The James Begg Society

The James Begg Society

Publishers of Protestant, Reformed Christian Literature

Memoirs of Rev James Begg, D.D., by Rev. Thomas Smith, D.D.



D R. BEGG'S ministry in Paisley began under most trying circumstances, as much so as any with which a young minister ever had to contend. In 1832 there was a fearful outbreak of cholera, which visited many parts of the country, carried off many of all classes, and produced terror in the hearts of multitudes who escaped its actual attack. Probably on account of overcrowding and the want of sanitary arrangements, Paisley was one of the places which suffered most severely. The greater portion of the victims were of the destitute, enfeebled, and dissipated classes. But not all. The mansions of the higher classes were not exempt from the visitation. The strong and the fair were among the victims. The virtuous and the pious did not escape. In all faces were traces of deepest sorrow, mingled with the expression of anxiety and alarm. And there was more than simple sorrow, comfortless weeping for the dead because they were not. A strange madness took hold of the minds of the most ignorant portion of the people, and in some cases extended even to some of whom better things might have been expected. The medical men, who battled with the fell disease with all the courage and energy which are nobly characteristic of their profession, were regarded as its abettors. Every case which baffled their skill was regarded as a murder perpetrated by them. This strange and wicked delusion was, unhappily, not confined to Paisley, but it seems to have found there a peculiarly congenial soil. It seems probable that the wretched class of body-lifters, or resurrectionists, as they were called, did take advantage of the extra-mural burying, and exercised their vocation in the secluded and unwatched cemeteries. The medical practitioners were supposed to incite them to the spoliation of the grave, or at least to furnish them with the inducement by purchasing the spoil. Hence such scenes as the following, described by a correspondent of a Glasgow newspaper of the day: 25

[Footnote 25: Scottish Guardian, March 30, 1832.]

"Paisley is at this moment in a state of greater commotion than it has been since the period still known as the 'Radical times.' Yesterday some idle persons wandering about the Moss, the place allotted for the reception of the bodies of those who have died of cholera, found a short spade, hook, and bag, and some other of the known implements of the resurrectionist. Immediately the report got abroad that the exhumators had been at work in the cholera burying-ground; and had it not been Sunday, the scenes exhibited to-day would in all likelihood have taken place yesterday. This morning crowds were assembled about the Cross discussing the affair, and expressing their determination to inspect the burying-ground if the authorities did not set about it immediately. There being no appearance of any public authorised inspection, the populace went down about ten o'clock to the ground, and commenced operations. So many discordant rumours are afloat respecting the result of the inspection, that it would be improper to state positively what it may have been. There is no doubt, however, that the resurrectionists have been at work, though to go the length of saying that all the bodies of the victims of cholera, with the exception of six or seven, have been taken away (the popular rumour) would be the greatest exaggeration. About two o'clock a considerable body of the crowd left the Moss, bearing alone with them one of the empty coffins, and armed with the stobs that surrounded the burying-place. Their first act of violence was the demolition of the windows of Drs. Vessie, W. Young, and A. K. Young. At this time we saw the crowd, and can declare that it did not consist of more than 200 grown-up boys 26 altogether, and had the authorities made any show of resistance, it could have been easily dispersed. No attempt, however, was made to obstruct its progress, and the shout was now raised 'To the hospital!' There the windows were partly broken, and the cholera van seized and brought down the Pend triumphantly. Dr. Kerr's windows were next demolished, and the windows of all, or almost all, the medical men in the town followed. The van was next broken to pieces, and its wreck was borne along with the populace as a token of their power and success. So determined were the mob that, finding in one instance that a druggist had put on his window-shutters to save his panes of glass, they broke the panels.... About three o'clock part of the depot of the 25th regiment and the staff of the Renfrewshire militia were called out, when the mob in a great measure dispersed; and at present (half-past four o'clock) all is comparatively quiet.... Some of the police were considerably injured by stones, but not one of them seriously. A great many gentlemen were likewise pretty severely pelted by the mob. One or two of the medical gentlemen found shelter during the riot in the Police Office. The shops in town were all shut during the disturbance."

[Footnote 26: Qu. "Grown-up men and boys?" - T. S.]

