Published online by Cambridge University Press: 30 April 2019
This article discusses John Glas, a minister deposed by the Church of Scotland in 1728, in order to examine the growth of religious pluralism in Scotland. The article begins by considering why Glas abandoned Presbyterian principles of Church government, adopting Congregationalist views instead. Glas's case helped to change the Scottish church courts’ conception of deposed ministers, reflecting a reappraisal of Nonconformity. Moreover, Glas's experiences allow us to distinguish between church parties formed to conduct business, and those representing theological attitudes. Finally, Glas's case calls into question the broadest definitions of the ‘Scottish Enlightenment’, drawing attention to the emergence of pluralism.
For helpful comments on drafts of this article, I am grateful to Michael Riordan, Stewart J. Brown and this Journal's anonymous reviewer.
1 The biographical information in this paragraph is drawn from: John Thomas Hornsby, ‘John Glas (1695–1773)’, unpubl. PhD diss. Edinburgh 1936, pt i, and Derek B. Murray, ‘Glas, John (1695–1773)’, ODNB, <https://www.doi.org/10.1093/ref:odnb/10798>.
2 Cf. Mitchison, Rosalind, ‘The social impact of the clergy of the Reformed Kirk of Scotland’, Scotia vi (1982), 1–13 at p. 5Google Scholar.
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8 RPS 1690/4/43.
10 Acts of the general assembly of the Church of Scotland, M.DC.XXXVIII.–M.DCCC.XLII, Edinburgh 1843, 456.
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22 Glas, A narrative, 7–8.
23 Synod of Angus and Mearns, minutes, NRS, CH2/12/6, pp. 60–4, 65–6.
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35 Glas, A narrative, 166–76, 222–3; synod of Angus and Mearns, minutes, NRS, CH2/12/6, pp. 62–3.
36 For a fuller narrative of the process see Hornsby, ‘Case of Mr John Glas’, 121–33.
37 Glas, A narrative, 75–6; [Maxwell], Memorial, 13–14.
38 Synod of Angus and Mearns, minutes, NRS, CH2/12/6, pp. 66–8.
39 Presbytery of Dundee, minutes, 1725–31, NRS, CH2/103/10, pp. 127–35, 159–64; commission of the general assembly, minutes, 1726–32, NRS, CH1/3/19, pp. 147–8.
40 Presbytery of Dundee, NRS, CH2/103/10, pp. 171–4; Glas, A narrative, 212–14.
41 Synod of Angus and Mearns, minutes, NRS, CH2/12/6, pp. 87–8, 89–93, 98–100, 102–3.
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44 [Glas], Continuation of Mr Glass's narrative, 144–5, 154–71; commission of the general assembly, NRS, CH1/3/19, pp. 367–9.
45 Membership lists of the Glasite Churches, 1760s–80s, UoD, Acc409, bundle 25/1.
46 See especially Smith, Perfect rule of the Christian religion, chs iv–v.
47 Wodrow, Analecta, iv. 71; The correspondence of the Rev. Robert Wodrow, ed. Thomas M'Crie (Wodrow Society, 1842–3), iii. 459.
48 Synod of Angus and Mearns, minutes, NRS, CH2/12/6, pp. 102, 122; [Maxwell], Memorial, 43, 57–9.
50 Acts of the general assembly, 308 (quotation), 386 (where there was a minor verbal amendment).
51 Presbytery of Kirkcudbright, minutes, 1700–7, NRS, CH2/526/1a, p. 206. See also synod of Dumfries, minutes, 1691–1717, NRS, CH2/98/1, p. 469; presbytery of Dumfries, minutes, 1710–26, NRS, CH2/1284/5, p. 215.
52 Synod of Angus and Mearns, minutes, NRS, CH2/12/6, pp. 118, 123.
54 Commission of the general assembly, NRS, CH1/3/19, pp. 367–8; Wodrow, Analecta, iv. 187–8, 262.
55 Robert Wallace, ‘A speech in behalf of Mr Glass of Tealing, designed to have been delivered before the Commission of the General Assembly March 1730 but never delivered’, EUL, La.II.62017, fos 52r–55r.
56 Commission of the general assembly, NRS, CH1/3/19, pp. 368–9.
57 Ibid. pp. 463–6, quotation at p. 466. Recognising the innovative nature of this decision, the general assembly of 1731 refused to approve the commission's action: register of the general assembly, 1730–4, NRS, CH1/1/33, pp. 200–1; Wodrow, Analecta, iv. 262.
58 A letter to the honourable ___ ruling elder, containing an argument for the reponing of the Reverend Mr Francis Archibald to his charge, [Edinburgh? 1730].
59 RPS 1695/5/186.
60 Stuart Handley, ‘Garden, George (1649–1733)’, ODNB, <https://www.doi.org/10.1093/ref:odnb/10351>.
61 [Glas], Continuation of Mr Glass's narrative, 72–3.
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83 Hummble thoughts, 12.
84 Wodrow, Analecta, iv. 126, 135–6; Hornsby, ‘Case of Mr John Glas’, 132.
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98 Robert Wallace, ‘A letter to a reverend clergyman in Scotland concerning submission to the Church’, c. 1730, EUL, La.II.62017, especially fo. 26r. Wallace had reached these views independently long before Glas's case: ‘A little treatise against imposing creeds or confessions of faith on ministers or private Christians as a necessary term of laick or ministeriall communion. Written before the year 1720’, EUL, La.II.62018.
99 [Gray], Naked truth, 39.