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Ar the ANNUAL MEETING of the General Body of PROTESTANT
Rev. JOHN HUMPHRYS in the Chair,
and present situation, Resolved unanimously,
1. That the Report of the Committee appointed hy this Body, “ for the purpose of Inquiry, Superintendance, and Distribution of the Fands which may he contributed for the relief of the French Protestants, suffering for conscience-sake," now presented by the Secretary, displaying the zeal, the industry, and the perseverance with which they have projecuted the ohjerts confided to their care, be accepted by this body with the bigliest sentiments of satisfartion and gratitude.
2. That the account now communicated to this body, of the situation of the French Protestants, by the Rev. Clement Perrot, who, at the request of the Conmittee, has so generously, and with so much personal inconvenience and risque, * visited the scenes of persecution in France, while it demands ons most cordial acknowledgements, has produced the deepest conviction that no relaxations should he suffered in the exertions of the Committee, bnt that their most vigorous efforts should be continued, till complete security and repose be obtained for those who are suffering for conscience-sake.
3. That although the lawless outrages of the persecutors in the sonth of France have happily abated, yet that the circnmstances of oni suffering Protestant hrethren in that quarter still call for onr sympathy, and assistance; and that it be strongly recommended to pur brethren throughont the kingdom, who have Bot yet made collections on their behalf, to follow the example of those who have already, by this means, declared publicly their abhorrence of persecation, and contributed to the relief of suffering humanity. (Signed)
By Order of the Committee,
THOMAS MORGAN, Secretary.
£ $. d. Rev. Mr. Bett's Con. Alfriston,
Rev. Mr. Bass's Con. Halstead 6
Mr. Ostle, London
0 Robertson, Kennington Cr. 1 Miss S, Wansey, do.
Rev. Mr. Orton's Con. Hug. Rev.Mr.Elvey's Con Wandsw. 7 10 0
glescote Helmore's do.Kiddermin.3 0
Feikin's do. Kegworth
Strutt, Founders' Hall 1 0
Rooker's Con Tavistock 10
Hamilton's do. Leeds SA 10
Gen. Baptist Con. Sutton, in
Rev. Mr Treslier's do. Cocker.
3 Rev.Mr Hughes and Friends,
Smith's do. Nantwich 2
Edward'sdo. Northampton 3 15 Contributions will be received by the Rer. T. Morgan, Williams's Library,
Red Cross Street, The REPORT of the Rev. C. PERROT, printed by Order of the Committee, may be had of all Booksellers; and an HISTORICAL RELATION of the Persecutions endured hy the Protestants of the Sonth of France, in one volume octavo, prepared by the same Gentleman, will speçdily be published. R. WILLIAMS, Printer, Clerkenwell.
5 8 S 11
The painful subject which has so long and so imperatively claimed the exertions of Tuc COMMITTEE OF THE DISSENTING MINISTERS, has occupied, since the last communication was prepared for press, the attention of the British Parliament.
That attention was suinmoned by Sir Samuel Romilly, a senator, “whose probity, intelligence, independence of mind, and unwearied and disinterested efforts, in the cause of Justice and Humanity," says an eloquent writer, “ have deservedly placed him in the first rauk of his profession, and secured bim the respect and esteem of all parties. Descended trom one of those families, which, diiven in former times from their native country, hy I'rench intolerance, found an asylum in Britain, to which they did not come to live as drones, and to carry back all their prejudices and foibles; bui to which they transferred their attachments, and consecrated their talents, as the land of civil and sacred liberiy, the refuge of the stranger, and the shield of the oppressed, -- he could not fail to take a deep interest in the recent ocrurrences in the south of France."
