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Mr. Dalton, the secretary, read the following Report. THE Committee in presenting their Fifth Annual Report said they were very thankful for being enabled to present it with a belief that the Association had been made more useful than in any preceding year.
Branch Associations had been formed in Derby, Hertforshire, Sheffield, Nantwich, York, Norwich, East Dereham, Yarmouth, Ipswich, West Kilbride, Macclesfield, Brighton and East Sussex, Whitchurch, Portsmouth, Truro, Brailsford, Newhall, Danby, Spondon, Ashbourne, Matlock, Margate, Market Drayton, Lancaster, Shrewsbury, Reading, Maidstone, and Peterhead, and the important Associations at Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Inverness had been revived.
The beneficial and admirable example of the Liverpool and Manchester Operative Protestant Associations, had given an impulse to the formation of similar societies in York, Ripon, Norwich, Finsbury, Sheffield, Southwark, Tower Hamlets, and Marylebone. By all these societies some good it was hoped had been done, and much more it was believed and hoped would be effected.
Public Meetings in the past year had been held in Hertford, Derby, Clare, Brailsford, Nantwich, Liverpool, York, East Durham, Manchester, Gosport, Portsea, Sheffield, Macclesfield, Norwich, Hereford, Whitchurch, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Truro, Newhale, Danby, Spondon, Ashbourne, Matlock, Warrington, Market Drayton, Finsbury, and York.
The report, after referring to the sermons that had been preached by some of our most eminent divines, in order to awaken the Protestant feeling of the country, touched upon the petitions presented to Parliament against the Prisons' Bill and the Education Scheme.
The Committee had petitioned and obtained numerous petitions from the country against the Clergy Reserves Bill (which proposed an increase to the Endowment of Popery in Canada), against the Irish Municipal Bill, and also for the exclusion of Roman Catholics from the British Parliament, and also against the annual parliamentary grant to the Popish College of Maynooth.
In 1837, fifty petitions with about 11,000 signatures were presented against the grant; of these petitions, that presented by the Committee and the one from Liverpool contained about 7000 signatures.
In 1839, one hundred and ninety-seven petitions with 51,000 signatures were presented; and in the present year (1840) up to this time upwards of 200 petitions had been presented already; and it was believed that before the session ends, the increase both of petitions and signatures would be very considerable.
In the month of August last, on the occasion of several Popish appointments, the Committee recommended their friends in the country an address against any more such appointments : and in January last, when Her Majesty had been advised, both in her speech to her Privy Council and in the speech to Parliament, to announce her intended marriage without any reference such as George the Third on the occasion of his marriage, had made to the Protestantism of the family with which an alliance was projected, the Committee felt themselves called upon to petition the Legislature to adopt measures to ascertain and to
OF THE PROTESTANT ASSOCIATION.
satisfy the country on that important point, prior to any settlement being completed. The number of the addresses and petitions adopted in various parts of the country encouraged the Committee to hope that their view of the duty of thus speaking out was not singular. Within the last few days, the Committee had felt it their duty to prepare a petition to the House of Commons, praying that Lord Stanley's Bill (having for its object, the correction of the system of fraud and perjury, by which a majority of the Irish Popish Members of the Legislature find their way into Parliament) be permitted to pass into a law.
In the adoption of all these petitions and of this address, the Committee hope that as they acknowledged God so He directed their ways: they felt it to be necessary, to clear their own consciences, to act as watchmen to others, and to endeavour to fix upon the constitued government of the land, the earnest and repeated protest of all who value our ancient Protestant constitution, against its further disruption and its probable final ruin.
With respect to the publications of the Association, in the past year, no less than 287,280 have been issued; most of them having been purchased.
The Committee have likewise turned their attention to that most important part of the community, the operative classes. And have not only multiplied their handbills, but have endeavoured, by means of a cheap periodical, entitled the " PENNY PROTESTANT OPERATIVE,” illustrated by neatly executed wood cuts, to interest and to inform the working classes on the vital matters connected with Popery and Protestantism.
