HC Deb 17 March 1886 vol 303 cc1057-132

Order for Second Reading read.

MR. FINLAY (&c.) Inverness,

, in rising to move that the Bill be now read a second time, said, its object was to remove obstacles to the re-union of the Presbyterians of Scotland; and he apprehended that though objections might be advanced against the Bill, there would be a general agreement among hon. Members on both sides of the House that it was desirable that there should be such re-union. It was well known that the great majority of the people of Scotland were Presbyterians. There were three Bodies of Presbyterians—the Established Church, the Free Church, the United Presbyterians—which among them comprised a very large portion of the population of the country; and these three Bodies were agreed in their teaching, in their Church government and discipline; and it would be impossible to point out any matter which could be considered at all essential on which they were not agreed. There was a great and growing feeling among the laity of Scotland that it was not right that the division which had so long prevailed should continue any longer. This Bill had been brought forward in deference to the feeling so widely prevailing among the Scottish laity that obstacles to re-union among Bodies so closely connected by their history, identical in teaching, identical in Church government, should be removed. He did not profess by this Bill to reconstruct the Church of Scotland. It was not for the Legislature to unite Churches. All that the Legislature could do was to remove obstacles to reunion. The actual work of re-union must be done by the Church themselves; and when they approached the subject, as he hoped they very shortly would, if this Bill became law, the Legislature might then give assistance by determining in what manner the endowments should be applied so as to facilitate the reconstruction of a great National Church of Scotland. The state of things ecclesiastically in Scotland was somewhat peculiar, and nowhere was it more peculiar than in the Highlands. His attention had been particularly drawn to the state of matters in the Highlands, and it was very mainly in the hope of remedying the state of things that there prevailed that he had been led to take this subject in hand. The Free Church in the Highlands was almost omnipotent. He did not say that it was so in every parish; but in most of the country parishes in the Highlands almost the whole body of the people belonged to the Free Church. It might be said, with hardly any exaggeration, that in country parishes in the Highlands the Endowed Church had no people, and the people's Church had no endowments. Some had been led to say that the remedy for the state of things was to disestablish the Church in the Highlands, and to apply the endowments to secular purposes. Hon. Gentlemen who entertained those opinions on either side of the House would, he presumed, allow the Highlanders themselves to have some voice in determining a matter which so nearly concerned them; and he said it with perfect confidence—he thought he might appeal to every man who knew the Highlands, and particularly appeal to an hon. Gentleman he saw present, his Colleague, the hon. Member for Inverness-shire (Mr. Fraser-Mackintosh), who knew the Highlands and the crofters well—he thought he might appeal with confidence on that subject to everyone who knew the Highlands as to whether the Highlanders were not, almost to a man, resolutely opposed to Disestablishment? The Highlanders desired the reconstruction of the Church; they detested the idea of its destruction; and they had very good reason for holding those views. There were very few, indeed, of the Free Church congregations in the Highlands which were self-supporting. The Highlanders did not think that it was a seemly state of things that they should be dependent for religious ordinances upon the charity of the large towns in the Lowlands—they did not think that it was seemly that it should even be in the power of the Lowlands to threaten the withdrawal of contributions if the views of the Highlanders and Lowlanders on ecclesiastical matters should not happen for the moment to coincide. He had introduced this Bill very much in the hope of removing the obstacles which prevented the Highlanders from having the benefit of these endowments for religious purposes which had existed in every parish from time immemorial, and which at present they were prevented from having the benefit of by their views and principles upon ecclesiastical matters. The state of things in the Lowlands was very different indeed from what it was in the Highlands. In the Lowlands the Church of Scotland was strong, and was increasing in strength every day. But one could not go into any town in the course of one's travels in Scotland without seeing side by side two, and sometimes three, churches differing in no point that could be made intelligible without an amount of explanation of which hon. Gentlemen from the South of the Tweed might be somewhat intolerable. It was related of an English traveller that, seeing two of these churches rising side by side, he asked a native of the place whom he met there—"My man, can you tell me what is the difference between these two Churches?" The man replied—"Well, Sir, there is a matter of some six feet in length, but no more than a few inches in breadth;" and he apprehended that, so far as essentials were concerned, there would be absolutely no more difference than the man, with, perhaps, even a stronger touch of the term "matter of fact," which was said to characterize the Scotch stated to his English interrogator. The laity of Scotland were beginning to feel deeply the scandals of such divisions between Churches which were united in all essential matters; and they felt deeply the waste of resources which was involved in keeping up two, or it might be three, churches where only one church was wanted. Districts where left without a church which wanted one sadly on account of this scramble for adherents, which led to the planting of a second, perhaps a third, church side by side of the church which existed in a district where really only one church was wanted. These were sentiments which were certainly widely entertained by the laity of Scotland, and it was in deference to these sentiments that he (Mr. Finlay) endeavoured to remedy an evil which he thought they must all deplore. Some hon. Gentlemen might be disposed to think that the true remedy for ecclesiastical evils in Scotland, and the only way to obtain union among the Presbyterians of Scotland, was to disendow the Church and to secularize the endowments. With these sentiments he confessed that he had no sympathy. He spoke with some knowledge of Scotland, and he might appeal to a good many hon. Gentlemen in the House who knew Scotland well; and he thought there would be general agreement with him when he said that to disestablish the Church of Scotland produce hatred and ill-will, would aggravate existing differences, and would bequeath a legacy of bitterness which would not die away for generations. But he took it that this was a matter which the people of Soot-land were entitled to decide for themselves, and it was a matter on which the people of Scotland had spoken with no uncertain voice. Last year there was introduced into that House a Bill for the Disestablishment of the Church of Scotland by an hon. Gentleman who then represented the Kilmarnock Burghs (Mr. Dick-Peddie), but whose zeal for Disestablishment had lost a seat to the Liberal Party in the present Parliament, and that Bill evoked Petitions from all parts of Scotland. Against the Bill there were presented Petitions signed by 690,000 persons from all parts of Scotland, and signed, to a very great extent, by the adherents of the Free Church in the Highlands. These Petitions were got up in a comparatively short space of time, and under pressure. And in favour of the Bill there were presented Petitions signed by 2,779 persons. That was the voice of Scotland. When it came to the test of figures and counting of heads, that was how Scotland spoke on this matter. But it might be said that there were special objections to that measure of Disestablishment. He would supply to the House another test for which no such special reason could be given. Shortly before the last General Election a sort of Census was taken of the electors of Mid Lothian, and a declaration was presented to those electors for signature in these terms—"We are opposed to the Disestablishment and Disendowment of the Church of Scotland." Out of 10,877 electors the declaration was signed by 7,519; so that there was an actual percentage of 69 per cent of the electors of Mid Lothian who really signed the declaration that they were opposed to Disestablishment. It must not, moreover, be supposed that all who, for one reason or another, declined to sign that declaration against Disestablishment would have signed a declaration for Establishment; but, at all events, we had the fact that 69 per cent signed a declaration that they were opposed to any measure of the kind. What he proposed by this measure was to preserve the framework which had existed for religious purposes in Scotland from time immemorial — to preserve the territorial and parochial system, which could not exist except in an Established Church, and to utilize those endowments for religious puposes which the piety of former ages had consecrated to them. It had been said by one who knew Scotland well—Thomas Carlyle—that Dissent in Scotland never proceeded from disagreement with the principles of the National Church; that all Dissent in Scotland had proceeded from a closer and more rigid adherence to the principles of the National Church; they had separated from the Church, not because they disagreed with its tenets or with its forms of government, but because they believed that the majority of the day were not adhering with sufficient strictness to those tenets and to the government. And that saying of Carlyle was really the key to the ecclesiastical situation in Scotland. What he said of Scottish Dissent generally was pre-eminently true of what was—next to the Established Church—by far the largest Presbyterian Church in Scotland—he meant, of course, the Free Church. The Free Church originated in the Disruption of 1843, and that Disruption was due to two causes, of which one had been completely removed, and the other he proposed to remove by this Bill. The first of these causes was the grievance of patronage, which was re-introduced by a Statute of Queen Anne and hurried through Parliament in 1712. The Statute produced—in the course of the 130 years that elapsed between the day of its passing and the Disruption—500 cases of disputed settlement; and from the disputes that arose out of that Statute on the subject of patronage undoubtedly originated the controversy which ended in the Disruption of 1843. The grievance of patronage had now, he was thankful to say, been completely removed by the more beneficial Statute passed in 1874. But that, however, as he had said, was not the sole cause of the Disruption of 1843. Out of the question of patronage there arose a series of unfortunate collisions between the Civil and the Ecclesiastical Courts. It had ever been the doctrine held by the Church in Scotland that there should be what was called spiritual independence within the Church. Now, he begged hon. Members to observe that in the claim in Scotland to spiritual independence there was nothing that savoured in the slightest degree of priestly tyranny. It was the glory of the Church of Scotland that in every Court of the Church laymen and clergymen sat side by side, and that the laity had an equal voice with the clergy in determining what the decisions of the Church should be. That was a feature in the Scottish Church organization which he thought might be copied with advantage by other Churches in other parts of the United Kingdom. He desired that the House should observe that fact. That the laity had an equal voice with the clergy in determining all matters of ecclesiastical cognizance gave a different colour altogether to the claim for spiritual independence, as compared with that which it must present if it were advanced on behalf of every other Church less happily constituted. Out of the question of patronage there arose disputes between the Court of Session—which was the great Civil Court of Scot land—and the General Assembly of the Church, which was the Supreme Court of the Scottish Church. There were a series of unfortunate decisions which in volved—looking at this matter, as he did, from the Free Church point of view—an encroachment by the Civil Courts upon spiritual matters, with which they ought never to have interfered. He was not going to weary the House with recital of the painful details of the "ten years' conflict," as it was called, North of the Tweed. He was well content, as far as possible, that the dead past should bury its dead; and he did not desire to stir up the ashes of the fires of a controversy, on questions of this kind, which was now extinct. But out of these decisions, involving an invasion of the spiritual independence of the Church, as well as out of the question of patronage, originated the Disruption of 1843. There was an assertion of the spiritual independence of the Church, when nearly 500 clergymen of the Church of Scotland gave up their manses, their stipends, all they had in the world, and threw themselves upon the world, in reliance on that Higher Power, whose behests they believed they were obeying. He thought that what took place on that May morning was a matter of which every Scotsman, whatever his ecclesiastical or political views might be, could not fail to be proud. The keenest and most critical of observers, Lord Jeffrey, said, when he was told that more than 400 clergymen had abandoned their livings in the assertion of the principle of spiritual independence— I am proud of my country; there is not another country on earth where such a deed could have been done. That was a sentiment with which every Scotsman must agree; it was a sentiment which every Scotsman must feel glad was uttered by such a man as Lord Jeffrey, although he did believe there were other countries where, if the occasion arose, an equal sacrifice would be made. This claim for spiritual independence, as he had said, led to the Disruption. The founders of the Free Church came out from the Church of Scotland; but they were not Disestablishers. That was a point of the first importance that should be made clear; and he asked the permission of the House to read two short statements which was made by the great man who might be considered the founder of the Scottish Church—Dr. Thomas Chalmers. Dr. Chalmers was the Moderator of the first Assembly of the Free Church of Scotland, and he said this— 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. We are the advocates for a national recognition and support of religion, and we are not Voluntaries. That was what Dr. Chalmers said when the Free Church was founded; and the experience that he had of things between the Disruption and his death was expressed in what was his latest utterance on the subject. When he spoke on this matter before his death in 1847 he said this— My hopes of an extended Christianity from the efforts of Voluntaryism alone have not been brightened by my experience since the Disruption. We rejoice, therefore, in the testimony of the Free Church for the principle of a National Establishment, and most sincerely do we hope that she will never fall away from it. Those were the principles of the Free Church of Scotland, and to those principles he believed that a very large majority of the laity of the Free Church were still faithful. There could be no doubt, at all events, about the fidelity to these principles of the Free Church population of the Highlands of Scotland. The object of his measure was to assure the possession of the spiritual independence which, with the grievance of patronage, led to the Disruption of 1843; and he proposed, very shortly, to state to the House how the measure proposed to deal with the matter. It was a very short Bill. The 1st clause provided that, by the constitution of the Church of Scotland on the basis of the Confession of Faith and the Presbyterian Church government and discipline, the Church Courts had the exclusive right to regulate, determine, and decide all matters spiritual, and that Civil Courts should not interfere with the Church Courts in determining such matters. The 2nd section defined what were matters spiritual, and, he hoped, defined them in such a way as to make it impossible, or next to impossible—practically impossible—that the embarrassing question should arise as to whether a particular matter was civil or spiritual. The 3rd section provided that the Civil Courts should not interfere with the congregations in the elections of their ministers. The 4th section transferred from the Court of Session to the Courts of the Church the jurisdiction which was now vested in the Court of Session, sitting as the Court of Teinds, as to the creation of parishes, quoad sacra, as they were called in Scotland—that was to say, parishes which existed purely for spiritual purposes, but which did not in any way affect civil rights. It was thought right and proper that that was a matter which could be vested in the Church Courts, as being a matter not at all of civil, but purely of spiritual concern. The 5th section provided that nothing in the Act should abridge any rights which the Civil Courts possessed to determine any matters of a civil nature, or any question as to the consequences which were by law annexed to the decisions of Ecclesiastical Courts. That was the whole measure, and he hoped to be able to make it clear that this measure, short and simple as it was, was adequate to remove every difficulty that stood in the way of the principle that prevented re-union between, at all events, the Established Church and the Free Church of Scotland. There was another Body—the United Presbyterians—not nearly so large as the Free Church, but as to which he would say a word by-and-bye. It would be observed that the scope of the Act was declaratory, and it had been framed in that way for two reasons. The first reason was one that would be very well understood in Scotland. The Church did not come to the State to ask the State to confer anything upon the Church. It was held in Scotland that when the Church and the State entered into an alliance, as they did when a Church was established, all that the Church asked the State to do was to recognize the rights which the Church possessed and derived from another and a higher source, which was very explicitly