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structed for the use of kings and queens, and was taken up a narrow ladder through a trap-door and into a cockloft, where the court was sitting. This august tribunal consisted of two mean-looking persons, the judge and his clerk, who sat facing each other at a table. I was placed on a diagonal line with a good deal of method, as if to have my picture drawn; and near me was placed a genteel looking person, whom I at first took for some high emanation from the court; but found afterwards to be Mr. Regnier, the gaoler of another prison, who was brought there to serve as interpreter: from which, and more that I had occasion to observe, I concluded that a gaoler in this country is a person of more dignity than a judge. Indeed. I had, before going into that despotic country, been prepared by what I had witnessed, to receive such an impression.
I was now led through nearly the same absurdities as in Oporto, except that this judge dwelt much upon the story and name of Oliver Bond, and seemed to doubt that a gor, ernment could make such an agreement, to accept of one man's banishment to save the life of another, I told him that the fact was so, and that he might write it down, and I would sign it. But I told him that it was not I who singly signed this act of self-devotion, to save the single life of Oliver Bond; for however willing I might have been, that man was too brave and too generous to have accepted such a sacrifice; but that I was one of many who, after braving every accuser, had subscribed to a measure presented under a very different form from what perfidy had since given it, in the hopes of putting a stop to that system, of which the atrocity will hereafter rank in history with whatever has been perpetrated of most soul,
I owned that such a sacrifice must appear difficult of belief to those who had never seen nor felt the influence of public spirit, nor the love of their species or their country; yet that acts of generosity infinitely beyond that, were common even amongst the poorest and most oppressed in my country. He then asked me, what had been the questions put to me in Oporto, when I was examined there? I told him they were much the same as those he had asked me, and that my answers were of course the same; as I had but one answer, and that was the truth, for all persons and all occasions: that my persecution was a violation of justice and a scandalous indecency, as useless as shameful to its authors; that it was founded upon disgraceful perfidy and therefore I requested he would put a speedy end to it. He said he would submit what had been written down to his superiors; and I, after reading it over, and finding it to contain nothing of any importance, subscribed my name to it, and Joachim led me back with a less stern aspect to my companion.
As to this gentleman, his impatience encreased daily. One evening in particular, he received a note from his ambassador which nettled him. He had been that day below among the French prisoners, and had drank more wine than was good for him, and he suddenly after supper snatched away a knife which I had concealod from the eyes of the gaolers, and retired into his own room shutting the door after him. John, mistrusting his intentions, watched him through the key-hole, and gave the alarm just in time for us both with all our force to burst the door open, and prevent his putting an end to his existence. He had made a long but superficial cut in his neck; but the blunt ness of the knife and the surprize of the door bursting
ppen, had prevented the final execution of his project: and I was told afterwards, that it was happy for me I had been fortunate enough to save his life, as mine might have been made to answer for it. And indeed there is little doubt that my enemies would have rejoiced in so fortunate a means of at once getting rid of my complaints, and of branding forever a name which hitherto all their malice could not sully.
The shame and humiliation which followed this frustrated attempt, rendered this young man still more miserable: and yet he was to be envied in comparison with some other inmates of this castle. There were dungeons where human beings had lived long enough to forget their own names, wearing out their days in darkness, nakedness and hunger. Too happy if folly or madness came at last to rescue them from the consciousness of what they were.
The whole science of criminal jurisprudence in Portugal is this; to throw the suspected person into a secret dungeon, which is aptly called in their judicial phrase, Inferno (Hell.) Here the wretch remains until he is reported fit to be examined. If he confesses, he is put into irons, and either condemned as a slave, to work in chains, or sent to Goa or the American plantations. If he does not confess he remains in his dungeon. I mentioned to one of the gaolers my sense of this hardship, as an obstinate guilty person might deny the truth, whilst an innocent one, less courageous, might very readily, to relieve himself from such a state of misery, make a false conlession: his answer was laconic, "logo confesse," they
All these things I could have viewed as an observer, for my own mind was strongly made up to every exigence;
but the thoughts of an innocent wife and children, who might be the victims of such barbarity, were too painful for
repose. For besides the instance of the free mason's wife, I had learned one which touched me much nearer. The last occupier of my present apartment had been an Italian nobleman of high rank and fortune, who had been sent out of England under the alien law, for political notions displeasing to the court. His lady, who was English, had been ordered to Lisbon for her health. Whilst he was imprisoned in the castle of St. George, she was dungeoned in secret in a separate prison, where she remained some time, spitting blood. During this her most private letters were seized upon and read, and she was at length released only to be sent on board an English man of war to Gibraltar, and from thence to the coast of Barbary, I have known that lady since, and she certainly never could have deserved that treatment or been capable of giving offence to any government.
What then might be the treatment reserved for my wife, should she arrive? Such was the consideration which occupied my mind, leaving me otherwise insensible to all the little tricks and vexations I was exposed to. And what heightened these feelings was the treachery of the turnkey, Antonio, who boasted of the sums he had received from this unfortunate gentleman in the moments of his impatience, by different impostures and duperies; amongst others, that of promising to manage an interview between him and his lady by a subterraneous passage; through which he pretended a coach could pass, and of which, he said, he had the key; and that no doubt might remain of this infamy, he produced and offered to sell to me the very letters which he had been so largely bribed to deliver.
But to quit these details, which would swell my letter beyond moderate bounds, and return to my story: I have already mentioned that my papers were delivered to me by an officer. This same officer gave me notice to prepare for quitting this prison immediately. He told me that on, that evening I was to be removed to another place, previous to my being embarked: but he would not tell me where I was to be removed, nor to what country embarked: but said that I was to have an interview in the evening with the British and Portuguese ministers, and every thing would be settled. Upon this he went away, and I locked up my papers in my travelling secretary. Scarcely had I done this before I was desired to give up all my effects, in order that they might be sent before me to the place where I was going: so that had I been so disposed, I could make no use of any of the recommendations they contained.
The first thing that occurred to me was to make John avail himself of his permission to go to the market; and instead of doing so, to go to the English ambassador's, and enquire into the truth. He did so, and received for answer, that Mr. Walpole was so dangerously ill, that his lady dared not put the dispatches before him to be signed, and that the packet was detained for that reason.
Upon this I wrote to the intendente; John carried the letter. He saw this minister, who told him that he would have the letter interpreted by his linguist, and that an answer should be sent to his master in the evening.
I next requested the doctor to come to me, who complied, but only answered me dryly, that these things were done very suddenly in Portugal. I was however as dry with him, and the only one to whom I shewed any friendship on