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Title: John Mitchel, Van Diemens Land, to Miss Thomson, [Dublin?].
CollectionIrish Emigration Database
FileMitchel, John/33
SenderMitchel, John
Sender Gendermale
Sender Occupationunknown
Sender ReligionProtestant
OriginVan Diemen's Land, Tasmania, Australia
DestinationDublin, Ireland
RecipientMiss Thomson
Recipient Genderfemale
Relationshipfriends, relatives?
SourceT 413/3: Obtained From Mrs Florence Dawson, 26 Windsor Park, Belfast #TYPEEMG John Mitchel, Van Diemens Land, to Miss Thomson, [Dublin?], c.1852 - 1853.
ArchivePublic Record Office, Northern Ireland
Doc. No.9005207
Partial Date
Doc. TypeEMG
Log22:05:1990 JMR created 22:08:1991 MB input 22:08:1
Word Count769
TranscriptFragment of letter of John Mitchel
to Miss Thomson from Van Diemen's Land
about 1852-3.
see Father Kenyon again - And now, if this dark suspicion
be true, dear lady, my friend will be worse than dead.
I would he were dead, and in his grave where (in the words
of Swift's epitaph) "bitter indignation could no longer gnaw
his heart". For believe it my dear Miss Thompson, if John
Kenyon be indeed a ruin, it is the desolation of his
country and his despair of help and of vengeance that have
given the foul fiend this power over him. And believe
further that Oppression which has driven many a wise man
mad, never yet stung to death a more priceless genius.
I hope you will write soon again, & let us know
anything further that is to be known about him. He I am
sure will write to me, but his written words though sad
& hopeless will probably still be wise. Jenny wishes me
to write to him & urge him to come out HERE, but this is
All are well here, except Jenny herself who is
indeed very ill just now - if she were able to hold a pen
she would certainly write to you - and soon she will.
The additional trouble of a household where there is a
young baby, especially as servants are so bad & troublesome,
weighs heavily upon her, but if the dismal influenza were
once over she would get on better. She has not been much
on horseback of late - only once or twice this summer, to
return visits. We leave this part of the country in six
weeks & have not yet settled on a place to live in. Your
letters, however, which I hope will long flow in a regular
stream, if addressed to Hobart town will be forwarded to us
anywhere. In the mean time those which may have been
addressed to Bothwell will also be forwarded. I was not
aware till Jenny read me your last letter, that she had
communicated to you our doubts & dissatisfaction about Mr.
Meagher's escape. All we can say here is that he has left
a DOUBT & a QUESTION, - by no means that he has violated his
parole. We do not (that is O'Brien, Martin O'Doherty &
myself do not) put the same interpretation on our parole
which he seems to have done - and would not gain our liberty
on the same terms. There ought to be no doubt & no question
in such a case. And with the opportunity he had there was
no occasion to leave one word in the mouth of any enemy. For
the rest of us, though a chance may possibly arise, there
seems very little probabilty of our escaping alive,
especially after the experience of Mr. Meagher's escape to
guide the convict authorities. Besides we should feel it
necessary to place ourselves in their hands on giving up our
parole, or at any rate to give them a full & unquestionable
opportunity of taking us - I am glad that you refuse to give
up your faith in Mr. Meagher. The QUESTION about his
escape is a question that will be solved in his favour by
his friends & the friends of his cause. I am glad to see
the Americans have no doubt about it, & trust that his high
talents may be long available to his country.
I spent a day lately with Mr. Smith O'Brien, & went
with him in the evening to the house of an acquaintance of
his, named Major Lloyd, who has a very agreeable family
circle. He read me letters from relatives in Ireland,
all urging him to make SOME KIND OF SUBMISSION, to
"subdue that pride which ruins so many men" & so on.
This is very hard to bear - especially as all his friends
seem to think his release is a matter that depends solely
on himself. "Contrition" is all his enemies want. O'Brien
studies much & exercises a good deal, but is often gloomy
& miserable - indeed but for the kind solicitude & attention
of a few friends whose society is always made pleasant to
him I believe HE would run mad. May Heaven help us! We
are all crossing this gulph [gulf?] on the sword-edge bridge
of the prophet - or we are sailing through a dark stormy sea
with one plank between us & the ravening midnight waves. Mr.
Martin is well, & proof against influenza. The children all
send their love to you, especially Henrietta who has grown
strong & healthy. Many thanks for the newspapers and
J. Mitchel.