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they should leave it in the form of a legacy to the Sustentation Fund. Our impression is, that the ordinary revenue of that Fund is better left dependent on the contributions given from year to year by the congregations of the Christian people; and that the very existence of a sum laid by for the increase of the Sustentation Fund would have the effect of creating a feeling that the spontaneous liberality of the people was no longer wanted. (Hear.) By the formation, for this and other services, of a Fund for retiring allowances, we relieve the Fund of a considerable charge against it, and at the same time provide for the retirement of the fathers of the Church into the quiet which they are entitled to enjoy in the evening of their days, without being harassed, as they now are, with the feeling that, in their declining years they must continue in the charge of their congregations, when they are no longer adequate to the discharge of the duties of the office. These, Sir, are substantially the recommendations of the Report. I don't think the Assembly at this moment is in a position to adopt such an intelligent and specific deliverance on each of these points as the nature of the case requires; but I think we are in a position to say whether or no we approve of the substance of these recommendations. If the Assembly approve of them, then, apparently, the fitting method would be to appoint a small Committee to frame such a deliverance upon these different points as might be proper for this house to adopt, and report to a subsequent diet of this Assembly. For, Sir, let me only say, in conclusion, before reading the motion I mean to propose, that there is nothing to be more deprecated in regard to the interests of this Fund, than to leave questions of this kind open and undecided; and to adopt such a motion as Mr Hay has tabled, to send down all these delicate and difficult questions to be discussed and debated in all the Presbyteries for a year, would, in my judgment, be little short of insanity. (Hear.) Sir, I hope the General Assembly will not adopt any course involving such consequences. I hope it will give forth at once the mind of the house upon these questions, and that in such terms that our people will see that our minds are made up on the principles on which our financial system is to be based,-that we are not going to torment the country with a new method and a new plan; but that we intend to go forward steadily in the line on which we have already entered. (Hear, hear.) Dr Buchanan concluded by moving,-“That the General Assembly having considered the Report of the Select Committee on the Sustentation Fund, and overtures relative to some of the matters embodied in said Report, approve of the Report in the substance of its recommendations, and appoint a Committee to consider what deliverances it may be proper for this house to adopt, with a view to carry these recommendations into effect, and to report to a subsequent diet of this Assembly."
Rev. G. OGILVIE said, It is under a deep sense of duty that I rise at present to object to one proposal in the Report now under discussion. I think, Sir, that that part of the Report which is referred to in the overtures which have been the subject of debate has already been sufficiently discussed, and the mind of the Assembly sufficiently expressed against the proposal of these overtures, and I shall therefore say nothing concerning this point. I shall confine my remarks entirely to that other part of the Report which refers to the regulation of 1844. That is, the regulation which declares that all ministers, ordained since the Assembly of that year to new charges, shall receive as stipend the amount of the contributions from their congregations to the Sustentation Fund, and onehalf more. And before proceeding to remark upon it, I may as well mention that I am not myself under its operation, lest it should be said that I am speaking from selfish motives. Now, Sir, I am glad to find that the Committee have resolved that this is altogether a bad regulation, and ought to be abolished. And my object in rising is to propose that the Assembly should act consistently with this declaration, and abolish it forthwith, instead of adopting the Committee's plan for its gradual abolition. When the Committee and Assembly seem to be agreed upon the prejudicial character of this one-and-half scheme, it may seem to be unnecessary to say anything on that subject. But, Sir, as I feel that the establishment of the extreme odiousness of this regulation will so necessarily lead to my second position, that it be immediately abolished, I consider it to be
necessary and relevant to offer a few arguments establishing this concerning it, lest parties who may at present take a less strong view of the odious nature of this plan might be the more willing on that account to bear with its continuance for some time longer. The Committee have mentioned a few objections to the regulations, to which I would add several others. In the first place, they state that it creates an invidious distinction between different classes of ministers; and this, Sir, has been felt very grievously by many. Second, That in those cases where the congregation do not respond to the appeal, the minister suffers for their fault; and, mark you, Sir, he suffers for a thing for which he is not to blame, as this regulation completely shuts the minister's mouth on the subject of the Sustentation Fund, since it places him in the position of one begging