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.
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.
1832 two meetings were held in Exeter Hall, London to protest
against proposals for education in Ireland.
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
So it was on Saturday
11 July 1835 that the Protestant
was formed by the following resolutions:
- That the influence of true religion over a people forms
the best security for their individual rights, and the surest
basis of national prosperity.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
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