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The Scottish Campaign against the Test Act, 1790–17911

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  11 February 2009

G. M. Ditchfield
Affiliation:
University of Kent at Canterbury

Extract

On 10 May 1791 the British house of commons was divided on an unsuccessful attempt to move the repeal of the Test Act as it applied to Scotland. Since then this has been one of the more neglected of the many religious issues which were deeply embedded in late eighteenth-century British politics. It might be described as the ‘Scottish sequel’ to the movement in 1787–90 for the general repeal of the Test and Corporation Acts. Yet it had its own distinctive features and reverberations which were by no means confined to Scotland. It is proposed here to examine the background, nature, progress and outcome of the Scottish application, to consider how it differed from the events of 1787–90, to investigate the role of its sponsor and leading parliamentary advocate Sir Gilbert Elliot and to look closely at the voting on the subject of the Scottish M.P.s. The aim will then be to consider the episode against the background of contemporary parliamentary politics.

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Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1980

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References

2 The case of the protestant dissenters, in relation to the laws by which the sacramental test is imposed (London, 1787), p. 4. This tract was published by the ‘repeal committee’ set up by the protestant dissenting deputies.Google Scholar

3 Heywood, Samuel, The right of protestant dissenters to a compleat toleration asserted (3rd edn, London, 1790), pp. 63–5, 88–92.Google Scholar

4 Horsley, Samuel, A review of the case of the protestant dissenters (London, 1790), pp. xvi-xvii, 32–4.Google Scholar

5 Mather, F. C.,‘Church, parliament and penal laws: some Anglo-Scottish interactions in the eighteenth century’, English Historical Review, xcii (1977), 540–72.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

6 Gillan, R. (ed.), An abridgment of the Acts of the General Assemblies of the Church of Scotland, from the year 1638 to 1802 inclusive (Hawick, 1803), p. 138. The relevant item appears under ‘Grievances of the Church’ Act 9, Ass. 1715. There is an account of the negotiations of the Scottish commissioners in London on the Test Act in 1715–16 in the letter from Sir Henry Moncrieff Wellwood to Thomas Somerville, Mar. 1791, Minto papers, MS 11144, fos. 23–4.Google Scholar

7 MacKinnon, James, The union of England and Scotland: A study of international history (London, 1896), pp. 406–19.Google Scholar

8 Examples of the hostility caused by the Test Act can be found in the pamphlets of Andrew Low, A letter from a gentleman in Scotland to his friend in England against the sacramenta test (1708) and An apology for the letter from Scotland against the sacramental test (1708).

9 The case of Scotland made a brief appearance in the dissenting repeal literature of the 1730s and in the parliamentary debates; see Observations on the present dispute concerning the repeal of the Corporation and Test Acts (Lndon, 1733), p. 17, and Parliamentary history of England, ix, 1056–8 (12 Mar. 1736).Google Scholar

10 Somerville, Thomas, My own life and times, 1741–1814 (Edinburgh, 1861), p. 226.Google Scholar

12 Beaufoy/s speech of 28 Mar. 1787 can be found in Parl, hist, xxvi, 802 ff, and especially 811–14; Fox/s comments on the Scottish case on 8 May 1789 in ibid, xxvIII, 34.

13 See, for example, the Edinburgh Advertiser of 2–5 March 1790, which recited some classic arguments in favour of Scottish repeal.

14 Somerville, Life and times, pp. 227–8.

15 There is a copy of the Jedburgh overture in the Church of Scotland ‘Assembly papers, main series, 179091’, Scottish Record Office, CH/1/2/130. It was printe in the Scots Magazine, LII (1790), 352, and in the Caledonian Mercury, 29 May 1790.

16 The Dumfries overture (21 Apr. 1790) and Angus and Mearns overtue (27 Apr. 1790) may be found in S.R.O. CH/1/2/130. See also Edinburgh Advertiser, 27–30 Apr. 1790.

