Thomas Tenison Cuffe

In Ireland

Irish clergy were involved in building and maintaining roads - a century earlier the Cuffes had promoted an Act of Parliament for this purpose; the Assizes for County Kilkenny record the following:

1829 Spring Assizes, Iverk Barony
To the Hon. and Rev. George Bourke, the Rev. Thomas T. Cuffe, Arthur Fleming, William Shearman, Esqrs. and Stephen Walshe, to fill ruts on 800 perches of the road from Kilkenny to Waterford, between Dangan bridge and Granny bridge, at 6d. per perch, 20l., wages 1l., stamps 6s. 2d. £21/6/2

1829 Spring Assizes, Knocktopher Barony
To Bartholemew Dillon, Esq., the Rev. Thomas T. Cuffe, the Rev. John Quinn, and John Callaghan, to fill ruts on 207 perches of the from same to same, between the bounds of Farnoge and the street of Ballyquinn, at 1s. per perch, 10l. 7s., wages 10s. 4d., stamps 4s. 2d. - £11/1/6
1830 Spring Assizes, Ida Barony
To the Rev. Thomas Cuffe, Richard Pope, Esq., and John Callaghan, to fill ruts on 366 perches of the road from Waterford to Thomastown, between the bounds of Fahee and Pat. Power's house at Ballyhomuck, at 1s. a perch - 18l. 6s., wages 18s. 3d., stamps 4s. 2d. -

Christian Examiner and Church of Ireland Magazine January 1828, vol VI no XXXI, p75
Waterford. – Reformation Meeting. – On Friday, Nov. 9, a large and respectable assembly was convened in the Wesleyan Chapel, Waterford, to constitute an Auxiliary to the British Society for Promoting the Religious Principles of the Reformation. Colonel Palliser took the Chair, and the Meeting was addressed by Captain Gordon, Robert Bourke, Esq., Rev. Dr. Hamilton, Rev. J, Palliser, Rev. Mr. Ryland, W. Mayersm Esq., Rev. Hans Caulfield, Rev. Mr. Frazer, Rev. Thomas T. Cuffe, and Captain Vernon, R.N.

At or near Trinity Chapel

In May 1840, at the 9th Anniversary meeting of the Trinitarian Bible Society, he seconded this motion (whose gist he seems to have forgotten in some of his subsequent activities):

That deeply as this Meeting is impressed with the importance of maintaining Scriptural Principles against all opposers, it desires and prays that all Christians may be enabled to do this with kindness and love, as well as with faithfulness and boldness; that whatsoever has given occasion to strife and division may be forgiven; and that peculiar grace may be vouchsafed to all the Members of the Society. and especially to all who are concerned in conducting its operations, to enable them to maintain feelings of meekness and Christian love toward all those Brethren who may differ from them.

The Penny Protestant Operative (Protestant Association) 1840
City of London.—The first Annual Meeting of the City of London Tradesmen and Operative Protestant Association took place at the George Hall, Aldermanbury, on Monday Evening, December 13th. Edward Dalton, Esq., took the chair at half-past 7 o'clock. The meeting was opened with prayer by the Rev. Tenison Cuffe, after which the Chairman addressed the meeting, and called upon the Secretary to read the Report. The meeting was addressed by the Rev. T. Cuffe, Mr. W. Allen, James Callow, Esq., and Mr. Binden. The meeting, which was a crowded one, after singing the doxology separated.

The Penny Protestant Operative (Protestant Association) 1840
INTELLIGENCE. Tower Hamlets.—A meeting of the Tower Hamlets Operative Protestant Association was held at the School Room, Cannon-street-road, St. George's East, on Tuesday, 27th April. The Rev. Charles Day, presided. The Rev. T. Cuffe, Mr. Dalton, Mr. Theophilus Smith, and Messrs. Binden and Sykes took part in the proceedings.

