"They came to no infertile waste,
They came not to a cruel land,
To wrest its fruits in troubled haste,
With careworn brow and weaponed hand;
The land of hope lay crude and bare,
But only welcoming gifts were there."
The years of Mr. Harper's quiet ministry at Mortimer were a period of general distress to the world outside. The year 1848 was notable for the revolutionary movement which drove Louis Philippe from Paris and caused serious disturbances in other European capitals. In the same year the Chartist outbreak gave Englishmen a shock from which they were slow to recover. Below and behind these ebullitions of violence lay a great mass of misery and discontent. Bad harvests and the potato disease brought keen agricultural distress, which was rendered still more acute (as many thought) by the recent abolition of the corn laws. Amidst conditions so depressing, no wonder that many in England and on the Continent looked to the new worlds in the west and south with a sense of longing and hope. There, in new countries, might be found the opportunities of a brighter, simpler, and less anxious existence. Emigration proceeded accordingly at a rapid rate. Colonial questions came to the front even in a parliament which was inclined to regard the colonies as an encumbrance. During the year 1850 several of the Australian colonies acquired constitutional rights and entered upon the era of self-government.
New Zealand had attracted some settlers since its annexation in 1840, but it was still a Crown colony and largely in the hands of European financial corporations. Chief among these was the New Zealand Company. Its presiding genius was the celebrated Edward Gibbon Wakefield, who had shown a statesmanlike grasp of the principles of colonization and whose outlook extended beyond the mere raising of dividends. But this company had become discredited through the blundering of its local agents in their dealing with the Maoris, and was heavily in debt to the British Government. Wakefield was seeking in every direction for fresh resources when in 1847 he met, at Malvern, a young Irishman of high character and great ability--John Robert Godley. Educated at Oxford in the midst of the Tractarian revival, and bound by ties of friendship to Lord Lyttelton, Mr. Gladstone, and other enthusiastic churchmen, Godley had also travelled in America, where he had been struck by the contrast between the lawless backwoods settlements of the United States and the peaceful villages of Lower Canada, where religion was an established force. His idealistic nature took fire at the suggestions of Wakefield, and the two men soon framed a scheme for founding a Church settlement in New Zealand. Wakefield was to obtain from his company a block of land in some part of their territories; Godley was to secure the co-operation of the leading churchmen with whom he had been intimate at Oxford. By laying out a settlement upon distinctively, and even exclusively, Church lines, they would be able to appeal to the higher ranks of English society and to secure for their new colony a high type of settler and an exceptionally stable framework of society.
Mr. Godley threw himself heart and soul into the project, and soon enlisted the support of an influential body of prelates, noblemen, and gentry. The Primate of All England became President of the Association, and the new settlement itself was to receive the name of Canterbury. When, in the following year, the revolutionary thunder-cloud burst over Europe, the promoters were able to put forth a scheme which showed bright indeed against this dark background. "Extraordinary changes are taking place," so ran their first appeal, "in the political and social system of Europe; the future is dark and troubled; men's hearts are failing them for fear; and many persons who have been deterred hitherto by dread of change from entering upon the new career afforded by colonisation, will now probably be impelled into it by the same motive acting in a different direction." In the New Canterbury the colonists "would enjoy a quiet and happy life in a fine climate and a beautiful country, where want is unknown, and listen from afar, with interest indeed, but without anxiety, to the din of war, to the tumult of revolutions, to the clamour of pauperism, to the struggle of classes, which wear out body and soul in our crowded and feverish Europe."
In this same year (1848) the Association was able to send out an expert (Captain Thomas) to choose a site and to survey it. According to his instructions he was to aim at a million acres of land in the Wairarapa district of the Wellington province, but he was fortunately entrusted with discretionary power to select a better site if such should present itself. In the next year Captain Thomas reported that he had found an admirable tract of country in the South Island, and he was soon able to forward a map of the New Canterbury, in which hardly a Maori word appeared, but all the rivers, lakes, and plains bore names of the prominent members of the Association. Looking at this map a would-be emigrant could hardly realise that it was a foreign land with which he had to do, for the Wilberforce, the Sumner, and the Whately Plains were watered by such rivers as the Ashley, the Courtenay, the Heathcote, the Hawkins, the Selwyn, the Cholmondeley, and the Ashburton. [It is noteworthy that the two largest of these rivers, viz.: the Courtenay and the Cholmondeley, soon threw off their English names, and are now always known as the Waimakariri and the Eakaia. The "Shakespeare" river of Captain Thomas's map had already received from the Dean brothers the name "Avon." This it fortunately retained, but it was always associated in the minds of the Pilgrims with Shakespeare's Avon, and not with the Scotch stream after which it was named.] A most favourable report was received from the one Scotch family (that of the Messrs. Deans) which had already found its way to what are now the Canterbury Plains, and everything seemed to promise well for the new colony.
