Page images

other means which may suggest themselves to promote the objects of this Society.

8. That Members of the Society be admitted by ballot of the Committee. The subscription of each Member to be one pound annually, with the exception of the Protestant clergy, who shall be admissable by the Committee as honorary members, without subscription.

9. That the Committee shall have power to make bye-laws, and to determine the conditions on which they will add to their numbers.


SOMERSET R. Maxwell, Honorary Secretary.

ADDRESS OF THE PROTESTANT ALLIANCE, Adopted at a Meeting of the Committee, held on Friday, the 9th day

of January, 1846. The Committee of the Protestant Alliance earnestly invite the dispassionate attention of their fellow-subjects to an appeal, addressed to them at a season of almost unparalleled difficulty and danger. We do not ask a partial hearing, nor do we deprecate the most rigid scrutiny, with the confidence natural to men persuaded that their demands are reasonable, and that there is no untruth in their statements.

The sum and substance of our demand is this that Ireland be regarded, not by empty title, but, practically, an integral part of the British Empire—that Her Majesty's subjects here be esteemed a portion of the British people, and governed according to a policy conceived and carried out in the spirit of the British constitution. This is, we feel, to demand a high privilege, but it is a privilege for which a high price has been paid. We complain that, without any disqualification incurred on our part, we are denied some of its most valued benefits, although they were assured to us, on the faith of England, in the Act of Legislative Union.

That great measure, it should be remembered, was not a boon conceded to the Petitions of Ireland. It was a compact made between two kingdoms-both under one Crown, and each having its independent Legislature—a compact implying mutual concessions, and promising reciprocal advantages a compact into which the Irish Houses of Parliament were invited to enter-which was recommended to their favourable consideration by the express desire of the Crown--and which procured for them, when carried into effect, a most gracious testimony of the Royal approbation, conveyed in a speech from the throne.

We affirm, that, so far as in us lies, we have been faithful to our engagements; and we complain that, in matters the dearest and most highly prized, even in things appertaining to the “ safety of our religion," engagements made to us in the articles of Union have not been adhered to.

We complain, that Protestants in Ireland are deprived of rights to which, as British subjects, their claims ought not to be disputed, and that the wrong is aggravated, and their sense of alarm heightened, by lavish and unjustifiable concessions to the Church of Rome. We complain, that while throughout Great Britain the State refuses its aid to any school in which Holy Scripture is not honoured

disparagement of Scripture (even to the extent of rejecting its supreme authority) should be required among the indispensable conditions on which aid will be granted in Ireland; that the national system of education in Great Britain should be based upon à principle to which the national system for Ireland is opposed ; and that, while Irish Prótestants are taxed for the support of schools conducted on a principle of which they conscientiously disapprove, they are not permitted to share with their brethren throughout Great Britain in the aid afforded by the State to schools of scriptural instruction. We complain, that, at a time when Protestant bishops prayed in vain for aid to instruct children committed to their charge in the knowledge that maketh wise unto salvation, Roman Catholic bishops (at a time too when it had been announced by one of their body, and never distinctly contradicted, that they were at heart all ardent Repealers) should be supplied from the British treasury with means to afford gratuitous education and maintenance to such youths of their communion as they may find it expedient to select, to the exclusion of all others, for admission into the priesthood of their Church. And we complain, that, while the support and countenance of the State are withdrawn from scriptural schools in Ireland, on the hollow plea of promoting united education, a system of education perniciously exclusive is endowed for the convenience of the Church of Rome.

It is in no sordid feeling that, to the discouragement of our religion, we add disqualification, to which, according to the policy of Her Majesty's Government, the Protestants of Ireland have been personally subjected. We complain, that a gross wrong has been done, and a great principle violated, in making a profession of the creed of Romanism a ground of preference in selection for office, and in the distribution of ministerial patronage. We complain of this injustice, not only because of the wrong it inflicts, and the wrong for which it sets a precedent, but also because it tends to perpetuate and embitter divisions which it should be the object of good government to remove.

