Petition to the presbytery of Linlithgow 25th May 1742, National Archives Scotland Ref. GD215/1223
Transcript: Unto the Revd the Moderator and remanent Memembers of the Presbytery of Lin lithgow the Petion of the Elders and Several other inhabitants of the parish of Westcalder
Humly sheweth That your petitioners were greatly concerned to hear the isue of of a late Process referred by the Session of this Parish in your Presbytery anent James Forrest in Westerhair- burnhead, who had given great offence to this Congregation and to Several others in the Nei bourhead thereof by Bleeding six or seven Horses on the Lords day without any evident Necessity which example was followed by another the very next Sabbath giving them Phiseck The Session finding that this affair had made a great noise through the Corner and other pla ces about Judged their Duty, to Cite[?] Him to appear before Them to give an account of this be haviour, knowing that a private communeng with the said James woud not be for edification-- where the offence was so flagrant and publick. And he being formally cited to three Se veral Diets[?], without compearing personly They defferr'd the Affair to the Presbytery who were pleas'd to dismiss the Process, which we are sorry to say has rather increas'd than remov'd the Scandal in regard the presbytery did not conveen James Fforrest before themselves, nor order him to attend the Session tho he had been Contumatious, which according to the Form of Process we Judge made him censurable.
Besides the effects of this Sontence touch us the more sensibly, as it hath en couraged others to contemn the Authority of the Session in a Process deponding before them. It were endless to Enumerate all the bad consequences; only we wou'd add that the Presbyterys decision has in a great measure broke the peace of the parish, cause several desert Ordinances & has given the outmost trouble to our Minister formerly too much harass'd. We are sorry to find our selves oblidged to tell the Presbytery that their conduct in Our[?] cause is very ????? ???????[fold in paper] by many who concider the late Decision as on of the worst things they have done of this kind for many years, yea some construct it as a favouring of or-- conniving at the profanation of the Holy Sabbath by persons who have frequently used too-- much freedom that way. Besides all this Severall in this Corner and other places are so dis oblidged with the Brethren concern'd in this Sentence that they can't think of hearing Them any more unless they get some Satisfaction as to this affair. We are loath to break with the Pres bytery in such a divided State of the Church tho' we must own we have got too much ground-- for it, and so hope they will not drive us from Them by rejecting this our Petition.
Over [?] all these accounts We humbly Beg the Revd Presbytery will revew their sentence and in their Wisdom take some effectual course to Remedy these[?] evils to restore the peace of the Parish and Authority of the Session, and do[?] what they shall furder Judge expedient for strengthning our Minesters hands in the work of the Lord amoung us And your Petitioners shall ever pray Signed at Westcalder &c the 24 and 25 of May 1742 by [list of 46 names]