Its promoters were, indeed, signally favoured in their selection. The wonder is that the ground had remained unoccupied so long. It was the most open for settlement of all the territories of New Zealand. There was very little heavy timber to be cleared, and the natives--decimated by the raids of the terrible Bau-paraha--were in no position to dispute the white man's claim. The only explanation that can be offered to account for its long neglect is that its advantages were hardly apparent at a distance. Viewed from the sea the plains are as nothing in comparison with the rugged Alps which tower behind them, and the actual coast-line consists of barren sandhills or desolate shingle beaches. The few harbours cluster about Banks' Peninsula, and are shut off from the plains by steep and, in most cases, heavily-timbered hills. Even so, however, Canterbury had come very near becoming first a settlement of French Roman Catholics; then one of an undenominational English character; and then one of Scotch Presbyterians. As early as 1840 a French company had actually sent out a ship-load of emigrants to the beautiful harbour of Akaroa, but the attempt of their Government to annex the island had been anticipated by the energy of Governor Hobson, by whose orders Captain Stanley in the Britomart forestalled the French expedition by four days, so that the French settlers on their arrival found the Union Jack flying over the territory which they had bought from the Maoris. The immigrants indeed stayed at Akaroa, and were happy under British rule, but they received no accessions to their numbers from the home country, and they seem never to have attempted to cross the bush-covered hills and take up land upon the plains. In 1841 the officials of the New Zealand Company were on the point of despatching an expedition to the land thus secured for the British Crown, but Governor Hobson insisted that it must proceed no further than the north end of the island; the result being the foundation of the town of Nelson. Still, therefore, the plains lay waiting for settlers, when, in 1847, a surveyor was sent from home to select a piece of country for a Scotch settlement of Free Church Presbyterians. This gentleman landed at Port Cooper, and actually climbed the hills which the Canterbury Pilgrims were soon to know so well, but decided that these hills formed an insuperable obstacle to a settlement on the other side. Even then he made one more attempt. Coasting round the Peninsula, and arriving at the point where the hills sink down to the Ninety-mile Beach, he walked across the Kaituna district to his compatriot's solitary house at Kiccarton. But his path though leading through level country, was even less easy than before. Lake Ellesmere had not made one of its periodical bursts through its shingle barrier to the ocean for some time previous, and the whole of the country about it was water-logged and hardly passable. The surveyor gave up the plains in despair, and going further south, he selected and prepared Otago for the Scotchmen who soon arrived.
His report was nearly fatal to the Anglican colony also, for Bishop Selwyn, influenced by it, endeavoured to dissuade Mr. Godley and his friends from choosing a spot which had been so decidedly condemned. Fortunately, however, Captain Thomas visited the plains himself, and at once saw their value. Thus it was that a habitation was provided for the Canterbury settlers. It was larger than they themselves had contemplated; their estimate of one million acres at once rose to two and a half millions, and even this figure was afterwards found to admit of considerable expansion.
Captain Thomas, assisted by two other surveyors, at once proceeded to lay out two port towns--to be called Lyttelton and Sumner; and also a city further inland, which was to receive the name of Christchurch, after the famous college to which Godley and many of the leaders of the Association belonged. In the laying out of these towns Captain Thomas named the streets after English dioceses. Beginning with Lyttelton, he availed himself of many of the principal sees--London, Winchester, Norwich, Oxford, etc.; others he used for the streets of Stunner (a town which was soon abandoned); so that when he came to his city on the plains he had not many English names left, and consequently fell back upon bishoprics in Ireland and the colonies. The result has been a more cosmopolitan or imperial selection in this, the principal city of the new colony, than was at first contemplated.
