HC Deb 13 July 1874 vol 220 cc1527-603

Order read, for resuming Adjourned Debate on Amendment proposed to Question [6th July], "That the Bill be now read a second time;" and which Amendment was, To leave out from the word "That" to the end of the Question, in order to add the words "this House considers it inexpedient to legislate on the subject of Patronage in the Church of Scotland without further inquiry and information,"—(Mr. Baxter,)

—instead thereof.

Question again proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."

Debate resumed.


* Sir, I must congratulate the right hon. and learned Lord Advocate and the various hon. Gentlemen who have supported the Church Patronage Bill in this House, upon their adhesion to the kindly, if delusive, hypothesis that it will tend to re-unite the Presbyterian Churches in Scotland, and bring about an ecclesiastical millennium, in which the lion of Presbyterian Establishment shall lie down with the lamb of Presbyterian Dissent. I am aware that that hypothesis was cherished by those with whom the present measure originated; for in the Report of the Committee on the Law of Church Patronage, presented to the General Assembly in 1870, I find their position thus laid down— This claim (for the abolition of patronage) is urged in the interests of the whole community. …. The great mass of the people of Scotland are Presbyterians, belonging to Churches which agree in doctrine, discipline, and worship; and, from the previous statement, it appears that the repeal of the law of patronage would at least remove one of the chief obstacles to union. And then the Report goes on to say, that even should union fail to be brought about, the Church would be able to prosecute its work with the advantage of more friendly co-operation with other Evangelical bodies in Scotland. Unhappily, Sir, when the details of this Bill came to be put down in black and white, it became pretty obvious to all but the most enthusiastic admirers of the measure, that the millennial theory must be given up; that if, through the operation of this measure, the lion and the lamb were ever to lie down together, it would only be after the lion had made a meal of the lamb. Accordingly, we find that the noble Duke (the Duke of Richmond) introduced the Bill in "another place" as a measure avowedly conceived in the interests of the Established Church, and another noble Duke (the Duke of Argyll), the foster father of the scheme, confessed that— It was not recommended to the House as a means of re-union with other Churches, but had been prepared for the benefit of the people of the Church of Scotland, with which alone it dealt."—[3 Hansard, ccxix. 829.] I am, therefore, surprised that every speaker who has supported the Bill in this House, with the single exception of the hon. and gallant Member for South Ayrshire (Colonel Alexander), has advocated it as a measure calculated to promote Presbyterian union. I shall now turn of the statistical Returns which were laid before the House the other day, and see what they teach. In doing so, I must not be taken as admitting their accuracy, for I believe them to be very inaccurate; but I shall deal only with their most salient features, and, I believe, for my purpose, they may be taken as sufficiently correct. Now, Sir, I find from the statement of the committee of the General Assembly, before referred to, that throughout half the Established Church, the election of ministers is already practically in the hands of the congregations. This is distinctly admitted by the Established Church Committee, on whose report the present Bill is based— A plan," they write, "not unlike the scheme now suggested by the Church for the appointment of ministers, is and has for many years, been actually adopted by the Crown, by Corporations, and by not a few private patrons, in giving the choice of the minister to the heritors and communicants. It is accordingly a fact, that lay patronage has become gradually practically obsolete in many of the parishes of Scotland. Now, Sir, if the alteration in the law of patronage proposed, can be expected to have the effect its promoters believe, in increasing the hold of the Establishment upon the people of Scotland, we should find that in those districts where the plan analogous to that now proposed, has for many years been actually adopted, and lay patronage has become practically obsolete—we should expect to find that in such districts the Established Church is most powerful as compared with the other Presbyterian Churches, and that in those districts where lay patronage prevailed most extensively the Established Church should be weakest. Now, what we find is precisely the reverse of this. What we find from these figures before us is, that where the system proposed to be made universal under the Bill is most largely developed, the Established Church is weakest, and where it is least developed, she is strongest. Thus, in Aberdeenshire, we find the number of communicants returned at 58,863, a number which, if multiplied by 3, so as to show the number of adherents, would give three-fourths of the entire population of the county as belonging to the Established Church. And yet, on looking over the Synod of Aberdeen, as set forth in Oliver and Boyd, I find that in only 43 out of 127 instances, is the patronage vested in congregations, or in in the Crown, or corporations, which make it a practice of selecting ministers in accordance with the wishes of the congregations. In Ross and Cromarty, on the other hand, where the Established Church is in such a notoriously wretched condition, and where, in the Presbytery of Lewis, of 23,000 inhabitants, all but 500 are reported as belonging to the Free Church, we find the great majority of the patronage vested in the Crown, and, consequently, exercised in accordance with the wishes of the congregations. Nor is that state of things confined to the Highlands and islands. In Lanarkshire, for instance, we have 760,000 inhabitants. There, the number of communicants is 62,796, which would give, say, 190,000 adherents or only one-fourth of the population. But I wish to argue in the fairest possible spirit, and shall knock off 160,000 of the population as Roman Catholic, or neglecting ordinances. That would still leave the Established Church as comprising less than a third of the Protestant population of Lanarkshire. And how does patronage stand there? Why, in the Presbytery of Glasgow, which may be taken as representing the county, I find that in 50 out of 70 instances, the patronage is already virtually vested in the hands of the congregations—or in trustees, or in managers, or in the Crown or corporations, which exercise it according to the wishes of the congregations. In Renfrewshire, again, the same state of things prevails. The Established Church does not comprise 25 per cent of the inhabitants, while the patronages in the Presbyteries of Paisley and Greenock are popular in 27 cases out of 41. I need not follow up these facts any further; but I think when we find that in Aberdeenshire, where the clergy are selected by their congregations, only in one case in three, the Establishment comprises three-fourths of the population; while in Lanarkshire, where the patronage is popular in five cases out of seven, the Establishment does not embrace one-third of the Protestant population—when we find this, I say I think these Returns show that if the Church is to be strengthened, and the tide of Dissent is to be stemmed, it must be by some scheme wider and more comprehensive than is to be found in this Bill. For not merely has voluntary Presbyterianism made wonderful progress in Scotland in times past, but it is still advancing. I do not ask the House to accept this on my authority, I state it on the authority of Dr. Charteris, who, as every Scottish Member knows, is one of the ablest and most enthusiastic advocates of this Bill to be found in the Establishment. And yet in the course of a recent debate before the Assembly, Dr. Charteris said— It was remarkable that in a country so poor, prudent, and prone to calculate the future as Scotland, Dissent should have gained so great a hold and he still increasing among the people—that they preferred to pay for the same ordinances which they received at the Parish Church for nothing. The fact is, that in no religion in these isles does independent voluntaryism play such an important part as in the Presbyterian. The Free Church has, in the 30 years of its existence become the possessor of enormous property in the shape of churches, globes, manses, and schools; it has accumulated a reserve fund amounting to close on £500,000, and last year its income was £511,000. The United Presbyterian Church has an income from voluntary contributions of £300,000 a-year, while in the Establishment itself, the free-will offerings amount to over £270,000—as large, or larger a sum than it derives from State endowments. No wonder that with these facts before them, both Free and United Presbyterian Churches are at one in pointing out that the true way to bring about the re-union of the whole Presbyterian communion is to put all upon the same footing, to leave all free to choose their own ministers—and to pay for them. But a number of hon. Members who have supported the Bill have said it will bring about the union of the Presbyterian Churches. Never. I do not make this assertion on my own authority. I state it on the authority of those who are best entitled to speak. What did the noble Duke (the Duke of Argyll), one of the most ardent supporters of the Bill say on the subject?— There is no hope, in my opinion," said he, "of any re-union between the Free Church, the Ignited Presbyterians, and the Established Church of Scotland. The very fact that in the one case they have 600 and in the other 900 ministers supported by voluntary contributions militates against it. There are difficulties amounting to impossibilities which never would admit of the union of the Free and Established Churches. Again, the Committee appointed by the Established Church to reply to Dr. Cook's dissent from their deliverance, approving of the Bill, was obliged to wind up its reply with the admission, that there were other reasons than patronage for the various secessions of the Church, and that it had not been stated or supposed that the removal of patronage alone would be sufficient to reunite the Presbyterian Churches in Scotland. What said Lord Dalhousie, whose last public utterance protested against the Bill, and whose death, I am sure, hon. Gentlemen on either side of the House equally deplore. What did he, a typical Free Churchman say on the subject?— They were told that one great object of the measure was to build a bridge over which the members of the Free Church, and others who had seceded from it, would be able to pass in order to re-unite themselves to the Establishment. Anything more preposterous than that he could not conceive. In his view, it was a total impossibility. In that Bill they did not touch the one main cause which led to the disruption of the Church."—[3 Hansard, ccxix. 836.] And that is but an echo of the resolution on the subject come to by the Assembly of the Free Church—a resolution carried by 433 to 69. As to the United Presbyterians who refused, when their Church was re-constituted, to join with the Free, although there was no patronage existing in that Church, how could it be expected that they should regard the present Bill as anything better than a mockery, a delusion, and a snare, intended to prop up what they regard as the unscriptural system of State endowments? In the debate on this Bill a week ago, the hon. Member for Perthshire reminded us of a leap in the dark. I think that those hon. Gentlemen who are urging forward this Bill, under the belief that it will either strengthen the Established Church at the expense of her neighbours, or that it will bring about union with them, are taking a leap in the dark, which, though undertaken for the purpose of "dishing the Dissenters," will land the country in disestablishment. So much for the principles of the Bill, and now as to its details. It fixes the value at which patronage is to be bought up, in the case of private patrons, at one year's purchase. In doing so, the noble Duke who introduced the Bill (the Duke of Richmond) explained the first reason of the Government in these words— The value and importance of an article is often tested by the price which it fetches, and you will find that by some recent returns which have taken place with regard to Church Patronage in Scotland, the price at which a next presentation has been estimated is only one year's purchase."—[3 Hansard, ccxix. 375.] Now, Sir, adopting that very businesslike view of the matter—which appears to me exactly to coincide with that of Butler, that— The worth of anything Is just so much as it will bring"— Government must admit that the value of the Government livings, the patronage of which it is about to transfer, is one year's purchase, and one year's purchase of 319 livings, of which Government possesses the patronage, is a very considerable sum. That sum, which belongs to the country at large, it is proposed to hand over to a sect which only constitutes a fraction of the Presbyterians of Scotland. Then, there are between 40 and 50 patronages vested in various town councils, as representatives of ratepayers, and these are also worth a year's purchase. Here, again, the ratepayers' property is to be handed over to a sect; but the ratepayers' liability for the maintenance of these churches remains as it is. On this ground, I think that portion of the public which does not belong to the Establishment has good reason for complaint. But the Duke of Argyll, one of the largest patrons in Scotland tells us that— Government, in giving to private patrons one year's stipend as compensation has given them very much more than they could ever have got in the market. If so, I can only say that it has done a very cruel thing, for the Bill provides that the first presentee shall pay the purchase money in four yearly instalments, equal each to the fourth part of his stipend. Now, at present, the position of a Presbyterian minister presented to a new living is hard enough. The act of removal entails upon him expenses often very heavy as compared with his scanty income. Then, his first payment of stipend does not fall due until he has been six months in the parish, and that payment or the greater part of it is, I believe, absorbed by an enforced contribution to the Widows' Fund, so that during the first year of I his ministry he has to live almost entirely on credit. It is now proposed by the Bill to cripple his resources still farther, by compelling him to pay over I to the patron a quarter of his stipend for the first four years of his incumbency. I am quite aware that it is expected that the Church at large will raise a fund to meet such cases, and to defray the patronage purchase money. But there is nothing of that in the Bill, and if Parliament is to make over such enormous powers to the General Assembly, as it will when the Bill becomes law, I think that it is bound to exact from the General Assembly some guarantee that that body will not allow to fall on Parliament the reproach of compelling the poor minister to pay his expatron "much more than he could ever have got in the market for his patronage," in order that future generations might benefit by his sacrifice. What would Parliament have said, for example, when the Abolition of Purchase Bill was before it, had it been asked to declare that the first nominee to a captaincy under the new system should compensate his predecessor by handing over to him 2s. 6d. per day out of his pay of 10s. during the first four years of his new rank? Such a proposal would have been laughed out of the House. And yet that is precisely what we are asked to do in the case before us; and when the Bill is passed, all there will be to prevent us having concurred in such a piece of mean injustice is the vague promise of a few members of the General Assembly, that a general fund shall be formed from which compensation claims shall be satisfied. A French critic, speaking of the celebrated cavalry charge at Balaclava, said it was magnificent, but it was not war; and I think I am justified in saying that the unlimited trust we are through the Bill asked to repose in General Assemblies, their committees, and even their individual members, may be magnificent, but it is not legislation. To show further the crude and impracticable nature of the measure of which we are asked to approve, I may point to the powers proposed to be entrusted to kirk sessions. Upon these kirk sessions devolves the entire charge of carrying out these regulations which the General Assembly are to draw up for the regulation of those who are to constitute the congregations under the Bill, and how the election is to be conducted; without these kirk sessions, in fact, the machinery of the Bill could not be carried out. But, Sir, it is a noteworthy fact that, according to a Report on kirk sessions presented to the General Assembly in 1870, there were then some 109 parishes in Scotland without any kirk sessions at all. That is certainly a more serious blot on the measure before us than the omission to make any provision for the appointment of clergymen in parishes where there is no congregation at all, of which more than one is said to be found in the Presbytery of Lewis. And now let us look at the powers which it is proposed to place in the hands of the General Assembly. It seems to me that we are asked to delegate to that body, which, it must be remembered, is essentially a sectarian one, powers with which Parliament should never part. It is true that in transferring patronage from the Crown, which is the representative of the whole people, to the Church of a sect—from town councils selected by the whole body of citizens to the Church of a sect—from the whole body of ratepayers, as in the case of North Leith, to the Church of a sect, we have decided that the patronage is to be exercised by communicants and congregations; but we have left the General Assembly to define what constitutes a member of a congregation as it may think best, and to make such regulations in regard to the mode of naming and proposing a minister by means of a committee, and of electing and appointing such minister as may appear good in its eyes. On no ground can the entrustment of such enormous powers to a body such as this be defended, unless, indeed, on the ground that the General Assembly is truly national in its constitution, and truly Catholic in its sympathies. Whether a leaven of representatives from the Royal Burghs entitles the Established Assembly to be considered national I will not pretend to say; but I think the manner in which it has discussed the Bill has amply sufficed to deprive it of any reputation for Catholicity it may ever have enjoyed. On every occasion on which it was proposed either to widen the scope of the ecclesiastical constituency or the field of ministerial eligibility, the Assembly incontinently negatived the proposal. Thus, the hon. Baronet the Member for Fifeshire (Sir Robert Anstruther) moved that the ecclesiastical franchise should be extended to inhabitants of the parishes concerned who were of full age and in communion with any of the Protestant Churches in Scotland. Dr. Wallace proposed to embrace "the whole rate paying parishioners professing themselves Christians;" and Dr. Cook moved— that the election of a minister should not he exclusively in the hands of the communicants of the parish, inasmuch as he is not only the minister of the communicants, but the minister of the parish. Now, it will be observed that the modification contended for by Dr. Cook has been adopted by Government, and that the election of ministers is no longer proposed to be vested exclusively in the hands of communicants. And yet what was the reception this proposed modification met with? In the course of a rather angry discussion, Dr. Pirie, one of the leaders of the movement which has resulted in the Bill, said— If either Dr. Wallace's or Dr. Cook's Motion is carried, I, for one, would he prepared to give up the Bill altogether. That was received with "Hear, hear," and Sir Robert Anstruther's motion, which commanded the largest support of the three, was negatived by 194 votes to 19. And when we come to proposals to extend the smallest privilege to Presbyterian clergymen of any other sect, what do we find? Why, that they would not be considered for a single moment. Dr. Lees, Paisley, moved that in parishes where communicants did not exceed 25, the communicants of other Presbyterian denominations should be allowed a vote in electing a minister— and inasmuch as it is difficult for parishes in the Highlands and islands to obtain qualified ministers connected with the Church of Scotland, it shall he lawful for the aforesaid body of combined electors in such parishes to appoint any ordained minister belonging to any Presbyterian Church holding the same standards as the Church of Scotland, and such minister shall, in virtue of such appointment, have right to the full proceeds of the benefit, and be subject to the Ecclesiastical Judicators of such Presbyterian Church as he may himself elect to adhere to. This mild proposal to give the dogs the crumbs that encumber the master's table was only proposed, to be withdrawn; as was also a Resolution to a somewhat similar effect proposed by Dr. Wallace, because that gentleman felt it would be vain to persevere with it in face of the determination of the Assembly to accept only the Bill, the whole Bill, and nothing but the Bill. And that is the body to whom we are asked to hand over the power of defining who are to constitute the electoral body of the so-called National Church, and of drawing up regulations according to which such elections are to be conducted. And yet, in the face of this action on the part of the Established Assembly, several hon. Members, supporters of this Bill, babbled of "mutual eligibility," as if it could, without difficulty, be engrafted on the present scheme. Why, Sir, I should not consider an eligibility, restricted to these wretched livings, which Established clergymen can hardly be obtained to fill, as one which any self-respecting member of the other Churches would accept; but when even that is refused by the Established Assembly, to whose discretion we are asked to intrust everything, why talk of it here? The one circumstance that would have any weight with me in inducing me to support the Bill is, that it would put an end to the scandals which have arisen in disputed settlement cases under the Aberdeen Act. But these scandals are by no means so numerous that we should incontinently pass a crude and vicious Bill like the one before the House in order to get rid of them. A committee of the Established Church, reporting to the General Assembly at its last meeting, says that there have been, since 1844, either before the General Assembly or the Courts of the Church, only 66 cases of disputed settlement, or at the rate of two per annum. But admitting the scandals of these disputed settlements, it is not necessary to pass this Act to do away with them. They arise from the circumstance that under the Aberdeen Act the obnoxious presentee has been often subjected to a degrading ordeal by dissatisfied parishioners, who could urge against him not merely objections based on his life and doctrine, but on his personal peculiarities and defects. It was not necessary to introduce the Bill to remedy that. A Bill of a single clause, enacting the provision of that celebrated Veto Act—that the dissent of a majority of the congregation should, without any reason being assigned, be sufficient to set aside a presentee—would have been sufficient to put an end to all the evils complained of. Scottish Voluntaries—Free and United Presbyterian—have been accused of worse than bad taste in opposing the abolition of restriction on the free election of ministers, against which they all along protested, and for the sake of freeing themselves from which they left the Church. To me, there is nothing more natural than their opposition. The measure before us was avowedly concocted for the purpose of propping up the Established Church, and of strengthening it at the expense of its self-supporting neighbours. We have been told, in connection with it, not that the abolition of patronage would prevent further schisms in the Church—of which there was no danger—but that it was intended to supply a bridge, across which adherents of the Free and United Presbyterian Churches could go back to the Establishment. It was not intended as a bridge by which the clergy of those Churches could go back to the true fold; there was no talk of mutual eligibility, or a common purse. On the contrary, when, in the other House, it was proposed by the noble Marquess (the Marquess of Huntly) that, in districts where there were less than 20 Established Church communicants, Free Church ministers should be allowed a chance of being elected to the parish church, the proposal was characterized by the noble Duke who had charge of the Bill as the most astounding proposition he had ever heard. What, therefore, do its supporters openly announce to be the aim of the Bill? To strengthen the Establishment by seducing Dissenting congregations away from their clergy. Now, Sir, so far from its being matter of surprise that the congregation and the clergy thus assailed and insulted should resent such treatment, I should say that they must be either more or less than human did they not do so. Hon. Gentlemen opposite threaten the extinction of the Free and United Presbyterian Churches, and cry out in artless astonishment when Synod and Assembly resent the assault made upon them. Engrossed in their vision of an all-absorbent Establishment, they cannot comprehend that— The U.P. whom they tread upon In mortal suff'rance feels a pang as great As when a Bishop dies. They cry "fie" upon the logic of the Free Church, and flaunt in its face the musty traditional Church politics of 30 years since. I think it was the right hon. Gentleman at the head of Her Majesty's Government who said that luckily this country was not governed by logic but by votes; and those who, in the face of the Free Assembly vote of three to one, argue about the logical necessity for contentment with this measure on the part of the Free Church only prove themselves incapable of understanding the stern logic of fact. And, let it be remarked, the dissatisfaction with the Bill expressed by these Churches is not one with a proposed abolition of patronage, which both the Churches would be most glad to see, but one with the manner in which it is proposed to accomplish that abolition. They say there is no use patching an old garment with new cloth; if you are going to interfere with the existing state of things, we protest against your legislating in a spirit of avowed hostility to us. A boon to a single Presbyterian sect would be dearly gained if it tended to perpetuate an injustice to half of the Presbyterians of Scotland. The time is long past when any tinkering with patronage can hope to re-consolidate the Church: the only hope for that now is disendowment and disestablishment. And here they are supported by the authority of the noble Duke (the Duke of Argyll), who tells us he has— always said there is no hope whatever of the re-union of the Free and Established Churches except on the ground of Disestablishment."—[3 Hansard, ccxix. 829.] Sir, I think I have shown that if the Returns before the House teach us anything, they teach us that the passing of the Bill will not assist the Establishment to resist the onward wave of Dissent in Scotland. I have shown that to talk of the Bill as a scheme for union and conciliation is absurd. I have shown that those who talk of "mutual eligibility" in connection with it, know nothing of the feelings of those in whose interest, and at whose promoting, the Bill has been introduced; and I have shown that in the Bill itself, we are asked to delegate to a sectarian body, which throughout its deliberations has exhibited nothing but narrow exclusiveness and greed of power, functions which properly devolve upon Parliament, and upon it alone. We have been told that the Bill, which, supported as it is by Government, is certain to pass, will be the first step towards the disestablishment of the Scottish Church; and I believe that such will be the case. I, for one, shall not regret that consummation of this evening's work; but I consider it my duty to protest against the measure now before us, as powerless to strengthen any single Church, and calculated to sow dissent and bitterness between the Presbyterian Churches of Scotland. I protest against it as crude in conception, and utterly vicious in principle; and I sit down persuaded that those who now uphold the Bill will before long be convinced of their mistake, and that those against whom it is aimed will, ere many years, see the whirligig of time bring its revenges.