After sacrificing much of his valuable time, and taking great pains to collect infot. mation from the most authentic sources, be brouglit forward, on May 23, the fol. powing motion : -- " That an humble Address be presented to His Royal Highness “ the Prince Regent, praying that he will be pleased to give directions that there “ be laid before the House copies of all communications between His Majesty's * Governinent and the Government of France, relative to the Protestants in the “ southero departments of France.” On this motion it was not intended to take the sense of Parliament, should it be resisted; but it afforded this distinguished statesman and philanthropist an opportunity of conveying information to the mein. bers of Parliament -- of enlightening the public mind, which had been so much abused — and of procuring for the country any official information which the ministers of the Prince Regent might possess, and might be disposed to communicate In a speech, which occupied between two and three hours, Sir Samuel Romilly en. tered, with astonishing accaracy, into the whole history of the alleged persecutions. He described the state of the Protestants, subsequently to the revocation of the Ediet of Nantz, and under the acts of amelioration antecedent to the Revolution, -under the Republican and the Imperial Governments, and up to the period of the first restoration of the Bourbon family. He related the indignities and injuries to which they were exposed, and the alarms by which they were agitated, from that time till the departure of the king ;--and equally proved that, before that event, the Protestaots were peaceable and faithful subjects; and that, during the period between that event, and the second restoration, they committed no violence, and indulged no Tevenge ; as in that interval, in the city of Nismes, not one house was pillaged, only one had the windows broken, and one individual only had lost his life, and that not by a Protestant, but by a military man.”
He then drew a touching pieture of the persecutious of the Protestants, from July 15, 1815, to the present time; including the lorses they had sustained, the marders that had been committed, the cruelties they endured, and the oppressions they had experienced ; and proceeded to expose, with the strongest indigeation, the condnet of the local authorities. He produced many of their proclamations, commented on their negligence, their deceit, and criminaliiy, in suffering such outrag.s to be committed, and iben to bę nnpunished ; and proved, trom official papers, that when some of the most dreadfal massacres and ontrages took place, there were are the city 24 companies of infantry and a regiment of cavalry. He called on the House to consider the present condition of the Protestants, at the mercy of arbitrary and partial tribunals---josulted by the lowest rabble--jostied, if they went into the streets, by the murderers of their wives, parents, and children threatening them with their looks, and exulting in their successful villainy,-ibe wretch who sbot General la Garde, and the monsters Trestaillon aud Quatre • See a most able Review of the qnestion of the persecution of the Freoch, in the Edinburgh Christian Instructor, for February and April, 1816.
Taillon still screened from justice : he conjured every Member to peruse the Report of the gentleman who had just returned from Nismes, which he saw the voble Lord (Castlereagh) bad in his hand* ; and concluded with reminding the House and the Governmet, that while the nation interfered as it had done, and continued to do in the affairs of France, it would fall under a very great degree of blame if it shonld not ask protection for these unfortunate people.
The motion was opposed by Lord Castlereagh, who objected principally to British interference;- bat bis Lordship also asserted, that tbe disorders were local and political, and had loug ceased; and that every thing was now tran. quil and satisfactory. The Committee have had to brave considerable reproach, because their letters and statements could not be published with the names of the writers; but after all, the Secretary for Foreign Affairs, not professing to state that any correspondence had taken place with the French Government on the subject, produced in evideuce only an anonymous letter, written by a person, as lie stated, a traveller to the south. Even this sta tement was, bowever, more than corrobative of the facts detailed by Sir Samuel Romilly , for it acknow, ledged that sanguinary songs had been sung during the first restoration ; that Protestants had been deprived of offices and consideration ; and that 300 bad been murdered in Nismes, and 1000 in the Department.
Mr. Brongham followed in a most animated and eloqnent strain of remark on the speech of his Lordship, and retorted on him the result of that interference which had been charged on those who disapproved of the treaiy, allowing the slave trade to continue tor five years.
Lord Binning defended the line of argument adopted by his noble friend, the Foreign Secretary.--Mr. W. Smith thought it very remarkable, that, after the long duration of these persecutions, and the deep interest which a large portion of the British nation had taken in the situation of the Protestants, that nothing was said of any existing correspondence between the respective governments; and that all that had been brought forward was a letter, without any name, being given to the House.
Sir Samuel Romilly closed the debate with a most able and energetic reply. He disclaimed the motives which had been charged on him, and reminded Lord Castle. reagh, that he himself first brought the subject into Parliament, and on a discussion quite foreigo, had anhandsomely reflected on those benevolent persons who had taken up the cause of suffering fellow-Christians. He denied that the outrages were confined to the Gard,--though that deparınient alone contained between 3 and 400,000 inbabitants. They had extended to several, particularly l’Herault and l'Aveyron. In the latter, the temple of St, Afrique, 80 miles from Nismes, had been burnt. He compared the conduct of this Government, on the occasion of the riots of a few days in 1780 (to which the eight months' persecution in the south had been compared) to that of the French Government; and could not bold the latter free from censure. He thought the Duke of Wellington's letter unjustifiable. The Duke professed to speak from his own knowledge, - but his assertions were not borne ont by facts.
