Saturday, 14 July 2012

14th July 1812: General Maitland suggests a pardon for oath-takers to the Home Secretary

Buxton 14th July

My dear Lord.

I have written to Becket, on the Subject of the French Prisoners, and I am sure you will be good enough to excuse the liberty I have taken.—

In respect to the Measure before Parliament, it will do much upon the occasion, but it has occurred to me, possibly as salutary a Measure as any towards the thing itself, (and to prove the disposition of His Majesty's Government in a most complete manner to avoid all harshness of every kind): would be; If Power were granted to the Prince Regent of pardoning by Proclamation all those who have merely taken an illegal Oath, without being Guilty of any other Offence, upon their coming in and stating it.—

Such a Measure would give the Misguided an Opportunity of coming back, and if not taken advantage of, would shew in the clearest Colours, the Character of their whole Proceedings, it would constitute the whole thing into a mixture of firmness and conciliation, and I apprehend should further Measures unfortunately be necessary, would lay the best foundation for any Application to Parliament.—

In this Opinion I may possibly be wrong, but I am sure Your Lordship will at all events not attribute the suggestion to any improper Motive.—

I remain [etc]

T Maitland

[To] Rt Honble
Lord Visct. Sidmouth
&c &c &c

This letter can be found at HO 42/125.

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