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THE Annual General Meeting of the Friends of Civil and Religious Liberty took place at the Crown and Anchor Tavern, in the Strand, on Monday, the 10th ult. Emanuel Dias Santos, Esq., was unanimously called to the chair, and the following Report and Resolutions were read and adopted by the Meeting.—

It is with the most sincere pleasure that the General Committee of the Friends of Civil and Religious Liberty find themselves in a situation to submit to the members of the Institution an Annual Report-a Report highly satisfactory for the information therein contained, and amply inspiriting when it is recollected that the Institution is in the first year of its existence. The General Committee have strong ground of hope, from the circumstance of having accomplished so much in the infancy of the Institution, that their future conduct and exertions will gain, at the hands of a liberal and discerning public, that encouragement it so well deserves.

When the General Committee call to mind the many and strenuous efforts made against this invaluable Institution by open and hidden foeswhen they reflect with bitterness of heart on the desertion of some of their members, and the lukewarmness of others when, to their great regret they perceive the apathy that pervades the wealthy class of the Catholic community towards this excellent institution, and far worse the discountenance, and in some instances the active opposition of the most wealthy and noble of the same body exerted against it; they have to exult that that redeeming and undying love of truth and patriotism (an inflexible adherence to which brought their ancestors through the persecutions and tribulations of three centuries) yet exists as ardent and pure as ever in the Catholic people of the United Kingdom. When the conduct of this portion of the Catholic body is con

trasted with the warm and liberal feeling displayed by our Protestant brethren, in the many instances where they have united with these Societies in aid of the principles of civil and religious liberty, the General Committee feel no longer that despondency which such a disregard on the part of that body to the best of public principles would naturally enough create in their minds; and they are inexpressibly gratified in the acknowledgment that our Protestant brethren, while differing from us in points of religious belief, have nobly sacrificed private interest and early prejudice at the shrine of public good. While on this part of the Report, the General Committee beg to remark, that the conduct of those Catholics, so far from counteracting the perverting and malignant spirit which stimulates the numerous Tract and other Societies in opposing us, both on civil and religious grounds, gives a force to the machinations that beset us in our endeavours to dissipate those prejudices and apprehensions in the public mind, which are nurtured by every means the worst of passions can suggest.

But, however discouraging the aspect of circumstances just alluded to, the General Committee, regardless of good or evil report, have pursued their labours with firmness and zeal, and in exulting triumph they point out to the discountenancers and detractors of the Institution, the full reward which has crowned their efforts with very flattering success in the Table and Balance Sheet, exhibiting the general statement of their affairs annexed to this Report.

From this table it will be seen, that in cities, towns, and villages in England, to the number of sixteen, Societies of Friends of Civil and Religious Liberty have been formed, and have distributed tracts with the most beneficial results, as will appear from the extracts of letters from the Secretaries of the respective Societies

hereinafter detailed-that in the metropolis and the neighbourhood, societies have been formed, or collections made in seventeen places for the saine purposes, and with the same happy results; and the General Committee point out this table to the friends of this Institution, and to the public, Catholic and Protestant, as shewing, in a very clear, specific, accurate, and concise view, the sphere of action of the societies respectively, the number of tracts of each denomination circulated, the amount of collections available to this purpose, and the increase or decrease of their means and efforts. If due observation be applied to the data of this table, as to any given place, and a reference made at the same time to an extract (if any) of a secretary's letter, the public will be enabled to form a fair idea of the tone of opinion_prevalent among the Catholics and Protestants of that place, and to direct their support according to the exigencies of the society there established. A list of donations is appended to the balance sheet; and although they do not reach the amount at first anticipated, the General ComImittee have reason to be pleased. They cannot, however, dismiss this subject without expressing a confident hope that when the Annual Report is in the hands of the donors, and those of the public, a sufficient inducement will be offered by the Committee, in thus candidly and broadly stating the affairs of the society, for a renewal of past favours, and such recommendations and efforts on the part of those who have contributed, as will materially increase the future list of donations.

It has been objected to this Institution, that its political features and many of the papers issued from its press are of a cast too liberalized and too strong to meet the more moderate views of many noble and respectable persons, who wish well to the cause of civil and religious liberty, and who would not therefore countenance the society. The General Committee in answer to this objection say, that they have never seen a formal intimation of this sort from any of that

class of persons mentioned; that however individuals of the General Committee may be disposed to meet the wishes of those noble and respectable persons, they collectively have a public duty to discharge, and in the discharge of that duty they must follow that line which actuates the societies formed in London and the various parts of England, and should the Committee dare to swerve from this line of acting, without the consent of all connected with the institution, they would desert those principles, on the basis of which the institution was first formed, and in their estimation deservedly lose that support and encouragement they have hitherto possessed, and still continue to possess, from a very considerable portion of the intelligent and liberal of the Catholics and Protestants of Great Britain-a loss which would inevitably lead to the dissolution of the General Committee, and of course the destruction of the institution altogether.

