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Bell's Weekly Messenger, No.1781, Sunday, May 16, 1830.


Friday a public meeting of the friends of this society was held at Freemasons' Hall, Viscount Mandeville in the chair.

The Noble Chairman briefly opened the business of the meeting, after which the secretary proceeded to read the usual annual communication of the Committee, in which it was stated that the public indifference to the objects of the society was partly attributable to the ignorance which prevailed of the principles of the Church of Rome, the doctrines of which had extended to an alarming extent amongst the inhabitants of Lancashire, Staffordshire, Surrey, and Middlesex. The report, after detailing at great length the result of the controversies of the members of the society in different parts of the kingdom, stated that whilst Popery had progressed in England, it had diminished in an equal ratio in Ireland, which they attributed to the increased piety of the Established Church, and the laudable endeavours of this society and other institutions to promulgate the great truths of the Reformation through that country. In Scotland the emissaries of a corrupt superstition were actively, and not unsuccessfully, employed. Twenty-five readers were in the service of the society, of whom twenty were employed in Ireland and five in London. The funds of the society were not in a prosperous state, its annual income only amounting to 1,800l. The donations had fallen off, and at present there was only a balanced 150l. in the hands of the treasurer, whilst its outstanding engagements amounted to upwards of 300l.

Lord Bexley, in moving the adoption of the report, observed that those who, with him, endeavoured to preserve the political safeguards of the Protestant religion, ought now to feel an additional obligation imposed on them to the support of the reformed Church by argument and the circulation of the Scriptures,—the only means they possessed to prevent the extension of Popery.

Captain Frederick Vernon, R.N. (son of the Archbishop of York). said he had visited various parts of the globe where the Catholic religion prevailed in all its impurity. He had also witnessed numbers of poor creatures in Ireland worshipping graven images on their bare knees, and then going round a holy well, from which the owner derived a livelihood by levying impositions on all those who approached it. As an instance of the increase of Catholicism, he was acquainted with two familles in the city of York, consisting of twenty-two persons, who had recently conformed to the Catholic religion.

After the Rev. Gerald Noel and several other eminent clergymen had expressed their alarm at the progress of the Roman Catholic religion in the United Kingdom.

The Rev. Mr. M. Dalton proposed a resolution to the effect that the zealous co-operation of Protestants be requested, in order to enable them to maintain the Protestant Faith, and prevent the propagation of the errors of the Roman church.

The Rev. Hugh M'Neill (son-in-law of the Archbishop of Dublin), proposed that the meeting should recommend the society to pursue the system of controversial discussions in the towns and cities of the United Kingdom, in order to controvert the effects of the proceedings of the Catholic emissaries.

The motion was then put and carried; and thanks having been voted to the noble Chairman, the meeting broke up.