Reported 280 Years Ago (June 2 1739): Presbyterian General Assembly gets under way in Scotland

The front page of the Belfast News Letter of May 22 1739 (which is June 2 in the modern calendar)
The front page of the Belfast News Letter of May 22 1739 (which is June 2 in the modern calendar)
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From the News Letter of May 22 1739 (June 2 modern date):

Edinburgh, May 10.

This day being fixed for the meeting of the venerable general assembly of the church of Scotland, the rev. and hon. commissioners from presbyteries, universities and burroughs met about 10 forenoon in the new church; soon after the right hon. John Earl of Hyndford repaired thither with a most splendid retinue (the city guard headed by their proper officers drawn up on both sides, drums beating the march) in the following order:

The macers carrying the maces.

Gentlemen ushers two and two.

The heritable usher.

The purse bearer.

His grace the high commissioner.

His grace’s pages.

The nobility, and other persons of distinction, &c.

His grace’s footmen two and two, in rich liveries.

And were received at the church-door by the right hon. the lord provost, magistrates, &c. His grace being placed in his majesty’s seat (which was richly dressed with equipage brought from the royal wardrobe in the abbey) and proper devoirs paid him, the rev. Mr. James Ramsay minister of Kelso, and moderator of the last assembly, preached a sermon suitable to the occasion.

This over, they repaired to the assembly isle, and after prayer, and making up the rolls from the commissions brought up, proceeded to the election of a moderator.

The candidates were Mr. James Bannatyne minister of this city, and Mr ---- Naismith of Dameny.

Mr. Bannatyne being chosen, took the chair, and the assembly now constitute, his majesty’s commission to the right hon. the Earl of Hyndford was heard read with profound reverence, and ordered to be recorded.

Then his majesty’s letter to the assembly was read with equal reverence.

His grace afterwards made a speech to the assembly from the throne, wherein he noticed that his majesty had been graciously pleased to order payment of 1,000l. sterl. towards maintaining itinerant preachers and catechists in the Highlands and islands; and the moderator made a suitable return.

Then after appointing committees for overtures, bills, references appeals, and one to draw up a dutiful answer to the royal letter, adjourned till to-morrow, which will be spent in prayer.