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Midland Catholic Association. In the month of April, the Annual Meeting of this Association was held at Birmingham, EDWARD BLOUNT, Esq., in the Chair. Some interesting resolutions were passed, and amongst the rest the following, unanimously:
“ The Members of the Midland Roman Catholic Association hereby declare, that, in their opinion, it is the inalienable right of every British subject to worship God according to the dictates of his conscience, without being subjected, on that account, to any civil pains, penalties, or disabilities whatsoever. That it is notoriou.: that various laws are now in force which impose upon large classes of British subjects many such pains, penalties and disabilities, solely on account of their conscientious adherence to opinions purely religious. The Midland Catholic Association considers it not less expedient with reference to the general interests of the United King. dom, than strictly just with regard to the constitutional rights of the above-mentioned numerous classes of British subjects, that all such laws should be repealed. That as these laws are in principle equally unjust with reference to all who differ in religious belief from the Established Church, although in their operation they bear more severely upon Roman Catholics than upou Dissenters, the Associa. tion considers it the duty of all who suffer under them to unite their exertions to obtain their total and unqualified repeal, being con, vinced that the united exertion and cordial co-operation of all such şufferers will be much more likely to procure them rediess than the inconnected efforts of the different bodies of Roman Catholics and Dissenters. The Association, therefore, thus publicly expresses its anxious wish to join the Dissenters of this town and neighbourhood in common exertions to obtain the full enjoyment of their coustitu , tional rights. For this purpose, it ventures to propose the formation of a Society in the Midland Counties, which shall have for its sole object, without reference to any political question, or to any religious opinion, the obtaining the unconditional repeal of every law which imposes any religious test, oath, or declaration, other than a simple path of civil allegiance to the Goveromeut of the country, as a qualification for holding office. The Association, therefore, invites Dis. seuters of every denomination, Catholics, and those most numerous, liberal and respectable Protestants of the Established Church, who wish to support the rights of every class of their fellow-subjects, and to wipe off the foul blot of religious intolerance which now attaches to their country, to come forward and form such a society. And the Committee of the Midland Catholic Association are hereby requested to take all such steps which they may deem advisable for promoting the formation of the Society above mentioned."
Another resolution, with the introductory speech and the speech that followed, ive quote from a provincial periodical, The Truth-Teller, as singular proofs of the liberality and growing wisdom of the times.
“ Rey.T.M. M ́DONNELL moved the 8th Resolution, which was one of thanks to that respectable and intelligent class of men, the Me-, chauics of Birmingham, who had come forward just as the Catholics
wished to examine and discuss their question, and then pronounce their opinion. Mr. MʻD. gave an interesting account of the Meeting, and stated the fact, that, of an assemblage of between 4 and 500 indi. viduals, composed of the mechanics and others from the middling and industrious classes of the inhabitants, but 13 were found to hold up their hands against the resolutions. This, he said, was an important fact, and shewed the progress which liberal and enlightened principles were making among this description of persons. But one generation since, and in this very town, an illustrious philosopher, Dr. Priestley, was driven into exile-his house demolished, and his library committed to the flames-while the fires around proclaimed but tou faithfully the flames which the torch of Bigotry had lit up in the hearts of the populace. It was, however, a cheering and important fact, that but little more than thirty years had passed away, and the populace of the same town have met and passed resolutions more liberal in their spirit, more general and comprehensive in their exe tent, than have yet been adopted by the Legislature of the country.
“Mr. CANNING seconded the resolution, and it was carried unanimously. On which
“ Mr. JAMES MARDEN rose and said, — There are situations, Mr. Chairman and Gentlemen, in which a person may find himself placed, when he cannot remain silent. In such a situation I feel myself at the present moment. The very handsome notice you have taken of our humble efforts in the cause of Religious Freedom last year, calls on me, in behalf of my coadjutors as well as myself, to return you our warmest and most respectful acknowledgments. When I entered this room I had not the most distant idea of intruding myself on yout attention, and on this account, should my heart outstrip my head, must rely on your indulgeuce. The good opinion and thanks of those whom we respect and esteem, cannot but be gratifying to every welldisposed mind; but when, as in the present instance, we witness those whose talents and exertions command our admiration, advocating the same glorious principles as ourselves, the gratification is indeed a cheering one. It is at all times to me a source of delightful feeling to hear from Catholic lips sentences glowing with liberality and freedom. have always been favourable to Catholic Emancipation, because I consider it the cause of justice; but it is only recently that I have been convinced that an attachinent to Catholicism did not naturally dispose the mind to have a leaning towards arbitrary power. in this respect, I thank God, I have outlived ny prejudices; but there are many conscientious Protestants who are warm friends to freedom generally, yet on principle are opposed to us on this subject. We peruse our Neals, our Bennetts, and our Burpets, and from them we learn to detest persecution and arbitrary power; but it is not unfre. quent that we imbibe likewise a misrepresentation of Catholics, and å belief that Catholicism and tyranny are very intimately acquainted. But, Gentlemen, these prejudices and obstacles are fast dying away. The times are propitious, and the mental atmosphere of our country is becoming more and more free from the mists and vapours whicu once obscured it. Although your cause be not supported in the way which it deserves—though there may be those (of whom you might have hoped better things) that do not co-operate with you—and although success has not yet crowned your exertions, yet be not discouraged; flag not in your noble and arduous conflict with the
bigotry and prejudices of the age. If ye cannot do all ye wish, do all ye can; remember that no good effort is ever finally lost, and that that body of men, who, in struggling for their rights, are easily discouraged and disheartened, neither deserve nor are likely to obtain success."
