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Title: John Kerr to James Graham
CollectionUlster Migration to America. Letters from three Irish Families [R.A. Wells]
SenderKerr, John
Sender Gendermale
Sender Occupationschoolmaster
Sender Religionunknown
OriginFairview, Butler Co., Penn., USA
DestinationNewpark, Co. Antrim
RecipientGraham, James
Recipient Gendermale
Doc. No.
Partial Date
Doc. Type
Word Count1011
Genreacquaintances, family, events, politics
TranscriptFrom: Fairview, Butler County
Date: 19 August 1845

The bearer of this, is the Rev. A. H. Wright, a minister of the Associate Reformed
Presbyterian Church of this country; exactly the same as the Presbyterian Church
in Ireland. He a most particular friend of mine and as he now goes to visit his native
land. He will call with you, and 1 know you will receive him well for my sake. It
was his Academy that I attended last summer, and there is no man in American that
I would commend readier to your friendship, and one whom I more respect. He goes
to Ireland for the benefit of his health, and to see his mother who lives in County
Down, and whom he has not seen for a long time. It is very probably that he will
travel in the direction of Antrim, and if he does he will tell you a great deal about America, which I know will be interesting to you. He has a congregation in the
neighbourhood of Pittsburgh, and resides a few miles from that place. Had I been
near him when he was going away, I would have sent a present to spend in Newpark;
but I am unable as I am about 50 miles from Pittsburgh. I'll send this to Mr. Wright
by post, as an introduction to you, but he may not be altogether a stranger in his
native land. He may stay with you a few days, or only a night; be his stay long or
short, however, I know that he will be welcome to Newpark.
I wrote to A. Black on the first of July last, and stated that I was studying with
Mr. Oliver, a [ ] employment I yet continue. I sent a few lines to David K. and
Samuel G. in Alick's letter. I expect a letter from Alick and one from Samuel G.
and James K. 1 hope to hear that Samuel has gone to school again, and that James
is making great progress in his studies.
I received Uncle David's letter on the seventh of May last; it contained the painful
news of Hessy's illness. If the disease be consumption, the chance for life is indeed
uncertain. It is a most fatal disease; it may not however be that, since she may
perhaps recover if it was his will who rules all to spare her, it would be a great
gratification to her friends. I am glad however, to hear, that she is resigned to the
will of that Providence who gave her life, and who, when he sees life will receive
it again. As a change, either for the better or worse, must have taken place since
Uncle David wrote, I await with anxiety the next letter, to know how she is. Give
her my kindest love, and most tender regards; although we may not meet in this
world again, I hope we will in the better, where sorrow and distress will be no more.
This year has been remarkable for the number of fires that have occurred in this
country. Almost every town has suffered by this calamity. There has been 6 or 7
in Pittsburgh since the first, which was die largest. Quebec was burned twice, and
more than 2/3rds of the inhabitants deprived of a home. Boston, New York,
Philadelphia, Rochester, New Orleans, Cincinatti, and a great many other have
suffered much. Indeed scarcely a town in the United States has escaped. The greater
number of these fires are the works of incendiaries. It is thought by some that there
is a kind of conspiracy formed among some class or other began every time in the
country. Some say the Catholics, instigated by a source of revenge for me treatment
they received in the Philadelphia riots, which took place better than a year ago, are
the authors of the fires. There is in this country a party of sects, (not religious) who
teach the duty of living in a community in which all things are common: as they arc
opposed to living in cities, it is said dial they suppose by destroying them their
doctrine is (he easier carried out I therefore can say they are die authors of the fires:
that all is conjecture. I see by the papers that there is considerable excitement in Ireland, England and Scotland about the Maynooth grant. Although I would allow the Catholics and all
other denominations the freest toleration possible, yet I would certainly oppose such
an act. It is inconsistent with the Oath of the British sovereign to [protect?] the
protestant religion. The government wishes to conciliate Ireland; but ministers must
adopt another course if they wish to succeed. Ireland, and the people of Ireland, must
have all the rights and privileges that the people of England have. Without this
Ireland will not be satisfied; with less than this no Irishman ought to be satisfied; nor
will anyone who loves his country. If the money for the Maynooth grant, and for
the other two intended colleges, were applied to the education of the poorer classes
it would not only do more good but would be better received by all, except a few
ignorant and bigoted fanaticks, who wish to see the people ignorant and degraded.
But how few, how very few in Ireland care anything [for the real good of?] the
country! How few even, have ever read its history! There is one thing however,
almost certain; Ireland must be Protestantised before the country can have priests
and the principal means of the attainment at this end is education.
My health has not been so good this summer as formerly. I have had headaches
frequently and am troubled with a pain in my left side which may be occasioned by
want of exercise and sitting too closely. Uncle David's letter pleased my very well.
Give my respects to Mr. and Mrs. Fleming and all in Liskinic and believe me ever
your most affectionate nephew.

John Kerr