Project Canterbury

Bishop Harper and the Canterbury Settlement

By H. T. Purchas

Christchurch, Wellington and Dunedin: Whitcombe and Tombs, 1909.

Chapter IX. The Bishop in Council

"Men of the greatest gifts and the most exalted piety have tried to reform mankind by their own spiritual energy and individual zeal; but their work too often died with themselves, because it built up no system to endure to future generations."

"Synodical action is not, as some suppose, a vain attempt to supply by material organisation, the defects of inward life; but it is the result of a conviction, founded upon the records of the Apostolic Church, that the inward life must not be separated in practice from the external unity of the body of Christ."'--Bishop Selwyn

Natural and indeed inevitable as church government through synod and committee appears to us at the present day, it was by no means so clear to the minds of churchmen half a century ago. Bishop Harper arrived in New Zealand at a time when the status and constitution of the colonial Church were still quite undefined. No leading principle had as yet emerged. Was the Imperial Government to exercise ecclesiastical authority in New Zealand, as it was doing in the crown colonies, and as it had already done to some extent in Australia? Or was the task to be committed to the local legislatures which these colonies now possessed? Or, on the other hand, was the Church to be freed from Government control altogether? If so, how was it to govern itself so as to secure the exercise of discipline and the safe tenure of its property? These and other questions were pressing for an answer; nor was the right answer easy to discover. Bishops were selected by the Colonial Office and sent out from Home apparently possessed of absolute powers; yet in practice these powers were found to be inoperative, or at best uncertain. The colonial Churches went on their way without any serious trouble, simply because they ran in a groove worn deep by the custom of centuries. But the groove was becoming irksome. There was really nothing whatever to prevent freedom of action, except ingrained conservatism and the dread of the unknown. Yet these forces were strong--too strong to be overcome except gradually and under the steady pressure of events. Nevertheless, the next twelve years saw an entire change in the situation. Phantom authorities were dispelled, real ones were created; false principles were repudiated, true principles were discovered; English common-sense, enlightened by Christian ideals, and guided by the study of antiquity, triumphed over legal fictions, ignorant prejudice and the alarm which is always roused by the prospect of anything new. The master-mind to which the colonial Church in general, and that of New Zealand in particular, is indebted for this happy result was unquestionably that of Bishop Selwyn. With him statesmanship and constitution-building were almost a passion. The part played by Bishop Harper was distinctly secondary. But it was an important part nevertheless. In fact, much of the success of Selwyn's system was due to the loyal and tactful way in which his colleague supported and applied it. It will not be necessary to occupy much of this biography with constitutional and synodical questions, but some explanation of the general position is necessary in order to show how Canterbury and its bishop modified the course of Church history in New Zealand.

Going back once more to Bishop Harper's Letters Patent, there is certainly no trace to be found in them of the uncertainty to which allusion has just been made. The law officers of the Crown had a fairly complete theory of the way in which the colonial Church was to be managed. The bishop was to have absolute power over his clergy as far as concerned their morals and behaviour, and this power he might exercise through a formidable hierarchy of officials--Archdeacons, Vicars-general, Official Principals and Rural Deans--whose appointment lay in his hands alone. He himself, however, was to be subject to the metropolitan jurisdiction of the Bishop of Sydney "in the same manner as the Bishops of Newcastle, Adelaide, Melbourne, and Tasmania are now subject thereto," and over all was to rest the general superintendence of the Archbishop of Canterbury, to whom the ultimate appeal should lie. The scheme was symmetrical and comprehensive, but it belonged to cloudland. None of the authorities mentioned had any legal means of making himself obeyed. Representative institutions had been granted to the colonies, and none of them had recognised or created any Church establishment. Consequently, the imposing array of ecclesiastical authorities was a mere phantom. No one could be compelled to obey the power to which he was supposed to be subject. The organisation of the colonial Churches had to be built up afresh on a democratic basis. "Voluntary compact" was the new principle which solved the difficulty. But its application was only beginning to be recognised, and that in a hesitating and cautious manner, when Bishop Harper arrived in New Zealand with his Letters Patent, which were already out of date when he stepped upon its shore.

