Containing the Dioceses of Auckland, Christchurch, Dunedin, Nelson, Waiapu, Wellington, and Melanesia. By Henry Jacobs London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 1887.
Part III. The Period of Subsequent Growth and Development.
Bishop Selwyn in Time of War--Consecration of Bishop Patteson--Second General Synod--Opening Address--Character and Results of Session--Christchurch Board of Trusts Statute--Rise and Growth of Dissatisfaction--Objections to Constitution--Judgment in case of Long v. Bishop of Capetown--Duke of Newcastle's Despatch--Action of Bishop and Synod of Christchurch--Report of Commission.
The period which intervened between the session of the First and that of the Second General Synod was one of trouble and disaster to New Zealand, being the time of the Taranaki War. Deeply interesting as the narrative is of the labours of the bishop and his fellow-missionaries to restore peace; his devoted exertions to "do the work of an evangelist" to the combatants on both sides; his many hair-breadth escapes in his efforts to warn settlers of the danger impending over them from hostile natives; his unflagging determination and undaunted courage, in spite of bitter unpopularity, in upholding the rights of the natives as guaranteed to them by the Treaty of Waitangi; we must not allow these things to detain us, but, referring our readers to the pages of his biographer for these matters, must press on to the time of the meeting of the Second General Synod, which was held at Nelson in February, 1862.
 One event of surpassing importance to the Churches of New Zealand and Melanesia, and of deep and thrilling interest to the Church at large, occurred early in 1861 the consecration of the Rev. John Coleridge Patteson to the missionary see of Melanesia. Much consultation and protracted negotiations with the Home Government were necessary before this event could be brought about; for hitherto there had been no precedent for the consecration by prelates, who had themselves been consecrated under Royal Letters Patent, or under mandate from the Crown, of bishops whose office was to be exercised beyond the limits of the British dominions. Bishop Selwyn proceeded in this matter with that mingled caution, and determination to effect his purpose, which were so characteristic of him. The Duke of Newcastle was at that time Secretary of State for the Colonies, and to him the bishop wrote, proposing four different courses, in the adoption of either of which he was willing to concur:--1. To give up a small piece of the north end of New Zealand, from the Bay of Islands northward, as a see for the island bishop. 2. By the alteration of an Act of Parliament, to procure the severance of Norfolk Island from the diocese of Tasmania, and make it the see of the Melanesian bishop. 3. To procure the issue of Letters Patent of a special character, clothing the missionary bishop with authority in spiritual matters, analogous to that given to a consul in civil matters, over members of the Church of England, residing beyond the boundaries of the British dominions within certain limits. 4. To allow the New Zealand [259/260] bishops to exercise the inherent powers of their office, as bishops of a distinct province of the Church, without either Letters Patent, or a mandate from the Crown. "This last," wrote the bishop to his brother, Canon Selwyn, [Footnote: See Tucker's "Life and Episcopate," vol. ii. p. 213.] "the Duke of Newcastle accepted, with many cordial expressions of approbation, and only raised the doubt, whether the consecration could take place within British territory. On this point," continues the bishop, "I took the opinion of four Crown lawyers--the past and present Chief Justice, Sir William Martin and Sir George Arney, and the past and present Attorney-General of New Zealand, the Hon. W. Swainson, and the Hon. F. Whitaker--who all gave their opinion that they knew of no statute, English or Colonial, which would make it illegal to hold the consecration in New Zealand. Having further appealed to the laity by a Si quis, published in all the churches in and near Auckland, and having obtained the consent of all the New Zealand suffragans, I no longer felt any scruple, but went on with the work 'with a conscience void of offence.'" The consecration took place at St. Paul's Church, Auckland, on the festival of St. Matthias, 1861, the Primate being assisted by the Bishops of Wellington and Nelson. Thus slowly, but at length completely, did the obstinate traditions of the Colonial Office, the unreasonable obstacles they put in the way of Church progress, and the imaginary difficulties they were in the habit of raising, give way before common sense and determination. In the same year, and under [260/261] very similar circumstances, Bishop Mackenzie, consecrated at Capetown, was sent forth by the Church of South Africa to exercise the office of a missionary bishop in Central Africa.
