« НазадПродовжити »
say the arrangement would be a good one in the present state of Scotland, having studied the question with the advantages of the additional light derived from this evidence, should have significantly observed in the debate of 1836, after mentioning that the act 1690 did not abolish patronage, but transferred it to the heritors and elders—Whether that has been a useful mode of appointing ministers may safely be left to the experience of those who are acquainted with such cases.'
Would the matter be in better hands if left to the Presbytery? Lord Moncreiff expresses himself thus with regard to that proposal :cor It seems to be enough to state that I conceive it impossible that any plan for giving the power of appointment to Presbyteries would be satisfactory to the public.” *—“Whatever others may think, I am of opinion that nothing would have been more dangerous to Scotland than that the presentations to parishes should be vested in the church courts."'+ Indeed on the impolicy and inexpediency of vesting patronage in the Church Courts, all the witnesses examined before the Committee were agreed.
If then the initiative ought not to be given either to the kirksession and the heritors as under the act 1690, nor vested in the Presbytery, ought it to be transferred to the people? Would popular election of ministers, the boon which the people have really been led to expect by all this agitation, be a benefit to Scotland ?
Here again, and for the last time, let us quote Lord Moncreiff :
"“ Under any definition of that mode of appointment which I have yet heard, it would be full of danger to the best interests, and perhaps to the existence of the Church of Scotland. In the first place, I think that it is altogether wrong in principle. We cannot transfer to this peculiar and very sacred subject rules or principles which may be sound and right in mere matters of civil politics. A man who is to be appointed a minister of religion for a particular parish is not to be placed there to represent the opinions or the interests or the views of the person over whom he is set as minister : quite the reverse. He is placed there under the sauction of the most solemn oaths to teach the people what they ought to think and what they ought to do, and therefore though I hold, and shall presently have occasion to state more particularly, that the people ought to be consulted in the matter, I think that nothing can be more obvious than that in principle in the first instance it is not the people who should determine by selection who ought to be their minister. In the second place, as far as my information goes, I hold that popular election of a minister generally, and when it is to be extended to every parish within the whole range of Scotland, has * Evidence on Patronage, 1833.
+ Debate of 1836.
a tendency a tendency which must in a greater number of instances take effect to excite the worst passions of our nature and to breed endless confusion in many of the parish in which it may be exercised.”—Again—"If therefore a system of popular election is now to be introduced at this period of the history of the Church, and of the country after the Presbyteriau Church has existed for 250 years or more, it must be introduced as a system which can be nothing else but a speculative experiment, and that in the most important of all the institutions of the country. This alone appears to me to be an insurmountable objection to it; for, whatever others may think, I hold that the Church of Scotland is not in a decayed or falling state, but on the contrary that before these agitatims on this subject began lately to be raised, it was, and I think it still is, in a very stable and prosperous condition, notwithstanding all the defects that may be imputed to it.” (Q. 1336.) “ Upon the whole, it would be fraught with great danger to the interests and even to the existence of the Church of Scotland.” “I object to the abolition of the law of patronage, because I have seen no scheme or plan for the appointment of ministers to be put in its place which is not encompassed with the greatest difficulties, and likely to be productive of far greater evils, and probably many of which would come into immediate operation, than the law of patronage as it stands.”,
These are the words of truth and soberness. We will not weary our readers with further citations ; suffice it to say, that Dr. Simpson, Dr. P. Macfarlane, Dr. Macgill, Mr. Bell, the procurator for the Church—the great majority, in short, of the witnesses on the popular side-were hostile to the proposal of popular election, even under any of its modifications.
What member of the Church of Scotland indeed must not feel the difficulty of dealing with the very pertinent but most perplexing question anticipated by Lord Moncreiff.—Supposing that all were done which is asked, what answer could be made if the Go. vernment, or the heritors of Scotland'-(many of whom-we believe a majority in fact-are not members of the Church of Scotland at all)—were to say to the Church-Well, if you are so very independent that you reject the statutes on which you have stood for centuries, as being contrary to your constitution, why should you not find the means of support also from the people, with whom, or with yourselves, you insist that all the powers of appointing to the benefices shall rest?'-(Q. 1341.)
Thus, then, the transference of patronage either to the people, or to the church courts, or its division between the heritors and elders, are all equally repudiated by the best friends of the Church, as impracticable or dangerous-injurious to the character of the people and the moral influence of the Church, if not subversive of its very existence. III.—What course then remains ? We say—to preserve pa
tronagemto secure by legislative declaration the proper check upon its exercise-to provide every fair and reasonable security that the interests of the people and of religion shall be consulted in the choice; but that being done, to enforce, if necessary, obedience to the law.
These objects, we have already said, appear to us to be secured by Lord Aberdeen's bill. It preserves the civil rights of the patron, but subjects it to limitations also recognised by law, and necessary to prevent its abuse. It hedges it round on al] sides. Not only must the patron select a licentiate of the Church -in regard to whom, in granting the licence, the Church may previously establish any standard, however high, of learning, moral propriety, Christian doctrine, ability for the office of the ministry, which she pleases :— but it subjects his presentee to a second trial, with the people as objectors and the Presbytery as judges. It prevents at the same time the injustice which would be done to pious and conscientious licentiates, by subjecting them to the mere will or caprice of the people, without the check afforded by the publication of the grounds of objection. It extinguishes those scenes of intrigue, cabal, and excitement to which the veto law gave rise, and by which the whole character of the people of Scotland would soon be irreparably injured. And finally, by allowing every conceivable objection to the usefulness of the presentee to be stated by the people, and given effect to by the Church courts, it affords as ample security against the intrusion of unworthy presentees upon reluctant congregations as human Jaws can give, consistently with the avoidance of the opposite extreme of cruel, capricious, and irreligious rejections. It leaves the matter, as rightly explained by Sir George Clerk, in the debate in the Assembly of 1840, in this position, * that · Wherever a Presbytery can lay their hand on their hearts, and say that, under all the circumstances of this parish, this presentee ought not to be placed there—they have the power under this act to prevent his induction.'