There was certainly nothing which could well be called imperial (in the modern sense) about the plans of the promoters at home. The new Canterbury was to be as genuine a reproduction as possible of the old country. An English county, with its cathedral city and its famous university; its bishop, its parishes, its endowed clergy; its ancient aristocracy, its yeoman farmers, its few necessary tradesmen, its sturdy and loyal labourers; and all this with no crime, no poverty, and no dissent--this was the ideal which their imaginations pictured. It was to be a veritable New Atlantis, or, rather, a City of God. The means whereby this great end was to be achieved were comparatively simple. No one but a member of the Church of England was to be allowed to own land; no one but an owner of land was to be allowed to take up a sheep-run; no labourers were to be brought out at the general expense except such as were recommended by their parish priests as sound in faith and morals. Every land purchaser must pay £3 per acre for his land, and one-third of this was to be applied to "eccelsiastical and educational purposes." As there were a million acres for sale, a million pounds would thus be raised for the endowment of a bishopric and several parishes, for the building of churches and parsonages, for the erection and equipment of a university, and for an ample supply of schools and schoolmasters. The sharp wit of Sydney Smith found much to satirise in this seemingly enormous provision for the wants of a small colonial community; even Bishop Selwyn could not forbear a little good-natured fun; but the high-minded promoters were thoroughly in earnest, and could see nothing to laugh at in such a distribution of their anticipated wealth.
It is, indeed, hard not to indulge in a smile when we come across such a passage as this in their printed papers:--"Why should we not erect there a Cathedral which may be a glorious rival of Westminster or of York? Why not send out a bishop endowed with the learning of Pearson or of Bull--with the piety of the sainted Wilson--with the gentleness of the accomplished Heber? Why not found a university which may be no mean rival of the scholastic honours of Eton and of Oxford?"
But the promoters did their best to carry out even these brilliant anticipations. For their bishop they secured the nomination of an enthusiast in the cause of education, the Rev. Thos. Jackson, a Prebendary of St. Paul's, and head of the Battersea Training College for Teachers. This gentleman made eloquent speeches at the public meetings which were held throughout England for the purpose of making known the objects of the Association and the advantages of the new colony. He sketched the outline of a college which should serve as a centre of learning, not only for the settlement itself, but also for Australia and even for India and the East. He projected another college (at Lyttelton) for the daughters of colonists, after the pattern of Queen's College which had been lately established in London; and many of his best students volunteered to accompany him in order to take charge of the national schools which he intended to establish in every parish of the new settlement. In full reliance upon the promises of an ample maintenance for the clergy of Canterbury itself, he pleaded in eloquent terms for a missionary fund which should be available for evangelistic efforts on behalf of those parts of New Zealand which lay beyond the boundaries of the favoured province, and actually gathered £1000 for this worthy object.
Such a fund was, indeed, rendered all the more necessary by the action of Her Majesty's Government. When approached on the subject of the formation of a Canterbury diocese, the Colonial Office peremptorily declined to create so small a one as that desired by the Association. It must include the whole of the South Island; that is to say, the actual settlements of Nelson and Otago, as well as all the unoccupied territories to the west and south. To this enlargement of the diocese from the size of a large county to something near that of England itself, the Association of course agreed, though not very willingly; and also to the further condition that £10,000 must be actually deposited as a preliminary endowment. The S.P.G. contributed £1000, but the rest was taken from the proceeds of the first land sales, which were all conducted in London, and no further difficulty was for the time anticipated.