said, the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down commenced his observations by referring to the lion and the lamb, and he (Sir Robert Anstruther) was anxious to ascertain from him which was the lion and which was the lamb. It appeared that the Established Church was the lion, and the Free Church and the United Presbyterian Church were the lamb. That was a new feature in the debate. They thought that they had been dealing with people who were opponents, and whose language, speech, and actions towards the Established Church were very different from the actions of lambs. If, however, they had to deal with Bodies whose whole conduct, habit, spirit, and demeanour, were those of lambs, he was visionary enough to think that they might be able to make something of the Bill, and that it might be accepted by the Voluntary Churches in Scotland—as it had been extended to them—as a plain and handsome offer. There was nothing more remarkable in the course of this debate, than this one fact—not a single hon. Member had ventured to oppose the principle of the Bill. He appealed to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Montrose (Mr. Baxter) if that was not true, and he would have done the same to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich (Mr. Gladstone) had he been present; but he (Sir Robert Anstruther) regretted that he was not in his place, though he had been brought up to London by the great glut of ecclesiastical subjects, and he must know that his speech would be commented on by both sides. Well, the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Baxter) had admitted that there was no case to be made out against the principle of the Bill, while the late Prime Minister had admitted that the abolition of patronage had always been asked for by the people of Scotland. But the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Baxter) came forward to move a hostile Amendment to the Bill, asserting that it was inexpedient to legislate on the subject without further inquiry and information. The late Prime Minister had said that the House must approach the consideration of the question, having reference to the history and feelings and wants of Scotland? Granted that that should be done, was there the slightest ground for saying that any doubt existed as to what were the feelings and wants of Scotland? With regard to the Act of Queen Anne, so far as the principles of the Bill were concerned, it appeared upon the face of it, that the main principle of the measure was that the Act of Queen Anne should be repealed. He took his stand upon that, and he challenged any right hon. Gentleman on either side of the House, to prove that either in England or Scotland the slightest diversity of opinion existed about the Act in question. Nay, he appealed to his right hon. Friend whether there was any room for the slightest doubt in the world of the feeling of Scotland about the Act of Queen Anne. His right hon. Friend had talked much on the ignorance which unhappily prevailed as to all the devious ways which ecclesiastical thought had taken in Scotland during the last few years, and contended that neither the House of Lords nor the House of Commons had any information, upon which they could go to work, as to the wants and feelings of the people of Scotland. Had the right hon. Gentleman ever read the Blue Book of Sir George Sinclair's Committee in 1834? If he had, he would not have fallen into the numerous mistakes which were contained in his speech. It was evident, also, that the late Prime Minister had not read the book; because if he had, he would never have given the House the history of the cause of the disruption which he related the other evening. Did not the right hon. Member for Greenwich know that the opinion of Scotland before the disruption was so clearly expressed in 1842 as to leave no manner of doubt whatever as to what the feelings and wishes of the people were with regard to Queen Anne's Act. In that year a Motion was made by Dr. Cunningham—this was before the Secession— That this Assembly resolve and declare that patronage is a grievance and an injury to the cause of true religion, and is the main cause of the difficulties in which the Church is at present involved. And when the late Prime Minister talked of the causes of the disruption, he would do well to bear that resolution in memory. Dr. Cunningham had said that he did not believe a single man in Scotland could be found to defend the Act of Anne, and that it ought to be regarded with general indignation and abhorrence; and on the 29th of May last, in the Free Church Assembly, Dr. Begg, a high authority, who stood on the old lines of the Free Church—on the lines upon which Dr. Chalmers seceded in 1843, and from which the majority of the people did not intend to depart—notwithstanding the speech of the right hon. Member for Greenwich—also condemned the Act of Queen Anne. Dr. Chalmers himself, the one great central figure of the disruption said, the repeal of that Act would light up a moral jubilee in Scotland, and cause the National Church to become the object of the confidence and affection of all her children. Yet, after all, they were told that nobody knew the feelings of Scotland on this question. But he could quote still further authority for the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Montrose, for he could quote him against himself, and if that were not sufficient for the right hon. Gentleman it was for him. He (Mr. Baxter) said in the course of the same speech in which he said that nobody knew anything of the mind and wishes of the people of Scotland, that— No doubt it is eminently satisfactory to the Liberal party to find the Conservative party in this House and its allies in the Established Church of Scotland at last confessing to the evils of a system which they have hitherto laboured to uphold against the continued protests of the Scotch people. It therefore appeared, according to the statement of the right hon. Gentleman himself, that the people of Scotland had uniformly protested against the Act of Anne, and yet he opposed a Bill which was brought into the House for the purpose of repealing that Act. By a side wind the right hon. Gentleman took the Bill in the flank, not in the front, and two "whips" had been sent out on last Monday and last Saturday by his right hon. Friend (Mr. Adam) to assist him in carrying his Amendment. Well, would it be believed that the Liberal party, in 1874, was asked to come down to that House and vote against a Bill which proposed to abolish the Act of Queen Anne, against which the Scotch people had so long protested? No doubt, the right hon. Gentleman had been in favour of disestablishment, and he had a right to move an Amendment against a Bill which was going, as he believed, to strengthen the Established Church; but he (Sir Robert Anstruther) and his Friends on that side were not all in favour of disestablishment. But some people did not know whether they were in favour of disestablishment or not. There had been curious blasts from the trumpet during the last week or two. He should like to know distinctly whether the right hon. Gentleman meant that as a hostile Amendment to the Bill or not. It would have been better if he had met it with a direct negative, but he had not done so. The right hon. Gentleman perfectly well understood that in supporting the Amendment, if it was pushed to a division, he was going to vote against the repeal of the Act of Queen Anne. He (Sir Robert Anstruther) was bound to allude to the very extraordinary account of the Free Church Disruption given to them by the late Prime Minister, for a more extraordinary account he never heard. It seemed more like a passage out of a book written by a very distinguished member of the Free Church, called The Ten Years' Conflict, and that was about as one sided an account of a great historical transaction as it was ever his misfortune to read in his life. The speech of the right hon. Gentleman was exactly the same. There was little or nothing said about the goodness, piety, greatness, and worth of the work performed by the men of the Established Church who had laboured for years to spread the Gospel amongst the people of Scotland, and for what the late Prime Minister had said about them, they might never have been born. What did he say about the Free Church? He said they were driven out. That he (Sir Robert Anstruther) denied—they were not driven out. The charge was a serious one, and it became those who had any sort of regard for the Established Church of Scotland, or for the dignity and honour of Parliament, to find out whether it had any foundation. It was eminently desirable that Parliament and the country should be informed whether the statement of the late Prime Minister was or was not correct upon the main cause of the differences which arose; and the mainspring of the Free Church Secession was this—In the year 1834 the General Assembly passed an Act known as the Veto Act, to prevent the intrusion of ministers against the will of the people, an object with which he entirely sympathized. That Veto Act practically repealed the Act of Anne. In fact, the Assembly did then what the Government proposed to do now; but a contention arose at that time as to whether it was in the power of the General Assembly to do what they did. The object sought to be obtained was excellent, but the question was whether it was within the power of the General Assembly to pass the Act, and what was known as the Auchterarder case was brought before the House of Lords, and it was decided by Lord Cottenham that the Assembly had exceeded its power, and done an illegal Act, for they had no power to repeal, control, or interfere with the Acts of the Legislature. It was that Veto Act which was the main cause of the evil. If the General Assembly at that time, finding that they had exceeded their power, had come to Parliament and had asked the Government to assist in getting a repeal of Queen Anne's Act, he did not believe for one moment that they would not have convinced the Legislature of the fairness and reasonableness of their claims. A curious admission was made by the right hon. Gentleman in the course of his speech. He had said that the Bill would have been a capital Bill in 1843, but it was a bad Bill in 1874. Where was the difference in principle? Modifications might no doubt be made in it as it passed through Committee, with advantage; but a measure which would have been sound in 1843, could scarcely be unsound in the present day. Let it not be supposed that he did not appreciate and lament the Free Church Secession, or that he yielded to the right hon. Gentleman in his admiration for the sacrifices which which were made by those who left the Church in 1843. He knew the sacrifices which they made; he knew the pain and grief it was to them to go; and he knew more—the pain and grief it was to those who remained, to see them go, and who wished for nothing so much as the arrival of the day when the adherents of both the Established and the Free Churches could act on the same platform. Let them not have discord sown amongst the Presbyterian Bodies in Scotland. Let there be nothing to prevent those who left the Established Church from finding the means by which, without dishonour or insult, they might come back again. The right hon. Gentleman supposed, from the number of Established Churchmen as compared with the number of those not in the Established Church—he (Sir Robert Anstruther) would not call them Nonconformists, because they all conformed, but they still fought like little cats and dogs—that the former were in the minority. Well, now, he knew that the adherents of the Church of Scotland numbered 1,448,000, and of the seceded Churches the number was 1,029,000, or, in other words, the numbers of the Established Church were 42.66 as compared with 36.02 of the other Bodies. That, he thought, proved that the statements made as to the other Churches in Scotland were incorrect. The light hon. Gentleman (Mr. Gladstone) then went on to speak upon the Church in the Highlands, and there he made some extraordinary statements indeed, which ought certainly to be explained by himself. He said the number following the Church of Scotland was very small. No doubt, that was true in many parishes, but it was no argument against the passing of the Bill—it was rather an argument in favour of it. The right hon. Gentleman also said—and he must have been thinking at the time, he was making one of his great Irish speeches—that it was the case of Munster and Connaught over again. Now, he should like to know what the right hon. Gentleman meant by his simile; did he mean that similarity of disease demanded similarity of treatment—that the great doctor, finding a certain method of treatment was eminently successful with reference to a particular class of disease—and he had said he intended to abide by the verdict of the world in his treatment of the disease in Ireland—ought to be expected to repeat the treatment? But did the right hon. Gentleman know anything to justify the treatment of Scotland which he applied in Ireland? In point of fact, the simile which he drew as to Munster and Connaught was clearly not applicable to the case of Ross and Sutherland, and the analogy was as unfair to the truth as it was possible for the imagination to conceive. What was the history of the Irish Church as described by the late Prime Minister himself? His words were— It was an alien Church, a monument of conquest and bloodshed, and diametrically opposed in spirit, doctrine, and faith to the feelings of the people of Ireland. Would any man venture to stand up in that House and say that the Church of Scotland in Ross and Sutherland was thus opposed to the faith of the Scotch people? He should like to see the man who did so go down to Scotland and make a statement of that kind at a public meeting, and see what a reception he would meet with. He did not wish to deal with the deeds of the Church of Scotland, but he did not hesitate to say that she had been bound up with everything great and good and glorious in the history of that country. And although there were men who went forth from her because they could not conform, yet they never seceded because she was not a voluntary institution. The right hon. Gentleman claimed great credit for the Free Church for not taking part in a wholesale attack upon the Established Church. The right hon. Gentleman was great in ecclesiastical matters. Did he not know that the Free Church left the Established Church because it was not "churchy" enough—not because it was not Voluntary? The Free Church broke away from the Established Church, because the Established Church was not good enough for them; and Dr. Chalmers, whose words, at the time at which they were spoken, were so valuable said, that he and those who followed him were not Voluntaryists, and that an Establishment worked on right principles was the most effective machinery for causing religion to pervade a people. They took their stand from the Established Church as against the Voluntary system, and from that platform the Free Church had never departed. It was in their articles of union, and it was put in their protest, and they waited for the day when the Free Church—when its elders would take the position which was duo to the principles for which they left the Church, and which they so manfully defended. The hon. Member for Glasgow (Dr. Cameron) had just quoted a remark of Lord Dalhousie. He (Sir Robert Anstruther) hoped he might be allowed to express his own deep regret at the loss which Scotland had sustained by the death of that Nobleman, who, by the energy, zeal, and devotion which he threw into the work of the Free Church, had gained for himself the esteem of all its members. The hon. Member for Glasgow had claimed that noble Lord as a Dissenter. He (Sir Robert Anstruther) would read something that was said by the hon. Fox Maule, afterwards Lord Dalhousie, to some Dissenters in Scotland— Remember, I am a Churchman, and not a Dissenter. I am as thoroughly convinced of the necessity of an Established Church as I am of any principle of the Constitution. Again, in speaking at a meeting of the Free Church Assembly in 1858, he said— Let us unite together—how I care not: lot there be a thorough and complete support of the Protestant institutions of this country. He thought from that, the attempt to make out that Lord Dalhousie was a Dissenter utterly failed. Everybody knew that the Free Church stood then and stood now on Establishment principles, and if they departed from that platform as a body, the Free Church of 1874 would no longer be like the Free Church of 1843. It would have given up those principles which were held by the great Dr. Chalmers, and embarked on a wide sea, with little prospect of ever coming safely into port. He (Sir Robert Anstruther) stood as a Churchman, and in his electoral address he stated distinctly that he would only agree to reforms which were agreeable to the leaders of the Church of Scotland, and he held that no such reforms were obnoxious to the Liberal party. He had received a great number of letters from his constituents, a large portion of whom were Dissenters, with regard to the conduct of the Government. He would only quote one of them. The writer reproached him for supporting the second reading of the Bill, and he said—"You must very well know that it was drafted by the father of lies." He (Sir Robert Anstruther) however, had been under the impression that it was drafted by his right hon. and learned Friend the Lord Advocate, and any one further removed from what men generally conceived the father of lies to be he did not know. Even if it was drafted by that august personage, he hoped the seed sown would produce some good fruit. His right hon. Friend the Member for Greenwich made a very strong point of the fact of the Free Church of Scotland not having been consulted before the Bill was introduced; but he (Sir Robert Anstruther) should have been glad to hear him show how that was practicable under the existing state of things. He should like to hear the right hon. Member for Greenwich elaborate his scheme; but the truth was the right hon. Gentleman had been so busy drawing up his six Resolutions about the English Bill, that he had not time to draw up six Resolutions showing how the Established Church was to approach the Free Church on the basis of a Bill which no one had seen. He (Sir Robert Anstruther) contended it was absolutely necessary that lay patronage should be got out of the way before anything like an approach could, with honour, be made by the Free Church of Scotland; and he was supported in that view by Dr. Chalmers, who, writing to Lord Aberdeen said, that the best ecclesiastical system which could be established in Scotland would be a Church in which the Ministers would be paid by the State and chosen by the people. That was exactly the result of the Bill. Dr. Chalmers further said, that any remnant of patronage would prevent them returning to the Church. Was it not a fair deduction then, that if patronage were entirely abolished, there would be a platform on which re-union could be negotiated? It had however been said, that before there could be re-union there must be "Catholicity of sympathy between the two Bodies," and his hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow said that the Established Church was animated by a spirit of narrow exclusiveness, and greed of power. It was always well to hear the truth of oneself; but he (Sir Robert Anstruther) maintained that instead of having exhibited such a spirit, the Established Church had of late been more tolerant and liberal than some other religious Bodies. He had in his hands a proposal made at the last meeting of the Assembly, and signed by a large number of the most influential and leading members of the Scotch Church, and which was so liberal that it would admit of the election of the Free Church minister by the Established Church congregation, on the occurrence of a vacancy in any of the Highland parishes, of which so much had been made. That proposal, for want of time, was not adopted, but it showed that the charge of narrow exclusiveness was not well founded. His hon. Friend (Dr. Cameron) said, the House was asked in that case to take a "leap in the dark." In saying that, his hon. Friend was using an old stock phrase of five years ago, but he entirely forgot the result of the leap in the dark to which the phrase originally referred. If the result of the present leap in the dark were what was intended, it would be a very bad time for the Liberation Society in Scotland. The hon. Member for Huddersfield (Mr. Leatham) told them the other day that it was no use trying an experiment of that kind on a patient who was under the knife and must soon cease to breathe. He (Sir Robert Anstruther) cheered his hon. Friend to encourage him in expressing his opinion, for in Scotland they were not animated by Home Rule principles, and had no wish to prevent people belonging to other countries from saying what they thought about Scotch affairs. But when his hon. Friend had done, he thought he had much better have kept his apology for speaking, to the end; for anybody more absolutely ignorant of the state of the Scotch Church, he did not believe sat on any bench in that House. He wished now to say something about what the Church which had been so strongly attacked had recently done. Since 1843, and principally within the last 20 years, and while the disestablishment movement had been going on, the Church had through the agency of the Endowment Committee created 203 new parishes, at a cost of £750,000, 47 of which had been re-organized within the last three years. They had also created 200 new missions almost all of them in destitute localities, and while in 1842 the amount raised for home missions was only £28,900, in the last year that effete Body raised £116,000 for that purpose. In fact, the more that House examined the work of the Established Church, the more clearly it would see that it had been honestly doing its duty. He wished to avoid saying anything that might raise ill feelings among his Dissenting brethren. He sat for a great Dissenting constituency, and had been treated by his constituents with the greatest, the most generous forbearance. He was perfectly aware that a great number of his constituents desired to see the national Church destroyed. He did not consider that a liberal sentiment, neither did he know that the time had arrived when there should be no Churchmen on the Liberal side of the House, but that seemed to be the conclusion to which the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich had come. He hoped it would be admitted that he had always been a loyal party man; but he would like to know whether his right hon. Friend, when comparing Boss-shire and Sutherlandshire to Munster and Connaught, meant to say that the same remedy should be applied to the former as had been applied to the latter. It was very desirable, indeed, that in a case of that kind they should know what was the impression out-of-doors, and undoubtedly that impression was what he had just mentioned. Did his right hon. Friend belong to the Liberation Society? He had no desire to separate from his right hon. Friend, very far from it; but while he was loyal to his party, he was also true to his Church, and he must say that if every Churchman belonging to the Liberal party was to be made, a Dissenter against his will, the troubles of that party had only just begun. That party was far from being in such a flourishing condition at the present moment as could be desired, and if his right hon. Friend had attended the House that Session he would often have seen Members of the front Liberal bench divided against each other; and it could not be desirable to aggravate that state of things. In the debates on the Licensing Bill, right hon. Gentlemen on that Bench were seen continually knocking one another down. The experience of the party during the present Session had, indeed, been lamentable; and looking at the Opposition Benches, generally, he saw nothing but anarchy. It would be a great misfortune added to their present troubles then, if it should appear that the right hon. Member for Greenwich really desired to apply to Scotland the remedy which he had applied to Ireland. In his last Election Address he (Sir Robert Anstruther) told his constituents that if they could not allow him to act on his own judgment in that matter he should much regret it, but that it was absolutely impossible that he could abandon his Church views. He had received letter after letter showing that a very large number of people in the Highlands were in favour of that Bill. His right hon. Friend the Member for Greenwich said, that the Church had not many adherents in the Highlands of Scotland. [Mr. GLADSTONE: I never spoke of the Highlands of Scotland.] But the right hon. Gentleman had referred to Ross-shire and Sutherland shire; and from the first-named county there had been 21 Petitions with 2,167 signatures in favour of the Bill, and three Petitions with 61 signatures' against it. From Sutherland shire there were six Petitions with 262 signatures in favour of the Bill, and there was only one Petition against it. Now, who signed the Petitions in favour of the Bill? His right hon. Friend said there were only a handful of adherents of the Scotch Church in those parts of Scotland, and if that were the case, the petitioners must be members of the Free Church. In a speech before the General Assembly of the Free Church, Dr. Begg, alluding to the subject of patronage said, that as a patriot and a Christian man, he should congratulate his country on the removal of that long-standing grievance. He (Sir Robert Anstruther) did not think that Bill would destroy the Church, but he knew it would destroy the Liberal party, and he should be very sorry to see any action taken by the Leaders of the Liberal party that would compel Churchmen who were thorough-going out-and-out Liberals, to separate themselves from their party. He admitted that the Bill required to be amended, and he deeply regretted that the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland had refused to consent to members of other communions besides their own, having a voice in the election of the minister. That had been advocated by eminent members of that Church, of Conservative politics, and who were proud of their Church being the Church not of a sect, but of the nation. Dr. Cook proposed a motion conceived in that spirit, and he (Sir Robert Anstruther) regretted that, owing to mismanagement, it was defeated. He should like to state the reason why Dr. Cook dis- sented. He said patronage, as at present exercised, was a trust; that the benefice was endowed out of the land; and that it was contrary to justice that the patron should be deprived of his patronage without compensation. He (Sir Robert Anstruther), when the Bill was in Committee, should move an Amendment in Clause 3, to leave out the words, giving communicants the right to nominate the minister, and the clause would then run— The right of electing and appointing ministers to vacant churches and parishes in Scotland shall be vested in the members of the congregation of such vacant churches and parishes respectively, subject to such regulations in regard to the mode of naming and proposing a minister by means of a committee, and of conducting the election and of making the appointment as may from time to time be framed by the General Assembly. He thought it of the greatest importance that they should recollect that, as far as doctrine and practice were concerned, the Free Church and Established Church of Scotland were identical, and he thought it of the greatest importance that both Bodies should have a voice in the appointment of the minister of the parish; and he respectfully urged on the Government the great desirability of making the Bill as wide as they possibly could. They had the power to do it, and he thought they were bound to do it, not only in the interest of those who had seceded from the Church, but in the interest of the Church itself, and of all who were attached to the Westminster Confession. He did not believe that there was a hostile feeling against the Established Church, and he respectfully intimated that if they wanted to re-unite the Presbyterians in Scotland, they must widen the basis of the Bill. If they laid down a wide basis, there would be a groundwork for the re-union of the Presbyterian Body. At all events, the Government would have done its duty, and the Church would have done its duty, if it offered the right hand of fellowship. If that offer was not accepted, the blame would not rest with them. As to the course which he took with regard to this Bill, he should deeply regret if that course was opposed to the sentiments of a large number of his constituents. The course he took, however, with regard to this Bill was a matter of conscientious duty, and he trusted that that portion of his constituents would respect his sentiments with reference to this Bill. A Member could not possibly agree in the very shadow of a shade with every section of his constituents. They must all make allowance for one another; and if he were not allowed to vote according to his own conscience on this Bill, he would—and he said it in no spirit of bravado—prefer to be outside rather than inside the House of Commons. He objected to a Member being bound neck and heels by his constituents, with reference to the vote he might give on the Bill. If the hon. Gentleman went to a division, he (Sir Robert Anstruther) would support Her Majesty's Government by giving his vote in favour of the second reading of the Bill.


