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Title: John Mitchel, New York, U.S.A., To Miss Thomson, [Dublin?].
CollectionIrish Emigration Database
FileMitchel, John/12
SenderMitchel, John
Sender Gendermale
Sender Occupationunknown
Sender ReligionProtestant
OriginNew York, USA
DestinationDublin, Ireland
RecipientMiss Thomson
Recipient Genderfemale
Relationshipfriends, relatives?
SourceT 413/4: Obtained from Mrs Florence Dawson, 26 Windsor Park, Belfast, Ireland.
ArchivePublic Record Office Northern Ireland.
Doc. No.8816022
Partial Date
Doc. TypeEMG
Log21:09:1988 GC created 29:11:1988 PG input 19:01:19
Word Count755
TranscriptNew York
24th April 1854.

My dear Miss Thomson,
Why did you not send the first letter you had written, (which on
reperusal you say you destroyed) for indeed I should have been glad to
see your spontaneous & Original impression of my dreadful slaveholding sins
even though they had looked somewhat austers. This letter you have
dispatched, though modified is hard enough. And perfectly assured as I am
that you (& the majority of the civilized nineteenth century world) are
altogether wrong on the whole question, & I absolutely right on it, yet
I do assure you that no mark of disapprobation or dissent that has yet been
shown me - & I have had a good many that has had even a momentary effect
upon me, except this from you.
However believe me the representations of Slave-life in Uncle Tom's
Cabin (that very clever book) are not true - are very unlike the truth -
& that Southerns are just as far from the love & practice of cruelty as our
abolition northern - and in my opinion a good deal more. To enter into
proofs of this would be tedious - so I content myself with stating it for
the present. Now I don't feel myself called on to defend myself, in a
letter to you, against a charge which you do not make & which I
believe it never entered into your mind to make - but which our
Abolition Lecturers here urge very confidently; that I uttered the
sentiments I did utter in order to court Southern favour or for some other
base and mean purpose. You give that up.
We were very glad at all events to see your letter. Write again, even
if you think it right to criticise me sincerely. I am glad you find
anything to read with pleasure in the Jail Journal - but it seems
incomprehensible to me, when you say you "find it hard to reconcile my
sentiments". Does it not occur to you to inquire whether in other ages,
& even so late as the age of our fathers, those two sets of sentiments,
now called irreconcileiable, were not in fact constantly reconciled, &
whether people so much as suspected that there was any discrepancy to
reconcile. My dear lady, beware of the Nineteenth Century. And when
any of your taunting friends asks you again (as you say they do)
What do you think of Ireland's emancipation now? Wd. you like an Irish
republic with an accompaniment of slave-plantation?" - just answer quite
simply - Yes very much. At least I wd. so answer - and I never said or
wrote anything in the least degree inconsistent with such a declaration.
But enough of the blacks.
It is a great pity that you must live away from Ravensdale. I do not
know the exact position of your house. But the whole valley is most
beautiful. I wish I had such a scene somewhere behind the Alleghanies,

to spend if possible peacefully the remainder of my life. But I believe
it may not be, Peace and rest are not for me. I am "made like unto
a wheel" according to the cruel curse of the prophet.
I see Mr. Duffy of the Nation is going to hold me up to the execration of
mankind - wherein indeed I do not blame him, if he is able, for he has
had provocation. Which provocation however it came within the exact line
of my duty (if I have any duty) to administer to him. Here is another ugly
subject, and I have no right to dwell upon revolting things in a letter
to you. Yet how ugly & revolting are the most of the things in this
world! One must go out of way to find anything else - must go across the
Alleghanies or to some other place remote from the world's business.
However we have some home pleasures here & home duties, which it is always
worth while to live for - And one of the sweetest & prettiest little
girls I ever saw - 19 months old yet a little unchristened pagan.
Spring is just opening here too, & Brooklyn is a quiet & shady city,
with trees in all the streets, & great ranges of stately houses that
seem nearly unhabited (sic) all day (the masters & generally mistresses too) being in New York - but at night they often glow with lights & ring with music & dancing for it is an pleasure-loving people.
J. Mitchel.