The Second General Synod met at Nelson on the l0th February, 1862. There were present six bishops, including "the missionary bishop of the Melanesian Islands; nine clergymen, namely, the Ven. H. Govett, Archdeacon of Taranaki, the Ven. R. Maunsell, Archdeacon of Waikato, the Rev. R. Burrows, and the Rev. J. F. Lloyd, representing the Auckland clergy; the Ven. O. Hadfield, Archdeacon of Kapiti, and the Rev. A. Stock, representing those of the diocese of Wellington; and the Revs. J. C. Bagshaw, H. F. Butt, and R. H. Codrington, the clergy of the diocese of Nelson. Three, who were returned for Christchurch, the Revs. J. A. Fenton, J. Raven, and J. Wilson, and two others elected for Wellington, the Revs. R. Taylor and Levi Te Ahu, did not take their seats. Of the laity, out of twenty elected, eleven only took their seats, the absentees consisting of six representatives of the diocese of Christchurch, and three out of the seven representing the diocese of New Zealand, the Hon. W. Swainson being one. The diocese of Christchurch was thus represented by its bishop only.
The Primate, in his opening address, summed up thus, with thankful acknowledgment, the ecclesiastical events of the three years past:--"In this interval of nearly three years, there has not been a death among the clergy in all our New Zealand dioceses. The number of our clergymen has risen to nearly one hundred, [261/262] including one priest and nine deacons of the native race. The consecration of Bishop Patteson has given a visible consistency, as well as an inward life, to the Melanesian Mission. His episcopate has already borne fruit in the ordination of the Rev. B. T. Dudley, to be his missionary deacon. The system organised by the General Synod at its first meeting in 1859 has come into active operation. Diocesan Synods have been assembled twice in the diocese of New Zealand, twice in the diocese of Christchurch, three times in the diocese of Wellington, and four times in the diocese of Nelson. With feelings of peculiar thankfulness I report that a Synod has been held in the diocese of Waiapu, which was attended by two English, and three native clergymen, and nineteen lay Synodsmen, all natives, in which all the proceedings were conducted in the New Zealand language. To complete the system, a Rural Deanery Board has been organised at Otago, which, under the present circumstances of that province, we hope will soon expand itself into the Synod of a new diocese." The bishop then dwelt eloquently and at large on "the power of association" in Church work, as in all other departments of man's life, and on the clear teaching of God's Word, that, though He sent His blessed Son to be "all and in all," yet that "He condescends to associate fallen men to be fellow-workers with Him"; that to every member of the One Body his proper place and work are appointed; and that His gracious purposes towards mankind can only be wrought out through the perfecting of the bonds of love and unity by which the members of [262/263] His Church are bound together. "This," proceeds the bishop, "is the principle of our synodical action. It 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 he separated in practice from the external unity of the body of Christ." The following passage has a special interest, regarded in the light of his own life's work:--"This work cannot he done without union of many hearts and hands, under the guidance of the wisdom which is from on High. 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." The remainder of the address was mainly occupied with matters of passing interest; with practical suggestions as to amendments which seemed to be required in the statutes passed by the Synod of 1859; and with information and remarks on the subject of the trusts constituted under the authority of the General Synod for holding and managing the various properties he had surrendered. The Report of the Standing Commission, appointed in 1859, was presented and read at the first sitting. It was highly interesting and important, in two respects especially, namely:--1. First, as regards the transfer of the property formerly held by the Bishop of New Zealand for the benefit of the Church in the colony--it was announced that in pursuance of resolutions agreed to by the General Synod on the [263/264] 23rd March, 1859, forms of trust deeds had been settled and approved by the Commission, and that, "with the exception of the Native School Estates in the diocese of Wellington, and a few small outlying pieces of land in the diocese of New Zealand, the whole of the Church property, formerly held by the bishop, had been transferred by him, and was now vested in several Boards of Trustees, [Footnote: "The Boards of Trustees so constituted, the names of the several trustees, the detailed description of the property, and the terms of the several trusts, appear in the Appendix to the New Zealand Church Almanac of 1862."--Report of Standing Commission.] which had been appointed by the Commission." 2. Secondly, with regard to the Tribunals Bill, in accordance with the instructions they had received from the Synod of 1859, they had carefully revised the Bill which had been considered by the Synod, but not passed, with the result that they had divided it into two Bills--one for defining ecclesiastical offences and the punishments thereof, the other for establishing tribunals for the trial off offenders. These two Bills, "prepared" (says the President in his address to the Synod) "with great care by the legal members of the Standing Commission," they had circulated, as directed, amongst the several dioceses.
