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Now before I suffer the press to resume the series of the letters written during my stay in France; and as I have had occasion to bring Mr. Emmet's name before the public, there is one fact respecting him which I feel it as a duty to state.
He with the other leaders of the United Irishinen has been charged with encouraging the crime of assassination, and reference has been made to an anonymous publication called the UNION STAR," which was circulated clandestinely from time to time, and thrown into the areas or pushed under the doors in the night. One or two numbers of it came to my hands. The reasoning they contained upon the subject of retaliation, was uncommonly nervous and daring. They imputed not to virtue, but to cowardice or weakness, that principle which they maintained had no other operation than to arrest the arm of defence and leave the helpless victim at the mercy of the infuriate assailant! They stated, that those who had proclaimed their nation out of the king's peace and suspended the laws, ought not to hope for the protection of laws. They had chosen, they said, to resort to the state of nature, if ever such existed, where there were no laws, and it was at their own peril. Shall they whose unmeasured extortions de prive the hungry of food and the naked of covering, whose magnificence is only equalled by the wretchedness of those who pay for it? Shall they, said the author, who support such a system of plunder by a system of universal proscription, be held as immortal gods? Shall their persons be inviolate, and the groans of the tortured administer to their repose? Who is he, they said, who can recall the dead to life, and restore to the widow her lost husband, and to the orphan his parent? Where have they learned
to sanctify robbery and to hallow murder? Where have they learned that ten thousand innocent poor should die, that one guilty rich should live?
Such were the outlines of this publication, of which I believe the author never was discovered. Some thought it was a stratagem of the government, in order to throw odium upon the opposite cause. To me the arguments scemed too strong and too terribly applicable to warrant that supposition. I had upon the subject of these papers several conversations with Mr. Emmet.
He was very zealous in his efforts to restrain them, and I believe successful. And what is more, there was found amongst his papers at his arrestation one drawn up by him and me, and intended to have been subscribed by all whose names could be supposed most influencial amongst the people, which the government with its usual candor took care entirely to suppress. The danger we had to avoid was, that of being marked by the government as chiefs: for Ireland has afforded instances enough of men being put to death upon that proof of guilt, that they had been able to save their persecutors lives. So strange and intricate are the ways of guilt, when to save or to destroy are equally criminal and fatal. Some of these instances are to be found in Mr. Plowden's history of Ireland, a work which, allowing for the circumstances of the times, the prejudices of which no man çan suddenly divest himself; considering that he was an Englishman, writing under the sanction of the British government; considering the terror and delusion which has not yet subsided, does him extreme honor.
Others of these facts are to be found in Mr. Hay's account of the proceedings in Wexford, and others in the
history of the rebellion, by the Rev, Mr, Gordon, (See Appendix No. XI.)
CONTINUATION OF THE LETTERS.
Mr. Wickham-Colonel EdwardsOporto.
I do not know to what it was owing, unless to the crime of having corresponded with lord Moira, that I reg ceived the following sharp letter from Mr. Wickham:
TO W. SAMPSON, ESQ.
I am directed by the duke of Portland to in. form you, that if you think proper to make use of the passport which has been granted, to enable you to proceed from Pullhelly to Falmouth, it is expected that you should take the nearest road from one place to the other; and especially that you should not attempt to go through London,
I have the honor to be, sir,
About this time I found also that my persecutors were not yet asleep in Ireland; for I saw by a newspaper, that lord Clare and some other judges had published an order,
that my name, together with those of Mr. O'Conner and Mr. Emmet, were struck out of the list of barristers. I paid little attention to the fact. It is not at present worth (lisputing: but I believe it amounts to nearly the same thing as if I had ordered their names to be struck out of the list of judges. The only object it could have was to take advantage of the perverseness of the moment, and the general terror that prevailed, perhaps to surprise some of the judges, who might not know, as I am sure they did not, the iniquities committed against me; and, as far as possible, to put it out of the power of the government itself to make me atonement, should justice ever return. I need not say what was my feeling; for there is only one that such proceeding can excite.
However, in spite of calumny, in spite of prejudice, I lived from the 27th of November, until about the 20th of January, amongst the ancient Britons, in perfect good will and harmony with all of them. . Bitter prejudices when overcome, often turn to friendships: and it might have been so with them. I found these people hospitable and good; and I imputed the mischief they had done in my country to the dupery practised upon them; of which they had been themselves the victims. I therefore abstained from all cause of offence towards them, and lamented deeply the vicious policy of rulers, who, instead of seeking the common happiness, sow dissentions purposely to weaken the common force, in order to become the common tyrants.
I was once, when on a shooting party, introduced into the house of a Mrs. Jones, who received me with the most kind and amiable hospitality. She engaged me to dine, and ordered a pair of her son's boots to be given me to change. The boots indicated an owner of no diminutivo stature, and I asked if I should have the pleasure of seeing the gentleman they belonged to? I was told, that he was absent for the moment, and that he was a captain in the ancient Britons. See, my friend, to what new dangers I was exposed: what if this lusty ancient Briton had come home and caught me in his boots! *
Meanwhile, this persecution had extended so far, that some sailors, coming over to navigate the ship in place of others who had deserted her, were stopped on their way; and this merely because they were coming to take away the rebel of whom so much had been published. And a gentleman came once out of breath from Cærnarvon to assure himself, that I was at Pullhelly: for some travellers had been actually stopped upon suspicion that I was one of them, making my way through the country.
That, however, which put me most at my ease in this crisis, was the protection I received from lieutenant-colonel Edwards, of the Cærnarvon militia, who was then at his country-seat, called Nanhorn, upon leave of absence. He, upon the appearance in his country of so arch a rebel, had written at the same time with me, to the duke of Portland, to know what he should do, for he was the principal magistrate resident in the country. He received for answer, to observe, but not to molest me: he, thereupon,' invited me frequently to his house, where I was received by him and his sister, Miss Edwards, an accomplished young lady, politely and hospitably, and spent many days at their house; and this intercourse was uninterrupted until their departure for Portsmouth, a few days before my sailing: when, being confined by sickness, they both did me the honor of a farewell visit, and the colonel charged himself with a letter to my sister at Portsmouth. I mention this circumstance