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the Committee and the congregation, that the minority should acquiesce in the determination of the majority. They had therefore every prospect of a unanimous settlement. The Presbytery then met for the purpose of moderating in a call. Three parties were proposed,-Mr Cochrane, Mr M'Leod, and Mr Noble of Glasgow. Mr Noble had the majority. The call was sustained. There was no appeal taken against him, but perfect unanimity appeared amongst all parties. The prosecution of this call before the Presbytery of Glasgow was entered into in the usual manner, and that Presbytery declared themselves in favour of the translation, and a day was appointed for Mr Noble's settlement; and here commenced that course of proceeding which he trusted would meet with the decided disapprobation of the Assembly. The parties, as he had said, entered no appeal against the previous procedure of the Presbytery, but meeting together afterwards, they drew up a Memorial purporting to be signed by an immense number, and transmitted that Memorial directly to the Home Mission Committee. Information of this having reached Mr Noble's ears, and he being exceedingly unwilling to appear to be intruded into the congregation, he intimated to the Presbytery that, in the circumstances, he could not proceed. When the day appointed for Mr Noble's settlement arrived, the Presbytery considered that their authority and jurisdiction were manifestly infringed upon. They were satisfied likewise, that there was not that majority in favour of Mr M'Leod which had been stated, and that Mr Noble had no reason to fear that he would not receive a general and cordial reception from the congregation, and that a harmonious settlement would not take place. Accordingly, the Presbytery, instead of accepting the resignation of the call, appointed a Committee to make an inquiry about this memorial, and to report to the Presbytery, and in the mean time to converse with Mr Noble. They did inquire, and they found not only columns, but whole pages, of the memorial, written in the same hand, besides a great number set down as members who were not members; and instead of 300 or 400 members having signed it, there were not more than 170 members whose names were attached to that memorial. This Report was made to the Presbytery: and Mr Noble being conferred with, and being properly satisfied that the result of the inquiry was accurate, he again agreed to his settlement, and the 30th of September last was accordingly appointed as the day on which he was to be inducted. After this came the unhappy scene on which he was sure he was not disposed in the least degree to dwell. It was not necessary that he should enter into any particulars regarding the amount of tumult which took place on that occasion; but so determined was the faction in favour of Mr M'Leod to prevent the settlement of Mr Noble, that they fixed chains and padlocks to the doors of the church, and refused admission to the Presbytery. Mr Noble had previously heard the threats of personal violence against himself and the Presbytery, and in these circumstances, a second time he declared, and declared finally, his determination to refuse the charge. The Presbytery seeing this, met in their own room, and came to the resolution at once of accepting Mr Noble's resignation of the call, and at the same time referred the whole matter to the Synod for advice and direction. The whole matter consequently came before the Presbytery; and they considered the case of so much importance, that they appointed a Committee of their number to confer with the representatives of the congregation and the elders, before they came to any decision in regard to it. That Committee inquired most thoroughly into all the circumstances of this unhappy affair; and having reported to the Synod, that body found that the elders had acted most irregularly when they addressed the memorial to the Presbytery of Tain,—that the disorders which had taken place on the intended induction of Mr Noble was subversive of all order in the Church,-that the parties concerned in the tumult on the 30th of September should be subjected to discipline according to the laws of the Church,-and that, in order to secure unanimity amongst them, it was not expedient that any of the ministers who had been voted upon should again be brought forward. They would observe, then, that the Synod instructed the Presbytery to take the rioters, the persons who had engaged physical force to obstruct Mr Noble's settlement, under discipline. That was done, and the discipline was carried through without any appeal, and therefore that question did not come before them. The next thing they were required to do, was not to proceed to the settlement of a minister until there was a prospect of greater unanimity than then existed in the congregation. And, in the next place, in order to produce harmony
amongst the congregation, it was most unanimously desired that none of those who had been previously voted upon, should be put in nomination as minister of the Free Gaelic Church of Greenock. But instead of listening to the wise and unanimous advice of the Synod, they had listened to the unwise advice of an individual who did not even belong to their own congregation, and no sooner was the discipline gone through than they proceeded a second time to take steps for the purpose of again bringing forward Mr M'Leod. They got up a memorial, and they carried it about from house to house for the space of two months, canvassing every individual in the congregation in favour of their views, and at last they succeeded, as they say, in getting 800 bona fide signatures of members and hearers to that memorial. He needed not to tell them, that when this memorial was presented to the Presbytery craving a call for the third time on behalf of Mr M'Leod, they had no other course to pursue but to follow the advice of the Synod, and not to moderate in a call, as they were requested to do by the memorial. Mr Ferguson and his friends took an appeal to the Synod against the deliverance of the Presbytery; and that Court, after the strongest expression of feeling on the subject, affirmed the judgment of the Presbytery. It was evident that the judgment of the Synod in September last, under which they acted in their proceedings from October to April, remained in full force, and that they were not in circumstances to moderate in a call to Mr M'Leod, or to any