This Synod held only four sittings, having broken up on the 24th of February. At the outset the meeting was informal, owing to the insufficient attendance of lay members; the session was in danger even of being wrecked altogether on this account; it could only proceed by the undesirable means of lowering [264/265] the quorum by special enactment; and the anxiety felt on the subject is shown by the fact that a committee was appointed on the first day of the session "to investigate, as far as practicable, the causes of the non-attendance of such a large number of lay representatives, to devise some means for securing a fuller attendance in future, and to suggest such alterations in clause 18 of Statute I"--the clause referring to the quorum of the General Synod--"as will obviate the difficulty likely to arise hereafter from the operation of the said clause." This committee reported, but no record has been preserved of its report, or of any action taken upon it. [Footnote: The action, however, appears substantially to have been the enactment of a statute for lowering the quorum pro hac vice. This statute is not Included among the sessional documents printed with the Report, having been repealed before the close of the session; and it was made a matter of complaint by the diocesan synod of Christchurch in 1864, that the statute had been "suppressed." It is a noticeable fact that in the text of the statute for organising the General Synod, as printed with the reports of successive triennial sessions till 1874 inclusive, the clause which fixed the quorum commenced with the words, "From and after the first day of March, 1862, the presence of two bishops," &c.,--so that an occult reminiscence of this temporary disturbance of the system was preserved in the Statute Book for many years.] This damaging fact, of the meagre attendance of laymen generally, involving the necessity of a special statute for lowering the quorum, and the circumstance that one diocese, whatever the cause, was wholly unrepresented, except by its bishop, threw a cast of comparative failure over the retrospect of this Synod, [265/266] which was not diminished by a report getting abroad, that the proceedings were not altogether harmonious. Rumour in this case appears to be borne out by the printed record, from a close examination of which it is discerned, clearly enough, that a disproportionate amount of the brief period of a four days' session was taken up with discussions on certain documents bearing on the constitution of the See of Nelson--discussions which, despite the mystery in which the subject is involved in the minutes, are perceived unmistakably to have been of an uncomfortable character; and the conclusion arrived at, after all, was that the discussion of the documents in question was not within the province of the Synod.
The results of the session, moreover, were comparatively insignificant; they may be briefly summarised as follows:--I. First, a body of instructions to trustees, which had been drafted by the Standing Commission was adopted with some amendments. These, though altered from time to time, especially in the latest Synod--that of 1886--are substantially those which are in force at the present time. 2. Secondly, some interesting reports were presented by the bishops of the provision made, or intended to be made, in their several dioceses for the spiritual instruction and benefit of the natives. 3. Thirdly, a series of resolutions on the Melanesian bishopric was adopted, of which the following was the most important:--"That the Melanesian bishopric be immediately associated with the General Synod; and that the Standing Commission be requested to prepare a draft of a special statute on missionary [266/267] dioceses, which might contain provisions for the nomination to the bishoprics when vacant, and even for the future contingency of their severance from this General Synod, when numerous and large enough to be formed into a separate ecclesiastical province." The statute here contemplated was enacted by the Fourth Synod, which met at Auckland in 1868. 4. Fourthly, Church discipline was left in much the same position as before. The draft bills, prepared, as we have seen above, by the Standing Commission, were referred back to the Commission for further revision; and it was resolved that, until the next meeting of the General Synod, it should be "competent for every Diocesan Synod to adopt for use within the diocese the Ecclesiastical Tribunals and Offences Bills now laid before this Synod by the Standing Commission." 5. Fifthly, some draft amendments of some of the alterable provisions of the Constitution, prepared by a Select Committee, appointed in pursuance of a recommendation made by the President in his address, were ordered to be circulated among the Synods of the several dioceses. None of these were of any moment. 6. Lastly, a statute was passed--Statute No. 8, "For the appointment of a Board of Trusts in the diocese of Christchurch"--for the purpose of meeting the supposed wishes of the Diocesan Synod of Christchurch. In the course of the session a petition from that diocese had been presented by its bishop, asking for such an alteration of the 27 th clause of the Constitution as should fully recognise the power of the Diocesan Synod to appoint trustees, in whom property within [267/268] the diocese should be vested. The General Synod declined to grant the prayer of the petitioners, to the extent of making the Diocesan Synod independent in this respect of the General Synod, but passed the above-mentioned statute instead, the main purport of which was to constitute a Board of Trusts--that is, a board for appointing trustees--within the diocese of Christchurch, and to delegate thereto its own power of appointing trustees under the "Religious, Charitable, and Educational Trusts Act, 1856." The members of the Board of Trusts were to be partly appointed by, and wholly responsible to, the General Synod.
