The principal acts of the general assembly, convened at Edinburgh, May 19, 1825.
I. Sess. 1, May 19, 1825.—The King's Commission to James Ochoncar Lord Forbes
produced, and ordered to be recorded.
The General Assembly, &;c.
II. Sess. 1, May 19, 1825.— The King's most gracious Letter to the General Assembly,
presented to them by his Majesty's Commissioner.
Right Reverend and well-beloved, we greet you well.—The constant proofs we
have annually received of your affectionate loyalty to our person and government,
and of your unremitting zeal in the great cause of religion, produce in our mind the
most entire confidence that you will persevere in the same cause of piety and loyalty;
and it is, therefore, with unqualified satisfaction, that we now renew to you the assurances of our unalterable determination to uphold the Presbyterian Church of Scotland
in the full enjoyment of all its rights and privileges, and to countenance the General
Assemblies of that Church with the same favour and authority which they have enjoyed from us and our royal ancestors. We are convinced that you will bring with
you to this present Assembly an ardent and sincere desire for the advancement of
true religion and pure morality, and will direct all your counsels to the general good
of that part of our empire which is committed to your pastoral care; and we are
satisfied that your zeal for these laudable purposes will be tempered with the candour
and moderation calculated to ensure the success of your endeavours, towards which
end you may rely on our firm and hearty co-operation.
Having understood that in some parts of Scotland there is great deficiency of accommodation for our good and religiously-disposed subjects, we shall recommend that
subject to the early attention of our Parliament, nothing doubting that, by their deliberative wisdom, a remedy will be provided for so serious an evil.
Having experienced in other branches of our service the fidelity, firmness, and
prudence of our right trusty and well-beloved James Ochoncar Lord Forbes, and
being well assured of his zealous attachment to the Church of Scotland, we have selected him to be our Commissioner, and to represent our Royal Person in this Assembly; and we are persuaded that this choice will be acceptable to you.
We earnestly recommend you, well-beloved, to the care of Divine Providence, and
heartily bid you farewell.
Given at our Court at Carlton House, the 2d day of May 1825, in the sixth year
of our reign.
By his Majesty's Command,
Note.—The following is the notice in the Abridgment of this year's Proceedings of the Overtures respecting the Propagation of the Gospel Abroad, and relative to the State of Religious Instruction and Education in Scotland, and in the adoption of which the India Mission and Education Schemes originated:—
"Sess. 7, Thursday, May 27, 1824.
"The Assembly proceeded to take up the Overtures relative to the Propagation of the Gospel
among the Heathen, and also the memorial and petition of the Rev. Dr Bryce, first minister of the Presbyterian Church in Calcutta, on the same subject. After mature deliberation, the following motion was
made, seconded and unanimously and cordially agreed to: 'That the Assembly approve of the general
purpose and object of these overtures; appoint a committee to devise and report to the next Assembly
a specific plan for the accomplishment of that object, and reserve for the consideration of the next Assembly the means of providing the requisite funds, by appointing an extraordinary collection at all the
Parish Churches and Chapels of Ease throughout Scotland, as well as by opening a general subscription
for the accomplishing this pious and benevolent object.'
"The Assembly then proceeded to take up the Overture relative to the State of Religious Instruction,
and of Education in the Highlands and Islands, and in the great towns in Scotland. After hearing the
wants of the inhabitants of the Highlands and Islands, and their claims upon the public most ably and
feelingly stated, the General Assembly most cordially gave their approbation to the object proposed in
these overtures, and unanimously agreed that a committee be appointed to inquire, and to report to next
Assembly, as to an advisable plan for the Church to adopt for increasing the means of education and of
religious instruction throughout Scotland in general, where it may be needed, but particularly in the
Highlands and Islands, and in large and populous cities and towns; and that the committee be instructed,
after collecting and digesting the relative facts, to take what proper and prudent measures may be in their
power to learn, for the information and direction of the ensuing Assembly, what degree of co-operation may reasonably be expected from 'heritors and others in the different districts of the country; and
whether, also, and in what manner, Government may be disposed to give public aid for carrying into
effect the important measure in contemplation."—Ed. 1843.
III. Sess. 3, May 21, 1825.— The General Assembly's Answer to the King's most gracious
May it please your Majesty,
The letter with which your Majesty has been pleased to honour us we have received as a mark of royal condescension and good-will, which demands the strongest
expressions of respectful and grateful attachment from this General Assembly of the
Church of Scotland.
We are deeply sensible of the invaluable advantages which we enjoy under your
Majesty's government, and we earnestly pray that our future conduct may be so
directed by the wisdom which is from above, as to justify the entire confidence which
your Majesty has hitherto reposed in our affectionate loyalty to your person and government, and our unremitting zeal in the great cause of religion, as the tie which
connects the interests of time with the hopes of eternity, and as yielding at once the
best security for the honour and stability of the throne, and the good order and happiness of the people.
We return our warmest thanks for the renewed assurances of your Majesty's unalterable determination to uphold the Church of Scotland in the full enjoyment of all
its rights and privileges; and we venture to hope that we shall never forfeit the
claims which our predecessors have established to the favour and authority with which
the General Assemblies of this Church have been countenanced by your Majesty
and your Royal Ancestors.