recognized indeed in the old Scottish Statutes on the subject, which were still in force. The second reason why the Act had been made declaratory was that he hoped and believed that it merely expressed the true state of the law. There was nothing so very alarming about this doctrine of spiritual independence, as understood in Scotland, when it was properly apprehended. This Bill, if it became law, would confer upon the Church of Scotland nothing which, in practice, she did not already enjoy. Of the decisions which led to the Disruption, a great many had fallen to the ground with the repeal of the Patronage Act of Queen Anne in 1874; and the Court of Session had been diligently engaged, ever since the Disruption, in retracing its footsteps in those matters which so unhappily conduced to that calamity in 1843. There had been a series of decisions in 1849, 1851, 1861, and 1870, in which the spiritual independence of the Church had been very clearly recognized. In one of these cases Lord President Boyle said— We have as little right to interfere with the proceedings of the Church Courts in matters of Church discipline as we have to interfere with the proceedings of the Court of Justiciary in a criminal question. And the Lord Justice Clerk (Lord Mon-creiff) said in another of these cases— Within their spiritual province the Church Courts are as supreme as we are within the Civil. In the course of the discussion which took place in one of these cases, a very distinguished Scottish Judge, whose charming Memoirs of his own time might have rendered his name familiar even to hon. Members who had had the misfortune to be born on the South of the Tweed—Lord Cockburn—said that— Such decisions amounted to a reversal of those decisions that had produced the Disruption. And it was very difficult, indeed, not to agree with what Lord Cockburn said upon that subject. What was wanted was not that the Legislature should alter the law in the way of conferring anything upon the Church, but that the Legislature should declare the rights enjoyed by the Church, so as to remove those doubts which still remained as the result of the unfortunate decisions which preceded 1843. One very important question, of course, was this—Was this measure, if it became law, adequate to meet Free Church principles? Upon that point he thought he might appeal to the House for support from a very unexpected quarter. He thought that the extraordinary alarm and hostility manifested by the keen Disestablishment Party in Scotland with regard to this Bill went far indeed to show that they felt that if it became law Free Church principles would have been recognized so as to pave the way for union. If not, why should they be afraid? If the Bill did not embody Free Church principles so as to render re-union probable—reunion within a National Established Church—if it did not do that, why were they afraid of it? If it did not do that, it could not, from their point of view, do them any harm. But the keenness of the opposition was itself a testimony to the fact that the measure, if it passed, would be effectual for its purpose. They were said to be somewhat metaphysical to the North of the Tweed; but he thought that all other Scotsmen were put to shame in that matter by the keenness of a Scottish Disestablisher anxious to prove that a measure of this kind, of which he was afraid, was not adequate to meet Free Church principles. Ingenuity was exhausted in framing conditions said to be necessary to satisfy Free Church principles—conditions, the more impossible the better; and if these impossible conditions—which, he would observe, were never put into any definite shape, lest there should be danger, perhaps, of their coming within the sphere of the practicable and being granted—if these impossible conditions, by any accident, were crystallized into shape, and were granted by the Legislature, the framers of these conditions would forthwith proceed to devise others more impossible still. The object was not to secure the admission of Free Church principles; the object was to make re-union impossible on the basis of an Established Church. He thought that it was unnecessary to weary the House by endeavouring to state the objections that had been raised, and one very good reason for not stating them was that they were almost entirely unintelligible. He (Mr. Finlay) thought he was in a position to lay before the House satis- factory evidence as to the adequacy of the measure to meet Free Church principles. Free Church principles had most fortunately not been left in the fluid—he had almost said the gaseous—state in which they were presented by some who now claimed to represent the Free Church. They had been put into intelligible shape in the "Claim of Right," the historical document on which the Free Church was founded; and in 1878 the Committee of the Free Church General Assembly, in replying to an overture for union which had proceeded from the Established Church Assembly, said that "Re-union could take place only on the basis of the 'Claim of Right.'" "The test, then, was this. Did this measure satisfy the "Claim of Right"? If there was one man who was qualified to speak with authority on a point of this kind, as representing the Free Church laity of Scotland, it was that very distinguished statesman and lawyer, Lord Moncreiff. Lord Moncreiff was a Free Churchman, a Member of the Assembly of 1843, when the Disruption took place, and his family had for the last 200 years been associated with a great deal that was best in the history of the Church of Scotland. At a large meeting held on this subject in Edinburgh, on Friday last, there was read a letter from Lord Moncreiff, which, after speaking in kind terms of the measure now before the House, went on to say that— While it probably admits of improvement in its details, I should be quite content to accept it, as it stands, as a legislative concession of the Free Church Claim of Right. He thought that testimony of that sort, coming from such a quarter, ought to be decisive; and he could also appeal, on this point, to one who was highly representative of what was called the Constitutional Party among the clergy of the Free Church—a pre-Disruption minister—the Rev. Dr. George Mackay, of Inverness, who presided a few days ago at a very large meeting of members and adherents of the Free Church, held at Inverness, in support of this Bill. Dr. Mackay ought to know something about spiritual independence and Free Church principles, because in 1843 for these principles he gave up everything that he enjoyed as a minister of the Established Church. Speaking at the meeting the other day, Dr. Mackay used these words— The Bill made provision for all the privileges which he and others claimed before the Disruption. Everything which he contended for before the Disruption was given effect to in this Bill. As a pre-Disruption minister he cordially agreed with every clause of the Bill. Of course, a measure might be adequate to meet Free Church principles; but there remained behind another important question on which it was only reasonable the House should ask for information; and that was whether, supposing Free Church principles were guaranteed by this measure, anything in the shape of re-union was likely to take place? That was a matter emphatically for the laity of Scotland. The laity of the Established Church were pretty well of one mind upon the subject; and he thought he would be able to show to the House that there was every reason to believe that the great majority of the laity of the Free Church were of the same mind on the point. There had been presented to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian (Mr. Gladstone) a Memorial, signed by upwards of 1,000 ministers and office-bearers of the Free Church of Scotland, and in that Memorial they said they were ready to accept the Bill as a basis for negotiations for re-union, and wound up thus—"We are ready to do all that lies in our power to promote such measures on the part of the Church to which we belong." He might further appeal to the Petitions sent up with reference to this Bill. There was held on the 16th of February in Edinburgh a Conference, attended by upwards of 400 ministers and office-bearers of the Free Church. They unanimously adopted Resolutions in favour of this measure, and after some delay Petitions were started in different parts of the country in support of the Bill. They were somewhat hurriedly got up, and, owing to the want of time and the extreme inclemency of the weather, in the country parts especially, the signatures were not so many as would otherwise have been obtained; but the total signatures to these Petitions amounted to 156,832 names. There were some supplementary Petitions, but this statement was made up, he believed, only to include those that were presented in good time yesterday. But 156,832 signatures was a very respectable number, indeed, to have been obtained to Petitions in support of a measure of this kind, got up in the course of a fortnight at the outside. The other side had not been idle. They also had got up Petitions. But they presented the same melancholy contrast as in the case of Mr. Dick-Peddie's measure for Disestablishment. The signatures obtained against the Bill amounted only to 1,941, as against 157,000 for the Bill. That was not at all a bad test of the feeling of Scotland on a matter of this kind. Meetings had been held in different parts of the country, and he referred particularly to one held in Edinburgh last week, at which a letter was read from the Duke of Argyll, speaking on behalf of the laity, in which his Grace expressed the opinion that the Bill now before the House would do much to remove obstacles that stood in the way of a re-union of the whole of the Presbyterians in Scotland. He (Mr. Finlay) did not disguise from the House for one moment the fact that there was at the present moment a majority of the clergy of the Free Church who had adopted a movement for the Disestablishment of the Church of Scotland; but the important point to observe was that the clergy of the Free Church in this matter most certainly did not represent their congregations. A Memorial was presented to the Prime Minister signed by 1,475 Dissenting clergymen in Scotland. Did those clergymen represent their congregations or not? He could give the House two instances which he thought were fair samples of a very great many more, and he could give the names, if desired. In a Lowland congregation not far from Edinburgh—whose minister was one of the 1,475—a Petition had been sent up in favour of this Bill, signed by 1,002 members and adherents of his congregation, being practically the whole congregation. He (Mr. Finlay) was assured, on the best authority, that one could count on their fingers the members and adherents who had declined to sign. He would take another illustration from a Highland parish, whose minister was also one of the 1,475. There were in the parish about 1,000 persons old enough to sign a Petition to the House, and of that number a Petition in favour of this Bill was signed by 787. He did not believe that the majority of the clergy of the Free Church would continue to act in this matter contrary to the desires and the wishes of their congregations; and his reason for thinking so was that the standards of the Free Church were so very explicit upon the propriety of the maintenance of an Established Church. In the Protest of 1843, which was one of the pillars of the Free Church, there occurred a statement that it was the right and duty of the civil magistrate to maintain and support the Establishment of religion in accordance with God's Word. After this Disestablishment movement was started amongst the clergymen of the Free Church a party of the clergy known as "Constitutionalists" took the opinion of the most eminent counsel of the Scotch Bar—Mr. (now Lord) Rutherford Clark—and the present Lord Advocate (Mr. J. B. Balfour) on the subject, and one sentence from that opinion he should like to inflict upon the House. It was this— Anyone who does not hold the Establishment principle rejects, in our opinion, an essential part of the constitution of the Free Church. And they further advised— That no majority of the Free Church, however large, had any power to alter such an essential principle. The United Presbyterian Church stood on a somewhat different footing in regard to this matter, as its standards left the matter of Establishment open; but there was no doubt whatever that the great majority of the clergy of the United Presbyterian Church had adopted Voluntary principles, and held it wrong that there should be any connection between Church and State. That was true of the clergy, but it was not true of the laity. He did not for a moment deny that there were a great many of the lay members of the United Presbyterian Church who held the Voluntary principle; but the fact was often overlooked or forgotten, amid the proclamations that were made on this subject, that there was a very large body of the lay opinion within the United Presbyterian Church favourable to the maintenance of an Established Church. He spoke from what he got to know during his electoral experiences in Scotland—that a large and influential body of lay opinion in the United Presbyterian Church was entirely adverse to this agitation for Disestablishment. Hismeasure had been described as "ridiculously small." One friend, with the candour which friendship could always claim, said it was "a pill to cure an earthquake." He did not think Parliament would object to a Bill because it was short, and he hoped it was not very difficult to understand. Those who talked in that way seemed to think that what was wanted was some grand heroic remedy; but his desire was to remove the thorn which was the cause of the irritation, and not to go in for the capital remedy of amputation by Disestablishment. If the measure was small, at any rate it could not by any possibility do harm. Some clerical leaders of Disestablishment had for years past been telling them that the Established Church did not possess spiritual independence, and that for any Church to be without spiritual independence was a sin. Why, then, object to the cessation of a sin? Was it considered that the agitators for Disestablishment had a vested interest in the sins of the Established Church? Another objection sometimes raised was that the Bill would give spiritual independence to the wrong people; but how could they legislate except with reference to the Church of Scotland as it now existed? Any legislation with reference to the Free Church or to the United Presbyterian Church would be beyond their province altogether. They were always told these Churches did not want spiritual independence, because they had got it already. Yet when a measure of this kind was introduced they declared it was not for the Established Church, but for the Dissenting Churches that Parliament should legislate. He would gladly do anything to recognize the position of the Free Church. He was Drought up in the Free Church, and he was attached to it by the closest ties of kindred and friendship; but no one in the Free Church who was agitating for Disestablishment would tell them what they wanted. The only definite thing they could get was a cry for Disestablishment. He maintained that, instead of being a concession to Free Church principles, it would be an outrage on Free Church principles to pull down the Established Church of Scotland. He was not prepared to advocate legislation directly in the teeth of the Free Church standards upon this point. If anything practical could be suggested whereby one could show one's appreciation of the heroic beginnings of the Free Church and of the great principles for which that Church had ever striven, he, for his own part, would most gladly strive to give effect to it. But they were told that this measure might injure the Tree Church. He should be sorry to think that it would. What he looked forward to, and what he longed for, was not the absorption of the Free Church, not for the abstraction of adherents of the Free Church, but a treaty of union between these two Churches, in which the great traditions of the Free Church, and the interests of every individual minister of that Church, should be jealously safeguarded; and such a treaty of union he hoped to see brought about, and, he trusted, at no distant date. The only danger of injury to the Free Church, in his judgment, was, if the majority of the clergy should unhappily be led to persist in an agitation with which their congregations were not in sympathy—an agitation in which, he trusted, they would not persist. No one knew better than the leaders of that clerical movement in the Free Church how uncertain the majority they at present commanded was. Many clergymen of the Free Church had acquiesced in the cry for Disestablishment merely in despair of any other solution of the question. If an honourable solution of another kind should be presented he hoped and believed that the majority of the clergy of the Free Church would be found taking a course similar to that which their congregations would like them to take, and a course entirely in harmony with the great principles of the Free Church. It could do no harm, by passing this measure, to take a step in the direction of rendering the Established Church in Scotland a truly national institution. It could do no harm to render the endowments for the purposes of religion available in every part of the country. The Church of Scotland was a truly national and democratic institution. The history of the Church of Scotland was the history of Scotland, and its spirit was thoroughly in union with the spirit of the Scottish people. For the last 40 years the Free Church population of the Highlands had adhered with a fidelity which was touching to the great doctrine that there ought to be an Established Church, although their principles prevented them from having the benefit of the endowments in their own parishes. He knew nothing more touching in history than the way in which the Free Churchmen in the Highlands had adhered to their principles under the most trying conditions. It was on their behalf that he asked the House to read this measure a second time; and he appealed to the House not only on behalf of the Highlands, but on behalf of the laity of Scotland generally, who were sick of these brawls, to allow to be read a second time a measure which was intended to provide a peaceful solution for these ecclesiastical questions, by which Scotland had of late years been distracted. The hon. and learned Member concluded by moving the second reading of the Bill.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."—(Mr. Finlay.)