one else. Mr Ferguson and his friends appealed from the deliverance of the Synod in April to the Assembly; but they did not give in their reasons within ten days, and he maintained, therefore, that the deliverance of the Synod had become final. He thought Mr Bonar was wrong in calling a meeting of the congregation; and he had written to him that he did not think he could trust the individuals who made the proposal to him; and moreover, that if he could confide in their promises, he did not know what the mind of the multitude behind them was, and that it might lead to a similar scene to that which occurred on the 30th September. He (Dr M.) wrote a second letter, urging him not to call the meeting; but he did call the meeting. The elders, it was proposed, should resign, and the other party was to give up Mr M'Leod; but the elders most properly refused to enter into any such accommodation as that which had been proposed. It was by no means an even-handed proposal. The meeting took place, and his worthy friends at the other side of the bar perhaps imagined that they could control and direct the proceedings of that meeting, but they had not sufficient experience of the faction in the Gaelic Free Church congregation at Greenock, and in these circumstances, they only proposed that an application should be made to the General Assembly for a special commission. That, however, did not suit Mr Ferguson and his friends, and a proposal was made to apply to the Presbytery for the moderation of a call to Mr M'Leod. A large number of the congregation opposed the proposal, but it was carried, and the matter accordingly came before the Presbytery. The Presbytery, however, refused compliance with the memorial, and the case had now come in its present form before the Assembly. After showing that the meeting of the congregation had not been called in such a way as to bring out all the members, he described the proceedings in the Presbytery, and the deliverance which they had come to, and said the Assembly would see at once that it was altogether impossible that they could come to any other decision but that of refusing to moderate in a call. He held that that meeting of the congregation was altogether inconsistent with the spirit of the Free Church of Scotland, and altogether inconsistent with the regard which they ought to have for the members of the Free Church. He was sure he expressed the mind of that Assembly when he said, that their great object should be to keep every body of men in their proper place, and in the fair and independent exercise of their several privileges and jurisdictions-that there should be no factions attempting to ride rough-shod over a congregation; and that there should be no set of men endeavouring to usurp to themselves the patronage of the Church. That was the position the appellants had placed themselves in by canvassing and getting up this memorial; and upon that ground, and that ground alone, he trusted the Assembly would put forth their hand in such a way as would prevent anything of the kind in future. After a few farther remarks on the same subject, he directed the attention of the Assembly to the judgment of the Presbytery in referring the whole matter to them for direction as to ulterior measures, and to the other proposal for the appointment of a special
commission, which he declared would be of no value, and he suggested that it might have a good effect if Mr M'Leod, in the presence of that Assembly, would come forward and say decidedly that he would never accept of a call to that congregation. If that were done, then there might be some prospect in that congregation of unanimity. After expressing his disappointment that the advice of the Synod had not produced any good effect, he highly eulogised the elders of the congregation for the deep regret which they had displayed on account of the error which they committed at first in writing to the Presbytery of Tain. He declared that it would still be the largest Gaelic congregation, although the discontented parties should leave it; and concluded by trusting that the Assembly would give them such advice as would enable them to go on firmly aud decidedly in the prosecution of this case. Mr SMITH of Greenock said, that several members of Presbytery at the bar felt convinced that, in consequence of the very peculiar line of argument which their excellent father Dr M'Farlan had considered it right to pursue in defending the judgment of the Presbytery on this case, he had placed himself in circumstances so very delicate, and so embarrassing, that they could not, without a most unseemly collision taking place at the bar, proceed to argue the case. The difference was great between them, even, he believed, with regard to many of the statements which the Doctor had stated, with the fullest conviction on his part. There could be but one opinion about that which was matter of fact; but they differed very much even in respect to many of the statements made by the Doctor, so far as they were cognisant of the circumstances of the case; and they differed so very widely from him in respect to the line of policy which the Assembly ought now to pursue, that he thought he would testify that respect most for his reverend father, in the first place, and also his respect for this venerable Assembly, if he was silent, as he had resolved to be. His firm conviction of the matter was, that whether the members of Assembly were or were not, after having read the papers in connection with the case, of opinion that a commission should be sent down from the General Assembly to inquire into the circumstances of the case, they must now be sensible that, without such an act of intervention, the case was absolutely hopeless. He would have liked they had come to one mind on the subject; but he must say, with all deference to his reverend and esteemed father Dr M'Farlan, all hope of coming to a settlement, after such a statement, and such a representation of the case he had made, must, so far as his poor judgment went, be utterly hopeless. He would just, therefore, sit down with saying, that he could not possibly coincide with many of the statements of his venerable friend. When he expected that the Synod's judgment would never have been looked at, but that the case would have been considered simply as it came from the Presbytery, when he expected that those who had been in favour of Mr M'Leod would never have been mixed up with the individuals over