Page images
PDF
EPUB

him to the measures he had adopted *. Having thus far obtained from all parties the most correct information upon the affairs of the island, and having understood from Mr. Jorgensen himself how he was situated with regard to England, Captain Jones considered himself called upon by his official situation to interfere in a business in which the honor of his country appeared to him to be implicated, and he accordingly issued orders that the new Icelandic flag should be taken down; that Mr. Phelps should no longer leave the command of the island in the hands of Mr. Jorgensen, but should, till the will of the British government could be known, either restore the former authorities, or commit the supreme command to some of the most respectable among the inhabitants; that the battery should be destroyed, and the guns taken off the island; that the natives

* A copy of Captain Jones' letter to Mr. Phelps, and the reply of the latter, which contains a more detailed account of what transpired at this time than I have thought necessary to insert in the narrative, will be found in the Appendix B., Nos. 6 and 7. No. S of the same Appendix is the copy of a letter from Captain Jones to Admiral Sir Edmund Neagle, explaining in few words his motives for having interfered in the manner he did. should be no longer trained to the use of arms; that an account of the proceedings should be prepared and dispatched to the British government; and that Mr. Jorgensen and Count Tramp should be forthwith sent to England.

These conditions were accordingly complied with, and an agreement* concluded between Captain Jones and Mr. Phelps on one part, and the Etatsroed Stephensen and the Amptman his brother on the other, in which it was stipulated, that the latter gentlemen, being the next in rank to Count Tramp, should take upon them the government of the island, and be responsible for the persons and property of British subjects. Mr. Phelps, therefore, together with Count Tramp and Lieutenant Stewart of the Talbot (the latter charged with dispatches from Captain Jones) embarked in the Margaret and Anne, and Mr. Jorgensen in the Orion, for England. On the third day of the voyage, however, the Danish prisoners, as is detailed in the journal, set fire to the Margaret and

* See Appendix B., No. 9.

Anne; in consequence of which she was entirely consumed; but the passengers and" crew, having been providentially saved by the Orion, returned on the 29th of August to Reikevig, where no other alteration in affairs took place, except that Mr. Phelps and Mr. Jorgensen* with Lieutenant Stewart

* Having thus brought to a conclusion that part of the narrative in which Mr. Jorgensen has been concerned, it may be interesting to some of my readers to know what has since happened to him, and what punishment he has suffered for having unguardedly broken his parole. On arriving in town he took up his abode in his accustomed lodgings at the Spread-Eagle Inn, Gracechurch-street, where, so far from wishing to remain in concealment, he received letters addressed to him without disguise, and even wrote to the Admiralty, and presented himself before the lords commissioners of that court. No notice, however, was taken of what he had done by any of the public offices, until, from private resentment, information was given to the Transport Board that he had broken his parole, and it was farther, though falsely, added, that he had also secreted himself. He was consequently arrested, and confined in Tothill-fields Bridewell, whence he was removed to the usual dep6t of prisoners under a similar predicament, Chatham hulks. On board the Bahama, with frequently five and even seven hundred prisoners of the worst description in the same vessel, he was kept in close custody for a twelveembarked in the Orion for England, and Count Tramp with his Secretary, and a Dane, a Sysselman of Iceland, (who was considered a necessary witness to the count) were accommodated by Captain Jones in the Talbot.

month. During this interval his bitterest enemies, the Danes, had frequent opportunities of bringing forward charges against him, to which he had no opportunity of replying, but which tended materially to injure him.—He was, however, released from that rigorous confinement, and placed for a while in a comparative state of liberty, upon his parole at Reading; since which time he has been allowed to be fully at large; and here I will beg leave to close my short account of the transactions of this man, by a passage extracted from his manuscript narrative of the revolution of Iceland, which he employed himself in writing during the severity of his confinement.—" If there are any charges against me, let those people making them come forward in an open, fair and candid manner.—Let me see my accusers face to face, and how easily shall I confront them!—but this they dread, for truth must prevail. Where, in the name of God, is there any man in Iceland who can make a just complaint? Is any man injured in property or liberty? Is there any innocent blood crying vengeance against me? If I have shed that of a fellow creature, either in a just or unjust manner, let my head pay for it! If I have gained only one shilling at the public expence, let my right hand suffer for it! If I have enriched myself to the detriment of any one

On arriving in London Count Tramp gladly embraced the opportunity which presented itself of submitting to the undersecretary of state a full detail of all the events that had taken place in Iceland, connected with the late revolution, and a petition for the redress of such injuries as were therein stated to have been received by Danish merchants, or by the Danish government; for it must be remembered that not a single Icelander was injured either in person or property.

What reception these representations met with from our government I have never been able to learn. Certainly no public notice was ever taken of them. To prevent, however, future attacks upon the island from the owners of letters of marque who may be actuated by less honorable motives than

individual, let my left hand be cut off! If I have caused any one single person or more to be confined for being opposite in principles to me, let me feel the horrors of perpetual imprisonment myself! But, if I have done none of these, let me enjoy that liberty which I look upon as the only true good on earth. The British government has a power to crush; it has also a power to be merciful."

« PreviousContinue »