Acts of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland 1638-1842. Originally published by Edinburgh Printing & Publishing Co, Edinburgh, 1843.
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The principal acts of the general assembly, convened at, Edinburgh, May 24, 1759.
I. Sess. 1, May 24, 1759.—The King's Commission to Charles Lord Cathcart produced, and ordered to be recorded.
II. Sess. 1, May 24, 1759.—The King's most gracious Letter to the General Assembly, presented to them by his Majesty's Commissioner.
III. Sess. 3, May 26, 1759.—The General Assembly's Answer to the King's most gracious Letter.
IV. Sess. 4, May 28, 1759.—Act appointing the Synod of Ross to meet once in the Year, and that on the second Tuesday of May yearly.
There was transmitted to the General Assembly, from their Committee for Bills, a representation and petition by the Provincial Synod of Ross, setting forth, That the said Synod consists only of three Presbyteries, which are made up of twenty-five parishes. That the bounds, however, are very spacious, and interjected by branches of the sea, where the crossing of ferries, especially about the time of the Synod's meetings, which happen to be about the seasons of the Equinoctial storms, makes the attendance of members both dangerous and precarious. That there have been instances more than once, and one at the very last meeting of Synod, when all the members of a Presbytery have been stopped at ferries, and their design of attending disappointed, whereby it frequently happened that in some cases the sentence and decree of the Synod was only the deed of one Presbytery, the other being removed as parties, and the third almost, or altogether, absent: That of late years business has not been throng, so that two Synodical meetings yearly have been held more for form's sake, and in obedience to the Assembly's Act, than for real necessity. For which causes, and several others, too tedious to be enumerated, the said Synod have for a long time had under deliberation, and at length, at the last meeting, which was held in April, determined and appointed that an application should be made to this Assembly for an Act repealing the former Act, which appointed the Synod to meet twice annually, viz., once in September, and again in April; and, instead thereof, that the annual meeting of the Synod of Ross should be appointed to hold yearly, upon the second Tuesday of the month of May, which the Synod are encouraged to insist for, and hope, not only for the onerous causes above mentioned, but because also the same is the case with the two adjacent Synods of Caithness and Glenelg, the correspondents of which Synods might, with great propriety and conveniency, attend the Synod of Ross, in their way to the General Assembly; their annual meeting holding only in the month of July. And, therefore, praying the Assembly would take the premises under their consideration, and appoint the said Synod to hold but one meeting annually, and that upon the second Tuesday of May:—Which petition being read, with the opinion of the Committee for Bills thereupon, the General Assembly did, in terms thereof, and hereby do, repeal the Act of Assembly, appointing the Synod of Ross to meet twice in the year, viz., in the months of April and September; and the General Assembly do appoint, that in time coming the said Synod meet once in the year, and that on the second Tuesday of May yearly.
V. Sess. 5, May 30, 1759.—Act appointing the Synod of Lothian and Tweeddale to meet on the first Tuesday of May yearly.
There was transmitted to the General Assembly, from the Committee for Bills, a petition by the Synod of Lothian and Tweeddale, bearing, That it was found very inconvenient to have their meetings in May, sometimes on the second Tuesday, and at other times on the third Tuesday of that month; therefore, praying that their meetings after this might be fixed on the first Tuesday of May:—Which petition being read, with the opinion of the Committee for Bills thereon, the General Assembly unanimously agreed to grant the desire thereof; and accordingly do appoint that in the month of May the Synod of Lothian and Tweeddale shall meet, in time coming, on the first Tuesday of that month.
VI. Sess. 5, May 30, 1759.—Act against Ministers making Agreements with their Heritors, with respect to obtaining a Decreet of Modification and Locality for their Stipends.
The General Assembly, having had represented to them the great loss which many of the present ministers of this Church sustain from agreements which have been made betwixt their predecessors in office and the heritors of their respective parishes, concerning the extent of their stipends, whereupon decreets of modification and locality have been obtained, with consent of parties, do, therefore, enact and ordain, that in all time coming no minister shall make any composition with his heritors with respect to obtaining a decreet of modification and locality for his stipend, but at the sight, and with the advice and consent of the Presbytery of the bounds.
VII. Sess. 5, May 30, 1759.—Act anent the Supplying of Vacancies.
The General Assembly, in order to prevent long and unnecessary protracting of the vacancy of parishes, do appoint, that it shall be among the questions asked by Synods at the several Presbyteries at the privy censures, What vacancies there are in their bounds; of how long continuance these have been; and the reasons why they are not supplied? and if the Synod shall find any Presbytery dilatory, after the right of planting any parish has by law fallen into their hands, the Synod shall enjoin them to proceed toward the settlement of that parish without further delay.
