Montreal, New Prison, February 15, 1839, 5 hours a.m.
Chevalier de Lorimier wrote the following at 5:00 in the morning, just a few hours before his execution. It was written in answer to a friend’s request for a note from him for her album.
A Letter to a friend
You would like me, Madame, to write a word in your album. I ask you: What can I write? Am I to abandon my soul to feelings of regret? To sad thoughts? You would say that these aren’t sentiments worthy of a man who will die for his country’s freedom. In order to move you, should I tell you of all that I've suffered in my cell since falling into the hands of my cruel enemies? This, as I just said, would be little worthy of the position I occupy in the world. You have visited me in these dark cells, where the sun’s rays are unknown to the poor victims of English tyranny. It’s unnecessary to either speak or write in order to make understood the most miserable state to which human nature can be reduced.
Shall I tell you of all the respect I have for you, when you've already had so much proof of this? Nevertheless, it would be shameful on my part not to fulfill your wish. Allow me then, dear Madame, to ask one favor of you, and that’s that you keep a place for me in your thoughts once the terrible hour of sacrifice has passed. You will still be here after I have gone.
In four hours I will die on the scaffold built by the enemies of our dear country. Oh, what enchanting words I just spoke: “My country!” Oh, my country! It is to you that I offer my blood, as the greatest and the last sacrifice that I can make to deliver you from the odious yoke of your treacherous enemies. May the All-Powerful accept my bloody sacrifice! You will see better days.
This deep-felt conviction, and the hope that you, Madame, your husband and my friends will think of me from time to time when I will be no more, will be a source of consolation and strength for me in agony’s final tortures. The great cause for which I am about to suffer will triumph.
Adieu, Madame! Let you and your husband be happy: you both deserve it. This is the wish of a man who, in a few hours, will have sacrificed his life for the salvation of his unfortunate country, and for the freedom that he prefers to life. I bid you adieu one more time.
Your unfortunate but sincere friend,
Chevalier de Lorimier
Source: L.-O. David, Les Patriotes, Éditions Lemeac, Montreal 1978 (original edition 1884);Translated: for marxists.org by Mitch Abidor.