The timing of this move must have been dictated by the decline in the fortunes of the House of Stuart. Like their Episcopalian brethren, the Catholics in Scotland had supported the Stuart cause. By 1779 that was in irreversible decline. Only two Stuart princes survived, and they were clearly the last of their line and had little hope to offer their supporters whose duty, in the words of Bishop George Hay's covering letter, lay 'to (their) country and the state to which (they belonged)'.
The formula to be used was circulated in January 1780 in time to be used on the General Fast Day, which, 'on account of the critical circumstances of the times', had been called by Royal Proclamation for 3 February.
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