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.
The Bishops resign their Patents--The Effect--The Dunedin Bishopric Question--The Bishop of New Zealand writes to the Archbishop--Appointment of Rev. H. L. Jenner--Resolutions of Rural Deanery Boards Vetoed--The Primate's Visit to the South--Dr. Jenner consecrated--Resolutions of R. D. Board, February, 1867--Memorial--Mr. W. Carr Young's Letters--His Interview with the Archbishop--Bishop Jenner's Undertaking--The Archbishop's Letter--Resolutions of R. D. Board--Bishop Jenner's Departure delayed--Sir W. Martin's Opinion--General Desire to refer the Matter to the General Synod.
The third General Synod had hardly separated, when tidings reached New Zealand of the delivery, on the l0th March, 1865, of the Judgment of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council on the petition of the Bishop of Natal, commonly known as the "Westbury Judgment," by which it was laid down that the Crown had no power to create dioceses with territorial limits, or to grant ecclesiastical jurisdiction to bishops in colonies possessed of an independent legislature. It followed, in effect, that the Patents, under which the New Zealand bishops were admitted to their offices--including the Bishop of New Zealand, since, although his original Letters Patent were granted before the colony received an independent Legislature, a fresh Patent was granted when he was made Metropolitan--were declared to be null and void. It had been already felt by the Primate and his brethren on the bench, before this news arrived, that [300/301] their position was an anomalous one, as administrators of a system based on mutual compact with their clergy and laity, and yet, by virtue of their Patents, when supposed to be valid, standing outside and above that system. He had accordingly, as he stated in his address to the Fourth Synod, held in Auckland in 1868, caused to be prepared by his legal advisers, before the news of the Westbury Judgment arrived, "a draft form of Letters Patent," which he laid at the same time on the table of the Synod, "framed upon the principle of authorising the bishop to administer the affairs of the Church in his diocese in New Zealand in conformity with the regulations of the General Synod." New Letters Patent, framed on this model, he, and no doubt the other bishops of the New Zealand dioceses with him, would have endeavoured to prevail on the Home Government to substitute for those they had hitherto held. But the knot they would thus have done their best to untie, was now abruptly cut asunder for them by this famous judgment. A very different course now commended itself to them; they took the decisive step of petitioning Her Majesty the Queen to be permitted to surrender their Letters Patent. This petition, which was drawn up and signed by the Bishops of New Zealand, Wellington, and Nelson (Bishop Hobhouse) before the end of May, and by the Bishops of Christchurch and Waiapu a few weeks later, is a very remarkable document, [Footnote: It is printed at length in the Appendix to the Report of the General Synod of 1865, and in Tucker's "Life and Episcopate of Bishop Selwyn," vol. ii. p. 135.] calculated to no small extent to open the eyes of the advisers of the Crown with regard to the position and claims of the Colonial Church. The petitioners, in the first place, "humbly express their conviction that all the powers necessary for the due administration of the office of a bishop in this colony were conveyed to them by the Ordinance of Consecration. They go on to say that they "accepted Letters Patent from the Crown, the validity of which has now been denied by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council." They therefore "humbly crave permission to surrender their Letters Patent, and to be allowed to rely in future upon the powers inherent in their office for perpetuating the succession of their order within the colony of New Zealand, and securing the due exercise of their episcopal functions in conformity with the Church Constitution hereinafter described." They proceed to point out that the Constitution adopted by the Church of New Zealand, and the legislation enacted under it, with reference especially to discipline, was in strict accordance with the principles laid down in recent decisions of English courts of law. They "humbly express their conviction," moreover, that the right of appointment of bishops in New Zealand is not part of the prerogative of the Crown, inasmuch as all the bishoprics were founded by private efforts, and endowed from private resources." Finally, they "humbly pray that all doubts may be removed, as to their status both ecclesiastical and temporal, (1) by the acceptance of the surrender of their Letters Patent, now declared to be null and void; (2) by declaring the Royal [302/303] Mandate, under which they were consecrated, to be merely an authority given by the Crown for the Act of Consecration, and to have no further effect or legal consequence; (3) by recognising the inherent right of the bishops in New Zealand to fill up vacancies in their own order by the consecration of persons elected in conformity with the regulations of the General Synod, without Letters Patent, and without Royal Mandate, in the same manner as they have already consecrated a missionary bishop for the islands in the Western Pacific."
With reference to the effect of this petition, the Primate spoke as follows in his address to the Auckland Synod in 1868:--"Mr. Cardwell, then Secretary of State for the Colonies, is reported to have said in the House of Commons, that the Government thought that this petition might reasonably be complied with; but no official answer to it has been received by us. There is no reason to suppose that Letters Patent will in future be granted to colonial bishops."
