JUNE 19TH 1867

“It is a notorious fact that, while the tone of the secular press has distinctly improved, while even fervent politicians have learnt to believe that their adversaries may be honest men- while in any case they disdain to attack the private life of their opponents- the professedly “religious” newspapers of this country think no slander too gross, no calumny too foul to be used against their respective adversaries.

The worst of it is that Murphy has become so utterly offensive to people of modest opinion that he cannot get a town hall in which to deliver his lecture. At his very name a discreet mayor in the Midlands Counties takes measures of precaution. And no wonder, when he indulges in blasphemous rant and calls it controversy. He is – we really beg pardon of Mother Carey’s chicken for the comparison- the Stormy Petrel of Protestantism.” Daily Telegraph

“Such men (such as Murphy) promote the spread of the Roman Catholic by engaging the sympathy of the generous for its slandered propagation and allurements.” (Daily Mail)

Peace and quiet restored, small crowds gather here and there. No military presence however. Police are kept busy moving the crowds on through the main streets.Local police patrol their usual beats. The church building is attended by half a dozen policemen. 20 or 30 idlers walk around outside it.

8.PM: The hall is only half to three quarters full for tonight’s lecture. Colonel Brockman is the first to speak:

Brockman: ” Yesterday I spoke to you about my time in Lewes and the thoughts that ran through my mind having seen what I saw there. Tonight I want to speak of my own experience of Popish treachery, which really opened my eyes to the true nature of Popery. Needless to say, by the grace of God, they have not since been shut.

Whilst actively pursuing my military duty I found myself victimized by a Jesuitical Colonel of the regiment I was serving under. The upshot of this was that I found myself undergoing a Court Martial on nine unfounded charges. The Colonel attempted, through perjury, to find me guilty on all nine counts. Thankfully, however, I managed to escape. The Colonel, however, under the visitation by God died under the sword six months later. Let that be a warning unto you all. The priests and the myrmidons of the inquisition are at hand. Beware of those creepy ones – those who creep into our houses and attempt to lead away silly and willing women by their blandishments.

In 1829 a contractor in France whilst laying a foundation for a nunnery building dug up some 800 infant corpses in the grounds of that same building. The spot was not designated a burial ground so how did they get there? Who’s children, indeed, were they? Nobody had access to the nunneries apart from the holy fathers themselves.How was it that so many children died in their infancy? Simple, they were all the children of the nuns and had either been murdered by the nuns themselves or by the holy fathers.They were all guilty of infanticide. These nunneries are halls of infamy!! They should be open to public inspection, and a register of births and deaths should be kept in them. After all workhouses, jails, asylums and other public buildings are subject to open inspection so why should priests claim exemption?

No doubt you have read the nonsense being spouted in today’s “Telegraph” about Mr Murphy. Even the local newspaper “The Daily Post” is being less than accurate in its reporting of what has been said at these meetings.They are reporting all the hard words that are spoken here but are not reproducing the many soft ones as well. I do NOT believe that Romish priests should be governed by Protestant laws, for example, and I would have no objections to visiting a nunnery. If one of their priests were to marry I would gladly sit down with the couple (cheers). It is this selective reporting that has caused the riots and the press are, therefore, guilty of incitement. I fear neither pulpit or press if they are on the side of truth.”

Brockman then reads a letter from a former Catholic supporting the stance of the meetings. Whilst he does so Murphy enters and is greeted by loud cheers.

Hymn: “Just As I Am”

Prayers are then said and the chairman (unnamed in the “Daily Gazette” report I used as source material but possibly Rev. Cattle) stands:

Chairman: “Brethren, the past couple of meetings have been disrupted by interference from Catholic laymen. If Mr Murphy is willing to agree, In wish to request that they refrain from doing so. It is not suited that Mr Murphy is should be addressed by people who are so grossly ignorant of the first principles of religion and who seldom, if ever, study their bibles. Furthermore it is a disgrace to a Protestant to have to engage in debate with anybody less than a priest or bishop.After all it is these devils who keep these people in such ignorance. This notion of Priestly celibacy, for example, where is the scriptural basis for that? We only need look at the first letter of Timothy chapter four to see what the bible says on that issue.

Colonel Brockman has quite rightly accused the press of inciting riots, but the main responsibility for those rests firmly on the shoulders of the authorities for denying Mr Murphy the use of the town hall. It is a shame to all England that the authorities are led by the Jesuitical jugglery of the ritualistic party and are so ready to fall into the embrace of the Harlot of Babylon, that stinkpot of all iniquity and of all abomination on earth.In the face of those terrible enemies Heathenism, Superstition and Infidelity, I ask you, my brethren, to remember the cry of Cromwell, “Trust in God and keep the powder dry.”

