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.

CHAPTER LII.

NATIONAL EDUCATION - HYMNS - SIR JAMES SIMPSON - ELECTION OF MINISTERS - SUSTENTATION FUND - FRANCO-GERMAN WAR - MR. BELL OF NEWCASTLE - MR. GLADSTONE AND THE POPE.

D R. BEGG entered on the year 1870 by taking part in an agitation for the amendment of the Scottish Poor-Law.

On the 5th of January, he presided at the delivery of a lecture on the subject by Bailie Lewis, a man of enlightened zeal on all social questions. In returning thanks to the lecturer, he ventilated a subject in which he took much interest, and which by constant iteration he brought to a successful issue - that of getting, in the decennial census, a return of the number of apartments in the houses.

Mainly through his exertions a beginning had been made in the census of 1861. The result of the return was appalling. By substituting authoritative statements for vague conjectures as to the social condition of our people, it contributed materially to the amendment of a deplorable state of matters - an amendment which still requires to be carried much further. Dr. Begg was one of the chief speakers at a public meeting called by the Lord Provost on the same subject, and received from the other speakers cordial acknowledgment of the value of his services regarding this matter.

A special meeting of the Commission of the Free Church Assembly was held on the 9th of February for considering the subject of the Lord Advocate's (Young) Natmnal Education Bill. The state of the case stood thus. All the members desired a national rather than a denominational system of education. None were quite satisfied with the Lord Advocate's Bill. But with one party the desire was stronger than the dissatisfaction; with another the dissatisfaction preponderated over the desire. The latter party were ably led by Dr. Nixon of Montrose, a man who for the good he has done, and for the evil he has resisted, could hardly be named even by one who did not enjoy his personal friendship, as I do, without a passing tribute of admiration and veneration.

Dr. Nixon stated with crushing force the objections to the Bill, and moved,

"That the Commission of Assembly.... declare at this juncture that no Bill for the settlement of education in Scotland can be accepted by the Free Church which proposes to exclude religion from the schools, or proposes to restrict it to certain hours, or fails to provide adequate security that the system of religious instruction hitherto in use in the parochial and Free Church schools shall be continued in all national schools."

Dr. Nixon's motion was seconded by Mr. Kidston of Ferniegair, another man who has done noble service to his Church and his country. A counter-motion having been moved by Dr. Rainy, Dr. Begg proposed an amendment, going somewhat more into detail than the motion of Dr. Nixon, but agreeing substantially with it. In supporting his amendment he cleared his ground with reference to a point that I have had occasion to refer to again and again.

"He admitted that the main security in regard to religious instruction must always be with the people of the country. He did not admit that there was no advantage to be gained by having a recognition in the Bill that there was no intention to innovate on the practice hitherto in vogue. It had been admitted by Dr. Rainy that there was great importance in that; and he was aware that in their interviews with the members of the Government in London this point as to recognising religion was pressed upon them; and it was clearly stated that this was a thing which the Church was most desirous to obtain.

One naturally asked why they were so indifferent about it now, when they changed their minds, and for what reason they had changed sides? It was said that there was no advantage in this recognition. He maintained that there was a very great advantage. When the question was discussed twenty years ago that element was not raised, as it was admitted on all hands that religion should be incorporated with education.

Now, however, that question was raised, and it was one of the main questions in connection with National Education. There was a large party in England, and a considerable party in Scotland, including those who held that the State ought not to support a school in which religion and education were blended together, and who held that the teaching in the schools should be kept separate from religious instruction. It therefore became a question of material importance: Were they to plead, or to be allowed to plead, that it was intended on their part to meet this view, and intended to effect a revolution in the use and wont of Scotland in the matter of religious instruction? If they abandoned that now, by assenting to a Bill that did not contain anything on the subject, they would do a wrong thing, for they would give up a claim which they had a right to prefer."

Dr. Nixon withdrew his motion in favour of Dr. Begg's; but Dr. Rainy's was carried by a majority of 23 (49 - 26). Of course a vote in which only seventy-five members took part was not in itself of much consequence; but it was probably indicative of the sentiments of the members generally. Many were desirous to get an educational measure at any price; and some, I fear, were affected, consciously or unconsciously, with undefined Voluntary views.

At the meeting of the Presbytery in February, Dr. Begg introduced the endless subject of the "deceased wife's sister," characterising as incestuous the marriages which it was proposed to legalise. He was supported by Dr. Candlish and Sir Henry Moncreiff, and his motion to petition against the Bill was unanimously agreed to.

