Cisalpine Club

Association of Catholic laymen founded in England, 1792, to perpetuate the movement which had found expression in the "Declaration and Protestation" signed by the Catholic body in 1789. This declaration represented the final and definite break with the Jacobite political party, the possible success of which up till that time had been considercd by most Catholics as the only chance for a revival of Catholicity in Great Britain. The signers accepted the House of Hanover as legitimate rulers and reverted to the Oath of Allegiance of James I. In 1788 Lord Stanhope, a member of the Established Church, drew up a "Protestation" which disclaimed some of the more objectionable doctrines ascribed to Catholics and which was signed by the bishops, nearly all the priests, and the foremost Catholic laymen, and resulted in the Relief Act of 1791. Lay members of the committee were accused by the vicars Apostolic of tampering with matters of ecclesiastical discipline and the feud which resulted found expression in the formation of the Cisalpine Club, the members of which pledged themselves "to resist any ecclesiastical interference which may militate against the freedom of English Catholics." Membership usually numbered between 4O and 50 and four or five meetings weye held annually. At first the association took an active part in Catholic affairs and established a school at Oscott, but after a few years it became a mere dining club. After Catholic Emancipation the members formed an "Emancipation Club," which was dissolved after 17 years.

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