Can more in justice or reason be demanded? While the Church courts act fairly and conscientiously under it, and reject on any ground of qualification, the interference of the civil courts is absolutely excluded: they can interpose only, as we have already said, in a case of rejection on a plainly illegal and unconstitutional ground. Surely immunity from such interference in such a case cannot well be contended for; surely it cannot well be maintained at the present day that the Church of Scotland is to be the only body on which the state may confer rights, but cannot impose obligations; and that her Church courts are to be * Report, 1840, p. 140.
the only tribunals in the empire where wrong may be wrought without a remedy.
There are persons who calmly tell us that the most solemn Act of the legislature, if not in accordance with the views of the majority of the Scottish Clergy, would be disobeyed. But recklessly as this body has hitherto acted, we are not of that opinion. In the theory of the constitution, no doubt, the interpretation put upon acts of parliament by the courts of law constitutes the law, and is equally entitled to obedience with the most express and recent enactment; but we can conceive that in practice it speaks with far less effect and authority than the present voice of the legislature directed to the case in hand, and unequivocally defining the Church's rights and its obligations. To the legislature the Church has always professed to appeal from the supposed error of the courts of law; and we will not contemplate the possibility that its voice, if now distinctly uttered, will be disregarded; or that men of conscience and right feeling will continue to place themselves in the anomalous and unseemly position of accepting from the State its temporalities, and refusing to fulfil the conditions on which they are given. Their choice must now be made. If it be to sever their connexion with the Church, we shall regret their retirement; but if that event should arrive, we have no fear that their places will be worthily filled. Successors will be found to them, as conspicuous for piety, energy, and learning ; as ready to vindicate within their sphere the privilege and jurisdiction of the Church; but who feel also that while the Church remains an Established Church, her absolute independence of the law is a dream.
Art. VIII.-). England's Threatened War with the World.
1840. pp. 25. 2. Progress and present Position of Russia in the East. 1838.
pp. 151. 3. Mehemet Ali-Lord Palmerston–Russia—and France. By
William Cargill, Esq. London and Newcastle-upon-Tyne.
1840. pp. 96. 4. Proposed Impeachment of Lord Palmerston. Reports of Two
Public Meetings held at Carlisle and Newcastle-upon-Tyne upon the Foreign Relations of the Country and the Collusive and Treasonable Concert asserted to exist between the Foreign
Minister and Russia. Newcastle-upon-Tyne. 1840. pp. 37. 5. Reasons for demanding Investigation into the Charges against
Tion. It wast proselyte Lord Pan, and especially and
Lord Palmerston. By R. Monteith, Esq. Glasgow. 1840.
pp. 19. 6. Cairo, Petra, and Damascus, in 1839, with Remarks on the
Government of Mehemet Ali, and on the present Position of
Syria. By John G. Kinnear, Esq. 1841. pp. 348. 7. I'he Life of Mehemet Ali. London. 1841. pp. 96.
HE foremost principle of foreign policy professed by the 1 Whig ministry on its formation, and especially and personally by their recent proselyte Lord Palmerston, was NON-INTERVENTION. It was indeed this principle, asserted— however inconsistently with all the antecedents of his public life-by Lord Palmerston, while in opposition to the Duke of Wellington's administration in 1829-30, that afforded the only excuse-slight as it was—for his junction with the Whigs, and the only pretence for placing him in the department of Foreign Affairs : yet from the hour that the profession and pledge against intervention raised him to the foreign office, his whole proceedings have been intervention--nothing but intervention-intervention too in its least justifiable forms, and for the most unjustifiable objects—in Holland-in Portugal-in Spain- in the East—wherever, in short, his inconsistency could find a crevice to intrude or insinuate itself. We will not waste time in repeating what we have before stated of the effect of his unjust and impolitic interventions in Holland and Portugal, which have rendered the British name not only unpopular but odious in these two countries, our oldest and most natural allies; but we cannot omit to note that the withdrawal of the British squadron from Portugal was the signal for fresh insurrections and reviving anarchy in that distracted countrythe seeds of which were sown by the revolutionary interference of England.
But in Spain his measures have been marked with still deeper stains and more flagrant failure. We will not dwell either on the personal inconsistency or the national impolicy of Lord Palmerston's original interference in this matter, nor on the detestable spirit in which the war in Biscay was fomented and carried on. These have been sufficiently exposed, and it would be a disagreeable, and, unfortunately, superfluous task to insist on the folly and disgrace of the whole course of those proceedings; but some circumstances have occurred since we last adverted to this subject which require notice both to complete the history and to exhibit the crowning result of Lord Palmerston's Peninsular policy,
When the expulsion of Don Carlos was at last effected—not by the British blood and treasure so idly wasted in Biscay—but by the murderous treachery of Maroto--the triumph of Queen