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ought to be discovered. It stands suspended in order that those connected with our system of education, if they can, may devise a system that will suit Scotland. If you can do so, you will be allowed to manage matters in Scotland for yourselves; if you cannot, you must have the Revised Code as in England. Now, what do the Commissioners say on this point? They say that the Revised Code must be modified. With respect to article 4 of the Revised Code, they unanimously agree that it must not apply to Scotland; that is to say, the article which requires a special separation of classes-classes of the people, I mean—as to the schools that they attend; that the poor shall not attend the same schools as those who are above them, as we do in Scotland at present; that teachers shall not be allowed to present any but children who are described as children of the labouring poor as results of examination. That was considered to be destructive to the principle upon which our educational scheme had been conducted. I know from the testimony of some of the teachers, while the Revised Code might bave answered them very well upon any other system, that that article in the Code, interpreted as it has been, would not answer them at all. Now, observe the recommendation that this article should be expunged gives you what in regard to this Code would make it workable. You have a decided recommendation upon this point, which is a very critical one in the present state of the case. You have a unanimous recommendation that this article 4 ought not to apply to Scotland. Well, then, I think you ought not to act rashly, or without good and thoroughly well-considered grounds ; you ought to see that you are not instrumental in preventing any measure being framed founded upon this report. For if no measure can be carried as the result of it, then the Revised Code will come upon you without modification. And I believe that will be destructive. There is very good reason why we should be very careful in committing ourselves by such a motion as Mr Nixon has laid before you. I may add that I sympathise with Mr Nixon in his objection to the close system of heritors alone managing the parish schools. I think that the management of the parish schools ought to be far more open. I think we ought to do all we can to get them opened up. At the same time, I do not think that if this measure were passed, the matter would be pressed upon us in the mode or form Mr Nixon describes. Some parties in another quarter to which I have referred, do not think so. Sir Henry concluded by moving his resolution.
Mr Nixon said that to save the time of the Assembly he would be most happy to agree to Sir Henry's motion.
Mr STARK, Greenock, seconded the motion made by Sir Henry. In doing so, he said that he supposed Mr Nixon could not speak at all unless he spoke strongly, but he thought it was most_undiguified that a motion should be submitted to the Assembly of the Free Church of Scotland with the strong language about “Statë tyranny"contained in Mr Nixon's motion. He had no objection, of course, to the use of any terms which Mr Nixon might choose to enploy, in so far as he, (Mr S.,) and other members of the House were not to be held as in any way responsible for them, but when it was proposed to embody them in a judgment of the General Assembly, he must protest against them. They had no right to impute motives to the Commissioners, or to charge them with tyranny. The Commissioners had had a most difficult question to settle, and they ought to give them credit for purity of motive. (Hear, hear.) There was nothing to be gained by going to Parliament with such uns founded complaints ; and if we expect to have any influence in the settlement of the education question on a right basis, we must employ language befitting the supreme Court of the Church. He did not altogether dislike to hear it in a speech, but it was out of place in a motion. (Laughter.)
Mr CHARLES Cowan said that he had heard the address of the Convener with the utmost surprise. If that address of his was supposed to represent the sentiments of the Education Committee or this House, it must inevitably postpone, beyond the possibility of its being carried into effect during the present lifetime, any national system of education. What was the sum and essence of that long and rapid torrent of eloquence to which they had listened for two hours but this, that unless the people of Scotland took their education from him, and such as him, they would have none at all? He thought it worthy of being known to this Assembly, and to the people of Scotland at large, that the late Lord Elgin, a nobleman whom he bad the honour of escorting into this House on one occasion, when he was Guvernor-General of Canada, in 1851 or 1852, devised a system of national education with as great, indeed far greater, difficulties to encounter as statesmen could have in Scotland. The upper province of Canada was Protestant, and the lower was Catholic, and one leading feature of the bill which was successfully carried—though he did not think it would be acceptable to his reverend friends here—was, that in that bill a clause was introduced that no ecclesiastic of any denomination, as such, should have any right to the management of the schools in Canada. If they were elected by the local parties, good and well ; and be believed until they had some such measure as this, embodying a provision of that kind, amid all the eclesiastical opposition which rose up, to the effect of burking any well-devised measure, it was impossible to expect a system such as the people of Scotland were entitled to, and which was so greatly needed in this country. He hoped that the principle Lord Elgin introduced, and which had been the means of conferrivg a great benefit on Canada, might be carried out in this country. It was a great discouragement to listen to a speech so directly antagonistic to any such hopes.
