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in the paper :
of the Cabinet of Buonaparte,” abusing his former idol, and, in an especial manner, his old patron Talleyrand, and revealing many of the secrets of the prison-house of Buonaparte's press, and of the Canaille connected with it and Fouche's department, of whom Mr. Goldsmith's account is curious, as that of a competent witness, having an intimate acquaintance with his subject. Mr. Goldsmith, in his preface to his latter work, says—" he does not retract one syllable of the principles he displayed in his former work; he glories in them, and shall ever maintain them in the abstract. The question is, as to their application to circumstances as they arose.”
The new editor of the “Argus," on the dismissal of Mr. Goldsmith, published the following notice of that occurrence
-“ Sometime ago an English paper was established here, entitled the 'Argus. The editor was a disaffected man ; and, not having ceased to insert libels against his king and country, the French government have thought proper to prevent his continuing to be the editor of that paper.”
Mr. Goldsmith states, that he was turned out of his French employment as editor of the “ Argus," because he refused to insert articles that were libels on the King of England and the Princes. He admits, however, that, as editor of the “ Argus,” after resisting for some time, he did admit articles into that paper, two in particular, which he observed to Mr. Talleyrand were sufficient grounds for the British government to declare war against France; to which the other (Talleyrand) replied—"je suis de votre avis c'est une chose a desirer meme en ce moment."
One of these, “a most virulent article, was sent from Talleyrand's office, asserting in plain terms that Irishmen owed no allegiance to the King of Great Britain," which article, he states, was written by Mr. Russell.
The other article was written by an Italian of the name of Badini, the object of which was to excite a mutiny in our
Badini, he says, had been more than forty years in * It would seem that the efforts of Mons. Badini, or of some other such person, were not unsuccessful in inveigling unfortunate men into their designs. January 12, 1802, thirteen mutineers of Admiral Campbell's squadron were tried and sentenced to death. On the 15th of the same month six were executed at Portmouth. On the 16th six more were sentenced to death, and five executed. On the 19th, five more were executed at Portsmouth.
England engaged in newspapers, and when sent out of England, under the Alien Act, was in the pay of France at the time, and was editor of Bell's Weekly Messenger.
Mr. Lewis Goldsmith, at page 270 of his work, in the correspondence between the two governments, says, “it appears that France proposed to the ministers of England that if they would send Georges, and the other French emigrants, who are enemies to France, out of this country, the French would offer a reciprocity !!! Now, what does the reciprocity mean but to deliver up all the United Irishmen in the same manner that he did the Italians." The fact stated by Mr. Goldsmith is perfectly true ; Robert Emmet's information to his brother on this subject was not erroneous.
Mr. Goldsmith states, that numerous spies and agents of Buonaparte were sent over to England, but that “the mission of Colonel Beauvoisin was the most important of all. He was sent over to engage persons to assassinate his Majesty, and to organize a plan for the destruction of our naval arsenals at Portsmouth and Plymouth. He was also sent to 'surveiller the Count d'Artois, who then resided at Edinburgh. That Colonel Beauvoisin had frequent conferences with Despard. I am convinced he told it to Tallrin in my presence, and that Despard was urged to commit the crime of regicide, by Buonaparte, in times of profound peace, will never be doubted, after some facts which I can communicate on that subject. About three months before Despard was apprehended, I was sitting in a coffee-room with two English gentlemen, one of whom is now in London, (a Mr. J. Ft) ready to confirm this statement. The other is still in France, and therefore I cannot refer to him ; a Frenchman came up and told me, in the presence of those two gentlemen, that the French government had laid a plan to have the King of England assassinated, and that he was to be shot in the park. · When this man quitted us, I observed, that it would be proper to inform the British minister in Paris of what we had heard ; one of the gentlemen said he would communicate it to Mr. Fox, or to some of his friends, who were then in Paris, with whom he was intimate. I do not know that he did make such communication, but, if he did, I am certain that it was disregarded, as those gentlemen, from the magnanimity of their own nature, could not suppose that a man placed in the high situation of
Napoleon Buonaparte could instigate or promote assassination.”
When the news arrived in Paris of Despard having been apprehended, Mr. Goldsmith says he was sent for by Talleyrand late in the evening, (it was on the evening when the paper was to be published.)* Mr. Talleyrand appeared very much agitated, and asked him if he had heard any news. He replied he had not. Talleyrand then went into an inner room, and brought out a packet of English newspapers ; he gave the editor one, and pointed out the article which gave the particulars of Despard's apprehension. Talleyrand was visibly agita
he asked the editor if he knew Despard, “si c'etoit un homme sur, and if he was intimate with -.” The editor observed that he knew very little indeed of him, and, so far from being un homme sur,” he was in general regarded as a madman by those who knew him.
