HC Deb 05 May 1842 vol 63 cc115-6
Mr. P. M. Stewart

begged to put a question to the right hon. Baronet opposite of the deepest importance to the people of Scotland. Owing to the unexpected turn which the question of the Scotch church had taken last night, in consequence of the Government promising to introduce a bill for the settlement of the church of Scotland question, he begged to ask when that bill would be introduced, and to express his earnest wish that, in justice to the people of Scotland, it might be introduced between the present time and the meeting of the General Assembly, which would take place a fortnight hence, in order that the measure might receive the consideration of that body.

Sir J. Graham

said, he would appeal to the House to say whether the hon. Gentleman had rightly stated what he had announced to the House. In putting the question, the hon. Gentleman had assumed that he had promised, on the part of the Government, to introduce a bill on the subject. "What he had stated was, that her Majesty's Government had, subsequent to the time when the hon. Member for Argyleshire obtained leave to introduce his bill, received from various quarters in Scotland, from persons of opposite opinions, all entitled to the highest respect, such communications as had led her Majesty's Government to entertain a hope that a settlement of the unhappy differences that divided the church of Scotland might be possible. To that statement be adhered. Those communications were still in progress; no measure had been matured, but he did entertain a hope that it would be possible for the Government, on its responsibility, to introduce such a measure. The hon. Member for Argyleshire had consented to postpone his bill for six weeks, and what he said then he would now repeat, that he would, on the part of the Government, give the House ample notice; when, if the hopes they entertained should be realised, he would introduce a bill, or if they should not be realised, he undertook to make the announcement in ample time to enable the hon. Member for Argyleshire to proceed with his bill.

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