I have read with astonishment the petitions which you hand me.
It is impossible you can be ignorant of the conversation which passed with Mr. Wood. I cannot therefore with this feeling but express my Indignation that you shod attempt to foist upon me a Document which cou’d have no other effect than to [commit] my Character and in no degree benefit the Prisrs.
Can you reasonably think that the [ends] of Justice can be answered or the peace of the Country reestablished until the unhappy Prisoners either in their persons shall have intoned further crimes or by a full disclosure of their Guilt and all the circumstances connected with it shall entitle themselves to a hope that the Door of mercy may be opened to them
I can have none other than fulness of compassion for the unfortunate & misguided Men & I deplore as much as any man their Delusion but a sense of Duty only having guided me up to the present moment I cannot step out of that Line by interfering with the course of Justice until after the most satisfactory disclosure — you will then find be ready to aid you in the best manner I am able
I cannot enclosing this avoid sayg that the salvation of each of the Prisoners of his Innocence (after such a Trial as they had) was most ungracious and I do think the form of the present application indicates clearly enough a wish to affix upon me and odium as the prosecutor by a refusal to join in the petition which is unwarranted & to be reprobated
When such Circumstances may occur or may enable me to step forward as a Petitioner you will find me the foremost to address my humble prayers to his Roy Highness the mercy
Your obt St
I have Sent a Copy of this & the Petition to Mr Hobhouse who will hold it at yr Disposal
This letter can be found at HO 42/132.