HL Deb 15 February 1867 vol 185 cc378-400

in moving an Address for certain Papers relating to the Church of England and Ireland in the Colonies, said, he might, perhaps, be permitted to state in a few words why he moved for these Papers at that period of the Session. Their Lordships would remember that when the subject was last brought forward there was a general impression of the want of information which existed as to the actual condition of our colonial Churches; and it was the general opinion that either by a Select Committee of their Lordships' House, or some other way, more accurate information ought to be obtained about our colonial Churches, and the feelings of the colonists upon their connection with the Church at home, before any legislation should be attempted. He did not intend to say that Her Majesty's Secretary of State had departed from the understanding then arrived at, but undoubtedly matters did not remain in statu quo, and considerable change had taken place; so that they ought as soon as possible to obtain such information as was necessary to the proper consideration of the subject. Their Lordships were aware that the colony of Natal was in a very curious state, and that in matters ecclesiastical nothing could be more unsatisfactory than the condition of the Church in that colony. Their Lordships were aware that the Bishop to whom he was referring had not only entirely lost the confidence of the great majority of the clergy of the diocese over which he had been sent to preside, but also that of the great majority of the clergy of the Church of England at home; and, in his opinion, there had been good reason for the withdrawal of that confidence, since the system of theology propounded by the Bishop of Natal was not such as should be held by the chief pastor of one of our colonial Churches. In fact, he might venture to quote the words addressed by a noble Duke to the Bishop of Natal, "My Lord, you have told us at very great length what you do not believe; it is high time you should tell us what you do believe." A great deal of excitement prevailed in reference to this matter in the colonial Church, and, in fact, generally throughout the colony. He saw from a manuscript journal kept by a young clergyman resid- ing in that diocese that anything more painful than the party spirit existing in the colony with reference to this question could scarcely be conceived. He was bound to say that the party antagonistic to the Bishop did not appear to have shown any great wisdom in their actions, and he was sorry to find that the good cause had suffered from very bad handling. Under the circumstances to which he alluded, the Colonial Chaplain had thought himself justified in calling together a large assembly of the clergy of the diocese—excluding, of course, those who did not agree with his opinions—for the purpose of electing a successor to the Bishop of Natal, who still continued to hold Her Majesty's letters patent. It was needless to observe that a good deal of confusion had occurred on that occasion. Fourteen out of the eighteen clergy of the diocese having assembled, seven voted in favour of the appointment of a new Bishop—not exactly a new Bishop for the See of Natal, but a Bishop who should practically take the place of the Bishop of Natal—and seven against such a proceeding; whereupon the Colonial Chaplain gave a casting vote in favour of proceeding to an election. He merely stated these matters to show the existence of a very complicated state of things, which had changed greatly since the close of the last Session. How the difficulties which existed were to be got over he would not pretend to say. His right rev. Brother the Bishop of Oxford had wisely told those who were about to proceed with their election that they had better take no steps in the matter until all the legal questions had been settled. Unfortunately, at the very moment when the election was about to take place the despatch of the noble Earl (the Earl of Carnarvon) arrived, and was construed as giving some sanction to the proceedings. He had read the newspaper accounts of that despatch, and, if they were correct, that document did not appear to him to justify in any degree the construction that had been placed upon it; since it was based upon the sound principle that the Secretary of State would not interfere in any way in so delicate a matter. It was not for him to say whether it might not have been wiser on the part of the Secretary of State not to have answered the communications which had been addressed to him on the subject; but the letter appeared to have been based upon a right principle in saying that there were courts of law which could decide whether this gentleman was entitled to his salary; and if those courts did not put the question at rest there was their local Legislature, which could say whether the money voted for the salary of the Bishop had been misappropriated. He was therefore sure that the despatch had been misconstrued when it was said to have authorized the colonial clergy in proceeding to the election of a new Bishop. With regard to the second paper for which he moved—namely, the despatch of Her Majesty's Secretary of State for the Colonies to the Lord Bishop of Montreal, relating to the appointment of a coadjutor Bishop of Niagara, dated the 21st of November, 1866, he was ignorant of the grounds which had influenced the noble Earl in writing that despatch. According to the custom of the Church of England ever since the Reformation, no Bishop, either at home or in the colonies, can be consecrated without Her Majesty's licence or mandate, and there was a passage in the Prayer Book enforcing that regulation; the regulations of the Prayer Book were declared by the two Acts of Uniformity to be a part of the law of the land; and, therefore, before those regulations could be dispensed with, the colonial Legislature should state whether they intended to set aside the Act of Uniformity as regarded the Church of England in Canada. His impression was that the Canadian Legislature had bound themselves to follow the regulations of the Prayer Book, and that they had incorporated the Act of Uniformity in their laws. However that might be, he ventured to entertain an opinion that, whether legal or not, it was very undesirable in this particular instance to permit the Bishop to have been consecrated without Her Majesty's licence. He was aware that there were two cases in which Bishops had been consecrated without Her Majesty's licence. The first was that of Bishop Mackenzie, who laid down his life in the wilds of Southern Africa, and whose memory was mourned and regarded as sacred by a large portion of the Church of England; and the second was that of Bishop Patterson, who was entitled to the highest respect for his self-denying efforts in the conversion of uncivilized races of the South Seas. With the exception of these two cases there was no instance of a Bishop having been consecrated to a home, colonial, or missionary district without the Royal licence or mandate. Bishop Tozer was consecrated under what was called the Jerusalem Consecration Act. The Church of England in Canada had acquired great independence in consequence of the Acts of the local Legislature sanctioned by the Imperial Parliament, and by the approval of Her Majesty; still, up to the present time, no Bishop had ever been consecrated in Canada without the Royal licence. He had no doubt the Colonial Secretary had sufficient reasons for the course he had