said, if that House were asked merely to assent to a general proposition to the effect that the healthiest and most natural footing upon which to invest the appointment of ministers was to leave it to the free choice of those who were to benefit by their ministrations, he believed there would be a general assent on that side of the House. It was in that sense, and in that sense only, that the Scotch people were in favour of the Bill. The hon. Baronet (Sir Robert Anstruther) said, that Scotch people were in favour of the Bill, and yet from his concluding observations, it would appear that he was by no means sure of his own statements; while as to the fervour with which he had delivered his sentiments on the matter, he (Mr. Campbell-Bannerman) could only attribute it to the heated atmosphere in which the Bill was debated. He quite agreed that the people of Scotland were against patronage. There had been exceptions. Up to a few years ago, the great exceptions were the Tory party; but the Liberal party and the Dissenters had maintained the right of the people to choose their own ministers. But, unfortunately, they had not in this instance to deal with a general proposition. Parliament was asked to alter fundamentally the constitution of the Established Church in this respect, and therefore they had to consider not only the general theory involved in the Bill, but also the circumstances of the people, the juncture at which this abolition of patronage was proposed, and the probable effects that might follow from the carrying out of such a policy. Now, as he understood it, the object of the Bill was to strengthen the Church of Scotland, a most praiseworthy and legitimate object, and so long as the Established Church existed, it was the duty of the House to do all they could to increase her internal vigour, and to remove anything which obstructed her in her proper work. But to strengthen the Church was one thing, and to strengthen the Church at the cost of the other independent Presbyterian Bodies in Scotland was another thing; and that was the only way in which, he ventured to think, the Bill could strengthen the Church of Scotland. The House ought to bear in mind the attitude of Parliament with regard to establishment, which he took to be this—Parliament neither affirmed, nor rejected the principle of establishments, but left each establishment to depend on its own merits, and on the relation which it bore to the population within its borders. How necessary was it, then, that Parliament should, when a scheme like that was brought forward, consider its effect on those relations. There were two intelligible points on which he could understand the Bill. He could understand the Church of Scotland coming to that House and saying—"Patronage as it at present exists is a very oppressive grievance, because the corporate life of the Church is very much impaired and destroyed thereby, and we ask to be relieved from it, and to have restored to us what we claim to have been our former privilege, and to repeal the Act of Queen Anne." That was one ground, and he could imagine another equally distinct. They might come forward and say—"Patronage is now nothing more than a form." There are within our borders two great Bodies of Presbyterians who went out from us on this ground of patronage. They have formally announced to us that they are ready to come back if we abolish patronage; and therefore, we ask you to abolish it, and repeal the Act of Queen Anne. Either of those would be intelligible grounds, but neither of them had been alleged in respect of the Bill. He contended that there was less grievance than ever there was before, and that it was notorious that patrons were more and more desirous of acting in conformity with the wishes of the people? He had been astonished to find that the only case which had been mentioned in the debate had been the case of Queensferry. Now, he happened to know something about that. The town council of Queensferry were the patrons of the parish, but in Queensferry there was a tax similar to the Annuity Tax in Edinburgh, which was felt by inhabitants as a grievance, and at the time the appointment was made there was a want of harmony between the town council and the Established Church, and that was how it was that they presented a minister the congregation disapproved of. But cases of the kind were fewer and fewer, and they did little more than prove the exception. The demand for the abolition of patronage had not arisen among the people, but was raised in the closet by the political leaders of the Church of Scotland for their own political purposes. That was the plain English of it. The movement—if that deserved the name which had no motion—had proceeded from above downwards, and not from below upwards, as any healthy movement ought to have done. It might be said that the General Assembly was in favour of the abolition of patronage. He wished to speak with respect of the General Assembly; but that was a political question, and when the General Assembly came to deal with a political question, it was notorious that it was in the hands of 10 or 12 persons who were more ecclesiastical than the clergy themselves. It was they who in reality were the authors of the Bill. For some years, the Free Church and the United Presbyterian Church had been endeavouring to form some sort of a basis for union, and those negotiations had now apparently resulted in a common platform being arranged. Curiously enough, however, the cry for the abolition of patronage in the Established Church was precisely coincident with that agreement on the part of the religious communities he had just referred to. It was, in fact, intended to checkmate the movement of the two great seceding Bodies. Parliament was therefore asked to intervene and take part in the manœuvres and counter-manœuvres of these sects; but if it were sound policy to reunite the two Bodies, could that be done on the basis of union with the Established Church? He thought not. The United Presbyterian Church was a purely voluntary association; and with regard to the Free Church, there was some doubt as to what was the real cause of the Disruption of 1843. In his opinion, the Free Church went out on the higher ground of spiritual independence, and that patronage was only the overt occasion of the Disruption. He thought that fact was proved from a letter written by Sir James Graham, which said that if the statute of Queen Anne were repealed, the Free Churchmen would still regard the decrees and judgments of the Courts as encroachments on the spiritual power of the Church. His opinion was, that the Bill would neither heal divisions within nor without the Church. It was, in fact, a mere political device, invented to give the Church leaders back the influence they had lost, for it was hoped by the promoters of the Bill that in the event of its passing, many of the weaker-minded and less instructed members of the two seceding Bodies would return to the Established Church; but he would ask whether that was a worthy object, and one which was consistent with the dignity of Parliament? Passing on to the details of the measure, he would remark that the proposal respecting communicants had been given up, because it would have outraged the conscience of the country to make the act of communion a qualification for taking part in the election of ministers. Then, it was proposed to give the power of election to the ratepayers, in order to establish the constituent body on as broad a basis as possible. Now, he was in favour of representation and taxation going together; but he was opposed to that proposal, because it would give a man a vote for one thing and tax him for another, and would lead to inextricable confusion. Besides that, he could not conceive anything more difficult to manage than a body of all creeds, classes, and kinds coming together to elect a minister for one persuasion. The only result of all these propositions would, in his opinion, be to put the new wine of democracy into the old bottle of a State Church. That was purely a polemical measure, designed to disturb the present balance of creeds in Scotland, and to do so in the least ingenuous fashion, and whether the Bill passed or not, the mischief was done. It was done by the Government and the Church of Scotland having moved in the matter, and the result would only be to exacerbate sectarian feeling and deepen religious animosity among the Scottish people.


