Page:The Irish in Australia.djvu/227

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213
FOUR OF THE FAMILY.

gards Mr. McManus, there could be no question of parole, as he had escaped when in custody, and when a writ of Habeas Corpus had been issued to bring him before a judge. There are thus no grounds whatever for the imputations cast on my fellow-prisoners, or for the compliments paid to myself." In his "Jail Journal," Mitchel has told the full story of his escape, of the galling disappointments he had to endure, and the numerous perils he had to evade, before he could contrive to get clear of his island prison. Meagher's flight from captivity was a more lucky, neat, and expeditious performance. In his own vindication he supplied the New York Herald (June 6, 1852) with the facts in these terms:

"In consequence of some misstatements regarding my escape which I have just seen in two or three of the European newspapers, and which appear to have been copied from an Australian paper, I think it right to set the true facts before the American public, to whom alone I now hold myself responsible. The remarkable kindness I have received from the press and the public generally, ever since my arrival in this noble country, and the anxiety I feel to have it understood that I am not deficient in the honourable spirit which qualifies a stranger to become its citizen, compel me to break the silence which no act or word on the part of my enemies could disturb. The facts are these: In the month of April, 1801, I was called upon to renew my parole. I did so in writing in the following words: 'I hereby pledge my word of honour not to leave the colony so long as I hold a ticket-of-leave.' I handed this pledge to the police magistrate in the open court. Any one can see it who wishes to refer to it. Towards the end of December, the same year, I came to the determination of attempting my escape. Accordingly on January 3rd last I sent the following letter to