adopted; but he (the Bishop of London) thought it desirable it should be known what these reasons were, for he thought these were not times when it was desirable either for the clergy or laity that the Royal supremacy should be disregarded. He was aware that it would be said that once the Canadian Church had obtained the power of electing its own Bishops the granting a licence would be little more than a form; yet he ventured to hope that in a form of this kind some principle was involved, especially when it was the only remaining tie between the two Churches. It was most desirable to maintain the connection between the Colonial and Home Church. There was another point to which reference had been made. He quite agreed it was most important that a tribute should be paid to the supremacy of the law. People should not be encouraged to suppose that the law of a Christian country, sanctioned by the State, should be lightly set aside by those who pleaded what they were pleased to call "a higher law"—the higher law of the Church. The law passed by the Legislature of a Christian country, should have a binding force on the Church itself. There was another matter to which he must refer. He observed that the despatch was written on the 21st of November, and on the 5th of that month a most important judgment had been delivered in the Rolls' Court, where it was laid down that it was a mistake to suppose that confusion had been introduced by the decision of the Privy Council. In point of fact, according to that decision, as he understood it, a Bishop of the colonial Church, appointed under Her Majesty's letters patent, was very much the same as a Bishop at home. Her Majesty assigned him a district within which he should exercise his functions, and even where there was an independent Legislature the Bishop might exercise power over the Church, with only this difference, that he could only exercise coercive jurisdiction through the agency of the civil courts, which would consider the laws of the Church of England as part of the compact under which the clergyman and the Bishop had respectively acquired their several positions. Now, the words of the statute, according to the authority of the Law Officers of the Crown, seemed to be in exact contradiction of that decision. The decision of the Master of the Rolls had not been disputed; no appeal had been taken, and it might he supposed by some that such was the law of the land. It was somewhat curious, however, that the despatch made no reference to that judgment, which had been given a short time before it was written. He wished to say a few words on the subject of another paper for which he had moved. He was afraid the noble Earl (the Earl of Carnarvon) would hardly be able to produce all the papers, because, as he had been informed, the Returns were yet imperfect; but if those which were in the Office were produced, they would form a very satisfactory contribution towards the solution of this great question. During the recess he had written a great many letters to the colonial Bishops and others connected with the colonies, that he might obtain information for himself and his right rev. Brethern with respect to the present complicated state of affairs in the colonial Church. He had received answers to his letters from upwards of twenty dioceses; and he could state that there was by no means that unanimity on the part of the colonial churches, which had been represented last Session, as to the desirableness of separating from the Church of the mother country. In fact, it would be found that the majority was against that principle. It was by no means the feeling of those most interested in the welfare of the colonial Church. They understood what the Church at home was, and they had no desire to separate themselves from the system under which they and their fathers had lived. He believed nothing was held so sacred by the colonial Churches as their connection with the Church at home. Even the Metropolitical Churches had no general desire to separate from the home Church. The Metropolitical Churches were Canada, India, New Zealand, South Africa, and Australia. With regard to Canada, its position was so peculiar that it was to be expected that almost absolute independence would be claimed by the Church in that colony. In New Zealand it was said there had been a movement on the part of the Bishops to declare the Church altogether independent; but they had yet to learn that this step of the Bishops had been sanctioned by the Church of New Zealand. One of the Bishops, in a letter to him, had characterized the step as a most mischievous one. With regard to India, the last letter he had received from that eminent, large-hearted, and wise man, whose loss the whole Church was now mourning—he meant the late Metropolitan of India, Dr. Cotton—stated that he trusted, whatever was done elsewhere, no such principle would be introduced into the Church of India. The Bishop of Ceylon also wrote to him saying that it was entirely a mistake to suppose that the Church of India wished to be separated from the Church at home. With respect to Australia, which from many circumstances was supposed to be hostile to the connection with the Established Church of England and Ireland, it was his impression from letters he had received that there existed in that dependency the strongest feeling for the maintenance of that connection. He had letters Bent from the diocese of Adelaide and from the diocese of Melbourne, and he would read certain resolutions adopted at a Church meeting in Melbourne. They were in these terms— That in the opinion of the assembly any Imperial legislation calculated to loosen the connection between the United Church of England and Ireland and the body of Christians in Victoria professing to belong to that Church would be highly injurious. That in the opinion of this assembly the principal points to be kept in view towards maintaining such connection are,—1; The preservation of the Church in this colony as an integral portion of the United Church of England and Ireland, although not connected with the State as an Established Church. 2. The appointment of Bishops to the United Church of England and Ireland in Victoria, according to a uniform rule, so as to avoid the danger of several individuals claiming simultaneously to be Bishops of the same diocese. 3. An appeal in all ecclesiastical causes to the supreme ecclesiastical tribunal of the United Church of England and Ireland. He thought, then, that he had a right to say that it was requisite to have this great question clearly settled. It would be satisfactory if before the close of the Session some of the high legal authorities in their Lordships' House would state what was the real and actual condition of the Church of England in their several colonies. The right rev. Prelate concluded by moving an Address for— Despatch of Her Majesty's Secretary of State for the Colonies to the Officer administering the Government of Natal on the subject of the Colonial Chaplaincy in that Colony, dated 12th August, 1866: Also, Despatch of Her Majesty's Secretary of State for the Colonies to the Lord Bishop of Montreal relating to the appointment of a Coadjutor Bishop of Niagara, dated 21st November, 1866: And also, Copies of any Returns which have been made in answer to Questions lately issued by Her Majesty's Secretary of State in reference to the Condition and Circumstances of the United Church of England and Ireland in the Colonies.—(The Bishop of London.)