The legal connection with England was never in fact a real one. The Home Government did not even try to make it a reality. A few years made the position so clear that in 1865 the New Zealand bishops petitioned the Crown to accept the surrender of their Letters Patent "now declared to be null and void." Nor was the connection with Australia any more real. Some religious bodies (e.g. the Wesleyans) have adopted the plan of one organisation for the whole of Australasia, but not so the Anglican Church. For good or for evil New Zealand Churchmen have refused to be bound by any formal bonds to their neighbours across the Tasman Sea, just as, of late years, their colony has declined to enter the Australian Commonwealth. In fact, the tendency was all the other way. The course of this narrative will show that there was at one time considerable danger lest the New Zealand settlements themselves should fly apart. All the statesmanship, the tact, the good sense of bishops, clergy, and leading laity were needed to hold together even the tiny population which these islands then contained.

At the moment of Dr. Harper's arrival the time had come for a first serious step in the framing of a Church constitution. Bishop Selwyn had already sketched its main outlines, and had submitted them to the criticism of clergy and laity in the different settlements. In most quarters they met with nothing but approval. The only real criticism came from Christchurch and Lyttelton. It was friendly and courteous in character, but so pronounced as to make it quite evident that Canterbury Churchmen had definite ideas of their own and were not likely to give a blind assent to any scheme, however ably conceived or powerfully recommended. Their criticisms, together with the draft constitution itself, and some few suggestions from other quarters, were now to be compared and discussed by a conference composed of delegates from every part of the country.

As soon as the bishop had visited the settled portions of his new diocese, he was called to attend this important meeting. In company with the Rev. J. Wilson and the Hon. H. J. Tancred, he left Lyttelton in the S.S. Zingari, on April 23rd, 1857. As far as Nelson he had the company of a number of gold-diggers--a class with whom he was to have close relations hereafter. His present goal, however, was Auckland, and the work before him would call for balanced wisdom rather than the rough and ready speech which diggers love. The Conference opened on May 14th, at St. Stephen's Chapel, Taurarua, Auckland, and, after several days' earnest discussion, put forth the Constitution, on the 13th of June. In its essential points it is substantially the same as that which is still in force. In fact, the Conference did its best to tie the hands of the New Zealand Church for all future time by laying down what are known as the "Fundamental Provisions." These were to be beyond the power of any General Synod to alter, revoke, add to, or diminish. As a matter of history, these clauses have stood unchanged from that day to this, and will apparently continue so to stand until some crisis arises which will force the living church to assert its inherent rights, and no longer to consider itself bound by a document drawn up in 1857 by seventeen men, however wise, and representing, however faithfully, the infant settlements of the colony.

The Conference was marked (at least outwardly) by complete unanimity, and the Canterbury representatives travelled back to Lyttelton in the Primate's yacht. The assertion was afterwards made that they had been "trapped" into adhesion to a scheme which they did not thoroughly understand, but for the present the strongest feeling was one of thankfulness that so many difficulties had been overcome, and that the Church had at length begun to recognise her inherent spiritual rights.

The first General Synod of the New Zealand branch of the Church was held in Wellington, during the months of March and April, 1859. Bishop Selwyn presided as Metropolitan, and was supported not only by the Bishop of Christchurch but by the bishops of the sees of Wellington and Nelson, which had been constituted since the Conference of 1857. Besides its bishop, Canterbury sent the Rev. C. Alabaster and Mr. (afterwards Sir John) Hall, both of whom took an active part in the business.

