Εικόνες σελίδας
PDF
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση

cumstances, T. A. Emmet drew up, and presented the memorial referred to, on behalf of the United Irishmen. No copy of this memorial is to be found among Mr. Emmet's papers, and the copy of the First Consul's answer to the memorial, sent with Mr. Emmet's letters to the author, was found among Dr. Macneven's papers. EXTRACT OF A LETTER FROM T. A. EMMET, AT PARIS, DIREC

TED,—"A MONSIEUR MACNEVEN, OFFICIER DU BATTALION A MORLAISE,” AND DATED,

1st Pluviose, 1804, (21st Jan.) "MY DEAR MACNEVEN–I have received Gallagher's, Sweeney's, and your letters, all which, I acknowledge with very sincere love to the respective parties. But the length and nature of this letter, with my having at this moment a great press of business, will, I hope, be a sufficient excuse for my not writing to them at present. As to the conjecture you make in your letter about the time before which matters will not be ready, I am clear you are well founded ; though not, perhaps, for the reasons you have assigned, as, I perceive, your traveller did not give you an exact account of what was in Brest, and none at all of what was in the neighbouring ports ; but your conclusion, nevertheless, is true. At the end of that time, (if any faith can be placed in assurance) it is intended to attempt something. I am not seaman enough to calculate the chances of success; but this I know, that similar things were done in August ; and further, none of us know what combinations of plans may be used to facilitate the measure, even in an unfavourable time. So much for that. Now for what will, perhaps, surprise and please you, as it has done me. I presented the memoir I was writing at your departure, on the 13th Nivoze : on the 27th, I received the annexed answer.

“When Dalton delivered me this, he stated the readiness of the minister to confirm it by word of mouth whenever I pleased. As the latter paragraph afforded ample room for reflection, and for consulting my friends, I would willingly have avoided the interview for some time, and professed myself perfectly satisfied as to the authenticity of the answer ; but by his eagerness in pressing the matter, I quickly perceived, that the minister's 'readiness to confirm,' was, in fact, a desire

to see me on the subject. After I had read the answer through, Dalton subjoined, 'I have to add, that it is the First Consul's wish, that you and Mr. O'Connor should be of that committee ; and I have directions to present him a copy of this answer, leaving out the first sentence. When that committee formed, it will give the present government the means of communicating at once with all parties of United Irishmen, and give them the certainty, that whatever may be offered in their behalf, will not be contradictory, and drawing in different directions.

He added a great deal more, &c. We took leave, he, in a great hurry to procure me an interview with the minister, and I in none. One reason for this disposition, besides what I already stated, was, that I apprehended very strongly, as the American mediation is not yet ended, the proclamations of the committee might be an engine for terrifying England into terms; and I wished, and still wish, to waste time, until I have reason to hope, that the best exertions of the committee may not be turned into a cause of mischief to our country. I therefore postponed, but was yesterday obliged to have the interview, of which I shall speak directly. You may be assured, I lost no time in consulting Sweetman, M'D., and my other friends here, who all agreed, that as the Consul made a point of it, it could not be avoided ; and they even saw considerable advantage from it, provided it acts with caution.

“Before I saw the minister yesterday, I had a long conversation with Dalton ; the greatest part of which turned on the best mode of appointing the committee. The mode he contemplated, and with him, the government, was, that O'C. and I should each name whom we thought fit; that government should add to us some person or persons, if we should omit any it thought important. I said, 'If I were of the committee, I certainly should not object to any persons of whom 1 thought sufficiently well, and whose presence government thought of importance; but that, for myself, I wished to be sanctioned by the approbation of my countrymen ;

which could be easily had, as they are collected at Morlaix. Against this he remonstrated with a good deal of energy ; and, in truth, it made the principal part of our conversation. I was free to make whatever proposal I pleased ; but as a friend, and in confidence, he advised me against that. He added some ob

6

servations, in no respect disreputable to our countrymen, but which I don't consider myself free to repeat; and said, I, at least, had no occasion for any such scruples, as it was well known, I had already the approbation of my countrymen for acting alone, and a fortiori, for acting with otbers.