A much more serious trouble, however, now arose,--one which threatened to imperil the whole scheme. The land was selling with most disappointing slowness. In spite of actual hard times at home and rose-coloured descriptions of certain prosperity abroad, barely 14,000 acres of Canterbury land were disposed of before the end of 1850, instead of the 200,000 acres upon which the promoters had reckoned. The new colony seemed likely to split upon the rock which has proved fatal to many similar ventures--want of funds. Godley himself, whose delicate health necessitated a sojourn abroad, had gone out to New Zealand to prepare for the settlers, and was no longer able to help with his inspiring presence. But his influence was still felt. "In this emergency" (to quote the words of his friend, Mr. J. E. Fitzgerald), "Lord Lyttelton, Lord E. Cavendish, Sir John Simeon, and others, came forward again and again with advances out of their private fortunes, to the extent not of tens or hundreds, but of thousands and tens of thousands, to save the scheme from ruin. When we look back at those times, and ask what motive could have operated to stimulate these not foolish or imprudent men into liberality so unwonted in our commercial days, what it was which induced men, by no means rich for their position in life, to lay down such large sums when they could have had but a very dim and uncertain prospect of any return, and when the idea of profit was never dreamt of,--there is but one answer; and we believe it is the true one; it was their strong affection for the man who had induced them to join the scheme, and the determination that, in his absence, he should not be deserted. The work of his life was in peril; and, be the loss to them what it might, it should not be allowed to fail for the want of timely aid. There can hardly be any stronger proof of the wonderful influence which Mr. Godley had acquired over his personal friends than this willingness to incur such large sacrifices for the sake, not even so much of himself, as of his idea. Barely, indeed, do college acquaintances ripen into such noble and absorbing friendships in after life."
The chief obstacle thus removed, an actual beginning was soon made. But the colonists were not to take their bishop with them after all. When the necessary documents came to be drawn up, the law officers of the Crown found that the terms of Bishop Selwyn's Letters Patent were such that his diocese could not be divided--certainly not by the Crown alone, and perhaps not even with his own consent. It was known that he was not willing to part with the whole of the South Island, because he was projecting a separate bishopric for the Cook's Strait settlements (Wellington and Nelson). The only course that seemed open was for Mr. Jackson to go out unconsecrated as Bishop-designate of Lyttelton and confer with Bishop Selwyn upon the subject. [The diocese was to be called Lyttelton, because some would-be colonists in England objected to the "churchy" sound of Christchurch. The Association therefore determined to change the name of the capital to Lyttelton. But the settlers kept to the original nomenclature, and this in the end prevailed.]
But if the emigrants carried with them no bishop, at least they had plenty of clergy and schoolmasters. Every ship carried a clergyman, and these had been selected by Mr. Jackson "for the moderation of their opinions and their devotion to their work." The Canterbury settlement was, indeed, an ecclesiastical event, but we must be careful to guard against the error into which a learned German historian has fallen, viz., that of representing, it as a party movement. Misled by the term "pilgrims" which was applied to the first settlers, and connecting their departure with the dissatisfaction which the Gorham judgment was at that time causing, and the consequent secession of Dr. Manning and others to Rome, Prof. Kurtz has compared the Canterbury Pilgrims with the New England pilgrim fathers and represented them as the victims of "ecclesiastical oppression." Nothing could be farther from the truth. The Canterbury Association was as comprehensive as the English Church itself. When the taunt was flung at the scheme upon its first promulgation: "It is all a Puseyite affair," the promoters were easily able to silence it by pointing to the presence among their number of Lord Ashley (better known afterwards as the "good Earl of Shaftesbury"), whose name is still borne by one of the principal rivers of North Canterbury. It is true that at a farewell breakfast at Oxford one of the speakers quoted the words "Egypt was glad at their departing, for they were afraid of them," and perhaps the allusion was not wholly without point. But at a similar breakfast held in London just before the departure of the first ships, the colonists were urged to have nothing to do with the controversies of the day, but to cling to their prayer-books and their bishops. Never, in fact, has any colonising scheme received such open and cordial approval from the leaders of the Church. On the Sunday before their departure, the first band of colonists attended St. Paul's Cathedral, and were specially addressed by the Archbishop of Canterbury (Dr. Sumner); and a second band who left in May, 1851, were likewise addressed in Westminster Abbey by "the Bishop of All England," Dr. Samuel Wilberforce, who with his accustomed eloquence, compared their de« parture for New Zealand with that of Abraham for the Land which God would show him. "It is at God's call that you go--you go to maintain and spread abroad the true worship of the one God."
The first band of colonists, numbering some 800 people, sailed in September, 1850 from Gravesend, in the now historical "first four ships," and arrived at Lyttelton in the following December. Four hundred more soon followed, and by the time the last of the Association's chartered vessels had deposited its living freight (in 1853), some 3,400 members of the Church of England had been transferred to the New Canterbury. [A few of the emigrants were Wesleyans, for these were considered still to belong to the national church. There were a very few Presbyterians also. But they had all been recommended by their parish clergy.] Twenty clergy were among their number, and most of these had come with the intention of settling in the colony.