VIII. Sess. 5, May 30, 1759.—Act against Simoniacal Practices, containing an Explication of the Fifth Act of Assembly, 1753.
The General Assembly, taking into consideration a representation of the Synod of Angus and Mearns, relating to bargains betwixt patrons or heritors in parishes, and candidates for the ministry, or the friends of such candidates, and the great danger which may thence arise to this Church; do hereby enjoin the several Presbyteries in this Church, in order to prevent such practices for the future, to take all proper measures to discover if any such have hapened in their bounds; and if, upon inquiry, it shall be found that any minister or probationer hath obliged himself, or that his friends, before his settlement, and in order to promote the same, have obliged themselves upon the account of the candidate, that he shall not during his incumbency commence any process against the heritors for augmentation of stipend, reparation of manse, office-houses, or enlarging his glebe, or shall have become bound in any sum or sums of money, or any prestation to the patron or person connected with the patron, in order to procure the presentation, or to the heritors or others concerned, in order to obtain a concurrence with the said presentation, or otherwise to procure a call to a vacant parish, or has entered into any simoniacal paction or practice for that effect, that such Presbytery lay a representation of the said matter before the General Assembly, that the Procurator for the Church may have orders to raise and carry on a process of reduction of such bargains or obligations before the Court of Session; and also the Assembly do hereby declare it a just cause of deposition in ministers, or of taking away the licence of a probationer; and ordain Presbyteries to proceed to such sentences against all such ministers and probationers as shall be hereafter found to have either entered into such bargains themselves, previous to their settlements, or who shall, after their settlements, homologate the deed of their friends. And it is hereby enacted, that if any such simoniacal practices as are mentioned and described in this Act shall be carried on by any person or persons whatsoever, in order to the promoting or procuring any benefice or office in this Church, to any minister or probationer, though without his consent or approbation; and if such minister or probationer shall at any time be told or informed that such practices have been or are carried on, or proposed to the carried on, for the purpose aforesaid, and shall not make discovery or intimation thereof to the Presbytery of the bounds, at their first meeting after he shall receive such in formation, then, and in that case, he shall, if a minister, be deposed, and if a probationer, be deprived of his licence. And, further, the Assembly appoint this Act to be read by all Presbyteries to every person before he be licensed to preach the Gospel, and to every candidate for a settlement in their bounds before they take any steps towards his settlement.
IX. Sess. 8, June 2, 1759.—Commission to some Ministers and Ruling Elders for discussing Affairs referred to them.
X. Sess. 8, June 2, 1759.—Commission to same Ministers and Ruling Elders for Reformation of the Highlands and Islands, and for Managing his Majesty's Royal Bounty for that end.
The General Assembly do hereby nominate, commission, and appoint the Rev. Dr George Kay, one of the ministers of Edinburgh, their Moderator, &c.; to be a com mittee of this Assembly for reformation of the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, &c. (The Act proceeds in the same terms as the corresponding Act of the two preceding years, with the additional injunction to the committee to have particular regard to such parishes as South Uist, Small Isles, Glencoe, Harris, the countries of Moidart, Glengarry, and Lochaber, and the other parishes of the Synods of Glenelg and Argyle.)
XI. Sess. ult., June 4, 1759.—Act appointing the Diet of the next General Assembly.
Sess. 7, June 1, 1759.—Overture for an Addition to be made to the Sixth Act of this Assembly, against Ministers making Agreements with their Heritors.
There was transmitted to the General Assembly, from their Committee for Overtures, an overture of an addition to be made to the Act of this Assembly, the 30th day of May, which addition being made to the Act, the whole is as follows, viz.:—"That in all time coming no minister shall make any composition or agreement with his heritors, or any others, with respect to obtaining a decrect of modification and locality for his stipend, or with respect to his glebe, grass, or any other emoluments, to which a minister has, or may have any right, but at the sight, and with the advice and consent of the Presbytery of the bounds, under the pain of such censure as the Presbytery of the bounds shall think proper to inflict; and that no minister shall enter into any agreement, or accept of any payment of his stipend, inconsistent with the decreet of modification or locality, or use and wont of payment, without an acknowledgment in writing, obtained from the heritor or heritors, produced to the Presbytery, and such acknowledgment inserted in the Presbytery records." Which overture being read, the General Assembly agreed to transmit this addition to the Act foresaid to the several Presbyteries of this Church, that they may send up their opinion thereon to the next General Assembly. (See also Overture of 1760.)