Murphy ascends the platform to loud cheers.

Murphy: “I don’t know whether you were aware of the fact that a Mr Mansell has raised a question in the House of Commons about the state of Birmingham today. Mr Gathorne Hardy told him there was no legal way they could stop me giving my lectures, even if they wanted to. I shall shortly be visiting London myself and will be close to the Secretary of State.

Of course, what should have happened on Saturday night was that there should have been an engine with a bucket of water placed outside this building. The police could then have used it to clean the protesters with, or, at least washed their faces for them to make them fit to look upon, as they were as dirty outside as they were inside. I am so glad the working class in this country form the bones and sinews of the land. After all if it wasn’t for them I would probably not be here tonight. If they had a proper leader they would soon put Popery out of the land as they did so well in Park Street.

Tonight I wish to discuss some of the sacraments of the Church of Rome: Baptism, Matrimony and Penance:

The Baptismal ceremony. On meeting the baby and the godfather at the door, the priest breathes three times on the face of the infant being baptized like so (imitates audibly). Sounds like an engine about to start doesn’t it? This is done to drive the devil away and to give the child the Holy Ghost. After having blown the devil out ( or, more likely, blown it in), he blesses some salt and and puts a little into the child’s mouth- for what purpose?- why, to drive the devil away. I thought he’d just blown him out actually, but no, the priest has to salt him out as well. What next? Well,the priest takes some spittle from his own mouth and puts it into the ears and nostrils of the child so as to spit the devil out. (Cries of revulsion from the crowd). But he hasn’t finished yet. He takes a pot of oil and greases the shoulders, waist and forehead of the child to grease the devil out. Finally the child is clad in a white garment and is given a candle to hold to signify that it has received the light of heaven. Is this what you call religion? I tell you, there is no religion in the Church of Rome.

The sacrament of Matrimony I have no problems with except that it is ordained a sacrament necessary for Salvation. After all it makes a complete nonsense of their entire religion. For I say no priest or bishop or pope or monk….

Voice from floor: Or Murphy!!

Murphy:… can be saved.”

General uproar and shouting from the crowd. Cries that the culprit be expelled from the meeting.

Murphy: “No, don’t turn him out. Leave him be.”

Renewed calls for the chairman to intervene. The chairman remains seated.

Murphy: “We read that the Sacraments are necessary for Salvation and, yet, no member of the Church of Rome can be saved according to their own teachings. If ever there was a body of men that require special grace, it’s the priests of Rome. The Bible says its better to marry than to burn. The Pope says:”You need not marry, you can have a concubine.”

Finally I turn to “Penance”. They teach that nobody can enter heaven unless its gates be opened by the priests of the church of Rome, but when we think that “if we confess our sins to God he is faithful and just to forgive our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” we want no popish priest of heaven. When young men and women are courting,naturally they kiss each other yet, in this book of sacraments I am using, it is stated that an unfortunate lady fell in love with her page and she kissed him but did not acknowledge that fact in confession.Therefore she is to be seen among the damned in Hell. Now, can you think of the number of times you have kissed your loves? You must have a tremendous logbook against you by now! I do wish Father Pat would tell us the number of times he’s kissed his lover.”

Cries of “That’s up another street” and “There’s no salvation there” from the crowd.

Murphy: “I conclude by echoing the warning given earlier by my two friends. Let us strive to protect women from the confessionals, so that those black beetles of priests won’t get their hands on them. Do not trust them. None but God can forgive sins and only to God do we owe a right to confess. Tomorrow night I shall speak in more detail about this subject but I must ask there be no ladies present as the subject is not suited for delicate ears.”

Colonel Brockman gives a final address to the meeting which closes with singing from the Doxology. There is no civil disturbance that night nor on any further evening during Murphy’s time in Birmingham.

Security is, at first, rigorously maintained but are gradually relaxed. The meetings eventually become little more than a group of people meeting together to sing hymns and to listen to sermons.Like many other church services of the time. Occasional controversy erupts over the content of Murphy’s talks on the Confessional, but it is nothing like what has passed previously.

The tabernacle is eventually taken down and a chapel is opened in Wrottersly Street where Murphy preaches until 1871. That year he receives an invitation to preach in Whitehaven which he accepts. The rest is written on his tombstone in Key Hill Cemetery, Birmingham.

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