It appeared that the receipts of the Association during the year ending April 28th, 1839, were £1207 5s. 4d., while during the past year they have amounted to £2073 lls. 9d., showing an increase of £865 6s. 5d.
The Committe had also the satisfaction to state, that, viewing their liabilities on the one hand, and their stock, assets and credits, on the other, the latter exceeded the former, so that the Association could no longer be considered in debt. But, while the Committee made this announcement, they also added, that the sphere of their operations had so much increased since last year, and their positions altogether were so much more important, that they required larger funds than were wanted before. The Committee had also to state, that the increased operations of the Association, had renderedd it necessary for them to take larger rooms for the purpose of their official business, a step which had of course entailed considerable expenses upon them. In the past year they had been reluctantly compelled to make frequent applications to friends, who had been liberal to them heretofore, and to the public generally. The result of these applications has been to relieve the Association of its embarassments, and to place it in circumstances which afforded hopes of greatly extended usefulness. They therefore appealed earnestly to all who valued the blessings which the Association was formed to defend, to supply to the Committee to whom, during the next year, the labour of managing the Association's affairs would be entrusted, the means of carrying on its operations with suitable vigour and effect. Especially they would beg leave to urge the importance of
enabling the Committee to depend on an adequate stated income, derivable from regular annual subscriptions. Until such a certain income was thus guaranteed, no Committee would be able to proportion its expenditure with accuracy, to the means at its command.
Donations, however liberal, were necessary a very fluctuating source of income, and therefore the sum derived from them in one year could not be deemed any sure index to the amount derivable from them in another year; and, consequently, until the annual subscriptions, payable to the Association, were of themselves sufficient to meet all its ordinary charges, no Committee could, by any exercise of care or discretion, promise or expect permanently to relieve the members of the Association, of the frequent calls upon their liberality, which, during former years, from time to time the Committee had been compelled to make, in order to meet extraordinary expenses or unexpected deficiences.
Finally. The Committee resigned their charge with a sincere and heartfelt trust, that, in their administration of the affairs of the Association, they had been guided by God's counsel, and honoured with His favour; and to this trust they added a fervent prayer, that the fidelity of the Association may be henceforth preserved, its usefulness augmented, and its labours blessed.
During the past year, much obloquy and contempt had been cast on it in Parliament, by the press, and in the country. But the Committee, knowing that it was based on sound principles, and believing that a solemn sense of duty alone had drawn its members from their homes into its service, or engaged them in its cause-feel it confident that none of these things would move us, but that we should all endeavour with God's blessing, to be stedfast, immoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that our labour is not in vain in the Lord.
The work of the Protestant Association at this crisis, is highly important; its influence might be most lasting and most beneficial ; it might serve as a bond of union for all who value the blessed Reformation, as a rallying point to all who desired to defend the bulwarks or the principles of our free Constitution, and at length, as a powerful and efficient instrument in God's hand, of lasting national good. That this might be its use and its destiny, was the earnest hope of the Committee, who now do therefore commend it, in all meekness and sincerity, to your prayers, to the prayers of all Christian people, and to the guidance, protection, and blessing of the everlasting God.
It was moved by J. P. PLUMPTRE ; and seconded by Rev, W. PULLEN,, " Thať “ the Report now read be adopted, printed, and circulated, under the direction of “ the Committee, and that the following Clergymen and Gentlemen be the Committee “ for the ensuing year, viz. : REV. T. BAKER.
REV. W. PULLEN.
R. B. SEELEY.
G. J. P. SMITH,
J. HAMILTON STORY.
REV. A. S. THELWALL.
J. R. FARRE.
H. LEE WARNER.
G. H. WOODWARD.
GEN. MAC INNES.