The Penny Protestant Operative (Protestant Association) 13 Sept 1841
At the meeting of the Marylebone Protestant Operative Association last Friday Evening, a Papist having frequently made a disturbance during its progress, the Rev Tenison Cuffe, at the close of his speech, gave the following challenge: "A gentleman during the evening said that the Church of Rome was not idolatrous. I, as a minister of the Church of England, am prepared to prove that it is idolatrous. If the system was not so, I should not be justified in protesting against it. If you could prove that the Church of England was idolatrous, I would leave it. I call then upon any Priest in this neighbourhood to meet me in this room or any other, and I undertake to prove that the Church of Rome has been and is idolatrous. If I prove idolatry in the system, I shall prove sufficient to establish that it is a system which ought to be left."

This challenge was made in the presence of the interloper, who, during the delivery of Mr Cuffe's speech, made frequent interruptions;  and, therefore, unless this challenge be accepted, it will shew that the Papists attend Protestant Meetings exclusively for the purpose of disturbance, and not to obtain truth.
 I am, Sir, Yours very obediently, W. Pearce.

At Carlisle Chapel

SPCK General Meeting June 1843

The Rev. G. W. Lewis proposed the following Resolution for the adoption of the Board : — That a Sub-Committee of Reference be appointed, consisting of eleven Clerical Members, with power to add to their number. And that they be requested to consider and report, at the General Meeting in October next, whether, in their view, the excitement and alarm existing in the minds of many zealous supporters of this Society (from the extensive diffusion of some modern statements and opinions connected with our Holy Faith), render it expedient that the sanction of His Grace the President be solicited to the drawing up and publishing by the Tract Committee, of an address to the Laity, commending to their respect and adoption the great principles of the Reformation, as inculcated in the Society's valuable Book of Tracts, numbered 24 in the selection for the 'Emigrant's Library'.  The Rev. Tenison Cuffe seconded this motion. J. C. Meymott, Esq., moved the previous question. N. Goldsmid, Esq., seconded this. The Chairman, on a show of hands, announced that the motion for the previous question was negatived. On a division being called for, there appeared, For the previous question 17, Against it 23, Majority against the previous question 0. The original motion having been put from the Chair, The Rev. R. Burgess moved, as an amendment, — That it be referred to the Standing Committee to consider of the propriety of giving a wider circulation to certain Tracts on Popery, included in Vol. 24, 'Emigrant's Library', by diminishing the price, or by such other means as may seem expedient to the Committee; and that the result be reported to this Board at the next Meeting. P. J. Chabot, Esq., seconded this. The amendment was negatived. The original motion was then put from the Chair, and negatived.

To the Editor of the Protestant Magazine (1847)

SIR, — Popery is the same in all ages, whether in the sixteenth or nineteenth century, unchangeable and unchanged; being based in error, it is supported by fraud and strengthened by treachery. A case that occurred in Kennington, November 18th and 19th, prove that the Romish system deserves this character. Early in October last, the Rev. G. Chute, Curate of St. Mark's, Kennington, was called on by Captain Wills, of Regent's-street, Lambeth, to sign a pension certificate for his aged mother, Mrs. Chapman. When he saw her, he signed the document, and promised to call in about two hours to read and pray with her. In the mean time, the priest was forced into her room by her son, Captain Wills. She showed so much reluctance to his visit, that the man went away. Mr. Chute, at her request, administered the Lord's supper, and continued his visits regularly to October 13th, when he asked me to take his place; and in five weeks I visited her eight times; and being absent eight days during the five weeks, I was sent for. November 7th, Miss Wills was in the room while I read and prayed; and Sunday, the 15th, Captain Wills was present. So far, there was no opposition to my visits; but when the time of death approached, it was the time for Papists to put forth their strength. November 18th, I called on Mrs. Chapman, and on entering the room found the four Miss Wills present. The elder rudely thrust a Missal in my face, saying, These are the prayers we are using with grand-mama; and on repeating this, I told her, that  I did not use a form of prayer. While reading and praying, the four ladies were sneering and making offensive remarks. When I was leaving the room, the ladies asked their grandmother some question I did not hear; but her answer was, Then now let me alone, when they all four laughed. I thought it my duty to rebuke them, outside the door, for levity in a sick room before a dying lady. They replied, by calling me the most opprobrious names, and using the vilest language.