17 An overture of an Act of the General Associate Synod in Scotland, concerning the sacramental test, and the duty and interest of presbyterians in Scotland in reference to its repeal (Edinburgh, 1790). The date on the title page is 4 May 1790.Google Scholar

18 Edinburgh Advertiser, 27–30 Apr. 1790.

19 Ibid. 14–18 May 1790.

20 The provincial synod of Glasgow and Ayr, meeting in April 1790, gave much attention to McGil/s case but made no mention of the Test Act; Glasgow Advertiser and Evening Intelligencer, 12–16 and 23–26 Apr. 1790. The synod of Lothian and Tweedale similarly ignored the Test Act, even though some clergymen who favoured repeal attended its proceedings; Edinburgh Herald, 5 May 1790. Fr an intricate examination of the technicalities of fictitious votes see Edinburgh Advertiser, 23–27 Apr. 1790.

21 See, for example, Edinburgh Advertiser, 2–5 Mar. 1790.

22 Cannon, John, Parliamentary reform 1640–1832 (Cambridge, 1972), p. 108.Google Scholar

23 Rev. James Wodrow to Samuel Kenrick, 2 June 1790, Kenrick papers. Wodrow (1730–1810) was minister of Stevenston, Ayrshire, and a member of the General Assembly. His letters to Kenrick (in the Kenrick papers, Dr Williams/s Library, MSS 24.157) are a vital source for the Scottish campaign against the Test Act.

24 Wodrow to Kenrick, 2 June 1790.

25 See Ian D. L. Clark, ‘From protest to reaction: the moderate regime in the Church of Scotland, 1752–1805’, in Phillipson, N. T. and Mitchison, R. (eds.), Scotland in the age of improvement Essays in Scottish history in the eighteenth century (Edinburgh, 1970), p. 200–24.Google Scholar

26 Somerville, Life and times, p. 229.

27 The best report of this debate is Debates in the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, on taking into consideration an overture from Jedburgh respecting the Test Act, May 27, 1790 (London, 1790)Google Scholar. There are also detailed reports in Scots Magazine, LII (1790), 351–2, in the Glasgow Advertiser and Evening Intelligncer (eight consecutive issues between 28 May and 25 June 1790), in Caledonian Mercury, 29 and 31 May, 3, 5 and 7 June 1790, in Cook, George, The life of the late George Hill (Edinburgh, 1820), pp. 274–8, and in Wodrow/s letter to Kenrick of 2 June 1790.Google Scholar

28 MacKnight/s speech is in Debates in the General Assembly, pp. 37–42 and Hill/s speech in ibid, pp. 54–62.

29 Ibid. pp. 13–16, 42–6.

30 See Wodrow to Kenrick, 2 June 1790. Robert Dundas was lord advocate for Scotland from 1789 to 1801 and became M.P. for Midlothian in 1790.

31 These speeches may be found, respectively, in Debates in the General Assembly, pp. 15–19, 8–13, 46–54, 32–7. Somerville believed that Wellwood/s speech won over many anti-repealers and that hs ‘authority with the popular clergy’ helped to carry the day; Somerville, Life and times, pp. 229–30. Wodrow felt that Henry Erskine/s speech had a similar effect; Wodrow to Kenrick, 2 June 1790.

32 The Debatesname 9 speakers in favour and 8 against; the resective figures in the Scots Magazine are 14 and 8 and in the Caledonian Mercury 12 and 8. Alexander Carlyle, prevented by illness from attending the debate, blamed Robert Dundas for allowing the pro-repeal resolutions to pass without a vote. He felt ‘next to certain’ of a majority against them and, even if defeated, would have preferred to go down fighting. ‘ Extract from Dr Carlyle/s letter respecting the Test Act as it affects the Scotch. Mar. 8, 1791’. Arch/P. Moore papers, section 19, Lambeth Palace Library.

33 The committee contained eleven ministers and fourteen laymen. They are named in the committe/s petition to parliament of 18 Apr. 1791; Journals of the house of commons, XLVI, 435.Google Scholar

34 ‘Minutes of the proceedings of the committee of the General Assembly on the subject of the Test Act’ (MS volume in S.R.O., 1/5/124, pp. 1–4. James Wodrow was a member of the committee and described its first meeting in his letter to Kenrick of 2 June 1790.

