Page images
PDF
EPUB

MISCELLANEOUS ANECDOTES.

In this place I insert a number of detached anecdotes, which were collected during my residence in Philadelphia. As to the order of arranging them very little attention has been paid to dates, as they are entirely disconnected with each other, and every one sufficiently explains itself. Their merits consist in their truth, and in the example which they furnish of the effects of democratical principles, carried into practice. Where the asterisks are made use of instead of the names of

persons, &c. the names are suppressed from proper motives, but never from a want of my possessing them; for, I have received nothing as true, the truth of which I am not well satisfied of.

set up

Theobold Wolf Tone, in the defence, which he

before the Court Martial in Ireland, made great professions of disinterestedness.

“ Every ac* tion of my life," said he,

“ has, with unvarying solicitude, tended to the emancipation of my country. Born to an humble, but honourable

poverty, I had not only to struggle with penury, “ but with temptation; but it now gratifies my

heart, and consoles me under what otherwise “ would be a deep affliction, that I have refused " offers, certainly dangerous to the virtue of a man

VOL. IX.

or in mother

[ocr errors]

* in my obscure situation. The good of my country

was the first object of my life--for this I became

an exile-for this í submitted to poverty-for this I left the bosom of my family--my wife!

my children! all that made life valuable! " to procure the aid I thought essential to the

welfare of Ireland. I braved the danger of the deep, the fire of the enemy--with my brave, my faithful comrades, I embarked for my native

country, in the delightful hope of raising from " abject slavery, three millions of

ту

fellow men!”

The miscreant's declarations are calculated to make men believe, that, though a desperate ruffian, he was at least disinterested and probably misguided. -The following papers will, however, prove the contrary.-They were given to me about three weeks ago; just after we heard of his being seized. -The reader will remember, that he had a brother Matthew, who was executed some time ago, and who confessed upon his trial, that he had been in America. The following letters and note was addressed to him while here. The note and first let. ter are in T. W. Tone's hand writing; the last letter, in the hand writing of his wife. The originals were sent me from New York. The whole are printed word for word and letter for letter.

Dublin, February 8, 1793. « DEAR MATT. “ We have had all the letters which you mention in your last, of January Ist, and some months. since we wrote you a joint letter, directed to you at the post-office, Philadelphia, which it does not appear whether you got or not.

.

As I suppose your principal anxiety is to learn about your family, I shall begin with triat subject-Your father and

mother are in all respects precisely as you left them His engagement with the Board continues and is likely to do so, I think for his life-By this means he is enabled to exist, and they seem contented enough-Fanny is growing tall, which is all I can tell you of her, and Arthur is a very fine boy; he took a great inclination for the sea a few months ago, which I, for one, would not oppose, but that seems now gone off again-however, I dare say it will return, for all my family have a kind of vagrant disposition: At present he is very diligent at school, and I shall attend particularly to the hint which you give as to making hini a good accountantand now I have done with Bride-street.- I had a letter from Will, dated Madras Road, August 20, 1792 ; he was then well, after a fine passage, but the war being over, the troops were all ordered to Bengal, so his letters were of no use;—however he wrote in good spirits.-I am on the application now to get letters to Bengal in his favour which may serve him or not, but the peace with Tippoo is much against him.-For my own family, Matty and Mary are as well and as happy as queens, and from appearances I judge in a short time you will have a nephew or niece, but I hope the former, for one girl I hold to be enough in any family-Maria is coming on as you left her, and Willy is grown a fine little fellow, running about; he is with my nurse, and has been near a twelvemonth, and I shall not remove him till God knows when. Now for my own affairs, I was engaged by the General Committee of the Catholics of Ireland, to act as their Secretary for one year, at a salary of 2001. which year will expire on the 1st of May next, or thereabouts. I have been in consequence fully employed in writing pamphlets and all manner of publications (most of which I will send with this letter) as well as several journies to the North,

X 2

Connaught, Connaught, &c. &c.—In short, I have been totally devoted to that cause, to the relinquishing of every other pursuit; but you know I like that, having a turn for politics. We had a kind of Catholic Parliament, held in Dublin, before last Christmas, consisting of delegates from all the counties and great towns in Ireland, wherein I officiated as one of the Secretaries, and a petition to the throne (which I wrote) was voted, praying a repeal of all the penal laws. It was also agreed to send this, not in the ordinary way, through the Lord Lieutenant, but by a special deputation of five of their own body direct to his Majesty, which was accordingly done, and I attended them to London about the 12th of December last--After some little difficulty the King received the petition, and we returned after a month's absence, so you see I have been once more in London since we parted—We are now applying to parliament, the King having recommended us in his speech, and in the course of the session we expect to be relieved from perhaps the whole, but at any rate much the greatest part

of our grievances—When I say We, I mean the Catholics--The other great party here, I mean the Dissenters, are pushing hard for a general redress of grievances, or at least the means of redressing them by an effectual reform in parliament, an abolition of pensions, places, &c. &c.

They have supported the Catholics in their claims, and the moment the bill is past for the relief of that body, the two suits will (as I hope and believe) unite and either compel the wicked government of this country to do them justice, or else expel them at once, in which case we shall have a Republic in Ireland, and I suppose nearly in the model of one of the American states; for I hear even the enemies of reform agree that if we are once obliged to change our rulers, we will never relapse into the folly of

monarchy

If

monarchy again. The affairs of Ireland were never in so precarious a posture as at this moment.--The peace of the country hangs by a single hair, and I shall not be at all surprised if we are plunged in an internal war before summer is over. -And yet this is the precious moment wherein the King has thought proper to go to war with France, having Ireland in this unsettled state at his back.

We expect war to be formally declared every day. The army is augmented prodigiously, both here and in England, and a large fleet put in commission. he be mad or wicked enough to join the conspiracy of tyrants against the liberty of mankind, I hope and he will be instantly rewarded by the loss of Ireland-All parties here wish the French success, even those who abhor their principles, for we all see clearly that if they be crushed, our liberties are at the mercy of the king. The king of France was beheaded by a sentence of the Convention on the 21st of last month. This might teach others wisdom, but kings are a race of men who never profited, nor ever will, by their own experience or that of other.-If “the best of princes," shall con trive in one reign to lose America and Ireland which I think far from improbable he will make a shining figure in history.

“To return to my own affairs.-As I have been of a good deal of use in these Catholic affairs, and as they are now grown a considerable party in the country, they talk of making my fortune, which you see is a very indefinite term-How my fortune is to be made does not appear--If it be by business in the way of my profession (which I do not believe it is), that, if it ever succeeds, will be a very slow way - They are now raising a general subscription among themselves and I have got hints from divers quarters that a part of the sum to be levied will be presented to me. They gave Richard Burke (son

X 3

to

« PreviousContinue »