said, he had no objection to produce the Papers for which the right rev. Prelate had moved. The Returns were not in a complete state; but he should be happy to lay on the table such of them as were in the possession of the Colonial Office. In reference, however,' to what had fallen from the right rev. Prelate, he was not prepared to admit that there was an understanding last Session that this matter should be submitted to the consideration of a Committee. A question was indeed asked with respect to a Bill brought in by his right hon. Predecessor in the Colonial Office, and he then stated that he would not proceed with that Bill, but that during the recess he would consider the propriety of legislation on the subject, and would be prepared in the present Session to state what course he would pursue. He now took this opportunity of giving notice that he would very shortly lay before the House a measure which would deal with the principal difficulties which, in his opinion, were to be contended with in reference to the condition of the Church in the colonies; and it would then be for the House to determine whether that measure was sufficient for the purpose, or whether it would be desirable to appoint a Committee or take any other step. The right rev. Prelate (the Bishop of London) stated that in the course of the autumn he had issued circular letters to the colonial Bishops and to some other persons. He had no doubt that the drawing up of those communications was very carefully considered, not only by the right rev. Prelate, but by other Members of the right rev. Bench. But after the statement just made, he should be glad to see the letters, and to know the colonies to which they were addressed;—for, as their Lordships were aware, there was a material difference in respect to this matter between Crown colonies and other colonies; and to know to what other persons they were sent besides the colonial Bishops, The right rev. Prelate had moved for a copy of the despatch addressed to the Lieutenant Governor of Natal respecting transactions which arose in that colony, and had also asked whether the despatch to which that was an answer could be produced. If he remembered rightly, the last-mentioned despatch was addressed to his predecessor in office, and he was not prepared to say off-hand how far it was possible to produce it; but he should be very happy to lay it on the table if he found that there was no objection to its production. He would state the circumstances under which his own despatch was written. In consequence of certain writings, believed to be of an heretical tendency, Bishop Gray, in his supposed capacity of Metropolitan, pronounced a decree of deposition upon Dr. Colenso in his supposed capacity of suffragan Bishop. The question came by reference before the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, and by the judgment of that tribunal the deposition was declared to be invalid. Failing therefore in this, Bishop Gray had recourse to the spiritual and only remaining weapon at his command, and pronounced a sentence of excommunication upon Dr. Colenso. Mr. Green, dean of the cathedral and Colonial Chaplain, to whose office a salary of £100 was attached by vote of the local Legislature, in obedience to the orders of Bishop Gray, published the sentence of excommunication, and refused to hold intercourse with Dr. Colenso as his spiritual superior. On this Dr. Colen 30 applied to the civil authorities to mulct Mr. Green of his salary, and to enforce obedience to him by deprivation. That application he (the Earl of Carnarvon) declined to endorse. It was, fortunately, not his duty to interfere in this most unhappy dissension, and he was not prepared to set in motion the secular arm at Dr. Colenso's request, and to curtail the clergy of Natal of any liberty which the recent judgment of the Privy Council had conferred upon them, either in acknowledging or in not acknowledging Dr. Colenso as their spiritual superior. But he could not leave this part of the question without bearing his testimony to the unhappy and most mischievous position of affairs at the Cape on this question. That position was greatly aggravated by the perplexity that now beset the legal bearings of the case. There were no less than three most important judgments pronounced by three eminent Members of their Lordships' House, all upon ecclesiastical questions, and all at the Cape of Good Hope. In Long's Case Lord Kingsdown laid down the law that the Church of England, in the colony in which the case arose, stood in precisely the same position as the Church of any other denomination of Christians—neither in a better nor a worse; and that differences between the Bishop and the clergy must be decided by reference to the civil courts upon the principle of a contract, expressed or implied, and exactly as the case of a Wesleyan or Roman Catholic body would be decided by a reference to the terms of the trust-deed. That judgment was perfectly clear and intelligible. Again, there was, two years ago, a second judgment pronounced by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, with