The policy of which we thus complain, acquires a character of aggravated injustice, when considered with reference to the Roman Catholic Relief Bill, of which it violates the principle and spirit. The declared object of that Bill was to raise Roman Catholics to an equality in the sight of the law-the policy against which we would protest tends to convert the equality thus conferred into the worst species of ascendancy. The concessions made to Roman Catholics, in the Act of 1829, have been greatly enlarged -- its provisions for the satisfaction and security of Protestants have remained unenforced and unregarded. Titles which it prohibited have been assumed ostentatiously and with impunity-religious and monastic orders, the ecclesiastical secret societies of Romanism, upon which it imposed restraints, have been suffered, contrary to its provisions, to increase; and, while laws have been passed, and Government influence exerted, to obstruct and embarrass Protestant unions for defence of life and maintenance of established institutions, Roman Catholic ecclesiastics have been left free to form and extend societies forbidden by law, and having as their well known object, to effect changes which may be ruinous to the existing order of society.

Such is the character of the policy adopted towards the Protestant, and towards the Roman Catholic people of Ireland—to the one discouragement and wrong-to the other lavish concession, impunity, and indulgence. In disregard and defiance of solemn engagements to the contrary, aggressions have been made on the Established Church. Municipal Corporations, created for the defence of Protestantism, have been given over, it may be said, into the power of the Church of Rome; and in the arrangements for carrying into effect the new collegiate system, designed, as it was professed, for purposes of united education, it is found that, in the selection for high office, religious distinctions have been taken into account, and the profession of a particular creed recognised as a ground of preference. A principle of discrimination like this tends to keep the people of Ireland divided and apart, and, as it has been applied, must tend to give superior power to members of the Church of Rome, and to depress and degrade Protestants.

Such are the circumstances under which the Protestant Alliance has been founded. If in name or principle, a character of exclusiveness seems impressed upon it, the blame is not ours. Gladly would we live in union with our fellow-subjects of every religious denomination, and admit no principle of distinction in the discharge of social and political duties, unless that of a generous rivalry who best should servé their countrymen and their country. Gladly do we entertain the hope, that, in the agency of our Society, we shall give proof of an earnest desire to befriend men of all creeds (Roman Catholic as well as Protestant), and thus to show that in the construction of the Protestant Alliance we are governed not by choice but by necessity. We unite in order that agencies which begin by inflicting upon Protestants indignity and wrong, may not enable adversaries eventually to accomplish their destruction.

We unite at a time when no sane person can esteem such an appre. hension chimerical. The following facts are notorious :

There exists in Ireland a confederacy embracing among its members and instruments a large majority of the population, and having, as its great end, to effect an alteration in law and government; such as, in the words of Her Majesty's Prime Minister, would make Great Britain a fourth-rate power, and Ireland a savage wilderness.

There exists a secret Society-the wide ramifications and baleful activities of which have been but too fully proved in courts of justice, and before Parliamentary Committees contemplating, as its leading object, the utter extermination of Protestants.

And, whether in connexion with this foul conspiracy, or independently of it, a system of outrage, daring and sanguinary, has erected itself into a despotism which, by continued and still increasing progress, is overspreading our country. Its agents, in the perpetration of the most heinous offences, are insensible to remorse, are unrebuked by the abhorrence which, wherever human sympathies prevail, should be manifested towards the murderer, and are thus placed beyond the reach of laws, which, assuming that conscience and public opinion will lend them aid, are unsuited to a state of society where these strong influences are against them.

At a time when our lives and properties are thus menaced, and our

religion put to rebuke, we call upon the Protestants of Ireland to unite. We would form an union just and wise--not for any ephemeral purpose-not for any personal interest or advancement-not in obedience to any sudden passion or caprice-not for the displacement or the elevation of a Minister—but for the maintenance of our rights for the safety of our religion--for defence of life.