DR. CAMERON (Glasgow, College)

, in rising to move that the Bill be read a second time that day six months, said, that he felt less compunction in doing so in consequence of the assurance they had received from the hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Finlay) that the Bill, if passed, would confer on the Church of Scotland nothing she did not already fully possess, for if that were the case it was obvious that there was no pressing hurry to pass the Bill. He congratulated the hon. and learned Member on the skill with which he had marshalled his facts and arguments in favour of his proposition. He must say that while before he heard the arguments of the hon. and learned Gentleman he was rather inclined to agree with the opinion of the friend to whom he had referred, who had characterized his Bill as "a pill to cure an earthquake," after having heard them he felt rather inclined to describe the Bill as "a pill to cause an earthquake," because the hon. and learned Gentleman had told them that if it passed it would cast asunder the Free Church; that it would cause disruption in the ranks of the United Presbyterian Church; that the laity of the Nonconformist Bodies of Scotland would desert the clergymen; and that the most direful things would happen. Was a Bill which would produce all these results a small thing to ask the House to pass? The hon. and learned Gentleman had quoted the Duke of Argyll—and very properly—as a great authority upon ecclesiastical questions in Scotland. He told them that an acknowledgment of the Claim of Right was all that was required to produce re-union among the Presbyterian Bodies. Was that the opinion of the Duke of Argyll? He would remind the hon. and learned Gentleman of the remarks of his Grace in the House of Lords in a speech on the Patronage Bill of 1874. He said— I have always said there is no hope whatever of the re-union of the Free and Established Churches, except on the ground of Disestablishment; for, independently of principle, there are insurmountable physical difficulties in the way, Nine hundred ministers are supported by voluntary contributions; and what would become of them in the event of any admission that the causes of separation had been removed? Why, my Lords, they would starve."—(3 Hansard, [219] 829.) Although he did not entirely agree with the way in which his Grace put it, he thought that left no ground for the belief that the Duke of Argyll could now logically say that what was proposed in this Bill would bring about a union of the Free and the Established Churches. The debate, so far as it had gone, reminded him (Dr. Cameron) very much of what occurred when the House was asked to read the Patronage Bill in 1874. The objects for which that Bill was proposed and urged upon the attention of Parliament were much more defensible, in his opinion, than those of the Bill now before them; and what was the course which the present Prime Minister (Mr. Gladstone) took with regard to that Bill? He opposed it with very great earnestness and vigour. It was urged that that was a Bill which would increase the strength of the Established National Church of Scotland. Upon that point the right hon. Gentleman said— The Lord Advocate said that his intention is to strengthen the Church. But how? Why, by weakening the other religious Bodies. … by investing the present Established Church with such wealth and such unbounded liberty with respect to the interference of the Civil Courts that you will confer such a condition of popular privilege on the laymen of the Established Church that laymen of the Free and United Presbyterian Churches will be tempted to come back into the Established Church, and to leave their ministers to look cut for themselves or to starve."—(3 Hansard, [220] 1122.) Those arguments that were adduced by the Prime Minister in support of his opposition to the Patronage Bill he submitted applied with tenfold force to the present occasion. It was said by his hon. and learned Friend (Mr. Finlay) that the Constitutional Free Church Party throughout the Highlands were unanimous in their desire that this Bill should pass. What proof had they of that? A number of Petitions had been sent up; but how did they know that these Petitions had been signed after a full explanation of all the ins and outs of this Bill? They knew in regard to the Petitions on another Ecclesiastical Bill last Session that the Committee on Public Petitions stated that many of the signatures had been appended in the same handwriting; and the Secretary for Scotland would know that at least one of the Petitions from his own district had been analyzed, when it was found that, out of 3,053 signatures, upwards of 400 had been signed in the same handwriting, and upwards of 300 were signed by persons so ignorant of the ordinary form of signing that they signed themselves as "Mr.," "Miss," and "Mrs.," while of the 3,053 there were only 100 Dissenters. Yet that was one of the Petitions which had been produced as evidence of the overwhelming opinion on the part of the people of Scotland. His hon. and learned Friend told them that this Bill would produce union. That was exactly what they were told when the Patronage Bill was before the House; and what was the result of the Patronage Bill? The Prime Minister had described that, and had told them that, in the view of the Nonconforming majority of Scotland, the passing of the Patronage Bill was an attempt to buy and bid and piecemeal to bring within the walls those who had been ejected wholesale from the Establishment; that it was resented accordingly; and the Free Church was, by the passing of that Act, converted from its previous attitude of neutrality on the question of Disestablishment into the active advocacy of that measure. This Bill proceeded upon the Preamble that it was desirable to remove obstacles to the re-union of the Presbyterians of Scotland. He was willing to concede that Preamble, with certain reservations; but he must altogether deny that it justified the proposals embodied in the Bill. If the Presbyterians of Scotland constituted the whole population of that country, and if the different Presbyterian Bodies were agreed upon a basis upon which they could re-unite, and if a legislative ob- stacle alone stood in the way of their reunion, he did not deny that it would be perfectly proper for any hon. Member to bring in a Bill to that House in order to remove that obstacle. But the whole population of Scotland was not Presbyterian. The Presbyterian Bodies themselves were very far from being agreed as to any basis on which union between them could be accomplished. The obstacles which the Bill proposed to remove were obstacles which existed only in the minds of a very small section of one of the Presbyterian Churches; and to whatever extent union might be promoted by the proposals in the Bill, it could only be promoted at the expense of an equal amount of disunion and disintegration in another direction. If he could show that the Bill would not promote union among the Presbyterians of Scotland; that it would not remedy any grievance complained of by the Established Church, the Free Church, or the United Presbyterian Church; that it would at best, if it did anything, promote secession from the Free and the United Presbyterian Churches of a small minority of their membership; that that secession would strengthen the Established Church certainly; but that it would do so at the expense of weakening the Voluntary Presbyterian Churches of Scotland—if he could show that the utmost effect which the Bill could have would be to alter the lines of demarcation which now existed among Presbyterian Bodies in Scotland, but to leave the Presbyterians of that country at least as divided as they were at the present time—he thought he should have made out a case which would induce the House of Commons to pronounce a decided opinion as to the inexpediency of tinkering with the Church of Scotland for the objects proposed by the hon. and learned Gentleman, as it did a few days ago in the case of the Church in Wales. The Church of Scotland, so far as it was dependent on the public support, was supported, not by funds provided by the piety of our ancestors for that purpose, but out of funds which were public property. The teinds were not provided by the piety of our ancestors for the support of the Presbyterian Church. The teinds were provided by our Catholic ancestors for the support of the Roman Catholic Church, and from that Church they had been taken. As to those Churches in the Highlands to which the hon. and learned Gentleman referred, how were they supported? They were, to a large extent, supported by a Parliamentary grant. This Church being supported out of public moneys, the question of any reconstruction of it was one that affected not only Presbyterians, but all classes of Her Majesty's subjects who were interested in that public property; and he must say that any proposal to reconstruct the Church of Scotland on a basis which left a single section of the community—even if that section should include the entire Presbyterian Bodies—in unchallenged possession of all the rights and privileges at present enjoyed, appeared to him to be a step that would show a very great disregard of the rights of the non-Presbyterian Bodies in Scotland, and show an equal disregard of the rights and opinions of that very large body of Presbyterians who were in favour of the dissociation of Church and State in Scotland. But admitting, for the sake of argument, the principle of the Established Church and the desirability of removing every obstacle in the way of the reform of that Church, this Bill had not been introduced in response to any cry for reform on the part of that Church itself. His Grace the Duke of Argyll, to whom his hon. and learned Friend (Mr. Finlay) had referred, at a meeting held in Glasgow some months ago said— I defy any man, however clever and acute he may be, to find a hole in the panoply of armour whereby the freedom of the Church of Scotland is girt around by walls of security. If the Church was so free without any declaration, he did not see why they should pass a Declaratory Bill which would require new judicial interpretation before they knew the precise effect of it. Although he admitted perfectly the good faith and ability of the hon. and learned Gentleman, the House must not forget that the greatest difference of opinion had prevailed among legal and other experts in Scotland as to what the effect of this Bill would be. What was the lay opinion as to the requirements of the Established Church in Scotland? What was the opinion of her clerical spokesmen? The Committee of the Established Church on the relations between Church and State, whose Report was quoted in a Circular that had been sent round to hon. Members, arrived at a number of Resolutions in which the position of the Establishment was summed up. They declared that— In sundry Acts of Parliament, ratified and confirmed at the Revolution, the Courts of the Church of Scotland were declared to possess that exclusive jurisdiction in all that was spiritual within the said Church which the Bill recognizes as belonging to them. Within the last 40 years the Civil Courts of the Realm have repeatedly and emphatically confirmed that exclusive jurisdiction of the Church, and the Church has herself regarded such jurisdiction as her inalienable right. Under these circumstances, the Resolutions declared, the Church was in no need, on her own behalf, of such a declaration of her independence as was proposed in this Bill, and had had no part in suggesting it. That was the official position of the Church of Scotland. She was perfectly satisfied with her position. She believed that she already possessed everything that was offered to her under this Bill. The Committee went on to say— They cannot but regard with interest and sympathy the proposals to remove obstacles to the re-union of the Presbyterians of Scotland, which seeks by that declaration to remove doubts and difficulties from the minds of the Presbyterians. He did not question the justice or the moderation of that finding; but what did the Committee propose? It proposed that if this Bill were passed, the General Assembly of the Established Church should hold a conference with the other Churches in order to consider some basis on which she and they might be incorporated in one National Church. Did that not appear rather like putting the cart before the horse, to ask them to pass this Bill before any basis had been agreed upon? If that conference had taken place, and a basis of union had been arrived at, then the hon. and learned Gentleman would have been able to come to that House and assure them, not from hearsay or from impressions, but from the actual findings of the Church Courts assembled in the Conference what the views of the different Churches concerned were upon the subject. He would not have been obliged to refer to Petitions got up anyhow. He would have been able to produce the findings of the different Church Courts, and to say that it had been agreed that upon that basis union could be accomplished, and to ask the House to pass his Bill to remove the obstacles which stood in the way. That would have been a logical reason for passing the Bill; but to ask the House to pass a Bill before they knew that it would be of any good whatever in the way of removing the obstacles to union seemed to him proceeding in a false and vicious direction. If the other Churches had been silent, they might have assumed their assent; but he did not know whether it had struck the House that, while the hon. and learned Gentleman had given them a vast amount of information on various other topics, he had not told them what was the position which had been taken up by the representatives of the Free and United Presbyterian Churches in regard to this Bill. As to the United Presbyterian Church, whatever might be its theoretical tenets, it was practically a Voluntary Church. They had held a large Conference in Glasgow to consider that Bill, and had passed a number of resolutions. These resolutions affirmed that the Conference was convinced that the obstacles to the re-union of the Presbyterians of Scotland would not be removed by passing any such measure as that now proposed; that they deemed the passing of any such measure, in present circumstances, a great injustice; they were assured that the United Presbyterian Church would not entertain any proposal for continuing the public endowments for religious purposes, either by conferring them on a re-united Presbyterian Church, or by dividing them among the different denominations of the Christians in Scotland; and the Conference, in fact, was of opinion that the one way in which union could be brought about was on the basis of Disestablisment and Disendowment. The Free Church was a larger branch of the Presbyterian Church than the United Presbyterians, and was more closely allied to the Establishment in its tenets; and the hon. and learned Gentleman had told them that his Bill would place the Establishment exactly on the basis laid down by the Free Church in the Claim of Right. The hon. and learned Gentleman had told the House what Dr. Chalmers's views were; but it appeared to him that a great many things had happened since the days of Dr. Chalmers. The Committee of the Free Church on the relations between Church and State stated— Not only did the Free Church, come out from the Establishment, claiming to be the Church of Scotland free, but in coming out they necessarily created, and since then by God's blessing has increased around her, a great system of religious instruction, of congregational life and work, of domestic and missionary activity and opportunity. Moreover, the progress of years has led to the formation of new relations and new impressions as to duty and privileges. The hon. and learned Gentleman ignored the change that had taken place of late years in the attitude of the Free Church. What was the position of the recognized mouthpieces of that Church with regard to this Bill? The Committee of the Free Church on the relations between Church and State reported that they considered the proposals of the Bill deserved to be not only rejected, but condemned; that the proposals contained in the Bill constituted not merely a wrong, but something more, which the Committee abstained from characterizing; that the direction in which the Bill pointed would be found to lead only to now divisions, new strife, and new confusion; and that the Free Church must renounce the very meaning of the Disruption conflict if she was to acquiesce in the continued occupation by the Church now established of the recognition and the privileges which Establishment implied; and the Committee further pointed out that, in their opinion, there was but one mode in which union could be brought about, and that was on the basis of Disestablishment. That Report of the Committee came before the Commission of the Free Church Assembly, and the finding of that Body was even stronger. It appeared to the Commission that, so far as the Bill referred to the essential independence of the Church of Christ, it was inadequate and delusive; that, in reference to the reunion of Scotch Presbyterians, the Bill pointed in a direction misleading and impracticable; and that the passing of the measure, considered as a matter affecting Scotch Presbyterians generally, without their consent, and mainly in the interests of one of them, would be a now and grave example on the part of the Legislature of a complete disregard of the rights and interests and wishes of the Free Church, of Scotland. This Resolution was carried by 60 votes against 14. To sum up—the Established Church said that they already possessed all the rights which the proposal before the House was intended to confer—that the Bill was, in fact, illusory and delusive, so far as conferring any freedom on the Church of Scotland was concerned. The United Presbyterians characterized the measure as unfair, unjust, and illusory. The Free Church also said that the Bill should not only be rejected but condemned, and that to pass such a measure would be a great disregard of the interests, wishes, and feelings of the Free Church of Scotland. In a statement in support of the Bill issued to hon. Members an attempt had been made to minimize the importance of the finding of the Free Church Commission. It was stated that only a small number of the Members of the Commission were present, and that they took up an attitude inconsistent with the position of the Free Church which made the Protest of 1843. If the representative character of the meeting of the Commission were impugned, that appeared to him to be an argument for putting off the second reading of the Bill for six months, because, by that time, the General Assembly would then have had an opportunity of considering the measure and pronouncing an opinion upon it; and it would be no longer necessary to surmise as to what would have been the result if a larger meeting had been able to attend to the discussion of this Report. He must say that after the eulogium which the hon. and learned Gentleman passed upon the Fathers of the Free Church, and the admiration he expressed—and which all must share—for the manner in which they gave up their livings and emoluments, and came forth rather than remain in a Church which did not possess the rights and the freedom to which they laid claim, he must say that the charges of inconsistency against that Church came with a bad grace from the descendants of the men who remained within the Church, and who gave up the claims which were put forth in her name. But the practical question for the House to consider was not whether the position taken up by the Free Church was inconsistent with the Protest of 1843, but whether it was sufficiently consistent with the recent attitude of the Free Church on matters of Church policy to lead them to believe that it was one which would be likely to be departed from. When the Patronage Act was before the House of Commons for the first time, the General Assembly of the Free Church passed a Resolution in favour of Disestablishment, and ever since that time similar Resolutions had been yearly passed. The consistency of the Free Church in passing such Resolutions had been repeatedly challenged; but it had been as repeatedly vindicated, and even the promoters of the Bill must admit that the present attitude of the Free Church and its Commission was entirely consistent with the attitude which, in regard to these Disestablishment Resolutions, the General Assembly had for such a long time taken up. The hon. and learned Gentleman had referred to that feature of Presbyterian Church government, the large representation of the laity in their Church Courts; and he thought it a pity that when he did so, and spoke apparently with such confidence as to the opinion of the laity of the Free Church, he did not take the trouble to inform himself as to how the opinion of the laity in the Church Courts of the Free Church had been expressed on the matter of Church policy which would guide their vote with regard to his Bill. He had in his hand an analysis of the various votes on the Disestablishment Question which had been taken in the General Assembly of the Free Church since the year 1878. He found that during that time 1,457 votes of ministers were recorded in favour of the Disestablishment Resolutions against 333 on the other side. That was a majority of some four to one. Not only so, but 972 votes of elders or laymen were recorded in favour of the Disestablishment Resolutions against 288 in favour of the Established Church. That fact with regard to the lay elders showed, he thought, that the vast majority of opinion on the part of the lay as well as clerical members of the Courts of the Free Church was in favour of Disestablishment, and consequently against the proposals of the present Bill. The hon. and learned Gentleman had said that in the Highlands, at least, public opinion was unanimous upon the point; but an analysis of the voting of the members of the Highland Synods, as represented in the General Assembly, showed, he was told, that there was a majority of even Highland opinion, and, he believed, even a majority of lay opinion in the Highlands, as represented by the elders, had been recorded in favour of these Disestablishment Resolutions. On no previous occasion was the majority in favour of these Motions so largo as in 1885, when the Disestablishment Resolutions was passed by 406 against 67, and the vote on that occasion included 156 elders in favour, and only 37 against the Resolution. The Committee of the Established Church, in the Resolutions to which he had referred, recommended a Conference of the Churches to arrange a basis of union; but when it became apparent that nothing could be hoped for from the Conference of the Church Courts, and just as it became apparent, the Churchmen changed their tactics, and the defenders of the Church were now appealing to the laity, saying that it was a question to be decided by them, and that they must not be led by the clergymen on this matter. Well, the grounds on which attempts had been made to influence lay opinion and the Bill itself proceeded on very different lines. From the first there had been a demand by the Constitutional Party in Scotland that there should be an equitable participation among the different Presbyterian Bodies of the endowments of the Church. That was a matter which had not escaped the attention of the hon. and learned Gentleman who introduced the Bill. When he was before his constituents, he was expressly asked as to whether he would propose that the Nonconformist ministers should have a share of the endowments; and he expressed the opinion that the obstacles to union being removed, and union taking place, of course they would receive their share. Since the Bill had been before the country, several unofficial proposals for the participation in the Church funds had been brought forward; and in the appeals to the laity very great stress had been laid upon the certainty that the funds at present devoted to the Establishment would be participated in among all the Churches. He did not know precisely what might be intended; but the hon. and learned Gentleman had intimated that if his Bill were carried, and the Churches united on its basis, he would come again to Parliament with a measure intended to redistribute the ecclesiastical endowments of Scotland. He (Dr. Cameron) thought it would be better for them to have a complete scheme before them. In the interests of all concerned, it would be well to know what it was proposed to do with the endowments before they left the ministers of the various Nonconforming Churches at the mercy of the Established Church, which at present monopolized the endowments. He believed the effect of this Bill, were it passed, would be similar to that produced by the Patronage Act. That measure was brought forward to remedy a grievance felt by the members of the Established Church; and it was stated that it would strengthen the Establishment at the same time. It had done very little to strengthen the Church, for the amount of secessions from the Free Church had been as nothing, and the effect of the measure had been very great in stirring up strife. This Bill would have the same effect. If the attitude of Churchmen in connection with the former Act was deemed aggressive, their action now in connection with the present Bill must be regarded as doubly so, for the Bill owed its strength, not to any support it was receiving from the Constitutional Party in the Free Church, but to the support it was receiving from Churchmen, in the hope that the Church of Scotland would benefit by the secession from other Churches to which it was likely to lead. The very proposal of the declaration contained in the Bill was made to the General Assembly of the Established Church when the Patronage Bill was under discussion before it, and the General Assembly refused to sanction any such declaration on the ground that it could add nothing to the rights to which it laid claim, and would appear to throw doubts upon its possession of them. The Prime Minister made a statement during the last Election to the effect that no legislation adverse to the Church of Scotland would be undertaken during the present Parliament. He thought in fairness that it followed that no legislation adverse to the Free or United Presbyterian Churches should be permitted. Either the Bill effected nothing, as was argued, in which case it was unnecessary, superfluous, calculated to settle nothing, and to unsettle many things; or it effected some real change in the relations between Church and State in Scotland. If it made any such change, Parliament would, in passing it, set up a grave and dangerous precedent, proceeding on which they might find themselves called upon to engage in such a work of Church reconstruction as would be anything but congenial to the spirit of the Democracy of this 19th century. In no case could the Bill bring about any reunion between the Free and the United Presbyterian Churches and the Established Church of Scotland; and in no case could it bring about any reconstruction which could be regarded as final. Avowedly introduced in the interests of a small section of one of the Presbyterian Churches, it owed its danger to the support givent to it by aggressive Churchmen, who, without alleging the smallest grievance on their own part demanding redress, had moved heaven and earth to promote it. The Bill, which, it had been admitted, would have no practical effect so far as the rights and privileges of the Church of Scotland were concerned, was supported openly on the ground that it would strengthen the National Church at the expense of the Dissenting Presbyterian communities; and to pass such a measure would be an attack on the part of the Legislature on the Voluntary Churches, for its result, if any, would be to disintegrate and disunite them. He asked the House, therefore, on behalf of the Voluntary Churches of Scotland, to refuse to countenance any such an attack upon them by rejecting the second reading of the Bill.

