Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]

Lisbon, April 18, 1799. Sir,

I have received your letter of this morning; that to which you refer of yesterday, has not yet been delivered to me. I shall make application for the leave yon request, which I have no doubt will be granted to you.

I am, Sir,
Your most obedient humble servant,

ROBT. WALPOLE,

I waited some days without further result; and again sent my man, who returned with the following letter:

Lisbon, April 21, 1799. Sir,

I must assure you, that I immediately complied with my promise, of making the application you required of me by your letter of Friday evening, and I received an answer from the secretary of state, that orders were given by the intendente to report upon the subject of your imprisonment. I was in hopes that some speedier method might have been adopted in regard to whạt more immediately in point of humanity concerns you personally, I shall immediately renew my application, which I hope will be attended to.

I am, Sir,
Your most obedient humble servant,

ROBT. WALPOLE.

On this as on the former occasion, my servant had been sent to the house of Mr. Mathews (so I think his name was) the secretary of Mr. Walpole. He was kindly - treated by this gentleman, as also by a lady at his house, who expressed much concern for me, and sent me as a present a pot of conserves of Brazil.

But they told my man, that I was to be sent on board an English ship of war to an English prisonship at Gibraltar; and when he murmured against such injustice in the English government, from whose ministers alone such orders could proceed, he was cautioned by the lady to hold his tongue, and advised, if he should be interrogated, to say nothing, but merely that he was my servant and ignorant of my affairs; otherwise she said it might be worse for him than for me.

LETTER XVI.

An Accoucheur-Difficulties--Intendente.

AT length came the doctor: I do not recollect his name, but I understood he was the accoucheur of the intendant's lady. He so far differed from the bridewell doctor, that he treated me with respect and good manners. He excused his minister from all share in my persecution, assuring me that his lordship was very sorry for me, and very much concerned for what I was made to suffer. He complimented me on my patieńce, which he called animo grande: he said justly, that it was not of medicines I had need for the restoration of my health, but of liberty and tranquility, and that nothing was so dangerous for me as a prison. He promised to use all his interest with the inKendente in my favor, and asked me, what country I should

like to go to? mentioning several times France and Spaió: I answered, that having been so long deprived of all politie cal intelligence, I could not tell what countries were in alliance with England, what were in hostility, or what were neutral. Or in the strange changes that succeeded each other, how long any country might remain in its present posture. But as to the two countries he had named, France and Spain, I could not consent to go to either of them, because I had made an agreement; to which it was my intention as to every other of my life, to be true; at least until it should be so flagrantly broken on the other part, as to leave me no choice. I then explained to him the labyrinth of vexations in which I was involved. To France or Spain I could not go, because those countries being at war with the king of England, it might be made a pretext for subjecting me to the penalties of high treason, and serve at least as a justification for the crimes already committed against me. That my going to a neutral country, or even to one in alliance with the king of England, might be turned to my disadvantage, as I was obliged, before I could get out of bridewell, to give security that I should go to Portugal, and remain there during the continuance of the war. And if I went home or to any part of the British dominions, I was a felon by act of parliament, and transportable to Botany-Bay: and though that parliament had shortly after this atrocious law annihilated itself, yet «The mischief that men do, lives after them.”

Amongst all the neutral countries of which I thought, two only seemed free from objection, Genoa and Hamburg. The former I might have preferred on account of its climate; the latter on account of its proximity to my own, and the greater facility of having communication with my

family; with either I should have been contented. You know, however, to what unexampled misery the one was afterwards reduced by the war, and how in the other the rights of nations and of hospitality have been violated in a degree beyond what had ever before happened amongst the hordes of the deserts. Thus it is, that mean and jealous tyranny hems in its victims on every side with snares and dangers.

I do not know whether what I said to this gentleman might have surprised his sensibility, or whether the symptoms he betrayed were counterfeited; but they were those of strong emotion; and he promised to repeat all I had said to the intendente with equal force, and hoped to obtain for me the permission to remain in Portugal as I desired: Though he said it might be under some restrictions.

After some days he returned and told me, that the minister had been very much affected by my story, and that, particularly when he mentioned the chain of difficulties by which I was encompassed, that he had started as if with surprise and agitation, and desired him to repeat the different points, that he might write them down. He advised me also to write to the intendente a letter in English, but to be cautious to use such terms of deference as our language afforded, and to call him my lord; and upon the whole to use the stile which, being translated into Portuguese, as it would be, should be found most agreeable to the usages of that country, and shew a due consideration of his quality

I thanked him for his friendly intimation and complied the best of my power. My letter was sent: and I think it was on the following day I was called into the same hall where I first made my entree; and thiore, in the presence

to

of the gaoler, I received from the hands of an officer of the police, my papers for which I gave him a receipti They were all numbered in a certain order, as if they had served as references to some statement; and I think they had the air of having recently arrived from England! The only one of any curiosity that I could miss, was that famous letter with which Mr. Sealy took upon him to insult me, touching his political principles. Why this gentleman's letter was taken from among the rest, I do not know. It could not surely be, that he was in the management of this affair, and wished to suppress a production wlrich might one day turn to his shame.

LETTER XVII.

Tried again-Acquitted— Attempt at suicide-My dangerDungeons describedJurisprudence-My fears. Antonio

- Italian nobleman---Lady-Cruel perfidy-English threats-Gibraltar prison-ship-Another Gaol.

BEFORE I proceed further I must mention one or two occurrences which happened about this time. Oně night I was at supper with the Danish gentleman, when Joachim, the most odious of the turnkeys, came to me, and abruptly desired me to put on my coat and take off my bonnet, for that the judge was waiting for me to appear before him: I smiled at his official gravity, but did as he desired, and followed him to another part of the prison, which I believe might not have been entirely con

« ForrigeFortsæt »