patrons initially responded to the popular anti-patronage feeling by declining to impose their own candidates. However, from the reign of George II they increasingly did so, thus gradually changingthe character ofthe ministry, moving it in a more moderate direction. This tendency was clearly understood by the so-called Popular party in the Scots church, which resisted private patronage as emblematic of worldliness and spiritual lukewarmness, characteristics that they claimed to detect in the softened Calvinism of the Moderate party from the 1750s.
Presbyterianism tended to fragment; but the fragments generally agreed on the principle of a state church, and divided on which of them was worthy of that role. Only during the eighteenth century did these divisions slowly lead to new denominations and a de facto voluntarism. In 1733, the Secession Church broke from the established Presbyterian Church over adherence to the Covenants, patronage and unhappiness with the growing moderatism among the clergy. They began to absorb numbers of surviving Covenanters in the south west. Rancorous in tone, and sometimes millenarian, its members preserved the resistance theories of the Covenanters but without renouncing the principle of a state church. This sect split again in 1747 over the legitimacy of its members taking an oath of allegiance to the crown on accepting local office. The state church ideal was however soon explicitly rejected by another body of Presbyterian seceders, the so-called Relief Church, founded in 1761 by Thomas Gillespie, a minister who had been deposed from his charge in the national church in 1752 for his opposition to patronage. This sect lacked the stark Calvinism of the Secession Church; with lat-itudinarian attitudes to membership, its numbers expanded substantially by 1800.
Among the other seceders were the Glassites; they took their name from John Glas (1695-1773), ejected from his living in 1730 for challenging the Presbyterian tenet of a national church. Such a challenge attracted few Scots supporters, although the position was inherited by Robert Sandeman (1718-71), who gave his name to what was in effect a Congregational challenge to Pres-byterianism. These growing (and, in some areas, substantial) secessions from the established church predated the revival of Dissent in England after about 1780, and more seriously weakened the state church ideal north of the border.
It has been argued that, after 1707, the Kirk's General Assembly became a substitute for the Scots parliament. If so, it was a substitute that acted in general accord with the Whig authorities in London, not as a catalyst of anti-unionist feeling, let alone of a proto-nationalism. In the seventeenth century, Scots Presbyterianism had been closely correlated with resistance theory and its
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