Amendment proposed, to leave out the word "now," and at the end of the Question to add the words "upon this day six months."—(Dr. Cameron.)

Question proposed, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."

MR. PRESTON BRUCE (Fifeshire, W.)

, in rising to second the Amendment, said, he could not refrain from expressing his admiration of the speech in which the hon. and learned Member for the Inverness Burghs (Mr. Finlay) had moved the second reading of the Bill. He would not attempt to follow the arguments of the hon. and learned Member throughout, but would only make two observations upon points upon which the hon. and learned Member laid stress. The hon. and learned Mem- ber had tried to show the House that he had a certain amount of public support to his measure in Scotland. He did not think the hon. and learned Member was successful in showing that he had the support, to any considerable extent, in the Lowlands of Scotland; but, perhaps, he made out more of a case indicating support in the Highlands of Scotland, and that from persons outside of the present Establishment. He thought it was rather remarkable the way in which the hon. and learned Member put the position of the Free Church Highlanders. The hon. and learned Member said the Highlanders desired reconstruction and detested destruction. He dared say, if the question was put to them in that way, they would be inclined to favour a measure of this kind, so long as they were told that the alternative was absolute destruction of the Church, and no Church at all. That, of course, was not the position of those who opposed the Bill. Everyone had acknowledged that a layman, in reading over the Bill, would have some difficulty in saying what it would effect. It was of great interest to know whether the author of the Bill maintained that it would effect a great change, a small change, or no change at all. He could not say that the hon. and learned Member was very distinct upon that point. At one time he told them that his Bill effected such a change that the important judicial decisions which preceded the Disruption could not have taken place had the law stood in the way which the hon. and learned Member intended to place it. If this measure overturned these important principles, which were acted upon and affirmed over and over again at that time, then it was impossible to describe it as a small or unimportant measure. But in another part of his speech he understood the hon. and learned Member to say that it must still remain the duty of the Civil Courts to determine the limits of the jurisdiction of the Church Courts.


I did not say so.


said, he understood the hon. and learned Member to say something very much to that effect. He said it was "impossible, or next to impossible," that these questions could arise again.


I said it was practically impossible that under the De- finition Clauses of the Bill any questions as to spiritual matters could arise.


said, he must take the hon. and learned Member's word for that. He thought it was unnecessary to go further into the point, because it seemed to him that there were preliminary reasons why the House ought to reject the Bill. The Preamble stated that it was a Bill to remove obstacles to the re-union of the Presbyterians of Scotland; therefore, surely, there was no occasion to go on with that Bill, unless some primâ facie case could be made out to the effect that the Bill was likely to accomplish that object. The natural interpretation that anyone would put upon the phrase "reunion of the Presbyterians of Scotland" would be a re-union of the various Church Bodies in Scotland. Was that what the Bill promised?—a re-union, for instance, between the Free Church as a body and the Established Church as a body? He maintained that they had ample grounds for saying that there was no prospect whatever of the Bill leading to a re-union in that sense. In the year 1884 a Motion was adopted in the Free Church Assembly by 372 to 59 to this effect— That with a view to justice, peace, and re-union among- Presbyterians Disestablishment and Disendowment were essential. As to the United Presbyterians, surely it was unnecessary to labour the point. The position of the vast majority of that Church was this—that re-union could only take place after Disestablishment and Disendowment. The hon. and learned Member professed to know the principles of the Free Church better than the Free Church itself—a very extraordinary position for him to take up. The hon. and learned Member said that the judgments of the Church Courts were those of the Dissenting ministers only, and did not express the views of the laity connected with the non-established Churches; but at another time he argued that the system of government of the Scottish Churches was a democratic system, and that for this reason they might be safely intrusted with a large measure of spiritual independence without its meaning anything like priestly tyranny. The constitution of the non-Established Churches was quite as democratic as the constitution of Established Churches; therefore, the hon. and learned Member could not have the benefit of both these arguments. If these Churches were democratic in their constitution, then they were entitled to take the expression of their highest Courts as being the expression of the opinion of both clergy and laity. The Bill did not promise the reunion of the Churches as corporate bodies; but there was another sense in which re-union might be said to be promoted by the Bill. It might detach individuals or sections from one or other of these non-Established Churches, and unite them to the Established; but that was quite a different kind of reunion. The position of the hon. and learned Member with reference to this question was distinctly that of a small section of the Free Church. He (Mr. Preston Bruce) did not believe that the hon. and learned Member represented in this matter more than a small section of the Free Church. That small section produced a motion at the Free Church Assembly of last year, and the motion asked for a Declaratory Act very much on the lines of the Bill of the hon. and learned Member. Only 67 voted in favour of that motion, out of a total of about 500 members of that Assembly. If that was the kind of re-union contemplated by the Bill of the hon. and learned Member, surely those words which his hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow (Dr. Cameron) had quoted as having been used in 1874 by the Prime Minister were very much to the point. The House should carefully consider whether it was right to give facilities in the way proposed for detaching individuals or sections from another Church. And he quite agreed with his hon. Friend (Dr. Cameron) that the case for the Bill was much less strong than it was before the passing of the Patronage Act in 1874. Then there was a distinct grievance complained of which had been removed. Here there were no grievances at all. The Established Church said—"We have no need for a Declaratory Act of this kind." He hoped the attitude of the present House would be rather that of the Prime Minister in 1874 than that of the Tory Government of that year, because it was to be remembered that the Patronage Act was carried through by a Tory Government against the opposition of the Liberal Party. He be- lieved there was a desire in Scotland for union among Presbyterian Churches, and that desire existed not only among members of the Establishment, but also very widely among members of the non-Established Churches; but among those who desired that union there was a great line of demarcation. There were those who thought that the union could be brought about on the basis of the Establishment; there were others who thought that the union could only come about, if at all, after Disestablishment and Disendowment. He believed that many members of the Established Church themselves held that opinion, and among them they could count upon so high an authority as the Duke of Argyll. The great question of Establishment versus Disestablishment must be settled before the question of union could be settled; and, therefore, it was of importance to note what was the present position of the question of Disestablishment in Scotland. In November of last year the Prime Minister made an important speech, which all would recollect, on that subject. In that speech he placed Disestablishment at the "end of a long vista;" but he afterwards explained that that "long vista" meant the duration of the Parliament which was then about to be elected—that was to say the present Parliament—and many persons were of opinion that this was not a very long vista. That position taken up by the Prime Minister was reluctantly acquiesced in by those who desired a settlement of the question on the lines of Disestablishment; but he thought they might fairly make a strong appeal to the right hon. Gentleman and his Government, if they were pledged not practically to take up Disestablishment, at any rate not to make a move in another direction—they might, at any rate, ask that the status quo as between these parties should remain unaltered. He hoped he had shown some good reasons why this Bill should not be accepted. It offered no genuine prospect of re-union among the Presbyterian Churches; it removed no felt grievance now existing in the Established Church. On the other hand, it threatened unfairly to weaken and undermine the position of the Free Church in a manner which this House, he thought, so far from approving, should distinctly condemn.

MR. J. A. CAMPBELL (Glasgow and Aberdeen Universities)

We have heard a very excellent statement and defence of this Bill from the hon. and learned Member for the Inverness Burghs (Mr. Finlay), and we have heard criticisms of the Bill—

Notice taken, that 40 Members were not present; House counted, and 40 Members being found present,


, resuming, said: My hon. and learned Friend the Member for the Inverness Burghs (Mr. Finlay) has spoken on the subject of this Bill as a Free Churchman. I, Sir, wish to speak on behalf of those who are members of the Established Church, and to explain the position which that Church takes with regard to this Bill. The Bill was not suggested by the Church of Scotland, nor proposed in its behalf. It is proposed on behalf of those who would wish to be re-united to the Church; but to this Bill the Church gives, so far as it has had an opportunity to express its opinion, its cordial approval. We recognize in it a response to the invitation which the Church of Scotland has given for many years past for some movement towards union amongst the Presbyterians of Scotland. I am anxious to make that plain to the House; and, therefore, I have to ask the indulgence of the House while I refer to one or two facts in support of my statement. In 1870, before the abolition of patronage, the General Assembly recorded their hearty willingness and desire to take all possible steps consistently with the principles on which this Church is founded to promote the re-union of Churches having a common origin, adhering to the same Confession of Faith and the same system of government and worship. Then in 1874, after the passing of the Patronage Act, a Committee of the General Assembly, entitled the Committee on Union with other Churches, resolved to recommend that the General Assembly should, without further delay, formally approach the other Presbyterian Churches in Scotland with a view to union. They were of opinion "that in order to the accomplishment of this great object the Church of Scotland should be prepared to consider any basis of union which is consistent with its historic principles." In the following year the General Assembly, renewing the expression of their desire for co-operation with other Churches in all good works, declared themselves "ready to consider any suggestion which other Presbyterian Churches may make as to the removal of what they may feel to be obstacles in the way of re-union." Then, in 1878, the Assembly instructed their Committee to approach the other Churches on the subject of re-union; and in the following year, on receiving the report of their Committee, the Assembly recorded their regret that on the subject of union the replies did not encourage the hopes of further correspondence on the subject being followed with immediate results; but the Assembly renewed their expression of their hearty willingness and desire to take all possible steps consistent with the maintenance of an Establishment of religion to promote the re-union of such Churches having a common origin and holding the same standards. All formal action of the Church in the matter thus came necessarily to a close, at least for a time. This Bill may be regarded as an answer to the invitations which the Church made in those years. Why has this Bill appeared now? And how is it that its provisions have not been formulated before? These are natural questions; and I believe that satisfactory answers can be given. Let me premise, however, that the provisions, though not presented until now in the form of clauses of a Bill, have for a long time been spoken of in Scotland as what would be necessary to bring about reunion. What was said to be necessary was, in the first place, the abolition of patronage, and, in the second place, a Declaratory Act on the subject of spiritual independence. In truth, the minds of people were not unprepared for such a measure, which is shown by the fact that the appearance of the Bill has caused no surprise in Scotland. On the contrary, as my hon. and learned Friend who moved the second reading has shown, the Bill has been received with general expressions of approval. As my hon. and learned Friend said, the Secession, or Disruption, of 1843 was chiefly brought about by a division of opinion on the question whether the spiritual independence of the Church had been invaded and denied. Those who seceded said it had; those who stood by the Church said it had not. The Seceding party put their views into form in the Claim of Right. Those remaining in the Church agreed with the general propositions in that Claim, but not with its representation of what was implied in the decisions of the Civil Courts complained of. The Church party, equally with the Seceding party, maintained that the Church possessed an independent jurisdiction in spiritual things; but then they differed from them in holding that that jurisdiction had not been lost or compromised in the controversies of those days. As to the Claim of Right, those who adhered to the Church after the Secession admitted the major premiss, but not the minor. My hon. and learned Friend paid a very just tribute to the noble sacrifices made by those who founded the Free Church. I do not in any way dispute their claim to admiration. At the same time, I think it necessary to add that they were not the only parties who made sacrifices for their convictions. Although those who remained by the Established Church were not called upon to make sacrifices of the same kind, they did make sacrifices which were quite as difficult to make; they had to oppose what at the time was a popular movement, and had to face something like popular obloquy. I do not wish to argue the question as to the effect of the decisions of the Civil Courts on the spiritual independence of the Church, but simply to state the position of parties in the matter. What, then, happened to the Church? It had passed two Acts of Assembly, which, on appeal by those who felt aggrieved by them, had been declared by the Civil Courts to have been passed ultra vires of the Church, because interfering with civil rights. One of these was the Veto Act modifying patronage, and the other an Act giving to ministers of unendowed chapels the full standing in Church Courts of parish ministers. The Church, therefore, rescinded these Acts, which had been found to be irregular, and sought to attain in a legitimate way, by Acts of Parliament, the objects which had been aimed at by those Acts of Assembly. For the modification and the regulation of patronage they had Lord Aberdeen's Act; and for the institution of new parishes they had Sir James Graham's Act, under the operation of which the Church, by her own efforts, has founded and endowed 341 parishes since that time. Notwithstanding Lord Aberdeen's Act, the question of patronage was found after several years' experience to be not satisfactorily dealt with; hence there was a request to Parliament to abolish patronage, and transfer to the congregation the right of electing the minister. That took place in 1874, and it was asked for by the Church and given to the Church as an Act to remove a grievance which the Church felt, and by no means for the purpose of poaching on the domains of other Churches. It was, no doubt, felt to be a matter for congratulation that this relief to the Church would at the same time remove a difficulty which had kept many from returning to the communion of the Church. The Patronage Abolition Act removed entirely the cause of offence which had been the first origin of the Church's troubles; and hence it was that on the passing of that Act the General Assembly made new approaches to the other Churches on the subject of union. But the question of spiritual independence remained. As regards this, the Church maintains that it enjoys independence in its Church work to the fullest extent practicable—to a greater extent than any other Church can do. She can point to the decisions of the Civil Courts since 1843 as confirming this claim; therefore she requires for herself no new declaration of her spiritual independence, and she sees in what this Bill says on the subject nothing that is new. But others outside the Church—Free Churchmen—have still the impressions which were left on them by the old controversies, and by the allegations of the Claim of Right, and they desire a distinct statutory declaration on the subject. The Duke of Argyll, in the letter which has already been referred to, says their jealousy on this point is not only natural but laudable; that it is the homage of earnest men to the great principles on which the Presbyterian Church was founded, and which constitute its special glory in the history of Christendom. The desire for a Declaratory Act has been in the minds of many for some years past; but how is it that it has found this definite expression now? I believe we owe the appearance of the Bill to the agitation for Disestablishment. That movement has only served to show how strong is the feeling in Scotland for maintaining a National Established Church, and has suggested the removal of any obstacle to a re-union of those who on all essential points and in the matter of Church government think alike. All who are acquainted with Scotland will agree that the movement for Disestablishment has not been received with anything like popular enthusiasm. It has been practically a failure; and demonstration of that result was given last year by the Petitions, to which my hon. Friend has referred, against the Bill which proposed to disestablish and disendow the Church. I would remind the House that a few years earlier there was a remarkable Petition from Free Churchmen in the Highlands, signed by no fewer than 51,000; and another from ministers and other office-bearers of the Free Church, signed by 408 persons, asking that a Resolution then before the House for disestablishment and disendowment should not be entertained. The grounds stated were the following:— Because in the opinion of your Petitioners the removal of religion in its public profession in Scotland from the cognizance and support of the State, and the leaving of its moulding and advancement entirely to the action and influence of individuals or of voluntary associations, would be dangerous to the interests of true religion itself, and not less therefore to the just claims and influence of civil government. I believe these words express what is still the mind of Free Churchmen in the Highlands. I may be reminded that the Church of Scotland is very weak in some parts of the Highlands. That is true. But the Highlanders petition for this Bill. The question is not how many people belong to the Church, but how many wish to see the Church disestablished. It is the only possible Established Church for Scotland, and its members wish to see it made as comprehensive as is consistent with its principles as a Church. In this case it cannot be said, as was said by some the other day of another Church, that it is an alien Church, or connected with ideas of conquest, or the Church of a mere fraction of the population, or a Church in the government of which the people have not a voice. Whom will this Bill satisfy? It ought to satisfy all Presbyterians who have not drifted from their original Church principles. The Free Church, if satisfied on this point of spiritual independence, ought to welcome the hope of re-union with us in an Established Church. And as to the United Presbyterian Church, now that patronage is abolished, it may be re- minded of what was said by the founders of the Churches of which it is composed. It is stated in a republication of the Act and Testimony of the Burghers, 1747, that— Were the grounds of their secession happily removed they would account it one of the most singular felicities of their time to return with pleasure to the communion of the Established Church of Scotland. The Relief Church was originated by a few ministers in 1761, who formed themselves into a Presbytery— To afford relief to all who adhered to the constitution of the Church of Scotland as exhibited in her creed, canons, confessions, and forms of worship, but who disapproved of the law of patronage presently exercised in the Church. Those whom the Bill will not satisfy are the opponents of the union of Church and State. But it is to be remembered that nothing will satisfy them in this matter which will not offend the convictions of those—a much larger number of persons—who hold that the union of Church and State is of essential benefit both to the Church and to the State. We desire a re-union of Presbyterians—that is, a union again of those who have been united before, which was in a Church recognized by, and connected with, the State. It may be objected to this Bill that it does not show how the reconstruction of the Church, by the re-admission of those who seek by this Bill to remove obstacles to re-union, would be accomplished. But once the way is made open, the process of reuniting may surely be left with confidence to the Christian common-sense of the Churches. Parliament, at least, cannot prescribe in this matter. On this point I would refer hon. Members to the words of the Duke of Argyll, who says— I venture to add that, in my opinion, the support of this Bill by the laity of the Presbyterian Church, who desire to see as much union as can be obtained, ought not to be made dependent on preliminary negotiation of any kind. If we are satisfied that on its own merits it is right and just; if we are sure, as we may well be, that it is mainly a straightforward re-assertion of the old constitution of the Presbyterian Church, of the living and working constitution which our ancestors bled and fought for in common, we may well leave to time and reflection the effects which it will produce on the divisions which we all deplore. I feel that the members of the Church of Scotland owe their thanks to the hon. Member for bringing forward this Bill— that the whole of Scotland also owes him its thanks for what Lord Moncrieff, himself a Free Churchman, has characterized as a "spirited and patriotic attempt to settle a distressing controversy."