[In various copies of reports of this first Synod appears an unofficial MS document (author unknown) which throws an interesting side light upon the attitude of the lay mind--at least in one of its moods. The algebraical symbols in line six are substituted for the name of an episcopal member whose manner of speaking was of a sing-song character--

"And the Synod never flitting,
Still is sitting, still is sitting,
Whilst aye on weary hinges hangs
The Council Chamber door,
And like a bagpipe's droning
Sounds X.Y.Z.'s intoning
Whilst autumn's winds are moaning
For the summer past and o'er,
But that row of bishops' gaiters
Shall be lifted from that floor

Bishop Harper was assiduous in his attendance throughout. As if with a premonition of coming difficulties, his efforts were chiefly directed towards securing greater power of self-government to the different dioceses, and also to the settlements which (like Otago) had not yet attained a complete diocesan status. The Synod did a great deal of important business, and worked out many of the details which the Constitution had left undefined.

A few months later Bishop Harper summoned the first Synod of the diocese of Christchurch. He was as thorough a believer in synodical government as Selwyn himself--perhaps even more so when it came to actual practice--and his belief comes out strongly in his opening address. This address is so important, both from the unique occasion of its pronouncement and from the insight it gives into the mind of its author, that the first few paragraphs must be quoted here at length:--

"My Reverend Brethren, and my Brethren of the Laity,--

It is now just three years since that, with no slight feeling of responsibility and consciousness of my own defects, I entered upon the office of Bishop of this newly formed Diocese. But I was aware of the efforts which were being made in these colonies to obtain for the Church a system of government, which, while it would secure to the Bishops their due share of lawful authority, would bring to their assistance the counsel and co-operation of the Clergy and Laity; and I knew also that the members of our communion in this province were among the foremost in endeavouring to promote this. Whatever, therefore, might be the difficulties of my position, and my own personal inability to meet them, I could not but trust that, as God in His Providence had seemed to have called me to this office, it was my duty to undertake it; and I did so, nothing doubting but that the good work which had already been begun would in due time be completed, and that I should find myself not standing alone, with an authority undefined and almost incapable of application, or aided only by counsellors selected by myself, but surrounded and supported by the representatives of the Church, both clerical and lay.

And without such assistance as this, it seems to me that a Bishop in the colonies is scarcely able to accomplish the purposes of his office. It is true that he has the power according to the ancient canons of the Church to call together the Synod of the Clergy and to take counsel with them; and it is quite possible that with them he might frame plans and regulations suited in every respect to the wants and circumstances of the diocese; but without the intelligent hearty assent of the Laity these could not be safely or fully carried out; and to obtain that assent something more is necessary than that certain measures should be put into operation, sanctioned and recommended by their spiritual pastors. In saying this, I am not imputing to the Lay members of the Church in these colonies any want of respect for the decisions of their Bishops and clergy, or any lack of confidence in their judgment. If I may speak from my own experience, there has been a very general readiness' on the part of the laity to comply with the suggestions of myself and my clerical brethren; but this compliance, I am persuaded, would have been much more general and effectual for good if we had had the same opportunity which, through the providence of God, we shall now have, of consulting with them, and securing their co-operation through their representatives. In a new country like this, this is especially necessary, since the Church has to adapt herself to circumstances to which we have been little accustomed; to make unusual and, as it may seem to some, irregular efforts to bring home to the people her teaching and ordinances; and the means, moreover, for effecting this must be provided to a great extent by the voluntary contributions of her lay members. It seems, therefore, but a matter of simple justice, as well as essential to our success, that they should have direct voice in the deliberations of the Church, and a due share in the administration of its affairs.

Besides this, we must never forget that it is the duty of the Church to be ever aiming at a higher standard of religious life, and building up her children in her most holy faith; and that, in order to do this, she must endeavour to maintain a godly discipline among all her members, clerical and lay, and stir up the minds of all to greater efforts after godliness, and to more active participation in the works of piety and charity; and in so doing must expect to run counter to many received practices and opinions, and perhaps provoke the opposition of several who are satisfied with things as they are. She needs, therefore, the loving counsel and support of all who are alive to their Christian duties; she certainly cannot dispense with the services of her lay members, whose duty it is, equally with those who are set apart for sacred offices, to maintain and set forward true religion. And as a means of awakening in all a lively interest in their duty, and of combining and directing their energies in the right fulfilment of it, such a Synod as this, in which the Bishop, Clergy and Laity, by their representatives, meet together to take counsel with each other must surely prove effectual, if only we meet seeking and relying on God's blessing, and with a single eye to His glory and the good of His Church.