The next day, I called on Mrs. Wood, the lady of the house, and learning that Dr. Doyle, priest of the London-road Chapel, had been with her; and feeling satisfied as to the state of mind of the dying lady, and not wishing to create a disturbance, I did not go up. When leaving the house, Captain Wills, his son, and four daughters, attacked me most violently in Billingsgate vocabulary, the Captain shaking his stick in my face, and threatening to use it. Next day I applied to the magistrate at Lambeth Police Court for a summons: but the law does not interfere where the offence is committed within doors. Had he spoken thus outside the house, he could impose a fine, and direct him to procure bail. The case dropped on my part. The report of my application appeared in the Daily News, Nov. 21st. On November 30th, Captain Wills and his daughter go to the same Police Court, and state, that the old lady was a Roman Catholic for some time; that Mr. Cuffe knew it; that he was never sent for; that he (Captain Wills) did not use threatening language to Mr. Cuffe, but acted with the greatest mildness &c. &c.

This will impose, for a time, on unsuspecting English Protestants. The theory and practice of Popery is always to deceive: such is the teaching of that depraved and demoralized system. Read the teaching of Liguori on the subject of oaths.* He says, It is a certain and common opinion amongst all divines, that for a just cause it is lawful to use equivocation, and to confirm it with an oath. It is a just cause to attack Protestantism through one of its ministers. Captain and Miss Wills' statement is a tissue of falsehood from beginning to end, and is only an example of what Popery will be on a larger scale, should that system gain the ascendancy they look for.

Mrs. Chapman was a member of my congregation, and received the sacrament often in my chapel, and declared to me, that it was a serious trouble to her that her son had become a Roman Catholic. The lady of the house she lodged in, and others, can prove that she was a Protestant. Should not the clergy of each religious denomination be up and doing? Too long have we rested on our oars; we should be alive to the great evils of the unhallowed apostasy. What brought the priest into the old lady's room, to administer an idolatrous rite to an unconscious person? I hold it, that a Romish priest has no right to teach or minister within this realm, not being duly called of God for that purpose.

I wrote this to the priest, and also offered to prove, that the Romish system never saved any person, was not invented for that purpose, and had not salvation for its end. I challenged him to produce one individual whose moral character was improved by leaving the Church of England and joining the Church of Rome. Who were the leaders of the Irish Rebellion, in 1798? Who was the leader of the Carrickshock massacre, in 1831? Apostates. What causes Ireland to be as she is, degraded, disreputable, and immoral? Popery. What is lowering the moral character of England, and bringing her down to the level of the Continental nations? Popery. What has brought the present fearful calamity of famine and disease in Ireland? Popery. Our God has shown his anger; but let us prove our sorrow by an amendment of life. Let the clergy of the Establishment preach steadily against the soul-destroying system of Popery. It is a shame for us to be still and let our hands hang down amidst so much evil. The clergy should carry out the excellent advice given by that most exemplary Prelate, the Bishop of Winchester, in his luminous charge to his clergy in 1844. The advancement of Popery, and consequent lowering of religion, demands our earnest attention; and my clerical brethren will excuse the appeal made by an humble clergyman to their consciences.

I am, Sir, Your obedient servant,
TENISON CUFFE, Minister of Carlisle Episcopal Chapel, Kennington.                                                                                 December 15.

* I can strongly recommend a work lately published by the Reformation Society, Extracts from the Moral Theology of Liguori, By the Rev. R. P. Blakeney, B.A,

