Rechabite Letter – a protest

Recently, I posted a letter discovered in my mother’s mementos and written by Reverend William Bell to his offspring, in particular his daughter Isabelle Mallock. Isabelle’s husband, John Mallock, wrote to protest his father-in-law’s Rechabite letter on February 24th, 1842. The protest letter gives an interesting perspective on family dynamics.

To all to whom these presents shall come:

Whereas by a certain document purporting to have been written by the Reverend William Bell, Minister of the first Presbyterian Church at Perth, certain injunction and command are laid upon my family without my authority or permission, and which I believe to be contrary to all law human and Divine. And whereas the said document is not only insulting to me, as the head of my Household, but has for its tendency (?) the disturbance of the peace, happiness, and serenity which has hitherto reigned in my family.

Now Know All Men, by these presents, that I John Glass Mallock of the town of Perth, in the Bathurst District and Province of Canada, Esquire, feeling grateful to Divine Providence for the charge he has given me, and being aware of the great responsibility I am under for the faithful discharge of my duty as a husband and parent – Do hereby Protest against the said Document, and (believing that the curse causeless shall not come) against all the injunctions and commands therein expressed, so far as regards any, and all, of the members of my family, and their descendants.

And I do hereby deny the right of any individual interfering in the management of the temporal affairs of my family so long as it pleaseth the Giver of all good to retain me over them as their head and guide. And under great concern for the danger of those who thus trifle with the Peace, temporal and internal of others, do hereby warn all persons from taking such liberties in future.

Given under my hand at Perth aforesaid, this twenty fourth day of February, one thousand eight hundred and forty two years.

John G Mallock

It seems that John Mallock was very upset with his father-in-law.

Further to the question of who these people are, a cousin (probably 2nd or 3rd cousin by marriage) has put together a bit of a family tree, which I’ll share at some future date. It seems that William Bell is a great-great-great … not sure how many greats – grandfather on my mother’s side. Thank you, Muriel.

In addition, good friends did a little sleuthing and discovered the ‘condensed’ diaries of William Bell – the Reverend mentioned above – plus an entry for him in the Dictionary of Canadian Biography. Thank you, Patty and Art.

As a final note, I found a plaque dedicated to Reverend William Bell in Perth, Ontario. Note the words ‘uncompromising’, ‘intense’ and the phrase ‘fierce organizational doctrinal disputes’.

I’m feeling like Alice in Wonderland!

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M.K. Tod writes historical fiction. Her latest novel, TIME AND REGRET was published by Lake Union. Mary’s other novels, LIES TOLD IN SILENCE and UNRAVELLED are available from AmazonNookKoboGoogle Play and iTunes. She can be contacted on FacebookTwitter and Goodreads or on her website www.mktod.com.

The Rechabite Letter

While going through some of my mother’s mementos [she’s still alive, but we were clearing out a few boxes], I found a letter dated 18th February, 1842. It was addressed to Mrs. J. M. Mallock and delivered by hand.

Apparently, there is something called the Independent Order of Rechabites, founded in England in 1835 “as part of the wider temperance movement to promote total abstinence from alcoholic beverages.” Who knew?

The Rechabite Letter

It’s a fascinating letter and clearly one that created quite a fuss amongst the family, including letters sent back to the originator – one Reverend William Bell – protesting his ‘command’.

Here’s the text:

Know all men, by this declaration, that I Willian Bell, Minister of the first Presbyterian Church at Perth, in the Bathurst District of Upper Canada, perceiving the awful and ruinous consequences which follow the use of intoxicating drinks, to the bodies and the souls of mankind, have resolved never again to use any of them myself, as a common beverage, nor to offer them to others, and to enjoin the same thing upon all my children, and their descendants to the latest generation. I therefore, after a scripture example sanctioned by divine authority, do hereby command and enjoin you, my daughter, to follow this my example, and to obey this my command, and to enjoin the same upon your children, in order that they may be honest, industrious, and temperate; – that they may avoid temptation, and live in the fear of God; – that he may bless them in time, and take them to Heaven when they die.

And, in order that happiness, that great end I have here in view, may be the more effectually secured to my posterity, I hereby forbid them to make intermarriages, in all time coming, with any who refuse to join with them in following this my example.

Resolved this 5th day of February 1842, under much painful anxiety for the fate of those who refuse to follow my example and obey my command.

A copy of this to be sent to each of my surviving children, reminding them of the duty of honouring their father and their mother (for she also joins with me in this act) that their days may be long upon the land which the Lord their God giveth them. This duty, it has long been pressed upon my mind, I ought to discharge before I die, as a witness and a guard against the sin of intemperance, to you and to all others to who this shall come; and I now pray that God may bless it to all whose benefit it is intended. Let all remember that no drunkard shall inherit the Kingdom of Heaven.

That you may be saved from all your enemies, and be made a monument of divine mercy, is the fervent prayer of your affectionate, but much afflicted father.

I’m not sure how the Mallocks are related to me, but I am certain that these people are relatives of some sort!

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M.K. Tod writes historical fiction. Her latest novel, TIME AND REGRET was published by Lake Union. Mary’s other novels, LIES TOLD IN SILENCE and UNRAVELLED are available from AmazonNookKoboGoogle Play and iTunes. She can be contacted on FacebookTwitter and Goodreads or on her website www.mktod.com.

A Writer’s Inspiration

My grandmother’s second wedding was in October of 1977 when she was seventy-five. Unfortunately, my husband and I were students living in Vancouver at the time with insufficient funds to afford plane tickets for the big event. We sent a telegram with our congratulations in advance – the custom in those days for guests who could not attend – then telephoned my parents’ home at the time when the reception was scheduled in order to talk to the bride and groom.

Imagine us hearing the stunning news that my grandmother had died of a massive heart attack on the way to the church!

Reeling with shock, Ian and I went for a long walk before deciding that I would fly to Toronto that night on the red-eye flight to be with my family, attend my grandmother’s funeral, help deal with condolences and pick up the pieces. Over the years, I’ve come to think of her death with gratitude for how happy she was when it occurred. And I always thought it would make an amazing ending for a story.

However, writers are not always masters of their stories. In my case, it was my son’s friend Ashley, who made the difference. She agreed to read the first draft of Unravelled. She was an ideal reader, an English major and a woman of twenty-five who could give me insights into whether younger women would enjoy the story while at the same time providing useful editorial feedback. Ashley hated the ending.

I still remember her comments, written in large, underlined capital letters “YOU CAN’T LET HER DIE!!! IT’S TOTALLY UNSATISFYING.”

Well, the rest, as they say, is history! Unravelled does not end with a death. Instead it ends with hope. I won’t say anything more in case you decide to give it a try.

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M.K. Tod writes historical fiction. Her latest novel, TIME AND REGRET was published by Lake Union. Mary’s other novels, LIES TOLD IN SILENCE and UNRAVELLED are available from Amazon, NookKoboGoogle Play and iTunes. She can be contacted on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads or on her website www.mktod.com.