35 Clark, ‘Moderate regime’, p. 216.

36 The Memorial was prepared by and considered at three meetins of the committee, on 10, 12 and 13 November 1790; ‘ Minutes’, pp. 5–8. The Memorial itself follows on pages 8–28. It had been drafted by the procurator of the Church, William Robertson junior and Wodrow claimed to detect in it the influence of his famous father, the historian and former moderator; Wodrow to Kenrick, 10 Jan. 1791.

37 Committee meeting of 12 Feb. 1791; ‘Minutes’, pp. 36–41.

38 MacKnight/s protest, dated 12 Feb. 1791, may be found in S.R.O. CH/1/2/130.

39 The version of the Memorial used here is that in pages 8–28 of the MS volume of the committee minutes (S.R.. 1/5/124); this reference is to page 10.

40 Memorial, p. 16. See also Heywood, Right of protestant dissenters, p. 64.

41 MacKinnon, The union, pp. 296–304; John Bruce, Report on the union (1799), pp. 348–9.

42 Debates in the General Assembly, pp. 14–15.

43 The Act of Union is printed in Pickering, Danby (ed.), The statutes at large (Cambridge and London, 1762–1807), xi, 196219. The two acts mentioned here are reproduced, respectively, on pp. 21113 and 213–15. See also G. S. Pryde (ed.), The treaty of union of Scotland and England, 1707 (1950), pp. 103–112.Google Scholar

44 Memorial, p. 26.

45 Ibid. pp. 23–4. The Act of Security had specified the perpetuation of the ‘Act for the ministers of the church to be of sound religion’ (1571), the Act of Uniformity of 1662 and ‘all and singular other acts of parliament now in force for the establishment and preservation of the Church of England and the doctrine, worship, discipline and government thereof’; Statutes, xi, 214. The case of the repealers was that these statutes had preserved the security of the Church of England before the Test Act had been passed and would continue to do so if it were repealed.

46 On 3 Feb. 1707 a motion in the house of lords to insert the Test Act into the Act of Security was negatived; Lords Journals, xviii, 225Google Scholar. On 10 Feb. a motion in the house of commons to include both the Test and Corporation Acts was lost by 211 votes to 163; CommonsJournals,xv, 283. Se also Heywood, Right of protestant dissenters, p. 2, and Bruce, Report on the union, p. 361.Google Scholar

47 Memorial, pp. 25–6; speech of William Robetson junior in the General Assembly, 27 May 1790; Debates in the General Assembly, pp. 16–17. It was also argued that the Test and Corporation Acts could not be regarded as permanent and immutable parts of the unon because both had been altered since 1707; Heywood, Right of proteslant dissenters, pp. 91–2.

48 Heywood, Right of protestant dissenters, p. 63. He complained of the ‘palpable injustice’ whereby ‘a member of the church of England has full and free access to all the offices of Scotland; while a member of the Kirk of Scotland is incapacitated from holding one in England, unless he takes the Sacrament according to the rites of her established church’.

49 Memorial, p. 28.

50 Debates in the General Assembly, p. 9.

51 Memorial, pp 18–19 and Lapslie/s speech in the General Assembly; Debates in the General Assembly, pp. 30–1.

52 Memorial, p. 20.

53 McCahill, Michael W., ‘The Scottish peerage and the house of lords in the later eighteenth century’. Scottish Historical Review, LI (1972), 173–5.Google Scholar

54 Wodrow to Knrick, 29 Apr. 1791.

55 Memorial, p. 11.

56 Case of the protestant dissenters, p. 4. The legal status of the Scottish Episcopalians is fully defined in Mather, pp. 541–2.

57 Somerville, Life and times, pp. 236–7.

58 See the draft of Somerville/s speech to the General Assembly; Minto papers, MS 11144, fos. 10–12. Its mildness contrasts markedly with the firm tone of the early overtures.