Three days later, on Thursday the 26th of March, the same correspondent writes:-

"Ever since the riot on Monday, the town has remained tranquil. There was indeed on Tuesday a slight disturbance in the west end of the town, and the cholera hearse and its drivers were pelted with stones, but the respectable part of the neighbourhood turned out and quelled the proceedings. A minute investigation is going on into the whole affair, many parts of which are still involved in mystery. There is reason to believe that a conspiracy has been formed in order to excite the disturbance, and those who are best acquainted with the history of the matter as at present developed, scruple not to declare that the resurrection-men have never been at work in the burying-ground at all. Fifteen persons have been committed to prison as accessories to this disgraceful riot."

The sequel is told in the Guardian of next week: 27

[Footnote 27: Scottish Guardian, April 3, 1832.]

"Many painful scenes have been exhibited in Paisley last week, resulting from the riotous proceedings of Monday. The Board of Health and the district surgeons deemed it necessary to discontinue in a great measure their invaluable services, in order that the public might learn from experience how unpleasantly they would be situated without their assistance. The hospital was shut up, the ordinary aid given in interments was withdrawn, except in peculiar circumstances, and the people were thrown on their own resources. On Friday the streets were crowded by an assemblage collected to witness the harrowing spectacle of a poor man hurling, on a common barrow, the body of a girl, a relation of his own, and followed by her sobbing mother carrying a spade wherewith to dig a grave for the body of her child. The procession was stopped by a gentleman, who generously secured for the corpse a burying-place. The wreck of the cholera hearse cannot be obtained unless forty neighbours promise to protect it and its drivers from injury; several times lately has it passed along the streets surrounded by individuals armed with sticks, who have come under the required obligation. In despite even of this guard, some foolish persons have more than once attempted, and succeeded too in the attempt, to turn the hearse, and leave the body in the house from which it has been taken. No less than four bodies on Saturday remained unburied till long after the time considered prudent. In consequence of this shameful interference, one of the bodies was so corrupted that the smell of it was felt even by persons passing along the street; and it was judged right to summon out, on Saturday, the constabulary force in order to secure the interment of these victims of cholera. Their services, however, were happily not required, as the ignorant part of the public desisted from their opposition."

It is very difficult to estimate, and almost impossible to over-estimate, the delicacy of a minister's position when such a state of feeling exists among the people of his charge, as these extracts show to have existed in Paisley at this time. No doubt the number of the actual rioters was small. But as undoubtedly, as in all such cases, the feeling which prompted a few to riot rankled bitterly in the hearts of many. The minister could not but reprobate the action of the misguided rioters, and express his sympathy with the ill-used doctors. Thus he would give offence to many, who would regard him as the partisan of the rich in their attempts to injure and trample upon the poor; and so for a long time their hearts would be steeled against him, and their ears closed to his ministrations. On the other hand, the well-to-do community would cherish, along with a righteous condemnation of the crime, a bitter feeling of resentment against the criminals. The minister, while equally reprobating the crime, would almost certainly make more allowance for the ignorance of the criminals, and for the excitement caused in their hearts by sorrow and terror. Any expression of such a sentiment would cause him to be regarded as an apologist for disorder, or as one courting the favour of the rabble, or as one afraid to incur their hatred. In such cases, as it is simply impossible to please both parties, perhaps the highest commendation that can be given to a minister is to say that he displeased both; and that commendation is Dr. Begg's due.

Coincident, in point of time, with the visitation of cholera, was an extreme depression of the Paisley trade, and this seems always to exasperate class-feeling. The employers and the employed alike have their income reduced. But the former have their capital to fall back upon, while the latter are brought to absolute penury. The employed consider that the employers are indebted to them for that capital, and that they are injured when that capital enables its possessors to live with scarcely diminished expenditure, while its earners are reduced to almost intolerable straits. It is not my part to attempt the solution of the many politico-economical problems, hitherto unsolved, as to the relations of capital and labour. I refer to the matter only to call attention to the fact that a minister in a manufacturing town occupies a peculiarly delicate and difficult position at a period of great depression. He desires to be, and is, and in ordinary times is acknowledged to be, the friend of all. But in evil times, when class-bitterness prevails, each class will regard the friend of the other class as its own enemy. Here again, in the absence of a possibility of pleasing both parties, the highest attainable merit is to displease both.

