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victims of this treachery, of whom I was one, any possible means of defence. Vile men, which of you can say now, at the distance of four years, what treason I confessed, or whose mercy I implored? It is true this parliament of famous memory, soon after did justice on itself, and relieved the groaning country from its crimes! It had long been corrupt and morbid; but in its last convulsions, exceeded all imagination. Witness the frantic abominations that it vomited forth upon the people! If any future historian should collect those laws, and give them in their order, as a supplement to the former code of penal laws in Ireland, it would be a monument, at least of curiosity, perhaps of melancholy instruction. For amongst these laws, there were some exciting directly to murder; others indemnifying it. There were laws to promote kidnapping, and laws to sanction it; laws to raise rebellion, and laws to put it down, To-day a proclamation that all was peace and loyalty; tomorrow a report that all was war and treason. To-day it was a few miscreants; to-morrow a general massacre. Sometimes it was atheism, sometimes delusion, and sometimes popery. In fact every cause was held out but the true onesoppression and misgovernment.
So that, as their crude nostrums were encreased, the evil augmented. Every organ of complaint was choaked, and the nation became one general prison, and military power executed the decrees of individual malice. And those who had so often pledged their “lives and fortunes" against all innovations, at length threw off the mask: and after astonishing each other by the measure of their own impudence, finished by an act of desperate suicide. And to crown this deed, lord Castlereagh, who had pledged himself upon the hustings, and sworn to his constituents of the county of Down, to
persevere in purifying and reforming this papliament, and to promote such acts as were "most for its independence, was the first to cry fie upon it, and to stab. (See Appendix No. V.) Such was that man, who, by spurning at his own sacred engagements and practising every art of political falsehood, first a demagogue and then a tyrant, had raised himself, with slender talents, to the place of secretary of state, at a time when the suspension of the habeas corpus had given to that office the right of arbitrary imprisonment over all the kingdom. Such was the man upon whose mandate I was torn from my family for being csuspected” as it was expressed, "of treasonable practices." Alas! I may be suspected, but in his own case there is surely no question of suspicion. May the moment when I prove but the hundredth part so much a traitor, be the moment of my destruction. Is it not rank and foul, that the best men in any country should be at the mercy of those who make a public jest of truth and honor? When the wise and the just are ground into the earth, and the puniest things that are, let them be but base and mischievous enough, are raised to power!
I was now about to leave my prison, and to leave behind me those fellow-sufferers with whom my acquaintance had began in bridewell; but in none of whom I could ever trace a disposition to crime of any kind. They, one and all, seemed to be animated by an ardent desire of sacrificing their lives in the deliverance of their country, from what
they conceived, I am sure too justly, to be oppression and . tyranny. And their actions seemed to proceed from a
thorough conviction that they were right. At all events, if this was an error, the proceedings which I have mentioned, of house-burning, wrecking, ravishing, denial of
justice, breaking of faith, half-hanging and scourging; dungeoning, kidnapping and picketing, and other torture to extort confessions; free quarters, religious proscriptions, martial law, and all of those execrable measures, of the horrors of which, no one who has not seen it, can have any idea. These proceedings surely were not calculated to cure them of their errors.
Lovely Peggy-Lovely Mary-Shipwreck.
THERE was now a small vessel ready to sail for Lisbon, called the Lovely Peggy, captain Knight; and it was stipulated that I should take my passage on board of her, On the same evening that I received the order to the gaoler to set me free, I lost not a moment in going to this captain, to make the necessary arrangements.
And my faithful but unfortunate man, John Russel, followed after me, fearing perhaps some insult; for which act of zeal he was once more to pay dear, as you will see.
It was on the night of the rejoicings for the victory of Lord Nelson; and many of the yeomanry were in disorder through the streets. There was a group squibbing off cartridges on the flaggs in Abbey street, through which I was to pass; and one of them taking offence, that we wore our hair short, called out, "croppies,” which was their word of attack; and just as we passed, fired a blunt cartridge into John's shoulder. I paid no attention to the shot,
not knowing what had happened; and I had now a fresh proof of the magnanimity of my unfortunate companion; for he never disclosed what had happened until we were at a considerable distance, fearing, and justly, that my patience might not have been proof against such atrocity: but when at length he thought it time to discover the wound he had received, I went with him into a shop to examine it, and found that his clothes had been pierced through, and the point of the cartridge forced into the
The contusion was attended with violent swelling, and the pain doubtless aggravated extremely, by the quantity of unburned gunpowder which was buried in his flesh. Such was the event of the first ten minutes of my liberty; after a seclusion of so many months. At least, it was well calculated to cure me of any regret I might have at leaving my native country, which I had loved but too well, and where I could boast certainly, that the esteem of my fellow-citizens was a great part of my crime. Having thus once more escaped assassination, a fate I have not been unfrequently threatened with, we returned to bridewell; where, with my wife, I spent the last evening in the society of my fellow-sufferers.
The following day I had occasion to buy a number of things in the shops, and also to go to the custom-house for a paper called a bill of healtli; but was no sooner return. ed to my lodgings, than my brother came to tell me, that the castle was crouded with persons flocking there to complain of my being suffered to appear in the streets. A strange instance, at once, of the meanness and impudence of that faction, and of the extent to which injustice had degraded the government of that hapless country. Mr. Knox accused my brother of an abuse of confidence, iti
trusting me with the order for my enlargement, without restraining me from such an open act of defiance as that of appearing in the streets. I confess, that much as I had seen, and much as I had heard, and much as I had felt, I was not without astonishment at such pertenacious extrava .ag.nce. But, so it is, that when men have been for a
length of time actuated by party spirit, still more by terror, which entirely takes away the understanding, they no longer perceive what is right or what is wrong; what is decent or what is unbecoming. And in this abandonment of their judgment, and even of their senses, they rally to the first absurdity that wears the colour of their prejudices; and when it comes to that, it is as great madness on the other side to expect any thing from reason. The only remedy then to be hoped is, from time that tries all opinions. My brother told me, that it was desired by his friend, that I should write to excuse myself for having been seen in the streets; and, as he had every title to my compliance that an affectionate brother and a sincere friend could have, I acquiesced without hesitation in the following manner as nearly as I can remember: I mentioned that it was in consequence of an order to come out of prison, that I appeared in the streets; there being no other way of coming out of prison than through the streets; and that it was the more necessary, as having engaged to go immediately abroad, I was obliged to provide myself instantly with what was necessary for my des parture. That I was sure the government was powerful enough to guarantee its own order; but if it were otherwise, and that it would condescend to accept of my support, which I had now the honor of offering for the first time, I would defend the agreement it had made with me,