59 See artin/s speech in the General Assembly, 27 May 1790; Debates in the General Assembly pp. 6- 7. He cied Robert Robinson/s View of Presbyterian church-government (Robertson, Miscellaneous works, 4 vols., Harlow, 1807, 11, 239–41) in support of this assertion. The hostility implicit here between Scottish presbyterians and anti-establihment English dissenters was cunningly exploited by Horsley in Review of the case, pp. 32–3.

60 Memorial, p. 17.

61 Clark ‘Moderate regime’, passim, and the same author/s article ‘The Leslie controversy, 1805’, Records of the Scottish Church History Society, xiv (1963), 179–97.Google Scholar

62 Wodrow to Kenrick, 2 June 1790.

63 Mathieson, W. L., The awakening of Scotland: A history from 1747 to 1797 (Glasgow, 1910), p. 184Google Scholar. In Henry Meikle, W., Scotland and the French revolution (Glasgow, 1912), p. 68, it is stated that all the lay members ‘strenuously opposed’ repeal. This is not quite correct; Henry Erskine, for one, supported it.Google Scholar

64 There is a useful summary of these views in Cook, George Hill, pp. 274–8.

65 Parl. hist. xxviii, 34 and 40 (8 May 1789).

66 See Hill/s speech in the General Assembly; Debates in the General Assembly, pp. 58–9.

67 Burton, John Hill (ed.), The autobiography of Dr Alexander Carlyle (London and Edinburgh, 1910), p. 580Google Scholar. Not for nothing was Carlyle nicknamed ‘Jupiter’.

68 Hill/s speech, 27 May 1790; Debates in the General Assembly, p. 58.

69 Cook, Life of Hill, p. 276.

70 Ilay Campbell/s speech, 27 May 1790; Debates in the General Assembly, p. 43.

71 Elliot/s notes for his parliamentary speech, Minto papers, MS 11203, fo. 200; ‘Minutes’, p. 52; Wodrow to Kenrick, 28 Mar. 1791. Wodrow indeed felt that ‘we have rather exceeded in modesty & delicacy upon this point’. He wanted a more vigorous campaign for repeal.

72 Minto papers, MS 11203, fo. 200.

73 ‘Extract from Dr Carlyle/s Letter, Mar. 8, 1791’, Moore papers, section 19.

74 Heywood, Right of protestant dissenters, p. 64.

75 This point was made in reply to Carlyle/s dissent at the committee meeting of 14 Feb. 1791; ‘Minutes’, pp. 51–2.

76 Martin/s speech; Debates in the General Assembly, pp. 4–8.

77 Parl. hist, xxix, 636–41; Somerville, Life and times, p. 252.

78 Erskine to Elliot, 14 June 1792; Minto papers, MS 11196, fos. 51–4; printed in A. Fergusson, The honourable Henry Erskine (1882), pp. 341–4.

79 Edinburgh Advertiser, 12–16 Nov. 1790.

80 MacKenzie, P., Life of Thomas Muir (Glasgow, 1831), pp. 112–13; Wodrow to Kenrick, 27 June 1793. For Dun/s pro-repeal views see Debates in the General Assembly, pp. 20–25.Google Scholar

81 MacKenzie, Muir, p. 4.

82 It is interesting to note that J. T. Callender/s radical squib The political progress of Great Britain (1793), which was widely circulated in Scotland, mentions tithes and the difficulties of the Scottish Episcopalians, but not the Test Act.

83 There is a copy of the Memorial in Minto papers, MS 11203, fos. 179–88.

84 Sir Gilbert Elliot (1751–1814), 4th bt., was created Baron Minto in 1797 and earl of Minto in 1813. He held a series of diplomatic appointments in the 1790s, was president of the board of control in 1806 and served as governor-general of India from 1806 to 1813.