“Whatever imputations might be cast npon him (he said) for the discharge of his duty, it was some consolation to the cause of humanity, that so obscure an in. dividual as himself, could bring into public discussion a topic of such an important nature, and that there was one place at least in Europe, where the oppressed could appeal, and where so long as public justice lingered in the world, acts of atrocity could be stamped with intamy, and men, who were suffered to go unpunished, be visited with public detestation."
“ One of the prefects had observed, that the charges against the fanatics of the south, had been made in the face of Europe, He telt therefore, that when the whole question was brought before Europe, the best resalis might with confidence be anticipated."
• The Committee had presented copies of the Report to tbe principal membere of adıninistrativa, previous to the debate,
French Protestants. While the friends of the Protestants in and out of Parliament, were thus endeavouring to obtain for them redress and protection, - and while those who opposed their measures, were assuring the public that all was tranquil, and that interference was unnecessary, -the Committee have the melancholy duty to state, that the dreadful outrages were renewed, and the lives and property of peaceable and unoffending members of society sacrificed to the most barbarous fanaticism. The Committee, who wave neither allowed themselves to be indifferent or inactive, nor lulled the minds of others into apathy and neglect, feel that they are bound to employ in this cause fresh energy, and to invite every friend to humanity and religion, as well as every Protestant Dissenter, to cast his mite of influence and property, into the common treasury of benevolence and exertion. The following are extracts from the information which the Committee bave lately received :
“ Before the renewal of the opeo Outrages, which have replunged the Protestant "« populatiou of the city of Nisines into the deepest consternation and distress; and " though their persons were not assaulted, or their worship interrupted, yet the “ negligence aod the revolting partiality of the local authorities and the tribunale “ contributed, together with the more secret menaces of the populace, to keep all " classes of the Protestants io a stale of depression; and, from the most respectable “ to the poorest individuals, every one was rendered wiserable by indefinite appre. 4 hension and alarm."
“ As soon as the enemies of the Protestants heard the news of the commotions “ which had taken place at Grenoble and in Dauphiny, though the newspapers "made not the most distant allnsion to difference in religious opinioos, nor meg. “tioned the terms Protestant and, Catholic, the popnlace eagerly seized the pretext, " and proceeded to ibe renewal of their acts of violence and persecution agaiust “our unfortunate brethren. Two bouses, one belonging to the Sieur Crouset, on “the Placette, and that of Paulet, were brokep into and plnodered. Many of the " Protestants were attacked in the streets, and beaten in such a cruel manner, that " four or five of them are now lying in their beds, at the point of death.
“On Sunday, May 12, the city was in a dreadful situation. Many, alarmed at “ the dangers which menaced them, had fled ; and the poor, and those who were " not able to leave, barricaded themselves in their houses. Only a few of the "most courageous ventured to attend public worship, which, however, they were " allowed to celebrate without being assaulted.
.“ On the 13th, the populace rar about the fauxbourgs, knocking at the houses of ^ all the Protestants, whom fear kept close prisoners, crying, with imprecations, “ that an ordonnance of the king had just arrived, by which he commanded all the “ Protestants to embrace the Catholic religion, and that there should be only one "faith and one law, throughout the kingdom.
"The mob broke into several houses where the persons whom they had so unmer"cifully beated were contined to their beds. One of them, of the name of Tesso"nier, was near being murdered by the ruffians, who rushed into his room. About “ a dozen of these monsters pressed apon this wounded man's body, with the inter“ţion of strangling and suffocating him, when a woman, who lodged in his house, a “ Catholic, came to liis assistance, and after having broken two chairs in endeavour. “ing to beat them off, fetched her child, and thrast liim on the bed, between them " and the body of her host, exclaiming, “If you kill him, you shall kill my child !"
“We had great rejoicings on account of the arrival of two of the deputies of " the Gard, M. de Bernies, and M. Jules de Calviére. The women of the “ Bourgades went out to meet them, and to celebrate their arrival, having at their " head what they are pleased to call the Company of Whippers. Their cries, their “ vociferations, their gestures and their conduct, gave them the appearance of ** furies, and tilled us with horror. Some ladies, who had ventured to return " to Nismes, were so terrified, that they immediately quitted it. Conversions col4 tinue ; and the Catholics have every day some one of which to boast. That
• Aluding to their having whipped and abuscd the Protestant females.