the principles laid down in which their Lordships were familiar. Those principles were that, in a colony which happened to be possessed of an independent Legislature antecedent to the issue of letters patent, it was not competent for the Crown to create a bishopric with a territorial sphere of action, and that, even assuming it to be competent to it to create such a bishopric, it was impossible for it to convey to the Bishop any coercive authority or jurisdiction. That judgment, also, was perfectly clear and intelligible. But within the last few months a judgment had been pronounced by the noble and learned Lord the Master of the Rolls which he did not think he mis-interpreted when he spoke of it as laying down the doctrine that it was competent for the Crown to create a bishopric in such a colony and that, although it might not be possible for it to confer coercive power on the Bishop, yet that he would have recourse to the civil courts of the colony for the purpose of enforcing obedience to his orders. In fact, that judgment went to lay down the principle broadly and distinctly that the Bishops of the Established Church of England and Ireland, and the Bishops of the Anglican Church, as it was called in the colonies, differed from one another in no other respect than that the former had the Ecclesiastical Courts to fall back upon, and the other the colonial courts. He (the Earl of Carnarvon) would not have the presumption to set up his own opinion on the subject; but it was, he contended, in the opinion of ninety-nine laymen out of every hundred—he should hardly be far wrong if he added, in the opinion of ninety-nine out of every hundred lawyers also—impossible to reconcile that judgment with the others to which he had just referred. Indeed, it appeared to him that there was a conflict between them as great ns the English language was capable of expressing. It would, under those circumstances, he thought, be very desirable that we should have some light thrown upon the subject, and see whether these judgments were actually at variance, for the matter involved the highest interests of both the clergy and the laity. Having said thus much with respect to the question of Natal, he should next touch upon the last point which the right rev. Prelate had brought under the notice of the House—the letter to the Bishop of Montreal relative to the appointment of a coadjutor Bishop of Niagara, for which he had moved. On that point the right rev. Prelate had taken him rather severely to task, and he felt it therefore necessary to explain to the House the circumstances under which that letter was written. The Bishop of Toronto being, as he believed, of great age and infirm in health, had become unequal to the discharge of the duties of his diocese. He had accordingly been informed by the Bishop of Montreal that a coadjutor Bishop had been elected by the Diocesan Synod of Toronto, and it was proposed to him that he should advise the Crown to issue the usual mandate for his appointment. He (the Earl of Carnarvon), however, declined to issue that mandate, and the right rev. Prelate complained that in doing so he had been guilty of a great error. Now, he had been induced to act as he had done in the matter, after giving the matter very great consideration, first of all, because the position of the Canadian Church was a peculiar one, amounting, in fact, to one of virtual independence. It had been the gradual growth of years. In 1851 an Act was passed which, after reciting in the preamble that the recognition of equality among all religious denominations was a principle of colonial legislation, proceeded to make several enactments taking away from the Crown certain powers. In 1854 another Act was passed, in the third clause of which it was distinctly laid down that it was desirable to remove in the colony all connection between Church and State. That Act of 1854, he might add, was no other than that which provided for the secularization of the clergy reserves in Canada. In consequence of that Act Mr. Labouchere, then Secretary of State, pointed out in a despatch to Sir Edmund Head, Governor General of Canada, the fairness and expediency of removing all restrictions upon the Church now that all advantages had been taken away. Accordingly, two years after another Act was passed giving the Church in that colony the most complete and ample powers of self-government. It was the charter of the Canadian Church: it enabled the Church to adopt regulations for the enforcement of discipline, and for the appointment, deposition, deprivation, or removal of any person holding office therein. The Act was somewhat new at the time of its passing, and some doubts existed as to its validity, and the unusual course was adopted of sending it by reference to the Privy Council. Before that tribunal the case was argued by two eminent lawyers—the present Attorney General and Sir Roundell Palmer, and the result was that the validity of the Act was confirmed and that it received the sanction of Her Majesty.


Was not the reference to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council?