85 Although he is not included in any of the printed lists of M.P.s who voted for the repeal of the Test and Corporation Acts in 1787 and 1789, a letter from Elliot to his wife dated 29 Mar. 1787 makes it clear that he did so on that occasion. Countess of Minto, (ed.), Life and letters of Sir Gilbert Elliot, first earl of Minto, from 1751 to 1806 (3 vols., London, 1874), 1, 142–3.Google Scholar

86 Dundas/s letter was dated 18 Jan. 1791, was read at the committee/s meeting on 11 Feb. and copied into the ‘Minutes’, pp. 31–4. There are also copies of the letter in S.R.O., CH 1/2/130 and in Moore papers, section 18.

87 Carlyle/s ‘reasons of dissent’ were expressed at the committee meeting of 12 Feb. 1791 and appear in the ‘ Minutes’, pp. 37–40. He was supported by seven other members. The reply of the pro-repeal majority was given at the meeting of 14 Feb. 1791; ‘Minutes’, pp. 42–55.

88 The petition can be found in the ‘Minutes’, pp. 57–61 and in Commons Journals, XLVI, 434–5 (18 Apr. 1791).Google Scholar

89 Henry Erskine to Elliot, 27 Feb. 1791; Minto papers, MS 11203, fo. 177.

90 Somerville, Life and times, p. 231, and his letter to Elliot, 27 Feb. 1791, Minto papers, MS 11144, fos. 21–2. An added incentive for Somerville was the opportunity to mix in literary circles in London and the hope (soon realized) of finding a publisher for his historical work on the revolution of 1688.

91 See Lindsey to William Frend, 9 June 1790, Frend papers, Cambridge University Library, partly quoted (inaccurately) in Knight, Frida, University rebel: The life of William Frend, 1757–1841 (London, 1971), p. 87.Google Scholar

92 For Somerville/s dislike of Priestley/s socinianism and sympathy with the French revolution, see the Life and times, p. 232.

93 Ibid. p. 231; Wodrow to Kenrick, 28 Mar. 1791. The ‘Catholic Dissenters’ Relief Bill’ was introduced in the house of commons on 21 Feb. 1791, where it had its second reading on 21 Mar. and its third reading on 20 Apr. It was read a second time in the house of lords on 31 May and received the royal assent on 10 June.

94 Somerville, Life and times, p. 231.

95 Ibid. pp. 233–4. Archbishop Moore/s unequivocal opposition to Scottish repeal can be seen in his ‘Notes as to whether the English Test Act is binding on the Scots’. Moore papers, section 18.

96 The meeting between Elliot and Pitt was reported by Wodrow in his letter to Kenrick of 29 Apr. 1791.

98 See especially Wodrow to Kenrick, 2 June 1790, and Somerville to Elliot, 18Feb. 1791, Minto papers, MS 11144, fos. 13–14.

99 See the draft of Somerville/s speech to the General Assembly (27 May 1790) in Minto papers, MS 11144 ff., 10–12.

100 Commons Journals, XLVI, 434–5, where the petition is printed.Google Scholar

101 Possibly at first an earlier date was allotted to the debate - 4 May according to the St James/s Chronicle of 16–19 Apr. 1791 and 3–5 May 1791, or 5 May according to Wodrow in his letter to Kenrick of 29 Apr. 1791, with a postponement by Elliot to 10 May. There is no mention of this in Commons Journals.

102 Somerville, Life and times, p. 237.

103 These lists can be found in Minto papers, MS 11203, fo. 160.

104 The lists of ‘Pro’, ‘Con’ and ‘Doubtful’ can be found in Minto papers, MS 11203, fos. 161–76.

105 There had in fact been a loss of 42 repealers since 1787–90.

106 These lists are reproduced in G. M. Ditchfield, ‘Debates on the Test and Corporation Acts, 1787–90: the evidence of the division lists’, Bulletin of the Institute of Historical Research, L (May 1977), pp. 69–81. The versions used here are those found in the Odgers MSS, Dr Williams/s Library; identical copies can be found in Minto papers, MS 11203, fo. 156, with annotations by Elliot.

