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Proceedings of the Committee of Ministers of the Three Denominations, resident in and about London.

IN accomplishing the important objects confided to them by the General Body, the Committee of Dissenting Ministers of London, have had to encounter unexpected opposition from various quarters, and especially from certain Journalists, who have attempted to invalidate the statements that have been published, and to misrepresent the motives by which the Committee have been actuated in the whole of their proceedings.


With undiminished zeal, and daunted by the clamour of their opponents, they have, however, persevered in the plain path of duty; and they now record with pleasure and gratitude, the support-and approbation they have received from a very large portion of their enlightened countrymen, and particularly from those with whom they are more immediately connected,-the Dissenters of various denominations.

In addition to the Congregational ColJections which have already been contributed, the Committee have information of many others which are in progress, to a considerable amount; while public meetings have been held and subscriptions commenced in several of the largest cities and towns of the Kingdom.

The eloquent, liberal, and Christian appeals, which have been addressed to assembled multitudes, and reported by the press, cannot but intimidate persecutors abroad, and excite benevolence at home: nor will they be less beneficial in -diffusing those sentiments, which the ignorant ought to learn, the instructed should never forget, and all should frequently hear.

At Hull, the Rev. Messrs. Bromley and Dykes, Clergymen, and the Rev. Mr. Birt, and Dr. Alderson, Mr. Sykes, and others of the dissenting body, took a distinguished part in the discussions of the day.

At Newcastle, the proceedings were conducted by the Rev. Messrs. Turner, Pringle, McIndoe, Clarke, Syme, and Pengilly; and also by Mr. Alderman Reed, James Losh, and Joseph Clark, Esqrs.

At Glasgow, the Rev. Drs. Dick and Mitchell, and the Rev. Messrs. G. Ewing, R. Brodie, and J. Carment, were the principal speakers.

At Gosport, the Rev. James Collins, of the Established Church, and Messrs. Minchin, B. Goodeve, Cruickshank, J. Beasley, and J. Hoskins, displayed equal zeal and ability.

At Plymouth, the Rev. Messrs. Worsley and H. Mends, with Messrs. Prance, Collier, &c. submitted Resoiutions, and

At Berwick addressed the assembly. and Sheerness, Meetings have been likewise held; and at Edinburgh and other places, they have been summoned.

The propriety of these continued and extended exertions, is confirmed by the information which the Committee are constantly receiving, and which convinces them that the disposition to persecute is more general and systematic than many persons have supposed.

While the storm has raged with signal, but unexhausted violence in the Department of the Gard, containing 322,000 inhabitants, a portentous gloom has overspread the Reformed Churches in general; and in towns far distant from the south, the sound of vengeance has been heard, and the most offensive treatment has been experienced, by the Professors and Ministers of the Protestant Religion.


On the 12th of November last, on the assurance given to the pastors of the Reformed Church, that they might reopen their Temples, which had been shut about five months, that they had nothing to fear, and that all necessary measures were taken for their security, they determined to open the smallest of their Temples; but scarcely were they assembled, when a great multitude of men and women, armed with stones and sticks, and other weapons, began to menace them, and to pour forth against them the most horrible imprecations. The faithful assembly dispersed, and even as they retired they were so overwhelmed with insults and blows, that many are since dead. The assassins entered in a crowd into the sanctuary, turned out every thing they could find, tore in pieces the Bible and prayer-books, &c. They went with full intention to massacre the pastors, who were expecting certain death, when eight officers surrounded them with drawn sabres, to repel the attacks of the murderers: they escorted them into their houses, but not without having heard a thousand times, these barbarons words," Kill, kill, these chiefs of Brigands!" During this tumult, General le Gard arrived with some troops: he began to employ his force to disperse the traitors, when a soldier of the national guard fired immediately at him. The assassin escaped, and has not yet been discovered.'

