|Alex McLeod [U.S.?] to Rev. William Stavely.
|Irish Emigration Database
|McLeod Staveley, Alex/67
|New York, USA
|Rev. William J. Stavely
|penfriends, distant relatives?
|D/1792/E: Deposited by late Rev. J.C.K. Armour and the Rev. S.S.S. Armour.
|The Public Record Office, N. Ireland.
|Document added by LT, 28:07:97.
|My Dear Friend & Brother
I yesterday received, by the Mail from Philadelphia, a
letter of an old date. It's appearance also indicated
long wear. It bears the Post mark Phila [Philadelphia?]
29th Nov. On its back, in your hand writing, are the words
Pr.[per?] Ship President; and within, it is dated Chequer
hall 2d April 1810.
Twenty Moons have accordingly shone on it before I saw
its Contents. The Subject is one which during that time,
however, has created much uneasiness - Mr. David Graham.
With your opinions of him, we, now, are all taught by
experience to accord; & we all readily admit, the impropriety
of the measure of his restoration in America. It is a useful
lesson; & believe me, Sir, Graham has been the means of raising
the Discernment, the Integrity, & the Dignity of the Irish
Ministry & Courts of Judicature, to the highest place in the
esteem of all our Ministers in America. Our Young men, too,
will come forward with these favourable Sentiments of their
foreign connections. You conducted, relative to Mr. Graham,
both in your private letters & public Documents, with
admirable propriety. By the Synodical address, from the pen
of Mr. W. Masters, you will learn the general opinion of our
Church relative to that affair. And when the Report of the
Presbytery, which has deposed him, shall have undergone the
Revision of Synod, it will appear to all that our experience
has been purchased very dearly. We will prove it the more.
I intend some time to give you a history of this business as
an interesting & instructive Chapter of the Annals of this
Church. It was during the time of Mr. Black's absence on a
mission to the States of Kentucky & Carolina, that Mr. Graham
reached Pittsburgh. He found in that Congregation, and in the
Western Country generally, some warm advocates against the
power of Sessions & for increasing the power of Societies. At
the Head of this faction was a discontented man formerly from
Colerain [Coleraine?] a Hatter of the house of William Church.
Soured at Mr Black because he did not encourage the making an
Elder of him, Church, for years,
endeavoured to perplexe.[perplex?]
Graham became to popular advocate for the liberties of the
people against the tyranny of the Ministers. Church has
talents subtle, discerning, & calculating. Graham was the
Nominal, Church, the real head of the Conspiracy. They
succeeded. When Presbytery met in Pittsburgh to try Graham,
it was immediately [denominated?] the Inquisation.
The old enmity against our Political principles
revived, Lawyers & Magistrates & populace were on
the side of hostility to Presbytery. Mr. Black first,
then Professor Wylie, and lastly, on my
unexpected appearance at that Presbytery, Dr. McLeod was
the Chief Tyrant. The Populace, threatened to Mob us.
The Lawyers offered their Services to prosecute us for Libel.
The Magistrates were ready to condemn, & anxious to have us
under an authority which we rejected. The trial commenced
under these auspices, and continued for a Whole Week, publicly,
in the presence of about 2,000 spectators. The Treason of
the Vicepresident of the United States, Burr, and the Whiskey
insurrection, scarcely made more noise in the Western Country
than this trial. It required Patience & Skill & Fortitude.
They were exhibited by the Presbytery, both Ministers and
Elders, in a high degree. When, on the eighth day of the
[Se-------?], it was proposed to take the main question on
Mr. Grahams case, He presented his Declinature, & was followed
by his Brother in Law, Harrethen, who also presented a
Declinature in the name of the people.
Several Presbyterian & Seceder Ministers who attended during
the whole, & the Judges with a few of the Magistrates, gave
their opinions everywhere, that the Court both understood &
performed their Duty. Graham soon Organised a new Community,
& they have published their Constitution. It is a puny &
malevolent, but contemptible production.
I understand he has also in the Press, what he calls his
trial in two hundred pages Octavo; & that he expects to enrich
himself by the sale of it. Such, my Dr. [Dear?] Sir, is the
lesson we have received from our too generous confidence in
the professions of this man. I am, however, yet of opinion
that the whole will turn out, to our advantage not only in
producing more caution; but also in the increase of the
Church. Time will tell the correctness of this opinion.
Our Seminary promises amidst many discouragements to do
well. Seven Students now attend it. But it will yet take
three years, nearly, before we can reap any more of its fruits.
Our vacancies are still unhappy to wear in. Mr. Milligan was
[me------?] called; but we will not ordain him in less than a
twelvemonth from the time he was licensed. He will be, if
God spares him a valuable acquisition. He is learned, pious,
humble, & zealous. His deficiency, is a constitutional
indifference to neatness in the construction and delivery of
his discourses, & an unjustifiable good opinion of man. Should
he [g-------?] himself up, in these respects, he would be, in
every respect [wh-----?] now, in good sense, a first rate man.
We could immediately [-------?] good advantage two or three
others of a superior cast; but it is hard for mediocrity to
form a congregation in America; & far inferior talents we have
still less to hope. I envy you in Ireland and envy be without
benevolence, for the humble of prime men that adorn your
Church. But let us be contented in following at a distance
Our Fathers footsteps. Still I regret that some of your young
men do not venture hither. I think a man of talents would do
more good to the general cause of America than there.
But I submit to superior wisdom. We shall have what God
allots to us. Thus we are better wanting than in having any
one who is not bold & prepared to practice self-denial. But
I am confident that a few years of the services of another
Mr. [I-----?] or a Stavely would be the means of such a
gathering to our Church, as amply to compensate any man who
would be capable of it & would love the trial. I have only
to subscribe Yours respectfully Alex McLeod