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vate her resources, either for own benefit, or even for that of her masters.
I shall close this preface with a single remark. The only liberties which I have taken with the following memoirs in preparing them for the press, were to suppress a few passages relative to family affairs, which concern nobody, and the account of some early amours, which my father, though a little wild in his youth, was too much of a gentleman to have allowed to appear, and which it would ill become his son to revive at this day.
THEOBALD WOLFE TONE,
PREVIOUS TO HIS MISSION TO FRANCE.
WRITTEN BY HIMSELF.
“ Nil Desperandum."
PARIS, August 7, 1796. As I shall embark in a business, within a few days, the event of which is uncertain, I take the opportunity of a vacant hour, to throw on paper a few memorandums, relative to myself and my family, which may amuse my boys, for whom I write them, in case they should hereafter fall into their hands.
I was born in the city of Dublin, on the 20th of June, 1763. My grandfather was a respectable farmer near Naas, in the county of Kildare. Being killed by a fall off a stack of his own corn, in the year 1766, his property, being freehold leases, descended to my father, his eldest son, who was, at that time, in successful business as a coachmaker. He set, in consequence, the lands which came thus into his possession, to his youngest brother, which, eventually, was the cause of much litigation between them, and ended in a decree of the Court of Chancery, that utterly ruined my father; but of that hereafter. My mother, whose name was Lamport, was the daughter of a captain of a vessel in the West India trade, who, by many anecdotes which she has told me of him, was a great original; she had a brother who was an excellent seaman, and served as first lieutenant on board of the Buckingham, commanded by Admiral Tyrrel, a distinguished officer in the British service.
I was their eldest son; but, before I come to my history, I must say a few words of my brothers. William, who was born in August, 1764, was intended for business, and was, in consequence, bound apprentice, at the age of fourteen, to an eminent bookseller. With him he read over all the voyages he could find, with which, and some military history, he heated an imagination naturally warm and enthusiastic, so much, that, at the age of sixteen, he ran off to London, and entered, as a volunteer, in the East India Company's service ; but his first essay was very unlucky; for, instead of finding his way out to India, he was stopped at the Island of St. Helena, on which barren rock he remained in garrison for six years, when, his time being expired, he returned to Europe. It is highly to his honor, that, though he entered into such execrable society as the troops in the Company's service must be supposed to be, and at such an early age, he passed through them without being affected by the contagion of their manners or their principles. He even found means, in that degraded situation and remote spot, to cultivate bis mind to a certain degree, so that I was much surprised, at our meeting in London, after a separation of, I believe, eight years, to find him with the manners of a gentleman, and a considerable acquaintance with the best parts of English literature : he had a natural turn for poetry, which he had much improved, and I have among my papers a volume of his poems, all of them pretty, and some of them elegant. He was a handsome, well made lad, with a very good address, and extremely well received among the women, whom he loved to excess. He was as brave as Cæsar, and loved the army. It was impossible for two men to entertain a more sincere, and, I may say, enthusiastic affection for each other, than le and I; and, at this hour, there is scarcely any thing on earth I regret so much as our separation. Having remained in Europe for three or four years, my father being, as I have above alluded to, utterly ruined by a lawsuit with his brother, Will. took the resolution to try his fortune once more in India, from which, my own affairs being nearly desperate, I did not attempt to dissuade him. In consequence, he re-entered the Company's service in the beginning of the year 1792, and arrived at Madras towards the end of the same year. With an advantageous figure, a good address, and the talents I have
described, he recommended himself so far to the colonel of the battalion in which he served, that he gave him his discharge, with letters to his friends at Calcutta, and a small military command, which defrayed the expense of his voyage, and procured him a gratification from the Company of £50 sterling for his good behavior on his arrival. The service he performed was quelling, at some hazard, a dangerous mutiny which arose among the black troops who were under his command, and had formed a scheme to run away with the ship. He had the good fortune to recommend himself so far to the persons at Calcutta to whom he had brought letters, that they introduced him, with strong recommendations, to a Mr. Marigny, a French officer, second in command in the army of the Nizam, who was then at Calcutta, purchasing military stores for that prince. Marigny, in consequence, gave him a commission in the Nizam's service, and promised him the command of a battalion of artillery, (the service to which he was attached,) as soon as they should arrive at the army. The stores, &c. being purchased, Will marched with the first division, of which he had the command, and arrived safely at the Nizam's camp. After some time, Marigny followed him, but, by an unforeseen accident, all my brother's expectations were blown up. A quarrel took place between Marigny and the Frenchman first in command, in which my brother, with an honorable indiscretion, engaged on the side of his friend. The consequence was, that Marigny was put in irons, as would have been Will also, if he had not applied for protection as a British subject to the English Resident at the Nizam's court. This circumstance, together with the breaking out of the war between England and France. utterly put an end to all prospects of his advancement, as all the European officers in the Nizam's service were French, and he determined, in consequence, to return to Calcutta. On his journey, having travelled four hundred miles, and having yet two hundred to travel, he alighted off his horse, · and went to shoot in a jungle, or thick wood, by the road side; on his return, he found his servant and horses in the hands of five ruflians who were plundering his baggage; lie immediately ran up and fired on them, by which he shot one of them in the belly ; another returned the fire with one of his own pistols, which they had seized, and shot him through the foot; they then