“ of Serasse, a paper manufacturer, is particularly talked of; and that of Seguin, “ formerly a violent Terrorist. He has published an account of his conversion ; “ in which he celebrates what he calls Three Returns : his owu return into the bosom " of the Catholic church, -the return of the Pope to Rome, – and the return of “ Louis XVIII, to the throne of his ancestors. Many copies of this account "haye been distributed and stuck up in various parts of the city!" The account which follows will further exbibit the distressing state of the
city of Nismes, at the very period when it was allirmed in Parliament that all was tranquil and satisfactory,
" Mr. a most respectable gentieman, residing in Switzerland, who had at passed the winter months in Provence, for the lealth of his family, arrived at
Nismes, May 21. It was his intention to remain several days among his friends, " but he only remained 24 hours. The deplorable situation of the town, and the “ melancholy which the sufferings of the Protestants inspired, compelled him to * depart. Not one of the Protestant merchants, or respectable reformed inbabit. " ants dared centure to leure their houses, ussociate with hin, or appeur in public.”
Collections, Donations, &c.
£1 1 0 Methodists' Prayer-Meet.
Rev.Mr. Perry's Coa. Ipswich 4 8 6 Newbury, Rev. J. Winter 10
Trivett's do, Langhan 6 10 Rev. Mr.Jackson'sCon Wharton 1 12 0 Williams's do.Llanwrthyd ? 0 R. Cunlıffe Esq. Blackburn 5
Weybridge's do. Cheshunt Professor Bentley, King's Col.
In addition, omitted - 1 10 lege, Aberdeen
1 01) Rev. Forrest Frew, Perth Rev. Dr. Rippon's Con. Lond.
Baptist do. Howorth for the Widows and Orphans
Rev. Mr Jones's do, Deptford 2 4 O of the murdered Protestants,
Rev. L. Redmayne's Con. after à Sermon by the Rev.
6 0 0 C. Perrot
193 5 0
Brent's do, Portsmouth 8 8 0 Lady Markbam, by Rev. Mr.
Mr. A. Kenrick, Birmingham ? 0 Belsham
10 0 0 Rev. Mr. Trotman's Con. Rev. Mr. Fisher and Friends,
Tewksbury. 90) Harleston
4 0 A Lady at Canterbury, by Rev. Cong. Church, Frederick Str
2 0 Aberdeen
6 00 Rev. Mr. Carment's Con. GlasReva Mr. Bisseld's Con. Sut.
27 00 terton
1 14 6 Rev. Mr. Harper's Con. New Mrs. Woolley, by Rev. dir.
12 6 3 Belsham
A Cbeshire Dissenting Mi. Rev.Mr.Haberley, Chesterton 1
nister and Friends 50 @ Mr.J.M. Hamilton, St.Aastell 1
Rey. Mr. Davis's Con. Collections at Plymouth, by J.
S 11 Tingrombe, Esq.
Arrow's Con. Lynn 8 10 0 Rev. Mr. Ladsov's Con. Lydd 1 4 0 Tozer's do. Tooting, by the Friends of Religious Liberty,
Rev. C. Perrot
17 00 Dundee
8 0 Chin's do. Walworth, by the Rev. Mr. Williams's Cong.
Rev. C. Perrot 28 5 6 Gwenddwr
Unhappily, the spirit and the practice of Persecution are not confined to France,
From the Sketch of the State of the Waldenses, published by the Committee, it is necessary to furnish the following short extracts :“ Under these cireumstances, the Committee have laid before his Majesty's Government a state, ment of the situation in which thiese afflicted churches are lent, by the late political events; and by a deputation, have requested the attention of the Earl of Liverpool to the practicability of renewing, in favor of the Vauitois, the grant of William and Mary. * " Waiting the result of their application, which was gracionsly and favorably reecived, the Com. mittee have felt themsolver compelled to estabish a fund for the immediate relief of their necessitour brethren, and have already sent to them some pecuniary assistance.
“ To render this foued efficient, they invite the aid of the benevolent, and doubt not that, in the event of its being found impacticable to obtain from the resources of the nation adequate se pport, the Christiu ublic, and especially Protestant Disscuters, will enable the Coinmittee to place the de scenda its of the earliest od most ionourable of continental Christian churches in a state of private and domestic comfort, though even their political condition should continue to be us justly oppressive and degraded.” Williams, Printer, Clerkenwell.