MR. S. MASON (Lanark, Mid)

I ask the indulgence of the House in rising for the first time, and I trust the favourable construction which you, Sir, asked from the Throne at the opening of Parliament should be put upon the actions of this House may be extended by the House to my remarks. The Bill now before the House for a second reading applies to Scotland only. It is a Bill proposing to improve the constitution of the Church of Scotland, which I regret we should be compelled to debate in this House. Religion, in my opinion, is far too sacred a matter to be mixed up with politics and debated by the House of Commons. But, Sir, so long as the existing relationship continues between Church and State we must, I fear, face the question, and seek for a happy solution. This Bill is said to be promoted by its authors in the interests of union between the throe Presbyterian Churches in Scotland. I do not perceive the slightest trace of evidence in the Bill to convince me that it would accomplish this much to be desired end. I rather think it would have an effect precisely the reverse. The title and Preamble states it to be a Bill to declare the constitution of the Church of Scotland—a most extraordinary and exceptional title. Why? The constitution of the Church of Scotland is well enough understood already, and requires no such declaration as is proposed. A Church with a history and a life extending over from two to three centuries should be well known to the people of Scotland, and to assume that they stand in need of an Act of Parliament to declare it is not by any means complimentary to their intelligence. Much is made of the question of spiritual independence, which to many Members of this House may appear somewhat puzzling. But it is well understood in Scotland, and there is no difficulty whatever in learning whether it does or does not exist in the Established Church. In connection with this question of spiritual independence this Bill makes a feeble attempt to solve what has hitherto proved insoluble—namely, to free the Church from State control, and yet to leave her dependent upon the State support. The decisions of the Church Courts are not, in future, according to this Bill, to be subject to review by the civil power, although these may, and would most certainly, carry with them the material welfare of individuals arising out of the temporalities of the Church. The idea is preposterous, and all such attempts to revive an ecclesiastical hierarchy must be firmly suppressed. The Free Church claim for spiritual independence is manifestly the foundation of this Bill. But the Free Church ministers of 1843 sacrificed their livings to obtain their freedom and to gain spiritual independence. This Bill seeks to confer the same privilege by sacrificing the first principles of civil government. It has long been the dream of a small section of the Free Church that they should have what this Bill pretends to bestow, and it looks remarkably like as if this was an effort put forth to build a golden bridge whereby they might return to the bosom of the Established Church. But I think you will agree with me that all such attempts to strengthen one branch of the Church by first weakening another branch by aid of an Act of Parliament deserves to fail, and may, I think, be characterized as a policy of meanness. No doubt, legislation is much wanted to allay strife and the rancorous bitter feelings now unhappily prevailing in country districts. But this Bill would aggravate rather than tend to soften the strained conditions of society in many rural parishes in Scotland. Three-fourths of the people, I may safely say, are Presbyterians, having one faith, one creed, one baptism. But, unfortunately, in consequence of the secessions during the last 150 years, and the great Disruption of 1843, when 400 ministers of the Church of Scotland nobly gave up their livings for conscience sake the Church is now divided into three parts—the Established, the Free, and the United Presbyterian Churches, all professing the same creed, and practically preaching the same doctrine, causing an enormous waste of men and money. All the country North of the Caledonian Canal may be said to be ministered to by the Free Church. In the counties of Ross, Cromarty, Sutherland, and Caithness only one in 61 of the population of these counties is a member of the Es- tablished Church. In five parishes—namely, Carnock, Gairloch, Shieldaig, Barras, and Lochs, having a population of 11,454 souls, and the value of the livings amounting to £1,049, there are five clergymen, ministering to only 22 communicants, and one of these parishes has only two members on the communion roll. Matters are certainly not so bad in the South of Scotland; but even there they are not at all satisfactory. I know of one parish within 30 miles of the Border where there are only 400 souls, all told, with three ministers and three churches. These facts show very clearly that there is a strong case for union—what I term an incorporating union, which is much wanted—but not one of absorption such as this Bill so unworthily proposes. This Bill, if it were carried out, would leave many ministers and their families to starve. I admit that the remedy is difficult, but it is not impossible. The question reduces itself, so far as this House is concerned, to a matter of money. Well, what are the facts as to the emoluments of the Church of Scotland? Briefly stated, the teinds or tithes, and other national sources of income, amount to £350,000 a-year—certainly not a large sum to quarrel over, especially when you compare it with the amount raised annually in Scotland voluntarily for religious purposes. The Established Church raises annually in this way £300,000, the Free Church £600,000, the United Presbyterian Church £400,000, and the other denominations I estimate about the same as the United Presbyterian Church—namely, £400,000. This gives the handsome total of £1,700,000. Adding to that the amount received by the Establishment from State aid, we have a sum of £2,050,000 raised annually for religious purposes in Scotland. But it will be seen that the sum contributed by the State is only one-sixth of the whole. I consider that if an incorporated union could be formed on a basis satisfactory to all denominations, the small amount now in dispute could be saved twice over, and the difficulty could be easily surmounted. I think it the duty of every patriotic Scotsman to labour for the re-union of the Churches, and thus promote the high and holy ends of their common Christianity; but I shall vote against this Bill, because I believe it will prevent that union.


I quite agree with the hon. Member who has just sat down that we should labour for the union of the Presbyterian bodies in Scotland; but, unfortunately, I disagree with him as to the methods by which it is to be brought about. I wish to explain the course which the Church of Scotland has taken from the first in regard to this question of union. The hon. Member said that we have had the Scottish Church for 300 years, and surely we knew what her constitution is, and her laws, and her spiritual independence. It is true we have had the Church for 300 years, and it has year by year more endeared itself to the people of Scotland; and I think that it will appear shortly, if it has not appeared now, that the Scottish people are determined to keep that Church, which is a thoroughly democratic Church, and which allies itself with every wise and popular movement. The hon. Member for Glasgow University (Mr. A. J. Campbell) has quoted declarations by the Assembly of the Scottish Church to show that from the first, long before this Bill was brought in and talked of, it had been anxious and willing to use every possible means of re-union with Presbyterian bodies, and to act cordially and generously towards other bodies; and others might be added to his list. I may say, in this connection, that a more unfair charge has never been made against any Church than that which I have heard several times in this House, and sometimes out of the House, that the Patronage Abolition Act of 1874 was brought forward with some keen desire to benefit the Church at the expense of other Churches. I will undertake to say, having known the whole action of the Church and the Assemblies from the very first, that no Act was ever promoted or brought into this House in a more honest, more honourable, or a more thoroughly straightforward manner than the Patronage Act. I may say also that the passing of that Act has removed the main objection taken, and fairly taken, by members of the Dissenting Bodies of Scotland to union with our Church, and that, taken as a whole, it has answered its purposes admirably well. The appointments under the Patronage Act of 1874 have been almost uniformly wise ones, and the disputed settlements have been very few. In the year 1873 the General Assembly passed a Resolution, in which they renewed the expression of their hearty willingness and desire to take all possible steps, consistent with the maintenance and support of an Established Church, to promote co-operation in good works and the reunion of Churches having the same faith and Church government. This House will be surprised to learn that the three Presbyterian Bodies are practically one in government, one in Confession of Faith, and one in their form of worship; and notwithstanding that there is more ecclesiastical arguing, more fighting, and more quarrelling between these three bodies than one can imagine from that point of view, I think that we, as Churchmen, certainly owe a debt to the hon. and learned Member for the Inverness Burghs for having introduced this Bill. I do not deny that this Bill is introduced in the interests of the Free Church, but because it is introduced in the interests of the Free Church that is no reason why it should not be heartily welcomed; and it will certainly relieve the Church of difficulties which it is supposed to labour under. So far we shall give it our most hearty support. With regard to the action of the Church to other Churches, it has been one of universal friendliness, generosity, and cordiality, and I believe that there is at this moment a most earnest desire on the part of all sections in Scotland to see this Bill passed, in order that there may be a basis of union upon which the Churches can open negotiations. If there is one point upon which I concur with the hon. and learned Member who introduced the Bill, it is that the people of Scotland have resolved that their Church shall be reformed, if you will, and coalesced with other Churches, but that they will not lose that Church, for which they entertain the profoundest respect, and which has for 300 years uniformly placed itself on the side of freedom and of the people. [Cries of "No, no."] Some hon. Gentlemen behind me do not agree with this, but I think their acquaintance with the history of Scotland cannot be very deep. I repeat, if there is one Church which has uniformly placed itself on the side of freedom, and on the side of the people, it is the Church of Scotland; and although I do not object to Gentlemen having their own opinions in regard to Disestablishment, I am thoroughly convinced that the people of Scotland have made up their minds that they will, if possible, reform their Church, and that under any circumstances they will maintain the union of Church and State, which is not only a part of their own principles, but is a fundamental principle of the Free Church, and, I think it may also turn out, of other Presbyterian bodies as well.


said, he desired to make some points of the Bill clearer to the minds of hon. Members who represented places South of the Tweed. In Scotland, it must be remembered, there were a certain amount of subtleties which the people delighted in cuddling, as it were; and in these subtleties, which might not be altogether patent or visible to those born South of the Tweed, they had the foundation of a great many of the differences which unfortunately afflicted the Presbyterian Churches of Scotland. When patronage was first established in the Reign of Queen Anne, in 1712, it was not of the character of the patronage repealed in 1874, but grew to it. At the time it was first proposed, Church extension then, as now, was going on, and pious persons founded and endowed churches; and those who did so, and their representatives and heirs, thought themselves entitled to present to the temporalities of these churches. Later on, the State was given the power to support the temporalities of the Church, and to support under the Act of Patronage simply those who had been inducted to the temporalities and not to the spiritual part of the Church government. During what were called the "dark ages" of the Church they found that by successive enactments, and by the general feeling of the majority of the people, and by the Church Courts, they leaned rather to the view that the State should have a certain jurisdiction which was never contemplated by the Act of Union, or the three Acts ending 1560. At the beginning of the present century Dr. Chalmers, in the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, proposed to abolish the Act of Patronage because many eminent members of the Church argued for many years against the prin- ciples which had gradually crept into the Church. The Disruption movement, beginning in 1832, was a protest against the gradual encroachments of the State. He sincerely honoured those gentlemen of the Free Church who took upon themselves the step of 1843, because they thought it was conscientiously their duty to do it. Then followed the Patronage Abolition Act of 1874, and what they had now got to consider was the reason for this Bill. There was in the minds of some of those who made such sacrifices in 1843 the idea that the taint of what the State had done before still existed in the Church of Scotland, and that, perhaps, the decisions then given were still binding, and that the State had a certain amount of authority over the spiritual Court, which members of the Church denied. This Bill, therefore, was to make a statutory declaration that these things did not exist. Everyone must hope and trust that the Bill would be the basis upon which the great Churches in Scotland might again unite. He felt deeply upon this subject, because he had so many friends belonging to these different Churches who had supported him, and who were determined to always support the Church through thick and through thin. The Petitions which he had presented in the House from a large body of the Free Church in his part of Scotland reiterated this feeling, that if they could only see a means by which they would be able to have a basis of union with the Church of Scotland, that was the dearest wish they could have. He thought that if the laity themselves were able to give full expression to their own opinions they would find that the Church Courts, under these circumstances, would be willing to work for union with the laity of the Free Church. They had heard it stated in that House that they should be doing a great deal of damage to the other Churches by passing this Bill. The great desire of the people of Scotland was that a union of the Churches should take place, because they saw that by such a union they might so far advance the work of their Master. Some hon. Members had shown horror at this Bill, yet they did not seem to show any horror at all at the terrible destruction which would take place if the Church of Scotland was disestablished. He believed the people of Scotland, as a whole and generally, would never willingly see their Church disestablished and disendowed. He trusted that the House would see its way to pass the Bill. In his opinion, it was not a dangerous measure, and he felt perfectly certain that it would do good. He might claim that in this House, which had been elected on democratic principles, the first duty that they should do would be to seek to follow out the wishes of the great majority of the Scottish people, and endeavour, at all events, to give them a basis upon which to unite.

MR. BEITH (Glasgow, Central)

