Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.

Free Churchof Scotland

Free Church of Scotland, The, is an offshoot of the Established Church, formed by the disruption which took place in 1843. Patronage had been restored in 1712, though the "call," or actual election as pastor, was still to be in the hands of the parishioners. This, however, was merely nominal, since nomination by the patron gave a right to the emoluments of the benefice, and a very small number of the congregation could then make the election of a pastor. In 1834 the General Assembly of the Church passed a Veto Law, which laid down as a fundamental doctrine that no minister could be intruded into a parish against the will of the church members, and declared that a majority of male heads of families, being full members of the church, should be able to prevent such intrusion of a presentee. Litigation followed, and came to a head in the Auchterarder case, where the majority of the parish had been opposed to the call of a presentee made by two heads of families. The Court of Session declared the appointment legal under the Patronage Act, and was upheld by the House of Lords. The consequence was that, in 1843, Dr. Chalmers with 420 other ministers left the hall of the Assembly, and constituted themselves the General Assembly of the Free Church. Most of their congregations followed them, and in four years they had 700 churches. The Free Church maintained the doctrine and discipline of the body from which they had seceded; and the ability of their first Moderator, Dr. Chalmers, soon gained them a secure position in Scotland. His work was carried on by Dr. Candlish. Among the lights of the Free Church were Dr.

Guthrie, Mr. Murray Dunlop, and Hugh Miller. In 1863 negotiations for union with the United Presbyterian Church were begun, and ten years later a working agreement was arrived at by which a "mutual eligibility" of ministers from all the negotiating churches was declared. In 1874 the Cameronians were united to the Free Church. A majority of the latter have declared in favour of disestablishment.