The result of the labours of the institution, as it appears in the table and general statement appended hereto, is as follows:

Total amount of money collected by subscriptions of one penny per week, and donations in the London and country societies 3377. 178. 7 d. Total number of tracts, distributed by the London and country societies over all parts of the United Kingdom, exclusive of 5,000 Baines's Sermon, 50,000 Bills, Reports, Pamphlets, French's Speech, Collector's Books, Minute Books, Circulars, Wood-cuts, &c. 144,751.

Such a large and efficient distribution as this of valuable information for so comparatively small a sum of money- -a distribution of matter so judiciously selected for the purpose required a distribution so widely divided over the face of the country, and so agreeably varied in its contents as to guard against irksomeness, has never beeu equalled by any soci ety in this country; and when the General Committee state to the public that the tracts thus circulated, are

in size some sixteen, some eight, and some four pages, and that the pamphlets and books distributed are considerably larger, it will be matter of astonishment that the average price of any one of these tracts, pamphlets, or books, is short of one half-penny each, allowing nothing for bills, collectors' books, circulars, &c., which are not noticed in this circulation, would reduce the average price to nearly one farthing.

Thus it will be observed that economy has not been lost sight of by the General Committee, and that the funds of the different societies have been most advantageously laid out in the purchase and distribution of the tracts of the institution. The monthly balance sheets of the society always kept before the eyes of the General Committee the state of the society's affairs, and they have lately directed their attention to the reduction of the debt due on those balance sheets, a reduction which they have in some degree effected. It is, however, necessary to state, that this debt is not really of that extent which it appears to be in the annual balance sheet, inasmuch as issues of tracts to the country societies are made and charged in one month, though the returns of money for them do not come in until the month following-a circumstance which leaves the society apparently in debt for the value of the tracts issued. Further, a rule of the institution directs tracts to the amount of the money received from each society to be returned to it-this rule having been literally adhered to, left no fund for extraordinary expenses, such as wood-cuts, circulars, bills of notice, collectors' books, price of room for public meetings, &c. No specific rule was made to meet the expenses thus likely to be incurred, as it was hoped the donations to the society would more than cover such outlay. Yet the General Committee have pleasure in stating, that if credit be given for the respective amounts due by the country societies to whom issues of tracts have been made, and for the value of the wood-cuts which are in the possession of the General Committee, the real debt of the in

stitution arising from the causes just mentioned, for which no provision has been made, is not of large a


That since the Report of the General Committee in the month of February last, a series of tracts, consisting of new subjects, have been published, making in all eighteen since the commencement. They are entitled as follows: Dr. Doyle's Letter to Lord Farnham, on the Second Reformation in Ireland, Specimens of Conversions at Cavan by Bible Saints, submitted to the Common Sense of the People of England; the Toleration of the Law Church illustrated-in which are set forth the heads of the different Penal Laws for enforcing conformity to her doctrine and worship; Dr. Doyle on Persecution; the Speech of Mr. Eneas Macdonnell at the British Catholic Association Meeting, July 21, 1827; and Error Refuted and Truth Stated-all eminently fitted to allay party rancour, and disabuse the minds of our Protestant brethren of many of those absurd and unsocial notions respecting Catholics, inculcated at an early age, and unhappily impressed by every possible expedient and opportunity on their recollection by illiberal or interested individuals.-The General Committee in the name of the Friends of Civil and Religious Liberty beg to offer their thanks to the Irish Catholic Association for 1000 copies of the Address of the Catholics of Ireland to the People of England, and to Eneas Macdonnell, Esq. for 100 copies of the Speech of Daniel O'Connell, Esq. on the Irish Vestry Act; all of which have been divided amongst the different societies in town and country for distribution.

The General Committee beg to conclude the Annual Report by stating that the same good effects continue to arise from the labours of the societies in the metropolis and those in its vicinity as are detailed in the last report; and as the General Committee wish the country societies to speak for themselves, the following extracts, taken from a few of many letters of the like pleasing import

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received from the respective secretaries are submitted to the members of the institution.

From Mr. J. Davidson, Secretary to the Sunderland Society, dated Sept. 3d, 1827.

"The number of tracts circulated by this Society, is, I think, about 4,000. The effect produced on our enlightened neighbours far exceeds any thing we were led to expect. The tracts have not only shewn us in our true colours, but have been the means of adding several to our communion. Many men are beginning to look kindly on that church they were once taught to abhor."

From Mr. J. Fenton, Secretary to the Newcastle-upon-Tyne Society, dated Sept. 5, 1827.

"It gives me great pleasure to see the zeal with which you conduct things in London. Of the good effects of the tracts circulated, instances daily occur-but I am not prepared at so short a notice, to collect particulars. If tracts circulated by Societies of an opposite tendency do so much harm, it is reasonable to suppose that ours must leave an impression."

