Page images

class of malcontents, their fortune, skill, and consequent influence, would make them tenfold more dangerous, and they might become a disadvantage instead of a benefit to our country. You must be sensible that I possess no sufficient means of forming an opinion respecting your sentiments; but the motives which lead me to interfere with your government to restrain the emigration of the perons above alluded to, oblige me to observe a due caution on the present occasion ; at the same time, I desire not to act with illiberality, and should be unwilling to bring upon my country the slightest imputation of inhospitality. What Mr. Wilson" has written, so far as it goes, is satisfactory; and on the whole, I have concluded, after this unreserved communication, which I hope will be received with the same candour as it is

made, to inform you, authorizing you to make use of the infor

mation, that I withdraw every objection that may be supposed

to stand in the way of your being permitted to go to the United States, adding only that you may carry with you an unbiassed mind, may find the state of the country, as I believe you will, favourable to your views of business, and its government deserv

ing your attachment.

“I must beg your excuse for the great delay which has occurred in sending you this answer, which, I assure you, has arisen from other causes than the want of due respect to your letters. “With great consideration, “I have the honour to be, “ Sir, * Your most obedient servant,


* The American consul in Dublin.


[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

From certain paragraphs in the Evening Post, I apprehend that it may become necessary for me to obtrude myself on the public. As in that event I should wish to derive some credit from the character of my adversary, I request to be informed. whether you purpose submitting to the world any explanation of your interference with the British government, respecting the Irish state prisoners in the year 1798

I put the question in this way, because I have not the honor of any personal acquaintance with you; because I intend that every thing which may pass between you and me on this subject shall be public, and because I have been informed that private applications for an explanation of that transaction have Heen heretofore made to you by some of my fellow-sufferers from your conduct, and that you did not think fit to favour them

with a reply.
I am, sir,
Your most obedicat
PHumble servant,


Wew-Tork, April 4, 1807.


[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

From your silence on the subject of my letter of the 4th

instant, I presume that I am not to be honoured with a reply.

Perhaps this may be owing to my temerity in addressing him whom Mr. Coleman calls “the first man in the country.” Of the height to which your friends exalt, or wish to exalt you, I confess I was not aware when I rashly ventured to question the propriety of some part of your past conduct. I thought that, in this country, you had many equals; and I protest I imagined that Mr. Jefferson, for instance, was your superior. You will, sir, however, I hope, excuse my ignorance in this respect, and attribute it to the circumstance of my being an alien, and of course not yet sufficiently acquainted with the local politics of

[ocr errors][merged small]

Though you, sir, have not honoured me with your notice, I

have been abundantly honoured by your friends; and yet extra

ordinary as it may appear, I inean to pay little attention to their

assiduities, but to envelope myself in dignity like your own. As far as they have attempted to attack my character, . I shall leave it to be defended by other, or rather to defend itself. Not that I affect to be insensible of the value of public opinion, but in truth, sir, in the present pressure of professional business, I have not time to do justice both to you and to mysel; ; and I think it of infinitely more irportance to the community, in the existing crisis, to make known what you are, than what I am. You are the candidate for public favour, and your conduct is the proper subject of public enquiry. Permit me, however, sir,

- K k 2 before

before I enter upon that interesting topic, to make a few general observations touching myself. Mr. Coleman has brought forward some extracts from the reports of the secret committee in Ireland: I think it more than probable that he was not himself in possession of these documents—from whom then did he receive them 2 There is no person in this country more likely to have them, than the gentleman who was at the time the resident minister at London.—When you handed them to him, perhaps your memory might have served you to state, that as soon as those reports appeared in the public prints, Dr. Mac Neven, Mr. O’Connor, and myself, at that time state prisoners, by an advertisement to which we subscribed our names, protested against the falsehood and inaccuracy of those reports; for which act we were remitted to close custody in our rooms for upwards of three months, and a proposal was made in the Irish house of commons, by Mr. M'Naghten, an Orangeman, to take us out and hang us without trial You might also, perhaps, have recollected (for it has been published) that, while we were in this situation, other state calumnies accidentally reached the ears of one of our fellowsufferers in another prison, who wrote a letter to the editor of the Courier in London, for the purpose of contradicting them, and enclosed a copy of his letter to Lord Castlereagh. Upon this Mr. Secretary Cooke was sent to inform him, that if he published the contradiction, he should be hanged; to that he replied he was ready to meet the event; upon which Mr. Cooke told him, that since he was indifferent about his own life, he must know that, if he persevered, the whole system of courts martial, -roassacre and horror, should be renewed throughout the country.

By that menace he was effectually restrained.

Had you thought of mentioning those things, you might have jocularly added that though these statements might serve some present party purposes, it was rather more unfair to us by the calumnies of the Irish government, than it would be to judge of Mr. Jefferson and his friends by the edito

[ocr errors][merged small]

rial articles in the Evening Post. The weapons you are using have been tried in Ireland among my friends and my enemies, where everything was minutely known, and they failed of effect. , If I had ever done any thing mean or dishonourable, if I had abandoned or compromised my character, my country or my - cause, I should not be esteemed and beloved in Ireland, as I am proud to know I am ; I should not enjoy the affection and respect of my republican countrymen in America, as you, sir, and your friends confess I do. It would not be in the power of one who had departed from the line of his duty in theirs and his common country, by simply expressing to them his sentiments of you, to do you such an essential injury as I am accused of have ing committed. Another charge made against me, is that I am an alien, interfering in the politics of this country. Be it so for a moment, and let me ask why is it that I am an alien in this my adopted country at this day? Because, in consequence of your interference, I was prevented from coming to it in 1798, and from being naturalized upwards of three years ago. Supposing then that I should refrain from intermedling with politics in every other case, where you are concerned I feel myself authorised to exercise the rights of a citizen as far as by law I may ; for you know it is an established rule of equity and good sense, that no man shall be benefitted by his own wrong. But how do I come forward 2 Not as a citizen, but as a witness. Allow me to ask you, if I possessed a knowledge of facts which could prove Mr. Jefferson guilty of a robbery or a cheat, and unfit to be trusted with power, would you think me culpable if, notwithstanding my alienage, I made them known to the public, to prevent their being deceived and misled And shall I not be permitted, because in consequence of your very misconduct I am not a citizen, to testify to facts which will prove you unfit to be entrusted in this country with any kind of delegated power Whether Peter Porcupine or Mr. Carpenter ever went through the forms of


[ocr errors][graphic]
« PreviousContinue »