Page images
PDF
EPUB

naturalization, I know not; but perhaps they might both be safely considered as aliens; and yet I have never heard any of your fi iends censure their interference in the politics of America. I do not mention those gentlemen as my models, nor propose their example as my vindication, but I wish to shew the pliability of those principles which are to be erected into a barrier against me.

As a witness, then, sir, I come forward to testify, not to my countrymen, but to the electors of this city, to the whole of the United States, if you should ever aspire to govern them, and I now present you with my evidence.

In the summer of 1798, after the attempt of the people of Ireland for their emancipation had been completely defeated; after every armed body had been dispersed or had surrendered, except a few men that had taken refuge in the mountains of Wicklow: while military tribunals, house-burnings, shootings, torture, and every kind of devastation were desolating and overwhelming the defenceless inhabitants, some of the state prisoners then in confinement, entered into a negotiation with the Irish ministers for effecting a general amnesty; and as an inducement offered, among other things not necessary to the examination of ycHrr conduct, to emigrate to such country as might be agreed upon between them and the government. When I consented to this offer, for one, (and it was the c:;se with the great majority) I solemnly declare that I was perfectly apprised that there was no legal grounds discovered i:pon which to proceed against me.-rI further knew thatt'ie crown solicitor had, in answer to the enquiries of my friends, informed them that there was no intention of preferring a bill of indictment against me. So much for the personal considerations by which I might have been actuated; and now, sir, to return.

The offer was accepted, the bloody system was stopped lora time, aud was not renewed until after year interference, and

after after the British ministry had resolved openly to break its faith with us.—On our part, we performed our stipulations with the most punctilious fidelity, but in such a manner as to preserve to us the warmest approbation of our friends, and to excite the greatest dissatisfaction in our enemies. Government soon perceived, that on the score of interest, it had calculated badly, and had gained nothing by the contract. It was afraid of letting us go at large to devolope and detect the misrepresentations and calumnies that were studiously set afloat, and had therefore, I am convinced, determined to violate its engagements by keeping us prisoners as long as possible. How was this to be done? In the commencement of our negotiation, Lord Castlereagh declared, as a reason for our acceding to government's possessing a negative on our choice, that it had no worse place in view for our emigration than the United States of America. We had made our election to go there, and called upon him to have our agreement carried into execution. In that difficulty, you, sir, afforded very effectual assistance to the faithlessness of the British cabinet. On the 16th of September, Mr. Marsden, then under secretary, came to inform us that Mr. King had remonstrated against our being permitted to emigrate to America. This astonished us all, and Dr. Mac Neven very plainly said that he considered this as a mere trick between Mr. King and the British government. This Mr. Marsden denied, and on being pressed to know what reason Mr. King could have for preventing us, who were avowed republicans, from emigrating to America, he significantly answered, "perhaps Mr. King does not desire to have republicans in America." Your interference was then, sir, made the pretext of detaining us for four years in custody, by which very extensive and useful plans of settlement within these states were broken up. The misfortunes which you brought upon the objects of your persecution were incalculable. Almost all of us wasted four of the best years of our lives in prison. As to me, I should have brought along with me my father and his family, including a brother,

whose whose name perhaps will you even not read without emotions of sympathy and respect. Others nearly connected with me would have come partners in my emigration. But all of them have been torn from me. I have been prevented from saving a brother, from receiving the dying blessings of a father, mother and sister, and from soothing their last agonies by my cares; and this, sir, by your unwarrantable and unfeeling interference.

Your friends, when they accuse me of want of moderation in my conduct towards you, are wonderfully mistaken. They do not reflect, or know, that I have never spoken of you without suppressing (as I do now) personal feelings that rise up within me, and swell my heart with indignation and resentment. But I mean to confine myself to an examination of your conduct, as far as it is of public importance.