said, he was surprised at the opposition with which the Bill had been met. He thought it had been regarded from a wrong point of view and on wrong issues. A good deal had been said of the unhealthy condition of the Established Church in certain districts, especially in the Highlands. Had the question before the House been one of disestablishment these arguments would have been pertinent. They were not pertinent when the question was merely one of internal reform. It had been said that it was extremely absurd to hand over the election of a minister to the adherents of the Established Church, when there were but two or three of them in the parish. He thought too much had been made of this argument. When there was so little work to be done it was of small importance who had the selection of the person who was to do it. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich had advanced an argument on another point with which he (Mr. Balfour) could not agree. The argument was this. The Free Church, at the time of the Disruption, endured great hardship, in order that a grave abuse might be eradicated from the Church. It was unjust therefore now to abolish the abuse without giving compensation to those who had struggled and suffered in order to obtain that abolition 30 years before. But he (Mr. Balfour) thought it extremely absurd to suppose that one religious sect could thus have a vested interest in the abuses of another. If the Established Church owed compensation to the Free Church because it now adopted a principle for which the Free Church had formerly struggled; England would on the same grounds owe compensation to America, because England had now assented to the principle of self-taxation in the colonies, for which America had struggled and suffered in the war of Independence. It was said that the Bill would have the effect of separating the Church from the land, from the State, and from the people. He agreed with the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University for Edinburgh, that it would have the effect of separating the Church from the land, and to prevent that, he thought some place should be made for the heritors in the electoral body. But he could not see how the Bill would separate the Church either from the State or from the people, inasmuch as the control of the State over the Church would not be altered in the slightest degree; neither would the position of the Church relating to the other persuasions, nor her formularies, be altered. As for the allegation that the Church would have less of a connection with the people, if more of the people had a voice in the election of her ministers, that seemed to him to be perfectly absurd. In fact, she would become less sectarian and more popular, as was admitted by the opponents of the Bill when they stated it would have the effect of attracting people to the Church from other communions. It was not denied that the parishioners who now took part in the election of ministers were those who took a lively interest in the affairs of the Church, and if that were true, was it likely that they would become indifferent, if more of them took part in these elections? He considered that quite the contrary would be the result. On those grounds he had considered the Bill one forced upon Parliament by the historical course of events in Scotland, and he should do his best to support and press it forward. But he did not consider the measure perfect as it stood, and he was glad therefore to see on the Paper some Amendments dealing with details.


said, as a county Member, and a Liberal, he wished to explain to the House the vote which he intended to give on the Bill. Ever since he had had the honour of a scat in the House of Commons, he never experienced a greater difficulty and embarrassment, or a deeper sense of responsibility respecting the decision he had to come to. It had been remarked by the hon. Member for Bute (Mr. Dalrymple), that if the Bill had been introduced 30 years ago, it might have been of some use in strengthening and making permanent the Established Church of Scotland. That might be, but he (Mr. Fordyce) doubted very much that it would have had the slightest tendency now to remove what caused the separation from the Church 30 years ago. He could not shut his ears to the fact that those who ought to know a great deal respecting the Church of Scotland, and the promoters of the Bill, took a very different view of the result likely to accrue from its passage into law. They thought that the passage of this Bill would be the commencement of a period of consolidation between all the sects. They thought that if the Bill were passed, backed by a Mutual Eligibility Act, allowing Free Church ministers to vote for the Established Church minister, and vice versâ, that a general reconciliation would be the result; that by this means such a Church as that which Dr. Chalmers had in contemplation would be brought into existence. He should rejoice to see such a Church, and he believed every patriotic Scotchman would rejoice to see such a Church. He believed that such a Church would be in every sense a Free Church, and that all those ecclesiastical differences which were such a disgrace to the Church and such a great waste of power, would be done away with. Under those circumstances, the question he had to ask himself was this—Was it his duty to prevent the Church of Scotland from reforming itself? If the promoters of the Bill felt that the vessel in which they were was sinking under their feet, was it right to interfere with the passing of a measure which they thought would carry them safely into port? Suppose that the House saw no reason why they should disapprove of the Bill, and that the people of Scotland really desired that it should pass, he could not see his way to opposing it. They knew what view all the religious denominations had taken of the subject of patronage. If they wished to ascertain the views of any other class of persons in Scotland, they could do so by issuing a Commission; but that need not interfere with the second reading of the Bill. He had listened with much attention to the speech made by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Montrose (Mr. Baxter), as he was anxious to hear as much as possible respecting the various points at issue. The right hon. Gentleman's chief point was to the merits of the Bill, as to which he said, they were such that some delay should take place before it was passed, and he ought to have finished his speech by moving that the Bill be read a second time three months hence. Surely they had heard enough of the subject during the last three or four years to enable all interested in the subject to come to a proper decision respecting it. He could not therefore see the necessity or wisdom of the delay recommended. As for wanting to see what the Established Church of Scotland would do to re-organize itself, that applied more to the question of the merits of the Bill than to the necessity of delay. It was said that the Bill proposed to confer on the Established Church of Scotland powers such as were never conferred on any State Church in the history of Europe; but all that the measure did was to endeavour to make it clear that the Established Church was to be recognized as possessing the same liberty in regard to the appointment of its clergy as was possessed by the unestablished Churches. It was, as far as it went, a recognition of the spiritual independence of the Church. That was just what would reconcile the people of Scotland to the Bill. He committed himself to nothing more than the principle of the Bill in voting for its second reading; and that principle was, that the people had the right to appoint their own ministers. There were many parts of the Bill to which he objected, and in which he considered Amendments necessary, but that was no reason why he should refuse to assent to the second reading. As to the small parishes in the Highlands and other parts of the country, to which so much reference had been made, and where the Established Church was receiving all the emoluments and other Churches were doing all the work, he had a very decided opinion. The parallel was very close between those places and Connaught and Munster, and he should like to see the Church money of all such parishes handed over to the school boards. With regard to the persons entitled to vote, he objected to forcing on the Established Church a constituency she did not want; and he was afraid that if all the ratepayers were allowed indiscriminately to vote for the ministers of the Church, a feeling would arise that the Church was in bondage to the State. If such a feeling as that arose in Scotland the House might depend on it that the days of the Established Church there would be numbered. As a patron—a small patron—he was grateful to the Government for their desire to remove a very weighty responsibility, and so far as he was concerned he should be glad to hand the value of his patronage over to the school boards. A great deal had been said about the want of interest displayed by the Dissenting Bodies of Scotland with regard to the Bill. No wonder. No one could put himself in the position of the Free Churchman without feeling that the Bill must present itself to him as a very hard case. The Dissenters resented patronage when it was forced upon them at the point of the bayonet, and since then they had spread over Scotland with churches and manses at their cost, and they were now asked to be thankful for a measure giving the party who drove them out the concession which had been denied to them; they were asked to be thankful because they were to see by a gradual process those churches and manses become of no use to them. There was no doubt the Church of Scotland would be glad to see all those different Dissenting Bodies connected with it, and all engaged in the one work, and in the hope that the Bill would be a means toward such a desired end, he should vote for its second reading. He at the same time regretted that the question had been raised, as the Church of Scotland and those Bodies were, of late, working very well together, and all signs of religious warfare had passed away. Now, however, those signs had revived, and two hostile ranks had already been created by the introduction of the measure; and he very much feared that if it passed in its present shape the result would be not peace, but a sword, and that it would tend to drive many persons into the current of disestablishment. He was not afraid of disestablishment and disendowment, but he deprecated the introduction of those questions into the discussion of the Bill, believing that the country was not ripe for the consideration of such questions, and that one of their first effects would be the splitting up of the Liberal party.


