The Black Abolitionist Papers - Vol. 1

By C. Peter Ripley | Go to book overview

69.
William G. Allen to Editor, Belfast Newsletter 24 November 1855

Arranging a lecture tour occasionally led to misunderstandings between black abolitionists and their local sponsors. William G. Allen's encounter with Rev. Robert Templeton, pastor of the Lisburn Street Presbyterian Church in Hillsborough, Ireland, illustrates one of the ways conflicts developed. Near the end of a well-received, six-month-long tour of Ireland, Allen failed to appear at a scheduled lecture in Hillsborough on 21 November. Templeton accused Allen (in the 23 November Belfast Newsletter) of arranging a lecture and then canceling it on the day it was to be given in favor of an appearance in Downpatrick. Templeton proposed that Allen "thought, perhaps, he would make a few pence more in Downpatrick." Allen responded with a letter that appeared in the 27 November Belfast Newsletter. This prompted a more detailed accusation by Templeton in the following day's Newsletter. ASA, May 1855; Blackett, "William G. Allen,"49-50; Belfast and Ulster Directory ( Belfast, 1856), 576; BN, 22, 25 June, 23, 28 November 1855; Mrs. Maxwell to [?], 20 November 1855, British Empire MSS, UkOxU-Rh.

Belfast, [ Ireland]
Nov[ember] 24, 1855

SIR:

In the Newsletter1 of Friday last is an article, headed "A Lecturer Breaking Faith with the Public," written by the Rev. Mr. Templeton, Presbyterian minister of Hillsborough, in which I am charged in the most extraordinary manner with dishonour and perfidy, &c., &c., in reference to a lecture which, it seems, Mr. Templeton expected me to deliver in his church in Hillsborough, on Wednesday evening last.

Now, I beg to say, in reply to this singular communication, that the blame of assembling an audience in Hillsborough, on Wednesday evening last, for the purpose of disappointing them of a lecture, rests with Mr. Templeton, and not with myself. The truth of this statement will appear in the facts which I shall presently give. I may, however, add, just here, that let Mr. Templeton's opinion of my course have been what it may, there was certainly no reason why he should have allowed an audience to assemble on the Wednesday evening in question, since I gave him eleven hours' notice of my intentions, delivering my note in person at his own door, in Hillsborough, at eight o'clock, on the morning of Wednesday, being then on my way from Dromore to Lisburn, to take the 8:45 train for Belfast.

-423-

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