The principle which this Bill proposes to accentuate and confirm is that known in Scotland as the principle of spiritual independence. It is the same principle as was contended for in England under the title of "liberty of conscience." In Scotland, from causes peculiar to the nation, the long battle in vindication of this principle has been fought in a manner more concrete than in England; but in both countries the issue so far has been the same. In England to her Nonconformist struggle, and in Scotland to the unflinching contest maintained by the Evangelical section of the Presbyterian Kirk, which has always represented the majority of the Scottish people—to these two contests, each extending over centuries, do the people of both countries largely owe their civil and religious liberties. The principle, therefore, which forms the subject-matter of this Bill is a Liberal principle of the first importance. I desire to point out to this House that the privileges represented by this principle have always been claimed as an inherent right. They are not to be conferred by Statute, and they ought not to be accepted as the gift of any Government, whatever might be its character or constitution. All free men, either as individuals or in association, are called upon to vindicate their rights in this respect, and to act upon them irrespective of consequences. The Bill before the House deals with this principle on purely Scotch lines, and for a Scotch purpose, and I desire in a few sentences to make the ecclesiastical position in Scotland intelligible to the House of Commons, if that is at all possible, and to show what the true object of this Bill is. From the Reformation downwards the Presbyterian Church of Scotland has claimed as a Divine right independence of all civil authorities in matters purely spiritual, and she has also claimed to be the sole judge of what subjects did and did not come within the scope of that designation, at the same time taking the risk of consequences. But the House must understand that the Presbyterian Church of Scotland is not au hierocracy. The ministers do not form the Church, nor do they govern or control its procedure. It is composed of the ministers and people of Scotland. The constitution is representative and, if I may use the term, democratic; and its proceedings, by means of its venerable Courts, represented the conscientious convictions of the Christian people, and therefore carried in concrete form a moral power and influence, which accounted largely, if I may be permitted to say so, for the moral and intellectual advancement of the nation. Well, from the Reformation downwards the principle of spiritual independence or liberty of conscience has been claimed by the people of Scotland through the action of their Church, and this claim has been consistently made, irrespective of State Establishment and Endowment. Prior to the Revolution Settlement of 1690, the Presbyterian Church of Scotland was disestablished and disendowed and re-established and re-endowed many times, and in these years of trouble—during the Reign of the Stuart Dynasty — the people of Scotland shed the blood of their best and noblest sons, as also did England, in vidication of this great principle. I wish now to show the bearing of these remarks upon the Bill before the House. At the Revolution Settlement of 1690 a new order of things was established in Scotland. The Presbyterian Church then entered into a compact with the State, securing, as she believed, by Statute her Presbyterian form of Church government, and also this fundamental principle of her spiritual independence. The Bill now under review has reference to this compact, and proposes to declare that the constitution of the present Established Church of Scotland, as established in 1690, admitted the absolute spiritual independence of that Church. The very fact that this measure has been brought forward by the Gentlemen who promote it—for it has never been asked for by the people of Scotland—admits that the spiritual independence of the present Established Church of Scotland has been denied. After the Settlement of 1690, a very few years only were required to prove that the Church was mistaken in believing that she had secured her distinctive principle of spiritual independence by the constitution then presented to her. The State would not, could not, allow that the Church, which it had established and endowed with national funds, should assert independence and become, as the State viewed the case, a regnum in regno. Accordingly, in 1712, Church patronage was reinstituted, and thereupon began a struggle with the State in vindication of the Church's distinctive principle, which led to the Secessions of 1733, 1769, and to the great Disruption of 1843. I wish the House to mark that the legal decisions of 1842, which led to that last and supreme event, settled once and for all the constitutional relation of the present Established Church to the State in view of the Compact of 1690, and the purpose of this Bill is to neutralize these legal decisions, and also, as I shall show, to negative the finding of this House in 1843. The law in 1842 was laid down in carefully considered decisions, pronounced over and over again, and confirmed in each case by the House of Lords, to this effect— That whereas the Church enjoyed certain privileges and functions which were purely ecclesiastical, yet, inasmuch as statute bestowed these, the Church, as an establishment, was the creature of statute, and that therefore it was for the Supreme Court of Law to interpret the statute on which its functions rest. Well, baffled in every Court of Law in the Kingdom, the Church, as a last resource, approached this House in January, 1843, and presented her well-known Claim of Right—a document which the Bill before the House has everything to do with, but which, for reasons best known to the promoters, it prefers to ignore. The House of Commons, on the Motion of the Prime Minister of the day—that great and conscientious statesman, Sir Robert Peel—refused even to entertain the Church's claim, as being entirely out of the question. On that occasion Sir Robert Peel used these words— There is a complete distinction between a Church that is voluntary and independent and one that is established by the State. Take the case of the Roman Catholics, or any of the Protestant Dissenters in this country, who are not connected with the State by way of establishments; their right, so far as voluntary jurisdiction is concerned, is quite supreme, and we do not attempt to interfere with it. Those who choose to submit to it, in consequence of their connection with any such denomination, have a perfect right to do so; but if a Church choose to have the advantage of an establishment, and to hold those privileges which the law confers—that Church, whether it be the Church of Rome, or the Church of England, or the Presbyterian Church of Scotland, must conform to the law."—(3 Hansard, [67] 502–3.) The House emphatically affirmed this view of the case in 1843, and the question now before the House is—Will it stultify that decision by consenting to read this Bill a second time? And, further, there is also this other question—Will it consent to legislation for neutralizing these legal decisions of 1842 at the request of the Gentlemen who are the promoters of this Bill? I do not believe the House will do anything of the kind. At this stage I might well leave the case in the confident expectation that the House will reject the Bill; but, in common fairness and justice, something more has to be said about this measure. As we all know, the result of the decision of the Law Courts in 1842, and of this House, was the Disruption of the Church of Scotland; 500 ministers resigned their livings, their churches, and their comfortable homes, suffering the loss of all things for conscience sake, and for the vindication of this principle of spiritual independence which they believed concerned, on the one hand, the honour of their great King and Head, and, on the other, the spiritual, moral, and intellectual well-being of their countrymen. If I may be allowed a personal allusion, I would say that it is my proudest thought that it was my lot to be a sharer in that great event. My father was one of that band of noble Christian patriots, and as one of a large family it was my honour to share with him in the deprivations of that time. I can therefore speak from experience on this subject, and I cordially recognize the eloquent terms in which the hon. and learned Gentleman and others have referred to that great event. Well, at this time of day, the Bill before the House proposes that the State should now yield to the present Established Church the entire ground of contest as between the civil authorities and the Church in 1843. It declares, in effect, that the State and the party in the Church of Scotland who acquiesced in its contention in 1843 were wrong, and that the party who now form the Free Church were legally and constitutionally right. The natural sequence from this admission surely is that the Bill should provide some material restitution for the wrong done to the Free Church party in 1843.


I rise to Order. It seems to me that the hon. Gentleman is not in Order. The 145th Standing Order says that a Member is not to read his speech.


It is an undoubted Rule of this House, and has been repeatedly acted upon, that a Member is not entitled to read his speech, though he may refer to his notes.


I was only following the example of hon. Gentlemen who preceded me. The statement I have to make is not an easy one, and cannot well be spoken offhand, and I was anxious to state my view in the best way I could; but I will endeavour to offend as little as possible. I have said that the Bill admits that the party who formed the Free Church were right, and that the State, in accepting the legal decisions of 1842, was wrong, and that the natural sequence of these admissions was that the Bill should provide some restitution to those who suffered the wrong in 1843. But nothing of the kind is even hinted at in this Bill. The Bill ignores the very existence of the Free and United Presbyterian Churches. Its promoters have not even consulted with these Churches, and I would like the House to note that fact. The Bill has been framed and brought before the country by no one knows who, except the hon. and learned Gentleman who has brought it before the House. The privileges conceded by it are bestowed upon a Church which ignored the principle of spiritual independence in 1843, and which thereby entered upon the livings, the churches, and the homes of the 500 protesting ministers. But the Bill does more. It proposes to award to the Established Church the civil function which has hitherto been exclusively exercised by the Supreme Law Court in Scotland. It places the entire parochial arrangements of Scotland at the absolute disposal of the present Established Church, which repre- sents the minority of the nation. That is a power never before vested in the Church of Scotland, oven in its best days. It has always been exercised by the Court of Session as the representative of the entire nation. Now, the question comes to be—What is the reason for this marvellous and spontaneous legislation? The nation has never asked for this measure; neither, we are assured, does the Church require it. The reason for bringing forward this measure is not far to seek. This Bill has been designed and was promoted in pursuance of a policy initiated in 1874 by the Party opposite. Its object is to strengthen and give permanence to the Established Church of Scotland at the expense of the Free Church and the United Presbyterian Church, both of which exist in vindication of the great principle of spiritual independence, which the Established Church found it convenient in 1843 to ignore. Money has been liberally supplied by Gentlemen representing the Party opposite, and every house in Scotland has been canvassed and called upon by emissaries paid by funds forthcoming for the purpose, and the signatures of children and women and of every person who could sign has been put to Petitions to be carried to this House. I will not pursue that matter; but these Petitions and their meaning are well understood in Scotland. The policy of 1874, which sought to bring back the people of Scotland into communion with the Established Church by rescinding the Patronage Act of 1712, has proved a failure. It was believed that the Act of 1712 had caused the Disruption of 1843, and also the Secessions of 1733 and 1769; whereas that Act only afforded to the Courts of Law, under certain conditions, opportunity to interfere with what the Church believed to be her spiritual independence. The Bill now before the House proposes to crown this policy of 1874 by yielding to the present Established Church the entire ground of contention as between the State and the Presbyterian Churches of Scotland since the Reformation; and if it passes into law, the Church of Scotland will not only be in possession of the entire national endowments, but it will become possessed of absolute and uncontrolled ecclesiastical power in the Kingdom of Scotland. Those of us who have had to fight the battle of the Liberal cause in the last General Election can form a very good idea of what all this would mean. Upon the non established sections of the Church—tho Free and United Presbyterian Churches—tho Bill will perpetuate a manifest injustice, and for that reason it will of necessity infallibly fail to attain and accomplish the object and end for which it has been brought forward by its promoters. The following facts respecting churches in Scotland may interest the House: — We have in Scotland 3,700 Protestant churches; this means a church and a minister for every 1,000 men, women, and children of the Protestant population. It is calculated that one in five was about the number that could attend church at any one given time, on the assumption that the whole population were church-goers, which, of course, is not the case, nor anything like the case. We have, therefore, in Scotland a Protestant church and a minister for every 200 of the population capable of attending church at any one time. Of these 3,700 churches, 600 are claimed by other denominations than the Presbyterians. The remaining 3,100 constitute the old Presbyterian Church of Scotland. All of these churches hold the same doctrines, have the same form of worship, and claim the same ancestry. The entire National Church endowments, with the Church buildings and land, are in the exclusive possession of 1,000 of these churches, and the remaining 2,100 have been erected and are maintained exclusively by voluntary effort. Five hundred of these voluntary churches are attached to the Established Church; rather more than 1,000 of them represent the Free Church, and about 600 the United Presbyterian Church. It may interest the House to know that these two last-named sections of the old Presbyterian Church of Scotland supply religious ordinances in every corner of the country where population exists, and also in many parts of the heathen world, at a cost exceeding £1,000,000 sterling per annum. Between them these two Churches alone have raised and spent for the good of Scotland and of the world, during the last 42 years, the vast sum of £27,565,311; and, besides, they have had to pay their share of about £2,000,000, raised by local rates, for building and repairing Established churches and manses during these years. This Bill actually proposes to disfranchise those Churches, which carry on this vast Christian work at their own expense, and to place the exclusive and uncontrolled ecclesiastical power in Scotland into the hands of the present Established Church. I admit that, in doing this injustice, the Bill professes to do it in order that good might come. It professes to aim at the re-union and reconstruction of the old Presbyterian Church of Scotland. The people of Scotland are naturally much dissatisfied with the waste of men and money induced by the rivalry of the Established and non-Established Churches in the country. Reconstruction, and concentration of the old Presbyterian Church is much desired; but the method which this Bill proposes will never secure that end. There is but one way whereby a cordial reunion and co-operation among the Churches in Scotland can be arrived at, and that is by legislation providing for equality in the eye of the law in all Christian denominations. The Bill before the House can only aggravate the existing evils, and lead to "confusion worse confounded;" and therefore for this reason, certainly not the least of the others I have given, I trust the House will not read this Bill a second time.

MR. J. H. A. MACDONALD (Edinburgh and St. Andrews Universities)

said, he had listened to the speeches of hon. Gentlemen in the hope of getting some instruction as to the Bill, and he had also waited with some patience to hear an expression of opinion from someone on the Treasury Bench on so important a measure. He should have imagined that, on a matter really connected with the future of the Church of Scotland, they might have expected to get some leading, if not some light, from Gentlemen on the Treasury Bench. No fewer than 10 hon. Members representing Scotch constituencies sat on that Bench, and he thought he was safe in saying that no one of those hon. Members succeeded in getting into the position which gave him the opportunity of sitting upon the Treasury Bench, without his mind and soul being very much exercised during the Elections upon all questions relating to the Church Establishment in Scotland. He doubted not but that these hon. and right hon. Gentlemen had firmly and distinctly made up their minds as to the course they were prepared to take; but it would be well that we should hear their declarations in that House. The hon. and learned Member who moved the second reading of the Bill considered it a most important measure for the purpose of sustaining the Church of Scotland, and he was inclined to think the hon. Gentleman below the Gangway who had spoken against it objected to it on exactly the same ground. Perhaps their surprise was not justified at the silence of the hon. and right hon. Members on the Treasury Bench when they considered the history of the Liberal Party, especially as connected with their great Chief, upon the question of the Established Church of Scotland. The whole tendency of their utterances at the General Election was that this great question, which affected Scotland more deeply than other questions which could possibly come before the House during the present generation, was a question on which they were to get no light or leading from the Leaders of the Liberal Party. It was to be left to be fought out in a parochial fashion, by means of resolutions and Petitions and majorities here and there. Then, as he understood, the Leaders of the Liberal Party would be found ready to deal with the question. The noble Marquess (the Marquess of Hartington) announced that as the great and grand policy of the Liberal Party a good many years ago; the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister since adopted it as being the right policy, and it was quite evident that those who followed him in other matters were prepared to follow him in that. He was inclined to think, however, that there was another reason for the silence on the Treasury Bench, and that was that hon. and right hon. Gentlemen on the Treasury Bench were extremely anxious that there should be no risk of the debate not resulting in a division, and, therefore, they were unwilling to occupy the time of the House in making speeches. Although that was the position they might take up, it would be wrong in others to follow their example. It would be well for hon. Members, many of whom know not very much about Scotland, and still less about Scottish ecclesiastical matters—an observation which, he feared, must apply to several of the hon. Gentlemen who represented Scottish constituencies, and who had a seat on the Treasury Bench—that a word should be said for the purpose of letting them know how the case really stood in Scotland; because if any hon. Member thought the case of the Church of Scotland could be fairly and honestly dealt with on the same footing as the Church of Ireland was dealt with, they were very much mistaken indeed. None of the arguments that were used against the Church of Ireland applied to the Church of Scotland. The leading arguments against the Irish Church were that its doctrines were alien to those held by the great mass of the people, and that those doctrines of a minority had failed to convert the majority. The Church of Scotland did not profess a doctrine alien to the mass of the people, nor was it the Church of the minority. It was admitted on all hands that the doctrines of the Church of Scotland were exactly the same as those of other great Presbyterian Churches whose object had been for years, and evidently still was, to destroy the Church of Scotland if they could. But there was another fact probably unknown to the hon. Members of the House. He thought it necessary to state it, because he had reason to be aware it was not generally known, that the position of the Church of Scotland towards the State was totally different from the position held by the Church of England towards the State. In England, the Sovereign was the Head of the Church; in Scotland, on the contrary, not only was the Sovereign in no sense the Head of the Church, but upon the occasion of every General Assembly Her Majesty's Representative heard the declaration that the Church had one Head, and one Head only. That statement was accepted by Her Majesty's Representative. The Church of Scotland, in its doctrines, agreed with the great mass of the people. Who were the people who differed? Principally and mainly the Roman Catholics and the members of the Episcopalian Church of Scotland. But the only declaration they had had from the greatest ecclesiastical authorities in Great Britain upon Disestablishment had declared dead against it. As regarded the Episcopal Church of Scotland, no one would say that the people who accepted the ministration of the Episcopal Church of Scotland desired that the Church of Scotland should be disestablished and disendowed. That being so, he ventured to say, after listening to the speech directed against it, that they were the very strongest arguments which could be used in its favour. Take, in the first place, the views expressed by the hon. Member for Glasgow (Dr. Cameron), who moved the Amendment to the second reading. What did he say? That the recognized mouthpiece of the Free Church of Scotland did not reject this Bill, but condemned it. That sounded very strong, and as if they were going to come forward immediately with some very powerful reason and argument to justify such a statement. What was the reasoning, and what was the argument? The reasoning, evidently, was that the Bill was not merely a wrong, but something worse, which those who expressed themselves in that way thought so bad that they would abstain from characterizing it. Let him say, in the first place, that anything more vague than that could hardly be conceived; in the second place, that anything more general than that could hardly be conceived; and, in the third place, that anything more abusive than that with reference to a Church could hardly be conceived. There was hardly from beginning to end one trace of reasoning or argument. But the hon. Gentleman the Member for Lanarkshire (Mr. Mason), who spoke afterwards, gave expression to that which the hon. Member for Glasgow (Dr. Cameron) said he and his Friends would abstain from characterizing.


said, he did not say anything of the sort. The observation in question he quoted from the Report of the Committee of the Free Church, and he did not express any opinion of his own.


said, he presumed the hon. Gentleman, in quoting from a Committee of the Free Church, thought he was quoting the best possible argument he could get, else why did he quote this expression?