At the same meeting of Presbytery there was a lively discussion on the Hymn question. Formally the motion (of Professor MacGregor) was only an overture that the Assembly should take no definitive action for the introduction of hymns without submitting it to the Presbyteries under the Barrier Act. But the discussion of the question naturally diverged into a statement of reasons for and against the use of hymns in public worship. Even the strongest advocates of their use will scarcely dispute the following statement by Dr. Begg:-

"In his opinion these hymns contained a saccharine sort of matter; they had an utter want of the grandeur and boldness to be found in the Psalms."

I may perhaps be excused for stating here that, while I never agreed with Dr. Begg in holding that the Church is not entitled to sing any uninspired compositions, I was always in perfect sympathy with him in deprecating the introduction of such compositions. I was in favour of allowing our congregations to have them if they would have them, while I thought that the desire for them was an unhealthy symptom. I was therefore generally obliged to vote against my friend on this question. But on the present occasion I was able to support him cordially.

In the month of May Dr. Begg was the chief speaker in a meeting in London in connection with the English branch of the Scottish Reformation Society. We read that on rising to speak, he "was received with rounds of Kentish fire!" His speech was an eloquent protest - alas! too little heeded - against the apathy of Protestants as to the progress of Romanism.

"It was well known," he said in the course of his speech, "that Rome knows nothing of toleration. On the contrary, she claimed supremacy by whatever means it might be gained;.... and if we allow her to triumph, woe be to us and all the spiritual interests of the land. The opponents of this Protestant movement were accustomed to say, it was incredible that such a system as Romanism should prevail in this country in the nineteenth century. At one time he himself thought that no man of powerful intellect could be a Romanist; but he had since found that powerful intellects were subjected by Rome, and that the very people who considered that result an impossibility were the most likely to fall into the Roman snare."

At a meeting of Presbytery, on the 11th of May, Dr. Begg referred in high terms to the late Sir James Y. Simpson, and proposed "that the Presbytery should, as a body, perform the melancholy duty of attending his funeral." This was cordially agreed to. This small matter were not worth mentioning, were it not as showing the mistake into which many fell, who did not know Dr. Begg, of supposing that he carried ecclesiastical differences into the relations of social life. Sir James Simpson took no part in ecclesiastical controversy, but his views were certainly opposite to those of Dr. Begg. Yet it never entered into Dr. Begg's mind that this opposition should prevent his being the first to propose, that a tribute should be paid to the memory of one who had been honoured of God to lessen so materially the sufferings of humanity.

At the meeting of the General Assembly in May, Dr. Begg took the lead in the discussion on National Education. In the course of the debate both he and I, who seconded his motion, were pretty severely dealt with.

In the proceedings of the Assembly of this year Dr. Begg took an active part.

In the discussion of a question, of no great moment in itself, of a disputed settlement, he stated very clearly the views which he always held respecting the rights and duties of majorities and minorities respectively in such cases - views which merit permanent record."

While he concurred with Dr. Wilson that at the end of the day the majority must always be held to be the congregation, it was of great importance, in his view, that this House should give forth a very distinct opinion to the effect, that it is very desirable to have no divisions at all in congregations, if that could possibly be avoided. A congregation was a unit of the Church, and it was as undesirable to have that unit divided as it was to have a family divided; and every means ought to be exhausted to bring about harmony, and, if possible, unanimity. He thought it of vast importance that all parties should understand that it was not merely their own individual choice that ought to be considered, but that there was another element that should enter into their consideration - the securing of mutual harmony, of the good feeling of others as well as themselves; and if there should be a man in the Church that could combine all interests and all sympathies, it was extremely important that they should look out for such a man. It was important that majorities should understand that an election of a minister was not a political choice, but a choice to be conducted in a Christian spirit, with an earnest desire for mutual edification, and that everything should be done for obtaining a man that could combine all interests."

The subject is one of great and permanent importance. It is true that the cases of disputed elections are few - much fewer than is generally believed. Every one that occurs is largely discussed, while multitudes of elections are conducted, as without dispute, so without further discussion. Still it is extremely desirable that there should be no disputes at all, or that they should be terminated by mutual concessions. It is very difficult - perhaps impossible - to lay down any rules which would ensure in every case the right result. To say that the majority must always get their man might lead to an unfair treatment of minorities. To say that they are not to get their man would encourage minorities to persisting what might be wilful opposition. To enact anything corresponding to a jus devolutum would probably alienate both majorities and minorities.