for himself, and against the Central Fund, because the more his people give to that Fund, the more it has to send back to him. Third, That it makes the minister dependent on the good-will of his congregation, and subjects him to a temptation from which he ought to be free. And it is to be noticed, Moderator, that this plan is far more pernicious in this respect than Voluntaryism itself. Under the Voluntary plan, a refractory member who for immorality has been taken under discipline, is very likely to withdraw himself and his subscription, in order to damage his minister's income; but, under this regulation, such a person can keep back, not only his own subscription and his family's, but one-half more, drawn from the parties who probably approve of the minister's conduct, which cannot but present a sore temptation to unfaithfulness on the part of the minister. The Committee's fourth objection, that this one-and-half plan places the minister in a most unfavourable position for pleading with his people on behalf of the Central Fund, I have already noticed. Besides these objections, the reverend gentleman called attention to several others, besides five or six which he would not detain the house by enumerating, viz., its putting such a terrible power in the hands of hostile proprietors in the country. They have only to refuse the renewal of their leases to Free Church tenants, and they will thus soon impoverish and starve out the minister, which would present a great temptation to such proprietors thus to act, whereas, on the equal dividend plan, they can only annoy the minister, without much affecting his income. It appeals, too, so exclusively to the giff for gaff spirit, that it cannot but blight anything like a generous spirit in our congregations, causing them to struggle for their very existence, and to send all they can lay their hands upon, even the missionary collections, it may be, in order to get 50 per cent. back with their remittance. For the sake of the means, too, it sacrifices the end, which is the worst of all practical fallacies. In order to get larger contributions to the Central Fund, it sacrifices the end of that Fund, which was the competent sustentation of the ministers in weak congregations, for these are the very congregations whose ministers suffer most by this regulation. It teaches the people, too, a false and pernicious lesson, that ministers can live upon such a miserable s'ipend as some of these ministers have, which could not but have an injurious influence on our efforts to raise the Fund. Mr Ogilvie went on to say,-I hope, Sir, that I have said enough to satisfy all of the extreme odiousness of this plan, and to produce the conviction that it cannot too soon be abolished. And this brings me to speak of what the Committee have proposed, namely, the gradual abolition of this regulation. Now, Sir, I beseech the house to notice what kind of graduality, so to speak, this proposal contemplates. If it commenced immediately to take effect, it would not be so objectionable; but when, Sir, is it proposed it should commence? Not till an indefinite period, which may never arrive, for aught we can tell, namely, when we, the ministers who are not under this regulation, have obtained an equal dividend of £150; or, according to the language of the Report, £1000 more, that is, £1150, which is, of course, a slip of the pen, that a little more attention to grammar will easily correct. (Laughter.) Now, Sir, I rejoice in the circumstance that this proposal has come from an elder, and not from a minister, as this shuts the door against all insinuations as to selfishness on the part of its proposer. But still this does not prevent the proposal having an aspect of selfishness in itself; and I do trust the Assembly will not expose itself to such a charge by the adoption of this part of the Report. As for
myself, if I should be left in a minority on this point, I would be under the necessity of entering my dissent to save my consistency in pleading with my people on behalf of the Central Fund, as I feel that I never could submit such a proposal as this to my people, that they should use all efforts to raise my stipend to £150 before some of my brother ministers should get a stipend more than £80. I must hasten to notice the arguments urged in support of this proposal, as all will admit that, unless very strong reasons can be produced for the continuance of the one-and-half plan, it ought to be abolished at once. Now, the Committee urge these reasons in favour of their proposal. In the first place, they say that it has the recommendation that it avoids, what is always to be deprecated, a sudden and violent change in our financial system. Now, Sir, I believe that a less violent or palpable change could hardly be proposed, than the immediate abolition of this regulation. Indeed, Sir, happily for the credit of the Church, this regulation is very little known even by the friends of our Church. I have found since coming to Edinburgh on this occasion, that on speaking of it to elders and others, warm friends of the Church, and close attenders on some of the other Committees of the Church, that they are entirely unacquainted with the existence of this regulation; and when they have become acquainted with it, they have been filled with surprise and indignation, as well they might. So that there would be no appearance of fickleness in abolishing it now, the more especially as the regulation was adopted originally, more out of a deference to the earnest wishes of its venerated proposer