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 22, 1823.
I. Sess. 1, May 22, 1823.—The King's Commission to George Earl of Morton produced, and ordered to be recorded.
The General Assembly, &c.
II. Sess. 1, May 22, 1823.—The King's most gracious Letter to the General Assembly, presented to them by his Majesty's Commissioner.
George, R., &c.
III. Sess. 3, May 24, 1823.—The General Assembly's Answer to the King's most gracious Letter.
May it please your Majesty, &c.
IV. Sess. 3, May 24, 1823.—Address of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland to his Majesty.
Most Gracious Sovereign,
We, the ministers and elders of the Church of Scotland met in the General Assembly, beg leave to approach your Majesty with the strongest assurances of loyalty and attachment to your Majesty's person and government.
We regard, with sentiments of peculiar joy, that paternal affection which induced your Majesty, in the course of the last year, to visit your Scottish dominions; and we cordially unite in expressing our warmest gratitude for the very gracious and auspicious countenance which your Majesty was then pleased to give to both the civil and religious institutions in this part of the United Kingdom.
We have been highly gratified with the gracious and condescending terms in which your Majesty, at the opening of Parliament, was pleased to express the satisfaction which your Majesty had derived from your visit to Scotland.
We gladly avail ourselves of this opportunity to assure your Majesty, that that visit has, in a high degree, strengthened and confirmed the principles of loyalty and attachment to your Majesty; and we are confident that, by the blessing of God, it will have a happy and permanent effect on all classes of your Majesty's subjects in this part of the British empire.
That your Majesty may long reign over a pious, free, loyal, and happy people, and may at length wear a crown of glory that fadeth not away, are the sincere and fervent prayers of, May it please your Majesty, your Majesty's most loyal, dutiful, and devoted subjects, the Ministers and Elders of this National Assembly of the Church of Scotland.
Signed in our name, in our presence, and at our appointment, by
Alexander Brunton, Moderator.
V. Sess. 4, May 26, 1823.—Address of the General Assembly to his Majesty, on the Abolition of Negro Slavery in the West Indies.
May it please your Majesty,
We, your Majesty's most dutiful and loyal subjects, the ministers and elders of the Church of Scotland, beg leave to embrace the opportunity which our meeting in the General Assembly affords us, of approaching your Majesty's throne, for the purpose of expressing the lively satisfaction with which we have observed the recent resolutions on the subject of Negro Slavery in the West Indies, unanimously adopted by the Honourable the Commons House of Parliament, upon the proposition of a member of your Majesty's government; and the pledge which has been publicly given, that decisive measures shall be taken for ameliorating the condition of the slave population in the colonies, so as to prepare them, at as early a period as is consistent with the interests of all parties, for a full participation in those civil rights and religious privileges which are enjoyed by every other class of British subjects.
As an Assembly of Christian ministers and elders, we cannot but lament the unfavourable circumstances in which this large and interesting portion of our fellowsubjects has so long been placed, in regard to the means of that moral and religious instruction, which we consider as the most effectual instrument, under the countenance of an Almighty and overruling Providence, for qualifying them to participate in the inestimable blessings of freedom.
But we contemplate with delight the prospect which has now arisen, that these disadvantages shall, with the least possible delay, be removed. And we would humbly express to your Majesty the confidence with which we look forward through a determined and vigorous, but, at the same time, temperate and judicious execution of the measures of your Majesty's government, to the final fulfilment of our hopes upon a subject which we must always regard with the greatest interest.
We cannot refrain from availing ourselves of the present occasion of renewing to your Majesty the expressions of our heartfelt gratitude for the continued exertions which have been made by your Majesty's government to accomplish the universal extinction of the African Slave Trade.
That your Majesty's disinterested efforts may speedily be crowned with success,
in wiping out for ever this deepest stain on European humanity, are the fervent
May it please your Majesty, your Majesty's most faithful, most obedient, and most loyal subjects, the Ministers and Elders met in the General Assembly of the National Church of Scotland.
Signed in our name, in our presence, and by our appointment, by Alexander Brunton, Moderator.
VI. Sess. 9, May 31, 1823.—Commission of the General Assembly to certain Ministers and Ruling Elders for discussing Affairs referred to them.
The General Assembly, &c.