The first ships also brought a large church bell, some surplices, books, and communion plate, for the church or churches which the emigrants expected to find ready built on their arrival. But the actual condition of things gave a rude shock to all the bright hopes with which the colonists had set forth. There were no funds to pay the clergy, and no churches in which to worship. The bell was lodged upon the hillside, where it occasionally afforded grateful » shelter to some poor fellow whose tent had been overturned by a sou'wester; the choristers' surplices found storage room with difficulty, and lay for years unused; and when Bishop Selwyn arrived on the scene in January, he was obliged to celebrate the Holy Communion in a loft over a goods store, reached by a ladder, the seats being extemporised by resting planks on sugar barrels.
The settlers found that hard work amid frequent disappointments was to be their lot; visions of cathedral and university must be postponed till material wants were in some measure supplied; huts of cob and raupo must take the place of castles in the air. It is true that Bishop Selwyn cheered the new arrivals with his practical counsel; true also that the physical difficulties of their position were not, after all, so very great--far less than those which most other pioneers have been compelled to face. As a matter of fact, the colonists, after a brief stay at Lyttelton, climbed the hills and gradually spread over the tussock-covered plains; began to build the city which Captain Thomas had pegged out amid the swamps and sand-hills along the Avon, and made it (Christ-church) their capital. But the violent contrast between the bright visions of the intending colonist and the prosaic--nay, even sometimes sordid--surroundings of the actual pioneer was too great for many of the less hardy natures. Half of the twenty clergy left the settlement--some for home, and some for other colonies. Worst blow of all, the bishop-designate himself, after a stay of six weeks, returned to England, and resigned his appointment. "A talented and amiable man unquestionably" (so wrote one of the clergy who remained at their posts), "but one whom his best friends would probably not consider by nature qualified for the work of a colonial bishop."
Godley himself returned to England in 1852, but he had never intended to become a permanent settler, and his health was now sufficiently restored to enable him to take up the position of Under Secretary of State at the War Office. At the farewell banquet on the occasion of his departure he analysed the disillusionment which had so severely tried the faith of the colonists. He traced it to the fact that they had expected impossibilities. "I will not say that I have not been disappointed in many things myself. No man in this world can go through any enterprise that has greatness in it without being often and sorely disappointed, because nothing great is ever done without enthusiasm, and enthusiasts are always over sanguine. When I first adopted and made my own the idea of this colony, it pictured itself to my mind in the colours of a Utopia. Now that I have been a practical colonizer, and have seen how these things are managed in fact, I often smile when I think of the ideal Canterbury of which our imagination dreamed. Yet I see nothing in the dream to regret or to be ashamed of, and I am quite sure that without the enthusiasm, the poetry, the unreality (if you will), with which our scheme was overlaid, it would never have been accomplished. . . . Besides, I am not at all sure that the reality, though less showy, is not in many respects sounder and better than the dream. Take, for example, that common notion which so many educated and intelligent people have of colonization; the notion that it will enable them to live a sort of careless, indolent, easy-going life, under their vines and their fig-trees, among their children and their flowers, to revel in the spontaneous plenty of an exuberant soil, and to enjoy all the luxuries of civilization without its responsibilities, its restraints, and its labour. This is the kind of life that many of us fondly dreamed of. I will not say that I did not sometimes dream of it myself. But would this, even it it were not out of the question, be a life worthy of a man--of an Englishman? Is the desire to fly from toil and trouble a worthy motive for civilisation? Ought not our motive rather to be a desire to find a freer scope, and a more promising object for our toil and our trouble? We all know now that when men colonize, more perhaps than in any other walk in life, they have to eat their bread in the sweat of their face. But this is the advantage, and pride, and glory of colonization."