OF THE PROTESTANT ASSOCIATION,
J. P. PLUMPTRE, Esq., M.P., in moving the adoption of the Report, said, he considered this one of the most important, if not the most important, of all the Protestant Societies which had assembled in that hall, for unless the principles of this Association were upheld, what would be the fate of Bible Societies, of Missionary Societies, and of every other truly Christian Institution ? (Hear, hear.) He trusted, with the noble Chairman, that Englishmen would never surrender their Protestant privileges. (Cheers.) Much temporal good and comfort they might perhaps surrender, but never those principles and privileges without which life was scarcely worth preserving. (Renewed cheers.) He rejoiced that he had presented several Petitions to the Legislature against the progress of Popery; and when doing so he had said that he cordially concurred in their prayer, upon which some of the leading Members on his side of the House have turned round and looked at him with surprise, and he had been a man wondered at because he was anxious to maintain that Protestant Constitution which all the Members of that House had sworn they would maintain. (Hear.) To show the demoralizing effect of the Church of Rome, to prove that Popery, and ignorance, and crime, and misery, must go together, he would read a portion of the returns of crimes committed in Ireland during the last year. In county Cork there were nineteen cases of murder, thirty-two cases of manslaughter, and 271 cases of assault; in all, the various offences for the county amounted to 1210. (Hear, hear.) In county Galway there were eleven cases of murder, nineteen of manslaughter, 361 of assault; in all 1160 different cases. (Hear, hear.) In county Kerry there were eleven cases of murder, two of manslaughter, and 223 of assault. In county Limerick there were twenty-five cases of murder, twenty-six of manslaughter, and 258 of assault. In county Mayo there were twelve cases of murder, twenty-two of attempts to murder, twenty-seven of manslaughter, and 314 of assault. (Hear, hear.) In county Tipperary there were eighty-one cases of murder (hear, hear), fifty cases of attempts to murder, eighty-three of manslaughter, 322 of assault, and 685 of riot and breaches of the peace ; in all, 2110 different offences in this one county. (Loud cries of Hear, hear.) The whole number in that small island in the course of one year was 286 murders (hear, hear), 217 cases of attempts to murder, 363 cases of manslaughter, 6898 cases of assault, and 4730 cases of riot and breaches of the peace; in all 26,392 various offences. (Hear, hear,)
The Rev. W. PULLEN, in seconding the Motion, said, he trusted that the cry which had been raised at Sheffield would be raised throughout the country, and that it would never cease until there should be no further necessity for raising it. That cry was, “ No Popery!" (Loud and prolonged cheering, intermingled with cries of “ No Popery!")
The Motion was passed unanimously.
A. W. Chisholm, Esq. (commonly called “The Chisholm"), said, If we are not a Protestant nation, why does one of the house of Hanover occupy the old throne of the Stuarts ? (Hear, hear, and loud cheers.) If we are a Protestant nation, why are our enemies in religion admitted to the Privy Council of the Sovereign ? (Cheers.) If we are not a Protestant people, why have we a Protestant Established Church? And if we are, why are we, when the Church requires extension, annually to grant money for the endowment of the Popish College of Maynooth ? (Hear.) Why is Popery fostered at home (hear), and propagated in our colonies ? (Hear, hear.) Do we not find the Papal power gaining, step by step, on us in every institution that is dear to us? To speak in military language, more is lost in a retreat than in the bloodiest battle. (Hear.) Too much has been lost already. (Hear.) What shall we say, then? Allow them to advance further ? (Loud cries of “ No, no.”) We would rather drive them back from that which they now hold. (Cheers.) Let it not then be any longer the cry of “No surrender !” but rather that of “ Advance !" (Loud and repeated cheers.) The Hon. Gentleman proposed the second Resolution :-"That the admission of Roman Catholics to legislative power is “ directly at variance with the Protestant principles and character of the British “ Constitution; and that the members of that communion, who, by the Act of 1829 " for the relief of his Majesty's Roman Catholic subjects, were admitted to Parlia. “ ment under the sanction of an oath, have violated the condition of their admit“ tance. That this meeting, therefore, considers a restoration of the Protestant “ character of our Constitution essential to the security of our Protestant establish“ ment in Church and State." (Hear, hear.)
