Page images

vigilance-and by zeal and union proportionate to the dangers which seem to impend.

9. That this Meeting cannot separate without expressing and recording their real pleasure, at the kindness and attention of the Right Honourable Matthew Wood, twice Lord Mayor of London, in attending and presiding upon this occasion, nor without assuring him of their gratitude and respect for the additional proof which he has thereby afforded, of his attachment to Religious Liberty, and of his knowledge that social happiness and real piety will be best promoted, by the constant protection of those rights of Conscience, which cannot be too highly esteemed, nor too firmly maintained.

3. That this Meeting learn, therefore, with extreme regret, that the useful and unavoidable expenditure of this institution during the three past years, has increased considerably and progressively beyond the annual receipts-and especially as the contribution of £2. required from each congregation, if general, would be at once so small and so abundant:-and that a Society which has afforded protection to persecuted and injured congregations, of all denominations, from the lakes of Cumberland to the mines of Cornwall, and from the mountains of Wales to the shores of Suffolk, merits and should receive, more regular,mittee. most cheerful, and universal support.

4. That interested as this Meeting must be in the exemption of places of religious worship from parochial assessment, their satisfaction is proportionately great that as to Surrey Chapel no payment of such rates have ever been enforced-and that even assurances have been finally obtained, that attempts to enforce such rates shall not be renewed-and that this Meeting congratulate the Rev. R. Hill on the success which has apparently attended his perseverance and zeal-acknowledge the liberal collection of £80. which he has presented to the Committee and applaud the Committee for the assistance which to Mr. Hill they have continued wisely to afford.

5. That the Committee for the past year merit sincere acknowledgments for the prudence-promptitude—and energy which they have manifested in all the various matters that have required their assistance or advice.

6. That the London Committee for the succeeding year consist of the Treasurer, Secretaries, and of the following thirty Ministers and Laymen in equal proportions. Rev. J. Brooksbank, R. Bowden, W. B. Collyer, D. D. G. Collison, Alex. Fletcher, Evan J. Jones, T. Cloutt, J. Hughes, T. Jackson, Jun. J. Townsend, W. F. Platt, R. Hill, Matt. Wilks Mark Wilks, J. Upton- -Messrs. Wm. Bateman, W. Townsend, J. Emerson, T. Wontner, J. Watson, J. O. Oldham, T. Walker, Col. Handfield, T. Wilson, J. Esdaile, J. Young, Peter Bateman, S. Mills, J. Pritt. J. B. Brown.

7. That the acknowledgments of this Meeting be presented to R. Steven, Esq. their Treasurer, and that he be requested to continue in that situation bis useful assistance to Society.

8. That to T. Pellatt, Esq. and J. Wilks, Esq. the judicious, indefatigable, and disinterested Secretaries of this Institution, this Meeting also renew, with pleasure, their sincerest thanks, and invite with anxiety and affection, the connuance of their meritorious exertions.

Upon the first resolution the Rev. Mark Wilks rose to express his cordial approbation of the conduct of the Com

He considered that they had pursued the legitimate objects of the Society, and well applied its funds. While the sun of knowledge was rising higher daily, it should be remembered that the same glorious luminary which scattered the darkness and the clouds, matured also the venom of the most noxious reptiles, which prepared their stings, and watched their opportunity to use them. It was not, therefore, the time to separate or disunite. He was glad to find that the Committee had not only repelled the blows aimed at their privileges, but palsied the band that aimed them. A disgraceful list of reverend names had been associated with the worst actions:they had united with the lowest of mankind in the work of persecution, joined in the yell of savages, yea of fiends, to disturb peaceful Christians in the worship of their God.

We had met this week for Missionary purposes, and he hoped our Missionaries would be taught to carry the principles of civil and religious liberty with them through the world, wherever they might be sent.

Rev. Mr. Griffin, of Portsea, seconded this motion.