107 Elliot/s list of 126 repealers from 1787 to 1790 included 5 who were no longer M.P.s on 10 May 1791, so realistically the figure should have been 121. It was composed of 88 named in the printed lists of 1787 and/or 1789, 32 not in those lists who presumably voted for repeal in 1790 only, and one previously half-identified repealer, namely James Lowther (Westmorland); see G. M. Ditchfield, ‘The parliamentary struggle over the repeal of the Test and Corporation Acts, 1787–90’, English Historical Review, LXXXIX (1974), 555, n. 3.Google Scholar

108 Both had voted for repeal in 1787 and 1789; Johnstone spoke in its favour in both debates.

109 Five of the 26 opponents of repeal in 1787 90 named in Ditchfield, ‘Debates’, pp. 79–81, were no longer M.P.s on 10 May 1791.

110 Wodrow to Kenrick, 2 June 1790;-see also his letter to the same correspondent of 21 Feb. 1791

111 Somerville, Life and times, p. 234.

112 Minto papers, MS 11203, fos. 168–9.

113 See Ditchfield, ‘Parliamentary struggle’, p. 565, n. 1. Seven Scottish M.P.s are named in the printed list of the repeal minority of 1787 (a point confirmed by Heywood in Right of protestant dissenters, p. 64, n.) and seven in the list of 1789.

114 Wodrow to Kenrick, 29 Apr. 1791.

115 Ibid., Somerville, Life and times, pp. 237 8. Fergusson, who was member for Ayrshire, declined seconding the repeal motion, partly because of his political connexions with Pitt and Henry Dundas.

116 George Stuart to Elliot, 23 Apr. 1791, Minto papers, MS 11203, fo. 189. Stuart was ‘professor of humanity’ at the university of Edinburgh. By ‘what they did before’ he meant the decision in 1790 of the General Assembly (and especially its clerical members) to seek repeal.

117 See the letter from Hill to Henry Dundas, 2 June 1790, quoted in Clark, ‘Moderate regime’, p. 216, where the whole question is discussed. See also Meikle, Scotland and the French revolution, p. 69, n. 2.

118 See the letter from Bishop Douglas to Carlyle, 4 Apr. 1791, printed in Meikle, Scotland and the French revolution, p. 69, n. 1.

119 ‘The friends of the established church betray alarms at the late resolutions of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland concerning the Test Act. They apprehend, that it is the commencement of an union between the Presbyterians of Scotland and the Dissenters, which, in its progress, may be formidable to the English Hierarchy.’ Edinburgh Herald, 7 June 1790.

120 Somerville, Life and times, pp. 239–40.

121 The whig split on the French revolution had been partly foreshadowed in the debate on the repeal of the Test and Corporation Acts on 2 March 1790, when Burke and Fox spoke on opposite sides. It was to be exacerbated by a similar division in the party over its attitude to radical dissenters, as seen in the debate on the Unitarian petition in May 1792.

122 Commons Journals, XLVI, 435.

123 Parl. Reg. xxix, 362. The most detailed report of the debate of 10 May 1791 is that in Parl. Reg. xxix, 357–78, which is the main source used here. There is also a full, if slightly less detailed, account in Parl. hist, xxix, 488–510. Shorter reports can be found in the Scots Magazine, LII (1791), 327–9, Caledonian Mercury, 14 May 1791, and in the London newspapers.Google Scholar

124 Wodrow to Kenrick, 2 June 1790.

125 Parl. Reg. xxix, 376.

126 Wodrow to Kenrick, 28 Mar. 1791.

127 Parl. Reg. xxix, 362.

128 Somerville had emphasized the ‘marked distinction’ between the two causes in a letter to Elliot of 18 Feb. 1791, Minto papers, MS 11144, fos. 13–14. Wodrow referred to them as ‘purposely distinguished’ in a letter to Kenrick on 10 Jan. 1791.