The step you took was unauthorized by your own government. Our agreement with that of Ireland was entered into on the 29th of July—your prohibition was notified to us on the 16th of September; deduct seven days for the two communications between Dublin and London, and you had precisely fortytwo days, in the calms of summer, for transmitting your intelligence to America and receiving an answer. As you had no order then, what was the motive of your unauthorised act? I cannot positively say, but I will tell you my conviction. The British ministry had resolved to detain us prisoners contrary to their plighted honour; and you, sir, I fear, lent your ministerial character to enable them to commit an act of perfidy, which they would not otherwise have dared to perpetrate.—Whether our conduct in Ireland was right or wrong, you have no justification for yours—The constitution and laws of this country gave you no power to require of the British government that it should violate its faith, and withdraw from us its consent to the place we had fixed upon for our voluntary emigration.— Neither the President nor you were warranted to prevent our

touching

touching these shores; though the former might, under the alien act, have afterwards sent us away if he had reason to think we were plotting any thing against the United States. I have heard something about the law of nations ; but you are too well acquainted with that law not to know that it has no bearing on this subject. Our emigration was voluntary, and the English government had, in point of justice, no more to do with it than to signify that there was no objection to the place of residence we had chosen.

Another circumstance which compels me to believe a collusive league between you, in your capacity of resident minister from , America, and the cabinet of St. James's, is the very extravagant and unwarrantable nature of your remonstrance, which had the ministry been sincere towards us, they could not possibly have overlooked. If they had intended to observe their conpact, you, sir, would have been very quickly made to feel the futility of your ill-timed application. You would have been taught that it was a matter of mere private arrangement between government and us, with which you had no more to do than the minister of Denmark, Sweden, Portugal, or any other neutral power. What inference ought fairly to be made from the facts I have stated, every man must decide for himself. On me, they have forced a conviction,which, if you can shake it, I shall much more gladly forego than I state it here, than in the instance alluded to, you degraded the dignity and independence of the country you represented, you abandonded the principles of its government and its policy, and you became the tool of a foreign state, to give it a colourable pretext for the commission of a crime. If so, is it fit that you should hereafter be entrusted with any kind of delegated authority? What motives you may have had for that conduct, if in truth it was yours, I cannot undertake to say. Mr. Marsden seemed to doubt whether you wished for republicans in America—and I shrewdly suspect he spoke what the British ministry thought of your politics.

t 1 ( Perhaps

Perhaps it may be said that you were yourself deceived by those very calumnies of which I have complained. I sincerely wish I could believe that such were the fact—but observe this argument. We contradicted the mistatements of the committees of the lords and commons of Ireland, by an advertisement written in prison, signed by our names, and published on the 27th of August—it must have reached London, on the 1st or 2d of Sept. your remonstrance must have been made on or before the 12th, for it was communicated to us op the 16th. The effect produced by our advertisement was electrical, and the debate which it caused on the very evening of its appearance, in the Irish house of commons, was remarkable. As you doubtless read the newspapers of the day, these facts could uot have been unknown to you. Why then should you be deceived by representations which we had recently contradicted under circumstances so extraordinary? Mr. King, did you enter so deeply into the revolution of your country as to implicate your life in the issue of its fortunes? From the strong attachment of your political friends, I presume you were a distinguished leader in those eventful times; if not, you had certainly read their history. Did you remember the calumnies which had been thrown out by British agents against the most upright and venerable patriots of America ? Did you call to mind the treatment which had been given in South Carolina to Gov. Gadsden, to Gen. Rutherford, Col. Isaacs, and a number of others who had surrendered to that very Lord Cornwallis, with whom, through his ministers, we negotiated; and that those distinguished characters were, in violation of their capitulation and the rights of parole, sent to St. Augustine, at we were afterwards to Fort George? How then is it possible that you could have been a dupe to the misrepresentations of the British government?

These remarks I address, with all becoming respect, to "the first man in the country"—Yet in fact, sir, I do not clearly see in what consists your superiority over myself. It is true you

« PreviousContinue »