HL Deb 17 July 1866 vol 184 cc917-9

anticipating future legislation of some kind in reference to Colonial Bishoprics, desired to know, If the Government would deem it expedient to furnish the House with information as to their respective endowments, so that the House might be the better prepared for discussion?


replied that the Colonial Secretary had already expressed his willingness to give the House all the information upon the subject that he possessed.


said, that if the endowments consisted of property in this country or abroad, the trustees of which were resident in this country, the English Courts of Law would have jurisdiction, and it might be left to them to determine to whom the property belonged. If, as in the case of New Zealand, the endowments were in the colonies, and the diversion of the endowment from its original purpose were sanctioned by the Colonial Legislature, there was no remedy for the donors except through the action of Parliament. He gave notice that, if any Bill shall be introduced into this House relating to the status of the Colonial Bishops who have surrendered or shall surrender their letters patent under the Crown, or shall no longer act under them, and which shall not provide for the return to the donors, after the deaths of the present Bishops, where such donors have not consented to the Bishops in succession enjoying the endowments although not acting under the authority of the Crown, he would move as Amendments to the Bill clauses for securing to the donors the return of their endowments upon the deaths of the present Bishops.


said, that the money was paid to all the New Zealand Bishops by the Colonial Bishoprics' Council. The endowments of the Colonial Bishoprics were vested in the Colonial Bishoprics' Council at home, and the interest paid to the Bishops; but if the Bishops saw an opportunity of investing the money to better advantage in the colony they made application to the Council, and if the Council were satisfied with regard to the proposed investment they gave their sanction to it. In the case of the New Zealand group the money had been allowed to be invested in colonial instead of home property, and particular arrangements had been entered into with the Bishops and synods of the different dioceses. There was one point of which, he supposed, he should differ from his noble and learned Friend. He maintained that these Colonial Churches constituted the Church of England in the colonies, although they were not by law established and no peculiar advantages were conferred upon them. In every other respect they were the same body as the Church of England. Strictly speaking, therefore, they were the very body to which the money was originally given and no other. This being the case, there was no ground whatever for Bishop Selwyn or any of his brother Bishops bringing an accusation that the Colonial Churches had received the money for one purpose and then tried to transfer it to another.