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The Act of 1712 restored lay patronage, and then the strife began, but not between the people and the lay pastors, but between the clergy and the lay patrons. There grew up two parties in the General Assembly, styled the moderates, and the more advanced, or popular party. The moderates were those who were ready to concede to the demands of Government and lay patronage under a gentle protest; the more popular party, as it was called, was for transferring the right of presentation to the presbytery. The Act of William III., in 1690, gave the original and exclusive nomination to the heritors, land-owners, and elders. The person nominated was to be proposed to the congregation, who might approve or disapprove. But to what did this right amount? The congregation could not absolutely reject; and if they disapproved, the right passed on to the presbytery, whose decision was final. By this arrangement, either the landowners and elders remained the presenters,[168] or, after a vain show of conferring the choice upon the people, the appointment fell to the clergy, or presbytery. From 1690 to 1712, Sir Henry Moncrieff says, "there does not appear the least vestige of a doctrine, so much contended for at a later period, of a divine right in the people individually or collectively, to elect the parish minister." This opinion was fully maintained by the law of William III., in 1690, and confirmed by that of Anne, in 1712. Sir Henry Moncrieff, in confirmation of this doctrine that the people never had a right to elect their ministers in the Scottish Church, quotes the "First Book of Discipline," of 1567, which placed the election of pastors in the people at large; but this error, he says, was rectified by the "Second Book of Discipline," in 1581. By this book the congregation could only consentthe presbyters must finally determine. This contains the law of the Church of Scotland, and the great schism which took place in the Scottish Church, in 1843known as the Disruptionarose merely from the resistance to lay patronage, but with the intention of transferring that patronage to the clergy, not the people.

Disappointed in their hopes from England, educated Roman Catholic opinion in Ireland began to drift towards the United Irishmen, in spite of the[462] peasants' war that was rife in various parts of the country between the members of the two religions. Suddenly their expectations received an unlooked-for impulse. During the spring of 1794 Pitt determined to send over Lord Fitzwilliam, who was heir to the Marquis of Rockingham and a prominent member of the Portland Whigs, as Lord-Lieutenant. It was clearly understood that Fitzwilliam should be allowed to inaugurate a policy of reform, but Pitt wished that reform to be gradual and cautious. It is plain that he gave Grattan intimation to that effect, and that Grattan thought the stipulation a reasonable one, but it is equally clear that he somehow or other failed to make much impression upon Fitzwilliam. No sooner had the new Lord-Lieutenant arrived in Ireland than he proceeded to dismiss Castle officials before he could possibly have had time to inquire into the rights and wrongs of their cases, and with equal abruptness turned out the Attorney, and Solicitor-General, and Mr. Beresford, the Commissioner of Revenue, the head of the most powerful of the Protestant families. The result was a violent outcry, which was increased when he proceeded, in conjunction with Grattan, to draw up a Bill for the immediate granting of the Catholic claims. The Ascendency party clamoured for his recall, and the Lord Chancellor Fitzgibbon represented to the king that to admit Roman Catholics to Parliament would be to violate his Coronation Oath. Pitt was obliged to give way, and on March 25th, 1794, Fitzwilliam left Ireland, amidst every sign of national mourning. The incident is a melancholy one, but a calm review of the circumstances produces the conclusion that the indiscretion of Lord Fitzwilliam was very much the cause of it.

Amongst the foremost of the promoters of science, and the most eloquent of its expounders, was Sir David Brewster, who died full of years and of honours in 1868. Arrived at manhood at the opening of the present century, having been born in 1781, he continued his brilliant course during fifty years, pursuing his investigations into the laws of polarisation by crystals, and by the reflection, refraction, and absorption of light, in which he made important discoveries. The attention of the British public was forcibly arrested by an able treatise on "Light," contributed by Sir John Herschel, in 1827, to the "Encyclop?dia Metropolitana." Its excellent method and lucid explanations attracted to the theory of Young and Fresnel men of science who had been deterred by the fragmentary and abstruse style of the former. This was followed four years later by a most able and precise mathematical exposition of the theory, and its application to optical problems, by Professor Airy, who became Astronomer-Royal in 1835. 'Purpurea tollant aul?a Britanni;'

Bagration, prevented by Jerome of Westphalia from pursuing his route towards Drissa, changed his course towards Minsk; but finding himself outstripped there too, he made for the Beresina, and effected a passage at Bobruisk. He then ascended the Dnieper as far as Mohilev; but, finding himself anticipated by Davoust, he attacked that general in the hope of cutting his way through. In this he failed, after a sharply-contested engagement, and once more he retired down the Dnieper, and crossed at Nevoi-Bikoff, which enabled him to pursue his course for a union with Barclay de Tolly, who was making for Smolensk. Thus Bagration, though running imminent hazard of being cut off, managed to out-man?uvre Napoleon himselfa new event in his campaigns. On his march, his troops had several encounters with the French and Polish cavalry; but Platoff showed great gallantry, and often severely punished the enemy. [450]

Parliament again met for a few days, but only to vote Addresses of condolence and congratulation, as a dissolution had been determined on. The Marquis of Lansdowne pointed out that there was not the usual reason for a dissolution which occurred upon a demise of the Crown; but Lord Eldon explained that, at common law, the Parliament died with the Sovereign in whose name it was called; and although, by the statute of William III., it could sit six months longer, it was liable to be dissolved sooner; and constitutionally it ought to be dissolved as soon as public business would allow; so that noble lords who started any business to delay the dissolution would be obstructing the due exercise of the Royal Prerogative. He, as Lord Commissioner, therefore, concluded the Session by delivering the Royal Speech, which deplored the loss of a Sovereign, the common father of all his people, and praised the prudence and firmness with which the Lords and Commons had counteracted the designs of the disaffected.