Manners and customs of ye Englyshe/A Prospect of Exeter Hall. Showynge a Christian Gentleman Denovncynge ye Pope.

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Illustrated by Richard Doyle

Manners and Customs of ye Englyshe in 1849. No. 10.

A Prospect of Exeter Hall. Showynge a Christian Gentleman Denovncynge ye Pope.


A Prospect of Exeter Hall. Showynge a Christian Gentleman Denovncynge ye Pope.

[Wedneſday, May 9, 1849.]

WENT this Morning to Exeter Hall, where one of the May Meetings that do regularly take Place at this Time of the Seaſon, and ſerve in lieu of Concerts and Shows to a Sort of People that call themſelves ſerious. This, one of the Meetings of a Proteſtant Aſſociation, which I had heard much of and did long to go to, expecting to hear ſome good Argument againſt the Roman Catholiques. But inſtead of Argument, I did hear Nothing but Abuſe, which do always go in at one Ear and out at the other. No new Point brought forward to confute Popery; but only an Iteration of the Old Charges of Superſtition and ſo forth, urged with no greater Power than mere Strength of Lungs. The Commotions on the Continent laſt Year laid much Streſs on, and the Turmoils in Catholique and Quiet in Proteſtant States contraſted, as though there had been no Diſturbance or Trouble in Pruſſia or Denmark, or any Tumult or Revolution in Belgium or Portugal. I did note two chief Speakers, whom, on their riſing, the Aſſembly did applaud as if they had been Actors, and to be ſure, they ranted more frantically than I did ever ſee Hicks. Yet at times they ſtooped to Drollery in the Height of their Paſſion, and one of them did make ſuch Sport of the Roman Catholique Religion as would not have been ſuffered in the Adelphi Theatre. But I do find that ſome who would not be ſeen in a Play-Houſe can enjoy their Laugh at Exeter Hall. This Orator was a Clergyman of ſome Kind, tor he was called Reverend in the Hand-bill, and dreſſed in a clerical Habit, but his Eyes and Face blazing with Wrath, did ſtorm like a Madman againſt the Maynooth Grant and the Pope of Rome; and howled as fierce as a Hyæna. The other a Clergyman too, and looked as much like one, with his ſneering angry Viſage, and did vehemently harangue, crying bitterly out on ſome of my Lords and the Members of the Commons Houſe that had voted for Popiſh Endowment His Oration a Medley of Sarcaſm, Invedive, and Buffoonery, and wound up with a Flouriſh of Patriotiſm and Loyalty. The Speeches received with Applauſe and Laughter, but alſo with Interruptions and crying to turn Somebody out. The Speakers on a Platform, whereon they bounced backwards and forwards, having Rails in Front as if to hinder them from breaking looſe on the Audience. Behind them a Crowd of dainty ſmooth Gentlemen in Black, with white Neckerchiefs, and to fee how demure they looked, as if Butter would not melt in their Mouths! In the Body of the Hall a goodly Number of Heads, but by far the Mod of them in Bonnets. The two chief Speeches lafted an Hour and a Half each, and the Chairman leaving his Seat, I away, my Head aching through the Raving. Such Violence, methinks, do only prove that there are other Bigots betides Papiſts; and is the word Means of enforcing any Truth; for they that ſpeak in Anger and Paſſion are commonly concluded by indifferent People to be in the Wrong. The Society complaining of want of Funds, which I do not wonder at, for I fear me the Subſcribers have but few Catholiques converted for their Money.