It is therefore with much thankfulness that I see my lay brethren forming a part of our Diocesan Synod, and thus occupying with myself and the clergy a definite position as joint counsellors and legislators of the Church of this Diocese. Our business here is one and the same; it is to labour for the common good, and to be fellow-helpers with each other in endeavouring to promote it. There may be differences of offices, of responsibilities, and of administrations, but neither these nor any necessary division of labour must be permitted to lead to any selfish division of interest. The interest which your Bishop is bound to take in the welfare of the whole Diocese, must be shared in by all, though by residence and other circumstances you may be more especially connected with some particular portion of it. You are representatives, not only for this or that locality or congregation, but of the whole Church of the Diocese; and the more our minds are enlarged to look upon all parts of it as entitled to our care and attention--the less wrapped up we are in local and private interests--the more fully and faithfully we shall discharge our duties and bring a blessing upon ourselves and others. I look upon it as one great advantage which is to be gained by the establishment of this Diocesan Synod, that it has a direct tendency to counteract that spirit of selfishness which so often leads men, almost unconsciously, to seek what seems to them their own good, to the neglect of what is really the profit of the many."

Passing to the question of the relation of each diocese to the General Synod of New Zealand, that question which was to be the cause of so much difficulty in the immediate future, the Bishop proceeded:--

"And on similar grounds I think it is a matter of thankfulness that we are associated under the General Synod with other Dioceses in these islands. It is, I believe, peculiar to the Church of these colonies [i.e., the different settlements in New Zealand.] that the efforts to obtain for it the means of self-government should have had a reference first to the whole body rather than to its separate parts; that the General Synod should have been called into operation before the Diocesan Synod. This, no doubt, if we look to human causes, was owing to the fact that until the last three years the Church here was under the pastoral care of one Bishop, who, keenly alive to the need of some system of Church government, never ceased to labour until he had succeeded in organising it. It was but natural, therefore, that the Church in these islands should be regarded and dealt with as one body, and that the exertions of those Churchmen who sympathised with their Bishop should be directed under the same wise Master Builder in building up a system of Church government,--applicable indeed to the several Dioceses, and to be worked out chiefly through them,--but one and the same throughout, and binding together in one the whole Church of these islands. I repeat, my brethren, that I think there is much cause for thankfulness in this, since not only do we now meet together with certain rules and principles already laid down for our guidance, and therefore are enabled at once to address ourselves to the peculiar wants and circumstances of this Diocese, and to attend without distraction to what may be considered needful for its welfare, but we are working, as it were, side by side with our brother Churchmen in the other Dioceses of these islands, and are aiming not only at the same high ends, but in all essential points according to the same rules. And though it may seem that, because we are acting under the authority of the General Synod, some restriction thereby is laid upon our liberty, yet I do not hesitate to say that it is a restriction which ought to be welcomed, since, by God's blessing, it will effectually prevent any legislation on our part which might interfere with the general interests of the Church, and therefore of necessity prove injurious to ourselves. We are left at full liberty to pursue any course or to adopt any measure which may seem to us expedient for the welfare of this Diocese, and are only so far restrained that we are not able to do anything which might separate us from our brethren in the other colonies of these islands, and disturb the unity of feeling and of action which ought ever to prevail among the members of the same body. I believe that this union of the several Dioceses under the same system of Church government will enable us the better to fulfil our mission as portions of the Church Militant upon earth; and that being thus fitly joined together and compacted of that which every joint supplieth according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, we shall, through the grace of Christ, which will never be wanting to those who cleave to Him with a living faith and in the unity of the Spirit, make increase of the body to the edifying of ourselves in love."