Yes, and ever since the passing of the Act Bishops had been elected with complete freedom, and the fullest measure of Church government in Church matters has not only been accorded to but actually enjoyed by the Church in Canada. Letters patent and the mandate still continued, however, as part of the procedure; but successive Law Officers, having regard to the facts which he had just mentioned, had raised objection to the issue of letters patent as being no longer necessary—delay and inconvenience were found to attend their issue; and accordingly, in 1863, they were abandoned by the late Duke of Newcastle, and nothing but the mandate remained. Looking, then, to the complete independence of the Church of Canada, and the circumstances which he had stated, he (the Earl of Carnarvon) had declined to advise the Crown to issue the mandate in the case to which the right rev. Prelate had called their Lordships' attention. There were other considerations, also, which he thought justified him in taking that course. He had to take into account the recent judgment pronounced by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, and to bear in mind that that judgment declared that in colonies possessing an independent Legislature—as Canada did—it was beyond the competence of the Crown to create any bishopric with a territorial sphere of action. He could, under those circumstances, only come to one conclusion, and that was, that it was not the part of the Crown to interfere in the creation of a new Bishop or bishopric in the present instance; and that it was not consistent with the dignity of the Crown that he should advise Her Majesty to issue a mandate which was not worth the paper on which it was written, and which, if sent out to Canada, might be disregarded. The right rev. Prelate appeared to attach great weight to the issue of those mandates but he (the Earl of Carnarvon) did not think it was really of so much importance as he seemed to imagine. The mandate was obligatory under the rubric, and the rubric was binding under the Act of Uniformity. That Act was, no doubt, very binding in this country; but when the right rev. Prelate said that it was of full force in the colonies, he stated that which he (the Earl of Carnarvon) believed no constitutional lawyer would endorse. The mandate for the consecration of a Bishop here was a very different document from that which was applicable there. The mandate for the consecration of a Bishop in this country was regulated by the Statute of Henry VIII. That Act laid down a long series of proceedings. It provided for the Royal Licence, the letters missive, and lastly, the mandate. But when a Bishop was consecrated in the colonies, there being no dean and chapter, there could be no congé d'élire, there were no letters missive; and hence portions were struck out of the mandate, and the mandate itself would go out altogether a different document. And, therefore, if the right rev. Prelate relied on that Act as making it necessary to issue a mandate, the Act proved a great deal too much, for it also made necessary the Royal Licence and letters dimissory. Throughout the whole of this matter, which he well knew deserved careful attention, he had acted under the guidance of the Law Officers of the Crown; and so anxious had he been to obtain their full concurrence that when the recent judgment was given by the noble and learned Lord the Master of the Rolls, he referred the case back again to the Law Officers, before writing to the Bishop of Montreal, in order that there might be no danger of mistake in the matter. The opinion of the Law Officers only referred to the case of the Canadian Church, but he had no reason to doubt that it was equally applicable to other Churches similarly circumstanced; and, without pledging himself to adopt any particular line of action, he entertained little doubt that in a similar case he should act upon precisely similar principles. There was this distinction to be observed: if it were desired that the consecration of a colonial Bishop should take place in England, then he freely admitted that the Royal mandate must be issued to the Archbishop, in order to untie the hands of the Archbishop and to enable him to perform the office; but if the consecration was to be in the colonies, as in this Canadian case, then he should not advise the Crown to issue the mandate. He would have been glad to pause here; but he was bound to say two or three words upon another point raised in the course of the debate. The right rev. Prelate who had moved for these documents had found great fault with him on account of some supposed desire on his part to separate the colonial Church from the Church as by law established in this country. He (the Earl of Carnarvon) begged to assure the right rev. Prelate that he was actuated by no such desire; he simply accepted things as he found them; and in all civil and temporal matters he did practically find that the colonial Church was entirely separated from the Established Church in this country. As to spiritual matters, that was a wholly different question. There never, probably, was a time when on the part of the colonial Church there existed a stronger desire to maintain the same standard of faith and unity of doctrine with the Established Church in this country. But as to identity in temporal matters, that had entirely vanished, and it was idle to talk of it. Not a single Church of the colonies was at this moment an Established Church. Canada, Victoria, New South Wales, Adelaide, South Australia, one after another had repudiated the idea of anything like an Established Church; and matters had gone so far that in South Australia, if he remembered rightly, the Legislature had absolutely refused, on one occasion, to pass an Act merely referring to the Church of England because it might seem to give a legal existence to it. Therefore, the colonial Church at this moment was entirely in the position of a voluntary association, as Lord Kingsdown had described it; it was precisely in the same position as the Wesleyan body, the Roman Catholics, or the Baptists—neither better nor worse than they were. The right rev. Prelate had spoken of the Royal supremacy. That was a delicate matter to touch upon, and a layman approaching its consideration could only speak of it with the greatest diffidence. It might not be very easy even in England to define all the powers of the Royal supremacy, which were circumscribed and limited by various Acts of Parliament. But he had no hesitation in