It is evident that Dr. Begg felt these difficulties, and therefore his advice amounts to little more than this, that all parties should act in a kindly and Christian way. And perhaps this is about all that can be said on the matter.

The discussion on National Education in this Assembly was not without importance, but unhappily it was little more than a repetition of that in the Presbytery of Edinburgh. The motions were made by Dr. Begg, seconded by me; and by Sir Henry Moncreiff, seconded by Dr. Rainy. The report in the Blue Book gives eleven pages to the speeches of the Edinburgh members and two to those of all other speakers!

I wish I could give in full Dr. Begg's speech on the Sustentation Fund; but I must restrict myself to a few sentences. On the subject of systematic or proportional giving he said:-

"He also very cordially agreed with Mr. Maclagan that the theory, which he believed to be entirely Scriptural, of proportional giving, should be pressed upon the consciences of their people more than it had been. Of course he did not hold that there was absolute rule on the subject laid down under the New Testament dispensation. He believed that the Old Testament regulations as to giving were removed in so far as they implied express stipulation; but he thought that the general principle, that a man ought to give the first proportion of his income to God, was a principle of universal application."

With respect to the place and province of national support to the Church his deliverance was weighty and sound:-

"If a man was of opinion that the Church of Christ was likely to come to an end for the want of support, that man had a want of faith, and he had no sympathy whatever with such a man; or if any one thought that, because the kings and nations of the world threw over the Church of Christ it would cease to be supported, he had no sympathy whatever with that man. For he believed that the Church of Christ would stand and flourish amid all opposition, and that the nations of the world were more indebted to the Church of Christ than the Church was to them, and that they had far more interest in helping the Church of Christ than the Church had in securing their support. The Church of Christ had cause in no measure to be alarmed because they ceased to support it. He believed that Christ would support His Church, but not that He would support it and make it ultimately to triumph merely by the contributions of individual Christians, and that He would ultimately so turn the hearts of kings and of nations that those nations would bring their honour and glory to the cause of Christ."

At this time there was a general belief that some of the people who were opposed to the Union movement were withholding their contributions from the Sustentation Fund; and it is probable that there were a few isolated cases of that kind. Dr. Begg therefore closed his speech with a strong disclaimer of any sympathy with such withholding, and an earnest appeal

"that the Sustentation Fund should not only be maintained, but that it should be increased as far as possible, as the means of upholding the ministry of the Word and sacraments among them."

Dr. Begg was in "great form" in opposing the Hymn movement. From his speech it can be pretty clearly ascertained what was his position on that subject. "He was prepared to sing any inspired song;" that is, I suppose, anything that was inspired as a song. This, I presume, would include, besides the Book of Psalms, Exod. xv., Numb. xxi. 17, 18, Deut. xxxii., Isa. v., and the whole of the Song of Solomon, and a few Scriptural passages which, though not designated as songs, are essentially such. But would it not include also the whole of the Pentateuch, or at all events the whole Book of Deuteronomy? For was it not this whole series of books, or at all events the last of them, that is by God Himself denominated a song? (Deut. xxxi. 19, 22). The fact appears to me to be, that Dr. Begg, led by his right instincts to protest against the singing of namby-pamby hymns, and by his experience to conclude that the descent to namby-pambyism is very usual - holding by the adage which affirms the evil of the first step - sometimes advocated a good cause by the use of arguments which were neither logical nor tenable. His judgments were right, and in the aggregate his reasons must have been right also; but into the right aggregate there might enter weak and even wrong elements, and in the statement of the reasons, especially when they had to be stated controversially, he was apt to assign a disproportionate value to the weaker.

It had been well for our Churches if they had adopted his counsel to "stick to the Psalms," although it might not be always supported by incontrovertible arguments. I have understood that, before the controversy about hymns began, Dr. Begg occasionally "gave out" a paraphrase in his church. But of course he soon saw that this was incompatible with the position which he occupied.