This paragraph will serve to introduce some notice of the struggle which has been already hinted at. A full account may be found in more formal treatises, such as Dean Jacobs' History of the Church of New Zealand. Nothing further will be attempted here than a simple relation of the chief events, together with some attempt to find out their causes and to estimate their significance. The struggle must have occupied much of the bishop's thought in the intervals of his practical duties during the next six years, and must have given him many an anxious hour before the final satisfactory settlement in 1865.

Like some other ecclesiastical disputes which have filled a large place in history, the contest between Bishop Selwyn and the Canterbury Churchmen seems at first sight like "a battle of kites and crows." Its precise meaning is, indeed, not easy to discover. A study of the contemporary documents leaves upon the mind an impression that there was something more in the background than was allowed to come to the front. Doubtless it was to some extent a matter of personal antipathies. Like the struggle between Roman and Celtic Christianity which occupies so prominent a place in the early history of the mother-land, this small dispute seems to turn on questions not worthy of the energy bestowed upon them. There it was a difference as to the correct shape of the tonsure and as to the manner of calculating the date of the Easter moon. Here it was a difference of opinion as to how, and by whom, certain church property trustees were to be appointed. But as in the one case what was really at stake was the right of a local Church to preserve its independence against the imperial despotism of papal Rome, so in the other the issue really involved was the right of a single diocese to act independently of a larger authority. Canterbury stood for the rights of the diocese and local independence: Bishop Selwyn for the rights of the province and local subordination.

As far back as 1855 Bishop Selwyn had found that no help could be looked for from the Imperial Government in the matter of organising the Church in a colony which possessed representative institutions. He had determined therefore, to use the Church's property as a machine for enforcing discipline. In 1856 he had obtained from the colonial legislature an Act (whose provisions were suggested by those of the Wesleyan Trust Deed) which empowered any religious body to appoint trustees who should hold and administer its property. In order to exercise this right there must, of course, be some representative assembly to act for the body in question--an assembly to which the members should give their voluntary adhesion. By this Act the Constitution of 1857 was made possible. Under its provisions the General Synod, and the General Synod alone, was empowered to appoint trustees for property belonging to the Anglican Church in New Zealand. Now Canterbury possessed more Church property than all the rest of New Zealand put together, and Canterbury could never bring itself to place this property in the hands of trustees appointed by the General Synod. Canterbury Churchmen had made sacrifices to endow their diocese; they looked upon these endowments as their own; and they could not but dislike the idea of transferring them to the administration of men who would owe their appointment to an assembly chiefly composed of delegates from other parts of New Zealand.

It was, perhaps, an ominous sign that only one of the Canterbury clergy--and he an assistant curate--attended the first General Synod in 1859; it was certainly nothing short of an open declaration of hostility when not one representative, either clerical or lay, could be found to attend the second, which was held at Nelson in 1862. Bishop Harper accordingly had to go alone to this gathering, but he carried with him a petition from his diocese praying that such an alteration might be made in the Deed of Constitution as would enable the Diocesan Synod to nominate and appoint its own trustees. The Christchurch Synod, in fact, asked that there should be--not one but--two bodies legally authorised to appoint trustees--one the General Synod of the Colony, the other the Synod of the diocese of Christchurch.

