Union, a revivalist body formed in 1843 that repudiated Calvinism. Scotland might be preponderantly Presbyterian, but its religious Dissent was a powerful sector.
The greatest episode in nineteenth-century Scottish history, the Disruption of 1843, added to the religious forces marshalled outside the established church. Evangelicals in the Church of Scotland had long been troubled by the ability of patrons, members of the social elite, to impose (or 'intrude') ministers of their choosing, often far from evangelical in their teaching, on unwilling congregations. In 1834 the highest authority in the church, the General Assembly, passed an act allowing heads of families to veto the appointment of such a minister. In a series of court cases it was established that this measure infringed the secular law of Scotland, but the evangelicals, now called non-intrusionists, would not acquiesce. They demanded that the House of Lords should reverse the ruling of the Scottish courts and then that parliament as a whole should legislate against ecclesiastical patronage, in both cases unsuccessfully. A classic struggle between church and state, additionally fuelled by resentment against the pretensions of the social elite and against the English parliamentary majority that would not provide redress, culminated in the withdrawal from the Church of Scotland of over a third of its ministers under the leadership of Thomas Chalmers. They set up a shadow national church, the Free Church of Scotland, which soon had congregations and schools in nearly every parish. Although support was unevenly distributed over the country, in some parts, notably the Highlands, the great majority ofthepeople joined the Free Church. By the 1851 census it was attracting as many worshippers as the established church. Initially it was in the curious position of maintaining the principle of establishment in theory while repudiating it in practice, but as the century wore on, and especially as the Church of Scotland began to reclaim lost ground, the Free Church became eager to see an end to religious privilege and on that basis was able to combine with the United Presbyterians in 1900 as the United Free Church of Scotland. The existence of the Free Church, however, had ensured that in the second half of the century most Scottish Christians were not in the state church.
In Ireland the Protestant churches, though dwelling in the shadow of the overwhelming Roman Catholic majority, nevertheless grew markedly during the nineteenth century. Among the Presbyterians, who were strong in the north, there was tension in the early years of the century as the unortho-doxy that claimed traditional English Presbyterians made similar headway in their ranks. In 1829 there was schism: those holding these views withdrew to
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