In humble dependence on the aid of Divine grace to guide us in judgment, and to
bestow on us the spirit of meekness and brotherly love, we are fully resolved to avail
ourselves of your Majesty's paternal admonition, conveyed in terms so encouraging,
by bringing with us to this present Assembly an ardent and sincere desire for the
advancement of true religion and pure morality, and by tempering our zeal with candour and moderation; thus feeling ourselves warranted to rely on your Majesty's
firm and hearty co-operation, in promoting the success of the counsels and endeavours
which it shall be our invariable object to direct to the general good of that portion of
the empire which is committed to our pastoral care.
We rejoice in the intelligence of your Majesty's pious resolution to recommend to
the early attention of Parliament the great deficiency of accommodation felt by your
Majesty's religiously disposed subjects in some parts of Scotland; and it is our fervent
prayer, that the deliberative wisdom of the legislature may speedily provide an effectual remedy for so serious an evil, which, in common with your Majesty, we have
The appointment of the Right Honourable Lord Forbes to represent your Royal
Person in this General Assembly is received by us as a distinguished proof of your
Majesty's regard for the honour and interest of this National Church. The fidelity,
firmness, and prudence which he has displayed in other parts of your Majesty's service, as well as the private worth and amiable qualities which endear him to his countrymen, well entitle him to a most cordial and respectful welcome from us.
We receive with much gratitude the royal donation of L.2000, for propagating the
Christian religion in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, and we shall study to
apply with strict fidelity the sum which has thus been confided to our management.
That Almighty God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, may protect your Majesty's person and guide your counsels, and that, after a long and happy reign on
earth, you may inherit a kingdom which cannot be moved, is the earnest prayer of,
May it please your Majesty, your Majesty's most faithful, most loyal,
and most obedient subjects, the Ministers and Elders of this General Assembly of the Church of Scotland.
Signed in our name, in our presence, and at our appointment, by
George Cook, Moderator.
IV. Sess. 9, May 28, 1825.—Commission of the General Assembly to certain Ministers and
Ruling Elders for discussing Affairs referred to them.
The General Assembly, &;c.
V. Sess. ult., May 30, 1825.—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.
VI. Sess. ult., May 30, 1825.—Overtures as to the Course of Study to be pursued by Students
VII. Sess. ult., May 30, 1825.—Report as to Schools.
The General Assembly called for the Report of the Committee anent the Returns
upon the subject of the Examination of Schools, which was made by Dr Singer, the
The Assembly direct their clerks to have this report inserted in the printed Acts
of the Assembly.
At Edinburgh, 28th May 1825.
The Committee of the General Assembly, on the Returns of Presbyteries relative to
the regular Examination and State of the Schools, have to report,—
That regular printed or written forms, duly filled up in the prescribed order, have
been sent in from the following Presbyteries, viz.—
These returns being only 32, in due order and regular form.
But that parochial, in place of Presbyterial statements, have been sent in as follows,
viz., from 11 parishes in the Presbytery of Dumfries; from the several parishes in the
Presbytery of Dalkeith; from 11 parishes in the Presbytery of Edinburgh; and from
6 parishes of the Presbytery of Chirnside; and that short notifications of examinations
of the schools, and of the satisfaction which was derived from the performance of this
duty, have been put in from the Presbyteries of Hamilton, Fordoun, Linlithgow, and
Strathbogie; the returns in all being sent in from 40 Presbyteries.
That no report whatever appears for last year from any of the remaining 38 Presbyteries of this Church; and that several of these have neglected to make returns in
the prescribed form for more than one year, and some of them for many years; so
that a full view of the schools in their respective bounds cannot be obtained until the
orders of the Assembly be more generally observed, or more effectually enforced, according to the prescribed form; and returns made from every Presbytery, embracing
all the parishes in one view.
That, besides the stimulus which the regular annual reports must give to the several Presbyteries in the discharge of a most important duty, it must be useful also as a
stimulus to the several teachers, to know that such reports are made, and satisfactory
to the Assembly and to the public, that they are obtained and preserved.
The committee feel it their duty to report, that some of the teachers have not yet
qualified, by taking the Oath of Allegiance, and subscribing the proper Formula of the
Church, dated in 1694; and that it may be proper to ordain a greater and more
exact attention to the orders of the Assembly, that the teachers may qualify, and may
be so reported.
Also, that no parish school appears to have been established in the parish of Lochs
and Presbytery of Lewis, and that an explanation of the reason of this ought to be
required, and measures taken for erecting one in that parish, and in every other where
a parish school is wanting.
That some of the returns from Presbyteries contain very full and satisfactory statements, not only of the schools and number of scholars, but that a column has been
added for the population, as formerly recommended by the Assembly; which it is
evidently proper to possess, in order to an easy comparison, and which has been done
in the very perfect reports from Aberdeen and Aberbrothock; and that the numbers
of schools, of the scholars attending them, and of the population, should be in separate columns, each to be summed up; the designation of the Presbytery to be at the
top of the return, and the attestation not to be omitted.
That full and accurate returns from Presbyteries, relative to schools, are now more
than ever important, with a view to facilitate the great objects of the Assembly's Standing Committee for increasing the means of education; and that, in so far as the reports of last year extend, they furnish continued evidence of the incalculable value of
the regular and accurate inspection of Presbyteries, under the high authority of the
General Assembly of this Church.
Wm. Singer, Convener.
VIII. Sess. ult., May 30, 1825.—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 18th day of May
Extracted from the Records of the General Assembly.
Andrew Duncan, Cl. Eccl. Scot.