whom discipline had been exercised,-when he expected they were there to make it plain that they were no partizans, but were simply judges from first to last,—(hear, hear)—after that expectation, he must take leave to say,-and he was requested to state it as the opinion of his brethren, for he spoke not for himself alone at that moment, he was forced to say, that they had been miserably disappointed, and that they could not possibly enter into the case, or come into collision with his reverend father, by traversing the ground he (Dr M'Farlan) had gone over. They believed there was no way by which the case could be settled but by a direct act of intervention on the part of the General Assembly. Notwithstanding what my reverend friend has stated, in regard to his sanguineness, he thought he had taken as cool a view of the subject as some. He hoped that Mr M'Leod would think it right to do what his reverend friend had suggested, that he would not allow himself to be kept before this congregation any longer. That would be one step towards filling the breach; and he hoped, without offering a single remark as to the personal character of those who at present held office in the Church, or without even saying yea or nay in reference to what had fallen from Dr M'Farlan, he hoped that those office-bearers would see that it would be for the good of the Church, that they should resign subject to re-election. He found he had already departed from his firm resolution not to enter into the case(laughter)-though he had not either really departed from it; for the history of the case remained untouched as yet by this side of the bar, so far as they were unfortunately placed in the discreditable position of differing from their excellent father Dr
McFarlan. He had again to say, the opinion he had expressed was entertained by his brethren at that side of the bar.
Dr M'FARLAN just rose to say, that as Mr Smith had disputed his statements in such general terms, he trusted what he had stated in reference to the correctness of these statements would not make the slightest impression on any member of Assembly.
my reverend Mr M'CALL, on the part of the appellants, said,-The chief point that friend Dr M'Farlan seems to urge against us is, that we are partizans, and that we three on his right hand at this bar are leading the people on, and are guilty of all the divisions that have taken place in connection with this matter. Now, our practice has been very different from that which the Doctor has represented, and represented, I have no doubt, from the reports of interested parties, which, in my opinion, ought not to be taken into consideration. What are the facts of the case? Why, after the Rev. Mr McLeod refused our first call, in place of doing anything factious, or endeavouring to lead the congregation in a particular way, the whole three of us did all we could to get the congregation rallied round another individual; and Mr Ferguson, one of our number, publicly proposed the Rev. Mr M'Lachlan of Calder, and did everything he could to get the congregation united. I voted for the Rev. Mr Noble, I signed his call, and did all that I could as an individual in his favour, but we had nothing to do from first to last with the disturbances which have unfortunately occurred, or with those individuals engaged in them. It flowed, first of all, from what the people looked upon as an unwarrantable interference with their privileges by the Session, and with individuals for whom they had the highest esteem. Next, it flowed from the interference of the Presbytery itself in favour of Mr M'Leod; and the fact that a minister of the Church interfered to carry the people in a particular direction, made the people believe that there was a combination Whatever on the part of the Church, and that the Presbytery had to do with it. may be said in opposition to this view, I am quite sure that if there had not been a first interference with the nomination, there would not have been a second. Then, again, we are charged with canvassing the congregation. Now, with regard to that point I may explain that, at the time we took our memorial for the purpose of laying it before the Presbytery, we were not aware of the proper form to be gone through. We were not allowed to appear by agents, and therefore we might be in error; but when we learnt we were wrong, we called a meeting of the congregation, and in whatever way the General Assembly may decide this case to-day, of this I am sure, that if the people of the Gaelic Church of Greenock are left free and unfettered in the choice of their minister, and if that law which says the majority of a congregation are entitled to choose their own minister is to be held as binding upon the Church, there will be found in the Gaelic congregation a majority of two to one in favour of the Rev. Mr M'Leod. The first call, we hold, was interfered with illegally; a second was made, and we are ready to abide by the decision of the Church on the subject. We do not want to step beyond our own province, or to interfere with the province of Church Courts, all that we wish is protection, in order that we may get what the Church herself has taught us to expect, the liberty of nominating our own minister; and, as stated before, not one of all the number who signed for Mr M'Leod but will sign for him again. Dr M'Farlan has said it is likely to be disastrous to the Church; but to me it is perfectly plain, that although every man, woman and child in that congregation who did not sign Mr M'Leod's call formerly, were to be opposed to him, they would not amount to more than 140 or 150 individuals. If this is not the case, I would like to see any individual who could give me the shadow of proof that there is more. Dr McFarlan makes extensive use of reports from members of the congregation, which are made to operate against us. There is an importance attached to them, as coming from Dr M'Farlan; but, before receiving these statements, I would like to have some authority for them. Dr M'Farlan may believe in them, but is it fair, after it has been proved here, that we have 1000, out of 1100 members and adherents, who have signed for us, that those elders should assert that there was more than one-half of the congregation for them. In this case, at least, they were not worthy of credit. What they say on this subject I would not give a fig for; they have said what was contrary to truth before, and I would not give it credit now.
