§ MR. MARKHAM (Nottinghamshire, Mansfield)
To ask the Lord-Advocate whether the United Free Church have made representations to the Commissioners, urging that the amount of £3,000 a year allocated for the education of students for the ministry of the Free Church should be made by way of annual contribution at the hands of the United Free Church; and, if so, whether this is an allocation of the Free Church property as between the two churches.
§ (Answered by Mr. Thomas Shaw.)—I have no right or title officially to inquire into such representations, although I am of course aware that such feeling exists as to the setting up of a perpetual endowment to the Free Church of the kind stated. It would be beyond my province and improper, however, for me to make any pronouncement upon the subject.
§ MR. MARKHAM
To ask the Lord Advocate whether, seeing that Subsection 3, Clause 1, of the Churches (Scotland) Act enacts that the funds and property of the Church are to be applied in accordance with the second column of the First Schedule of the Act, he is aware that, notwithstanding this fact, the Commissioners had allocated the three Free Church colleges to the United Free Church, along with five libraries, and that they have allocated only the upper floors of the offices of the 828 Free Church to the Free Church to serve as a college, without any library; and whether, seeing that the Act provides that the Free Church is entitled to a college from the colleges, he will say what section of the Act of Parliament gives the Commissioners power to act in this manner.
§ (Answered by Mr. Thomas Shaw.) In deference to my hon. friend I have looked at the statute, but fail to find in it the provision to which he refers "that the Free Church is entitled to a college from the colleges," and it may be, therefore, that the Question has been put under an entire misapprehension. But the Commission, which I may mention includes one Judge of the highest eminence, is vested in its duties of allocation with final statutory power and well able to construe the statute under which it acts, and I have no power, even if I desired to do so, to put forward an operative construction of the Act.