We have mentioned this Act of the Synod of 1862 last in order, because it will serve conveniently as a link of connexion between the history of this Synod, and that of the next triennial one, held in Christchurch in 1865. From the fact that no clerical or lay representative from the diocese of Christchurch attended the Synod of 1862, it might be divined that there was a want of cordial acceptance of the Constitution on the part of the Churchmen of that diocese. Such, at any rate, was the truth. It is true also that the latent dissatisfaction which caused this coolness increased, and became more pronounced as time went on. Distrust and apathy were succeeded by open opposition, and in the difficulty of communication in those days, and the lack of opportunity for mutual explanation, opposition hardened and became embittered, until it issued in threats of separation, and in little short of an open breach. So far as the practical working of the Diocesan Synod [268/269] of Christchurch was concerned, nothing could be more satisfactory; it was with respect to its relations to the General Synod, and with reference to the theory of the Constitution, that discontent prevailed. The dissatisfaction was very general among the leaders of opinion in the diocese, but the grounds of it were not in all cases the same. In more than one of the malcontents, moreover, something of a personal animus, conceived against the Primate, arising from umbrage taken at sonic fancied slight, mingled itself with dislike of some of the main features of the Constitution. It should be borne in mind, also, that the dissatisfaction referred to was confined to the northern, or Canterbury, portion of the diocese; the Churchmen in Otago and Southland, nominally within the diocese, but practically separate, having their own Rural Deanery Board, and never, or almost never, sending representatives to the Diocesan Synod, for the most part cordially accepted the Constitution, and were in sympathy with the President.
The chief objections to the Constitution, as entertained at that time by Canterbury Churchmen, briefly stated, were these:--First, the basis was found fault with as unchurchlike. The Constitution Deed, instead of purporting by its title and preamble to be an instrument for associating together--as it were anew, and as a thing desirable--the members of the Church in the colony, as a branch of the United Church of England and Ireland, should, it was thought, have assumed the existence of the branch, and have simply declared its unity with the mother Church in doctrine and ritual. The principle of [269/270] "voluntary compact," it was thought, should be relied on only in reference to the relation of the Church to the civil government and the law of the realm--that being the only sense in which the principle of "mutual voluntary compact" could be understood with reference to the Church in primitive times--but as within the Church itself the basis, it was thought, should be Church authority. The Bishop of New Zealand should be conceived as having convened a council of clergy and laity by virtue of his inherent spiritual authority as Metropolitan. The writer will be forgiven, he trusts, for inserting here an extract from a letter written by himself under date November 29th, 1864, in reply to one of some length with which he was honoured by the Primate, dated October 24th, 1864, and which began as follows:--"I sit down to write freely to you on the subject of the questions now at issue, or supposed to be at issue, between the General Synod and the members of the Church in the province of Canterbury. I do this with the more freedom, because you were associated with me, as secretary, in all the preliminary meetings which were held on the subject of the Church Constitution, and of the appointment of the Bishop of Christchurch. My main difficulty is this--how to account for the state of feeling which now seems to prevail among the clergy and laity of Canterbury on the subject of the General Synod." In reply, the writer, after stating what he considered the "radical defect" of the Constitution, says:--"In short, my lord, the Churchmen of Canterbury would rally round your lordship with thankfulness and joy, as they have [270/271] done in former years, if you could see the way to throw over the present Constitution, which they cordially dislike, and to convene a Provincial Synod by your own authority as Metropolitan. I trust your lordship will forgive me. I should not have ventured to use such language, had you not invited me to speak freely. Our idea is (it may be a crude and rash one, and, no doubt, is surrounded by many difficulties) that your lordship might declare the General Synod, when assembled, a Provincial Synod, and invite it to re-model the whole Constitution on a simpler basis. There would be difficulties, no doubt, with the property already dealt with, but not, we imagine, insuperable ones. I am persuaded that your lordship really wishes to know what our views are, and, if possible, to meet them, and therefore I speak frankly." 