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INCONVENIENCES RESULTING FROM
To the Editor of the Reflector. SIR, I am one of those unhappy persons whose misfortunes, it seems, do not entitle them to the benefit of pure pity. All that is bestowed upon me of that kindest alleviator of human miseries, comes dashed with a double portion of contempt. My griefs have nothing in them that is felt as sacred by the bystanders. Yet is my affliction in truth of the deepest grain. The heaviest task that was ever given to mortal patience to sustain. Time, that wears out all other sorrows, can never modify or soften mine. Here they must continue to gnaw, as long as that fatal mark
Why was I ever born? Why was innocence in my person suffered to be branded with a stain which was appointed only for the blackest guilt? What had I done, or my parents, that a disgrace of mine should involve a whole posterity in infamy? I am almost tempted to believe, that, in some pre-existent state, crimes to which this sublunary life of mine hath been as much a stranger as the babe that is newly born into it, have drawn down upon me this vengeance, so disproportionate to my actions on this globe.
My brain sickens, and my bosom labours to be delivered of the weight that presses upon it, yet my conscious pen shrinks from the avowal. But out it must
0, Mr. Reflector! guess at the wretch's misery who now writes this to you, when, with tears and burning blushes, he is obliged to confess, that he has been
Methinks I hear an involuntary exclamation burst from you, as your imagination presents to you fearful images of your correspondent unknown,-hanged !
Fear not, Mr. Editor. No disembodied spirit has the honour of addressing you. I am flesh
and blood, an unfortunate system of bones, muscles, sinews, arteries, like yourself.
Then, I presume, you mean to be pleasant-That expression of yours, Mr. Correspondent, must be taken somehow in a metaphorical sense
In the plainest sense, without trope or figureYes, Mr. Editor ! this neck of mine has felt the fatal noose,—these hands have tremblingly held up the corroborative prayer-book,—these lips have sucked the moisture of the last consolatory orange,—this tongue has chaunted the doleful cantata which no performer was ever called upon to repeat,--this face has had the veiling nightcap drawn over it
But for no crime of mine.-Far be it from me to arraign the justice of my country, which, though tardy, did at length recognise my inno
It is not for me to reflect upon judge or jury, now that eleven years have elapsed since the erroneous sentence was pronounced. Men will always be fallible, and perhaps circumstances did appear at the time a little strong
Suffice it to say, that after hanging four minutes, (as the spectators were pleased to compute it,-a man that is being strangled, I know from experience, has altogether a different measure of
time from his friends who are breathing leisurely about him,- I suppose the minutes lengthen as time approaches eternity, in the same manner as the miles get longer as you travel northward-), after hanging four minutes, according to the best calculation of the bystanders, a reprieve came, and I was cut down-
Really I am ashamed of deforming your pages with these technical phrases—if I knew how to express my meaning shorter
But to proceed.--My first care after I had been brought to myself by the usual methods, (those methods that are so interesting to the operator and his assistants, who are pretty numerous on such occasions,—but which no patient was ever desirous of undergoing a second time for the benefit of science), my first care was to provide myself with an enormous stock or cravat to hide the place you understand me ;- my next care was to procure a residence as distant as possible from that part of the country where I had suffered. For that reason I chose the metropolis, as the place where wounded honour (I had been told) could lurk with the least danger of exciting enquiry, and stigmatised innocence had the best chance of hiding her disgrace in a crowd. I sought out a new circle of acquaintance, and my circumstances happily enabling me to pursue my fancy in that respect, I endeavoured, by mingling in all the pleasures which the town affords, to efface the memory of what I had undergone.
But alas ! such is the portentous and all-pervading chain of connection which links together the head and members of this great community, my scheme of lying perdu was defeated almost at the outset. A countryman of mine, whom a foolish law-suit had brought to town, by chance met me, and the secret was soon blazoned about.
In a short time, I found myself deserted by most of those who had been my intimate friends, Not that any guilt was supposed to attach to my character. My officious countryman, to do him justice, had been candid enough to explain my perfect innocence. But, somehow or other, there is a want of strong virtue in mankind. We have plenty of the softer instincts, but the heroic character is gone. How else can I account for it, that of all my numerous acquaintance, among whom I had the honour of ranking sundry persons of education, talents, and worth, scarcely