LETTER FROM MR. MILLER, LATE FROM
VAN DIEMAN'S LAND
To the Editor of the Express:
GENTLEMEN--Having once more set foot on the shore of my native land, after a painful exile of many years, I hasten to perform a promise which I made to my unfortunate comrades on taking leave of them in Van Dieman’s Land on September last ---to make their situation known in a country, under whose institutions they claim a birthright, and which I trust they have in no wise disregarded.
Most of them through the kind intercession of the American Government, had been pardoned when I left, and I have every reason to hope that all are now free. Yet after many long years of physical and mental suffering, the extent and intensity of which no language can describe, these men are not (unclear) at liberty in the PENAL COLONY of a foreign land 16,000 miles from home, without any means of returning to their friends, and the country which they still remember and venerate as their own. Many of them are in want of proper food and clothing. They are willing and anxious to labor, but, owing to the distressed state of the colony, are seldom able to find employment. An American vessel rarely touches at Hobartown, and then only serving to remind them of home.
It ought to be borne in mind that, while they have been suffering in exile, many of the principal leaders, who were instrumental in getting up the rebellion, have been rewarded by the British Government with places of honor and trust in Canada. It also appears, from the best legal advice which can be obtained in V.D.I., that the detention of the whole party, since the moment of their first landing, has been an illegal assumption of power on the part of the local authorities; and an action for damages is now pending in the Supreme Court of the colony, the heads of which have shown a disposition, as far as possible, to delay its issue. I will add, that the conduct of the party has generally been such, as to gain them the respect and esteem of the most respectable inhabitants of the colony, not excepting those in authority.
Under these circumstances, may I not hope that means may be taken to hasten their return. They already feel very thankful to the Government of their own country, for its intercession in their behalf in respect of their pardon. Can there be any impropriety in that Government assisting them home where they will have an opportunity to express their gratitude; and may I not hope, gentlemen, that you will use your influence in forwarding so charitable an object? The following is a list of the names of those who were in Van Dieman’s Land on the 25 of September.
The last three listed were tried as British subjects.
Twenty-seven left in January, 1845, on the United States sailing vessel “Steighlitz” for the Sandwich Islands, where they arrived safely in May --- but there was no United States vessel there homeward bound, at that time.
Twelve have died, some of them, I am sorry to say, in consequence of the severity of their sufferings. Their names are,
I am, gentlemen, yours, &c.
L. M. MILLER.
NEW YORK, January 28.
Our Government has manifested a criminal indifference towards these unfortunate Exiles. -- They were deluded into Canada, it is true, but their offence was not such an one as should have shut them out from the sympathy of their country. A vessel should be dispatched to bring them home. They have expiated, severely, the error which consigned them to many years of banishment and suffering.Index of All Patriot War Articles
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