Dr M'Farlan, however, takes it in, and gives all the weight of his authority to the reports of these interested parties. I have nothing further to say, but that I am thankful for the patient hearing I have obtained from this venerable Assembly. Mr FERGUSSON, on the part of the appellants, said,--With regard to the memorial that Dr M'Farlan refers to, as being all written by the same hand, I may explain that that was a copy, and not the original document.
Dr CANDLISH here interrupted the speaker, to inquire if this matter was in the record, or in the memorial.
Rev. Mr GIBSON explained that it was quite relevant, being in answer to the statement of Dr M'Farlan.
Mr FERGUSSON then said,—With regard to one of those elders that Dr M'Farlan gives such high character to, who wrote the letter that has given rise to so much division, I may explain that, not above a fortnight ago, after the congregational meeting was constituted, when he found that there was a majority opposed to his views, he, after taking a part in the discussion and the voting, actually proposed to come forward and take a protest against the meeting. And to shew you the feeling of these men, I may inform the Assembly, that one of them threatened that he would keep the church vacant for three years if they choosed to do so.
Rev. Mr GLASS of Musselburgh said-Moderator, Dr M'Farlan has expressed a very strong opinion with regard to the elders and some others constituting the minority of that church, and I would merely ask the other members at the bar, if they coincide with Dr M'Farlan in that opinion.
The MODERATOR wished Mr Glass to repeat his request over again, when Mr Glass explained-My question is this: Dr M'Farlan has expressed a strong opinion regarding the elders,-respecting their worth and their repentance of the acts of which they had previously been guilty. Now, I wish to know if the other members of the Presbytery of Greenock agree with that?
Dr CANDLISH, while he did not object to the putting of the question, would suggest, that if there were to be answers and explanations, he would prefer hearing them as matters of fact, in preference to matters of opinion. (Hear, hear.)
Rev. Mr GLASS.-The opinion was very strongly expressed, and I would like an answer. For my own part, I know the elders referred to; and I know that they do not all agree in the opinion expressed.
Rev. Mr GIBSON suggested that it was not for the benefit of the case that strong language should be made use of as to the character of the parties, and the more especially as it could not be substantiated before the Court.
The Rev. Mr M'LEOD here came forward and requested permission from the Assembly to make a few explanations on this case in which he had been made a party, which request being acceded to, the reverend gentleman spoke nearly as follows:-Moderator, I am no party in this case, yet my name has been so often and so pointedly referred to in connection with it, that I feel myself called upon to offer a few remarks in the way of explanation. I shall not touch the merits of the case, nor shall I say a single word as to the propriety or impropriety, the expediency or inexpediency, of the present movement. I have not been consulted. I have, indeed, at an early stage of the case, ventured to offer an advice; and sure I am, that had that advice been adopted, the case would have turned out a very different one; but I soon found that it is one thing to offer an advice, and another thing to see that advice taken and acted upon. I do not speak as the apologist or accuser of any party. I would not on any account say one disrespectful word of any man ; but I may be allowed to observe, that it is much to be deplored that such a case should have occurred in connection with our beloved Church. Would, Sir, that it had never taken place, that parties had exercised more self-denial, that they had the glory of their professed Lord and Master more at heart, and that they had acted more in the spirit of that charity which suffereth long and is kind, which envieth not, which is not easily provoked, which thinketh no evil, and which rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth. I am sorry, Sir, that so much feeling has been mixed up with the case in all its stages, and exceedingly regret some of the statements which have been made from time to time in connection with it,-statements which I consider anything but respectful to myself,-and statements which, I fear, instead of acting as oil thrown on the troubled waters of that congregation,