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From United Irishman (No. 5), 11th March, 1848.

MY LORD, – I am glad to see, by Lord Lansdowne’s speech, that your lordship’s attention is turned to THE UNITED IRISHMAN. If you attend to it regularly, you may hear of something to your advantage: but I have not leisure to-day (being occupied with more important matter) to do more than congratulate you on your wisdom in resolving not to prosecute this journal. Let Lord Stanley rave – let the Times rant – let the Evening Mail roar, and let me alone.

Lord Lansdowne’s reason, indeed, for letting my treason escape, is false and libelous, as one might expect from a Whig minister. He says that the “want of character” of the persons who write this paper, and whom he calls “young gentlemen of no property,” deprives their efforts of mischievous effect: and he further says that he “concurs with Lord Stanley, that there is no extent of sedition, of falsehood, and of exaggeration, to which these young gentlemen of no property will not resort.” Now, Lord Stanley has said nothing of the kind. On the contrary, he attributed honesty, earnestness, and incorruptibility to the writers of THE UNITED IRISHMAN.

But I take Lard Lansdowne’s reason for not prosecuting me to be also the reason of the whole gang of “ministers,” and especially your lordship’s reason; for the matter we find is entirely in your hands. Well, then, I have only to say, that it is a false, wicked, scandalous, and malicious libel; and if the privilege of Parliament enables Lord Lansdowne to utter it, I take leave to trample on the privilege of Parliament, in order to tell him that he lies in his threat.

The writers of this newspaper have a higher character than Lord Lansdowne or your lordship has, although they do not receive a large portion of the public money for pretending to govern the country, as you and he do.

But now I will tell you the true reason why you do not try to punish my “sedition,” and why have invented this false and base excuse – it is because you know that you would be defeated; it is because you are conscious that you and your colleagues, and your red-tape officials, are not a government at all, but a crew of conspirators, holding our country by force, fraud, corruption, and espionage: and you are afraid to take issue with me in your own law-courts, simply because you know that your law-courts are a sham, just as your bayonets are a chimera, and that it only needs one bold effort to trample on them both.

My good lord, your excuses will not do. It is your duty, if you mean to go on governing this country, to put me down – but it also my duty to put you down, and I will do my duty.

But to convict your lordship and your colleagues, not only of politic lying, but of unparalleled meanness also, you see the letter I print to-day from my agent in Enniskillen. It is only one of many such I have received, and I will give more of them next week. That letter proves that you do feel it necessary to put down this UNITED IRISHMAN, if you are able: it proves that your excuse about giving me a contemptuous pardon, because of “want of character,” is a lie: and it proves that your only reason for not ordering my arrest at once is that you dare not.

In saying this, I use no bravado. I know as well as you do that your Attorney-General would probably obtain his conviction against me, and that your Chief Justice would certainly sentence me to two years’ imprisonment at least. But though convicted and imprisoned, I will not be defeated; and you know it. And then, if I am not convicted, you also know that you may forthwith pack up your portmancau, and go to England, (if you are allowed to escape so easily,) and you may as well in that case roll up the Union Flag that flies in the Upper Castle-yard, and take it along with you, (if it remain untorn.)

At all events, my lord, you should tell your policemen to let my agents alone. I, the principal offender, am here, at 12, Trinity-street, a few yards from your castle gate.

I remain, your enemy,
JOHN MITCHEL