THROUGH THE ARCHIVES: From the News Letter of April 1856

Tributes paid to Sunday school teacher before her depature to America

Thursday, 15th April 2021, 2:00 pm
North Street Presbyterian Church in Carrickfergus. Picture: Darren Murphy
North Street Presbyterian Church in Carrickfergus. Picture: Darren Murphy

The quarterly meeting of Sunday School teachers connected with North Street Presbyterian Church in Carrickfergus had been held on Monday, April 14, 1856, reported the News Letter.

After the usual address by the Reverend James White, “Pastor Loci”, Mr Robert Alexander, superintendent of the school, read “a very complimentary address” to Miss Mary Hutchinson, one of the teachers, who was about to leave the country for America.

She was presented with three volumes of James Seaton Reid’s History of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, which had been beautifully bound, “as a token of the esteem in which she was held by her fellow teachers”.

Florence Nightingale in the Military Hospital at Scutari, 1855. Image © National Army Museum.

The News Letter’s correspondent from Carrickfergus noted that Miss Hutchinson had “laboured in Connaught for a lengthened period”, in order to “win the favour and secure the confidence of the Edgars and Allans of the Irish Presbyterian Church, which speaks for her real worth than any other circumstance could develop”.

They continued: “The Christian religion, being a religion of love, nourishes and strengthens the kindlier feelings in our nature, so that if one member rejoice, all the members rejoice with it.”

Florence Nightingale injured in the Crimea

Despatches from the Crimea were published by the News Letter during this week in 1856.

They told how the steamer the Severn had arrived at Balaclava carrying Miss Florence Nightingale, “and eight sisters and nurses” and they were headed for the front line.

Miss Nightingale, reported the despatches, was arranging the hospitals of the Land Transport Corps, close to Spring-hill, “on the road between Bala Klava and General Codrington’s headquarters”.

The despatch detailed: “Miss Nightingale is now in constant communication with the principal medical officer to the forces. The Land Transport has lost more men than any other corps. It is hoped matters will now be changed for the better.”

But they also reported that some bad luck had befallen the famous nurse.

The Times correspondent wrote: “I regret to state that Miss Nightingale has received a slight injury from the upsetting of a vehicle, in which, with other sisters, she was coming up to the front from Bala Klava. Her back is hurt, and she is at present at the Castle Hospital. We all hope for her speedy and complete recovery.”

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