129 Wodrow to Kenrick, 21 Feb. 1791. When Wodrow discovered that Kenrick had communicated his letters to meetings of dissenters in Worcester he was alarmed and begged his friend to desist from doing so.

130 There are notes for and drafts of this speech in Minto papers, MS 11203, fos. 193–218. The speech itself appears in Parl. Reg. xxix, 357–62.

131 Ibid. p. 361.

132 Elliot/s notes for his speech, Minto papers, MS 11203, fo. 206.

133 The motion made no mention of the Corporation Act, but Elliot/s notes show that he thought it should be spared, since it was ‘a principal & internal provision which relates to England alone, & not as the objects of the Test Act do, to the common concerns of the United Kingdom’; Minto papers 11203, fo. 207. Pulteney repeated this in his speech; Parl. Reg. xxix, 363.

134 Minto papers, MS 11203, fo. 206. The Indemnity bills, wrote Elliot, ‘do not cover the evil, even if such a cover were becoming or satisfactory, for during a considerable portion of every year their protection does not exist, & the condition on which indemnity is granted is such as cannot in the cases I allude to be complied with’.

135 Somerville, Life and times, pp. 240–1; Wodrow to Kenrick, 16 June 1791.

136 Elliot to Lady Elliot, 3 Apr. 1792; Countess of Minto (ed.), Sir Gilbert Elliot, 11, 4–5.

137 No report of the debate prints a speech by Francis and all merely say that he seconded the motion. It is possible that he did so without making a speech.

138 Some newspapers, such as the London Chronicle, 10—12 May 1791, the Gazetteer and Mew Daily Advertiser, 11 May 1791, and the Edinburgh Advertiser, 13–17 May 1791, wrongly reported Fergusson as speaking against the motion. He had to issue a statement correcting this impression; Wodrow to Kenrick, 16 June 1791.

139 Parl. Reg. xxix, 375. There is a fuller version of Fox/s speech in The speeches of the right honourable Charles James Fox in the house of commons (6 vols., London, 1815), iv, 237–43.Google Scholar

140 Pitt/s speech appears in Part. Reg. xxix, 376–8, but not in the four volume edition of his speeches published in 1806.

141 Parl. Reg. xxix, 369. See also Rose, J. Holland, William Pitt and the great war (London, 1911), p. 14.Google Scholar

142 Parl. Reg. xxix, 376.

143 One is left to speculate about the outcome had the Scottish application been made before 1787.

144 Not 120 to 62 as stated by Somerville, Life and times, p. 241, and, following him, Countess of Minto, Sir Gilbert Elliot, 1, 375, n. 1.

145 Mitchell, L. G., Charles James Fox and the disintegration of the whig party 1782–94 (Oxford, 1971), pp. 294–8. Twelve were classed as ‘Con’, 9 as ‘Doubtful’ and one was not listed. Of the twelve ‘Con’ only three had more than one opposition vote in 1793–4.Google Scholar

146 The four were W. Adam, N. MacLeod, T. Maitland and Sir T. Dundas.

147 O/Gorman, F., The whig party and the French revolution (London, 1967), appendix 4, p. 253Google Scholar. Elliot regarded one as ‘Con’ and four as ‘Doubtful’. The other three were not M.P.s on 10 May 1791. Dr O/Gorman (ibid. p. 252) also includes a list of 51 Portland whigs. A similar breakdown of this figure produces 34 ‘Pro’, 1 ‘Con’, 9 ‘Doubtful’, 3 not named, and 4 who were not M.P.s on 10 May 1791. Edmund Burke, despite his ‘marked disapprobation’ of the motion, took no part in the debate. Somerville, Life and times, pp. 250–1.

148 Precisely the same problem had bedevilled the Scottish burgh reformers of the 1780s; Cannon, Parliamentary reform, p. 115.

