18 Aug 1874
[My Note: the A.G. Merry in the article is in fact, Nelson Grover (N.G.) Merry.]
The editor of the Christian Advocate will probably not attempt a defense of the Rev. J.W. Alword because he is colored. It may not irritate him to learn that a colored minister has been accused of roguery. The charge is brought by another colored clergyman, the Rev. A.G. Merry, pastor of the First Colored Baptist Church of Nashville. The latter minister writes some vigorous English to the Nashville Union and American, explaining the manner in which the Nashville branch of the Freedman’s Bank was conducted. The branch was established in 1865; several colored ministers were placed on the Advisory Board; the parent bank at Washington was in the habit of sending agents to the Southern cities to hold public meetings in aid of the bank; these meetings were called by the colored clergymen, and the poor colored people urged by them to deposit in the Freedman’s Bank. This was the mode of advertising adopted. Mr. Alvord, one of these ministerial agents, says Mr. Merry, used his pulpit to tell the Nashville colored people that every dollar of the bank was invested in United States bonds. The writer says:
“Mr. Alvord is a preacher, and I am one also. I want the world and all mankind to know that I have now found out that the Rev. J. W. Alword stood up in my pulpit and told a lie, thereby fooling many, and increasing the confidence of all present in the bank. Unless he repents of this sin (which is a great sin), hell will be his home.
Whether the last sentence interests anybody or not is not material, except to the Advocate, but another conclusion reached by Mr. Merry is more deserving of consideration. He says:
“I have long since consoled myself with the idea and conviction that the former slaveholder will give us good advice and come as near doing the right as any one else, and that in many instances he will do more.
The italics are his own. It is the fault of Mr. Merry, in common with others, that this doctrine has grown out of fashion among the colored people.