“It was past midnight when the editor left him ; at five in the morning Talleyrand sent his carriage for him, and the editor learned from the servants that the minister had just returned from St. Cloud. When the editor saw le citoyen minister, he gave him an article, tout fait, for insertion, which ran thus :-'All Paris, and the First Consul in particular, learned with horror and indignation, the atrocious attempt which has been made upon the life of his Britannic Majesty, by a desperate Jacobin of the name of Despard. The feelings manifested on this occasion by the First Consul were very different to those expressed by the King of England, when he heard it rumoured that General Buonaparte had been assassinated in Egypt." The next day Colonel Despard's character was vilified in all the minor French papers.
February 7, 1803, Colonel Despard was tried at the Surrey Assizes, before Lord Ellenborough, on a charge of high treason, conspiring to assassinate the King, &c.
When the names of the jury were called over, Colonel Despard rose, and "begged that the court would grant him permission to say a few words, in order to do away from the minds of the jurors with any unfavourable impressions which might have been made upon them by those vile publications which, at various times since his arrest, had appeared against his character.” The Lord Chief Justice interposed, and said that was not the
* The Cabinet of Buonaparte, p. 253 to 265.
proper time to urge anything material to his defence. Colonel Despard replied, "I am sorry for it, my Lord.”
Mr. Serjeant Best and Mr. Gurney addressed the jury on the part of the prisoner. No evidence was brought forward to contradict the crown witnesses ; but to the character of the prisoner, Lord Nelson, Sir Alured Clerk, George Long, Esq., and Sir Evan Nepeau, appeared, and each of them gave the highest character it was possible for men to give, relative to the conduct, courage, and military talents of the prisoner, at the period of the acquaintance of each with Colonel Despard in foreign countries.
The prisoner, on being asked if he had any thing to add to what had been said by his counsel, said, “his counsel had acquitted themselves so entirely to his satisfaction, he had no wish to say any thing.”
After the Solicitor-General had replied on the part of the crown, the Chief Justice charged the jury. His lordship observed, that it was admitted that a traitorous conspiracy did exist ; but it was denied that it was the prisoner's. The principal evidence, was that of accomplices who had become approvers. It was for the jury to consider its value, and the corroboration of it by other witnesses.
The jury withdrew for about half an hour, and on their return, the foreman pronounced the prisoner “Guilty," adding, " but we most earnestly recommend the prisoner to mercy, on account of his former good character, and the services he has rendered his country." Colonel Despard heard the fatal verdict pronounced with the utmost composure and firmness.
On the 9th of February, twelve of the persons arrested on the 16th November, 1802, were tried, and nine of them were found guilty, and sentenced to death. When Colonel Despard was asked, if he had any thing to say, why sentence of death should not be passed upon him ? he said, “My lord, I have only to say, that after the charge was brought against me, of which I have not the most distant idea ; and since my committal, I have had no time to consult my solicitor on the means of refuting that charge, or of destroying the credit of the witnesses produced. I have, therefore, nothing to say now, but what I said when first brought to the bar, that I am not guilty.”
At the conclusion of the address of the Chief Justice,
Colonel Despard said,—“I beg to say a few words, in consequence of something that has fallen from his lordship. The seduction of the unhappy men involved in my fate, has been imputed to me ; but I do not conceive, that any thing appeared in the course of the trial, or evidence, to justify such an imputation."
The warrant for the execution of Colonel Despard and six of his associates, reached the governor of the new prison in the Borough, on the 19th of February. Colonel Despard received the dreadful intelligence with his wonted firmness. He had entertained some expectation of mercy, and manifested a momentary disappointment. He said—“The time was short.”
Mrs. Despard* had been constantly with her husband from the time of his conviction.
The following morning, at eight o'clock, the prisoners were brought from their cells, and one after the other drawn in a hurdle, across the court-yard of the prison. They were then conducted to the scaffold, which had been constructed, as to admit of having the seven prisoners placed in a line, and executed at the same moment. A few minutes before the execution took place, Colonel Despard came forward in front of the scaffold, and addressed the multitude assembled, in these words :
" Fellow citizens, I came here, as you see, after having served my country; faithfully, honourably, and usefully served it, for thirty years and upwards, to suffer death upon a scaffold, for a crime, of which I protest I am not guilty. I solemnly declare, that I am no more guilty of it, than any of you who may be now hearing me. But, though his Majesty's ministers know, as well as I do, that I am not guilty, yet, they avail themselves of a legal pretext to destroy a man, because he has been a friend to truth, to liberty, and to justice-(there was loud cheering from the populace)—because he had been a friend to the poor and the oppressed. But, citizens, I hope and trust, notwithstanding my fate, and the fate of those who, no doubt, will soon follow me, that the principles of freedom, of humanity, and of justice, will finally triumph over falsehood,
* She was a Spanish creole, a remarkably fine woman, and much younger than her hushand, who then appeared to be about sixty years of age. I was afterwards able to afford her an asylum from destitution. She lived in my family at Lyons for some years.--Lord Cloncurry,