Great Protestant Meeting in Manchester - 1898

Speech by Bro. Rev Dr Kane


 Rev Dr Richard Rutledge Kane

Rev Dr Richard Rutledge Kane (1841-1898), was one of Belfast’s leading citizens.  He was the minister of Christ Church, one of Belfast’s largest Church of Ireland congregations.  He was also a leading Orangeman, at the time of his death he had been County Grand Master of Belfast for 13 years and was a Deputy Grand Chaplain of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland.  Politically he was a Conservative and Unionist, being a Vice-President of Belfast Conservative Association and Vice-President of the Ulster Loyalist Union.  His funeral one of the largest the city had ever seen, with an estimated sixty thousand people watching the funeral procession.

A magnificent Protestant demonstration was held in the Free Trade Hall, Manchester, this evening, in connection with the Manchester Protestant Thousand.  Long before the hour for the commencement of the proceedings the spacious hall was filling rapidly, and by 7.30 it was crowded.  The officers and brethren of the Loyal Orange Institution of England attended in large numbers.  The visit of Rev Dr Kane was a matter of special interest, and earlier in the day he was met at the Queen’s Hotel by Br Thomas Watmough, D.G.M. and District Master, and the Grand Secretary (Br Wm Touchstone), who, on behalf of the Manchester District, offered the Doctor and Br Captain Chaloner MP, a hearty welcome.  Mr Louis P Nott presided.  Mr R W Perks MP, moved a resolution declaring that the principles of Romanism were subversive of the rights of civil and religious liberty, and expressing determination to oppose every attempt on the part of the Roman Catholic Church to gain ascendency in the United Kingdom.  It was not, he contended, their object to interfere with the liberties of Roman Catholics.  The resolution was seconded by Rev Dr Horton, and carried.  Captain Chaloner MP, moved a resolution deploring the attempt to corrupt the National faith.  Rev Dr Kane, who was loudly cheered, seconded the resolution, and said for years he had tried to impress upon audiences that England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales formed one kingdom.  As an Irishman, he was present to discuss a question which affected Protestantism, and therefore, it affected the United Kingdom.  Some years ago Irishmen were glad to come for the help of Englishmen in a great crisis, and now they were glad to assist Englishmen when the prosperity and greatness of the nation was threatened.  It was a grand thing to see Protestants banded together to maintain their own interests.  Their cry was not ‘No Popery’ but ‘No Treachery’.  The Roman Catholics were as much entitled to liberty of conscience as they were.  He came from Ulster, from Belfast, where they were supposed to be rampant bigots, and yet he had always admitted that the Roman Catholic was as much entitled, under their grand Constitution, to the free exercise of this conscientious belief as the Protestant.  They had not tolerated the substitution of the Roman Catholic religion for the Protestant religion (Applause)  The resolution was passed with acclamation.   

Report from the Belfast News Letter, 12 November 1898.

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