After the attack on the Royal General Le Garde, a Royal Proclamation was issued against the assassin and his abettors, and soldiers were quartered upon the inhabitants till he should be surrendered to justice. That the intentions of the head of the Government must have been per

verted is however evident; for the assassin has not yet been arrested, and the soldiers who, by a Royal Ordonnance of the 10th inst. were removed from Nismes, were quartered during their stay in that city, principally, if not solely, on the Protestant inhabitants. The weight of the extraordinary contributions, by the most partial and arbitary exactions, has been also made to fall on the Protestants, though equally protected and assessed by the Charter promulgated by the King. Thus out of 940 thousand francs, the contingent of the Gard, 600 thousand were laid on the Protestants, 200 thousand on the Jews, 140 thousand only on the Catholies; though these last form nearly the two-thirds of the population of the department. The Marquis de Calvieres, a Catholic gentleman, enjoying a landed estate of 60,000 livres a year, is assessed at 600 livres; while M. Brosse de Pierdon, a Protestant, whose income amounts to about 10,000 livres, has paid within this last year the sum of 15,000 livres to.wards those contributions.

The following facts, on which full reliance may be placed, will prove that in the order of time, up to the date of our latest accounts, the Protestants have been the victims of bigotry and persecution.

from Uzes, near Nismes, of the 10th of December:

The chief persons of the Protestant families have fled from their habitations, which had considerably suffered. Onr church is now in the most deplorable condition: no public worship is celebrated. Ministers of our persuasion at Paris, who are so near Government, forget not your brethren of the South-We have lost M. Ricourt, President of the Consistory. The late events have hastened his end;-he had been obliged to desert first his house in town, and then that in the country: the latter has been pillaged.' From Uzes, same date :-

B- informs us, that his son set-. tled at Arpaillargues, near Uzes, after having fled, and wandered in the woods for two months, has been arrested, and conducted into the prison of Uzes, where he still remains. A great many other Protestants continue in the same predicament.'

On the same day, another party, of the same description, went to a country house inhabited by three respectable old men, brothers. After having offered them every indignity that fanaticism could suge gest, they proceeded to acts of violence. Upon these unfortunate men attempting to resist, they were instantly charged with rebellion to the King; and, upon this pretence, seized, and carried by these fanatics before the King's Attorney General; who, indignant at the outrage, refused to commit them. They were then dragged before the Prefect, who ordered them to prison, par mesure de suretè, which was immediately executed, amid shouts of Vive le Roi !'

The following is an Extract of a Letter

The efforts of the people, and the press of this country, aided by the additional energy of the French Government, caused the temples at Nismes to be opened, by order of the anthorities of that city, on the 21st December; but it was necessary to the 'possession of this boon, that the Protestants should comply with terms directly contrary to the spirit of the Constitutional Charter. The following is the Notice of the Mayor, so remarkable that it is worthy of a careful perusal. It acknowledges that Europe accuses the Catholics of great crimes, it endeavours to charge them on a few women and children, and it acknowledges that the worship of the Protestants is to be resumed, less as a consequence of the Royal authority, than the result of a negociation pacifying to the Catholics :NOTICE

'In consequence of the King's Ordonnance of the 21st November, which was promulgated at Nismes on the 29th, several of the murderers of the Protestants and depredators of their property, were taken into custody; but on the 6th of December they were all set at liberty. On the 7th they spread over the neighbouring country. A party of them repaired to the house of a Monsieur Peyron, a rich farmer at Brossan, who, from the beginning of the persecutions, had been greatly exposed to the fury of the fanatics: not finding him, they commanded his three sons either to give up the

father, or pay a sum of 50,000 livres. To the Inhabitants of the City of Nismes.

As the young men could not comply with either demand, they were dreadfully beaten by these villains (one of them being left for dead) and both house and farm were pillaged..