Further, 1832 was the year of the Reform Act. In the earlier months of it, while the passing of the Act was delayed, there was tremendous bitterness; and when it was actually passed, there was intense excitement among the newly enfranchised electors. I have not a word to say in disparagement of political earnestness. Every citizen of a free country ought to take an intelligent and earnest interest in all matters bearing upon its well-being, and therefore in political matters; nor have I much sympathy with the denunciations, which one sometimes hears, of party politics. As long as there are independently thinking men, there will be different views on political questions. And while there is some truth in the adage, Quot homines, tot sententiæ, yet the sentiments of men will generally tend to range themselves on one or the other of two sides. And it is by the resultant of the two forces thus originating that the best government is to be secured. It is not, therefore, political agitation that is to be deprecated; not the use, but the abuse of it. Such abuse is sure to occur in periods when important changes are imminent, and when they have just been effected. I have some recollection of the excitement and the animosities of the era of the first Reform Bill, when I was a very young student, and I do not think that these have been equalled during the half century which has elapsed since then. Nowhere was this excitement more intense, or these animosities more bitter, than in Paisley; there again it was a war of class against class, and a man could not exercise his judgment in supporting a particular candidate without being regarded as almost a personal foe of every man who supported another. Dr. Begg took no part in the fierce agitation, but quietly gave his vote in favour of the candidate whose views accorded with his own; for all through his life, rightly or wrongly, he was a thorough Whig, or what is now called a Liberal Conservative, and a very strong opponent of Radicalism, or what is now denominated advanced Liberalism. The result of the election showed that among the Paisley electorate Constitutionalism was in the ascendant, but Radicalism was strong in the non-electoral section of the community; 28 and every man - especially every minister - who voted with the majority was subjected to obloquy and misrepresentation.

[Footnote 28: As indicative of the prevalent Radicalism I find the following paragraph in the Scottish Guardian of 29th May 1832. - T. S. - "At the last celebration of the King's birthday, Paisley presented more the appearance of a flower-garden than of a dull, dingy, smoky town. Yesterday a stranger could not have discovered, except by the ringing of the bells, that it was a day appointed to commemorate the birth of our sovereign. Hardly a flower was to be seen in any window; not a branch appeared in the trappings of a horse. The absence of the usual manifestation of loyal feeling may, in part, be attributed to the bustle occasioned by the 'flittings' (the 28th being term-day); but it arises also from the unpopularity of the King, produced by an unfounded suspicion of His Majesty not being hearty in the cause of Reform."]

Yet further, it was in 1832 that the Voluntary controversy began. It did not originate in Paisley, but Paisley soon became one of its hottest foci. In this controversy every minister of the Established Church necessarily took a more or less prominent part; and Dr. Begg's was a somewhat prominent one. I am not aware that he issued any publication on the subject, but he took no unimportant part in the contest by speeches and lectures. His actings in this protracted controversy will come frequently before us in the sequel.

It would appear from the notices (in the Scottish Guardian ) of the local church courts - the Presbytery of Paisley and the Synod of Glasgow and Ayr - that Dr. Begg did not, in the early days of his Paisley ministry, take a prominent part in their discussions. It is true that the reports, in those days of weekly and semi-weekly papers, were much briefer than they are now. I suppose that Dr. Begg modestly kept in the background, and willingly gave place to the "potent, grave, and reverend seniors." I find only sententious notices, such as the following.

In the Synod of Glasgow and Ayr, at its spring meeting in 1832, Mr. Macfarlane of Renfrew moved that the Synod should petition Parliament in opposition to the scheme of education for Ireland, which was then a burning question all over the land. This was seconded by Dr. Burns of Paisley in a long speech. (All his speeches were long.) A counter-motion was made and seconded, and discussion ensued, which is very briefly reported. In the middle of the report are the following paragraphs:-

"Dr. Hill of Dailly, in a very solemn and impressive manner, pleaded for the overture, while he did not approve of all its sentiments, nor of the language in which it was expressed. He proposed a committee to draw up a petition and report.

"Mr. Wood of Newton-upon-Ayr seconded the proposal, and ably defended the principle of the overture; as did Mr. Begg of Paisley, who said that two things had struck him in the debate as rather strange. The one was that some gentlemen opposed the petition because it was premature, while others did so because it was too late. The other was that a member had eulogised the Kildare Place Society, and with the same breath had praised the Government which had done what it could to put it down."