We pass on by a natural transition to the tangled and painful story of the Dunedin bishopric, connected as it is with the foregoing incident in point both of time and subject. The division of the vast diocese of Christchurch, and the constitution of a separate bishopric for the provinces of Otago and Southland, had long been recognised by Churchmen generally, but, more especially, by the Bishops of New Zealand and Christchurch, as objects of the last importance; and the urgency of the need was felt to be more and more pressing, as fresh discoveries of goldfields in the southern provinces were [303/304] continually opening up the country in every direction, leading to the formation of new centres, and hastening the increase of population to an enormous extent. In 1862, as we have seen, the Primate said, in his address to the General Synod at Nelson, "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." In that and the following year the Bishop of Christchurch, with the concurrence of the Rural Deanery Board, took active steps towards raising an endowment for the proposed new see, and succeeded in obtaining from the Colonial Bishoprics Council the promise of a grant of £1,000 for this purpose conditional on £5,000 being raised from other sources. Towards the sum thus required, the bishop also obtained the promise of another sum of £1,000 from the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge. An appeal which his lordship made at this period to the Churchmen of the two southern provinces was responded to by subscriptions amounting to £950. The prosperity of these provinces was then at its height; a period of comparative depression followed, and additional subscriptions came in very slowly. Still, at the Christchurch session of the General Synod in 1865, the completion of the arrangement was thought to be within measurable distance, so that, when the question arose, at what place the next triennial session should be held, it was unanimously agreed that the next session of the General Synod be held at Dunedin if by the [304/305] time of meeting there be a bishopric of Dunedin constituted, and the bishop shall have entered on the duties of his office. If there be no bishop at Dunedin, the next session shall be held at Auckland." Anxious to push the matter forward without delay, the Primate and the Bishop of Christchurch, immediately on the breaking up of the Synod, hastened to Dunedin, and on the 26th May a meeting of the Standing Committee of the Rural Deanery Board was held, at which both prelates were present, the Bishop of Christchurch presiding. At this meeting the Primate suggested that at the next meeting of the Board, a resolution should be passed requesting him to write to the Archbishop of Canterbury, [Footnote: Archbishop Longley] to ask his Grace to recommend a clergyman whom he might deem fit to be appointed to the new see. In consequence of this suggestion, a special meeting of the Rural Deanery Board was held on the 14th June, at which again both bishops were present, and a resolution was proposed, that the Primate should be asked to write to the Archbishop, informing him of the steps which had been taken towards raising a sufficient endowment, and that it was expected that the whole sum of £6,000 would he obtained in the course of another year," and to request that his Grace will be pleased to recommend a clergyman, whom he may deem fit to be consecrated for the proposed see." To this motion the "previous question" was moved as an amendment, and was carried.
 It must have been in the interval between the meeting of the Standing Committee and that of the Board, that the Primate wrote to the Archbishop the letter which he had suggested that he should be asked to write, and which was the origin of all the subsequent trouble, since it cannot be supposed that it was written subsequently to, and in the teeth of, this adverse vote of the Board. With reference to this unfortunate communication the Bishop of Christchurch says, in a "Letter to the Archbishops and Bishops in communion with the Church of England," written in 1873, "It will be seen from what I have stated above, that there had been no concurrence on the part of the Rural Deanery Board in this application; and I must add, no authority had been given for it at the late session of the General Synod (in 1865), neither at any previous Synod." His lordship adds, "I was not myself aw of the application of the Metropolitan, neither do I know the terms in which it was made." Bishop Selwyn's own account of the matter, in a letter which he wrote to the Bishop of Christchurch on the 5th January, 1866, to announce that the Archbishop had selected a clergymen for the see, is as follows:--"On the subject of the bishopric, resolutions of the Otago and Southland Rural Deanery Board have already been passed, but our Constitution provides no mode of election or nomination of a bishop for a newly-constituted diocese. In all former instances I have suggested the person, and the Church members in the district proposed for the new diocese have given their formal consent, without which I should not [306/307] have proceeded further. In this instance, having exhausted my stock of personal friends, I applied to the Archbishop, and, through his kindness, I am now enabled to mention the name of Rev. H. L. Jenner, and to certify that he has formally accepted the Church Constitution, by an instrument in writing, and will be ready to come out as Bishop of Dunedin, if he is assured of the willingness of the members of the Church to welcome him as their chief pastor." [Footnote: