3 DECEMBER 1904, Page 18

The ecclesiastical difficulty in Scotland is beginning to show signs

of a settlement. The Secretary for Scotland, Mr. Graham- Murray, recently met the leaders of the two Churches, and as a result he has proposed that both sides should consent to the appointment of a Commission to collect evidence on which Parliament could legislate so as to effect a permanent settlement. The evidence to be collected would concern the ability of the Free Church to administer the Trust funds, and the membership which it can reasonably expect. Judging from some recent utterances of that body, there seems a fair chance that Mr. Graham Murray's proposal may be accepted, since they have declared that they are pre- pared to agree to a division of property after a full inquiry. This is the solution which we have always maintained to be the only possible one, since it is merely a question of fact which stands between the rival Churches and a settlement. If the proposed Commission fails, the only alternative is a Royal Commission for the same purpose appointed after the meeting of Parliament.