This request was refused, but an attempt was made at a compromise. The Synod passed a statute constituting a special Board of Trusts for the Christchurch diocese. It was to consist of three members appointed as before by the General Synod, but it might be enlarged by the addition of one clergyman and one layman recommended by the Christchurch Synod, and of two other members recommended by the Rural Deanery Board of Otago. This well-meant attempt utterly failed. The General Synod appointed its three members, Otago recommended its two additional men, but Christchurch would neither nominate members nor hand over its property. Instead of abating, the dispute became more bitter. Christchurch would have complete independence in the Trust matter or nothing. Not content with protests upon the main point at issue, Canterbury Churchmen examined the Constitution afresh and fastened eagerly upon any fault which they could find. It was, in fact, open to criticism of more kinds than one. Bishop Selwyn's "property basis" and "voluntary compact," though intended only to satisfy legal requirements, were unduly and unpleasantly prominent in its language. To the minds of some in Canterbury the "voluntary compact" meant an enforced submission to an authority which they had come to dislike; the "property basis" meant taking away the foundation upon which their own property rested. But there were others in whom the language of the Constitution and its preamble awoke misgivings of a deeper kind. It seemed to suggest an absence of lawful authority and an unspiritual insistence on externals. And the General Synod, thus surrounded with an atmosphere at once of insecurity and of legality, was to be the fountain head of all lesser authorities. Diocesan Synods were to possess only a delegated power. This was the point which brought together the two classes of opponents--those who resented interference with their property and those who craved for an authority more spiritual and more in accordance with ecclesiastical tradition. Their united cry was--Give us diocesan independence. If the Constitution can be so altered as to recognise the inherent rights of the diocese, then we are willing to continue the connection with the rest of New Zealand; but if not, we will sever ourselves from it altogether and appeal to the Archbishop of Canterbury for separate recognition as an independent branch of the Anglican communion.

Bishop Harper's position was a peculiarly difficult one. He had signed the Constitution and would abide by it loyally. Moreover, he was genuinely convinced that its ideal was the true one. But he could not separate himself from his diocese. On September 23rd, 1862, a special meeting of the Church Property Trustees was held, previous to the opening of the Diocesan Synod. It was proposed to transfer the Church property to the General Synod. "The measure could have been carried" (wrote the bishop) "had I voted (used both my votes)." He did not vote, but the opposition did not abate, and the Bishop stood more and more alone. In the following year he was confronted in synod with a solid phalanx of clergy and laity, who brought forward a number of strong resolutions which he felt himself bound to veto. Before they were brought forward, however, he made a dignified and conciliatory statement as to the course he was prepared to adopt.

The statement was as follows:--

"The Bishop, taking into his consideration the relations in which he stands to the General Synod under the Deed of Constitution, is unable to take any action in the Synod in reference to the resolutions on Church Trusts. He is, however, prepared so far to carry out the wishes of the Clergy and Laity as to forward to the Standing Commission and the members of all the Synods of the Ecclesiastical Province, any resolutions on Church Trusts which they may think fit to adopt, together with a correct extract from the minutes of those proceedings of the Synod which have a reference to the resolutions, and to other matters bearing upon the question at issue. And further, if at the next meeting of the General Synod no alteration in the Deed of Constitution be adopted, under which the relations now subsisting between the General Synod and the Synod of Christchurch can be satisfactorily maintained, the Bishop will join with the Clergy and Laity of the Diocese, and with their representatives in the General Synod, in an application to that body to be released from the compact under which this Diocese is now associated with it."

The Synod now went into committee, and the resolutions (carefully prepared by a select committee) were brought forward by the Rev. J. Wilson and seconded by the Rev. H. Jacobs, the Hon. H. J. Tancred, and the Rev. J. Raven, respectively.

In their final form they ran as follows:--

(1) "That the peace and welfare of the Diocese require the speedy settlement of its Church Property Trusts on a Diocesan basis." The Bishop, No; the Clergy: Ayes, 14, Noes, 0; the Laity: Ayes, 14, Noes, 1.

(2) "That in the opinion of this Synod the Church Constitution is so faulty in theory, and doubtful in legality, that unless the General Synod can concur in seeking for a better, the Churchmen of this Diocese must take measures to secure their diocesan rights, and put their own affairs on a better footing." The Bishop, No; the Clergy: Ayes, 13, Noes, 0; the Laity: Ayes, 14, Noes, 1.

(3) "That though fully convinced, in reference to the pending dispute between the Synod of Christ-church and the General Synod, of what is necessary to be done, and prepared to do it, the Synod defers until after the next Session of the General Synod, any application to the Provincial Council or the General Assembly, or any endeavour to re-organise the Diocese on a new footing." The Bishop, No; the Clergy: Ayes, 12, Noes, 0; the Laity: Ayes, 13, Noes, 0.

