr. Newell also shortly after published his atrocities in the way of a story. Another, was Mr. Dutton, a servant, who had been turned away for stealing plate from his mistress, an Englishman also. He sometimes headed the ancient Britons in their most murderous excursions ; and I believe had a

commission as an officer among them, and other very signal marks of favor ; and had then full power of life and death given him over the Irish. Another, was a Mr. Murdock, son of a hearth-money collector. The story Mr. Bird related of these men, was a tissue of unexampled profligacy, villainy, and obscenity. Lord Moira must still, I should suppose, be in possession of it. I took care that every page of it should be signed by Bird, and countersigned by Mr. Grattan, who was a privy counsellor.

I shall now close this digression, too long perhaps, but necessary to the perfect understanding of the following letters:

Donington, Dec. 26, 1798.


Your letter of the 21st, addressed to me in London, has only this afternoon reached me here. I must undoubtedly feel it claimed from me by every consideration of justice, that you should have the perusal of any document in my possession, which you may think necessary towards the statement you meditate to the Duke of Portland. Those copies are in the hands of Mr. Sheridan, in town. I will immediately write to request that he will give you the inspection of those documents whensoever you shall apply to him. It is impossible for me to form, with sufficient accuracy, the opinion which you ask of me, whether it would not be expedient for you, under your present circumstances, to repeat the solicita


tion for an interview with the duke of Portland.
That must depend upon your power of adducing facts
capable of rebutting the charges which have been ad-
vanced against you, or your means of giving to his
grace an insight into circumstances whence he may
draw advantage to the public. I must be incompe-
tent to judge of those particulars.
You desire that I will not


upon you unheard : and your further expressions on that point convince me that it is not merely a general appeal to candor, but an observation upon something which I have said respecting you. I should not only have deemed it repugnant to every principle of equity and honor to have pronounced you guilty without having heard your defence, but I had seen tod many instances of the frenzy or the profligacy of

party in Ireland, to have credited uninvestigated imputations, however confidently urged. The expression in my letter to your brother, to which I am sure you allude, must show you by what supposition I was misled : for when I said that I was satisfied he had not had any suspicion of the guilt which you had acknowledged, it is clear that I imagined you had confessed your participation in the conspiracy. Your entering into the engagement to expatriate yourself in common with Messrs. O'Connor, Emmet, &c. made every body in this country (and me among the rest) take it for granted that you had confessed, as they did, the being implicated in a correspondence with the French, and in a plot to subvert the constitution of your country, crimes of the most heinous nature. It

you had

was not until very lately that I was assured
not made any such avowal, and that you would not
sign the agreement for quitting Ireland until govern-
ment had declared there was not any charge against
you beyond that, on the ground of libel as manager
of the Press. My surprise on the occasion was not
greater than my pain at having used to your brother
so unjustified an expression. The error which I have
explained, will, I am certain, sufficiently apologise
for me: therefore I will only add that I sincerely la-
ment the wound which I see you have felt from that
incorrect supposition of mine.

I have the honor to be, Sir,
Your most obedient humble servant,

William Sampson, Esq.

My Lord,

I have received the honor of your lordship's letter, dated Donington, December 26. It appears by a'mark on the cover to have been missent, and has the Brimingham post-mark. I received by the same post, a letter from Mr. Wickham, written by the duke of Portland's desire, informing me, that it was expected I should not use his

passport to go any but the most direct road from one place to the other; and particularly not to attempt to go through London. I have thought proper, as I do not mean to make any public appeal, at least until a more happy occasion ; or if that should

not present itself until my death, or some other casualty should give publicity to a statement I have left behind, to transmit you a copy of my answer.

Your candor, to which I am sure no man can appeal in vain, has acknowledged, that you owed me some explanation. And I am abundantly gratified with that which you have given. I have had no correspondence with any public character in this kingdom, but your lordship, except the secretary of state. For troubling you, I have both a public and a private motive: ignorance perhaps of the sphere in which you act, dictates the first. For finding that you had taken upon yourself a distinguished post in the active service of the king, I conceived that my writing to your lordship could not be taken as any meddling with opposition to government. But that if on the contrary, any thing appeared just or meritorious in the view I proposed of opening the eyes of the English ministers, as to the proceedings in Ireland, it might have claimed

your support. My second motive was, to clear myself from an imputation which I abhor; that of insincerity and ingratitude. Had I, when your lordship was in Ireland, and expressed yourself so kindly towards me, been guilty of deceiving you, I should have deserved the worst epithet my enemies have bestowed upon me. As far as your necessary reserve, and the slightness of my acquaintance would permit, I did impart exactly what I knew, and what I felt. Facts however, were what you chiefly desired ; and let me ask, whether any of those I did

of those I did procure for your lordship have ever been contradicted ? Certain

« ForrigeFortsæt »