The kindred question of instrumental music was brought up by Dr. Begg himself in the same Assembly. The English Presbyterian Church had sanctioned the introduction of instrumental music into their congregations. A number of members of Assembly, with Dr. Begg at their head, presented an overture to the effect, that this was a reason for discontinuing the relation of mutual eligibility between the Free and English Presbyterian Churches. In moving to this effect, Dr. Begg forcibly vindicated the sound Presbyterian principle that nothing is admissible in the worship of God which is not prescribed by Divine authority, in opposition to the view that anything is admissible which is not forbidden by such authority. It is noticeable that a few years before Dr. Candlish, and especially Dr. Buchanan, had taken precisely the ground which Dr. Begg occupied now; Dr. Buchanan in 1858 having stated in terms, that he was prepared to hold catholic communion with a Church which allowed instrumental music, but not such communion as subsisted between the Free Church and the English Presbyterians.

Dr. Candlish, in moving a negative to Dr. Begg's motion, frankly admitted that, while he held the same strong views as he ever did in opposition to instrumental music, he was not now prepared, as he once was, to make the introduction of such music a ground for a revision of the relations between the two Churches.

Dr. Begg closed his speech by reference to an anecdote which he often told with great relish:-

"He would say to their friends in England, What was their purpose? Did they imagine that they would extend Presbyterianism in England by such a process as this? They would scare away the true-hearted Scotch Presbyterians who went into England ardent lovers of true Presbyterianism. Very Hebrews of the Hebrews were they when they crossed the Border, like the old Scottish regiment which, when inadvertently taken to a Puseyite Church in Dublin turned at the door, and the band struck up 'This is no my ain hoose, I ken by the biggie' o't.' This was very expressive of the Scotch Presbyterian mind, as their friends would discover. This attempt was in every way a serious blunder and mistake."

The motion and counter-motion having been moved and seconded, and when a vote was about to be taken, Dr. Begg consented, on the recommendation of two of his supporters, Dr. Nixon and Mr. W. Balfour, to withdraw his motion, on the ground that there was not time for a full discussion of the subject.

The Pall Mall Gazette took up the subject in a good-natured quizzical way, having, of course, no sympathy with Dr. Begg, but opposing instrumental music on the ground of the intolerable badness of much of it! Punch also took up the matter, but with more than his usual bitterness, and less than his usual fun.

Dr. Begg in this Assembly moved the adoption of the Report of the Committee on Temperance, of which his friend Mr. Kidston was convener, and spoke on the subject of Sabbath Observance.

At an early diet of Assembly he was appointed convener of a small committee on the Census, and at one of the last diets he gave in an important report, evidently drawn up by himself.

On the 16th of June a public meeting was held of the "Association for Improving the Condition of the Poor" an Association whose unquestionable good intentions have only gone to show the extreme difficulty of the work which it has undertaken. Dr. Begg was one of the speakers, and took occasion to state his oft-stated views as to pauperism and poor-laws.

"He cordially concurred in the principle of punishing the drunkard. He thought no man had a right to become a drunkard, and saddle others with the support of his family, which he ought to support himself. It was a sad delusion to think that more and more money would quench pauperism. They might as well expect to quench fire by throwing oil upon it."

Perfectly true and beyond question. All of us will agree that the drunkard ought to be punished. Some of us, without being specially bloodthirsty, would have a certain "stern joy" in wielding the cat ourselves. But what punishment that we can inflict on him will feed and clothe and educate his children? It is my duty to punish the drunkard. But it is my duty too not to let children die whom I can keep alive. How are these duties to be made to harmonise? Of course the best thing would be the suppression of drunkenness. But how is that to be effected? and en attendant, what is to be done?

At the Commission in August there was submitted a remarkably well-written memorial from a remote Presbytery (Fordyce) with reference to the Franco-German war, then raging. It prayed the Commission´┐Ż

"to correspond with other Churches, both home and foreign, and invite them to bow devoutly before the Lord of Hosts, and pray Him to stay the ravages of war,"

Dr. Begg spoke with great earnestness on the subject, and laid down important principles; first, as to the terrible evil of war; and secondly, as to its being the scourge in God's hand upon guilty nations.

"He did not intend to enter on the discussion of views in regard to which they might not agree; but he had a very profound conviction that they were on the eve of very solemn and startling events, and according to his reading of prophecy, he was thoroughly convinced that this war, breaking out, as it did, at the very time when the declaration of the infallibility of the Pope was made at Rome, that that was in connection with the final overthrow of the mystical Babylon, end that the final overthrow of that system would involve calamities to Europe, and, more or less, to those who had been mixed up with that system. That was his opinion, and in the very face of such a manifestation as they had seen It was very clear that the views which had been put abroad - and put abroad for years - in reference to human nature, as if human nature were better than the Word of God declared it to be, aud so much better that we need not anticipate dreadful wars in the future - that these views had received a flat and emphatic contradiction by what had just taken place. Two of the most polished, literary, and scientific nations in the world had broken out suddenly, and without any apparent reason, into open war, and the only effect of civilisation and science seemed to be to enable them to destroy one another more scientifically and more rapidly than otherwise they could have done."