Rev. Dr. Bogue observed, that the exertions of the Society demonstrate, that religious liberty can only be maintained by firmness of principle, and temperance of conduct. The want of religious liberty was a great hindrance to the progress of the gospel; and he could not but think, that when Satan claimed all the kingdoms of the world as his own, he had a reference to the principles of tyranny in which they were involved; for it was impossible for the Christian religion to flourish extensively without religious and civil liberty. But in one point he differed from the last speaker but one. "I tell my students, (said Dr. B.) when they go into despotic countries, not to meddle with the principles of liberty. If the tyrant cut off the heads of his subjects, your business is to try to save the other half." It was their office to preach the Gospel, and as men began to know that they had immortal

spirits, they would feel their importance in the scale of Society, and at length learn that they had both civil and religious rights. Adverting to the Test Act, he considered it as the grossest abuse on earth; at Gosport he knew there was sometimes great difficulty to find a sober interval for superannuated officers to qualify. But he recommended patience and forbearance. The cause of religious liberty was increasing: in the last 25 or 30 years the Dissenters in Hampshire had been tripled, and not less than a million of converts made, among the various denominations, throughout the kingdom; and if the cause continued in progression, in the next 25 years the number would be far greater. They should also exercise forbearance. Many of the clergy who were most hostile to the Gospel were men of education and talents, and it was certainly provoking to find their people drawn away by the preaching of men so much their inferiors, as is often the case in point of rank and education: nor can they be expected to take into their calculation, that this is done by the power of the Gospel.

his example, not only in this respect, but in resisting every attempt of oppression and imposition. He wished to say a word in favour of his kind neighbours in Christ Church parish, very few of whom had approved of the proceedings against him, and even those had now fallen out among themselves.

As to the Church of England he avowed his cordial attachment to it, and to all pious and conscientious clergymen: it was of the bad only he complained; and as to the libel against himself, as a rebel, and an enemy to kingly power, it was very true that King Charles, by following high church counsels had lost his head, but he was sure that none of the Dissenters wished to hurt good old King George, who had always been the friend of toleration and religious liberty. He could, therefore, most cordially say-Long live King George and the House of Brunswick.

Rev. Dr. Styles, of Brighton, in rising to move the 5th resolution, (viz. thanks to the Committee) observed, that at so late an hour, and amidst the evident impatience of the company to separate, he should not detain them but for a moment." In proposing thanks to the Committee, however, he could not avoid expressing his entire approbation of their measures during the past year. He must also be permitted to commend, in the strongest terms, their prudence and their promptitude, their energy and their mildness. They were indisputably engaged in the noblest of all causes, for the cause of liberty of conscience was the cause of re

It is our duty to endeavour to make men Christians, and to leave the rest to time: if converted by our means, they will naturally unite with us. As to our burdens, it is better to bear them patiently till they become intolerable, and then seek redress only by gentle and constitutional means. Rev. Mr. Chaplin, of Bishop Stortford, seconded this motion, and observed, that though much had been heard of the utility of the Society, more remained unheard.ligion and social happiness. He regretted He knew that the report of the Society's existence had, in some instances, prevented persecution; and he doubted not,

in many.

Rev. Mr. Cloutt, of London, had to mention with regret, that for the last three or four years the Society's funds had fallen greatly short of its expences: he hoped gentlemen would remember that their funds were the cement of the Society, and not depart contented with merely giving their applause; but leave a pledge behind them to support the Society, by at least the small sum which would constitute them members-£2 per annum.

This motion was seconded by the Rev. Mr. Hackett.

deeply that a spirit of persecution still manifested itself in this enlightened age; but, as it did exist, he hailed the Committee as the tutelar angel of the persecuted and oppressed throughout the empire.


Among the hopeful features of modern times, a benevolent concern for the condition of Ireland is remarkably prominent:-and we witnessed its display with peculiar satisfaction at the Anniversay of THE IRISH EVANGELICAL SOCIETY, which took place on Tuesday evening, the 13th of May. The room at the New London, Tavern, in Cheapside in which the meetings had been held in former years, being too small, the Society assembled in the great room at the City of London Tavern, Bishopsgate-street; and though several meetings had been already held on the same day, though the rain fell in heavy showers, and though many ministers and Man-friends of the Institution had not arrived in town to assist at the Missionary services, which commenced the next morning-yet numbers went away who could not be accommodated, and we recognized among those who were present, the founders and

Rev. Mr. Jackson, of Stockwell, pronounced an eulogium on the Rev. R. Hill, for his conduct in the affair of Surry Chapel; but he was glad to find that the assessment of that chapel was given up, hoping this circumstance would operate as an inducement with many others. He Inoved the 4th resolution, which was seconded by the Rev. Mr. Roby, of chester.