149 There is a detailed survey of the political affiliations of the Scottish M.P.s in Holden Furber, Henry Dundas, first Viscount Melville 1742–1811 (1931), part 11 and appendices. This work (Appendix A, p. x) shows that in the parliament of 1790–96 between 30 and 32 of the Scottish M.P.s were friendly to Dundas. The one opponent of repeal in 1791 who was not of the Dundas interest was Duncan Davidson (Cromartyshire); the one supporter of repeal who was associated with it was Sir Adam Fergusson. Another repealer, Norman MacLeod (Inverness-shire) had been elected as a supporter of Dundas in 1790 but quickly switched his allegiance to the opposition.

150 For an account of the role of the Dundas interest in the defeat of the bill for the abolition of the slave trade in Mar. 1796 see Anstey, Roger, The Atlantic slave trade and British abolition 1760–1810 (London, 1975), pp. 307–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

151 Anstruther had represented Anstruther Easter Burghs in 1787–90 but sat for Cockermouth in the parliament of 1790.

152 The only known opponent of repeal from 1787 to 1790 to be listed as ‘Pro’ by Elliot in 1791 was Thomas Powys (Northamptonshire)--apart, that is, from supporters of repeal like James Martin (Tewkesbury), who had been forced by their constituents to oppose it in 1790.

153 ‘Minutes’, pp. 63–5.

154 Caledonian Mercury, 28 May 1791. There is a description of this meeting of the General Assembly in Wodrow/s letter to Kenrick of 16 June 1791. For a somewhat self-congratulatory Moderate version see George Hill/s letter to Henry Dundas, 27 May 1791, Moore papers, section 19. Dundas immediately forwarded the letter to Archbishop Moore.

155 Letter of the ‘Committee of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland’ to Elliot, 27 May 1791, Minto papers, MS 11193, fo. 100. The letter was signed by Wellwood, Henry Erskine, William Robertson, Robert Walker, Andrew Dalzel, Alexander Fergusson, Thomas Kennedy and Thomas Somerville.

156 Ibid.

157 Ibid.

158 Elliot to Wellwood (copy), endorsed ‘ Draught of my answer to the letter of the Committee of the General Assembly on the Test Act’ and dated 15 June 1791. Minto papers, MS 11193, fos. 102–3.

159 Wodrow to Kenrick, 16 June 1791; Caledonian Mercury, 21 May 1791.

160 Wodrow to Kenrick, 16 June 1791. For this reason Wodrow was prepared to concede that the General Assembly/s silence on the Test Act in 1791 contained elements of prudence and a wish to avoid any outburst of public illiberality.

161 Glasgow Advertiser and Evening Intelligencer, 20–23 May 1791; see also Caledonian Mercury, 21 May 1791, and Edinburgh Advertiser, 17–20 May 1791.

162 Glasgow Advertiser and Evening Intelligencer, 30 May to 3 June 1791.

163 Kenrick to Wodrow, 1–2 Mar. 1791.

164 Kenrick to Wodrow, 18 May 1791.

165 Statement of the case of the protestant dissenters under the Corporation and Test Acts (London, 1827), p. 16.Google Scholar

166 Ibid. p. 1.

167 Manning, B. L., The protestant dissenting deputies (Cambridge, 1952), p. 228Google Scholar. The same writer (pp. 231–2) shows that although the united committee did not obtain the formal approval of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, some members of that Assembly showed strong sympathy towards repeal. For an interesting account of a public meeting in Edinburgh which petitioned for repeal in March 1828 see Henry Cockburn/s letter to T. F. Kennedy, 18 Mar. 1828; Letters chiefly connected with the affairs of Scotland from Henry Cockburn to Thomas Francis Kennedy (London, 1874), p. 193.Google Scholar

168 Hansard, Parliamentary debates, xviii, 691, 697.

169 Ibid. 720–3.

170 Ibid. 755.

171 Gash, Norman, Politics in the age of Peel (London, 1953), p. 38.Google Scholar

172 Hansard, Parl. debates, xix, 39–49.

173 Ibid. 236–7 (28 Apr. 1828). The passage of the repeal bill is discussed in Davis, R. W., Dissent in politics, 1780–1830: The political life of William Smith (London, 1971), ch. 12.Google Scholar

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