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being with child. She was twice conveyed from Hampittee court, to the palace of St. James', when her labour pains wenn supposed to be approaching, and at length was delivered of al princess in about two hours after her arrival. The king being apprized of this event, sent a message by the earl of Essex to the prince, expressing his displeasure at the conduct of his royal highness, as an indignity offered to himself and the queen.
The prince deprecated his majesty's anger in several submissive letters, and implored the mediation of the queen. This mediation, however, he failed to obtain. Her majesty died of a mortification in her bowels on the twentieth day of November, 1737, in the fifty-fifth year of her age, and the prince was not even admitted in her last moments to see her, to express his duty to her, to implore her forgiveness, and receive her last blessing. į
The session of parliament was opened on the twenty-fourth of January, 1738, by his majesty in person, with a short speech, recommending the despatch of the public business with prudence and unanimity. Each house presented him an affectionate and tender address, on the death of the queen, with which he appeared to be greatly affected. Violent debates, as usual, filled up the time of this, as of several former sessions, of which the army, and the depredations committed on British commerce by Spain, formed the principal topics. The session closed on the twentieth of May, with an assurance from his majesty, that he would make the most pressing instances at the court of Spain, in order to obtain satisfaction and security to his subjects.
The General Assembly of the church of Scotland, was this year convened on the eleventh day of May, the Rev. James Ramsay, minister of Kelso, moderator, William, marquis of Lothian, commissioner. Many arbitrary decisions, with regard to the settlement of parishes were, as usual, given forth by this assembly; but the principal business that came before it, was “ A representation from the synod of Perth, and instructions to the synod of Fife, concerning the disorderly practices of certain seceding ministers from this church,” upon which the assembly, after deliberating in a committee of the whole house, came to the following deliverance, copies whereof, they ordered
th be “printed, and sent to presbyteries, and distributed to chembers of this assembly."
“ The General Assembly taking into their serious consideration the representations and complaints laid before them concerning Messrs. Ebenezer Erskine, at Stirling, William Wilson, at Perth, Alexander Moncrief, at Abernethy, and James Fisher, at Kinclaven, within the bounds of the synod of Perth and Stirling; also concerning Messrs. Ralph Erskine, at Dunfermling, Thomas Mair, at Orwel, and Thomas Nairn, at Abbotshall, within the bounds of the synod of Fife, ministers ordained within this national church, and admitted to their respective charges by the judicatories thereof, who have, notwithstanding, seceded from the communion of this church, and made a positive separation therefrom. AND THE assembly having too good reason to believe from these representations the notoriety of the facts; and from the personal knowledge of many of the members of this assembly, that the said ministers have seceded from this church without any justifiable grounds, and are continuing in their unwarrantable secession, notwithstanding their own solemn engagements to the contrary at their ordination and admission, the clemency showed them in the year one thousand seven hundred and thirty-four, and the tenderness to all of them ever since. That albeit, their parochial charges are discontiguous, and at a considerable distance from one another, yet they have assumed a power of associating and erecting themselves into a presbytery, and of exercising a judicial presbyterial power, not only over their own congregations, but also over the whole church-a power to which never any presbytery duly constituted in this church could, or did lay claim. That as a presbytery, and in a pretended judicative capacity, they have framed and published to the world, a printed paper called their Act, Declaration, and Testimony, and have emitted other papers, wherein they have pretended not only to assign the grounds of their own unreasonable and irregular conduct, but also, with the air of a paramount power and authority, to condemn this church and the judicatories thereof for their proceedings, and to cast many groundless and calumnious reflections upon her and them.
her and them. That not confining themselves to their own congregations and particular charges, they dispense
the ordinances to persons of other congregations, without 45 knowledge and consent of the ministers to which they belon and have taken upon them, in some of these congregations, ordain elders. And to promote their dangerous schism, the not only receive at their presbyterial meetings such persons & whatsoever character as will accede to them from other congre gations, but also the reasons of their accession, containing injurious calumnies against this church, and the ministers thereof
. And that nothing may be wanting to promote their end, they appoint and keep fasts in different corners of the country, to which there is a resort of several thousands of persons of both sexes," and too many of them, there is good ground to think, come there with other views than to promote religion; and by these practices, their proper ministerial work, in their own parishes, is in a great measure neglected. And that their schism may not die with themselves, that they have authorized one of their number to teach divinity, and have taken some persons under probationary trials for the ministry. THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY DID, and hereby do unanimously resolve, declare, and enact, That although upon these and other such accounts, this church might now proceed in the due exercise of discipline, to appoint these seceding and separating brethren, and their followers, to be proceeded against and censured according to the demerit of their faults; yet this assembly, choosing rather still to treat them in the spirit of meekness, brotherly love, and forbearance, did, and hereby do enjoin all the ministers of this national church, as they shall have access, and especially the ministers of the synods and presbyteries within which these seceding brethren reside, to be at all pains, by conference and other gentle means of persuasion, to reclaim and reduce them to their duty, and the communion of this church, and all presbyteries
+ Much senseless ridicule has been poured out upon seceders on the head of promiscuous dancing; what would the assembly itself have said, had they also declared against promiscuous hearing? The insinuation contained in this sentence is indeed highly discreditable to the Assembly, and cannot be read without pain by every lover of the Scotish Church. So have impious men spoken of the assemblies of the people of God in every age, and by such calumnies have all persecutors attempted to palliate and to vindicate the most tyranoical and wanton butcheries.
