To Richard Barrett.
Merrion Square: 23rd March, 1843
My dear Barrett,I saw with great surprise in the last Pilot a paragraph which you certainly took from some other newspaper, headed 'O'Connell and Dickens,' and purporting to be a quotation from an alleged letter of mine to the editor of a Maryland newspaper, published at Baltimore, and called the Hiberian Advocate. The thing is from beginning to end a gross lie. I never wrote a letter to that newspaper, nor am I in the habit of corresponding with the editors of American papers.
I am surprised that you did not take notice that this forgery was published in a slave-holding statea state in which there is that moral contamination about the press which, I think you ought to know, would preclude me from having any communication with it.
Hiberian Advocate! Oh, miserable wretch, you are, indeed, fit to circulate fictitious documents, for even your very name must be a forgery.
Few people admire more the writings of Dickens, or read them with deeper interest, than I do. I am greatly pleased with his 'American Notes.' They give me, I think, a clearer idea of every-day life in America than I ever entertained before. And his chapter containing the advertisement respecting negro slavery is more calculated to augment the fixed detestation of slavery than the most brilliant declamation or the most splendid eloquence. That chapter shews out the hideous features of the system far better than any dissertation on its evil could possible produce them, odious and disgusting to the public eye.
But I cannot help deploring one paragraph in the work. It is one full of the ignorant and insolent spirit of infidelity respecting the rigid Order of Benedictine MonksI say, of infidelity, because surely no Christian man cold place upon an equality the duellist murderer with the ascetic servant of the Cross of Christ!
Believe me to be, &c.,