In the same letter the Primate says: "The promptitude with which the Archbishop has acted upon my request makes it necessary to take immediate steps for raising the Endowment Fund, and also for ascertaining that the diocese of Christchurch is satisfied with the Archbishop's choice." The spirit of the 23rd clause of the Constitution, which provides that "the nomination of a bishop shall proceed from the Diocesan Synod," would have been far better--would indeed have been fully--satisfied, had the bishop obtained, as he evidently intended and expected to obtain, when he went to Dunedin with Bishop Harper in May, 1865, the previous sanction of the Rural Deanery Board of Dunedin and Southland, before writing to the Archbishop. Unfortunately, he allowed his zeal to prevail over his discretion, and wrote without waiting to ascertain whether this sanction would be given. The following extract from an article signed by the well-known initials, R. M., which appeared in the Auckland Church Gazette of December, 1874, puts this proceeding in the light in which it has been almost universally regarded by leading Churchmen in New Zealand:--"Bishop Selwyn has laid this Church under deep obligations for the skill with which he piloted our craft amid difficulties of considerable magnitude. Still, like other human beings, he sometimes erred; and one of his failings (a failing which left a legacy of trouble in more quarters than one) was the readiness with which he seized the helm himself after he had passed it over to other hands. There is little doubt but that his fervid temperament carried him forward too rapidly in the case of the Bishop of Dunedin. He erred in writing to the Archbishop; he erred also in his letter to Dr. Jenner. Afterwards, when he came to examine the proceedings of the Synod, he found that he had not received the authority under which he thought he was acting; and he then frankly confessed to Archbishop Tait that 'he was not authorised by any written document to request the late Archbishop of Canterbury to select a bishop for Dunedin.'"] [307/308] The bishop appears to have overlooked an exceedingly important difference between this case and the former ones to which he refers. In those he was dealing with portions of his own diocese; in this he was interfering in the diocese of another bishop.
But we have somewhat anticipated the course of our narrative. After the meeting of the Rural Deanery Board on the 14th June, 1865, the two bishops stayed for a few days in Dunedin, "during which," says Bishop Harper, "efforts were ineffectually made to add to the promised amount of subscriptions." Then they parted, Bishop Selwyn to return to Auckland, Bishop Harper to visit the southernmost portion of his diocese. At the very beginning of the year 1866, Bishop Selwyn received a letter from Archbishop Longley, informing him that he had selected for the see of Dunedin the Rev. Henry Lascelles Jenner, M.A., Vicar of Preston, near Sandwich, Kent, of whom his Grace gave a very high character. [Footnote: Mr. Jenner, who was a son of the well-known judge of the Court of Arches, Sir Herbert Jenner Fust, was formerly a scholar of Trinity Hall, Cambridge, took the degree of LL.B., and was placed in the Second Class of the Law Tripos in 1841. Was ordained deacon in 1843, priest in 1844. After his appointment to the bishopric the degree of D.D. was granted to him by the university of Cambridge. Dr. Jenner still retains the vicarage of Preston.] On the receipt of this letter, the Bishop of [308/309] New Zealand wrote to the Bishop of Christchurch, urging him to convene a meeting of the Rural Deanery Board forthwith. The Board met accordingly on the 22nd February, the Rev. E. G. Edwards, rural dean (afterwards archdeacon), presiding, and the following resolutions were passed:--I. "Moved by Mr. James Smith, seconded by Mr. R. B. Martin--"that, as a sufficient provision has not yet been made for the support of a bishop, it is not expedient to take any action at present with a view to confirm the conditional appointment of the Rev. H. L. Jenner, more especially as that appointment has been made without the authority or concurrence of this Board.' 2. Moved by the Rev. E. H. Granger, seconded by the Rev. R. L. Stanford--'That this Board is desirous to record its extreme regret that through misconception the Rev. H. L. Jenner should have been led to suppose that the time has arrived for the appointment of a bishop for Otago and Southland, there being at present no sufficient endowment raised, and that this Board continues to be decidedly opposed to the appointment of a bishop without a sufficient endowment having been provided, and that the honorary secretary be requested to forward this resolution, together with the minutes of the last meeting of the Rural Deanery Board, to the Rev. H. L. Jenner, through the President of the Board.'" The foregoing resolutions, having been forwarded to the Bishop of Christchurch, were vetoed by him. Unfortunately, Mr. Jenner was not made acquainted with what took place at this meeting, and of this he bitterly complained afterwards, saying, in a printed letter to the Bishop of Christchurch, dated July 2nd, [309/310] 1873, "Had I been allowed to receive these resolutions, you may be very sure I should not have presented myself for consecration, and thus I should have escaped the tremendous injury, which, to the eternal disgrace of the New Zealand Church, has been inflicted upon me." [Footnote: The Bishop of Christchurch says, in his "Letter to the Archbishops and Bishops," &c., before referred to--to which Bishop Jenner's