Rev. Rowland Hill observed, he had brought them another collection, and hoped to repeat it again and again: and hoped that other ministers would follow

the most active and respectable supporters | enormous crime, and when brought into

of the Missionary and other benevolent Societies.

We have seldom heard a report more distinct in its narrative, or more interesting in its information, than that which was read on this occasion by the Rev. MARK WILKS, one of the Secretaries: and we confess we partook of the surprise and pleasure which pervaded the room, for, until we heard the Report, we had not imagined that a Society so infantine and unassuming, had been able to accomplish so much, and to have so widely extended its exertions; it appears, indeed, as though God had prepared the population for the reception of the gospel, and as though he had designed the Irish Evangelical Society to be an instrument of conveying to them its reviving and transforming sound. We learnt with extraordinary saitsfaction, that, besides supporting or assisting ministers in nearly 20 counties, and in each of the four provinces, Mr. Loader has under his care, in the Academical Institution founded by the Society in Dublin, eight Students preparing to devote themselves to the work of the Christian ministry in Ireland.

The Rev. JAMES BENNET of Rotherham, in a very impressive speech, moved the adoption of the Report, described the effect of popery on national comfort and independence, and by the spirits of Luther and Knox, and the host of reformers and confessors, called upon their descendants and the friends of Protestantism to exert themselves for the emancipation of Ireland from its degrading thraldom. In concluding his address, (he said) he could not neglect an opportunity of giving his warm through feeble testimony to their acknowledged excellence of the tutor of the Academy in Dublin, the Rev. Tho. Loader. They had together commenced their ministerial studies and pursuits, and in the nightly vigils and disturbed slumbers of his beloved friends, he had perceived his determination to do something great for the Redeemer's cause.

The Rev. Mr. STRATTON, Minister of York-street Chapel, Dublin, followed and described in glowing colours, the miseries of a people left for ages under the growing power of the Catholic hierarchy, and the encouragement which the providence of God had given to the Society in its attempts to alleviate and terminate their sufferings.

The Rev. Dr. TOWNLEY, who the next day set out for Limeric; the Rev. JOHN DAVIES, Minister of the congregation assembling in Pootbeyn-street, Dublin; and ROBERT MARTEN, Esq. of London, addressed the meeting in the varied styles of cheerful and solemn eloquence; and in speaking of the ignorance of many of the Irisa, who were naturally brave and ardent, Mr. DAVIES mentioned the case of

man who was condemned to die for some

[ocr errors]

the prison-yard, amused himself by painting with some mortar spurs to the feet of an image of death, holding an hour-glass, which was placed on the walls of the jail.

The Rev. Dr. BOGUE, in a speech dis tinguished by sound philosophie views, vigorous intellect, and Christian eloquence, traced the distinction between the reformation of the Continent and that of Ireland, the one real and effected by the preaching of the gospel, the other achieved by the efforts of the civil power; and by a reference to the scriptures and to history, exposed the folly of expecting any great national religious improvement, without the application of those means which the Society employed, namely, the faithful exhibition of truth by the voice of the living teacher.

Dr. STYLES also with great animation advocated the cause of Ireland and com mended the spirit and plans of the Society. He produced an instance of the success which had accompanied the preaching of the gospel, in the conversion of an interesting and educated female, from whose correspondence he read some beautiful extracts: some account of this lady we understand is to form the subject of a tract.

An old piece of ordnance was then dragged forward, but neither primed nor loaded in the person of the Rev. MATTHEW WILKS, who described himself by such a humorous figure. He managed, however, to keep up a very effective though not a galling fire, and the donations and subscriptions which fell in proved that though an old, he was not an useless piece of artillery.

The Rev. Messrs. HYATT, SLATTERIE, MARK WILKS, and other gentlemen, addressed the meeting, and the multitude separated, after having experienced much pleasure, evidently pledged more deeply to support the Institution, and leaving, as we are informed, substantial proofs of their approbation in pecuniary contri. butions to a very large amount. We hope in future years to record the growing prosperity of this valuable Society.


On Friday, the 16th ultimo, at the early hour of six in the morning, a large company of the friends and members of this Society assembled at the City of London Tavern, Bishopsgate Street, and breakfasted together; after which S. MILLS, Esq. the Treasurer, was called unanimously to the chair, and the Rev. Mr. GARDINER implored the Divine blessing on the Society, and on the present Meeting.