Sir, it has been contended that the principle of the Bill would be simply a repeal of the Act of Queen Anne. I altogether deny that such is the principle of the measure in any shape or form. Suppose you pass a Bill of one clause through Parliament, to the effect that the Act of Queen Anne shall be repealed, what will be the result? Why, not that you will get universal suffrage of all the men and women in Scotland who are professed communicants; but the Act of 1690, which the Act of Queen Anne repealed, will be revived, by which the heritors and elders will appoint a man and present him to the congregation, and the congregation will say "Yea" or "Nay," and then the Church Court will finally decide whether the congregation, in accepting or rejecting him, have acted wisely or not. It seems to me, therefore, to be an abuse of words to say that the simple repeal of the Act of Queen Anne is the principle of the Bill. I hold that it has nothing whatever to do with that Act. Then one of my hon. Friends (Sir Robert Anstruther) has been very severe on the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich (Mr. Gladstone) for comparing the state of the Highland parishes to those of Connaught and Munster. I entirely agree with what has been said by the hon. Gentleman the Member for East-Aberdeen (Mr. Fordyce), that the comparison was most just. A Royal Commission was appointed to inquire into the condition of the parishes of Ireland about 40 years since, and a Blue Book, giving an account of the numbers of each sect, was published. An Act was then passed abolishing all the nominal charges in Ireland analogous to the charges in the Highlands which were objected to. It also abolished certain Bishops and Church dignitaries, and united two or three parishes into one. Where there were few or no adherents of the Established Church, as in the Highland parishes, Parliament 40 years ago had granted a large sum of money to pay stipends of ministers in Highland parishes, in the hope of the arrangement being beneficial to the community, and it is now found that no good whatever has accrued from the expenditure. I maintain that it is quite wrong that those stipends should be continued. Nothing can more tend to alienate from the Church whatever friends it has in other religious communities, and its sympathizers in the Free Church will be forced to withdraw their sympathy from it. It has been said that election by the people was the general rule of the Church, and that patronage has been the exception. That was plainly implied in the speech of the Lord Advocate, and it was plainly expressed in the speech of the hon. Member for Inverness (Mr. Fraser-Mackintosh), that the Church of Scotland had for a long time after the Reformation no such yoke resting upon it as that of patronage; and that it went through a period of 150 years before the law of patronage was imposed upon it. That opinion is quite inconsistent with historical facts. I shall show that the rule has been directly opposed to what the House has been led to believe. The Book of Discipline, which the Lord Advocate began his speech by quoting, could not be a legal authority on patronage, even if it were in favour of his argument—which I shall show it was not—because that book, as the right hon. and learned Lord admitted, had never been sanctioned by Parliament; but it does not support his argument, because while it laid down a theoretical rule for the election of ministers by the people, for the Church in its then unendowed state, it specially reserved the rights of lay patrons as included in the passages quoted by the Lord Advocate, thus—" The presentation of laick patronage always reserved to the first and antient patrons." The learned Lord admits that there was no Act of Parliament on the subject of patronage from the Reformation in 1560 till 1592, and therefore it cannot be alleged that patronage did not exist during this period of 32 years. Well, did the Act of 1592 abolish the patronage which had previously existed? By no means. On the contrary, it enacted that the Church Courts should "be bound and astricted to receive whatever minister be presented by His Majesty or other lay patrons." That was really an Act confirming the patronage which had existed ever since the Reformation, and that Act was judicially held to be still obligatory on the Church Courts, during the proceedings which led to the Disruption in 1843. Then we are told that although patronage thus existed from the Reformation up to 1649—a period of 89 years—it was then finally abolished. We were told, too, that by this Act the patrons got the teinds, and kept them after 1661, besides getting back their patronage when the Act of 1649 was repealed. The Lord Advocate passed lightly over this period from 1649 till 1661, and no wonder, for it must have been very distasteful to a Conservative Government to found their Bill on proceedings which then took place; but it is the only period in the history of the Church to which they could appeal for something akin to their Bill. The Act of 1649 was passed after a Scotch army had been in the field for several years, successfully fight- ing against their lawful Sovereign, and marching over the Border to assist their friends of the Commonwealth in England. That Act was passed two months after Charles I had been beheaded, when there was no Sovereign; and by a Convention of the Estates which was afterwards declared, by the first regularly constituted Parliament, to have been an usurpation. Yet that Act, so passed, is the only example which can be produced at all resembling the present Bill, and it was not nearly so democratic as this Bill, because it did not give the power of election to the people, but only a veto subject to the judgment of the Church Courts. The effect of this Act, which has been so much lauded, is correctly stated in a pamphlet by the Rev. Dr. Begg, as follows— In 1649, an Act of Parliament was passed declaring that patronages and presentations to kirks is an evil and bondage under which the Lord's people and ministers of this land have long groaned; that it hath no warrant in God's Word, but is founded only on the canon law, and is a custom Popish, and brought into the kirk in time of ignorance and superstition,' and therefore abolishing all patronage, and 'seriously recommending to the next General Assembly to condescend upon a certain standing-way' for filling up vacant parishes. The next Assembly accordingly did draw up a directory for this purpose, vesting the power of selecting the ministers with consent of congregations in the several kirk-sessions. It did not confer the right to nominate or elect the minister on the people, but only the right to reject when not satisfied with the person presented. The power to select and nominate was vested in the kirk-session—that is, in the elders, usually a very small body, and practically appointed by the minister of the parish for the time being. The Church had thus, from the Reformation up to 1649—a period of 89 years—been continuously under the "yoke of patronage," as it was called. Cromwell became master of Scotland during the following year, and modification of patronage was in practice abolished under his rule, just as it was practically abolished in England during the same period. Now, if this administration of Church matters under Cromwell's auspices is held to have been good for Scotland, it may be asked why it should not be equally good for England to restore the mode of appointing the clergy of its Church, which was instituted and administered by Cromwell during the same period? We have been told by the Lord Advocate that this model Act was repealed by another Act, passed in 1661, but no information was given as to the history of this repealing Act. The story is easily told. In that year the regularly-constituted Parliament passed what is known as "The General Rescissory Act," which declared that all the pretended Acts of Parliament passed during what was called the "Usurpation" were null and void from the beginning, and of no legal effect then or thereafter. The Act of 1649 was merely swept away by the Rescissory Act, along with all other Acts of the same period. It was not repealed by any special Act, as the House may have been led to suppose from what has been stated in the debate. One distressing result of this Rescissory Act was, that all the ministers who obtained livings from 1649 to 1661 were held not to have been appointed at all, and therefore were at once thrust out of their charges. They numbered nearly 400, and their expulsion caused great distress and sorrow in the Kingdom, more especially as they were succeeded by very inferior men. It must be evident, from what I have said, that the statement about the heritors keeping possession of the teinds presented to them by the pretended Act of 1649, after they got back their patronages in 1661, could not possibly be correct, because that Act was held to have been non-existent from the beginning; and it is not even printed in the collection of Acts of the Parliament of Scotland. The extinction of this Act, of course, brought into operation the old law of 1592, by which the Church Courts were bound to induct any minister presented by the Crown or any lay patron; and thus, after an interregnum of 12 years, patronage came into full vigour, and it so continued till after the Revolution, when it was modified by the Act of 1690. The Lord Advocate informed us that the Act of 1690 did not confirm the stringent clause in the Act of 1592, compelling the Church Courts to induct all presentees. That is quite correct; but it did not require to be confirmed, for that Act still existed, never having been legally repealed; and as the results showed, it was judicially determined to be in full force during the legal proceedings which led to the Disruption in 1843. We have been told that by this Act of 1690 patronage was abolished; but the words of the Act contradict this assertion. The Act, unlike the present Bill, gives the people no initiative power of choosing a minister. On the contrary, it gives the choice to the heritors and elders, who are to present a suitable person to the congregation, who may approve or disapprove of him. If they disapprove, they are to state their reasons to the Church Courts, who are authorized finally to admit or reject the presentee on their own judgment, after considering the reasons adduced by the congregation. To call that the abolition of patronage, in the sense of the present Bill, seems to me an abuse of terms. If that was the abolition of patronage, then Lord Aberdeen's Act, which is now the law, has already abolished patronage, for it is identical in spirit and effect with the Act of 1690. This Act endured for 21 years, and was repealed by the Act of Queen Anne, which restored direct patronage into the hands of the old patrons, and thus again brought into effect the stringent provision of the Act of 1592, compelling the Church Courts to admit all qualified presentees. It is plain, from what I have stated, that there was never a greater delusion than to imagine that the law of patronage has been abolished, and popular election established in the Church of Scotland, until the passing of the Act of Queen Anne. From the Reformation till the passing of Lord Aberdeen's Act in 1843—a period of nearly 300 years—patronage was never abolished, and popular election by the people substituted, except during 12 years of Cromwell's Government, and then only by practice, not by law; and it was not even modified in any important degree, except during the 21 years after the Revolution. I think I have thus conclusively shown that the theory on which the Bill has been framed and is supported is without any foundation in fact. The General Assembly made urgent and repeated protests against the Act of Queen Anne, and frequently petitioned for its repeal; but without effect. The opposition was continued by petitions and resolutions,—but never asking popular election by the people—till 1783, when the Church may be said to have acquiesced in the law of patronage by having ceased to petition; and that tacit approval, by the majority of the Assembly, continued for upwards of 40 years. In 1836, after the excitement caused by the passing of the Reform Act, the first break in this tacit approval took place. The Conservative party then opposed, and the Liberal party supported, the proposals that were made for the repeal of patronage, by a Motion made in the General Assembly to petition Parliament for the repeal of the Act of Queen Anne, but it was negatived by a large majority. In 1842 a similar Motion was proposed by the Liberal party and opposed by the Conservatives, and carried, but without effect; and in the following year the Disruption took place. After this, the question of patronage lay dormant in the General Assembly for 26 years, till 1868. In that year it was taken up as a subject for consideration, and referred to a committee. In 1869 the Assembly resolved that the Act of Queen Anne ought to be repealed, and the patronage vested, not in the people, as by the present Bill, but in the "heritors, elders, and male communicants." In 1870–71–72 similar resolutions were passed; and yet, during the present year, resolutions were passed by a large majority approving of the Government Bill. It thus appears that, during more than three centuries which have elapsed since the Reformation, patronage has always existed as the law of the land, with the exception of 12 years of what was called the "Usurpation," when it was abolished in practice but not by law; and of 21 years after 1690 in which it was modified but not abolished. It also appears that during the 85 years ending in 1868, the General Assembly never expressed any desire for the abolition or modification of patronage, except by passing a resolution in 1842 which led to no result, and which was followed by Disruption in the following year. I must now say a word on the opinions of the people of Scotland respecting the Bill. First, the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland approved of it by a large majority—not unanimously, as has been alleged; for many hostile opinions respecting its principles and details were given in the notices of amendments, as printed in the Votes of the Assembly. Thus, Sir Robert Anstruther proposed to give the parochial franchise to inhabitants of the parish in communion with any of the Protestant Churches in Scotland. Dr. Wallace proposed that it be given to the whole ratepaying parishioners professing themselves Protestant Christians. Mr. Haggart proposed that it be given, not to the communicants, but to the congregation; and Mr. Traill to a committee of the heritors, kirk-session, communicants, and ratepayers, being Protestants. Mr. Robertson proposed that the new franchise should recognize any Church under the government of kirk-sessions, Synods, and General Assemblies, acknowledging the Westminster Standards; and Dr. Wallace proposed that the choice of ministers should be extended to licentiates or ministers of Dissenting Churches. Even after the Bill had been approved of, very powerful reasons of dissent were entered on the Assembly's minutes by many of the leading men of the Church, including the Rev. Dr. Cook, Lord Selkirk, Sir William Gibson Craig, and others. One of these reasons commends itself so strongly to my mind, that I venture to quote it— Because the appointment of the minister of the parish by the communicants of the Established Church only, while it recognizes their paramount interest in such appointment, ignores the fact that there may be many others in the parish, who, though not of the Church, may have a deep interest in the spiritual welfare of all its inhabitants, and a sincere respect and attachment to the Church; and because in the appointment of one who in the eye of the Church is the minister not of a particular religious denomination, but the pastor of the parish, and who as such is supported not by his flock, but by funds drawn from the whole lands of the parish, &c. These reasons of Dissent go on to disprove the assertions so often made, that patronage was the cause of the two great secessions, thus— Because the allegation so generally made that the existence of patronage has been the cause of all the secessions from the Church of Scotland, and that its withdrawal would at once open the way for the reunion of the dissentient. Presbyterian Bodies with the Church, is not founded on historical fact; and that the secession of the Free Church originated not in their objection to patronage, which the leading men of their party in the Church powerfully defended, but in their assertion in 1839 of what they called spiritual independence—in other words, the right of the Church to interpret for herself the acts by which she is established, and to act on that interpretation. The Free Church, numbering' about 900 congregations, had also the Bill under their consideration, and they condemned it by a majority of 433 to 66. Their resolutions included the following:— The Assembly declare that no act intended to alter the law of patronage can have the effect of removing the grounds of separation recorded in the protest read before Her Majesty's Commissioners on the 19th May, 1843. That the General Assembly protest against legislation professedly in the interest of Scotland generally, which proceeds on the application of the General Assembly of one body of Christians, without inquiry into the condition, convictions, or wishes of the people generally; and they cannot but consider the entire disregard with which this Church and the other disestablished Presbyterian Churches are treated as peculiarly unbecoming, viewed in the light of the circumstances in which successively they have felt themselves constrained to separate from State connection. The Synod of the United Presbyterian Church, which has about 500 congregations in Scotland, and upwards of 100 in England, have also expressed their opinions, from which, with the leave of the House, I shall read the following extracts:— The Synod being opposed in principle to civil establishments of religion, condemns all legislation designed, as the Bill is, to extend and perpetuate the system, or to popularize its operation. The Bill is directly antagonistic to the position which the Synod firmly holds—that the legislation immediately demanded, and which alone can meet the circumstances of the case, is disestablishment and disendowment. They need no Bill like the present to rid them of the grievance of patronage. If that is all they seek, a disestablishment measure will equally and better set them free to choose their own ministers, at the same time that it will relieve other Churches and citizens of the injustice and grievance of which they complain in the system of establishment and endowment. The Synod objects to the Bill, because it is designed to open a door to attempts to relax or throw off the legitimate control of the State over its beneficiaries, to set up a system of rights without duties, of patronage without responsibility, and to combine ecclesiastical independence with State endowment—a result which would be favourable neither to religion nor liberty. One of its Presbyteries (Arbroath) has stated the political objections to the Bill clearly and emphatically in these terms— That the said Bill, politically considered, is an insult and a wrong to their Churches, and to the majority of the people of Scotland, inasmuch as the proposal still further to favour and foster by national legislation a sect already invidiously and unjustly privileged, and that sect not a majority in the country, is a glaring outrage on political equity, is fitted still further to aggravate ecclesiastical differences in Scotland, and to deepen and embitter the sense of existing wrongs. These extracts fairly show the opinions of the Presbyterian Churches. Both of these Churches profess the same faith with the Established Church, and will not accept a measure, one effect of which will be to keep them outside the pale of the Church, and separate the people of the country, still more than at present, into sects. They protest against it because it is, in fact, not a liberal, or a liberalizing measure, but a measure intended to give to a section of the Presbyterian Body a monopoly of State endowments and control, while they and all the other Dissenters, and the Episcopalians, pay as citizens for the support of the Established Church and its ecclesiastical buildings, in the same way as do the members of the Established Church. In old times, from the intolerant views which then prevailed, all the parishioners, with the exception of Roman Catholics and Episcopalians, were held to be members of the congregation, and, as it were, made compulsory communicants. That is admitted in the Duke of Argyll's pamphlet. For my part, I see no valid reason for refusing to place the power of electing the ministers in the hands of those persons who elect the school boards. As to the statistics which have been laid on the Table, purporting to contain the number of communicants in the various places of worship of the Established Church, I think them utterly unworthy of credit. I have letters from Orkney, Aberdeen, Huntly, Forfar, Edinburgh, Haddington, and other places, showing that they are unworthy of credit. The people of Edinburgh were astonished at the audacity of some of the statements, and it was resolved to count the actual attendance at four churches the Sunday after the statistics were published; and here is the result, as sent to me, taken by four gentlemen whose veracity can be relied on:—Lady Yester's (Edinburgh) communicants per return, 1,707; number attending public worship 5th July, excluding children, 611. St. Stephen's—communicants, 2,040; attendance, 687. North Leith—communicants, 2,056; attendance, 642. South Leith—communicants, 2,506; attendance, 506—in all cases excluding children below the age of becoming communicants. Totals—communicants, 8,309; attendance, 2,446. Total communicants on the rolls, who were then absent from public wor- ship, 5,863. Of course, it will occur to everyone that it is probable that half of that number ought to be added for attendants at the afternoon service who had not been present in the forenoon; and an additional number for persons from home, or absent owing to sickness or some accidental cause; but, in any case, it will be seen that the attendants will not nearly come up to the number set down as communicants. I do not say that the percentage of communicants is in all cases exceeded by that of the attenders, but I believe that, as a general rule, in other denominations, the communicants are less numerous than the attenders. Again, the astounding statement has been published in a circular sent to hon. Members of this House, to injure the United Presbyterians, that they have only increased at the rate of 1 per cent. while the population of Scotland has increased at the rate of 10 per cent per annum. The truth is, however, that the population of Scotland has increased by less than 1 per cent per annum. I have recently looked at The Edinburgh Directory—a publication which is of no politics and of no creed—and I find that while the Established Church has 36 churches in Edinburgh and Leith—which towns between them contain about one-thirteenth part of the population of Scotland—the Free Church has 43, the United Presbyterians 26, the Episcopalians 17, the Roman Catholics 4, the Baptists 7, the Congregationalists 5, and the smaller denominations 23. Altogether, there are 125 churches of the various religious communities outside the Established Church, against 36 inside; and yet the smaller number swallow up all the loaves and fishes. In connection with the subject, a minister of the Established Church has sent to me a pamphlet, in which it is stated that there are 50,000 people in Edinburgh who do not attend any place of worship. That, I think, is an exaggeration; but, no doubt, the number is very large; and it should be remembered that all those who do not belong to any other religious body are counted as belonging to the Established Church, in many of the publications issued by members of that body. The Church is admitted by all parties to be in a minority. The questions chiefly discussed are, whether the minority be one-third or two-fifths of the entire population of Scotland. With re- gard to the sale of patronages, the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister has founded some of his arguments upon the fact that the value of livings is nothing; but I may state that, in one instance which has come to my knowledge, half the patronage of the parish, where the living is worth about £250 per annum, recently sold for £560. The Lord Advocate has stated that there were 48,000 signatures attached to the Petitions he has presented in favour of the measure; but it will be found that in the Votes of this House a star is placed against 387 of the Petitions so presented by the right hon. and learned Gentleman, as an indication that they are substantially the same as those which have been presented from the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland—in fact, I am informed that there is a regular manufactory for Petitions in Edinburgh, where forms are written out and sent to the different parishes for signature. I regret having detained the House so long; but I think it is my duty, as a Nonconformist, to express what I honestly believe to be the opinion of the Nonconformists of Scotland against this Bill, and to expose the fallacious statements on which it is founded.