than from any approval of it, and it was adopted by the Assembly 1844, without its being sent down to Presbyteries. But the Committee urge, as a second recommendation of the gradual abolition plan, that it would prevent a powerful motive to the whole Church to aim at the desired increase on its annual revenue. Now, Moderator, there are two serious mistakes in this argument. In the first place, it is overlooked that one grand obstacle to the increase of the Sustentation Fund is, that a great bulk of our adherents have no idea of the necessity for an increase taking place on the stipends of their ministers. And how does the Committee's proposal meet this obstacle? It meets it by increasing it. It proposes we should go to our people and tell them that a minister's stipend should, at the minimum, be £150, and yet, by a regulation of our own, we declare that a number of our ministers may make out to live upon little more than half that sum. And, in the second place, it is forgot that the very selfishness of this proposal would prevent our pleading the cause of the Sustentation Fund with effect. For, fancy us going down to our people, and telling them that they ought to use all exertions to raise our stipends to the minimum of £150, before a number of our faithful brethren, struggling with as great difficulties as ourselves (for it is probably just in these new charges that the greatest difficulties are to be encountered), shall have their miserably small stipends increased. After replying to the argument founded on the claims of the Disruption ministers to a more liberal provision, in consideration of the sacrifices they had made, which Mr Ogilvie regarded as rather a delicate ground for these ministers themselves to offer, and denying that the keeping down of their stipends, by the immediate abolition of the one-and-half plan, would be offensive to the public, the reverend gentleman called the attention of the house to the circumstance, that it is not only the Disruption ministers who are exempted from the regulation of 1844, but even those who have been ordained since that Assembly to old charges which had become vacant by the death or translation of a Disruption minister. This, he remarked, was particularly irritating to those who were under the operation of this odious regulation. They saw younger men than themselves who had been more lately ordained, and whose congregations might be remitting less liberally than theirs, receiving the equal dividend, just because, by some accident, such as happening to be in a particular part of the country at the time they had received a call to a vacant old charge.` This, Mr Ogilvie remarked, showed the absurdity of the regulation, and went to prove still more strongly that we could not get rid of it a moment too soon. He concluded by expressing his earnest hope that it would be the mind of the Assembly to amend the Report in this matter, and he moved accordingly.
Mr BRODIE of Monimail seconded the motion of Dr Buchanan. On the subject of the arrangement relating to the one-and-a-half system, he said that an idea had occurred to him, that, after their young men had been placed in the uncomfortable position so well described by Mr Ogilvie, they should be admitted to share in the equal dividend. This should not be left for an indefinite time; but a definite period should be fixed for the change taking place. Entertaining these views, he had suggested to the Committee which was appointed to take the subject of the Sustentation Fund into consideration, whether it might not be proper to say this year, that those ministers who were ordained in 1844 should now be placed on the full dividend, that those who were ordained in 1845 should be placed on the full dividend next year, and so on; it being, of course, understood, that if the state of the Sustentation Fund would permit it, they should be placed on the full dividend sooner. He thought that the Disruption ministers, who had suffered severely, had not met with all the consideration they ought. These men, however, who had made considerable sacrifices at the Disruption, were, so far as he could ascertain, all opposed to the proposal that there should be interference with the congregational funds on their account; and objected to the stipends being augmented by any proposal such as that which had been made by the elders from the south. Were a separate fund established to meet their case, and were the difficulties which they had felt brought before the public, and were it stated that they were anxious to receive farther allowance, he had no doubt whatever that the call would be liberally responded to; but it would be responded to in such a way as would materially affect the Sustentation Fund; and he could assure the house that the outgoing ministers were not prepared to benefit by anything that would hurt the Sustentation Fund. In reference to the remark which had fell from Mr Ogilvie, about the income of ministers who were in the Church before the Disruption, he begged to say, in reply, that the ministers to whom the remark applied had looked upon their income as secure. The provision that they made for their families was an insurance on their lives; and any sum that they might have over, after paying their annual premium, was expended in the purchase of books, &c. The effect of this was, that the very provision which they had made became to be a burden to them now; for they must continue to pay the annual sum of insurance, if they would not sacrifice the provision they had made for their families.