Principal LUMSDEN said that Mr Cowan must have very much mistaken Mr Nixon, if he supposed that Mr Nixon meant to say that they should prevent a national education in Scotland, unless on condition that it should be entirely imparted by themselves. And let it be understood, without disparagement to Lord Elgin's Bill for Canada, that what was best for one country might not be the best for another.
Mr Nixon-I must explain. My excellent friend, Sir Henry Moncreiff, has misunderstood me most thoroughly. He has ventured to express opinions upon subjects on which I was silent, and I wish it to be especially understood that I do not hold the sentiments he has attributed to me. With regard to the charge he thinks I am liable to, of countenancing a system which endows both truth and error, I argue that Government-in the circumstances in which we are placed should let the whole subject of education in religion alone. As I said before, if Government cannot support the truth alone, it ought to do the next best thing-leave it to be administered by those in whose hands the schools are. I wish them to be in the hands of Christian men-of religious bodies,—which is a very different thing from local committees. I ask the Government to pay for the secular education of schools, and we pay for religious education in the contributions we make to uphold them; and the parents pay for both. We pay for the control, and Government pays for the secular education we give to the children of the State. If national education is to be a secular thing, what on earth have we to do with it, any more than with a Reform Bill ?
Sir Henry says that another body is opposed to the measure, but people do not require to be told how extremes meet in these days. Was there ever à more lawless state of things in the political world than there is at present? But I have accounted for that by showing that there are diverse elements in this measure of the Commissioners struggling for the nastery, though, unfortunately, none of them is the right element of Christ's authority, Mr Nixon concluded by denying that the language be bad used in the resolutions, or in his speech, was entitled to be spoken of in the offensive language which was used in regard to it.
The motion was then agreed to, and the Assembly also resolved to refer Mr Nixon's resolutions to the committee for consideration.
Sir Henry MoncreIFF then read over the names proposed for the committee.
Mr Rose, Minard, objected to the constitution of the committee. He thought there should be some representatives from the West Highlands, wbich was greatly interested in this question.
Mr Nixon also complained of the constitution of the committee, and suggested that in a matter of such importance the appointment of the committee should be left over till to-morrow.
Dr BUCHANAN said that if it was to raise discussion it would be very inconvenient to have it introduced to-morrow. There was no reason why the names should not be suggested now.
Mr Nixon then suggested some additional names, and the committee, so enlarged, was appointed.
REFERENCE BY SYNOD OF MORAY-COMPLAINT OF MR MOFFAT OF CAIRNIE.
The Assembly then took up a reference from the Synod of Moray, connected with which was a complaint by Mr Wm. Moffat against & judgment of the Presbytery of Strathbogie. At a meeting of the Presbytery of Strathbogie, on the 31st of July 1866, the subject of receiving the visits of deputies appointed by the Assembly to visit certain Presbyteries in the Synod of Moray was taken up. moved that the deputation be cordially received; it was also moved that they be not received, for several reasons stated in the motion, such as, that the appointment of the deputation has all the appearance, though not articulately expressed, of a disrespectful and threatening reference to the Synod of Moray, and to the Presbytery, or certain members of it in particular ; that, considering the character of the deputation, and the instructions on which it proposed to act, though not expressly endorsed by the Assembly, it appears to be grossly unconstitutional and illegal, arbitrary, inquisitorial, dictatorial, irresponsible, and without any rational excuse for its appointment, &c. The motiou to receive the deputation was carried by 4 to 3 votes. Mr Moffat dissented and protested for leave to complain to the Synod of Moray. The Synod, by a majority of 17 to 7, decided to refer the case simpliciter to the Assembly.
Mr Smellie, Elgin, and Mr Winter, Dyke, appeared to state the reference.
Mr WINTER read the resolution of last Assembly, appointing and instructing the deputies to visit the Synod of Moray, and said that the intelligence of this Act of Assembly had produced great dissatisfaction in some parts of the district of Moray, and in the Presbytery of Strathbogie among the rest.
The Synod felt it was not for them to enter upon the discussion of the question on the point at issue between Mr Moffat and the Presbytery. They felt that though an inferior Court was entitled to enter upon or decide upon it, it was not so suitable or desirable or respectful to the General Assembly that they should do so. Their decision could not be final, and could not carry great weight in itself; and that was the simple reason why the Synod referred the matter to the Assembly
Mr SMELLIE concurred in the statement of Mr Winter.
