HC Deb 11 April 1907 vol 172 cc352-4
MR. GULLAND (Dumfries Burghs)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for India whether he is aware that the Act ‡ See (4) Debates, clxxi., 642. of 3 and 4 Will. 4, c. 85, s. 102, stipulates that at each of the Presidencies two of the chaplains shall always be ministers of the Church of Scotland; whether there are eight Church of Scotland chaplains in Bengal, four in Bombay, and four in Madras; whether, seeing that the same section of the said Act gives to the Governor General the right to grant to any sect, persuasion, or community of Christians, not being of the United Church of England and Ireland, or of the Church of Scotland, such sums of money as may be expedient for the purpose of instruction or for the maintenance of places of worship, he can see his way to consider nominations from ministers and licentiates of Presbyterian churches, other than the Established Church of Scotland, for the chaplaincies other than the two reserved in each Presidency for ministers of the Church of Scotland.


I am aware of the facts stated in the first two paragraphs of the Question. As to the third paragraph, the action at present taken under the provision of the law referred to in it is limited to the payment of the expenses of ministrations to troops by ministers be longing to denominations other than the two established churches. The clergy so subsidised are not on the Government establishment. I am advised that it is doubtful whether the terms of the statute admit of the appointment to the establishment of ministers not belonging to either of those two churches.


I beg to ask the Secretary of State for India whether he is aware that since the passage of the Act of 3 and 4 Will. 4 there has been a disruption in the Church of Scotland; that according to the law of the Established Church of Scotland the minister of any Presbyterian church can be admitted as a minister of the Established Church; that, on 27th March 1907, the Presbytery of Edinburgh, which has jurisdiction over the Presbyterian chaplains in India, refused, by 36 votes to 4, to adopt an overture limiting that law; that, on 1st April 1907, the Presbytery of Glasgow unanimously sustained a call from Town-head parish church to a minister of the United Free Church of Scotland; and whether, in view of these facts, he would be prepared to consider nominations for Presbyterian chaplaincies in India from ministers and licentiates of Presbyterian churches other than the Established Church of Scotland, without requiring them previously to join that Church.


I have no information as to the recent occurrences referred to in the hon. Member's Question; but as regards the inquiry in the last paragraph, I have nothing to add to my Answer just given to his previous Question.