With the Countess of Huntingdon's Connexion

Morning Chronicle, 2 February 1850
On Sunday morning the Rev. Tenison Cuffe, M. A., who has been for some years past the minister of Carlisle Episcopal Chapel, Lower Kennington-lane, publicly announced from his pulpit that he had ceased to be a clergyman of the Church of England, having been joined in that step by his congregation assembling in that chapel. Carlisle Chapel has, up to the present time, been in connection with the Established Church, and was duly licensed for the performance of Divine service by the Bishop of Winchester, in whose diocese it is situate. A few weeks ago it became generally known that Mr. Cuffe and many of his friends were about to break off their connexion with the English Church, and it was expected that a chapel would be erected for him somewhere in the neighbourhood of Kennington, where he was so generally known. However, on the 19th of the present month, arrangements were made that Carlisle Chapel should be no longer episcopal, and that Mr. Cuffe should, under the alt'ered circumstances of the case, again be its minister. Accordingly, yesterday morning was fixed for explanations on the part of the Rev. gentleman - a circumstance which excited much interest, and drew together a large congregation. Mr. Cuffe, having read portions of the Church Liturgy, ascended the pulpit, and selected for his text the words of St Paul to the Corinthians -" We preach Christ crucified," &c. In the course of his sermon he stated that he had left the Church of England because the doctrine of baptismal regeneration was taught in her formularies, and held by the Prayer-book to be a fundamental principle. There could be no doubt whatever that baptismal regeneration was distinctly taught by the Church of England. The well-known case of Gorham against the Bishop of Exeter awoke him from the state he was in. During the long discussion which took place, there was not a single Scripture reference either by the plaintiff or defendant - all that was thought about was what great men of the present and former days had said about the matter. Neither side opened the book of inspiration to ascertain what was there taught upon the subject. He objected to the Church of England, because it forbade him to recognise the orders of men of high eminence and purity of life, simply because they were members of another communion, but with whom he should now be able to associate. When some of those great men were in London, they were prohibited from preaching in the pulpits of the Established Church, although they would have conferred honour on any institution. Again, he objected to the union of Church and State, and considered that the State ought not to dictate to the Church.

There was nothing in the history of the first three centuries, or in the Scriptures, to warrant the union of the two, and he believed if the Church were separated from the State, it would prove a great blessing to both. For these and other reasons he retired from the Church of England, and joined Lady Huntingdon's Connexion. He was not afraid or ashamed to acknowledge having become a Dissenter, and he did not regret the step he had taken. He should continue to use the Liturgy of the Church of England, because he greatly admired it, making, however, here and there some alterations, The Church of England repeated the Lord's Prayer several times during the course of each service; whereas he should strike it out in all cases except one. In celebrating the communion he should observe the form set out in the Prayer-book; and he invited all, whether Churchmen or Dissenters, to join him in that solemn rite. The congregation generally express their concurrence in Mr. Cuffe's views, and have determined on remaining with him in his new capacity of a Dissenting minister. Mr. Cuffe is a graduate of Trinity College, Dublin, and was for some time Vicar of Colney Heath, near St. Albans.

The Countess of Huntingdon's New Magazine, November 1851, p256

REASONS FOR SECESSION; or Objections to remaining in the Established Church
By the Rev. T. TENISON CUFFE, M.A., lately Minister of Carlisle Episcopal Chapel, Kennington Lane, and Incumbent of Colney Heath, St. Alban's.
London: Partridge and Oakey, pp.59

The secession of a Clergyman from the Church in which he has laboured for many years, and which incloses his former beloved congregations, social advantages, and status, is an important and responsible act, and should not be performed without reasons to justify it. Not that these reasons should always be obtruded on the public; they may be placed in foro conscientiæ only; but in many instances friends and the community left, as well as that which may be joined, have a right to look for the motives which have induced such a decision.

The question, too, of conformity is one of growing importance, and the minister who has seceded at an expense of feeling and worldly interest which proves his sincerity, and which must have been the result of reading, and thought, and prayer, is the very person who has a right to speak to this question, and to expect to be heard. Such was Mr. Noel [the Hon. the Rev. Baptist Wriothesley Noel (1799-1873) who had been minister of St John's Bedford Row, a proprietory chapel, for over 20 years and seceded in 1848, publishing his apologia An Essay on the Union of Church and State the following year - after a 'period of hesitation' he received adult baptism and ministered at John Street Baptist Chapel in Holborn, close by his former church], and such is Mr. Cuffe.