It is interesting to find that, although this subject was introduced immediately after a very keen set-to between Dr. Begg and Dr. Rainy on a point connected with the Union question, Dr. Rainy seconded Dr. Begg's motion, and said that he hoped that the remarks in his powerful and impressive speech would be duly considered. Strange it is, and sad as strange, that men will lean upon the broken reed of civilisation and the march of intellect, as if that were adequate to the healing of the disease of humanity.

In connection with the opening of the Great Exhibition in 1851, we were told, in orations and odes innumerable, that war was to be thenceforth an impossibility; and since then we have had the Crimean war, and the Indian Mutiny, and the American civil war, and the Franco-German war, besides Abyssinian and Ashantee and Egyptian wars, and periodic revolutions in Spain and the minor states. It may be doubted whether in any thirty years since the beginning of the world there has been more human blood shed in war than has been in the first thirty years of the second half of the nineteenth century.

This was the subject which was for the time in the ascendant in Dr. Begg's mind; and on the 17th of November he delivered a lecture to a large audience in the Glasgow City Hall on "The War and its Lessons." It would not have been Dr. Begg if he had not regarded the war as teaching lessons respecting Highiand clearings, emigration, the bothy system, pauperism, and crime:-

"People said that it was impossible there should be an invasion of this country; but let them ask any military man, and he would tell them that there was no impossibility in it. Supposing, then, that it was possible, what was the state of this country? Any one who had examined the internal state of our society must be prepared to admit that that society was rotten at the core, and that the country stood in great danger in the event he had supposed. Look, for example, upon our standing army. Having no feeling but one of gratitude to that army, he had no doubt that the Prussian system was more calculated to secure the safety of the nation; and what was singular, it was: more in accordance with the practice of the Jewish and other nations, as they found it described in the Bible. That standing army of ours should not supersede the training of the entire population to defend our country, if the country should ever require defence. What had we been doing in this country? We had been driving men out of it, imagining that in doing so we were acting wisely. He saw in the North American colonies many of these noble Sutherland men, 10,000 of whom were to be found on the banks of the St. Lawrence. And what had taken their place? Why, 2,000,000 of the acres of Scotland - and one-tenth part of the entire surface - were devoted to deer. They would make poor soldiers! And if the day of trial came, they would ask for the Highlanders in vain.... And what was the condition of the population in some of the best-cultivated districts in Scotland? They lived in those wretched bothies, huts worse than Indian wig-wams. The truth is, the monastic system in its worst form prevailed in these districts, and the family system was the only strength and power of a country. Destroy the family system, and the country was incapacitated for making resistance against an enemy.

Passing on to speak of the condition of our large cities, the lecturer noticed the social degradation, the pauperism and crime that existed, and the drinking habits that prevailed among the people, and contended that there was something entirely wrong in the internal state of our country, and that we had much to learn from the present war to set our house in order.... Men must have something to fight for, and patriotism starved upon such a state of things as existed in many parts of our native land.

In concluding, he directed the attention of his audience to that which was far higher than all these things, to the necessity of seeking that righteousness which exalteth a nation. The grand question before the world was, Who was to reign over it, Christ or Antichrist? And the nation or kingdom that would not serve Christ would be utterly destroyed."

About this time Dr. Begg was assailed in a very silly way on a matter which arose out of the Union controversy. Referring to the declaration of the United Presbyterian Church, that they are not bound by anything in the Confession of Faith which "teaches, or may be supposed to teach, intolerant principles in religion," he had quoted a statement in a letter by Mr. Bell, a United Presbyterian minister in Newcastle, and showed that, according to that letter, a man might hold any view whatever and retain his place in the ministry of the United Presbyterian Church, on merely declaring that the opposite doctrine, as taught in the Confession of Faith, is intolerant.