2. Another objection, which weighed much in the minds of Canterbury Churchmen, was levelled against what was commonly termed the "property basis." The letter just quoted proceeds as follows:--"I despair of our relations being amicably maintained with the General Synod on any other basis than that I have indicated. The aversion to the present system, as a machinery for a central management of property, and for effecting discipline through property, is so strong and deeply rooted that, unless your lordship should see the way to re-constitute the New Zealand Church afresh, I am persuaded that it would be best for its welfare and peace, that this diocese should be released from its implied compact, and placed in the position it might have occupied at the outset, under clause 15 of the [271/272] Report of Conference--'If, however, the bishop, clergy, and laity of any diocese in New Zealand should prefer to remain separate, nothing in this Constitution will interfere to prevent them from so doing.'" With reference to the proposed new departure the writer goes on to say, "We have some hope that the words in the preamble, 'Until due provision shall be made in that behalf by competent authority,' taken in connexion with the altered circumstances of the Colonial Church since the Constitution was drawn up, may afford an opening for a revision of our whole position. The Church is now comparatively free, and may exercise its own 'competent authority,' and there seems to be no longer any necessity for this property machinery, which may be swept away, we hope, as a thing of the past." The "altered circumstances of the Colonial Church," referred to in the preceding extract, were those which arose out of the delivery on the 24th June, 1863, of "the Judgment of the Lords of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council on the Appeal of the Rev. William Long, v. the Right Rev. Robert Gray, D.D., Bishop of Capetown." The following words, which form part of this famous judgment, may be termed the charter of Colonial Church Government:--"The Church of England, in places where there is no church established by law, is in the same situation with any other religious body, in no better but in no worse position, and the members may adopt, as the members of any other Communion may adopt, rules for enforcing discipline within their body, which will be binding on those who, expressly or by [272/273] implication, have assented to them." The passage which follows immediately after this in the judgment, having reference to Church tribunals, is of equal importance, but need not he quoted here. As explanatory and confirmatory of the above judicial deliverance, should be read a portion of a circular despatch of the then Secretary of State for the Colonies, the Duke of Newcastle, to the Governors of all except Crown colonies, dated February 4th, 1864, and forwarded with a request that it might be communicated to the prelates of the Colonial Churches. His Grace, after stating that he had obtained the opinion of the law advisers of the Crown on the matters referred to, writes as follows:--"In the first place I am advised that (assuming that there is no local law to the contrary) the members of the Church of England, in a colony where that Church is not established, have the same liberty of assembling for any lawful purpose which is possessed by members of any other religious denomination; and that it would be lawful for a colonial bishop or metropolitan, without the consent of the Crown, and without any express legislative authority, to summon meetings of the clergy and laity of the Church, under the designation of Provincial or Diocesan Synods, or any other designation, for the purpose of deliberating on matters concerning the welfare of the Church." Thus was this ancient bugbear finally demolished.
3. Another strong objection entertained by Canterbury churchmen to the Constitution, as it then stood, had reference to the relative position of the diocesan element in the system. The writer asks [273/274] permission to explain their views on this point by another extract from the letter quoted above. The primate had asked in his letter of October 24th, 1864, "What is meant by a diocesan basis?"--the reference being to the following resolution, adopted by the Diocesan Synod of Christchurch on the motion of the Rev. J. Wilson, seconded by the writer, "That it is expedient to revise the Church Constitution with a view of placing its organisation on a diocesan basis." The reply was as follows:--"I cannot better explain 'what is meant by a diocesan basis,' than by referring to the Constitution of the American Church, in which the Diocesan Conventions regulate the internal affairs of their several dioceses independently, and send representatives elected by themselves, and from themselves, to a General Convention, to frame canons of discipline for the whole national Church. The diocese, as a complete and perfect Church in itself, is the unit and the basis of the system, the ecclesiastical province being composed of the aggregation of dioceses. As a matter of fact it may be said that the New Zealand Church has sprung from one diocese sub-divided; but we take our stand on the general principle that the diocese contains within itself all that is necessary for life and godliness, but that, for the sake of convenience and good government, and the maintenance of the episcopate, several dioceses are associated together in one ecclesiastical province. Under the present Constitution the Diocesan Synods are emanations from the General Synod, whereas we hold, as I have said, that the reverse order is right [274/275] in principle, and that the General Synod should he regarded as the sum of many units, and not the unit of which the Diocesan Synods are fractions: and this we hold not as a matter of theoretical correctness only, but as a practical necessity for maintaining the healthy, action of the several parts. Powers which should be held independently and by inherent right, are now delegated, and may be resumed or curtailed. At the name time the central authority, keeping to its rightful functions, would be looked up to with the deepest respect and the most loyal allegiance. This at least is our feeling, and these principles being understood to lie at the base of the system, we should thankfully hail, as I have said, the convening of a Provincial Synod by your lordship's authority." In a postscript it is added, "Does not the Colonial Church stand altogether in a different position to that which it held in 1857, owing to the virtual removal of many legal disabilities? And is it not, therefore, open to our branch of it to make a fresh start on a basis, which was then allowed to be the most audacious, if it could have been adopted?"