The Rev. H. STOWELL seconded the Resolution and said,
I think myself happy in having this opportunity, before your lordship and this vast assembly, of testifying for the first time, at an annual meeting of the Protestant Association, my conscientious and distinct adherence to its principles and its purposes. If that adherence possess any little weight, it possesses it from the deliberation with which I first investigated its claims, and the reluctancy with which, for a season, I was led to advance towards embracing its purposes. That reluctancy and that deliberation arose from a fear, lest it was an Association of too purely political a character, to allow a clergyman, an ambassador of grace and peace, to come down from his high and lofty vantage ground of spirituality, and to mingle at all in what might seem to be political partizanship and party strife. But when I came more calmly and maturely to investigate and to weigh—when I found that in a country like this, where Christianity was (I trust I may say, still is) part and parcel of the law of the land, where the Bible is the base and the altar the pillar of the throne, where whatsoever we have that is glorious in liberty, distinguished in arts, exalted in science, and (above all) pure in morality, spiritual in worship, sublime in holiness, devout in the service of God where all these are due to our glorious Protestant Reformation, and with it they must flourish or they must perish-when I came to see that it was not a strife of political partizanship, that it was not any mere dominancy of one party over another that was at stake, that it was not any mere attempt to alter the constitution in so far as it might be altered without affecting its spiritual and Christian character, but that it was in reality an endeavour to defend our common Bible, to defend our common church, to defend our common creeds of faith, to defend our spiritual liberties, as well as our national laws—when I came to find that the ark of God was in peril, and that this institution was designed to throw the shield of its prayers and its efforts and its Christian influence around the ark of God—when I came to see that it was prosecuting its purpose, though with such infirmity as will cleave to everything human, yet in the spirit (to a great extent) of meekness, though kindled by zeal and ardour, yet regulated by soundness and wisdom-I felt I were a traitor to my country, my conscience, and my God, if I longer withheld my conscientious and devoted adherence and support.
It may perhaps, therefore, my lord, be allowed me to remark, that I conceive that in the present mighty movement-(mighty in its beginnings, how mightier I trust in its progress and in its consummation !)—it is by no means out of character or out of place, that the clergy of the national church should be constrained to take the lead. We have not forgotten, in reading the history of the Reformation, that they were not our statesmen, winding often and crooked in their policy—they were not our orators in parliament, too often governed by the “Oh! oh!” on the one side, or the “Hear! hear!” on the other—they were not our ministers of state, too frequently steering the vessel of state by the veering winds of popular opinion, rather than by the fixed star of eternal principle and truth-they were not, to a great extent, until stirred up and led on by their spiritual leaders, the mass of the laity of our country-but they were our Latimers, our Ridleys, our Cranmers, our Hoopers, that wrought that mighty achievement. And though, my lord, as yet we boast not in our ranks the dignitaries of the church, the ornaments of the bench-saving perhaps one splendid exception, that lifts up his voice no less fearlessly against Popish perfidity, than Social atheism—yet if our dignitaries do not thus far see it in their way (and perhaps indeed they are wise in being deliberate and wary), we trust the day is not far distant, when to the humbler clergy will be added a list of bishops, that will not hang down their heads, save in the lowliness that Christian grace will always inspire, when they stand side by side with Latimer, Ridley, and Cranmer, and the glorious “army of martyrs."
My lord, and it may be allowed me to add too, that I conceive utterly false is the charge, that is echoed by every mob-orator, and, I regret to say, finds an echo in parliament itself—the charge which is trumped up in every latitudinarian and infidel and semi-infidel newspaper, which is poured forth by the organs of her majesty's ministers—that we poor, quiet, and lowly clergy, who have been dragged forth to defend our common Protestantism from our quiet retirements and our Christian flocks, are vile clerical incendiaries, that we are firebrand parsons, pests in the country. My lord, I hail such censure; it is the best praise, the highest testimony in our favour. Next to the praise of the good, give me the censure of the bad; and if some of our notorious newspapers were by any misadventure to praise me, I should