(4) "That the Synod looks upon separation of the Diocese of Christchnrch from the General Synod as inevitable, unless its requirements are conceded; and that it delays the step, not for the purpose of negotiation, but in the hope that the reasonableness of its demands may be seen, and measures initiated in consequence beneficial to the whole Church." The Bishop, No; the Clergy: Ayes, 12, Noes, 0; the Laity, Ayes, 12, Noes, 1.

The resolutions were of course lost through the Bishop's veto, but in accordance with his promise they were communicated by him to the other dioceses. A petition was also sent to the Metropolitan asking him to convene the General Synod immediately. This Bishop Selwyn declined to do, whereupon the Diocesan Synod at its next session, re-affirmed its position of the year before, "seeing no reason for withdrawing or modifying the demands then made." On this occasion the bishop was supported by two laymen instead of one, but otherwise the voting was unchanged.

On April 27th, 1865, the General Synod at last met--the synod which was to decide whether diocesan rights were to be recognised, or whether Canterbury was to "plough its furrow alone." It met in Christehurch, the place of meeting being a large loft above a store on the east side of Cathedral Square, known as Symington's Booms. In this "upper room" assembled a small but remarkable company. Besides the President (Bishop Selwyn) and the Bishop of Christehurch, there were present Bishop Abraham of Wellington, one of the greatest of Eton masters; Bishop Williams of Waiapu, an eminent missionary who had just escaped death at the hands of Hau-hau fanatics; and Bishop Patteson of Melanesia, who was to experience actual martyrdom six years later. Among the clergy were veteran missionaries like Dr. Maunsell, the translator of the Bible into Maori, and students like Archdeacon Jacobs, the future historian of the New Zealand Church. The laity included Sir William Martin, late Chief Justice of New Zealand; the Hon. John Hall, afterwards Premier; Mr. Fitzgerald, first Superintendent of the Province of Canterbury; and the Hon. H. J. Tancred, first Chancellor of the New Zealand University.

The gravity of the occasion was felt by all, and for the fifteen days of the session's course the most earnest attention was given to the matter in hand. "The Constitution" (writes Dean Jacobs) "was on its trial; the peace and unity of the Church of New Zealand were felt to be hanging in the balance. That there was much animation and warmth in the debates it is needless to say: but we may thankfully add that there was very little, if anything, of acrimony and bitterness. The first clash of arms seemed formidable; but very soon, by the blessing of God, a spirit of concession and mutual conciliation began to manifest itself; and before the close of the session the clouds had entirely cleared away, and there was left behind a sense of relief, and of general contentment and satisfaction."

The result of this memorable synod was thoroughly welcome to Canterbury Churchmen. All the points upon which they had insisted were yielded by the iron-willed Primate. The Constitution was revised and brought more into accord with ancient precedent. The property basis was made somewhat less obtrusive, though the unalterable character of the Fundamental Provisions prevented any attempt to improve them in this respect. The inherent rights of dioceses were recognised, and their synods were permitted to appoint their own trustees. These happy results were due--partly to the determination of the local representatives, partly to the support they received from the C.M.S. clergy of the North .Island, but above all, perhaps, to the good sense and Christian statesmanship of the leaders, especially Sir William Martin.

To no one could the issue have been more grateful than to Bishop Harper. The difficulties of his peculiar position were now removed, and nothing remained to divide him any longer from his old friends or from the men of his own diocese. It was he himself who brought forward (nearly at the close of the session) the important resolution which settled the burning question of the Trusts. The relief which he felt when the proceedings were over finds vent in the following simple entry in his diary. "Conclusion--Deo Optimo Gratiae. Concert of sacred music. Admirable."

A week later he was on the sea with Bishop Selwyn, bound for the far-away settlements of Invercargill and Jacob's River.

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