OBITUARY. 1826. May 7, in the 69th year of his age, WILLIAM CowLEY, of Totnes, Devon, a steady and resolute supporter of those doctrines which he regarded as the main pillars of Christian truth, the Unity of God and the Humanity of Jesus, the Christ, His servant and messenger.
Punctual in his attendance at the house of God, and ever ready to defend the system of religion he professed, he habitually and fearlessly expressed his disapprobation of the conduct of those who desert the standard of truth, or hesitate to support the doctrines they really believe, from “ a fear of what man can do unto them,” or from“ a hope of worldly emolument.”. And it is to be lamented that so many and so frequent occasions arose to call forth this disapprobation. He justly considered it to be the duty of every professing Christian to search for the truth in the pages of holy writ, and, when found, to profess it at all hazards. The respect due to his superiors in virtue and knowledge, he cheerfully paid; but he considered the possession of wealth alone, to be a mistaken ground of superiority; and, though by no means in affluent circumstances, he steadily refused to sacrifice his independence, as he saw others around him doing, by servility or flattery, or any other mean compliances.
In politics he was a Radical Reformer, and though this character was sometimes given to him, as it is given to others, by way of reproach or derision, it was a character he rejoiced to bear, and which he even gloried in. In religion he was a Unitarian Christian; and knowing that He who created the mind, created it free, he always spoke as he thought, and delivered his opinion with becoming freedom, though not with inpertinent interference. This independent and fearless way of expressing his sentiments, often brought upon him unmerited abuse from those whose opinions were different from his own; but he never swerved from what he considered to be the truth, and persevered in declaring and defending the doctrines which he believed, through evil report and good report.” His duties of private and social life he conscientiously discharged; and he was, I believe, a truly honest man. This of itself is no mean praise, if the axiom of the poet be true,
« An honest man's the noblest work of God.” He met with an accident from a fall a few days before his death, and received several severe contusions in his arm and side, which, from a neglect of the remedies usually applied in such cases, terminated fatally. I saw biin but a short time previous to his decease, when he was perfectly sensible, and recognized all his friends. At that time he breathed with great difficulty, but he was quite resigned to his fate, and tranquillity had evidently taken possession of bis mind. He seemed to be peacefully enjoying the pleasures so beautifully described in the hymn,
“ While some in folly's pleasures roll,
And seek the joys which hurt the soul,
And the pale monarch of the tomb !" Prom six o'clock in the evening till half-past nine, when he breathed his last, he appeared to be in an easy and composed sleep; not a muscle was agitated, and he expired without a sigh or a groan. Indeed, so perfectly easy and gentle was his pas. sage to eternity, that those who were attending him were not aware that the “ silver chain was loosed" till some moments after his decease.
I have been thus particular in describing the events whic: immediately preceded bis death, because it is sometimes said that “a Unitarian cannot die in peace.” If those who make this rash and unfounded assertion (and there are many who do mistakingly arow this to be the case, but if such persons) could have been present when William Cowley breathed his last, I trust they would not only have banished the erroneous convic. tion from their hearts, but would even have had pious and virtuous feeling sufficient to tempt them to exclaim, “O may I too die the death of the righteous, and may my last end be like his !"
My deceased friend was borne to the grave on the morning of Wednesday following, by eight members of the congregation to which he belonged, at the hour of eleven, the curate of the parish having refused to comply with the wishes of his survising family to attend at an earlier hour. He is now "Where the wicked cease from troubling, and the weary are at rest."
Thus lived and thus died William Cowley, upwards of thirty years one of the trustees of the Unitarian Chapel, Totnes, in the county of Devon,
CORRESPONDENCE. Communications have been received from Mr. Worsley; N.; &c.
Essay on the History and Character of David. David was the youngest son of Jesse, an inhabitant of Bethlehem, whose sheep he tended; having the entire care of them, while his brethren were serving in Saul's forces against the Philistines. He possessed great personal beauty, agility and strength; and his pastoral life, in a country comparatively wild and upinclosed, gave scope for the exercise of his active and courageous habits. To these accomplishments he added skill in the instrumental music of the times ; and such qualifications recommended him afterwards to Saul, of whom he was made the armour, bearer. Thus'much we know of his youth, previously to bis being introduced into public life.
God having determined that the descendants of Saul should not fill the kingly office, Samuel went to the house of Jesse and anointed David, in token of his being destined to occupy the tbrone, whenever it became vacant, Men who are conscious of being marked out for a post of great dignity and power, and of being endowed with the talents requisite for obtaining and preserving it, usually burn with a desire of placing themselves as soon as possible in so elevated a station. David, however, was remarkably free from this fever of ambition; and we cannot but admire the singular modesty of his deportment in circumstances which commonly puff up inexperienced youth with vanity and pride: how unassuming were his language and behaviour in every part of his successful combat with Goliah! How modest was he, when honoured with the applauses of the Israelitish army, and with - substantial tokens of his sovereign's approbation ! Nothing equals his humility, except his collected fortitude : though confident of victory, he derives his confidence from faith in God, rather than from reliance on the skill and bravery which his manner of life had cherished. A stripling, a shepherd-boy, he conquered, with his single arm, the champion, from whom the boldest warriors of Israel had retired in dismay: and he conquered him with the simple implements of a sling and a stone. The fight was remarkable, not merely for the combatants, but for its conse