There are three leading objections which have influenced the writer of these pages for one [step] that he has taken, and justify him in his own conscience.
1st. The obligation to declare in baptism what he well knew, is not warranted by Scripture, or can be supported by a reference to the Word of God.
2nd. The character of the laws by which the Church is governed are, in his view, unjust in principle, and restrictive in operation.
3rd. The union of Church and State, which he regards as one so unhallowed, as to be a barrier to true religion.

Baptism was adopted as the initiatory rite to the Christian Church. Baptizw means 'dip', 'immerse', or 'wash'; it is twice used in the latter sense, in Mark vii. 4. Cleanliness is considered a type of purity; the person using baptism signified that he was cleansed from the impurity of the flesh, and fitted to enter the service of God.

Profession of faith is all that is needed, in order to receive Christian Baptism. The instances in the Word of God, where baptism is mentioned, is that of professors. "Therefore many who were baptised went back, proving that they had neither part nor lot in the matter; that they were in the gall of bitterness and the bond of iniquity." Such as Simon Magnus, Demas, Hymeneus, Alexander, and Philetus. Baptism is never mentioned in Scripture as regenerating the recipient. It is nothing more nor less than an inititatory ordinance. The doctrine of Baptismal Regeneration leads away from Christ, causes man to depend on his fellow man, and thus to become superstitious and idolatrous.

Taking the three offices of baptism, the catechism, and office for confirmation, we find the doctrine of the Church of England to be, that 'infants invariably and always are spiritually regenerated in and by the act of baptism'.

In discussing the first of these objections, we are happy to find the writer so clearly expressing himself on Baptism. Whether it arises out of a sickly fancy, or out of a disposition in persons strongly excited, to conclude that the opposite of error must be truth, that perfection dwells at the antipodes; – so it has proved, that many seceding clergymen have run into the excesses of antinomianism in doctrine, or to Brethrenism, as it is called, in forms and discipline, and especially into the notions of antipædobaptists in administering that sacrament.

The sense of washing which the word Baptism bears, and its application in Mark vii.4, are, had we no other like scriptures, sufficient authority for the application of the cleansing element to the subject of this ordinance, either by pouring or by sprinkling. That Infants are proper subjects for Baptism, our Brother's argument throughout implies.

We cannot do justice to the writer by extracting parts from his argument, on both the other objections, and trust our friends will expend some eighteen pence, to procure this valuable pamphlet, and having themselves read it give it all the circulation in their power. We live in stirring times the sands, are shifting, and it should be our earnest prayer, that the useful channel may not be choked up, and the water which should be a river, giving beauty and life to the scene, overflow into a chilly and pestilential marsh.

The following vindication of Ordination by the hands of the Presbytery, is appropriate:

Prelates have nothing to boast of in their origin. Surely then the proud prelate should pause before he calls the Nonconformist minister an unordained man. The Presbyterian ordination only is found in the New Testament, 1 Timothy iv.14. 'Laying on of the hands of the presbytery' is such ordination. Presbyter and bishop mean the same person. In the primitive Church, there were but two orders, and the Apostle, in writing to Timothy and Titus, gives full instruction to each: bishop and presbyter being one. In Acts xx. Paul sends to Ephesus for the Church, and, in verse 17 he calls the ministers elders; and, 28th verse, overseers; that is, bishops. Paul also addressed the elders as all equal; though the advocates of Episeopacy state that Timothy was the first Bishop of Ephesus, yet the Apostle was silent in giving his last instructions to the elders of Ephesus to look to him as their superior. Timothy might be as well called Bishop of Philippi or Corinth, as he abode in each of these cities, as well as at Ephesus. The Episcopal ordination as observed in the Churches of England and Rome, has no Scriptural foundation, and was not used for the first three centuries. We are therefore justified in saying, that the Presbyterian ordination is in accordance with Scripture and the usage of the first three centuries, which the Episcopalian is not.