For these great ends let our personal resources be employed, our political privileges ascertained and asserted. Let us be faithful at the registries and at the hustings-Jet us avail ourselves of all just means at our command to make known to the people of this great empire what we are—what we seek—what is denied us; and let all this be done in strict submission to the law, and in a spirit which, in the endeavour to assert our own rights, will inflict no wrong upon our neighbours. We would not employ injustice to attain a just end. We would not defend a religion of love in a spirit of intolerance. We would not, therefore, molest or injure any man on account of his religious opinions, but, on the contrary, would extend to every peaceful and well-conducted fellow-subject, whatever his religious profession may be, such aid as we can afford in promoting his welfare, and protecting him from violence and oppression.

Roden, Chairman.

Bulicase, without powers in eas is alloy


(Continued from page 128.) We must either then, as we before said, conclude, that our Governors are become ashamed of their religion and of the Protestant name, or that they are become so cowardly or altogether indifferent to religion, that they are afraid to insist on the same liberty of worshipping God, according to their established church, in foreign lands, as is allowed to the Popish subjects of foreign powers in England, whenever or wherever they please, without fear either of " imprisonment or expulsion.

But it is high time for English Protestants to ask themselves, whether matters of this nature are likely to be much better or not under Sir Robert Peel's administration ? If Englishmen have not become altogether blind, it is sufficiently evident that, instead of being improved, these matters have fallen even into worse hands, and are likely under his impressible disposition to be much more perilled.

Instance the letter of the Lord Primate of Ireland to Sir Robert Peel, in which he is constrained even to beg for common justice for the scriptural schools of the Church of England and Ireland. And be it remembered, that besides 13,500 Protestant Dissenters, no less than 32,900 Roman Catholics voluntarily attend these schools. The Church members, the nobility and gentry of Ireland, support these schools-last year at an qutlay of 33,0001.--and yet nothing will move the Premier from his evidently expressed determination to restrain as much as possible the spread of Protestantism, and to encourage that of Popery in that unfortunate and abused land.

How can any love of true Protestantism, or protection of even the Church of England, be expected at the hands of Sir Robert Peel?

'Tis true, as reported, that he has said something at times unfavourable to Tractarianism; but has he acted as if he was in reality opposed to it? He may speak as he pleases, but his acts seem oddly to contrast with his speeches. Are his appointments to office tokens that our colonies will be rescued from Popery, and that true Protestantism will be maintained and supported, in favour of our Established Church, her scriptural education, and the curbing of Popish error and superstition? Certainly not, while the offices most influential in these matters are filled up with Tractarians. The Secretary and Under-Secretary of the Colonies, Tractarians; and the Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs, if not much belied, almost a Papist.

And again, Sir Robert Peel's plans with respect to Ireland; how are they developing themselves every day more and more?

Remember, who emancipated the Papists of Ireland, and that too under a shew of fallacious arguments, and false securities to the Church of England; all which false securities are now even to be totally destroyed, by the Bill which Sir James Graham declares the Government of the country has prepared, whose object is to do away all the yet remaining penal enactments which stand on the statute-book of England. - What are we to expect, when a Member of the House of Parliament could have the hardihood, in the very face of truth, to express his surprise how any one could oppose the establishment of the several monkish orders in England, which this new Bill is intended to ensure, those whom, he says, are only anxious to visit our shores, “ to teach virtue and morality and holiness."

We cannot, however, forget the character of those boasted virtues which Rome teaches, and as to the virtue of monasteries and nunneries, let the Noble Lord inquire what the fruits of that virtue, morality, and holiness, taught at the nunnery of Manchester, have been, and I suspect he will in future be a little more discreet; perhaps silent altogether, on subjects of which he appears to be so totally ignorant.

What then! are we patiently to submit to these attempts of men, which so evidently tend to the utter destruction of our Protestant constitution, both in Church and State; indeed, eventually to endanger the Crown of our beloved Queen, and the Protestant succession to the throne of these kingdoms ?

« PreviousContinue »