Professor Rainy said—I rise for the purpose of proposing that the Assembly dismiss the reference, and I think the grounds for so doing are very plain and obvious. There are two elements in this case—the reference from the Synod of Moray, and an overture from the Presbytery of Forres—to be considered separately. The reason stated for the reference from the Synod was, that “the decision of this case depends mainly on the settlement of the question as to the lawfulness and expediency of these deputations." Now, the Synod had nothing to do with the expediency of the deputation in the question that came before them, and we have nothing to do with it in deciding in this reference, though we might in the overture. For the question came in this way–whether the Presbytery of Strathbogie was justified in its procedure in receiving the deputation and concurring with them in the work they were called to perform ? Mr Moffat objected to the Presbytery doing that, and appealed to the Synod. Now, the Synod had no business to meddle with the question of expediency in that form of it. They were quite free to come up with an overture to the Assembly if they had anything to say, and they should have sheltered the Presbytery of Strathbogie from being interfered with in its concurring with the deputations on such grounds as that stated. (Applause.) Then, as to the lawfulness—I am not going into abstractions about the foundation of jurisprudenceI think it is quite clear, as the case was pleaded from the bar, that when anybody chooses to say that compliance with an Act of Assembly in a certain thing raises questions about its lawfulness, and that question comes before the Synod, they ought to refer it to the Assembly. Now, I say, on the contrary, that there is no sort of appeal in regard to which a Synod should be more careful and more fully go into the case, and take care that they did nothing to encourage, at all events, needless and unfounded reasons, on any such appeal as that. They were bound clearly to have gone iuto the case, and they were called upon to shelter the Presbytery of Strathbogie on this point also. Mr Moffat made his objection on the ground of the unconstitutionality of the thing. Now, I have no doubt Mr Moffat made his objection most conscientiously, and, having mentioned his name, I must say I am sorry to propose a motion
depriving the Assembly of the pleasure of hearing bim-(a laugh-and I may be allowed to say, as a near neighbour of Mr Moffat, when I had a charge in that Presbytery, that though I was not always fortunate enough to agree with him, I never found a grain of malice remaining in his mind after our differences, and felt it a pleasant thing to go to his hospitable house and see him in mine. (Applause.) But I was going to say that surely this is a sort of appeal, especially when taken in the shape of refusing to allow the Presbytery to comply with the injunction of the Supreme Court of the Church-surely this is a sort of appeal which should be extremely clear indeed in its grounds. Now, it is quite unnecessary for us to decide the question whether in any sense of the word—in any single sense—the appointment of these deputies is unconstitutional,-surely it is clear that this General Assembly may appoint deputations to visit any Court, or Presbytery, or Synod for injunction, and surely the simple resolving, by the Act of Assembly, to appoint deputations to visit Synods in a certain order, is at all events not so clearly out of the order of competency, as that Presbyteries could be interfered with when disposed to comply with it. It is conceivable that when the Assembly had done a thing within its power, it might come out, that in the working of it out it interfered with something constitutional. By all means let the inferior court, then, come up by way of overture ; and surely in a matter of this kind, it being competent for any Presbytery to visit a congregation, and any Synod to visit the Presbytery and the General Assembly to visit any inferior Court within its jurisdiction—if only they do not clothe the visitors with power to interfere with the constitutional working of the Courts below-surely the resolving to do that by an Act, whatever the effect or expediency, is not unconstitutional in any such sense as to warrant Mr Moffat's appeal, or to warrant the Synod to dispose of the appeal in the way of relieving the Presbytery of Strathbogie from the imputation of complying in an unconstitutional way with unlawful conduct of the Assembly. As to the other matter-I mean the overture from the Presbytery of Forres—in regard to that, I shall only say that, whether on the reference or on the overture, I should think it a very extraordinary thing of this General Assembly to find that last General Assembly did an unlawful or unconstitutional thing—on a single overture from a Presbytery. If we have to find that a past General Assembly did an unlawful and unconstitutional thing—so unlawful and unconstitutional that, ipso facto, it was null and void, and to be disregarded, so that even when a Presbytery is willing to comply, a single member can take them to the Synod to have them prevented, or even censured—I feel that we would need, before going into that view, to have a stronger testimony from the Courts below that there was ground for us to take such extraordinary action. But with regard to the matter itself, I have said that I regard it within the competency of any ordinary Court, and if the Assembly thought the state of religion throughout the Church constituted a good reason, I cannot see there was a shadow of a ground for saying that the General Assembly did an unconstitutional thing in resolving to send down such deputations in a series of years—at least until a future General Assembly shall find it is not expedient to continue that Act. Further, I hold very strongly the expediency of this deputation, for I believe it to be of great moment that the Assembly should testify to the people in the various dis