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 The Protestant Association

Protestant Associations had been created on an occasional basis since the reign of Elizabeth I in order to protest or protect against the influence of the Roman-catholic religion on England.

The Protestant Association itself came into being in 1835 but the events leading to its creation began a few years before including the introduction of the Roman Catholic Relief Bill.

In 1832 two meetings were held in Exeter Hall, London to protest against proposals for education in Ireland.

Later, in 1835, there were two further meetings at Exeter Hall stirred by reports regarding the activities of the Roman-catholic hierarchy in Ireland. The first meeting had been held on 20 June and announcement was given of a further meeting on 11 July in order to form a Protestant Constitutional Association.

So it was on Saturday 11 July 1835 that the Protestant Association was formed by the following resolutions:

  1. That the influence of true religion over a people forms the best security for their individual rights, and the surest basis of national prosperity.
  2. That the British Constitution acknowledges in its principle and laws the Sovereignty of Almighty God, and the supreme Authority of his Holy Word, and has provided for the Scriptural Instruction of the people by its religious Establishments.
  3. That in opposition to this principle of the Constitution, doctrines have of late been propagated, that religion is unconnected with the duties of Legislation, - that in the eye of the State all religions are alike – and that support should equally be given or denied to all.
  4. That under cover of these doctrines, the Members of the Church of Rome are zealously exerting themselves to destroy the Protestant character of the Constitution, and that the first object to which they direct their efforts, is the overthrow of the Established Churches, as forming the main obstacles to their ulterior designs.
  5. That to counteract these efforts, all who venerate the Word of God, and value the British Institutions, should be called on to co-operate in pointing out to the people the peculiar dangers of the present time, and in taking measures to inspire them with a just sense of the benefits and blessings of the Protestant Constitution.

G.J. Philip Smith wrote the following in the Protestant Magazine of 1840

May our Protestant Association be enabled, by the blessing of God vouchsafed on its efforts and its prayers, to hold up a union standard of sound political and religious principles, - even the religious principles of the Reformation, and the political principles of the Revolution of 1688; around which a faithful and undaunted band of religious men and Christian patriots may gather, and contend successfully for the restoration of the Christian Protestant character of our Constitution.

Protestant Magazine

The Associations magazine was called the Protestant Magazine which was first printed in February 1839. The magazine reflects the concerns which brought the Association to life – the growing influence of the Roman-catholic Church and the plans of the papacy to bring England back under its sway. The first issue addressed such matters as the number of Roman Catholics in parliament and most of the early issues deal with national legislation rather than just churchy matters. The thirty two vice-presidents of the Association were all laymen, the majority being Peers of MPs.


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