The wonders of the internet, as an aid to family history research, never ceases to amaze me! Recently I entered my Port Phillip Pioneer ancestor's name into the search engine, Google, and the name appeared as one of a list of Port Phillip District residents, on an excellent website, Genseek Genealogy, hosted by Jenny Fawcett. Jenny's website is a genealogy directory, specialising in convict genealogy and early colonial history with links to many other useful websites. It was at www.standard.net.au/~jwilliams/index.htm but now appears to have been taken offline.
The Port Phillip residents whose names appeared on the list were signatories to a petition in support of the Rev. Peter Gunn. The list of names, together with a covering letter and a letter of reply from Rev. Gunn, was published in The Melbourne Weekly Courier on Saturday 10th August 1844. I did some further research into this episode, curious to know what circumstances had led to the need for such public support of Rev. Gunn.
To the Rev. Peter Gunn, Presbyterian Minister, at Heidelberg.
REV. AND DEAR SIR, - We the undersigned, Presbyterian and other inhabitants of Melbourne and its vicinity, having occasionally sat under your ministry, and being personally acquainted with you since your arrival in this province, feel that it is a duty imperatively demanded of us, that we should testify against the imputations cast out against you by the Rev. James Fullerton, L.L.D., Moderator of the Synod of Australia, in a letter dated June 12th, which is published in the Port Phillip Patriot newspaper, of the 22nd ultimo representing you as "particularly inactive and querulous," and as "given to murmuring".
We are enabled from our personal knowledge of you, to declare that these charges against your character and usefulness in the ministry are wholly unfounded, and we cheerfully bear testimony to your zeal and activity in the discharge of your sacred duties. Hoping that you will believe we cordially sympathise with your feelings under the unmerited treatment you have received.
We are, Reverend and Dear Sir,
Your very obedient servants,
George Annand, merchant, Collins Street Isaac Buchanan, merchant Robert Smith, merchant Robert Campbell, draper, Collins Street James Morrison, draper James Stewart Johnston, publican, Melbourne Robert Donaldson, draper, Melbourne Henry Budge George Swanson James Murray Thomas Grant Charles Williamson, merchant, Melbourne Thomas McCombie William Kerr, Alderman, Bourke Ward William Harper Neil McDonald, Campbellfield William McIntosh, Campbellfield John Grant, Campbellfield John McPherson, Campbellfield Alexander Watson, Campbellfield Hector Macdonald, Campbellfield Kenneth Mackenzie, Campbellfield Alexander Guthrie, Campbellfield James Guthrie, Campbellfield Angus Cameron, Moonee Moonee Ponds George Gordon Cameron, Moonee Moonee Ponds Duncan Cameron, Moonee Moonee Ponds James Cameron, Moonee Moonee Ponds Hugh Cameron, Moonee Moonee Ponds Neill Macdonald, Moonee Moonee Ponds Neill Macgillvey Donald Cameron Annet, Glenroy John Macdonald Donald Macdonald John Kilpatrick Donald Macdonald Charles Laing William Dawson John Harlin Henry Leslie Prentice James Bowie Kirk Thomas Miller Robert Campbell John McGregor David Duncan John Allee David Young Philip Anderson John Brown J. Williamson Alexander Mackinlay Thomas Napier John Jones Peers George Beaver Kenneth Bethune Neil Campbell Ewen Tolmie John McKenzie Robert Mathewson R. Wilson David McMurtrie Robert Fitchet John Welsh John McColl James Goldie William Dods John Rankin James Landles D. McLachlan Andrew Richey Alexander Barrie Robert Reid Robert Fleming Edward Parker David Stevenson John Myres James Hair John Cook John Williamson James Roberts W. Cumming John Thomas William Fleming, surgeon Robert Kerr Thomas Mickle George Dick John Barr Graham Finlayson M. Gibson Thomas John Everist John Dingwall James Martin John McMillan Donald McKenzie, senior Angus McKenzie D. McKenzie, junior J. McKenzie F. L. B. Lang Robert Laidlaw Duncan McGregor Peter Stewart Andrew Welsh Thomas Smith James Douglass John Cameron David Goodsir
9th August, 1844
MY DEAR FRIENDS, - It is with the most grateful feelings that I beg to acknowledge the pleasure of receiving your address, testifying against the imputations thrown out against me by the Rev. James Fullerton, Moderator of the Synod of Australia.
I was concious in my own mind that they were unfounded and uncalled for; and the disinterested testimony which so large and respectable a number of those amongst whom I have been labouring bear to my zeal and activity, will, I trust, be the means through divine grace of stimulating me to prosecute the discharge of my sacred duties with renewed ardour both through good and through bad report.
I most cordially and joyfully accept of your sympathy, in the disagreeable circumstances in which I have been placed. I beg to offer you all my most sincere thanks, and wishing you all manner of happiness.
To Messrs. George Annand,
Robert Smith, etc.
Contributed by Susan Grant ( PPPG Member No. 1089 ) assited by Alexander Romanov-Hughes.
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