ut å synods to report their diligence and success, and what they pelo learn or observe concerning the future behaviour of these Eorputhren, to the commission to be appointed by this assembly,
tany of the diets thereof, which COMMISSION is hereby auth
ed and appointed to take such reports or representations, à those already made to this assembly, under their consideration, and if they shall see cause, to take all proper steps and methods for duly sisting the separating brethren above named, before the next assembly, to answer for their irregular conduct, and all the parts thereof. And the said commission is also empowered to do what they shall think proper, to prepare and ripen the case for the decision of that assembly. AND IN THE MEAN TIME, the General Assembly earnestly recommends to all the ministers, elders, and members of this church, to endeavour, in their respective stations, and by all means proper for them, to reclaim these poor deluded people who have been carried away by this division, and to prevent the seducing of others, and the increase of this schism, which is so dangerous to the peace of this church, so contrary to the spirit of the gospel, so very hurtful to religion and serious godliness, to Christian charity and brotherly love."*
In obedience to the injunctions of the assembly, the commission proceeded to ripen the case, by framing a libel against each of the seceding brethren, which was duly served upon them individually, with a citation to appear before the next assembly, to meet at Edinburgh the tenth day of May, 1739 years, within the assembly house there, in the hour of cause, with continuation of days, &c.
Accordingly the assembly met, May the tenth, as above, the Rev. James Banatyne, one of the ministers of Edinburgh, being chosen moderator, John, earl of Hyndford, commissioner. A motion was made on the fourteenth, by the moderator of the commission of the late General Assembly, for taking under consideration the act passed by the said assembly, with respect to certain ministers who had made a secession from this church, with the said commission's proceedings in pursuance of the said act, &c. The consideration of this affair, and all the papers re
• Acts of Assembly, 1798.
lating thereto, was remitted to a committee of the whole asset'he ase bly, which committee reported, “ that they had met, and heling b deliberated upon the case of the seceding ministers, but had now particular opinion to offer." The committee was appointed to: pro meet to-morrow, to consider farther of this affair. Upon the sixteenth, the “ report and opinion of the committee of the whole assembly, viz. that this General Assembly should proceed zol upon the libel transmitted from the commission of the late General Assembly against the seceding ministers,” was approved, and the assembly resolved to proceed accordingly. Against this resolution, Mr. John Willison of Dundee next day entered his dissent, which was adhered to by four ministers and two elders; which dissent was marked, and their reasons ordered to lie in retentis. On the eighteenth the seceding ministers were called, when they all compeared as a constituted presbytery, and declining to accept the amnesty offered them, the libel containing the charges against the said ministers was read, “ being in substance their secession or separation from this church, their erecting themselves into a presbytery, their emitting an act, declaration, and testimony, condemning this church and judicatures thereof, leaving their own parishes, and dispensing ordinances to persons of other congregations, ordaining elders, appointing fasts in different corners of the country, taking some persons under probationary trials, and licensing one or more to preach the gospel, with the particular acts of offence under the above general heads, and other enormities more fully mentioned in the said libel.' reading of this libel was finished, Mr. Thomas Mair, as moderator of the presbytery, read and gave in a declinature, which they had passed into an act on the preceding day, to which, when each of them had declared his adherence, they in a body withdrew.t
* Vide Index to Unprinted Acts of Assembly, 1739.
+ This declinature was intituled, “ Act of the Associate Presbytery, finding and declaring that the present judicatories of this church are not lawful nor right constitute courts of Christ; and declining all authority, power, and jurisdiction, that the said judicatories may claim to themselves over the said presbytery, or any of the members thereof, or over any that are under their inspection; and particularly declining the authority of a General Assembly