Facts, from the "stubborn-things" store, are here retailed and related -
contradiction is challenged from friend or foe. The observation on,
and induction from the facts, are here stamped with sincerity: I ask for no
other credit. I may be mistaken: I will not acknowledge the mistake
unless the contrary be proved.
When two boys are see-sawing on a plank, balanced on its centre, whilst
the world around them is "up" with the one it is "down" with the other.
The centre, however, is stationary. I was in the centre. I was an actor,
and therefore an eye-witness. The events I relate, I did see them pass
before me. The persons I speak of, I know them face to face. The words
I quote, I did hear them with my own ears. Others may know more or less
than I; I mean to tell all that I know, and nothing more.
Two reasons counsel me to undertake the task of publishing this work;
but a third reason is at the bottom of it, as the potent lever; and they are -
1st. An honourable ambition urging me to have my name remembered among
the illustrious of Rome. I have, on reaching the fortieth year of my age,
to publish a work at which I have been plodding the past eighteen years.
An ocean of grief would overwhelm me if then I had to vindicate my character:
how, under the hospitality of the British flag, I was put in the felon's dock
of a British Supreme Court to be tried for high treason.