saying that in those colonies which were possessed of independent Legislatures the real powers of the Royal supremacy had not been exercised, and it might fairly be presumed did not exist. He believed that noble and learned Lords generally would be disposed to agree in this—that the Royal prerogative consisted, speaking broadly, of three great powers; the power of convening ecclesiastical convocations, synods, or assemblies—whichever they might be called—the disposal of ecclesiastical causes in Ecclesiastical Courts, and lastly, the appointment of Bishops. The power of convening ecclesiastical convocations and synods he believed had never once been exercised in any single colony; the decision of ecclesiastical causes in Ecclesiastical Courts had been pronounced by lawyers over and over again to be wholly beyond the competence of the Crown in those colonies; the appointment of Bishops was the only power exercised, and that rather by way of patronage than as any part of the supremacy. But by the recent judgment of the Privy Council even the power as to the appointment of Bishops was curtailed and reduced to the merest shadow of right. Therefore, as far as the Royal supremacy went, it was really a misuse of the term to speak of it as applied to any of the colonies. It was not desirable that Parliament should mix itself up with questions of this kind, or to appear to side either with a party in this country or the colonies. The only principle for which he had contended was this—that Parliament must be exceedingly jealous of doing anything which could in any way interfere with that principle of colonial independence which had been so constantly laid down and so solemnly and deliberately sanctioned. Persons might talk of wishing not to separate the colonial Church from the Established Church of England; but if those words meant anything they really meant an attempt to build up again, on the wreck of Churches thrown down by the colonies themselves, a superstructure of endowment and privilege. Anybody who knew anything of colonial feeling, and the tenour of colonial society, must know that such a design it would be utterly impossible to carry out. If the point sought to be accomplished were for the benefit of the Church of England, it would be held, and not without reason, to be unfair to other denominations to place the Church of England in a position of superiority to any other religious body in the colonies. If, on the other hand, it would not be for the benefit of the Church of England, then it would be unjust to impose on her growth and free action restrictions which were no longer balanced by correlative advantages. So much for the temporal connection between the two Churches. As regarded their spiritual affinity, not a single line could be brought forward to show that the warmth of feeling of the colonial Church for the Church of England had in any way abated. On the contrary, he believed that the spiritual ties uniting the colonial to the Established Church in this country were stronger now than they had almost ever been, and that in spite of the unhappy dissensions of which so much was frequently made. He was disposed to believe that the ardour of their attachment for the religion of the mother Church had increased, and would continue to increase, just as the loyalty and affection of the colonists for the mother country itself had kept pace with the generosity and freedom of the gifts made to them in matters of purely temporal government.


said, there was no such necessary inconsistency between the judgments of his noble and learned Friend Lord Romilly, and that delivered by Lord Westbury on behalf of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, as was supposed by the noble Earl the Secretary for the Colonies. The Bishop of Natal claimed, by virtue of his letters patent and his consecration as Bishop, pursuant to the Queen's mandate, to be entitled to the enjoyment of a certain trust fund in this country, which had been created for the endowment of a Bishop of that colony, and the judgment of his noble and learned Friend the Master of the Rolls—whether right or wrong he did not say—was that there was nothing in the judgment of the Privy Council to disentitle him. There was a passage in the judgment delivered by his noble and learned Friend the Master of the Rolls that had been misinterpreted. That passage was as follows:— On this subject an expression has been made use of in the judgment given in the latter case before the Privy Council, which is, I think, liable to be misunderstood, and which it is essential to notice. It is there stated to this effect:—The Lord Chancellor who delivered the judgment, having observed that after a colony has received legislative institutions the Crown stands in the same relation to that colony as it does to the United Kingdom, proceeds thus:—'It may be true that the Crown, as legal head of the Church, has a right to command the consecration of a Bishop, but it has no power to assign him any diocese or give him any sphere of action within the United Kingdom.' Taken by itself, it might appear as if his noble and learned Friend had expressed some opinion with regard to the validity of the Bishop's appointment or jurisdiction; whereas it would be seen by the whole tenour of the judgment that the only question for his decision, and the only question which was, in fact, decided by him, was whether the Bishop of Natal, in the equivocal position in which he then stood, was entitled by virtue of the Queen's letters patent to the income of certain trust funds. Whether his noble and learned Friend was right in the judgment or not he would not venture to say, particularly as he might be called on, as a Member of their Lordships' House, to give his opinion hereafter on the case. But he thought it only fair to his noble and learned Friend that an erroneous construction should not be put upon the terms of that judgment.


said, that the question which had been brought before the Master of the Rolls was not one of doctrine; but the point for his decision as an Equity Judge was merely whether the Bishop of Natal did or did not continue to be the c'estuiqui trust of certain funds, and the noble and learned Lord had decided the point in the affirmative; but he had nothing to do with the question of doctrine. It was competent to those persons who might be dissatisfied with his judgment to appeal either to the Lords Justices or to the House of Lords direct, who would then be enabled to pronounce a clear decision on the case.