Mr. Bell was indignant, and wrote a letter to the newspapers, which Dr. Begg answered; but Mr. Bell did not see his answer. He therefore sent to the newspapers the following letter, addressed to Sir Henry Moncreiff:-

"DEAR SIR, - I believe you are Clerk to the Edinburgh Presbytery of the Free Church. It is under this impression that I address this letter to you. The Rev. Dr. Begg, in his speech on the Union question, is represented in the Daily Review as saying, 'Mr. Bell of Newcastle had published a letter in which he said he was entitled to hold even that the doctrine of election was intolerant. By a letter in the Review I challenged Dr. Begg to produce any letter of mine justifying his statement. After waiting for some time, and finding no notice taken of my first letter, I wrote again, saying that should Dr. Begg produce no proof or offer no apology, it would be necessary for me to consider whether redress for the injury done me in the presence of the whole Church should not be sought before the courts of his Church or the courts of his country."

This second letter appeared in the Review, December the 12th. It is now the 24th, and Dr. Begg remains silent, as if the character and the usefulness of a brother minister were things about which he felt no concern. In these circumstances, I feel myself shut up to complain to the Presbytery of which Dr. Begg is a member, and my object in writing to you is to ask when your Presbytery meets, and to whom I should address my complaint - to the Moderator or to the Clerk? If to the Moderator, please say who is Moderator. So far from saying that the doctrine of election was intolerant, I had distinctly stated, in the June number of the Presbyterian, 'that the word intolerant cannot be applied to anything which God teaches, or to anything which God does.' How any man, with this statement before his eyes, could charge me with holding and teaching that the doctrine of election is intolerant, is to me amazing.

I have several reasons for making the above inquiries through the papers rather than through the post; but I need not trouble you. with stating them. - I am, dear sir, yours sincerely G. BELL"

As I find, on reference to the Almanac, that Mr. Bell was ordained so long ago as 1834, I am exceedingly unwilling to express my estimate of this letter. It was, I presume, intended as a jeu d'esprit. Probably its author thought it a very clever one. I think most readers will regard it as a very silly one. That it could not be seriously intended is manifest, from the fact of its being sent "through the papers rather than through the post." It is very difficult to believe that Mr. Bell really supposed Sir Henry Moncreiff to be the Clerk of the Presbytery of Edinburgh. Perhaps he thought that this supposition gave a finer point to the joke. His argument is a fine specimen of what the logicians call "reasoning in a circle."

The question is, whether the doctrine of election is taught in the Word of God. It cannot, says Mr. Bell, be taught in the Word of God if it be intolerant. But it cannot be intolerant if it is taught in that Word. So far as appears from his letter, Mr. Bell gives no answer to the question, whether the doctrine is taught in the Word of God or not.

Dr. Begg replied by simply stating that he had answered Mr. Bell's first letter immediately. Mr. Bell expressed his regret that he had not seen Dr. Begg's letter, and so the matter took end.

About the end of this year there was exhibited a special phase of Mr. Gladstone's inexplicable attitude with respect to the Pope and Romanism. He received a memorial from the inhabitants of Stradbally, transmitted by Mr. E Dease M.P., expressing their desire´┐Ż

"that Her Majesty's Government may see fit to use such diplomatic intervention as may secure to the Pope the continuance of such a temporal sovereignty as will protect him in the discharge of his spiritual duties together with an adequate income."

In reply to Mr. Dease Mr. Gladstone said-

.... "But Her Majesty's Government consider all that relates to the adequate support of the dignity of the Pope, and to his personal freedom and independence in the discharge of his spiritual functions, to be legitimate matter for their notice."

This matter was brought before the Presbytery of Edinburgh by Dr. Candlish, who stated that he had written to Mr. Gladstone, and had received from him a copy of a letter which he had addressed to a friend in explanation of that to Mr. Dease. This letter he (Mr. Gladstone) had thought of publishing, but had thought it better to reserve his explanation till the meeting of Parliament.

Although Dr. Candlish admitted that the unpublished letter showed that the language used in the published one was "capable of a more favourable interpretation than was generally believed it could have," he considered that

"that did not relieve them from the obligation of bearing a strong and emphatic testimony against the principle which apparently the letter to Mr. Dease contained."

He accordingly moved an admirable motion to this effect. The motion was seconded by Dr. Begg, supported by Sir Henry Moncreiff, Dr. Rainy, and Mr. Arnot, and unanimously adopted.

At the same meeting of Presbytery, Dr. Begg moved the appointment of a committee to watch over any proposal that may be made for the introduction of a plan of National Education. The motion was seconded by Sir Henry Moncreiff, and supported by the present writer, Dr. MacLachlan, and different gentlemen, and, like the former, was unanimously agreed to.