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.
The General Assembly, &c.
II. Sess. 1, May 24, 1759.—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 26, 1759.—The General Assembly's Answer to the King's most gracious
May it please your Majesty, &c.
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.
The General Assembly, &c.
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
XI. Sess. ult., June 4, 1759.—Act appointing the Diet of the next General Assembly.
The next General Assembly of this National Church is appointed to be held in
this place, upon the third Thursday of May next, being the 15th day of that
month, in the year 1760.
Collected and extracted from the Records of the General Assembly, by
George Wishart, Cls. Eccl. Scot.
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.)
Sess. 7, June 1, 1759.—Overture of an Act and Rules Concerning the Election and
Qualifications of Members of Assembly. (fn. *)