Dr CUNNINGHAM said, he would fain hope, after what they had heard, that a division would not take place, but that they would concur in the motion made by Dr Buchanan. (Hear, hear.) He could not help thinking that the motion which had been tabled by the two elders from the south was a somewhat extreme measure. The measure which they proposed, and the manner in which it had been recently advocated both here and elsewhere, had called forth, in a considerable degree, keen feelings. He had not given much attention to the matter, or paid much regard to the way in which it had recently been brought before the public; but he must say for himself, that after listening to the statements that were made by the two elders who moved and seconded the motion,— although he thought that they had taken an extreme view of some points, and although, perhaps, under the strength of their convictions that the plan they proposed was the best, they judged somewhat harshly of the motives of others who were opposed to their views, he was greatly pleased with the opinions of the elders, and formed a generally good impression of their character and of their zeal, and desire to promote the welfare of the Free Church. He however hoped that their two friends would be impressed by the circumstance that it was only an inconsiderable portion of the members of the House who participated in their views, and that they would perceive, after the discussion which had taken place, that there were far greater difficulties in the way of their views being carried into effect than they might at first have supposed. (Hear, hear.) He trusted that they would see that, if their views were carried at present into operation, it could not be done without their running the extreme risk of producing a large measure of discontent and alienation among the supporters of the Free Church, and without their seriously injuring both of the sources from which the present support of the ministers of the Free Church was derived. (Hear, hear.) He fain hoped that they would abstain
from pressing this matter on the Church at present with so much zeal and earnestness, and that they would trust to the effect of longer time and longer experience of the Church coming to see what might be the truth and soundness of their views. On the other hand, they were threatened with an extreme view from the opposite end of the scale. A very strenuous attempt was made by a respected brother from the north, who argued for the immediate abolition of the one-and-a-half system. Now, he (Dr Cunningham) begged to state that, although the Church was substantially convinced that this system could not continue to be permanent in its operation, it by no means followed that it ought to be at once abolished. He had no doubt that there were good reasons for the gradual abolition of this system; but he did not think that it would be a wise arrangement for the Assembly, on the ground of certain inconveniences or apparent cases of harshness and injustice, arising from the continued operation of the Scheme, limited to a few years, to take the responsibility of interfering rashly with the well-weighed conclusions to which the Select Committee had come. The immediate abolition of the one-and-a-half system might more seriously and extensively affect the general interests of ministers, and especially might more seriously affect the attainment of the great object of raising the dividend to £150, without that full and deliberate consideration of its bearing that the Committee had given to it, 'than the brethren might be disposed to imagine. He thought that one great matter to which the attention of the Church ought to be directed at present, was not so much to look theoretically and speculatively for the best precise plan, and contemplate the immediate abolition of certain cases of harshness or injustice that might possibly be still in operation, but rather to contemplate the speediest attainment of the important object to which he had referred. He would grudge exceedingly the interposition of anything in the way of agitation or discussion, or in the way of practical arrangement, that would be likely to throw any obstacle in the way of the possible attainment of securing for every minister an annual stipend of £150 from the Sustentation Fund. Very possibly some mode, amounting to graduality,-to use the phrase of Mr Ogilvie,-in the aboltiion of the one-and-a-half system, might be fallen upon; and a suggestion which had been made by Dr Buchanan might possibly reconcile those who had taken the extreme view on this subject to approve in substance of the Report of the Committee. It was this, that the Assembly, might understand that, in order to bring the cases of harshness and inconvenience to a close, it might be a recommendation to the Committee to be appointed, that they should recommend to the Assembly, when giving in their Report, that arrangements should be made for putting this year upon the equal dividend those ministers who were ordained in 1844; next year, those who were ordained in 1845; and then, in the following year those who were ordained in 1846; so that in three or four years the whole of the cases would be exhausted, and all would have the equal dividend. He would fain hope that, for the reasons he had stated, there would be no division. Of course there was room, if this Committee were appointed, for their taking into account the suggestions which were made in the course of the discussion. He wished to make an observation on a point which had been pressed in the course of the discussion, and which might be put so as to produce, unfairly and unreasonably, certain feelings of prejudice against a certain class of brethren. The atteniton of the house had been called to a certain number of cases of congregations, from whose returns it appeared that the sum given to the ministers in the way of supplement was equal to, or exceeded, what was given to the Sustentation Fund. These returns were referred to with the view of securing the abolition of supplements. The statement of them, with that view, virtually conveyed an insinuation of something like unusual, or more than ordinary selfishness against these ministers and these congregations. Now, it seemed to him that this was scarcely fair, and there was room for putting in a caveat against its being supposed that the facts of the case necessarily afforded ground for any such insinuation. (Hear, hear.) There might be, he had no doubt there were, cases where, perhaps, there was a larger measure of selfishness than they could altogether approve of being exhibited by ministers or congregations. He merely meant to say that there were