thanked Her Majesty's Government for having introduced the Bill. He supported it as the Representative of a constituency, many members of which were deeply interested in the welfare of the Church of Scotland; and as a member of that Church, and as a patron of Church livings, he also gave his support to it. He approved the main object of the Bill—namely, to repeal the statute of Queen Anne, which had excited so many disputes in Scotland, and the objections to which statute had been urged so long and so earnestly by the Church of Scotland. The patronage of parishes in Scotland was a very different thing from the system of advowson of parishes in England. Since the passing of Lord Aberdeen's Act, the parishioners in Scotland had a right to object to any presentee, and the actual value of a patron's right of presentation in Scotland since that date had become very small indeed, and he was not disposed to quarrel therefore with the amount of compensation awarded in the Bill. The most that could be said in favour of patronage as it had existed in Scotland for the last 50 years, was that it had worked well, and as to its exercise, the Crown had set a very good example, which had been followed by the other holders of patronage. Public opinion had of late years exercised an influence on the exercise of patronage in Scotland, and he believed it was the earnest desire of all those who exercised patronage in Scotland, in common with himself, to make what were called harmonious settlements—that was to say, appointments corresponding with the wishes and feelings of the people in various parishes. As a patron—and, he believed, he might speak for patrons in general—he had felt it to be a most solemn and serious thing—a thing of which he would have been thankful to have been relieved—to appoint men to Church livings; and though he had regarded it as so solemn and serious a duty, yet, as a patron, he thought he had no right to put off his responsibility on to the shoulders of another. He thought it devolved on him to discharge his duty in the best manner he could to make harmonious settlements, and in any case in which it had been his duty to exercise patronage, he had succeeded. Another reason was, that the choice of patrons was limited to those who were licentiates of the Church, and had thereby been declared fit for the position of a parish minister. Another reason was, that a presentation was of very little value to a lay patron. But though the system of patronage had worked well, there was nothing in the law to prevent its being abused, and he believed that any measure for the abolition of lay patronage in Scotland would be eminently popular in that country. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich had told them that they had a good system; that patronage worked well, and had said, they should let well alone. But did the people of Scotland think that it was well, or would that satisfy his allies who had joined him in opposing the Bill? He was certain the feeling of Scotland was the very reverse. The Established Church of Scotland had unanimously petitioned in favour of the Bill. It was true that there was a protest signed by about 16 members of the last General Assembly, and he admitted that they were very influential members, whose opinions were entitled to the utmost respect. They did not, however, challenge a vote of the General Assembly, and the Petition from that body to the House must be regarded as an unanimous Petition. Who was it that opposed the measure out-of-doors? They were the Presbyterian Dissenters, or rather seceders, from the Church of Scotland, most of whom had adopted the voluntary principle. The largest body of Dissenters in Scotland was the Free Church. Now, it was not true to say that the Free Church had seceded on account of patronage. The civil Courts in Scotland, and the House of Lords on appeal, had decided a point of law against the contention of the then majority in the General Assembly. It then sent in a document to the Government, called a "Claim of Eight," not only to be independent in all matters spiritual—which no one disputed—but to have the right of deciding what was civil and what was spiritual matter. Sir James Graham, then Home Secretary, answered that— Such pretensions could not be conceded without the surrender of civil liberty, and without the sacrifice of personal rights, —and said towards the end of his answer— It was neither more nor less than a claim for Churchmen of exemption from the duty of obedience to the statute law. One authority must decide what were civil and what were spiritual matters, and that authority must be a civil Court. Having defined the limit of jurisdiction, each was independent and supreme in its own province. It was, therefore, the claim of spiritual independence which caused the Disruption of 1843, and that was decided by law. Before that time, the party which became the Free Church were keen opponents of the voluntary principle, and upholders of establishments. He had the privilege of the personal friendship of Dr. Chalmers, who used frequently to say—"We left the Church on the Establishment principle, and we will never give up that principle." The next largest body of Dissenters in Scotland were the United Presbyterians, and their opposition to the Bill, which was perfectly consistent, was that their principle for more than 100 years had been an opposition to any payment by the State for Church purposes. They were purely voluntaries, and the principle of Voluntaryism lay at the root of their opposition to the Bill. All those who had opposed the measure in that House, had kept out of sight the voluntary principle, and it was that principle of disestablishment which prevented the union of the three largest religious Bodies of Scotland. In the preceding Session, Parliament had decided against Church disestablishment, and he did not believe the present House would receive such a proposition more favourably, and therefore it was important to realize the fact that Church disestablishment lay at the root of the opposition to the Bill. As proposed by the Government, the measure would strengthen the Established Church of Scotland, and support the connection between Church and State. He wished to refer to a statement which had been made in the debate. The right hon. Member who moved the Amendment said that the parishioners were taxed for ministers' stipends, and the right hon. Member for Greenwich spoke of stipends paid out of the general taxation of the country. The stipends of the parish ministers in Scotland were paid, as the House was well aware, by teinds or tithes, which were the first burden upon the land. They neither belonged to the parishioners nor to the landlords. The lands were bought and sold, and had been for centuries, under the burden of the tithes, which were the property of the Church, and it could not, therefore, be said with accuracy that the parishioners were taxed for the purpose of supporting the minister. There were, as the House had already been told, 42 livings in Scotland of the value of £120, and a small sum was paid out of the general taxation to raise other livings to £150 a-year. The sum paid out of the general taxation was, however, small. Another argument had been brought forward—namely, that the introduction of the Bill was a proof that something wrong had been done either by the State or by the Church; that it was the cry of "Peccavi," and that restitution was to be made. The right hon. Gentleman did not say whether restitution was to be made by the Church or by the State, or how it was to be made. To judge of the value of that argument, it was only necessary to examine the circumstances of the different principal secessions which had taken place. The first secession took place in 1733, and it arose in consequence of the suspension of a minister (Ebenezer Erskine) of the Church. Why was that minister suspended? On account of two sermons which he preached, in which he complained, among other things, of the conduct of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, to which he belonged. He complained that they did not sufficiently persecute the Roman Catholics; but, under all the circumstances, he was treated with the greatest leniency. Committee after committee was appointed; he was left in the enjoyment of his living for three years, and was then formally deposed; but how many adhered to him when he seceded? Why, not a dozen. He had never heard it said that more than a dozen seceded at that time, although, of course, as time went on, the numbers increased. That secession was what might be termed a Cave of Adullam, and every one who became discontented with the Church in course of time joined it. Years later there were other dissents; and those bodies joining together, formed the United Presbyterian Church. Those who held the doctrines which they did at the time, could not be expected to return to the Established Church; but to how many was restitution due, and to whom was it to be given? The ministers who were appointed to their congregations never had lot or part in the Established Church. As to the Free Church, he (Mr. Vans Agnew) believed that if such a concession as the House was ready to make now had been made previous to the Secession, that event would not have taken place, and he regretted that such a concession had not been made. But it was impossible, after the fatal "claim of right" had brought matters to a crisis. Those who left the Church were led by earnest, devout, able, and sincere men, and he agreed with all the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich had said of the great sacrifices they had made. They went out, not knowing whither they went, or what they should live upon. But in spite of all that, and notwithstanding the great services they had performed for Scotland, he thought they were mistaken in their views. The Free Church still maintained the doctrine laid down in the "claim of right." Did the right hon. Gentleman who talked of restitution propose that the Government should admit it? He did not propose to do so when he conducted public affairs; and if it was not admitted, how could they be invited to return to the Establishment, holding those views? and how could restitution be offered to them? Let them keep in view that the Established Church protested from the date of the Act of Queen Anne, in 1712, till 1784 against patronage, and that the people had never been satisfied with it. Let them remove it, and the chief impediment to the re-union of all who held to the principle of Church estabments was swept away. That it would bring in those who were opposed to all establishments, no one expected or believed. Now, as to the minority argument. It certainly was the business of the Established Church to do all it could to bring in those who did not attend it, and who were not claimed by other Churches. By some statistics, they had hoard, these were said to be 500,000 in Scotland. Add those to the admitted adherents of the Church, and she had a majority of the population to attend to. This being one of its functions, and one which it was paid to discharge, it seemed to him that the minority argument had no force. They said—"Pass this Bill, and her numbers will increase;" but the right hon. Member for Greenwich said it was neither generous nor fair to strengthen one Church at the expense of others. Was that a doctrine of general application? Would it hold good as between Christians, and Pagans, and Mahomedans? If so, what were all their missions doing? Was it applied as between Roman Catholic and Protestant?—and, to come nearer home, did it hold good between the Church of England and Dissenters? If the right hon. Gentleman had built and endowed a church, and had made its services and ceremonial as attractive as he could, and had formed or increased the congregation, would he think it was neither fair nor generous, because none of them had come from Dissenting meeting-houses in the neighbourhood? Was it not rather held to be meritorious that every man should try to persuade others to believe that which he himself held to be true? There were some details of the Bill which he would like to see amended. In one part, for example, it was provided that the General Assembly, through a Committee, should give certain instructions, and in his opinion, it was necessary to state precisely how that Committee should be composed. Again, anything more invidious than the principle of compensation contained in the Bill it was impossible to conceive, and he therefore trusted some alteration would be effected in it. By passing the Bill an incubus, which had long impaired the usefulness of the Church, would be removed, without at all endangering the ties which at present bound it to the State, the land, and the towns.


I must confess, Sir, that when this question was brought before Parliament this Session, I regarded it with a considerable degree of embarrassment. This is a Bill professedly to abolish lay patronage in the Church of Scotland, and I have avowed myself to my constituents in favour of such a course; but the further this Bill has gone the more I have been convinced that the advantage or disadvantage that the abolition of patronage will produce must depend entirely on the spirit and manner in which that object, desirable in itself, is effected. If you propose to take the patronage out of the hands of the present lay patrons and hand it over to the nation, as represented by the whole Presbyterian community of Scotland, then I think the abolition of patronage a most desirable object; but if, on the other hand, you propose to hand it over to a section of a section of a Presbyterian minority—if you make it an occasion to assimilate the system of Church government of all the Presbyterian communities, while you confine the revenue and privileges exclusively to one—then, Sir, the abolition of patronage has no attractions for me. The whole of the speech of the right hon. and learned Lord in introducing this measure was directed to prove that there was a desire to get rid of patronage within the Church, to return to a state of things that undoubtedly prevailed at one period of the 17th century; but why did not the Established Church discover the existence of this feeling in 1843, when it numbered a proportion of the people that warranted the title of a National Church? The right hon. and learned Lord, as well as several other speakers—notably the Duke of Argyll, in "another place"—has found it convenient to ignore the existence of the Presbyterian communities other than the Established Church; but I say, Sir, looking to the relation of the Dissenting Bodies to the Established Church, it is impossible to deal with this question in a spirit of equity and justice, and at the same time utterly to ignore the existence of more than half the Presbyterians of Scotland. It may be very convenient to say—"This is a matter which the Church will deal with herself; it is a matter of Church government which does not concern those outside the Church, and we wish to be left to manage our own internal affairs"—such language, I say, may be very convenient; but a policy based on such views shows a total disregard, I will not say of the history of the Presbyterian Church, but a total disregard of what has occurred, even in the present generation; and in dealing with this question the very recent date of the Disruption must not be forgotten. Time, in this matter, is an important element, because it may be said—"If you are to place the Church on an equality, in consequence of the Established Church adopting the principles of seceders from her, such a doctrine is against all reform in the Church;" but if the reform is effected in the life-time of a generation, it appears to me somewhat unfair that the first to mate that reform should also be those who, in a worldly sense, are made to bear the burden of it. Sir, the great sacrifices made by the Dissenting Bodies in Scotland to maintain the principles established by the Bill have been, in the course of the debate, generally and generously admitted. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich (Mr. Gladstone) bore testimony to those sacrifices in eloquent terms; the Prime Minister said they were "heroic"; but by this Bill you practically admit the Free Church were right in '43. You have an opportunity of remedying some of the blunders then committed; but instead of doing so, you propose by the Bill to admit the principle then so nobly contended for, and at the same time you shrink from giving practical effect to what the admission of that principle logically involves. I say it is natural, therefore, that the Presbyterian communities, other than the Established Church, should be somewhat indignant at this treatment of the subject; and I cordially agree with my right hon. Friend the Member for Edinburgh University (Mr. Playfair) that you have now a glorious opportunity of uniting the Protestant Churches of Scotland. My hon. Friend opposite, the Member for Bute (Mr. Dalrymple), admitted, in a very liberal spirit, that he would like to see such a state of things as would permit a minister of the Free Church to use an Established Church pulpit. Is there anything in the Bill calculated to bring about such a result? Under the Bill you might have redressed some of the gross anomalies which, in the course of the debate, have been shown to exist in the extreme Northern counties and in the Western Highlands. If you had really allowed the Presbyterian community to elect their own ministers you might have filled some of the empty parish churches, and also been spared the trouble of inserting that extremely vague clause which deputes power, when they are a less number than 25, to the communicants and the congregation to depute their power of appointment to the Presbytery of the bounds, subject to such regulations as the General Assembly—always subject to the Church Courts, acting for a minority of the people—may see fit to impose for the guidance of an incumbent who is to enjoy national revenue. Here is a complication of appointment, coupled with such an extraordinary delegation of power, that I cannot imagine the House will consent to it. Much has been said in the course of this debate about patrons, and I am not inclined to dispute the Prime Minister's definition—that Scotch patrons are patrons who do not patronize; at the same time, hon. Gentlemen opposite have, in the course of this debate, taken a certain amount of credit to themselves for giving up patronage, and I suppose that, in the opinion of the Government, patronage must be worth something, or they would not propose to compensate the patrons. Well, Sir, I will not be outdone in liberality by hon. Gentlemen opposite; and I say at once, speaking as a patron, I will cheerfully relinquish my right of patronage if the Government will take a comprehensive view, and enlarge the electing body to the Presbyterians of the country. If I can get any such assurance from the right hon. and learned Lord, bad as I think this Bill, I will not oppose its going into Committee; but if he is to stand by his Bill as at present drawn, I shall feel it my duty to vote for the Amendment of my right hon. Friend. One word more on this subject of patrons. I agree with the hon. Baronet the Member for Perthshire (Sir William Stirling-Max- well), that if compensation is to be given at all, it should he given in a shape which will enable a gentleman to accept it; for however liberal patrons may be of what they regard as their own, cases will undoubtedly arise where a trustee will have to act, and a trustee for a minor or a charitable property might feel bound to take all the law gave. If, therefore, you are to give any compensation, give it in a different form. As an Episcopalian, I have endeavoured to take an impartial view of this question. I am certainly not actuated by any feeling of hostility to the Established Church. That Church has been taken under the special protection of a Conservative Government, who appear to think that, by extending the principle of patronage to a section of that congregation, but confining it to such narrow limits, they will strengthen the hands of the Establishment. Time alone will show if they be right. I believe them to be egregiously wrong, and shall oppose the measure as at present framed, because I believe instead of having a conciliatory effect it will, throughout Scotland, multiply ecclesiastical anomalies and aggravate sectarian strife.


said, after the exhaustive speeches which had been delivered on the subject, and especially after the very able one of the hon. Member for Fife, it seemed presumptuous in him to offer any remarks; but he wished to thank the Government for having introduced the measure, which he felt assured would be acceptable to the whole of the Church of Scotland. It was all very well for the hon. Member for Stirling (Mr. Campbell-Bannerman), to assert that the cry for the abolition of patronage was got up by the leaders of the General Assembly, but he (Mr. Montgomerie) could state that during his canvass in 1868, and again in 1874, the first remark made to him by all persons connected with the Established Church was—"I hope you will do all you can to get rid of patronage." It was a pleasure to him that the Bill had been introduced by a Conservative Government. Hitherto the question had been treated as one whether the Church of Scotland should be disestablished or not, but that was really not the question before the House. To that question the late Parliament gave a decided answer, and certainly the present Parliament would give a similar decision in a more emphatic manner. The real question now at issue was, should or should not patronage in the Church of Scotland be abolished? Should the Act of Queen Anne of 1712 be repealed? It could scarcely be doubted that there was but one opinion among the Free Church, the United Presbyterians, and the Members of the Established Church on that point. They were all opposed to the system of patronage as it existed in the Church of Scotland. The United Presbyterians and the Free Church said, that to choose their own religious teachers was the inalienable right of all Christians. That was the teaching also of the Established Church of Scotland, and such ever had been the teaching of the Church. With all due deference to the hon. Member for Edinburgh (Mr. M'Laren), he did not care to follow that hon. Gentleman's statistics, nor had he any desire to follow the historical arguments they had heard from the Lord Advocate. They both might be right, or both wrong; but those details had little to do with the present Bill. There was no use asking for delay, when all that could be known had been already ascertained respecting Church patronage in Scotland. The opinion of all sects was that the present system of patronage was intolerable. If they were right in that it should be done away with at once. The patrons as a body were perfectly willing to surrender their patronage. If the House passed the Bill, they would make the Established Church of Scotland as free as any Church could be that pretended to have a constitution. The Established Church had a constitution, and if she took any step not in accordance with it, the Courts of Law would interfere. Greater liberty than that the Free Church could not enjoy. The members of the Free Church seceded originally, because they asked for impossible conditions of independence, and because they wished to be above the law; but after an experience of 30 years, they had found that they could be no more above the law than could the Established Church, or any other body. That was conclusively settled in the Cardross case. The constitution, doctrine, and discipline—the whole system of the Free Church—was the same as that of the Established Church. If this Bill passed, the only difference between them would be removed. There might be other small differences between them, but they were such as would require a trained minister to explain them. They were ecclesiastical differences with which ordinary mortals had very little to do. The Established Church of Scotland was entitled to a generous consideration by Parliament, because no other State Church had done so much for so small a remuneration. Of late years, too, the number of her members had increased in a far greater proportion than those of the other Churches. He gave all honour to the Free Church for the great exertions she had made, and for the large sums of money contributed by her members for the sustenance of the poorer congregations; but it must be remembered that without those exertions, and without those contributions, the Free Church must cease to exist. In conclusion, he trusted his testimony on behalf of the Established Church of Scotland would carry some weight with the House, and not the loss because he himself was not a Member of that Church.