Then at a public meeting held in Paisley to petition Parliament on the subject of Sabbath observance, I find the following:-

"Mr. M'Dermid and Mr. Begg entered at great length into the subject of Sabbath profanation."

We find him somewhat more fully reported in the meeting of the Synod of Glasgow and Ayr on the 10th of October 1832. His father, Dr. Begg of New Monkland, moved that the Synod should overture the Assembly "for a modification of the law for the disjunction of overgrown parishes and the erection of new churches." This was opposed by the Moderate party, on the ground that it would give offence to the heritors; and it was suggested by Dr. Patrick Macfarlane, who was no Moderate, that as this was likely to be the case, and as there was no prospect of success, "that it would well become them not to arrive at any hasty conclusion. He would not make any motion on the subject, but he earnestly suggested that Dr. Begg should withdraw the motion for the present, and reproduce it at the meeting in April."

"Dr. Begg was not sanguine of success; but the measure was necessary, and the step must be taken some time, and the sooner it was laid before the Assembly the better. Perhaps other Synods would take up the subject immediately whereas, were it postponed to the next meeting, their concurrence would be too late.

"Mr. Begg could not see that delay would be detrimental to the question. It was notorious that the Church of Scotland had been labouring under great disadvantages; particularly in the west of Scotland, where parishes of 20, 30, 40, 60, and even 80,000 were under the superintendence of one individual, and where there were teinds unavailable. 29 It was their duty to assert their rights; and if they were united in this they would bring the world to a sense of their grievances. If after this the Church were called inefficient the assertion would be estimated at its proper value. The statement of Mr. Macfarlane regarding the ignorance abroad on this subject, was one of great importance, and should stimulate them to adopt the course he suggested. He had no objection to the question being set aside till April, but he would have the Synod record their strong approbation of the overture, and instruct their Presbyteries to furnish them with such statistical information as Mr. Macfarlane had referred to."

[Footnote 29: Qu. "Available?" - T. S.]

It will be seen that the son was not less solicitous than the father as to the matter proposed, although he differed with him as to the necessity of immediate action. Indeed, this was one of the subjects nearest to the heart of the son, and all through his life he was continually referring to it as one of Scotland's chief desiderata. It must have afforded a good deal of amusement to see the son opposing the father even on this question of immediate action or six months' delay.

But whilst the minister of the Paisley Middle Parish was lamenting the inadequacy of the means at the disposal of the Church of Scotland for overtaking the work which was considered to belong to it, he was most energetic in employing the means which were available, and in stirring up others to employ them energetically. It has been incidentally stated that near the beginning of the present century the "Low Church" parish became "St. George's" parish, and a new church was erected for it. How the old Low Church, or Laigh Kirk, was occupied during the interval I do not know. But when Dr. Begg went to Paisley, he found that it could be rented, and he took it at an annual rent of £30. In this a probationer was appointed to officiate, and there was soon gathered a large congregation. The Scottish Guardian of 26th June gives the following account, extracted from the Paisley Advertiser, of the opening of this place of worship:-

"LOW CHURCH. - This church was opened for public worship on Sunday last by the Rev. Mr. Begg. The text which he chose was vary appropriate, Mark xvi. 15, 'Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.' At the conclusion of a most impressive discourse, he stated that when he first came to the town, he was surprised to find, amidst so dense a population, a church standing empty, and so many poor people wandering about on Sunday without the means of religious instruction. He had therefore considered it his duty to make exertions to have this place opened for public worship, and he had never rested until he had succeeded in having a clergyman appointed to preach every Sabbath, and he hoped that it would continue open until it crumbled into ruins." He trusted they would receive Mr. Steel gladly, and treat him with kindness, for he was every way well qualified to instruct them in the important truths of Christianity, and he was certain that Mr. S. would take a deep interest in their welfare. He felt averse to speak of the contributions which would be necessary to support this church; but what he had himself given to aid them, he had given cheerfully, and he hoped that others would act on the same principle. The attendance was numerous and respectable."