said, he had listened with great satisfaction to the just, the true, and the statesmanlike principles which had been laid down by the noble Earl the Secretary of State for the Colonies; and he should have much more confidence in the decisions of a responsible Minister, acting under the advice of the Law Officers of the Crown, and with that respect for colonial liberties which the noble Earl had manifested, than in any conclusions to which a Committee of the House could come to. When they talked about the Church of the colonies they should remember that they referred to communities of very different characters. They sometimes talked of India as a colony. But India was no colony it was a great Empire, and the position of a Church of England Bishop in it was very different from one in an ordinary colony. He could understand the Church deriving some benefit from its connection with the State in India; but when they came to the case of our great populous colonies, those who cared for the true interests of the Church of England would scrupulously avoid putting it in any position where it might seem to be at variance with the general community amongst which it was placed. When it fell to his Lord Taunton's lot, as Secretary of State, to deal with the Church of England in Canada, the proposal to sever it from the Church of England was accepted by the unanimous vote of every member of the Church of England in the Canadian Legislature, and with the full concurrence of the Bishops. It was also recommended by the able Governor of the colony Sir Edmund Head, who said it was a great concession on the part of the colonial Parliament that it should have consented to mention the Church of England in a statute at all, so jealous—so absurdly jealous perhaps—was it of putting the Church of England in a different position from that of any other religious body. He (Lord Taunton) was sincerely attached to the doctrines and discipline of the Church of England; and not less as a member of that Church than as a Minister of the Crown had he laboured to promote the passing of that Act. But then it was said that it was an object of great importance to keep up the supremacy of the Crown. In the mother country he believed he was as jealous of maintaining unimpaired the Royal supremacy as any man. He looked upon it as the shield of the laity, and as being absolutely necessary, not for the restraint merely, but for the support of the Church of England, and that to remove it would be dangerous to the Church as an institution. But the case as regarded the colonies was totally different. Nothing could be more unjust or unfair to the Church of England in the colonies than at once to divest her of the advantages which she might have derived from her connection with the State, and to strip her of the revenues which at one time she had enjoyed in nearly all the colonies, and then to fetter her with the restrictions which belonged to her former condition. There was no one in their Lordships' House from whom he differed with greater concern than the right rev. Prelate (the Bishop of London); but he had imported into the consideration of the question too much of principles and sentiments, most valuable as applied to the Church at home, but having no application whatever to the state of things existing in the colonies. He (Lord Taunton) could not but rejoice at any voluntary consultation that might take place between the scattered branches of the Anglican communion and the Church of this country, but in order to this everything in the shape of authority on the part of the Church here must be put aside. As for the danger of the latter departing from her doctrines, they had a remarkable instance to the contrary in the Episcopal Church of the United States. The members of that Church owed us no obedience, yet their views and opinions were sound, and they were amenable to discipline among themselves. He was rejoiced to know that the members of that Church were increasing in number, and that they formed the most respectable part of the community to which they belonged. It was through such channels as these that the Church of England was able to spread her doctrines to all parts of the world, and he was happy in knowing that this was not the least of the blessings which the Anglo-Saxon race conferred upon mankind. He hoped that the measure of the Government when introduced would go far towards clearing away the difficulties which now beset the question.


said, he had given private notice to the noble Earl of his intention to move for abstracts of letters patent and other documents relating to the present legal position of the Church of England—a Motion he might not have made if he had not known that the materials already existed. It might be in the remembrance of their Lordships that in the course of the discussion of last Session on the petition of a certain benevolent lady (Miss Burdett Coutts) who had largely contributed to the foundation of colonial bishoprics, he took occasion to move that the petition, together with the whole of the subject of the colonial Church, should be referred to a Select Committee. No objections to such a course was offered at the time, and the change of Government which shortly afterwards ensued alone prevented this Motion being pressed. He had since been asked by lay Peers on both sides of the House to repeat his Motion for a Committee, which was not to stand in the way of legislation, nor to usurp the functions of that House, but to procure more information for their guidance. His opinion had not been the least altered upon two points—namely, that there was at the present moment a great injustice, and that there was a great want of information. That there was a great injustice no one could deny that had paid the least attention to the legal decision which had lately taken place. Two Bishops at least had been plunged into litigation and difficulties, from which they could not see any prospect of immediate deliverance. These two Bishops had gone out to the colonies upon the faith of letters patent under the Great Seal of England that they had had certain dioceses allotted to them; and it was certain that they had given up benefices in England where they might have lived in peace. But it was not merely a question of civil, it was really a question of most important spiritual right; and at the present moment the colonial Churches were waiting with the utmost anxiety for the determination of the question whether they should or should not have guaranteed to them union with the Church of England, the use of the same Articles, and the same form of worship—whether, in short, colonists going forth from this country should or should not bear with them the same spiritual privileges as those which they had enjoyed at home? There was also injustice to persons like the benevolent lady whose case had been brought before the House last year, in delaying the settlement of the question. There was also a wrong to the Crown itself, whose dignity must be compromised by its being left in the position of inflicting a great wrong upon many of its subjects. But was there difficulty as well as wrong? No one could doubt that. The noble Lord had given an interpretation of the two judgments he had quoted, which he (the most rev. Prelate) should be delighted to think was correct; but, speaking as an ignorant layman, he could not reconcile them. There are three judgments to be harmonised—that given in Long's Case, that in Bishop Colenso against the Bishop of Cape Town, and that in Bishop Colenso against the Colonial Bishoprics Council. In Long's Case, and in the second Case of Dr. Colenso—in the first judgment and the third—there was a substantial agreement—namely, that the Church of England in the colonies stood on the same footing as any other religious body, but when he came to the third decision the case seemed to be quite different. Thus, by the first and second it appeared that the Queen could not create a diocese; but the third seemed to say that it was possible for Her Majesty to give ecclesiastical jurisdiction in the colonies. The two first judgments said that a colonial Bishop could have no coercive jurisdiction; but the third stated that he had power over his clergy to the extent of depriving them by his inherent powers and the rules existing in his community. He (the Archbishop of York) did not say that his views were right, but they were at least not singular; for an eminent lawyer had written a pamphlet, in which he showed that the three decisions could not be brought into harmony. Again, in the Case of "Campbell v. Shaw," which was the judgment on which all the subsequent ones had turned, it was laid down that when a colony had obtained "representative" institutions the power of the Crown passed away; but the more recent decision had altered the phrase in "legislative" institutions, and this would include a Crown Council, such as actually existed in the diocese of Natal, under the Queen's patent, at the time that Bishop Colenso's patent was issued. Thus it had come to be held that the existence of a Crown Council, resting on no stronger foundation than a Royal patent, invalidated a subsequent Royal patent; and that the first having invalidated the second was then re-called, and the whole thing vanished like a dream. He did think it very desirable that, before proceeding to legislate, they should obtain better information, and that the proposed Bill, before it passed, should go before a Select Committee, in order that the opinions of all classes, and especially of the colonists themselves, might be taken upon the subject.