'Nismes, December 19, 1815. 'The laws of the realm and the will of the King, secure the exercise of the Protestant worship. I tell you so,—I, who am your Magistrate, your MayorI, who have surely some claims to your The Protestant Churches confidence. will he opened on Thursday next; and that day will prove to the King, to France, and to Europe, who are our accusers, that the blindness of a few women and children is not the crime of the city of Nismes, which has distinguished itself on so many occasions, and even recently, by its fidelity and devotion to the King.

Women, who are blinded by your zeal, and perhaps, excited by your enemies, you will not once more ruin your city, and gratify by your errors the enemies of the royal cause.

I am assured, and for that reason I have a pleasure in informing you, that conferences are opened, and nearly ter

minated, with the Consistory of the Pro-
testant worship. Their object is to re-
store, by common consent, to the worship
of the State, the churches which have
heen conceded to the Protestant worship.
Two churches will be built, and that
very shortly, in lieu of that concession.
During that short interval, the Protestants
may enjoy undisturbed the churches thus
conceded. The people of Nismes need
only know the will of the King, and
hear the voice of the Royal Authorities,
to do their duty.
• Marquis de VALLONQUES, Mayor,'
The Temples which the Protestants re-
linquished, were not parochial churches,
but conventual; and as all the property of
Abbeys and Convents had been confiscat-
ed at the Revolution, one of these was
purchased by the Protestants twenty
years since, and the other was given to
them eleven years back, by the Head of
the then existing Government.

At the very time that apparent security was given to the Protestants, they were actually exposed to fresh injuries. The Royal troops which infested the environs of Nismes, exercised continual vexations on the Protestants. On the 22d of December, a detachment of about fifty men broke into the house of M. Mourier, a gentleman of property at St. Blancard, lately returned from emigration, who had just time to effect his escape. Failing in their main object, these brigands completely pillaged the premises, and daily continue their depredations in the neighbourhood.

At Sommieres, the Protestants have attempted to celebrate their worship on the 4th of December, the power of which they had been deprived of since the month of July. They met with the most barbarous treatment on that ac


The persecution at Sommieres is mentioned by two more Correspondents.

A letter from a distinguished Protestant of the Department of the Gard, dated so late as the 28th of December, states, that tranquillity was not esta blished. He says,

"I have seen the Letter and the Resolutions of the Nonconformist ministers, who have had the true Christian charity to interest themselves in the disasters of the poor unfortunate people, devastated by the popular persecutions at Nismes and elsewhere.

'I have received, with singular consolation, your letter. This town is at present quiet; but we cannot say that furious persons have returned to charitable and Christian sentiments towards the Protestants. The troops only restrain them; but if they should be removed to other places, no one would be safe from the return of disorders.

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An interesting ceremony took place on the 26th ult. in the church of St. Paul, a Nismes. Two Protestant fu milies, forming altogether about 20 persons, made a public abjuration between the hands of the cure of the parish, and returned to the bosom of the Romish church. Some families had ulready given an example of this in the parish of St. Baudille; and others are, it is said, preparing to follow.'

Paris papers of the 18th inst. contain also additional notice on this subject. They say, Many Protestant families of the south embrace the Catholic religion.'

On this subject we have authentic accounts, which must demonstrate to the most incredulous and prejudiced the prevalence of a religious persecu


One letter has the following passage: 'Several families at Nismes have abjured their religion, the motive of which is evident. They are families of mechanics and workmen, who are without bread in consequence of the persecutions they have undergone. The Protestant manufacturers have for the most Part fled, and the Catholics will not employ Protestant workmen ;- besides which, the looms and frames of the latter have been destroyed, and they are reduced to the alternative of recanting or starving.