VII. Sess. 9, May 31, 1823.—Commission to some Ministers and Ruling Elders for the Reformation of the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, and for Managing his Majesty's Royal Bounty to that end.
The General Assembly, &c.
VIII. Sess. ult., June 2, 1823.—Overtures as to the Course of Study to be pursued by Students of Divinity.
The General Assembly called for the Report of the Committee upon the course of study to be pursued by Students in Divinity, which was produced and read. The Assembly, without a vote, agree to transmit the Overtures contained in said report to the different Presbyteries of the Church. (fn. 1)
IX. Sess. ult., June 2, 1823.—Abstract Report of the Committee on the Examination of Schools.
The General Assembly called for the Report of the Committee upon the Examination of Schools, which was made by Dr Singer, convener of the committee. The Assembly approve of this report, and appoint an abstract thereof to be inserted in the printed Acts of Assembly.
I. Full and satisfactory reports in the tabular from prescribed by the Assembly have been received from the following twenty-eight Presbyteries:—Aberbrothock, Aberdeen, Abernethy, Aberdour, Alford, Brechin, Cupar, Dalkeith, Dunfermline, Dumbarton, Dundee, Elgin, Fordyce, Garioch, Haddington, Irvine, KincardineO'Neil, Kirkaldy, Kirkcudbright, Lanark, Lewis, Linlithgow, Lochmaben, Penpont, Selkirk, Stranraer, St Andrews, and Uist.
II. Short and imperfect notifications, not according to form, have been received from the seven Presbyteries of Chirnside, Hamilton, Jedburgh, Peebles, Strathbogie, Turriff, and Paisley.
III. All the other Presbyteries have omitted to send reports; and though the committee do not suppose that these Presbyteries have neglected the visiting and examining the schools, the committee are of opinion that they ought to be reminded of the duty of making up and sending in their annual reports, according to the established form.
The result of the returns of this year shows, that the increasing number of scholars in the several Presbyteries of this Church appear to derive more and more benefit from the regular superintendence of the General Assemblies.
The committee observe with regret, in returns of several Presbyteries, some particular schools are less efficient than others; that various teachers have not qualified, by taking the Oaths of Allegiance, and signing the Formula; that in the parishes of Paisley, Greenock, Port-Glasgow, and Renfrew, there are no parochial schools, though all these are landward parishes, Port-Glasgow excepted.
The attention of Presbyteries ought to be directed to these points:—To the improvement of those schools which are not so efficient as they ought to be; to obliging all the teachers to qualify, by taking the Oath of Allegiance before a magistrate, and all who belong to this Church, by signing the proper Formula; and in those parishes where schools are still wanting, to make application for their establishment under the Act, 1803, in so far as these parishes are landward, and come under the provisions of that statute.
The committee are particularly sorry to learn, that in the school of New Lanark maintained by Mr Owen, the reading of the Scriptures was prohibited by that gentleman, and also the use of the Catechisms of the Church; that although the Scriptures are now allowed to be read there, it is under the restriction of this being done only two hours a-week; and that the prohibition remains as to the Catechisms. On this subject, the committee beg leave to submit two minutes of the Presbytery of Lanark, form which it appears that the very commendable and constitutional exertions of that Presbytery to introduce the Scriptures without restriction, and the Catechisms of this Church, for the moral and religious improvement of the children at that school, have not yet been attended with the desired success.
The committee have only to submit farther on this important subject, that the prudent and constitutional exertions of the Presbytery of Lanark ought to be highly approved of; and that it be recommended to continue their exertions, and to report to next Assembly.
X. Sess. ult., June 2, 1823.—Opinion of the late Lord President Blair, as to the Profanation of the Sabbath.
The General Assembly called for the Report of the Committee upon the Profanation of the Lord's Day, which was made by Mr Dickson, convener of the committee. The Assembly approve of this report, and appoint the opinion of the late President Blair upon this subject to be inserted in the printed Acts of Assembly. (fn. 2)
XI. Sess. ult., June 2, 1823.—Act appointing the Diet of the next General Assembly.
The next General Assembly of this National Church is appointed to be held within the New Church Aisle of Edinburgh, on Thursday, the 20th day of May 1824.
Extracted from the Records of the General Assembly.
Andrew Duncan, Cl. Eccl. Scot.