4. It was objected, in the next place, that no part of the Constitution not even the fundamental provisions, ought to have been laid down as absolutely "unalterable." 5. Lastly, the reservation to the General Synod alone of the liberty to avail itself of the power of appointing trustees under the Religious, Charitable, and Educational Trusts Act, 1856, was the ground of, if not the strongest, at least the most operative, objection.
The action taken by the Christchurch Diocesan [275/276] Synod on the subject last referred to, must now be briefly related. At its first meeting after the session of the General Synod of 1862, on the 24th September in the same year, Bishop Harper showed his loyalty to the General Synod by earnestly recommending his clergy and laity to accept the Christchurch Board of Trusts Statute, passed in response to their petition, and to complete the board by nominating one clergyman and one layman. His lordship even went so far as to say, "In making this request to the Synod, I feel myself bound to reiterate an opinion which I have elsewhere expressed, that it would be much for the advantage of the Church of this province, if all her property for ecclesiastical purposes should be vested in the General Synod." The Synod, however, by a decided majority both of clergy and laity, declined to accept the Board of Trusts Statute, and repeated, in a second memorial to the General Synod, the prayer of their former petition for complete independence as to temporalities. In the meantime the conviction was gaining ground that, in order to obtain such independence, it would be necessary to break off from the General Synod altogether. This conviction was much strengthened by a legal opinion on the whole position, given, at the request of the Standing Committee of the diocese, by Mr. Joshua Strange Williams, now one of the judges of the Supreme Court, of which the following is the concluding clause:--"For my own part, if the Diocesan Synod wish to obtain a really independent control over the Church property in the diocese, I cannot see how they are to do so, unless the authority of the [276/277] General Synod were altogether ousted, and in such a case it would, I presume, be necessary to re-constitute the Church in Canterbury on a diocesan basis." The date of this opinion is October 1st, 1863. On the 6th of the same month the Diocesan Synod met for its annual session, and a Select Committee was appointed on Church Trusts. On the 15th, the bishop, before calling on the Rev. J. Wilson to move the resolutions recommended by this committee, made a statement to the Synod as to the course he intended to adopt. He said that, "taking into consideration the relations in which he stood to the General Synod under the Deed of Constitution, he was unable to take any action in the Synod in reference to the resolutions. He was prepared, however, so far to carry out the wishes of the clergy and laity in the matter as to forward to the Standing Commission, and to the Synods of all other dioceses of New Zealand, any resolutions on Church Trusts they might think fit to adopt." And then his lordship added this important declaration:--"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 resolutions were then put seriatim, and earnestly discussed. When finally put to the vote, the following [277/278] were affirmed unanimously by the clergy, by the laity with at most one dissentient, but negatived by the bishop:--"That the peace and welfare of the diocese require the speedy settlement of its Church Property Trusts on a diocesan basis. 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. 3. That, though fully convinced, in reference to the pending dispute between the Synod of Christchurch 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. 4. That the Synod looks upon separation of the diocese of Christchurch 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." It was further agreed, the bishop concurring, that a petition be forwarded to the primate, asking him to convene a meeting of the General Synod at the earliest convenient period. In reply, the primate declined to anticipate the time of the ordinary triennial session, giving the reasons for his decision, and fixed the day of meeting for the 26th April, 1865. At the next [278/279] annual meeting of the Diocesan Synod of Christchurch, on the 2nd August, 1864, a Select Committee was appointed to consider this reply. The resolutions recommended by this committee were moved in Synod on the 12th by the Rev. James Wilson, and seconded by the Rev. H. Jacobs; they were as follows:--"1. That the Synod of Christchurch, having had under its consideration the answer of the metropolitan to the memorial of the Standing Committee, and having reviewed the position taken by this Synod in former sessions, sees no reason for withdrawing or modifying the demands then made. 2. That it is expedient to revise the Church Constitution, with the view of placing its organisation on a diocesan basis." An animated debate terminated with this result, the resolutions being put as one:--The bishop, no; clergy, ayes 9, noes 0; laity, ayes 6, noes 2. The bishop then read a statement