The REPORT was then read, from which we shall give some brief extracts.

The Committee of this Society, at their last General Meeting, reported that the number of Schools exceeded 300; and

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]

that the children and adults educated | additional allowance has been gaanted to therein were upwards of 19,000. They the masters for their Irish Testament have now the pleasure to state, that by classes; and this has powerfully operated the return made up to Christmas last, the to increase the demand for Irish Testanumber of Schools is 347; and the chil- ments, both in the day schools, and also in dren and adults therein, 27,776. those which are held in the evening, for teaching adults.

The Committee are happy to state, that the regulations for the conduct of the Schools are in full operation, and that the Inspectors are active and circumspect. The progress of the children in learning to read, and in committing the Scriptures to memory, and the interest that even Catholic parents feel in having their little ones appear with credit at the inspections, and truly gratifying. The attention of the masters, in general, to the import of the sacred word, is pleasingly on the increase; and among such as have had their own understandings enlightened and informed, their exists a spirit of emulation, to have their pupils excel in giving suitable an swers to questions relating to the meaning of the passages which they repeat.

While the children are thus taught the Holy Scriptures, with the hope of their being thereby made wise unto salvation, they are not only receiving the most im portant benefits themselves, but are prepared to be the humble but effective instrument of diffusing Scripture knowledge among their families. "Out of the mouth of these babes" it pleases God " to ordain strength."

[Several instances are given in the Report of the high value which the poor set on the education of their children, which we omit, as most of them are introduced in the subsequent speeches.]

These instances evidently shew the immediate and direct influence which the Schools produce on the minds of the parents of the children who are educated therein; and that an emanation of Scripture light, and a portion of religious interest of the most important and useful kind, are introduced into the humble cottages of the poor. *

[ocr errors]

The Committee continue to give the greatest encouragement to the instruction of adults in the vicinity of the schools; and they receive the most pleasing accounts of the efficacy of the word of God, in the enlightening of the minds of those who probably would never have had an opportunity of reading the Scriptures, or of hearing them read, had it not been for the free schools which this Society has established, and for the numerous copies of the divine word which it has industriously circulated. Indeed the visitors to the schools preceive and acknowledge, that, were it not for the labours of this Institution, it would be impossible for the Bible Societies to get the Scriptures into the hands of the Catholics, the great mass of the population of Ireland.

The formation of Irish classes in the Schools which are appropriate thereto, continues to be sedulously promoted. An


If it be kept in mind that the labours of this Society are peculiarly directed to the children of the Roman Catholic poor in Ireland, and that an indispensable and essential part of the instruction which they receive in the schools, is from the Scriptures;-the opposition which the designs and exertions of the Society have met with will not excite surprise, nor induce discouragement. The decided opinions which the Roman Catholic clergy in this country have recently and officially expressed against the introduction of the word of God into schools for the education of children, have been cherished and and acted on in Ireland, not merely in a way of privation, but of direct hostility. The Hibernian Society and the priesthood of the Church of Rome have therefore joined issue on this grand point: the former have held forth the "word of life" to the young in the schools, and to the aged in the cottage; the latter have endeavoured to snatch the precions gift from the hand of benevolence, and to scatter or destroy those schools in which it has desseminated its blessings.

The Committee have remarked, in former Reports, the existence aud prevalence of this hositility to the schools established by the Society; and they are concerned to observe that in some places it still continues its baneful operation. By the power of Divine Proidence, however, this hostility is to be contemplated in connexion with increasing exertions and decided success. And what is yet more encouraging, the philanthropy of the Society's designs, the importance of its objects, and the purity of its means, have, in many instances, not only neutralized opposition, but even conquered systematic resentment, and converted persecutors into friends.

In exemplification of these observations, the Committee are happy to present the following information. One of the Society's Irish Teachers presented a Bible to a Catholic Priest, which was very gratefully accepted, and the Priest lifted up his eyes, and fervently implored a blessing on all with whom the Society originated, and by whom it is supported!