For the purpose of showing the attitude of the Free Church on the question.


said, he presumed the hon. Gentleman had great respect for the opinion of the Free Church Committee, and for their powers of reasoning and argument. [Dr. CAMERON: Hear, hear!] Their argument was that the Bill was something more than a wrong which they abstained from characterizing. The hon. Member for Lanarkshire went further, and used an expression which the hon. Gentleman's Committee did not choose to use. He said it was a Bill which was characterized by meanness. He should like, again, to have had some reasoning upon that matter. It was admitted on all hands that this Bill was declaratory. It declared a thing which already existed, for the purpose of convincing the minds of those people who, from historical traditions, were in doubt as to the actual position of the Church. And now they were told that a Bill which only did that was a meanness. He thought such argument as that very plainly indicated the weakness of the case of the Mover of the Amendment, and brought out very clearly that the object and intention of the Amendment was to keep up a wrong impression in the minds of many of the people of Scotland in order to prevent them coming back to the Church of Scotland. It was said there were principles which went beyond those which were stated by the hon. Member for the Inverness Burghs, and which were not embodied or expressed in this Bill, for informing the minds of the people of Scotland. But was that an argument against the second reading of this Bill? He ventured to submit that it was not, and that if these were principles which the Free Church and the other Churches in Scotland required to have declared in order to place them in a position to enter into union with the Church of Scotland, these principles could be very easily stated in this House, and means could be taken after the Bill was read a second time to have them embodied in it. When hon. Gentlemen came down to this House and told them this was a proposal which was characterized by wrong, by injustice, and by things which they abstained from characterizing, and by meanness, what was the position in which they placed themselves? When they found that more than 1,000 office bearers of the Church which they professed to represent had sent a Petition to the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister, asking him to give his support to this Bill, he ventured to say that never in the history of this country — certainly never in the ecclesiastical history of this country — was such an anomaly found as hon. Members coming there to make such statements as they had made on behalf of that very Church for the purpose of defeating a Bill which so large a number of the members of that Church supported, and supported emphatically, on the ground that they wished to see the people united in a common Christianity, and the ecclesiastical strife which had so long broken the peace in their country smoothed away.


said: My right hon. Friend always does business in a very pleasant manner across the Table; and I will therefore gratify, at the earliest possible moment, his wish to know what we upon this Bench think of this Bill. He says that the Members of the Government have very little knowledge of the religious state of Scotland. I should think that in a country which, like Scotland, so thoroughly knows its own religious conditions, a Government who could draw nine or ten Members from the Representatives of Scotland must be pretty well aware of the main outlines of the religious situation in that country. My right hon. Friend says that he hopes we have made up our minds firmly and clearly. At the last General Election I felt very clearly, and if every a man spoke clearly I did, and I shall speak very clearly to-night; only, unlike my right hon. Friend, I will speak entirely on matters within the four corners of the Bill. I approach this subject with very great diffidence, because it is a matter relating to Scottish Law and Scottish Ecclesiastical Law on which I do not pretend to be an authority. This Bill has been brought in by an hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Finlay) who, I hope, on a somewhat short acquaintance, will allow me to call him my hon. and learned Friend. He is a lawyer of eminence, and it is well known that he is interested in religious matters; and to-day he gave the House a very good taste of his quality as an orator. The first appearance of the Bill is enough to frighten away any layman. Upon examining it, I find one difficulty of the greatest importance. The Preamble of the Bill professes to relate to all the Presbyterians of Scotland—that is to say, to about 80 per cent of the entire Scottish people. But when you look closely at the Bill you find that, instead of relating to all the Presbyterians of Scotland, it relates only to one religious body, and that religious body is the Established Church of Scotland. The provisions of the Bill are mainly and confessedly two. The first are the Declaratory Clauses. They declare that the Courts of the Church of Scotland are to have the sole and exclusive right of regulating and deciding on spiritual matters, and that the jurisdiction of the Civil Court is saved and reserved in everything that relates to civil matters and to the civil consequences of spiritual decisions. Then there is an enacting clause of considerable importance, providing that after the passing of this Act the powers which now rest in the Civil Court of forming and detaching new parishes shall pass to the Spiritual Courts. It is in the Declaratory Clauses that the real importance of the Bill lies. Now, the first point to be observed—and I am glad to say it is a point which throughout this debate has been pretty generally touched upon—is that this is a measure which applies solely to the Established Church, but for which it is hardly too much to say that the Established Church has never asked—and there I wish to put myself, I think, in agreement with the House—I mean that it is an object for which the Established Church has made no gene ral demand, and especially no demand of any long standing. Churches and religious bodies often lie under great grievances, and they make demands on Parliament to relieve them, and often Parliament is not in a hurry to relieve them; but in this case you have a Church which not only has never felt its grievance, and never for its own sake has asked to be relieved of it, but through its authorized channels has expressed itself perfectly satisfied with the state of things as they are now. Ten or 11 years ago this question was mooted in the General Assembly of the Established Church; and on that occasion the Procurator of the Church, Mr. Lee—now Lord Lee—urged that the Assembly Committee should be instructed not to suffer any enactment to pass which would seem to imply that the Church desired any enactment from the Legislature with regard to its jurisdiction or its authority, either in the way of reservation or enactment. On a subsequent day there was a proposal to have a Declaratory Bill of this nature, and that proposal was withdrawn, having been received with complete coldness on the part of almost everybody concerned. In an authoritative spirit on that occasion, the Procurator of the Church said— Within the province of the Church, every decision that the Courts have pronounced, including the decision on the Veto Act, recognized that the Church is supreme. There had never been any doubt thrown upon that subject, and he trusted they would not begin to throw doubt upon it now. That was to say, that this Established Church, for which this Bill was ostensibly being proposed, held that its position was quite clear, and that it had everything in the essence which was proposed to be declared by this Bill. Parliament, eager as it is to do business, has not time to waste upon bodies who had no grievance which they wished redressed. The position of the Church of Scotland is so clear that it does not want defining, and it is so good that it does not want amending. I think my hon. and learned Friend will agree with me that, since the Disruption of 1843, there have only been a very few cases, and these small or even trumpery cases, which have been brought before the Civil Courts; that in all these cases, small as they were, they were not too small for the Civil Courts to be able to declare over and over again the great principle of the independence of the Church Courts in spiritual things, while they laid down certainly that in civil matters the Civil Courts were authoritative. That was the state of things. I will not quote, but I have before me some of these very important decisions of the Courts. But I aver, and I do not think anyone here will deny, that that is the state of affairs with regard to the Courts and the Established Church; and I boldly affirm that this Bill, if it passes, will not alter in one whit or tittle the real, practical position of the Church of Scotland. Knowing that to be the case, that Church has not only never, up to the very eve of the presentation of this Bill to Parliament, asked for this Bill, but on those occasions when they have had anything to say with regard to such proposals it has vigorously protested against them. Well, why is this measure brought forward? As to the reason, there is no doubt and no concealment whatever. The Claim of Right—the instrument on which was grounded that noble act of self-sacrifice which has been referred to from various parts of the House with such different motives and objects in the course of this debate—the Charter of the Claim of Right was not that of the Established Church to which this Bill applied, but of the Free Church, to which this Bill ostensibly does not apply. That Claim of Right contained some very important statements with regard to the spiritual independence of the Church—statements which likewise admit the civil rights of the Courts so far as those civil rights go. Here, again, at this period, when I am anxious to make a short speech, I shall not read those important passages of the Claim of Right. Let any hon. Member compare the 1st, 2nd, and 5th clauses of this Bill, and he will see the bearing of the measure on the ecclesiastical condition of Scotland, when he compares these clauses with the well-known extracts from the Claim of Right. The object of this Bill is very clearly put forward in the Preamble, so far as the motives of my hon. and learned Friend (Mr. Finlay) are concerned, as the union of the Presbyterians in Scotland, but very incorrectly, as I hope to be able to prove in the few words I shall say. The object of this Bill is to efface the distinction between the Established Church and the Free Church, and to draw, not the Free Church, but parts of the Free Church, into the ancient fold of the Established Church. It is with reference to the Free Church and not the Established Church that this legislation, as it appears upon the face of the Bill, is proposed, and it is for us to see what the Free Church say about it. It is them that it affects, and I do not hesitate to say that the great majority of the Free Church—the enormous majority of their ministers, and the great majority of their laity—protest against it energetically and emphatically. It is not very easy to arrive at any absolute conclusion as to the opinions of a religious body when the Assembly of that religious body is not entirely representative. But there is a very large representative element indeed in the Assembly of the Free Church; and in the Assembly of the Free Church, by a majority of 405, I think, to 67, the principle of Disestablishment was maintained. The Assembly has not had any opportu- nity of considering this Bill; but the Commission of the Assembly has had that opportunity, and in the Commission of the Assembly, by a majority of more than four to one—by 67 to 14—an extremely strong Resolution against the Bill was passed, and its terms constitute as strong a condemnation as could be passed. Now, it must be remembered that if 405 to 67 in the Assembly voted for Disestablishment, it is quite certain that every one of those men who voted for Disestablishment would vote against this Bill; and if you took the question of this Bill to the Assembly you would find that the proportion of those who voted against the Bill of my hon. and learned Friend (Mr. Finlay) would be even greater than those who voted against Disestablishment. For my own part, I do not care to refer too much to Petitions and to meetings of laymen and office-bearers, though we can show very important meetings of laymen and office bearers against the Bill. I prefer to look at what one gathers to be the feeling of Scotland at the General Election; and I am bound to say I would rather appeal to the Representatives of Scotland in this House as proper representatives of what the feelings of Scotland are than to any number of Petitions whatsoever; and I trust that we may go to a division to-day and show on which side the majority, and, I think, the great majority, of those hon. Members will be found. That is the view of the Free Church. They say, and they say with reason, that this measure is devised and intended to bring about a profound change in their most important organization; and they say that if you are to set about making a union of Churches, this is not the way to go about it. Hon. Gentlemen must recollect that the interests involved in this question are enormous. There are over 1,100 Free Church ministers; there are all their missionaries and school officers; there are a number of young men who are training for the ministry. There is a yearly income of £625,000. Their settled funds come to the enormous value of £884,000. They have, besides, all their manses, their Assembly rooms, and their Colleges, which alone, I am informed, come to the value of about £3,000,000. All this enormous mass of material interests, and all these careers, and all this great history of theirs—which is a very great history, if not a long history—and remember that, although many people call the history of the Free Church a very short history, the Free Church itself would say it was a very long history, dating back to the fathers of the Reformation—all this is at stake; and I really appeal to hon. Members opposite who have not hitherto committed themselves to this Bill, if you do seek to bring about a union between these Churches, if you do seek to deal with these immense interests, you ought to deal with them very openly, and at the same time very delicately, and in a way in which these interests will not suffer. Either this Bill will fail, and no great number of the Free Church congregations will come over to the Established Church, or this great organization will suffer, and many people will be ruined—people of a class whom, I am sure, the House of Commons would as little like to see in an evil plight as any class of men in the country. If we are to have any scheme at all, we ought to have a scheme by which this vast collection of resources and men—not much less vast than those of the Established Church—should be amalgamated with the Establishment on broad and intelligible grounds. The hon. and learned Gentleman ventured upon a surgical metaphor—and I am bound to say that he is the only person whom I have heard in the House of Commons venture upon a surgical metaphor, and bring himself out of it not only with credit, but with something like glory—and he said we ought not to have a heroic remedy for a small thorn. What we want is not so much a heroic remedy; we want a just remedy—a remedy which will commend itself to the people who are chiefly affected by the legislation which you ask us to adopt. Now, Sir, there is another thing which strikes me about this Bill very much. Here, again, I must refer to the eloquence of the hon. and learned Member. I have heard many descriptions of the Disruption, but I never heard a better one than that given by the hon. and learned Member. But I must say I think that if he applied that description of the Disruption for the purposes of his Bill, he was using a rhetorical weapon which is more ingenious than fair. What are we doing by this Bill? We acknowledge that in the great debate between the Established and Free Churches the Free Church was right on every point; and, acknowledging that, we bring in a Bill which declares and acknowledges this, and then punishes the successors of these men — and punishes many of these men themselves, for I am glad to say that some of the heroes of that great movement are still alive—by withdrawing from them every member of their body who can be induced to think that the difference between the one Church and the other consists in a Declaratory Act of Parliament. The class of argument which we have been hearing this afternoon was directed in great abundance against the Patronage Bill in 1874; but every one of these arguments tells with much greater effect here. The Patronage Bill was a genuine measure on one of its sides to broaden and widen the Church. There was a great deal to be said about the reflective action of that measure, and the unjust character of that action upon the Disestablished Churches; but the measure was one which was of genuine benefit to the Church. It enabled the Church to do that which the other Churches are anxious to do, and which, again, a number of other Churches can do—to see that the ministers are ministers who are trusted and beloved and admired by the people. It was a great boon and advantage to the people of the Established Church; but this is another matter. This is a Bill which gives no solid advantage to the Church at all which it had not got before—a Bill against which everything can be said which was said against the Patronage Bill—and, I must say, strictly speaking, that I do not think the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. J. H. A. Macdonald) at all removed that impression from my mind—a Bill for which there is almost nothing to be said on its own merits. There is one most serious consideration, and that is, the effect which this Bill will have upon the relations of the Scottish Churches. The Preamble states that it is for the purpose of the re-union of the Presbyterian Churches. Well, I think it would have a very different operation. It is impossible for anyone who, like myself, and many of those who sit around me, have known Scotland socially and politically for the last 18 or 20 years, not to see that whether or not the Established Church has grown in favour and popularity—and to a great extent it has grown, and most deservedly, in favour and popularity—on the other hand, there is a much more intense feeling in favour of Disestablishment in the quarters where that feeling previously existed. I must say my experience is that the Disestablishment feeling has grown up very much in the course of the last 12 years. I do not deny, at the same time, that the feeling of loyalty towards the Church has grown very greatly likewise. Nothing has contributed so much to make Disestablishment a burning question in Scotland—and I speak with the experience of a Scottish Member when I say that I heard little of Scottish Disestablishment during the first eight years I was a Scottish Member, and I have heard a great deal about it during the last 10—nothing has contributed so much to make Disestablishment a burning question as those occasions on which the Established Church has taken the aggressive. The Patronage Act, for which there was so very much to say in itself, because it was regarded as an invasion of the Nonconformist Churches, put these Churches on their defence, and made Disestablishment a reality; and this Bill, for which there is so little or nothing to say—and I think little or nothing has been said, except that it might weaken some of the Free Churches—brings it into a very disagreeable prominence. I must remind some hon. Members who are anxious for guidance in this matter that many of my Colleagues took a different course from what I did at the General Election, and in answer to requisitions from Presbyteries and other Established Bodies, stated that they would not vote—this was the case with many, both inside and outside the Government—for a Disestablishment Bill during the present year—[Cries of "Parliament!"]—during the present Parliament.

MR. J. H. A. MACDONALD (Edinburgh and St. Andrew's Universities)

It is the same thing.


I did not catch the aside; but, putting it aside as a word of evil omen, I would say that hon. Gentlemen who gave that pledge to their supporters, or their opponents—as was often, I suspect, the case in the end—on the Established Church would do well to remember that if this truce has been proclaimed—a truce which might, like that in the Middle Ages, be called "a truce of God"—it must be a truce kept by both sides; and if the Established Church arms itself, or rather arms such a doughty champion as my hon. and learned Friend, and sends him down into the arena, every one of those hon. Gentlemen who promised that they would not vote for Disestablishment in the present Parliament is under something like a moral obligation to vote against the second reading of this Bill. Again, if we were to legislate for the purpose of dealing with the religious differences of Scotland, how can we expect any solid or permanent success if we ignore the United Presbyterian and the great non-Presbyterian denominations in Scotland? This Bill takes no account of them at all. Now, it is one thing to leave the Established Church alone, but it is another thing to ask those Churches, which contain, I think, something like 1,000,000 of population between them, to help a Bill for the purpose of broadening and extending the Established Church at the expense of the Disestablished Churches. This Bill offers nothing whatever to that great part of the population who, being Scotsmen, have absolutely no part and parcel in any of the religious endowments or the religious privileges in Scotland. It makes no offer to the Free Church itself as a Church, but only endeavours to steal away—["No, no!"] I beg your pardon; I recall the word in a moment—it only endeavours to tempt away certain individual members of that Church to join this Established Church, which has all the endowments of Scotland at its command. Besides the declaratory clauses of the Bill, there is the 4th clause—a clause which takes from the Court of Session the powers which it has used long and wisely for the administration of the affairs of what is called the State Church. It takes from the Court of Session the powers of disjoining and afterwards of creating a quoad sacra parish. Now, these are powers of very great extent in Scotland. There are 325 quoad sacra parishes, and if ever there was a civil process, it was the process of composing one of these parishes. The process of the Court of Session is set in motion by the heritors—that is to say, by ratepaying, property-holding citizens. If there is any objection, that objection is put forward by these heritors. No reference whatever is made to the Church Courts—they have no locus standi whatever. The Presby- tery is only appealed to as an act of grace for its opinions occasionally by the Court of Session. The civil processes which the Court of Session have to make out are very important. They have on occasions to separate glebes; they have to reserve the interests of the existing minister; they have to ascertain whether the stipend is sufficient, and whether it is adequately secured.


was understood to take exception to the word "stipend."