But the hard work of which Godley spoke was not altogether favourable to the religious side of the new colony. Or, perhaps, it would be truer to say that the exigencies of pioneering life tended to throw the ecclesiastical interest of the settlers somewhat into the background. Some, for instance, of the few remaining clergy were compelled to betake themselves to farming and could only give the Sunday--sometimes not even the whole of that--to strictly clerical work. Still, there must have been some more powerful and special cause for the immediate and almost complete collapse of the Canterbury scheme of an exclusive Church settlement. The Pilgrim Fathers of Massachusetts kept up a much more exclusive regime for over seventy years, but the Canterbury pilgrims abandoned theirs at once. Doubtless a new spirit of toleration had appeared in the world during the period which elapsed between 1628 and 1850, but men do not give up their cherished schemes quite so quickly as Mr. Godley did his in 1851, without some urgent motive. The explanation must be sought outside the limits of Canterbury and even of New Zealand. It was the march of events in the neighbouring continent of Australia which broke up the ecclesiastical framework of the little colony. There the year 1850 had been a hard one for pastoralists; station stock and property had suffered an alarming depreciation, and many Australians decided to emigrate to the cooler and better-watered territories of the South Island of New Zealand. They arrived almost as soon as the pilgrims themselves, bringing with them their flocks and their herds, their capital and their experience,--just the elements which the pilgrims needed but did not possess. These "shagroons" (as they were soon called, to distinguish them from the English "pilgrims") naturally began to claim runs on which to depasture their stock, after the usual Australian manner. The law of the Association was that no one but a land-purchaser (i.e., a Churchman) might take up a run. Godley was face to face with a crisis of the gravest character. If runs were to be granted indiscriminately to all comers, the fundamental provision of the settlement would be undermined. But he realised the necessities of the case. The Australians were indispensable: the English-made law must give way. He broke through the rules of the Association, he abandoned his own cherished principle, but (in the opinion of all competent judges) he saved the colony.
Now that the land was thrown open to all who could pay a moderate rental, the idea of exclusiveness was doomed. But Australia did more than send over its "squatters." In the next year (1851) it changed its character and instead of being a land which men quitted in dull despair it suddenly became one which they sought with frenzied eagerness. The gold-discoveries in New South Wales and Victoria drew crowds of labourers from all the neighbouring colonies, and among the crowds were many of the poorer "pilgrims." Their number may not have been very great, but their departure made a serious difference in the proportionate strength of Anglicanism amid such a small population as that of Canterbury then was.
The isolated community which Godley and his friends at first contemplated was doubtless an impossibility under modern conditions. The period of the "closed cell" has passed away; the "open door" is now the rule. A certain regret may, indeed, be allowed that the principles of the Canterbury Association were not granted a longer lease of life and a fair opportunity of showing what their proper outcome would be. Colonial society is not so perfect that it can despise any high-minded attempt to better it. On the whole, however, the verdict of a high authority on missionary enterprise is probably not far from the truth. "The idea of the founders of Canterbury, however pious, was quixotic; it failed to some extent, and rightly. Great as is the evil of religious division, uniformity is not to be attained by secluding a small community within a supposed happy valley, from which the ordinary snares of humanity are shut out; the very attempt will produce either hypocrisy or rebellion against restraint. With this, as with other temptations, the true policy by which a manly Christian character is formed and strengthened is to pray not to be taken out of the world, but to be kept from the evil thing." [The late Prebendary Tucker, in "Under His Banner," p. 252.]
The history of the Church in Canterbury during the next five years (1851-56) largely consists in repeated attempts to obtain a bishop. The settlers built a plain church in Christchurch, a more pretentious one in Lyttelton, and three small ones in the country, but the ornaments brought out from home alarmed the more Protestant section and led to ritualistic squabbles. Some progress was made towards self-government by getting the Church property transferred from the home Association to a body of trustees chosen from among themselves; but greater efforts were postponed for want of an appointed leader. Bishop Selwyn visited them from time to time, but left the oversight for the most part in the hands of Archdeacon Mathias. The Association was in a state of chronic poverty, and before its affairs were wound up in 1853 laid hands upon the "Ecclesiastical and Educational Fund." This money was not sacrilegiously misappropriated as some were naturally inclined to say, for it was spent in buying land for the church from the Association itself. The ultimate result was an endowment of great value, but the immediate effect was a condition of deplorable destitution. In 1853 the rental was but £140; and this was the whole sum available during that year for all church and educational purposes, except what was voluntarily contributed by churchmen, who (be it remembered) had already paid dearly for their land, upon the understanding that in so doing they were taxing themselves for the maintenance of churches and schools. Little wonder, therefore, that progress was slow, and disappointment general. But the colonists were Englishmen, and did not give up hope. Known in other parts of New Zealand as "poor, proud, and pious," they strove in dogged fashion to realise some at least of their ideals, and chief among these was the appointment of a bishop.