There is, Sir, what I may call a remarkable phenomenon in the ecclesiastical condition of Scotland which the House should observe and recollect—namely, that, notwithstanding that between one-half and one-third are Dissenters, and that these Dissenters are divided into sections strongly antagonistic to each other, and each and severally being strongly antagonistic to the mother Church—in all is the creed, form of worship, and internal Church discipline identically the same. They all preach the purest Calvinistic doctrine; and in even the refinements of doctrine, there is no divergence between them; and they all diligently inculcate submission to the constituted authorities, and a loyal devotion to the Throne. They are undoubtedly, though split up, the bulwark of pure doctrine and loyalty, Yet, Sir, so antagonistic are they, that unity has long been looked at as a chimera, a vain dream. In the Church of England, the divergence of opinion is most distinct, and the doctrines preached almost diametrically contradictory of each other. In one church in London you will find the clergyman dressed in a Geneva gown preaching pure Calvinism. In a church a few yards off you find the vestments, the gestures, and all the gaudy trappings and appliances of the Roman form, and the doctrine almost Ultramontane; and yet, on inquiry, the foreigner would find that both these churches are under the Establishment, the officiating clergymen under the same endowment of the State, and that the doctrine and ceremonial are merely variations of the same creed and form of worship, and yet there cannot be said to be complete harmony. They all, however, agree to have the protection, and loaves and fishes, afforded by the State. That, perhaps, is as great a phenomenon as a bitter antagonism between several Churches, which are apparently at one upon every essential point. I cannot better approach the consideration of this measure than by expressing my surprise at the temper with which the Church of Scotland views the opposition of the two great Dissenting Churches—the United Presbyterian and the Free Churches. The former hold—and have sacrificed all State support and endowment as witness of their view—that the establishment and endowment by the State of a Church is Erastianism in its worst form—an invasion of the spiritual independence of the Church—a usurpation of the prerogative of the great Head of Christendom whom we all acknowledge, and to whom all Christians bow. This sect holds patronage in abhorrence, but they consider it merely part and parcel of an ecclesiastical establishment which they more abhor as the major evil, merely containing the minor, and as unwarranted by Scripture, and inimical to the best interests of religion. How can it, therefore, be wondered at that they oppose this Bill? Because, Sir, why has the Crown given up its rights? Why have the patrons relinquished a hitherto valuable possession? Why has the Conservative Government, sacrificing its hitherto most cherished traditions, introduced a measure which but a few years ago would have been thought revolutionary? And why has the Church demanded this radical change in her constitution? It is simply because they all now see that patronage has from time immemorial been a festering sore, a grave disorder; that by transferring this right to the Church, you will restore that which you wantonly pilfered in 1712, heal this sore, and cure this disordor, and thereby inspire into her body more life and more vigour. Now, Sir, can we wonder that the United Presbyterian Church oppose this rehabilitation of a system which they conscientiously abhor? Sir, I think it would be more dignified if we, while meeting her arguments with all the intellectual vigour at our command, accepted her opposition without suspicion and without resentment. The Free Church opposition is, I conceive, equally logical, and its locus standi is, I conceive, strengthened if the Bill becomes law. Dr. Chalmers, the great leader, now long since gathered to his fathers, pronounced as his beau idéal of a useful Scriptural Church—a Church endowed and established by the State, the people having the right of electing their ministers. Now, Sir, by that Dr. Chalmers never meant that a clergyman should be elected by manhood or womanhood suffrage, or by a plebiscite. Dr. Chalmers meant that the whole duty of nominating, approving, and inducting—of selecting who among the congregation were to have the nomination, vote, or voice—was to rest, without dictation, recommendation, or interference by the State, entirely, and without appeal, with the Ecclesiastical Courts. That is what Dr. Chalmers meant; and if that had been granted in 1843, or for years after, the schism would never have taken place, and the Free Church by this time would have been re-incorporated in the mother Church. Now, I know the Free Church, being a powerful, independent, wealthy body, has modified her allegiance to her principles, and, notwithstanding her "claim of right," which has never been repealed or even modified, and the utterances of many of the wisest of her fathers, has resiled from her former position. But, Sir, what do we desire by this measure? Why, to strengthen the Church, by removing all cause of offence from her, by acknowledging the folly of the policy of Bolingbroke, endorsed as it was by the policy of 1840, adopting the misconception of a useful Scriptural Church as set forth by Dr. Chalmers—by recollecting that 30 years have rolled by since 1843—and by legislating in a broad and Catholic spirit consistent with the ago in which we live, and thereby open the portals of the Church so that those who, long absent from her, still look back on her with loving eyes, may again, without conscientious let or hindrance, enter in. But, what does this Bill do? Sir, the Bill provides that the State shall select per- sons who perform a certain mysterious, to many incomprehensible, spiritual rite—who approach the sacramental table, and say to them—"You are better, holier, and more worthy of our confidence than other men, and you, therefore, we invest with a privilege, hitherto a feudal heritable property, saleable as the land to which it was attached. And you others who do not perform this mysterious spiritual rite—who do not approach the sacramental table—we hold you not so worthy as your brethren, though not altogether bad, and we leave you, when your holier brethren are filled, to eat such crumbs of this privilege as may fall within your reach." Can anything be more distasteful to the spirit of modern legislation than this monstrous provision in an Act of Parliament; can anything be more Erastian; can anything be a graver infringement by the State on things sacred than this? Far from sweetening the atmosphere or opening the door of the kirk to consciences curious and tender on Erastianism, I unhesitatingly say that it makes her more unwholesome and tends to exclude rather than attract. Why, Sir, I search in vain in the old Scotch Acts affecting the Church, anything so incongruous as this. It is true they point out the congregation, and it is said, perhaps truly, that the congregation means the communicants; but why, therefore, in this measure before us, do the congregations take their place after the communicants? Moreover, those Acts were passed at periods when religious tolerance was discerned but as through a glass dimly, and religious liberty was almost unknown; but, Sir, I am wrong, there is an old Act, a well-known Act, a cruel, a bigoted Act, passed in 1673, which some Members may have heard of, called the Test Act. This Act provided that persons who performed the mysterious rite of eating the holy sacrament were to enjoy certain privileges conferred by the State, and that those who did not perform the holy rite should not receive those privileges; but would it not please the right hon. and learned Lord to make his work complete? There was a declaration tacked to this Test Act called the Declaration against Transubstantiation. Why does not the right hon. and learned Lord tack such a declaration to this Test Bill, and then the anachronism would be perfect? And these others of the congrega- tion? Does not that, by Act of Parliament, warrant personal selection?—Does it not savour of legislative sanction to favouring the noble territorial magnate; toadying the rich; selecting for the privilege those whose investment with it might prove of special temporary advantage. Imagine what a temptation to an assistant, who practically is discharging the duties of an old and sickly minister, where a vacancy must evidently soon occur. I will not dwell further on this point. I think the selection, by the State, of communicants is repulsive, and of these others fraught with inconvenience, if not abuse, But there is another and, to my mind, graver danger. If, in an Act of Parliament, dealing with a sensitive Church, you select certain persons for certain preferential privileges you at once open the door to dispute and conflict. The right hon. and learned Lord will probably point to Clause 3 and the Definition Clause (Clause 9) and say those clauses give such discretionary power to the Church Courts that no conflict is possible. Then, why, I ask, are these communicants, these others of the congregation, and that committee, mentioned in the Bill at all? I cannot conceal from myself that in cases of disputed settlements—and all settlements, except where the congregation is unanimous, will be more or less disputed, or at any rate contested—persons or parties who believe the Church Courts are an invasion of the spirit or tenor of this Act, denying their right to vote, will, undoubtedly, appeal to the only authority which can interpret an Act of Parliament—namely, the civil Courts; and here, again, you will have a renewal of that conflict between the Civil and Ecclesiastical powers, which has alienated so many of her most powerful and best friends from the Church, and which in 1843 shook her to her very foundations. And now, Sir, a few remarks on the proposal of my hon. Friend the Member for Fife (Sir Robert Anstruther). I conceive that the Government are by this measure accepting the dictation of, and legislating for, not the Church, much less the people of Scotland, but the General Assembly. Now, if we polled Scotland, I unhesitatingly affirm that a very great divergence would be found to exist in all denominations between the opinions of the clergy and the opinions of the people on any legislation, and much more ecclesiastical legislation. I think my hon. Friend's proposal—and I trust he will press it in Committee—is conceived in a broad and patriotic spirit, far different from the spirits which have mixed this feeble legislative tonic. Both the Church and the State owe heavy debts to the Dissenters in Scotland. The Established Church is in a very different position from that which she occupied in 1843. Then she was a fair representative of the Protestants—nay, even of the people, in Scotland, of whom now she represents not one-half. What caused that? Why, the miserable policy of the Ministry of that day. The Premier then listened to the advice of certain personages who professed to know the temper, and feeling, and conscience of the people of Scotland. Their policy destroyed not only the Established Church, but that which is to my mind far more important, the unity of Protestantism in Scotland; that Protestantism, or that Protestant Church, which is now the purest, as she was then the most homogeneous expression of the Christian faith; which has been the guardian of the religious welfare of the people, and the strongest bulwark of our Throne and Constitution. Seeing the work this mistaken policy accomplished, now that we are necessarily reviewing the whole position of our Church, ought not we to acknowledge a deep debt of reparation, and, if possible, settle it? But we cannot do that by this feeble measure, which merely embodies the halting policy of the General Assembly. But we owe another debt—a debt of gratitude—and to whom? Why, to the Dissenting Churches; to those who, most injured—though by the mercy of Providence they emerged from poverty and obscurity to wealth, power, and distinction—have been the warmest allies of the Church, and also of the Legislature of the country—who have spent millions in doing the work of both—the warmest allies, I repeat, both of the Church and of the State. Seeing that, prior to the Disruption, the Established Church was admittedly very sluggish, and that since the Disruption, owing to the rivalry, the healthy friction between herself and her powerful sisters, and that even now, notwithstanding her own greater activity and liberality, there is still—more particularly in the crowded vennels and loathsome suburbs of our great cities—much educational and spiritual destitution, we may fairly ask what would have been the position of the Church of Scotland if her own efforts, much increased as they have been of late years, had not been supplemented by her rivals? Could she, with any degree of success, have undertaken the enormous additional task which Providence bad placed before her? Should we not, therefore, endeavour to legislate not as Commissioners of the Ecclesiastical Court of one particular sect, but as the councillors of a great country. In the name of eternal justice ought we to offer a feeble perfunctory measure which will only satisfy a small section of those who have been injured; a policy which—just, impartial, and healing in 1843—is now an unjust, partial, and irritating anachronism; or should we offer a measure conceived in a broad and Catholic spirit, which will reconstruct that great Church which was once so united, and thus repair the greatest wrong—ignorantly, if not wantonly—ever inflicted on a loyal people, and repay the highest debt that was ever incurred.