The last sentence of this extract indicates what was the weak point of all these earlier efforts for church extension and it is not altogether eliminated even now. The new churches afforded accommodation to those who had some desire for Christian ordinances, but scarcely touched a multitude who had no such desire, and a considerable number who had a positive aversion to the gospel and its ordinances. I have no disposition to despise the day of small things, or ta make little of the good that was done, or of the evil that was prevented, by these efforts. They did some good, and they prevented not a little evil. That they did not do more of the one and prevent more of the other, was not merely due, I suspect, to their inadequacy in point of extent, but also to some defects in their modes of operation. Dr. Begg always maintained strenuously - and I, with more experience in this department than he ever had, am disposed to agree with him to a considerable extent - that endowments, and authoritatively defined parochial and territorial-boundaries, are essential to complete success. But these, if essential, are not sufficient and they are capable of such abuse that they may become a hindrance and not a help. The great problem of the "evangelisation of the masses" is still unsolved. It is high commendation that is due to Dr. Begg, who was one of the first to apprehend its importance, and earnestly to grapple with it. Of one thing I am confident, that its solution will not be effected by desultory efforts, however strenuous these may be, but by the persistent and prayerful concentration of the energies of the Church of Christ. And in this work there surely might be, there surely ought to be, cordial co-operation among all the sections of the Evangelical Church.

In the next issue of the Guardian I find the following paragraph from its Paisley correspondent, referring to the same matter:-

"The opening of the Low Church, Paisley, has most decidedly proved that the neglect of the public ordinances of religion so lamentably prevalent in our large towns, springs at least as much from the want of cheap church accommodation as from the apathy and unconcern of the population in reference to sacred things. When that place of public worship was about to be opened, it was pretty generally said, that though a few individuals from the various congregations of the town might be induced, from the low price of the sittings, to assemble there, yet that the number of church-going people would not be increased, for that it was in vain to look for an accession of worshippers from those who had long given up attending any church. These prognostications have happily not been realised. A congregation of from 700 to 1,000 individuals has actually been collected from among those who hitherto, from poverty or other causes, have rarely or never entered a place of public worship. The proof of this is just the fact that such a number regularly assemble in the Low Church, and that the attendance in the other churches is not sensibly diminished. The result of this experiment of the Rev. Mr. Begg affords great encouragement to such philanthropists as may be disposed to bestir themselves in providing additional cheap church accommodation for the population. Their efforts stand every chance of being seconded and appreciated by those for whose benefit they are made. At Charleston, which has long been the exclusive seat of the exertions of one of the agents of the Paisley Town Mission, where, of course, a sermon was regularly preached every Sabbath evening, a strong desire has been awakened to enjoy the benefits of public worship more frequently. To meet this desire, the Rev. Mr. M'Nair, the minister of the parish, has agreed to preach in a large room every fortnight, and the inhabitants of that district themselves, poor though they generally are, and peculiarly heedless with respect to religion though they are esteemed, have raised voluntarily a fund sufficient to remunerate any minister whom they may obtain to preach on the Sabbath on which Mr. M'Nair does not officiate. Thus, in that destitute quarter, public worship is now regularly celebrated twice every Lord's-day."

I have no doubt that the experiment was successful, although I am not convinced that the success was so thoroughly as is here represented among the class which it was mainly designed to benefit. It might be quite true that the attendance at the other churches was "not sensibly diminished," but neither, I fear, was the number of loiterers and mischief-makers on the streets, or of the customers of the public-houses, for there was no Forbes M'Kenzie Act in those days.

Be this as it may, it is gratifying to find that Dr. Begg's zeal in the Home Mission cause was not exhausted, but rather stimulated, by this experiment. If he could not do all that he desired, he was ever ready to do with energy the best that he could. His second experiment in this direction is detailed in the following paragraph, which appears in the Scottish Guardian of the 11th of September:-

"When the Old Low Church was lately opened for public worship, the Court Hall, the place where Mr. Steel had formerly preached, was shut up. Mr. Begg, however, finding that his missionary, Mr. Steel, had obtained something like a regular congregation, and that the watching over it would demand all his labours, and finding also that a considerable part of the Middle Church parish still required to be attended to, determined to secure the services of another missionary, and to re-open the Court Hall for public worship. In this place the Rev. Mr. Wood preached for the first time last Sabbath, to an attentive and respectable congregation, composed chiefly of the young and the aged. Thus there have been added within these few months no fewer than 1,500 sittings to the ordinary church accommodation of the town of Paisley, and this great good has been accomplished chiefly through the zeal of one reverend gentleman. Another place of public worship is being fitted up in the west end of the town, for the benefit of such of the High Church parishioners as are unable to pay for accommodation in the other churches of the place; but we have not yet heard the name of the rev. gentleman whom Mr. M'Naughton intends to labour in this part of his parish. It is, we believe, intended to have a third parochial missionary in Paisley, besides the two town missionaries, so that opportunities of obtaining religious knowledge, and of joining in religious worship, will no longer be awanting here. The funds for accomplishing these great objects are derived in part from the collections made at the Sabbath evening sermons delivered in the High Church, and in part from the direct contributions of the ministers of Paisley themselves."