“At length I saw the minister, who confirmed, in the fullest manner, Dalton's paper, and assured me it was what the Consul intended to abide by ; and asked me if I had thought of the committee, and who would be the most proper members ? On my part, I expressed the utmost gratitude to the Consul for his assurances and intentions. As to the committee, I said, there was one peculiarity in the situation of most of us, which was probably unknown to the Consul, but which made the formation of that committee a matter of some difficulty ;though our persons were free, the property, and almost every man who might be thought eligible, was in the power of the English government; and if they did any thing that could be taken hold of, that property would certainly be confiscated. This was a great consideration for fathers of families ; and although, under certain circumstances, when men had a full assurance that matters were come to a crisis, they might run risks; they could not feel warranted in doing so under uncertainties. To this he answered, among other things, that we should not be required to run any risks we did not think fit.

“Form your committee, give government the body with which it wants to communicate, and manage your own affairs as you may think fit, publish your proclamations without any names, and if you think your countrymen will give sufficient credit to them, keep your names secret but from the committee.

"A good deal more was said, that, perhaps, ought not to be repeated. Thus, however, matters stand. "I will not throw any impediment in the way ; but I do not intend to break my neck, in trying to bring about what I do not perfectly understand the drift of. I wish you were here, and I think it probable you may be called for; but you need not fear being left

behind, as the commander-in-chief of the Irish will be here also. Sweeney was very right not to offer to go to Ireland on Augereau's invitation. Let him consider if he should be asked whether he would go on any other condition different from what he has already offered. As I know there is an

anxiety of transmitting the substance of the Consul's answer to me, you will see how much discretion is necessary with respect to the foregoing parts of this letter.

“ You will no doubt, be rejoiced to hear that the First Consul himself has taken the trouble of dictating the device for your colours. They are to be green in the centre; a tricoloured circle, with R. I.* The legend on the colours is to be, L'independence de l'Ireland-Liberté de Conscience.' You are also aware that your uniform is somewhat changed, on the demand of M'Sheehy ; the amaranth is exploded, and yellow, the second national colour, substituted in its place.”

"Copy of the First Consul's answer to my Memoire of 13th Nivoze, delivered to me 27th Nivoze :

“ The First Consul has read with the most particular attention the memorial addressed to him by Mr. Emmet on the 13th Nivoze.

“He wishes that the United Irishmen should be fully convinced that it is his intention to ensure the independence of Ireland, and to give full and effective protection to all of them that will take part in the expedition, or that will unite with the French forces.

The French government can issue no proclamation until a landing shall have been made on the Irish territory. But the general who is to command the expedition, will be furnished with sealed letters by which the First Consul will declare that he will make no peace with England, without stipulating for the independence of Ireland upon condition, however, that the army shall have been joined by a considerable body of United Irishmen.

Ireland shall be treated in every thing just as America was treated in the late war.

Every person who will embark with the French army destined for the expedition, will be commissioned as a Frenchman, and if he be arrested and not treated as a prisoner of war, reprisals will be made upon the English prisoners.

Every corps formed in the name of the United Irishmen, shall be considered as forming a part of the French army.

In fine, should the expedition be unsuccessful and the Irish be

* Republique Irlandaise.

obliged to return to France, France will maintain a certain number of Irish brigades, and will grant pensions to every person that shall have formed one of the government or authority of the country.

The pensions shall be assimilated to those granted in France to titular officers of corresponding ranks or employments, who are not on active service.

The First Consul desires that a committee be formed of the United Irishmen. He sees nothing improper in having the members of this committee issue proclamations to inform their countrymen of the state of affairs.

These proclamations shall be inserted in the Argus and in the various European Journals, in order that the Irish may be enlightened upon the course they are to pursue, and the hopes they are to entertain.

If the committee will make a recapitulation of the acts of tyranny perpetrated upon Ireland by the English government, the same shall be inserted in the Moniteur

It was in consequence of this answer from the First Consul, and under the full conviction that an invasion of Ireland was shortly to take place, that Dr. Macneven wrote a proclamation, which was found among his papers, from which the following passages are extracted :

“Friends and Countrymen—The hour of your emancipation is at length arrived. We announce to you allies and arms, which will enable you to throw off the English yoke. An auxiliary force of - thousand of those illustrious warriors, who have repeatedly triumphed over our enemies, with arms to equip

thousand Irishmen, as valiant as even those warriors. These are the ample means that are offered to you for redressing the wrongs, and asserting the independence of your country. United brethren, who have maintained, even in servitude, the dignity of freemen, by gallant, though unsuccessful, struggle, against the tyranny of George III., we do not at this day presume to inflame your valour. Could courage alone give independence to your country, you would long since have made it free ; but, when virtue was unavailing to break its fetters, it was, at least, preserved, by your magnanimous daring, from dishonour. Placed in the dreadful alternative of

« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »