HC Deb 05 February 1857 vol 144 cc242-4

said, that in moving for leave to bring in a Bill to alter the existing provisions relating to the ecclesiastical government of Norfolk Island, he had to state that it was intended to rectify an omission in the arrangement made two years ago. The House was probably aware that the destination of Norfolk Island was changed, and, instead of being associated with the worst of our criminals, would, in future, be inhabited by the natives of Pitcairn's Island. Those persons, whose virtues and good conduct had excited so much interest in this country, found Pitcairn's Island too small, and, on their own application, were transferred to Norfolk Island, after the latter had been purged of its convict population. In reference to the change, it was thought best to transfer the civil government from Tasmania to New South Wales; but the transfer of the ecclesiastical government was omitted. The consequence was that, while Norfolk Island was under the civil jurisdiction of the Governor of New South Wales, it was under the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the Bishop of Tasmania. Such a state of things was obviously inconvenient, and the proposed measure was for transferring the ecclesiastical government from the Bishop of Tasmania to the Bishop of Sydney.


said, he would beg to ask whether the Bishop of Tasmania assented to the Bill, and whether the change ought not to be made by an Order in Council.


said, the power of changing the ecclesiastical jurisdiction rested with Parliament. He did not know whether the Bishop of Tasmania had been informed of the intention to introduce the Bill, but he could not imagine that the right rev. Prelate would raise the least difficulty in such a matter.


said, it was reported that twelve convicts had been left on Norfolk Island. He wished to know whether that was true; and, if so, whether their being left was intentional or accidental?


said, no convict had been left behind. The Pitcairn people had petitioned to have one old man, who was well acquainted with the soil of the island, left to teach them agriculture, but the Governor, after some deliberation, thought it most expedient that the request should not be granted, and the man was removed with the other convicts.

Motion agreed to.

Bill, to amend so much of an Act, intituled, "An Act to repeal the Acts of Parliament now in force respecting the disposal of the Waste Lands of the Crown in Her Majesty's Australian Colonies, and to make other provision in lieu thereof," as relates to the Ecclesiastical Government of Norfolk Island, ordered to be brought in by Mr. LABOUCHERE and Mr. JOHN BALL.

Bill read 1°.