I may perhaps be excused for mentioning that it was in connection with the appointment of Mr. Wood that I was first introduced to Dr. Begg. Mr. Wood was the son of the minister of Wiston, the next parish to that of which my father was minister. Dr. Begg was, I believe, on a visit to his relations in Douglas, which is quite near to Wiston. He had been on terms with Mr. Wood about the assistantship, and had agreed to come to Wiston and take part in the sacramental services. The report went abroad that a distinguished preacher was to conduct the service on the Monday, and many went from the neighbouring parishes. I was a very young student, at home during the summer after my first session in Edinburgh. I went with others to church, and was asked to dine at the manse. I confess that I have no remembrance of the sermon, or of any other of the services. But I have - to use an expression which occurs again and again in the autobiographical chapters in this volume - a "vivid remembrance" of the fine physique, the handsome face, and the earnest and impressive manner of the preacher, and of the kindly notice which he took of me when I was introduced to him. I did not come in contact with him again for some half-dozen years, and although he did not recognise me at first, when I told him who I was he at once recalled the conversation we had had at Wiston Manse on the subject of my predilections in the matter of studies.

Mr. Wood had been assisting his father for some time, and had an immense reputation, locally, as a preacher. With good powers and many advantages, his career was not a happy one. I am not aware that there was anything very flagrantly amiss in his conduct while his connection with Dr. Begg subsisted; but there could be little cordiality between them.

Once more, in the Scottish Guardian of the 26th December, 1832, is the following notice:-

"The Rev. Mr. Begg, on Sabbath last, brought before his congregation the wants of his parish with regard to church accommodation. He stated that the parish contains 15,000 inhabitants, and that his church could only contain 1,500 persons. With a view to afford to the people generally an opportunity of attending upon public ordinances, he has devised a scheme for raising as much money as will enable him to build a plain place of worship, capable of holding a few hundred individuals. The leading features of the scheme are, that the elders shall immediately wait upon all the members of the church, in order to induce them to subscribe from a penny to sixpence weekly, for the purpose of affording their poorer brethren, at a trifling rate, or without charge, an opportunity of enjoying the public ordinances of the sanctuary. Mr. Begg is very sanguine of success, and we heartily wish he may prosper. Some idea is likewise entertained of building a chapel of ease, of a similar kind, in the western extremities of the High Church parish. Should this be done, then all the parishes of Paisley will have a chapel within their bounds; and something will have been accomplished with regard to what has been long felt to be a great desideratum, namely, cheap and ample church accommodation."

These notes, fragmentary as they are, all relating to the first year of Dr. Begg's ministry in Paisley, indicate that he set about the work of pastor and evangelist with characteristic ardour, and did with his might what his hand found to do. They make it manifest, too, that his zeal was infectious; for it must have been due, in large measure, to his influence and example that his co-presbyters, the ministers of the other Paisley parishes, began precisely at that time to undertake evangelistic work in their several districts. Of course there were those who said, and those who insinuated, that the animating motive of all this zeal was a desire to "smash the Dissenters;" and I believe that he did, on one occasion, give utterance to this unguarded and unseemly expression. But I can testify that few men were ever readier to acknowledge the invaluable services rendered by the Dissenters to the cause of God in Scotland. His ideal, doubtless, was, and continued all through his life to be, an Established Church so good that Dissent should be unnecessary, and so adequate in extent to the wants of the people that there should be no need for Dissenters to supply its lack of service. He did not consider that the Establishment to which he belonged, and to which he was so warmly attached, was actually possessed of either of these characteristics; and he devoted himself to strenuous and unceasing efforts for its purification and its extension. He apprehended that in proportion as these efforts were successful, Dissent would be lessened; but his object was not the weakening of Dissent, but the removal of the evils which had originally caused it, an object with which many seceders - such, for example, as Dr. M'Crie - very cordially sympathised.