In the parish of A~- the Catholic Rector favoured the school, while his Curate violently opposed it, the latter, being supported by the titular Bishop, denounced the school from the altar, and prohibited the parents from sending their children thither for instruction. Rector was absent when this took place, but having been informed of all that occurred, he took an early opportunity, from the altar, of speaking very highly

2 F


of the Society, recommending it as the greatest blessing to the poor; and observed, that he had examined the books used in the school (which had been condemned by the Bishop and Curate) and had found they were not only free from error, but were the best he had ever met with.

If, however, the views and objects of the Institution have only commended themselves as to a small part of the Catholic body; the Committee are happy to state that, in the Protestant community, the high importance of the Hibernian Society increasingly arrests public attention; that the demands for schools in almost every district are more numerous than can be attended to; and that in every place respectable individuals come forward, unsolicited, to carry into execution the benevolent designs of the Society. And here it is very appropriate and grateful to observe, that to the Clergy of the Established Church who have afforded their patronage to the schools, and have condescended to act as visitors, the Society are under very great obligations: and particularly to an excellent dignitary of that Church, who has always entered into the views of the Society with a liberal mind, has furthered them with continued assiduity, and has recently from the pulpit pleaded the cause of the Institntion, and thereby added to its celebrity and support.

It has been noticed that the number

would ardently bless her pious and liberal
benefactors. With regard to lessening
the expence of future operations, the
Committee have endeavoured to connect
the formation of new Schools, with an
Annual Subscription; and, in this way,
it is to be hoped that many of the resi-
dent noblemen and gentlemen in Ireland
will assist in carrying into effect the de-
signs, and in relieving the funds, of the
Hibernian Society.

The Committee feel a pleasure in re-
porting the assistance with which the
Society has been favoured in the course
of the last year, from various benevolent
Institutions, and from the kind exertions
of Ministers.

SOCIETY has, with a munificent liberality,
made a grant to this Society of 1000
English Bibles.

CIETY has generously presented to this
Institution 500 Bibles and 2,500 Testa-

In Money also, various Congrega-
tional Collections and Individual Dona-
tions have been received to a considerable
amount, and are acknowledged in the

(To be concluded in our next.)


In London for the encouragement and support of Itinerant and village preaching, established in 1797.

of children and adults taught in the So-
ciety's Schools has increased, in the
course of the last year, from 19,000
The friends of this institution break-
to 27,000. and that requisitions for ad- fasted together at the City of London Ta-
ditional Schools are far more numerous vern, on Wednesday morning the 25th of
than can be complied with. It will also June; after which the report of the pro-
be remembered, that at the time of hold-ceedings of the committee for the past
ing the last Annual Meeting, the expen-year was read by the Rev. Mr. Shenstone,
diture of the Society had exceeded its from which we observe that the labours of
income upwards of £600. In this con- the ministers assisted and patronised,
flict of an enlarged establishment and a have been more widely extended than at
deficient revenue, of encouraging pros any former period, encouraged as they
pects and limited means, of the Com- have been by the continued liberality of
mittee have endeavoured to increase the the society; for although by the last re-
funds of the Society, and to lessen the port, it appeared such ministers preached
expences of its future operations. To in upwards of 200 villages, situate in 26
obtain the first-mentioned benefit, they counties. The committee found from seve-
have transmitted a circular letter to ral of their correspondents, that during
Ministers generally, in town and country; the past year, other villages, whose inhabi-
describing the state of the Institution, as tants till then, were wholly or in a great
to its importance, its usefulness, and its degree destitute of the knowledge of the
necessities; urging them to interest them- gospel, had been taken in within the
selves in procuring Subscriptions and sphere of their exertions, and that the
Donations; and particularly and ear- word of God still continues" to run" in
nestly requesting them to incorporate it the unenlightened parts of our country;
amongst those other excellent Societies, and they trust that in very many instances
for the assistance of which Auxiliary it is glorified.
Institutions have in so many place's been
established. These dispense their tribu-
tary streams with fertilizing and invigo-
rating energies, and if in their course,
they were permitted to visit and enrich
the Hibernian Society, Ireland would
greatly benefit by the diffusion, and

Upon the subject of the Scilly Islands, the committee say, "It can scarcely be necessary to call to your recollection, the descriptions which have been laid before you of the unenlightened state of the Inhabitants of the isles. The appeal made to your christian benevolence at the last


« PreviousContinue »