Henry Allen, Iowa City, to Reverend Robert Allen, Dublin.

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Document ID 9505018
Date 17-03-1856
Document Type Letters (Emigrants)
Archive Public Record Office, Northern Ireland
Citation Henry Allen, Iowa City, to Reverend Robert Allen, Dublin.; PRONI T3084; CMSIED 9505018
                       Iowa City,Iowa.
                       March 17th 1856.
   Rev. Robert Allen
        My dear cousin - Your very interesting
letter bearing date the 4th of Feb. last was
received a few days ago; & though cloathed [clothed?] in
mourning was right heartily welcomed by me.It
is truly refreshing to peruse such an epistle
from such a friend, & from such a country.
Your apologies, however were uncalled for. I am
not shure [sure?] but I am as much in fault as you are.
Why did I not write to you? To this enquiry I
can only answer - I knew not certainly where to
address you. It is said our bodies are
constantly changing, we know we often change our
localities. Let us hope that our sentiments of
attachment SHALL NEVER CHANGE - Let our prayers
be that they may continue to flourish in
increasing loveliness & perfection on earth, &
mellow, in the eternal world, on the banks of
the river of life!
   Of the death of my two cousins, Mary &
Catherine Allen,in Ireland, as well as of that
of your sister Mrs Davidson in Alleghany City,
in this country, I heard nothing until the
receipt of your letter. With your sister I
spent, during the meeting of our General Synod
last may in Pittsburgh, a few days and nights
pleasantly. They were then all enjoying good
health Mr Davidson seemed to be doing well as
he deserves to do. He was an affectionate
husband, & a kind open-hearted friend - such a
friend I have no doubt he still continues to
be. Our General Synod meets this coming May
in Alleghany & I was anticipating a happy
sojourn in your sister's family. But alas!
how uncertain are all human expectations of
earthly good! My dear cousin I shall see no
more on earth; but please God we shall meet
in heaven where no pestilence can enter &
where sickness, & death, & parting shall be
known no more!
   Your labours in your present field are,
I have no doubt, many and various. When you
look around you & consider the worldliness,
the carelesness about spiritual & eternal
things - the idolatory & superstition which
prevail on every hand & among every class -
when you think of the duties resting upon
you as a labourer in our Master's vineyard
& the obstacles internal & external which
lie in the way of their proper performance
no wonder if you should be often found
adopting the language of Paul & saying "Who
is sufficient for these things?" The
sentiment of the Psalmist suits me often-
       "O that I like a dove had wings
          Said I,then would I fly
        Far hence,that I might find a place
          Where I in rest might be."
But from this toil & conflict there is no
honourable escape He who expects to
conquer must fight - he who desires a crown
of immortal glory & honour must run the
race that is set before him. To assist you
in accomplishing the great work lying
before you in the fashionable city of
Dublin, by lending you material aid, would
impart to me great pleasure were it at all
in my power. This is a GREAT country & as
you will have seen from the heading of
this epistle I am now far beyond what a
very few years ago was called the "Far
West." My home at present is west of the
Mississippi "The father of waters" I came
to this state last June with the view of
being more useful in the Church of God &
of obtaining a permanent home for my
rapidly increasing family. We have only
six children now - three sons & three
daughters! The opposition you speak of
as existing in the city of Dublin is even
here. "Fullness of bread & abundance of
idleness" - worldly pride & the monster
Romanism are all here. If Rome is losing
ground in Europe she is moving heaven and
earth to plant & cultivate her heresy in
America. Every new place here in the west
that is likely to be a place of importance
she is occupying , & by those arts known
only to her she is labouring to disseminate
her dogmas.
  It is here the great battle of freedom
must be fought. And to carry on our
operations successfully we need very many
meeting houses, the want of which you seem
to understand. At every meeting of our
Presbytery new places are reported where
preaching is wanted, & of course a
meetinghouses. In this place, at present
the capital of the state, our congregation
is small & we have no house of our own
wherein to worship. I preach at present
in a school room - We may after a while
occupy the senate chamber in the state
house - should I remain here, which I am
not certain I shall do. There is a more
encouraging prospect about 60 miles from
here, in the city of [Leclaire?], on the
banks of the Mississippi, where the people
are about to make out a call for me -
perhaps I may accept it But as here they have
no meeting house there. Our field is large
it is almost boundless & we have nothing
like a sufficient number of labourers &
nothing like a sufficient amount of
material means, for its proper cultivation
Some how or other Rome can & does build
fine chapels - cathederals - convents, &
schools wherever she needs them in this
country, whereas Protestants can't always
do so. Why should not TRUTH be as well
supported as ERROR?
  There is at present a good deal of talk
about a rupture between this country &
England, here. I fondly hope it will
terminate in talk. This is beyond a doubt
a FAST country & contains many restless
ambitious spirits that are ready for any
desperate undertaking. Are there many such
over with you?
