Old and New Edinburgh

Old and New Edinburgh

Volume II

360 OLD AND NEW EDINBURGH. [North Bridge they occupied when obtained, that we are tempted to conclude the genteeler part of the congregations in Edinburgh deem the essential duties of religion to be concentrated in holding and paying rent for so many feet square in the inside of a church." - Lady Glenorchy, whom Kincaid describes as '' a young lady eminent for good sense and every accomplishment that could give dignity to her rank, and for the superior piety which made her conspicuous as a Christian," in 1772 feued a piece of ground from the managers of the Orphan Hospital, at a yearly duty of d15, on which she built her chapel, of which (following the example of Lady Yester in another part of the city) she retained the patronage, and the entire management with herself, and certain persons appointed by her. In the following year she executed a deed, which declared that the managers of the Orphan Hospital should have liberty (upon asking it in proper time) to employ a preacher occasionally in her chapel, if it was not otherwise employed, and to apply the collections made on these occasions in behalf of the hospital. On the edifice being finished, she'addressed the following letter to the Moderator of the Presbytery of Edinburgh :- " Edin., April zgth, 1774. "REVEREND SIR,-It is a general complaint that the churches of this city which belong to the Establishment are not proportioned to the number of its inhabitants, Many who are willing to pay for seats cannot obtain them ; and no space is left for the poor, but the remotest areas, where few of those who find room to stand can get within hearing of any ordinary voice. I have thought it my duty to employ part of that substance with which God has been pleased to entrust me in building a chapel within the Orphan House Park, in which a considerable number of our communion who at present are altogether unprovided may enjoy the benefit of the same ordinances which are dispensed in the parish churches, and where I hope to have the pleasure of accommodating some hundreds of poor people who have long been shut out from one of the best and to some of them the only means of instruction in the principles of our holy religion. " The chapel will soon be ready to receive a congregation, and it is my intention to have it supplied with a minister 01 approved character and abilities, who will give sufficient security for his soundness in the faith and loyalty to Govern ment. "It will give me pleasure to be informed that the Pres. bytery approve of my design, and that it will be agreeable tc them that I should ask occasional supply from such ministen and probationers as I am acquainted with, till a congregatior be formed and supplied with a stated minister.-I am, Rev, Sir, Src '' W. GLENORCKY." The Presbytery being fully convinced not onlj of the piety of her intentions, but the utility o having an additional place of worship in the city unanimously approved of the design, and in May, 1774, her chapel was opened by the Rev. Robert Walker of the High Church, and Dr. John Erskine of the Greyfriars ; but a number of clergy were by no means friendly to the erection of this chapel in any way, on the plea that the footing on which it was admitted into connection with the Church was not sufficiently explicit, and eventually they brought the matter before the Synod of Lothian and Tweeddale. Lady Glenorchy acquainted the Presbytery, in 1775, that she intended to place in the chapel an English dissenting preacher named Grove. The Presbytery wrote, that though they approved of her piety, they could give no countenance whatever to a minister who was not a member of the Church of Scotland; and Mr. Grove foreseeing a contest, declined the charge, and now ensued a curious controversy. Lady Glenorchy again applied to the Presbytery, wishing as incumbent the Rev. Mr. Balfour, then minister of Lecroft; but he, with due respect for the Established Church and its authority, declined to leave his pastoral charge until he was assured that the Presbytery of the city would instal him in the chapel. The latter approved of her selection, but declined the installation, unless there x-as a regular " call " from the congregation, and security given that the offerings at the chapel were never to be under the administration of the managers of the charity workhouse. With this decision she declined to comply, and wrote, " That the chapel was her own private property, and had never been intended to be put on the footing of the Establishment, nor connected with it as a chapel, of ease to the city of Edinburgh ; That having built it at her own expense, she was entitled to name the minister : That she wished to convince the Presbytery of her inclination, that her minister, though not on the Establishment, should hold communication with its members : That, with respect to the offerings, everybody knew that she had a p pointed trustees for the management of them, and that those who were not pleased with this mode of administration might dispose of their alms elsewhere; adding that she had once and again sent part of these offerings to the treasurer of the charity workhouse." A majority of the Presbytery now voted her reply satisfactory, agreed to instal her minister, and that he should be in communion with the Established Church, '' Thus," says h o t , who seems antagonistic to the founders, " did the Presbytery give every mark of countenance, and almost every benefit arising from the Established Church, while this institution was not subject to their jurisdiction ; while
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