I used "stipend," for it is a term used in the Bill. I said that it is the duty of the Court of Session to ascertain, before it detaches the quoad sacra parish from the civil parish, whether the stipend or endowment, or whatever it is, is sufficient, and that it should be adequately secured, so as the future minister should have sufficient income. I know very well that teinds are not divided. To deliver over from the custody of the State this responsibility to a Church which enjoys all the State privileges and all the State emoluments, which no other religious Body enjoys in Scotland, is an operation that I hope Parliament will never consent to. It is an operation which we should never dream of doing in England, which we never did in Ireland until we disendowed and disestablished the Church in Ireland, and it is an operation which I earnestly trust Parliament will never allow, because it will set up an imperium in imperic—it will establish a body which has religious privileges and religious independence, and I must say I consider that to be something not only inexpedient, but something almost unconstitutional. In conclusion—to use a common House of Commons' phrase, which is generally laughed at—either this Bill is for the purpose of rendering the Church independent, or it is not. If it is intended to make the Church independent, I object to it on that ground. There is only one manner in which a Church ought ever to become independent. A celebrated Scottish Judge on a very famous occasion used these words— A Church may maintain its independence if it pleases, but if it accepts adoption by the State, it must accept it according to the conditions on which the State is willing to grant it. To give an Established Church real and genuine independence is what I trust the State will never consent to. But if, on the other hand, this Bill does not give the Church any independence which it has not got already, then the effect of it can only be to deal indirectly and incidentally, as I think, oppressively and vexatiously, with the great and important religious Bodies that are no part of the Church at all; and on these grounds—grounds which I fear have been only too amply stated already in the debate, and that, I trust, having been so stated, we shall not hear stated at any great length again. Speaking as a Scottish Member, and not as a Member of the Government, I earnestly hope that anyone whom my personal opinions can influence will join with me in opposing the second reading of this Bill.


I shall only stand between the House and the division for a very few minutes. The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Trevelyan) began his speech by saying that this subject raised very grave political considerations; but at the end of his speech he had failed to disclose what those grave political considerations were. But the plain references to Disestablishment made by the right hon. Gentleman and the ominous intervention of the hon. Member for the College Division of Glasgow (Dr. Cameron) are sufficient to rouse those Scottish Representatives who are opposed to Disestablishment to be most active in their support of the Bill of the hon. and learned Member for the Inverness Burghs (Mr. Finlay). This question was discussed at the General Election in such a way as to leave no doubt in the minds of many Scottish Representatives as to the feeling of the Scottish people on the subject. It is the experience of many Scottish Representatives that, while there was a keen feeling in favour of the maintenance of the Established Church, there was coupled with it a very great anxiety that the benefit of the Established Church should be extended to all who adhered to the ancient principles of that Church. One question which the House has to determine is this—the hon. and learned Member for Inverness asks the House to declare that certain rights belong to the Church of Scotland. Do those rights now belong to the Church, or do they not? The speech of the right hon. Gentleman had left the answer in ambiguo; but the words of the proposed enactment are merely an echo of the ancient Scottish Statutes which confirmed the constitution of the Scottish Church. The Bill asserts, with no more emphasis than do those Statutes, the lofty origin of the Church's jurisdiction in matters spiritual, and it places an unmistakable fence round the Church Courts from the Civil Courts. If that is an imperium in imperio, it is one which has existed in Scotland for nearly three centuries; and these are principles which excite a feeling of attachment and enthusiasm among the poorest of the Scottish people, especially in the Highlands, and are an indication of character and principle which should be welcomed and cherished by the Legislature. But the right hon. Gentleman has stated two objections to this Bill on which I wish to say one word. He has asked the House to refuse to interfere to amend the constitution of a Body which claims to be already perfect. That, I venture to think, is a complete fallacy. The Church of Scotland has asserted that she possesses the principles which are ascribed to her in the Bill of the hon. and learned Member. But when the right hon. Gentleman selects a speech of a member of the General Assembly in 1874 he forgets to add that the question then before the General Assembly was merely whether it was necessary to couple with the doing away of patronage such a declaration as is now proposed. The experience of the last 12 years is surely not to be thrown away, and the House is asked now to consider whether that declaration ought not to be made. What we found upon is this—that the prejudices of 40 years ago, and the conscientious convictions which were then wounded, do require that the State should assert in explicit terms that it recognizes that complete spiritual independence which is the claim of the Scottish Church. The other objection of the right hon. Gentleman is one which I am bound to say ascribes to the Dissenting Bodies motives less noble than I should gladly believe them to be guided by. I understand his contention to be that because a wrong was done in 1843, and because a Dissenting Body has been set up in consequence of that grievance, you will for ever con- tinue the evil and never amend it. This, as the hon. and learned Member for Inverness puts it, is to assert that the Dissenting Bodies have a vested interest in the evils of the Established Church, and that because Dissent takes place in consequence of those evils that the evils should not be amended. I protest most strongly against that doctrine. It is really to establish this utterly unbearable position—that Parliament, while recognizing the existence of an Established Church, will maintain in perpetuity everything which renders its continued existence grievous. I should like to remind hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway that that was not the view taken by the great men who founded the Free Church in 1843—they contemplated the very thing which is now possible—namely, the removal of the grievance of which they complained. These are the noble words with which they concluded their Declaration of Right. They asked their people to— Unite in supplication to Almighty God that He would give strength to His Church to endure the loss of the temporal benefits of the Establishment, and that in His own good time He would restore to them those benefits the fruits of the struggles and the sufferings of their forefathers in times past, and thereafter give them grace to employ them more effectually than hitherto they had done for the manifestation of His glory. That was the spirit in which those men looked forward to their own sacrifices and to the removal of the grievances which led to those sacrifices; and I am bound to say that a greater sign of the degeneracy of the Free Church could not possibly be found than in the altered attitude they have now taken up. Among my own constituents I have friends and adherents who pressed this question upon my consideration during the course of my electoral contest; and I speak with the most profound conviction when I say that there is no object which these noble-minded people, both within and without the Established Church, more heartily desire than that what has been to them for the last 40 years merely a sacred and cherished memory should be restored and revived in the ecclesiastical organization of Scotland.

Question put.

The House divided:—Ayes 177; Noes 202: Majority 25.

Addison, J. E. W. Folkestone, Viscount
Agg-Gardner, J. T. Forwood, A. B.
Ainslie, W. G. Fowler, Sir R. N.
Allsopp, hon. G. Fraser, General C. C.
Ambrose, W. Gibson, J. G.
Amherst, W. A. T. Giles, A.
Baden-Powell, G. S. Goldsworthy, Major-General W. T.
Baggallay, E.
Baily, L. R. Gorst, Sir J. E.
Baird, J. Green, E.
Balfour, G. W. Gregory, G. B.
Barttelot, Sir W. B. Gurdon, R. T.
Bates, Sir E. Hall, A. W.
Beach, right hon. Sir M. E. Hicks- Halsey, T. F.
Hamilton, right hon. Lord G. F.
Beach, W. W. B.
Beadel, W. J. Hamilton, Lord C. J.
Bective, Earl of Hamilton, Col. C. E.
Bethell, Commander Hamilton, J. G. C.
Bigwood, J. Hamley, Gen. Sir E. B.
Birkbeck, Sir E. Hanbury, R. W.
Blundell, Col. H. B. H. Hankey, F. A.
Boord, T. W. Hardcastle, E.
Borthwick, Sir A. Hardcastle, F.
Bridgeman, Col. hon. F. C. Haslett, J. H.
Heaton, J. H.
Brinton, J. Herbert, hon. S.
Bristowe, T. L. Hervey, Lord F.
Brodrick, hon. W. St. J. F. Hickman, A.
Hill, Lord A. W.
Brookfield, Col. A. M. Holland, rt. hon. Sir H. T.
Burdett-Coutts, W. L. Ash.-B.
Holmes, rt. hon. H.
Campbell, Sir A. Hope, right hon. A. J. B. B.
Campbell, J. A.
Chaplin, right hon. H. Houldsworth, W. H.
Clarke, E. Howard, J.
Coddington, W. Howard, J. M.
Cohen, L. L. Hughes, Colonel E.
Compton, F. Hughes-Hallett, Col. F. C.
Corry, Sir J. P.
Cotton, Capt. E. T. D. Hunt, F. S.
Cranborne, Viscount Hutton, J. F.
Cross, rt. hon. Sir R. A. Isaacs, L. H.
Cross, H. S. Jennings, L. J.
Cubitt, right hon. G. Johnston, W.
Curzon, Viscount Kennaway, Sir J. H.
Dawnay, Colonel hon. L. P. Kimber, H.
King, H. S.
Dawson, R. Knatchbull-Hugessen, hon. H. T.
Denison, W. B.
Dickson, Major A. G. Lawrance, J. C.
Dimsdale, Baron R. Lawrence, Sir T.
Dixon-Hartland, F. D. Lawrence, W. F.
Douglas, A. Akers- Lethbridge, Sir R.
Duncan, Colonel F. Lewis, C. E.
Duncombe, A. Llewellvn, E. H.
Dyke, rt. hon. Sir W. H. Long, W. H.
Lowther, hon. W.
Eaton, H. W. Lubbock, Sir J.
Egerton, hn. A. J. F. Macdonald, right hon. J. H. A.
Evelyn, W. J.
Ewing, Sir A. O. Mackintosh, C. F.
Feilden, Lt-Gen. R. J. Maclean, J. M.
Fellowes, W. H. Macnaghten, E.
Fergusson, rt. hn. Sir J. M'Calmont, Captain J.
Field, Captain E. M'Garel-Hogg, Sir J.
Finch, G. H. M'Lagan, P.
Fitzgerald, R. U. P. Makins, Colonel W. T.
Fitz-Wygram, Sir F. Manners, rt. hon. Lord J. J. R.
Fletcher, Sir H.
March, Earl of Sidebottom, W.
Marriott, rt. hn. W. T. Sitwell, Sir G. R.
Morgan, hon. F. Smith, rt. hon. W. H.
Mount, W. G. Stanley, rt. hn. Col. Sir F.
Mowbray, rt. hon. Sir J. R.
Stewart, M. J.
Muncaster, Lord Sturrock, P.
Muntz, P. A. Talbot, J. G.
Murdoch, C. T. Tennant, Sir C.
Norris, E. S. Tipping, W.
Northcote, hon. H. S. Tollemache, H. J.
Norton, R. Tottenham, A. L.
Paget, Sir R. H. Trotter, H. J.
Pearce, W. Tyler, Sir H. W.
Pelly, Sir L. Valentine, C. J.
Percy, Lord A. M. Walrond, Col. W. H.
Plunket, rt. hon. D. R. Walsh, hon. A. H. J.
Powell, F. S. Watkin, Sir E. W.
Price, Captain G. E. Webster, Sir R. E.
Raikes, rt. hon. H. C. White, J. B.
Ritchie, C. T. Whitley, E.
Robertson, J. P. B. Wolmer, Viscount
Ross, A. H. Wortley, C. B. Stuart
Round, J. Yorke, J. R.
Sandys, Lieut.-Col. T. M. Young, C. E. B.
Saunderson, Maj. E. J. TELLERS.
Sclater-Booth, rt. hn. G. Anstruther, Sir R.
Selwin-Ibbetson, rt. hon. Sir H. J. Finlay, R. B.
Abraham, W. (Glam.) Chamberlain, rt. hn. J.
Abraham, W. (Limerick, W.) Chamberlain, R.
Chance, P. A.
Acland, A. H. D. Clancy, J. J.
Agnew, W. Clark, Dr. G. B.
Allen, W. S. Cobb, H. P.
Armitage, B. Cobbold, F. T.
Asher, A. Coleridge, hon. B.
Ashton, T. G. Colman, J. J.
Atherley-Jones, L. Cook, E. R.
Balfour, rt. hon. J. B. Cook, W.
Barbour, W. B. Coote, T.
Barclay, J. W. Corbett, A. C.
Beith, G. Cowen, J.
Bennett, J. Cox, J. R.
Bickford-Smith, W. Craven, J.
Biggar, J. G. Crawford, D.
Blades, J. H. Crawford, W.
Blaine, A. Crilly, D.
Blake, J. A. Crompton, C.
Bolton, T. H. Crossley, E.
Borlase, W. C. Crossman, Gen. Sir W.
Boyd-Kinnear, J. Davies, E.
Bradlaugh, C. Deasy, J.
Bright, right hon. J. Dilke, rt. hn, Sir C. W.
Broadhurst, H. Dillon, J.
Brocklehurst, W. C. Dillwyn, L. L.
Brown, A. H. Dixon, G.
Brunner, J. T. Elliot, hon. A. R. D.
Bryce, J. Elliot, hon. H. F. H.
Buchanan, T. R. Ellis, J.
Buckley, A. Ellis, J. E.
Burt, T. Esslemont, P.
Byrne, G. M. Fenwick, C.
Campbell, H. Ferguson, R.
Campbell, R. F. F. Finlayson, J.
Campbell-Bannerman, right hon. H. Flower, C.
Flynn, J. C.
Carbutt, E. H. Foley, P. J.
Cavendish, Lord E. Foljambe, C. G. S.
Fox, Dr. J. F. Picton, J. A.
Fry, L. Pilkington, G. A.
Fry, T. Playfair, rt. hon. Sir L.
Fuller, G. P. Portman, hon. E. B.
Gaskell, C. G. Milnes- Potter, T. B.
Gilhooly, J. Powell, W. R. H.
Gill, T. P. Power, R.
Glyn, hon. P. C. Price, T. P.
Gower, G. G. L. Priestley, B.
Gray, E. D. Pugh, D.
Grenfell, W. H. Pulley, J.
Grey, Sir E. Quitter, W. C.
Grove, Sir T. F. Ramsay, J.
Haldane, R. B. Reed, Sir E. J.
Harrington, E. Reid, H. G.
Harris, M. Rendel, S.
Hartington, Marq. of Richard, H.
Havelock-Allan, Sir H. M. Richardson, T.
Roberts, J.
Hayden, L. P. Roberts, J. B.
Henry, M. Robertson, E.
Hingley, B. Robertson, H.
Holden, A. Robinson, T.
Holden, I. Roe, T.
Hunter, W. A. Rogers, J. E. T.
Illingworth, A. Roscoe, Sir H. E.
Jacks, W. Russell, E. R.
Jacoby, J. A. Ruston, J.
James, hon. W. H. Salis-Schwabe, Col. G.
James, C. H. Saunders, W.
Jenkins, Sir J. J. Sellar, A. C.
Jenkins, D. J. Sexton, T.
Jones-Parry, L. Shaw, T.
Kay-Shuttleworth, Sir U. J. Sheridan, H. B.
Shirley, W. S.
Kelly, B. Simon, Serjeant J.
Kenny, M. J. Spensley, H.
Lalor, R. Spicer, H.
Lane, W. J. Stack, J.
Lawson, H. L. W. Stansfeld, rt. hon. J.
Leake, R. Stuart, J.
Leatham, E. A. Sullivan, D.
Leicester, J. Swinburne, Sir J.
Lyell, L. Thomas, A.
Lymington, Viscount Trevelyan, rt. hn. G. O.
Maclean, F. W. Tuite, J.
M'Culloch, J. Vivian, Sir H. H.
M'Donald, P. Warmington, C. M.
M'Kenna, Sir J. N. Watson, T.
M'Laren, C. B. B. Watt, H.
Mappin, F. T. Wayman, T.
Maskelyne, M. H. N. Story- West, Colonel W. C.
Westlake, J.
Mason, S. Wiggin, H.
Menzies, R. S. Will, J. S.
Morgan, rt. hon. G. O. Williams, A. J.
Morgan, O. V. Williams, J. C.
Morley, A. Wilson, H. J.
O'Connor, J. (Tippry.) Wilson, J. (Ednbrgh.)
Otter, F. Woodhead, J.
Parker, C. S. Yeo, A. F.
Parnell, C. S.
Peacock, R. TELLERS.
Pease, Sir J. W. Bruce, hon. R. P.
Pease, A. E. Cameron, C.
Pease, H. F.

Words added.

Main Question, as amended, put, and agreed to.

Second Reading put off for six months.

With reference to this Division, on the following day, Mr. PRESTON BRUCE, and Sir ROBERT ANSTRUTHER, the Tellers for the Ayes in the Division on the Second Reading of the Church of Scotland Bill, came to the Table and acquainted the House that they had erroneously reported to the House the number of the Ayes as 177, instead of 179, which was the proper number corresponding with the Division List.

Ordered, That the Clerk do correct the said error in the Journal of this House by stating the number of the Ayes as 179, instead of 177.