From Mr. J. Wilcocks, Secretary to the Blackburn Society, dated Sept. 3, 1827.

"The effects resulting from the distribution of our tracts have been most salutary, particularly amongst the Protestant part of the community. Several instances were mentioned by the Protestant speakers last night fully confirming these facts."

From Mr. Thos. Bolton, Secretary to the Wolverhampton Society, dated Sept. 4, 1827.

"Our establishment is but in its infancy, yet it is both healthful and blooming. So much have our meetings excited the curiosity and awoke the attention of the inhabitants, that our large room is too small, for their accommodation. We calculate that, according to the number of our present subscribers, we shall be enabled

to distribute 1,000 tracts monthly at least. I could mention several individual instances of the good effects produced by our society, but let these suffice. We have a Methodist Minister a subscriber-five Protestants on the committee-frequently a Protestant chairman, and many Protestant subscribers."

From Mr. John Knight, Secretary to the Leicester Defence Society, dated August 25, 1827.

"The actors in the glorious cause of Civil and Religious Liberty have left no hole or corner where bigotry resides without a plentiful supply of tracts. Whenever any meeting of a public nature has been held, we have been present. On a late occasion we attacked a body of self-inspired divines in their camp of bigotry, and defeated them--and this done by persons of the working classes. Besides the tracts from London, we have distributed twenty volumes of Mr. Cobbett's invaluable History of the Reformation; and the good all have done has been very great amongst our Protestant brethren.".

From Mr. J. Ashton, jun., Secretary to the Warrington Society, Sept. 2d, 1827.

"This society has been in operation about twelve months; the annual report is inserted in the Truthteller of June 9th, 1827. Several Protestants are among our best and most regular subscribers. It is wonderful to see the good effects produced by these societies. About two years ago, when the No-Popery party sent up a petition against any further concession to the Catholics, it was signed by upwards of 2,000 persons -whole factories went in a body to sign it, but this year they could not number 500 signatures. Several very respectable individuals, who were formerly opposed to our emancipation, have signified to me their intention to sign whenever we send one to Parliament."

The resolutions were as follow:

"That, deeply impressed with the manifold blessings that must flow from a just and legal exercise of Civil and Religious Liberty, this meeting declares, that it is the inalienable right of every man to worship God according to the dictates of his conscience; that human restraints and penalties imposed by the Legislature upon any class of Christians for adhering to religious principles conscientiously adopted, and not affecting the peace of society, are intolerant, unjust, and unnatural."

"That this meeting, ever anxious to evince its adherence to the principles of the preceding resolution, proclaims its most cordial concurrence in the decided demand made by the community of dissenters for a repeal of the Test and Corporation Acts, and pledges itself to promote, by every legitimate means in its power, the exertions now making, or that may be made, to obtain a removal of those most odious and detestable statutes."

"That this meeting views with regret the still deplorable state of the country, and renews the expression of its firm conviction, that nothing but a complete and constitutional Reform in the Commons' House of Parliament, which shall secure to every man in the United Kingdom, not incapacitated by physical defects or moral turpitude, a voice in the making of those laws by which his life and property may be affected, can remedy the evils complained of."

"That this meeting, in accordance with the principles upon which the Society of Friends of Civil and Religious Liberty was formed, and more particularly those members of it who profess the Catholic faith, cannot consistently separate without disclaiming the following public asser

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tion of the Committee of the British Catholic Association, namely, that they (the said Committee) consi'dered the death of the Right Hon. George Canning as a heavy calamity, and that, in this declaration of 'their feelings, they are persuaded 'they express those of all their fellow 'Catholics throughout his Majesty's 'dominions.' Whilst this meeting deprecates any act which may be deemed as wounding to the feelings of the relatives and friends of the deceased in a personal point of view, it dares not hesitate to express its total abhorrence of the public principles of that statesman, who pledged himself for life against reform, and, through political trickery, against the Test and Corporation Acts; whilst, in his most vehement support of the Catholic cause, he never pretended to advocate it more than as a restricted and qualified measure."

"That the thanks of this meeting be given to the President, Treasurer, Secretary, and General Committee of Friends of Civil and Religious Liberty, for their unremitted attention to the affairs of the institution, and their zeal in forwarding the interests of the same.'


"That the Resolutions passed at the meeting of the Friends of Civil and Religious Liberty, at the Crown and Anchor Tavern, on the 10th of Sept. 1827, be published in The World newspaper of Wednesday next."

Thanks were then voted to Emanuel Dias Santos, Esq. for his conduct in the chair.

Mr. Dias Santos has since declared that he did not concur in the Resolution relative to Mr. Canning's death, proposed by Mr. French, and seconded by Mr. Grady.

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