said, there was one reason in particular why he wished to address a few words to their Lordships on that occasion—namely, that it would have been a matter of regret to him if the debate had come to a conclusion without any Member of the Episcopal Bench endorsing those sentiments of liberality towards the colonies and of earnest desire for the freedom of religion among those communities which had been that evening expressed by the noble Earl the Secretary of State for the Colonies and from a noble Lord who had formerly occupied the same post (Lord Taunton). He had listened to the speeches of those two noble Lords with intense satisfaction, for they manifested a perfect disentanglement from those cobwebs that usually beset the minds of those who approached this question, and evidently bespoke a strong sympathy with the colonies, and a determination to look difficulties in the face, and to acknowledge the actual state of things, instead of endeavouring to talk that state of things away. The speech of the noble Earl the Secretary for the Colonies was an admirable comment upon the whole case; and his noble and learned Friend opposite (Lord Cranworth) had spoken of the general agreement between the two judgments which had been delivered in the courts. To those judgments, of course, they must bow; but what he complained of was the obiter dicta which ran through them, and which were not entitled to the same shield of invulnerability as the judgments of the Courts were. It should be remembered that the Church of England in the colonies was a purely voluntary body, like the Wesleyans or any other body of religionists—having an internal regulation of its own, but having no connection with the Crown except as being subjects of the Sovereign. It was a misapprehension to suppose that the Church in the colonies had the same power of appeal to the Privy Council as the Church at home. The Queen's supremacy was an essential part of an Established Church; but what was the meaning of an Established Church? That it was a corporate body possessing property? No; it meant that instead of being merely a voluntary and tolerated society, it was a legal corporation with internal powers which were recognised by the Queen's Courts. It had been decided that the Queen could not create the smallest spiritual court in the colonies. To ask the colonists to look for a remedy in the supremacy of the Crown was to offer to them an illusion. The Metropolitan in New Zealand finding that he had no power under his letters patent, the Synod came to a unanimous agreement to adopt the formularies and professions of faith of the Church of England, and bound themselves never to make any alterations unless there were previous alterations made at home. The connection between the colonial Church and the Church at home was not to be maintained by illusory documents or high- sounding claims. It was to be maintained by allowing the Church in the colonies to develop for itself the true Church of England temper, doctrine, profession of faith, and internal government; thus giving it the help they could give it to stand up among free men there, itself there a free Church, among free religionists a free religion. They must not put them off from what would be an abiding reality and teach them to trust to what, when they came to try it, would prove a broken reed.


said, he wished by all means to maintain the connection between the colonial Churches and the Church at home; and the greatest security for this was to maintain for both the same ultimate court of appeal. No doubt there were difficulties, but they should struggle with them manfully rather than "cut the painter," and throw the small Churches loose to all the chances of their own organization and without reference to the great metropolitan authority at home. There was no place where the Church of England was so popular, or where there was so distinct a recognition of all her organization, as in Melbourne. The colonists there had petitioned the House of Commons and Her Majesty that they might not lose this bond of connection, to which they attached the very highest importance. It would be a most unstates-manlike and unkind way of treating them to refuse the boon they asked and leave them unprotected, unassisted, and unguided. Possibly, it might be better to leave some of the larger colonies alone; but they should hear what each had to say, and adapt their remedy to the particular case. He hoped the Bill-would be submitted to the consideration of a Committee.


in reply, said, he was quite ready to place in the hands of the noble Earl the correspondence he had with the Bishops, Archdeacons, Deacons, and Registrars in the colonies, which might be made public if it was considered advisable. He had heard it stated with the greatest satisfaction that the step taken in not issuing a licence for the Canadian Bishop was not to form a precedent. At all events, Canada was entirely an exceptional case. He thought they did require further information before proceeding to legislate. The matter was so complicated that every colony must be dealt with according to its peculiar characteristics, and he hoped that when the Bill was brought forward they would not be all treated in the same manner.

Motion agreed to.