to the effect that, though he could not vote for the resolutions, and though they were in consequence formally negatived, he would forward them to the Standing Commission and the Synods of other dioceses. The statement ended with an emphatic reiteration of the declaration made by him the year before, as to the course he was prepared to follow when the General Synod should meet. On the 17th August, the Synod appointed a commission of three clergymen and three laymen to take into consideration the report of the Select Committee of the General Synod of 1862, directed to be communicated to the several dioceses, on the revision of the Constitution. The report of this commission, having been laid before the bishop, [279/280] was to be sent to the members of all the Diocesan Synods, and to the members of the General Synod before the next meeting of that body; and, moreover, it was made "an instruction of the Synod to the representatives of the diocese in the General Synod to take the report of this commission, and suggested amendments of the Constitution, as a basis of action in the General Synod." The members appointed were the Ven. Archdeacon Jacobs, [Footnote: Appointed by the bishop "Archdeacon of Christchurch" in the course of this session of the synod, the Ven. Archdeacon 'Mathias having died in the preceding June.] the Revs. J. Wilson and J. C. Bagshaw, and Messrs. C. Davie, G. A. E. Ross, and the Hon. H. J. Tancred. The report of this commission, dated "Christchurch, January, 1865," and signed by all the members, is an extremely plainspoken document. It asserts the "essential unsoundness in a Church view" of the Constitution, and declares that "it would not be practicable to revise it in a way to meet the claims of the Synod of Christchurch without removing altogether the element of property as a basis of action." It proceeds to point out that the very preamble of the Constitution itself, when viewed in the light of the recent deliverance of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, and the Duke of Newcastle's despatch, appeared to open the way to a re-casting of the Constitution on a thoroughly satisfactory basis. For, according to the preamble, the Constitution purported to be an instrument for associating together the members of the Church by voluntary compact for [280/281] purposes of discipline and good government, "until due provision shall be made in that behalf by competent authority." Now that "competent authority," the Commission asserts, is to be found in "the inherent power of the Church to regulate its own internal affairs, as that power is exercised more peculiarly through the office and authority of the bishop"; and now at length the authorised interpreters of the law and advisers of the Crown have declared every disability to be removed, or non-existent, which had hitherto been supposed to stand in the way of the free exercise of that inherent power. They accordingly "suggest that a Provincial Synod be summoned by the metropolitan. The present elected members of the General Synod might be summoned, as representing the dioceses of New Zealand, to attend such Provincial Synod. The present General Synod, being, as it were, a constituent body, would merge, as soon as the occasion served, and the arrangements were perfected, in a legally convened Provincial Synod. The Provincial Synod, thus duly organised, would at once proceed to regulate its own Constitution and legislate on the internal affairs of the Church. We may assume that most of the existing legislation of the General Synod, with necessary alterations, would be adopted, and with general Acceptance. We should prefer that all legislation should take the form of CANONS." They further urge that, in any such Constitution, "no one point can properly be laid down as unalterable. The Church must, at all times, speak and answer for herself; and for her acts." But one condition of a satisfactory [281/282] reorganisation they strongly insist upon as indispensable and that is "the recognition of the independent existence of dioceses and of Diocesan Synods. Dioceses have an existence independently. Diocesan Synods, convened by the bishop, are not, on correct ecclesiastical principles, boards or committees of a General Synod. But the Church Constitution constantly and uniformly assumes that they are so. According to that Constitution, every Diocesan Synod derives its existence, and exercises its authority, from and under the General Synod." The report concludes in a very positive and determined manner:--"It will be seen that we do not propose any specific amendments of the Constitution as it now stands. It is impossible to accept it with the property element. The Synod of Christchurch has expressly refused to do this. Until, therefore, the principles on which our Church system is, for the future, to be based, are definitely laid down and accepted, we feel ourselves unable to suggest mere verbal amendments. To do so would be simply a waste of time."
Thus, as the time drew on for the meeting of the General Synod of 1865, the sky was sadly overcast, the storm seemed gathering amain. The result will be seen in the next chapter.