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rals Buonaparte and Kilmaine, and during the months of Octo-
organize the third expedition for the liberation of Ireland 449
Part III. Containing the services and campaigns of Lieutenant Wil-
liam Theobald Wolfe Tone, (the Editor,) Aid-de-Camp, and
Member of the Legion of Honor, in the French Army
April 20, 1813
gust 10, 1813
24; battles of Læwenberg, Goldberg, Dresden; affair of Muhl.
berg ; battle of Leipzick, and retreat to Erfurt
BY THE EDITOR.
IN publishing the life, works, and memoirs of my father, I owe some account of the motives which engaged me to delay their appearance to the present day, and to produce them at this moment. These memoirs were never destined for the public ; they were written for one or two friends, now no more, and for his family, of which my mother and myself are now the sole survivors. His pen, which always flowed with light and easy grace, was, of course, allowed to run in these careless memorandums with the utmost effusion and abandon of soul; they exhibit his every passing feeling on every occasion, and are sometimes as severe on the failings and weaknesses of his own party, and of those to whom he was most warmly and sincerely attached, and for whom he sacrificed the brilliant prospects of his youth, and, at length, his life, as on their adversaries. Of course, whilst the interests in which he was engaged were yet alive, numbers, and some of them unsuspected at the time, might have been dangerously compromised, or seriously hurt, by this publication. In his latter days, when he anticipated, with the deepest despondency, the probable fail. ure of his hopes, he used sometimes to exclaim, “Thank God! no man has ever been compromised by me.” Young as I was at the time, I was brought up by my surviving parent in all the principles and in all the feelings of my father. .
But, now, one quarter of a century is more than elapsed, and repeated revolutions have altered the political face of the world. The founder of the United Irish Society, the first of his countrymen who called on the people to unite, without discrimination of faith, for the independence of their country, has sealed, with his blood, the principles which he professed. His contemporaries, the men with whom he thought and acted,
are mostly sunk in the grave; those who survive, are either retired from public life, or engaged in different pursuits; the very government against which he struggled, exists no more ; and the country whose liberty he sought to establish, has lost even that shadow of a national administration, and has sunk into a province of England. I cannot think that the publication of these memoirs, at the present day, can injure the prospects, or endanger the peace of any living being. His few surviving friends, and even his opponents, can only look on those relics with feelings of fond recollection, for one of the most amiable, affectionate, and gentle-hearted of men—a man of the purest and sincerest principles and patriotism, (whatever may be deemed, according to the reader's opinions, of the soundness of his views,) and of the most splendid talents. It is, besides, a tribute which I owe to his memory, and a sacred duty, believing, as I do, that, in the eyes of impartial and uninterested posterity, they will be honorable to his character; that they throw a most interesting light on the political situation and history of Ireland, and that even yet, and in its present state, the views which they contain, may be of some use to that country for which lie died, and for which, though an exile from my infancy, I must ever feel the interest due to my native land.
Another motive which has determined me to bring out this work at present, is the late publication of some fragments of it, (an auto-biography of my father) in the London New Monthly Magazine, a publication entirely unexpected by me, as I have never had any acquaintance or correspondence with the Editors of that paper. As I possess, and now republish, the original manuscript from whence they are taken, I must do these gentlemen the justice to give my testimony in favor of their accuracy, and, with the exception of a few trifling mistakes, very pardonable at such a distance of time, and which shall be rectified in the present work, to thank them for the liberality of their comments and observations. The character of these notes, and the very appearance of this biographical sketch, at this time, and in England, convinces me that my father's name is not yet quite forgotten, and is still respected, even in the country of his adversaries. The amiability of his personal character, secured him, indeed, even during his life time, and amidst all the rancour of political animosity, the rare advan
tage of preserving the friendship of many valuable and illustrious individuals, who were opposed to him in principles. He scarcely had a personal enemy, unless, perhaps, we except the Chancellor Fitzgibbon, (Lord Clare) and the Son. George Ponsonby, who agreed in this point alone. His sirit could never stoop to the petulant insolence of the one, nor to the haughty dullness of the other. But I have never seen his name mentioned in any history of the times without respect and regret. I cannot, therefore, believe that even the most zealous partizans of the British Government would have the weakness at this time and distance, to feel any objection to the publication of these writings.
Although the character of Tone, and his political princi. ples, will be best developed in his own works, yet his son may be allowed to give way to some of his feelings on this subject. His image is yet blended with the recollections of my infancy. To the soundest judgment and most acute penetration in serious business, he joined a most simple and unaffected modesty, and the most perfect disinterestedness; no human breast could be more free from the meaner passions, envy, jealousy. avarice, cupidity; and often oblivious of himself, he delighted in the fame and glory of others. Injuries he easily forgot; kindness, never. Though his constitution was nervous and sensitive to a very high degree, he was naturally of a most cheerful temper, and confiding, unsuspicious, and affectionate heart. Indeed, few men have enjoyed so completely the happiness of love ing and of being beloved. His wife and family he perfectly adored ; and the circle of his intimate friends, of those who were really and devotedly attached to him, comprised men of the most opposite parties and descriptions. His character was tinged with a vein of chivalry and romance; and lively, polite, and accomplished, his youth was not entirely free from some imprudence and wildness. He was fond of pleasure, as well as of glory, but the latter feeling was always, in him, subservient to principle, and his pleasures were pure and elegant, those of a simple taste and brilliant fancy and imagination, music, literature, field sports, and elegant society and conversation, especially that of amiable and accomplished women, with whom he was a universal favorite. His musical and literary taste was of the most cultivated delicacy, and the charms of his conversa