More than one obstacle thwarted their laudable desire. In the first place, the old legal difficulty revived, and was not finally removed till 1853, when a bill was passed through the British Parliament which divided the diocese of New Zealand, erected Christchurch into a city, and provided for the appointment of a bishop so soon as an income of £600 a year should be secured. This condition created another difficulty, for the Association in its embarrassment had succeeded in getting its original deposit of £10,000 transferred back to itself in return for a mortgage over the waste lands of the colony. Some time elapsed before this document was exchanged for an actual estate yielding the required income. When the legal and financial difficulties had been thus settled, others arose of a personal nature, through the hesitation or reluctance on the part of various clergymen at home who were asked to undertake the office. The following lines, written in 1854 by one of the local clergy (the Rev. H. Jacobs), faithfully depicts the contrast between the growing material prosperity of the settlement and its backwardness in things spiritual--
"'Do nought without a bishop' was the voice
Of Churchmen in those purer days of old;
And wonder we why all is poor and cold
Within our Zion? This one taint alloys
Our fair success. Our flocks and herds rejoice
Upon a thousand hills; our spreading fields
Stand thick with corn; God's vineyard only yields
A poor return."
At last there came the dawn of a brighter day. In November, 1855, Bishop Selwyn visited Christchurch, in company with the Rev. J. C. Patteson (afterwards Bishop of Melanesia). At a meeting of clergy and laity held in St. Michael's church, he strongly recommended his old friend, the Vicar of Stratfield Mortimer, as one eminently fitted to be their bishop. Mr. Patteson, on being appealed to, warmly seconded the recommendation. Some of the Canterbury churchmen made an earnest attempt to induce Bishop Selwyn himself to leave Auckland and settle among them; but, when this request had been firmly though affectionately declined, the whole meeting unanimously agreed to request the Crown to appoint the Rev. H. J. C. Harper. A petition to this effect was soon drawn up, and likewise one to the Archbishop of Canterbury. Both were signed by the chief personages in Church and State, viz.: Octavius Mathias (Archdeacon of Akaroa), and Edward Fitzgerald (Superintendent of the Province), and by 184 of the leading colonists. A few extracts from the latter document will show the intensity of the desire for the appointment and the dissatisfaction caused by the long delay:--
"Your Grace is aware that one of the first objects of the Canterbury Association was the establishment of a bishopric in the Settlement they were about to found."
"The public announcement of this intention on the part of the Association, with the consent of Her Majesty's Government thereto, and the actual appointment of a Bishop Designate, were among the strongest inducements to most of us to become purchasers of land and settlers in Canterbury."
"Under these circumstances [i.e., the settlement of the legal and financial difficulties] and after a lapse of five years from the foundation of the settlement, we earnestly trust that no further delay will be allowed to intervene, and we venture to rely upon your Grace's zeal for the welfare and good government of the Church, and warm interest in the well-being of this settlement in particular, of which your Grace was one of the chief founders and well-wishers, that your utmost endeavours will be exerted on our behalf to obtain for us as soon as possible the accomplishment of our wishes."
"Your memorialists are desirous to impress upon your Grace their great anxiety for the attainment of their object:"
"They beg to represent that the patience of many who have waited so long, and have been so often disappointed, is well-nigh exhausted, and that any further delay is likely to be of incalculable injury to the interests of the Church in a country where the difficulty of communication renders the efficient episcopal superintendence of the present undivided diocese an absolute impossibility."
"Believing that our earnest and united wishes will not be disregarded as to the person to be selected to fill the office, we have ventured to solicit Her Majesty to appoint the Rev. Henry John Chitty Harper, M.A., Vicar of Stratfield Mortimer, in the County of Berks and Diocese of Oxford, and formerly Conduct of Eton College, to be the first Bishop of Christchurch.
"May we venture to hope that your Grace will give the weight of your support to this Prayer of our Petition also."
Another year of waiting yet remained, but it was a year of renewed hope, for the answer to the petition could hardly be doubtful.