said, he had listened to the speech of the hon. Member for Ayrshire (Mr. Montgomerie) with all the attention due to one who spoke with great knowledge of the subject. The hon. Gentleman had told them that the whole object of the Bill was the abolition of Church patronage in Scotland; but he had omitted to notice that the abolition of patronage was one thing and the mode of its abolition another. The principle of the Bill was abolition of patronage, and with that principle he heartily concurred; but it was another point to consider whether the mode of that abolition was wise and satisfactory. The question was whether, if the Bill passed without the Amendments which had been indicated, it would be likely to strengthen or to weaken the Established Church in Scotland. Upon that point, if the Bill were pressed on in its present form, he should feel it his duty to oppose it. The hon. Member for Ayrshire also congratulated the Government upon the introduction of the measure; but by this time, the conviction must have forced itself on the hon. Gentleman and the Government that the abolition of patronage in the Church of Scotland was not quite so small a matter as it seemed six weeks ago. After a full consideration of the proposals of the Bill, he (Mr. Horsman) had come to a conclusion unfavourable to them without amendment. When he first heard that the Conservative Government, as its first act, had undertaken that abolition, he felt great surprise, but he concluded they had well considered the subject, and were acting with a sincerity which entitled them to the sympathy and respect of their opponents; but when he saw the Bill he was still more surprised, because he could not understand how a Cabinet which had mastered the subject could have persuaded themselves that a question from which previous Administrations had shrunk could be settled by so inadequate a measure. But when he heard the speech of the Prime Minister on Thursday, his surprise entirely disappeared, or took another direction, for he could hardly believe his ears when he declared that the abolition of Church patronage in Scotland was a question which interested those within the Church, and in no respect interested those without. By that time the right hon. Gentleman must have discovered that that was a delusion. The speech showed that his multitudinous duties had not allowed him to give five minutes thought to a subject with the history of which he was as well informed as any man in the House. But of the feeling of the people of Scotland the right hon. Gentleman must of course be informed by his advisers, and he was not the first Conservative Minister who had been most grossly misled and deceived in that respect. And what was the position in which the Government were placed? In a season of profound calm and unprecedented religious tranquillity in Scotland, they had raised a question upon which the feelings of the Scottish nation were intense, and upon one particular branch of that question most calculated to revive bitter memories. The result was that a challenge—a word most properly used—was given to the other Churches in Scotland. No one could remember a time when the Churches of Scotland were working so harmoniously as they were three months ago; that harmony had been disturbed by the Government, and the result was that in one day the challenge was accepted, and the religious leaders of one-half the population of Scotland had declared for the disestablishment of the Established Church. That fact must have convinced the Government that they had proceeded rather hastily and rashly, for it was no light matter for a Government in these days to direct the attention of Parliament to the condition of any Established Church, and it was a very grave matter indeed to call for legislative action with reference to a Church which had lost to so great an extent its hold upon the nation as the Scotch Church had unfortunately done. All Established Churches were at present more or less upon their trial; all were more or less passing through a crisis, and if there was anything so precarious or perilous in the state of the Established Church of Scotland as to call for legislative interference, Government should have made it an occasion for reviewing the whole ecclesiastical condition of that country with a view to a large and bold policy, either of reconstruction or disestablishment. ["Oh, oh!"] No middle course was possible, but having unfortunately been persuaded to take that course, and having done so, it was impossible to revert to the dormant quiet of six months ago, and Government had now no alternative but to enter upon a policy of reconstruction or disestablishment. Accordingly, thinking they would do great service to the Church by abolishing patronage, they had given them a Bill which had not been inaccurately described as a device. The Prime Minister had spoken of the measure as one affecting only the Established Church—as merely a legislative sanction given to an arrangement between certain great patrons of livings in Scotland and the General Assembly, by which the rights of those patrons were to be transferred to the congregations—and so far it had all the air of a very Liberal and popular measure. But the more the matter was examined the more it would be seen that the Bill deserved the very gravest consideration, not merely on account of the changes it made, but also because of the principle it affirmed, and the irritation and opposition to which it would inevitably lead. The Bill dealt with the patronage of livings in four different ways. First, there were the Crown livings, in regard to which it was proposed that the present right of patronage should, with the consent of the Crown and on the advice of the Minister, be abolished without compensation. Then there was the patronage enjoyed by municipal and other public bodies, which were to be forcibly dispossessed of the existing right without compensation. Next there was the patronage of private patrons, who were also to be dispossessed, but with a claim to compensation which was not to exceed one year's value of the living, and that was to be paid out of the pocket of the incoming minister, who was to pay to the patron the price by which the congregation was to acquire the right of appointing. Lastly, there was the case of the congregations composed of less than 25 communicants, and in regard to thorn it was proposed that the patronage should be given to the Presbytery. He failed to see any reason for disturbing the right of the present patron at a place where there was practically no congregation. Perhaps it was thought that a lay patron could not exorcise the right of appointing a minister to a sinecure, as well as an ecclesiastical body. But was it not a matter of notoriety that wherever an ecclesiastical dignitary had a preferment to confer, however conscientiously he might endeavour to find the most meritorious young man who could be got, he invariably had the good fortune to find him in his own family. One great objection he had to make to the Bill was, that upon its passing, the minister would become the minister of the congregation and not of the parish, and in very many places in Scotland the congregation was not one per cent of the parish. It was proposed by the Bill that the right of patronage should be transferred to "the communicants and other members of the congregation," it being left to the General Assembly to make rules enlarging or restricting the number of electors. In other words, the General Assembly was to have absolute power over the number and character of the electoral body. Then came the question—who were to pay the minister? The present patrons were to be dispossessed of their right of patronage, but the heritors were still to be burdened with the obligation of payment. In short, with regard to patrons, the Bill was nothing more nor less than an Act of confiscation; with regard to parishioners, it was a Bill of disability and disfranchisement; and with regard to Church Courts, it armed them with most despotic powers, to enlarge or restrict, to admit or exclude, the electoral members of a congregation as they pleased. Then, it abolished the parochial system which had hitherto been the heart and life of the Established Church in both England and Scotland. It made the Established Church not parochial, but congregational; and it affirmed, this new principle—that the congregation were to elect the ministers, while others who were not members of the congregation were to pay him. That was to say, it combined all the freedom of the voluntary system with all the advantages of State endowments. To a great extent it disestablished, but it did not disendow. It would place the landed proprietors in the invidious and vexatious position of being compelled to pay the ministers of voluntary congregations to which they did not belong; and was it not likely that they would seek to relieve themselves from this injustice by joining in the cry for Disestablishment? That cry was not heard at all during the last General Election, but it would certainly, if this Bill passed in its present form, ring in the ears of every Scotch candidate at the next. Had the two parties been in their old positions in the House, and the measure been introduced by a Liberal Government, the words "revolutionary," sensational, and "confiscation" would, no doubt, have been frequently heard during the debates. He believed nothing was further from the intentions of the framers of the Bill than to create a disturbance, least of all a religious disturbance, in Scotland. It was well known that patronage had for generations been a great subject of conflict in Scotland, and he was ready to admit that the Bill had been brought forward with the best intentions. But the Government forgot two things. They forgot that the Church which they were endeavouring to please was the Church of the minority, and that the patronage which they were about to abolish had been the blazing symbol of that Church, in whoso name they had persecuted and ejected those who were now the leaders of half the nation. It had occasioned more strife, more bitterness, more secession, more personal sacrifice and suffering than all other questions combined, and the old Covenanting spirit had been kept up by these conflicts, until the Church had become as firmly and solemnly bound up with patronage, as the seceders were against it. There had, therefore, been a considerable sensation created in Scotland when people imagined and believed—an opinion he did not at all endorse—that there was a compact between a Conservative Government and a Conservative Church, to give legislative sanction to that Church—abandoning its principles while retaining its temporalities. It was in vain for any Minister to pretend to legislate for Scotland without making its history his guide. There was no history of any nation which was so uniformly instructive as was the religious history of Scotland, from the light it threw upon the character of the people; from the fatal mistakes which had been made by the Imperial Government in dealing with the subject, and from the lesson the Minister had to learn, that if there were any justification for his interference, it should only be by a large and healing measure of conciliation and peace; and that there was no justification whatsoever for interfering with the present state of things, in order to repeat that irritating and vexatious policy against which the indomitable spirit of the Scottish nation had rebelled, and always with success. They had been told that while the subject of patronage had given rise to much conflict, the Church was always a truly popular and national Church. He did not mean to go into the history of the great Secession of 1843, or to do more than touch upon the ill-advised policy adopted by Sir Robert Peel and Sir James Graham; but he might remind the House that those statesmen complained how much they had been misled by the advice they had received from Scotland. Sir Robert Peel was thus advised—" Stand by and adhere to your policy, and they will not go out." The present Government had been advised to stand by their Bill, and they would come back. The one piece of advice was as delusive as the other. It was well known how bitterly Sir Robert Peel spoke of the manner in which he had been misled; and he (Mr. Horsman) could confirm what had been said—that Sir James Graham was wont to say that the Disruption of the Scotch Church was the most painful recollection of his official life. At the very time of the Disruption, the Moderator of the first General Assembly of the Free. Church, Dr. Chalmers, said—" Though we quit the establishment, we go out on the establishment principle—we quit a vitiated establishment, but would rejoice in returning to a pure one." Had those words been brought under the consideration of the Government while they were preparing the Bill? If they had been so brought before the Government, and the Government had been properly advised, such a measure as that would not have been introduced. The Government had given them a Bill instead of a policy. What policy ought they, in his opinion, to have adopted? They ought to have reviewed the whole ecclesiastical systems of Scotland. If they had done so, they would have found that there were Churches outside the Established Church, having in common with it one creed, one faith, one worship. Practically they were all one Church, with this difference—that only one section of it was endowed. They would have found that the Secession of 1843 was in one sense almost an accident, because each of the parties mistrusted the resolution of the other. The Government could not be persuaded that 500 Ministers of the Established Church would have in one day thrown up their livings. The Church could not be persuaded that a Conservative Government would face the responsibility of the disruption of the Church. The present Government ought to have had a policy, and they had not to seek far to find it. The General Assembly appointed a committee of 80 members to consider the question, and it included several hon. Members of that House, among others the Lord Advocate. That Committee reported. They showed that the Free Church had both justice and law on its side in the secession; that the Presbyterian population of Scotland had all one faith with the Established Church; that the General Assembly professed not to seek for the abolition of patronage in the interest of the Established Church, but claimed it on behalf of the nation; and that they earnestly desired union between the different Churches, which were one with them in creed. That policy was before the Government. It was in accordance with the Amendment of his hon. Friend the Member for Fife (Sir Robert Anstruther), and it was one which the Government ought to have adopted, as one which would have conferred undoubted benefit on the Established Church of Scotland. There were, however, some members of the General Assembly, and members of the Committee of that body and also ministers of the Church of Scotland, who were determined the subject should not drop An amendment was accordingly moved in the last General Assembly by Sir Robert Anstruther—that the electoral body should consist of the inhabitants of the parish in which the church was situate, who were of full age and in communion with the Protestant Church of Scotland, and an amendment was moved upon that by one of the ministers of the Established Church, not as regarded the electors, but as regarded the ministers—that the ministers of other Presbyterian Churches should be eligible for any vacancy in the Established Church. Those were the amendments which he (Mr. Horsman), and those who entertained the same views on the subject, desired to submit to the consideration of the Government. If the Government would accept them, all objections to the Bill would at once vanish, because all these changes would be made in the interest of the National Church. The parochial system would be retained, the principle of an Established Church would be maintained, patrons under these amendments would be giving up their rights not for the benefit of a sect, but for the benefit of the nation; and the aggressive and offensive character of the measure would be taken away. And, above all, the great difficulty about the Highland parishes would be got rid of. They were told that those to whom these proposals were offered would not accept them. Perhaps they would not, but who would be bold enough to answer for the next generation? He remembered when the system of National Education was offered to Ireland, the Roman Catholic and Protestant clergy both set their faces against it; but in the next generation that system was carried out, because both the Protestant and Roman Catholic laity came in and settled the question. The House was told that the United Presbyterian ministers would not accept union. He did not expect that at present they would do so; but the House should legislate not for the present, but for the next generation. He admitted that the United Presbyterians desired that the Established Church should cease to exist. He gave no opinion on the union between Church and State, but as long as an Established Church existed, let the House make it as strong and as useful as they could. He thought this Bill went either too far, or not far enough. He could not affirm, the principle that the Church of a "minority" was the Church of the nation; so long as it endured, they were ready to assent to it; but the moment they were compelled to express an opinion upon the subject, they were compelled to declare the principle that the Church of the minority must be a Church on sufferance, and could not deserve the recognition of the State. Being favourable to the principle of the Bill, he thought they might make the measure national in its objects and Conservative in its principles. If the Government would not accept the Amendments which he bad mentioned, then he would rather reject the Bill, than accept it in its present form.


said, he often wondered when he heard the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Liskeard (Mr. Horsman) address the House, that it had not been his fate to occupy the position at present occupied by his (Mr. Hardy's) right hon. Friend (Mr. Disraeli), because as to his power of suggestion, his knowledge of incidents that had occurred before a discussion came on, and his foreknowledge of everything which was to happen afterwards, there was no one equal to the right hon. Gentleman. The right hon. Gentleman had been kind enough to tell the House that the Government had originated a policy utterly inconsistent with all their previous theories; that they had not studied the subject; that they had dealt with it without having inquired into the religious conditions of Scotland; and that they had brought in a Bill which had been described as a "Tory device," having nothing whatever to do with the Church of Scotland, but being concocted in the General Assembly, with the assistance, he presumed, of the noble Duke who was once a Member of the late Government, aided by that violent Tory, his hon. Friend the Member for Fife-shire (Sir Robert Anstruther), who had spoken so ardently in favour of the Bill that evening. Let him tell the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Liskeard, he (Mr. Hardy) did not know how long it was since he (Mr. Horsman) first directed his attention to the subject, but he could say for himself that his (Mr. Hardy's) attention was called to it many years ago, and that, after having studied it and looked upon it not as a member of the Church of England, but as much as he could in the interests of the Church of Scotland, he at first was opposed to it, but afterwards he came to the same conclusion as the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich, with regard to the election of ministers, and which was that it should be from within, and not without the Church. One thing remarkable connected with this debate was, that not a single hon. Member connected with the Free Church of Scotland had dared to say anything against the abolition of patronage, and as to the people of Scotland, they had petitioned strongly in favour of this Bill. The clergy of the Church of Scotland, too, practically speaking, unanimously assented to the Bill, and was he to be told that this proposal was contrary to the interests of the Scotch Church when he found Dr. Chalmers saying, if the Act of Queen Anne on patronage was repealed it would "light up a moral jubilee in our land?" Was he to be told that he was voting for the disestablishment of the Church of Scotland when he found that the great leader of the Secession of 1843 was of opinion that the repeal of the Act of Queen Anne was the only way of producing union and harmony? As to the United Presbyterians, they maintained principles wholly inconsistent with an Established Church, for one of their principles was, that any connection with the State was fatal to the character of any Church. With respect to the members of the Free Church, they stood in a totally different position, and he was sanguine enough to believe that the time might come when they would reunite with the Church from which they had seceded, and the passing of this Bill would promote that reunion, inasmuch as it would put an end to the cause of that secession. It was objected, however, that as the Established Church of Scotland in 1843 were in favour of the system of patronage, they ought not to be heard now when they expressed a desire for its abolition. But was that a reasonable objection? Why should not the Established Church in 1874 ask for the abolition of a system which they wrongly desired to maintain in 1843? The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich might look back on the career of a great statesman and think that what he thought right 30 years ago might be, in his view, wrong now, and what was wrong 30 years ago was now right; and he told them the opinions he now held were those which he wished to see represented in any memorial of him that might descend to posterity. Was a Church to be debarred from what was allowed to an individual? But the fact was the Church of Scotland did not pronounce against the abolition of patronage, but was anxious for it. The Bill upon which it was hoped to obtain peace in the Church of Scotland was Lord Aberdeen's, in the Government of Sir Robert Peel, and it was because the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich, as a Member of that Government, did not go far enough at the time of the Disruption, that the great secession occurred. Yet he talked of confiscation, and called on them to make reparation. It was because the Government of which the right hon. Gentleman was a Member, would not pass a measure sanctioning what had been, no doubt, an infringement of the law that the Disruption ensued. The right hon. Gentleman accused them of confiscation, because they proposed that only one year's stipend should be the measure of compensation to the patron for his loss of the right of patronage. Before the Act of Lord Aberdeen no doubt patronage was worth something more— You take my house when you do take the prop That doth sustain my house. When it was permitted by Act of Parliament to the Church Courts, by almost any objection to a minister, to destroy patronage, it became practically absolutely worthless, and if there was confiscation anywhere it was when that Act was passed. They were told they were going to destroy the rights of parishes by this proceeding; now, he ventured to state that the mode in which patronage was now about to be dealt with was more in harmony with the old practice in the Church than that which the hon. Baronet the Member for Fifeshire proposed to substitute for it, for the Bill was in accordance with the old traditions of the Church of Scotland, while the proposal of the hon. Baronet was inconsistent with them. The Bill, in fact, proceeded on what was the law till the statute of Anne abolished it, on what was the true principle of Presbyterianism. It might be called Congregationalism, but it was the system of Presbyterianism—that the people worshipping in a particular place should have the election of the minister. The Bill therefore introduced no novelty. It was the hon. Baronet's scheme that introduced the novelty—a scheme which he (Mr. Hardy) did not think would bring about unanimity. It was much more likely to produce dissensions which it would be difficult to heal. It was said they were taking patronage from one class and giving it to another; but if patrons were greatly aggrieved by the proposal, would they not have complained by petitioning against the Bill. He was happy to inform the House, however, that not a single Petition from any patron had been presented against the Bill. The only Petitions against the Bill were very remarkable. He found them summed up by the Committee on Petitions in one sentence. There were 280 Petitions against the Bill, and "they prayed the House to reject the Bill and introduce another for the disestablishment and disendowment of the Church." Those were the only Petitions against the Bill, and that was the summary given of everything they stated against it. Was it likely that they should be so very weak as to defer to the opinions of gentlemen who opposed the Bill, because they wished for the disestablishment of the Church? The Scotch were said to be a very logical people, and if there were two railways running over the same country with the same gradients, they would be very likely to combine them in order to economize expenditure; and so, finding two Churches, not differing in externals, doctrine, or discipline, but both agreeing in the same objects, and running over the same lines, they would be very apt, on such logical evidence, to combine them into one. They were told that the heritors ought to retain the patronage, and that if the heritors retained the patronage in a great many parishes in Scotland, it would be practically very much as if it were given to the ratepayers. But the patrons and the heritors did not pay the stipend; it was the teind or tithe that paid the stipend, and the teind or tithe never belonged to the patrons or heritors; it belonged to the Church. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Liskeard (Mr. Horsman) told the Government to be firm and all would come back. With their knowledge of human nature, they were not so sanguine as to suppose that all who had seceded from the Church of Scotland would come back; but with the right hon. Gentleman himself they might look forward with hope to the next generation. Scotland recognized the great self-denial and heroism of the leaders of the Free Church; Scotland was proud of such men, of their exertions, and of their great example; and he felt persuaded the time would come when the obstacle of patronage being removed, they would combine together in the interests of that Church, which was so dear to the hearts of Chalmers and Candlish and Guthrie and Macleod. He was unwilling to prolong the debate and would therefore conclude by saying he hoped the time would come when she would reap the reward of the Bill now under consideration—not, perhaps, in the present day, but in the next generation to which the right hon. Gentleman had alluded.

Question put.

The House divided:—Ayes 307; Noes 109: Majority 198.

Main Question put, and agreed to.

Bill read a second time, and committed for Thursday.

Adderley, rt. hn. Sir C. Bentinck, G. C.
Agnew, R. V. Benyon, R.
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Anderson, G. Brown, A. H.
Balfour, Sir G. Bruce, rt. hon. Lord E.
Barclay, A. C. Burt, T.
Barclay, J. W. Cameron, C.
Beaumont, W. B. Campbell-Bannerman, H.
Brogden, A.
Carter, R. M. Macgregor, D.
Cavendish, Lord F. C. M'Arthur, A.
Clarke, J. C. M' Arthur, W.
Clifford, C. C. M'Laren, D.
Cole, H. T. Marjoribanks, Sir D. C.
Conyngham, Lord F. Martin, J.
Corbett, J. Melly, G.
Cowen, J. Milbank, F. A.
Crawford, J. S. Monck, Sir A. E.
Cross, J. K. Morgan, G. O.
Crossley, J. Morley, S.
Dalway, M. R. Mure, Colonel
Davie, Sir H. R. F. Noel, E.
Davies, R. Nolan, Captain
Dilke, Sir C. W. O'Callaghan, hon. W.
Dillwyn, L. L. O'Shaughnessy, R.
Dixon, G. Palmer, C. M.
Dodson, rt. hon. J. G. Pease, J. W.
Duff, M. E. G. Pender, J.
Duff, R. W. Pennington, F.
Errington, G. Perkins, Sir F.
Fawcett, H. Philips, R. N.
Fitzmaurice, Lord E. Playfair, rt. hn. Dr. L.
Gladstone, rt. hn. W. E. Potter, T. B.
Gladstone, W. H. Price, W. E.
Goldsmid, J. Ramsay, J.
Goschen, rt. hon. G. J. Rathbone, W.
Gourley, E. T. Reed, E. J.
Gray, Sir J. Reid, R.
Harrison, J. F. Russell, Lord A.
Hartington, Marq. of Samuelson, B.
Havelock, Sir H. Seely, C.
Hayter, A. D. Simon, Mr. Serjeant
Henley, rt. hon. J. W. Smith, E.
Hill, T. R. Smyth, P. J.
Holms, J. Smyth, R.
Hopwood, C. H. Stansfeld, rt. hon. J.
Jackson, H. M. Stevenson, J. C.
Jenkins, D. J. Stuart, Colonel
Jenkins, E. Synan, E. J.
Kensington, Lord Taylor, D.
Kinnaird, hon. A. F Tracy, hon. C. R. D. Hanbury-
Lambert, N. G.
Leatham, E. A. Trevelyan, G. O.
Leeman, G. Williams, W.
Lefevre, G. J. S. Wilson, Sir M.
Leith, J. F. Young, A. W.
Lloyd, M. TELLERS.
Lush, Dr. Baxter, rt. hon. W. E.
Macdonald, A. Laing, S.