This system of persecution has extended to Bourdeaux and its neighbourhood. Its effects have also been felt at Nantz, the President of the Cousistory of that city having been seut into exile.' The following Extract of a Letter from Nismes, received from a most respectable Protestant Lady, and on which the utmost confidence may be placed,

will further illustrate the above cited articles:


Nismes, January 3. One's mind is weighed down at seeing the oppression and misery to which the Protestants are subjected, and from which they cannot relieve themselves. We are, however, allowed to pray to God with some tranquillity. The first time the Mayor, appointed by the King, expressly ordered us to ring the bell, I said to my husband, This is done to furnish an article for the jour. nals.' I was not mistaken, and it has gone forth to France and to foreign countries that we are as happy as we can be. The police, on the other hand, will not suffer what has happened at Som. mieres to be spoken of. There the vilest of the mob, instigated by our per secutors, attacked the assembly of the faithful at the moment of their performance of Divine Worship. The Officers of the Regiment of Maria Theresa endeavoured to re-establish order ;-one of the fanaties in the crowd snapped a ransket three times at one of the officers; but it missed fire, and the officer's life was saved. The man who attempted this assassination is known, but he has not been arrested; on the contrary, two peaceable individuals, known to be respectable, have been arrested, one of whom is accused of having cried Five l'Empereur, as if it were probable that persons capable of crying Vive l'Empereur! would declare against the Protestants. You will readily believe, that a department which abounds in assassins and robbers, will not be found Persons wanting in false witnesses. are always to be found who are ready to affirm any thing, no matter what; and these people call themselves Chris. tians, par excellence! Every thing done against a Protestant is regarded as a pious act by those who are in office.'

Since this paper was put to prèss, a mass of important documents has been transmitted to the Committee, by prirate hands, from eye-witnesses, and persons of unblemished reputation, not only confirm ing the facts they have already published, but detailing enormities which surpass former accounts, and such as the vineteenth century could not expect to have witnessed!

The Protestants have been very unfortunate in having taken from them what they had enjoyed for 23 years. Twenty Protestants were employed in the receipt of the imposts; these have all been dismissed. The old and venerable Laune had the posts: his place has been taken from him. He demand ed of the Mayor a certificate, that he had always acted with honour in that situation, and it was refused him. When the wives and children of those detained in custody supplicate for their liberty, they are told that they must turn Catholics! You have no idea of the thousand petty vexations that are heap. ›ed in every shape upon our poor brethren. When will our miseries be at an end? God only knows! Our oppressors are supported by the fanatics, and by persons who live by disorder. Gen. rban been for some days worse.'

To oppose the prevalence of such evils, to endeavour to annihilate them, or at least to alleviate their effects; is so evidently the duty of all Christians, and especially of all Christian Ministers, that the Dissenting Ministers have not ceased to, prosecute it since their preparatory meeting, held on the Second of November last, nor can the Committee but pers vere, approving themselves the Ministers of God, by evil report and good report, by honour and dishonour, as deceivers, and yet



This determination the Committee have solemnly proclaimed to their connections, and to the world, by the circular letter, and the Resolutions which immediately follow.

Library, Red Cross Street,
Jan. 15, 1816.


THE events which have taken place since our last communication, have rendered expedient the adoption of the annexed Resolutions; and in transmitting them to you, we avail ourselves of the opportunity of conveying to you information, which will abundantly demonstrate the utility of our past exertions, and the demand which exists for vigorous and liberal efforts on the part of all who are interested for the security of the Protestant faith. Attempts, as disgraceful as unexpected, have occasioned us additional labour and expence; but happily they have led to results directly contrary to the designs of our opponents, who have stood forward as the calumniators of the Dissenters of England, and the apologists of the persecutors of France.-A letter from the Duke of Wellington, written in acknowledgment of a communication from the Secretaries of another Body, has been published in the Times News. paper, as a document of importance, improperly suppressed. Without entering at all into the policy of withholding from the Public the entire contents of that document, we cannot but inform you, that the only part which in the least contradicts our previous statements, was printed in paragraphs in all the Journals, by the persons who received it. It stated, "That the salaries of the Protestant Ministers had not been discontinued by the King. If, by this was intended, that the pay

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