We ask, which is right, and has the best claim on us to be received? Certainly the scriptural form of the Presbyterian. We recognise the Episcopal ordination because they unite the presbytery in the act. We must protest against the monstrous assumption of the established Hierachy in England, denying the validity of the Presbyterian orders used by the Independents, Baptists, Wesleyans, and Lady Huntingdon's Connexion. Popery rejects all orders but its own. We reject all that are not in accordance with the Word of God.

There is clearness as well as force in most of Mr. Cuffe's statements, and a spirit as Catholic as it is honest pervades the whole. On the question of Church and State, the work is, of course, more brief than the volume from Mr. Noel's fluent pen; but perhaps equally conclusive. We however, though approving the argument, think real Christians should be aware of the practical difficulties surrounding the subject, and take care not to strengthen the hands of the party in the church, but not of the Church, who are anxious for independent action, and who, with some six millions of annual income at their command, would confuse our country by establishing an imperium in imperio, and sway an iron sceptre over all who are truly evangelical in the establishment, and among Non-conformists. It is quite certain, that if what the Tractarians call the Church, if the present dignitaries could rule all by a majority, near as we now are to the evils of Popery, we should as a National Church, soon be within its vortex.

We return all his expressions of approval of the Countess of Huntingdon's Connexion into which our Brother has been most cordially received by the Conference, and devoutly pray, that he may witness an improvement in it, by the Trustees, Tutors, Ministers and Friends, both official and ordinary, imbibing a fresh spirit, and co operating with renewed vigour, in carrying out the principles of the revered Countess.

London Nonconformist 17 March 1852

The Rev. Tenison Cuffe [seconding a motion at a meeting of the Protestant Alliance in Southampton, in heated conflict with his own Protestant League] expressed the deep regret which he had felt at being compelled, some time since, to secede from the Established Church. Although he had signed many petitions against Catholic emancipation, he would not seek to reverse that which had now been granted to them, for now they had it let them see whether Popery or Protestantism was the true Religion. He took the Bible as his standard, and with that book in his hand he would meet any Roman Catholic priest in the British dominions [cheers and hisses]. Ever since he was ordained in 1818, he had challenged the Roman Catholic priest of every parish in which he had been to meet him in controversy, and the last man he had so challenged was Fr. Doyle, Cardinal Wiseman's chaplain, who told him that he wanted common sense [laughter, and cries of "True, true"]. He for one denied both the supremacy of St. Peter and that of the Archbishop of Canterbury; because, in the word of God, one ecclesiastic had no authority over another [tremendous cheering]. He had not expected that that sentiment would be so well received [renewed cheering]. Where was the difference between the authority of Cardinal Wiseman and that of the Archbishop of Canterbury? Why, that the authority of the one was derived from a foreign prince, the other from the law of the land; both were contrary to the word of God [cheers]. The Primate of England exercised his authority in opposition to the laws of God, and in accordance with the laws of the land, the other in opposition to both; and he objected to the manner in which their titles had been acknowledged in this country. He asserted that he was for twenty years a curate in Ireland, but had never met a gentleman or a scholar amongst the Roman Catholic priests [great uproar]; he had always found them to be the most hardhearted set of men he had ever met with [continued disapprobation]. He had never seen a priest yet who had ever done a generous or kind action [loud cries of 'Shame', 'False' &c]; and if there ever was a system on earth calculated to take a man's natural senses from him, Popery was that system. Let them give the people the Bible, and they would rise as one man against Maynooth, and all the evils consequent upon so base a system. They were now paying £30,000 a-year to teach men to be traitors to God, and rebellious subjects, and he called upon the meeting to unite for the purpose of putting down such a system.

[The tone of his speech was then depracated by speakers from the Protestant Alliance, though they shared his anti-Catholic stance; and at 11pm a vote was passed (amid great cheering) to present a petition to Parliament asserting the Reformation principle of religious liberty.]

Lincolnshire Chronicle 15 October 1852
CAISTOR - Mr Patrick McFelin, of Caistor, we are informed, has challenged the Rev. Tenison Cuffe A.M. to public discussion, on the doctrines of Popery, and the latter gentleman has acceded to the summons, and the affair will take place shortly.

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