Second Congregation of Protestant Dissenters, Belfast




To the Right Honourable the Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland in Parliament assembled:

The Petition of the Minister, Committee, and Members of the Second Presbyterian Congregation of Belfast, Humbly Sheweth that Petitioners have learned with profound satisfaction that it is in contemplation to introduce into Parliament a Bill for the Disestablishment of the Church of Ireland, and divesting it of all State endowments.

Petitioners are aware that a measure thus affecting the Established Church of Ireland cannot fail to operate in a similar manner against the Regium Donum which they themselves enjoy, but they feel that justice demands the measure, and that it cannot be withheld longer with safety to the State.

Petitioners are of opinion that wherever great diversities of faith exist in a nation the establishment of any particular sect is most impolitic. But in Ireland, where an insignificant minority is thus honoured and elevated, such an institution becomes utterly indefensible. Jealousies, heart-burnings, hatreds are the inevitable consequences. To this more than any cause do Petitioners ascribe the strong and general dislike to British rule which, since the origin of the Established Church in Ireland, would appear to be deepening and spreading from generation to generation up to the present day.

Petitioners, therefore, rejoice and give thanks to God that Parliament is at length seeking to conciliate this country by just and equal government rather than by force; and believe that when present excitement shall have died out, attachment to England, affection for her institutions, and loyalty to the Throne will take the place of present disaffection, and the two countries be indissolubly united under the deep sense of mutual interest.

And Petitioners shall ever pray.

(Signed)                       JOHN PORTER, Minister.
DAVID W. MOORE, Chairman.
JOHN RITCHIE, Secretary.


C. B. Grimshaw. James M'Williams. James Heron.
Dr. Hodges. W. G. Mulligan. Wm. Dobbin.
James Coleman. John Millin. Robert Long.
A. M'Ewen. W. B. Ritchie. John Hoy.
Andrew Kirk. James Campbell.

18th April, 1868.


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