  The institution of slavery in this
country has been the cause of much
unpleasant feeling & talking & acting both
in Church & state. The ACCURSED business
has brought us to the confines of civil war.
That it will bring about the disolution of
this confederacy I have no doubt. The North
that is the free states, & the South namely
the slave states are becoming more and more
alienated. The love of slavery seems to be
increasing in the South & the detestation
of it to be growing more extensive & deep
rooted in the North. The south wishes to
extend the boundaries of slave territory
the North is becoming more and more
determined that it shall not proceed any
  On this momentous question many branches
of the Church have really divided - We have
the Associate Reformed Church North & the
Associate Reformed Church South. The
Baptist Church North & the Baptist Church
South. the Methodist Church North & the
Methodist Church South. & I don't know how
many more. I believe the nation is divided
in heart in like manner & will at last be
really & visibly divided also.
  Nothing has contributed so much to this
alienation of late as the passage of the
Kansas & Nebraska bill & with it the repeal
of the "Missouri Compromise " - Perhaps
"Uncle Tom's Cabin" - which I doubt not you
have read & if you havent you should give
no rest to your eyes nor slumber to your
eyelids until you do. helped on the matter
very considerably. It is a true picture of
slavery and its workings in this country.
Is it not a true picture of it & its
workings in every country where it exists?
  A most interesting & exciting trial for
some fugitive slaves came off a few days
ago in Cincinnati, Ohio.
The slaves, six or seven in number, fled
from their masters in Kentucky & availing
themselves of the frozen state of the
Ohio River crossed over on the ice & took
refuge in a house in the subburbs of
Cincinnati. They were soon missed and pursued
their hiding place discovered, a
warrant was procured & officers went to the
house for the purpose of arresting
them. The slaves resisted manfully as long
as they were able. Among them was a
mother & three children who, finding that they
would be captured beyond a doubt
resolved to murder herself & children
rather than go back to bondage. Hardened
by this resolution she seized a butchers knife,
cut the throat of one child -
slightly wounded another & struck the third on
the head but did not do it any
serious injury before she was taken into custody.
They were all tried & remanded
back into slavery. This was hard, you
will perhaps say, cruel - It was however
what was required in the case by what is called
here the fugitive slave law. Had
these slaves been brought into Ohio
by their masters or with their masters
consent they would have been free the moment
they touched the soil of Ohio - but
coming there as fugitives the law gave
them back to their owners - now is it not
something remarkable - something that is a
disgrace to our common Christianity
that the man Archibald H. Gains who claimed
the woman who killed one of her
children & endeavoured to kill them
all rather than they should go back into
bondadge, [bondage?] is a member in the Old
School Presbyterian Church - the
woman is said to be a Methodist. Is this the
religion of Jesus? does the mind -
the spirit of our Blessed Saviour prompt to
acts of such a character? Can that
Church be regarded as faithful to God
that countenances & legalizes such
conduct upon the part of her members?
If slavery is right I dont know for my
part what is wrong. If the above mentioned
Gains can have an honourable place in
the visible kingdom of our Lord & Redeemer
why may not the drunkard & the
impure?  While I would not justify the
enslaved woman in murdering her dear
child is she not inosent [innocent?]
before God in comparison with the man who
would sell her body & soul into slavery for
money? "Give me liberty or give me
death!" Such is the language of Patrick
Henry a man of whom this country is
deservedly proud. We admire the principle
as announced by him - Shall we love it
less because practised by a poor degraded
daughter of Africa? Blessed be God the
day is coming in which each one will do
to others  as he would have others do to
him - May it speedily come! Some of us are
beginning to care little whether it
comes in peace or war so as it comes.
        Well I shall drop the subject
of slavery at present lest I become too
much excited - & turn to another subject
which perhaps you are more familiar. I
have just been reading Thackeray's sketches
in Ireland. They are certainly
interesting & amusing if nothing more. I am
inclined to regard them as
instructive also. He relates what he says he
saw in the neighbourhood of
Westport in the sixth chapter of the second
volume. Is that chapter deserving of
credence? Were those awful abominable rites
performed as he says they were? You
must certainly know - Dear robert I want you
to write me soon & tell me if those
things be so.
        The friends here are well as far as I
know I received a letter from
Father a few weeks ago  & they were all in the
enjoyment of usual health.
Father, however is becoming very frail - yet his
general health is good - The
paper you sent me came to hand in due time - For
the favour you have my thanks -
you may repeat it as often as you please - Mrs A.
thinks you had better come
here & get married - she sends you her kindest
regards - Remember me to those of
my friends you may happen to see -
       Your loving cousin Henry Allen
Send your next letter to Iowa City. Iowa

              Rev. Robert Allen
                 53, Wellington Street
           Iowa City
             Mar 14
              Iowa      Three Cents