letter of July 2nd, 1873, is a reply--that "on hearing from the Metropolitan in April, 1866, that several members of the board, who had voted for the resolutions of February 22nd, and that Churchmen generally, in all parts of the Rural Deanery, had contributed to the Endowment Fund, he regarded these resolutions as virtually withdrawn."] In the following month (March, 1866), the Bishop of New Zealand, much disturbed by the passing of these resolutions, hastened to visit the southern provinces for the purpose of raising funds by his own personal exertions towards the completion of the endowment. Calling at Christchurch on his way down, he expressed to the writer his extreme surprise at the unwonted promptitude with which his suggestion had been acted upon by the Archbishop, as contrasted with the proverbial "slowness" of Church work. In the course of this visit to the south, the Primate succeeded in raising nearly £1,300, and towards the end of it he wrote a letter to the bishop-designate, commencing thus: "Tokomairiro, Province of Otago, April 16th, 1866. My dear Bishop of Dunedin,--I thus address you in the hope that my letter to the Archbishop will have removed all doubts, and that you and Dr. Suter are already consecrated." Hence it appears that the [310/311] Primate wrote a second letter to the Archbishop about this date, urging his Grace to proceed with the consecration of Dr. Jenner. In this same letter he was led, probably through some confusion of memory, not having the records of the Synod before him at the time of writing, to make the following strangely inaccurate and otherwise unaccountable statement:--"You seem to have been told that your subscription to the New Zealand Church Constitution was premature, if not unnecessary; on the contrary, the General Synod expressly requested the Archbishop of Canterbury to place our Constitution in the hands of any clergyman whom he might select, and obtain his written assent to it, before he recognised him as bishop-designate." The result showed how calculated these words were to mislead the person to whom they were written, since from them Dr. Jenner not unreasonably drew the inferences which are thus emphatically stated by him in his pamphlet entitled, "The See of Dunedin, N.Z.":--"If language has any meaning at all, the above extract proves that the Archbishop was authorised by the General Synod to do three things:--1. To select a clergyman; 2. To obtain his written assent to the Constitution; 3. To recognise him as bishop-designate. And all these several steps did Archbishop Longley take in regard to myself."
The consequence of the Primate's letters to the Archbishop and Dr. Jenner was, that the latter was consecrated, together with Dr. Suter, bishop-designate of Nelson, by royal mandate, to be "a bishop in New Zealand," on St. Bartholomew's Day, 1866. On the receipt of the intelligence that the consecration was [311/312] on the eve of taking place, the Bishop of Christchurch wrote thus to the bishop-designate:--"The last mail brought us the intelligence of your proposed consecration on August 24th, an event which I trust has been realised, though it is not yet clear to us how it has been brought about inasmuch as no formal resignation of that part of my diocese, which lies in the provinces of Otago and Southland, has been sent in by me." His lordship proceeds to hazard the conjecture, which turned out to be correct, that the authorities in England intended to leave it to the General Synod to settle the question of territorial jurisdiction; hence the wording of the mandate--to be "a bishop in New Zealand."
On the 21st February, 1867, the annual meeting of the Rural Deanery Board was held in Dunedin under the presidency of the Bishop of Christchurch, who, in his address, expressed a hope that fresh efforts would be made to increase the endowment fund, and that steps would be taken without delay to provide an episcopal residence, as the new bishop might be expected to arrive very shortly. The following resolution was accordingly moved by Mr. W. Carr Young, and seconded by the Rev. E. G. Edwards: "That the Rev. H. L. Jenner, having been nominated by the Archbishop of Canterbury, and consecrated under royal mandate Bishop of the See of Dunedin, [Footnote: Erroneously worded. Full particulars of the consecration had not then reached New Zealand, or had not been communicated to the Board] this Board recognises the duty of [312/313] making preparations for his reception, by providing a suitable residence, and completing the requisite endowment." An amendment was moved, declaring it to be "inexpedient on the score of insufficiency of income to undertake the responsibility of encouraging Dr. Jenner to leave England for the purpose of entering on the duties of the bishopric, to which he has been appointed without the concurrence of the Rural Deanery Board." After much discussion the amendment was lost on division (ayes 6, noes 11), and the resolution was carried. This vote was often appealed to afterwards, as implying, at the least, the acquiescence of the Board in the nomination: on the other hand, it was urged by many, that it was "acquiesced in only when it appeared too late to raise objections." Up to this time the insufficiency of the endowment had been the only objection publicly alleged against the appointment; but a report had been gaining ground, meanwhile, that Dr. Jenner was a prominent member of the ultra-ritualistic party in the Church. Serious alarm and anxiety began to manifest themselves on this score. Had the bishop been in a position to come out at once to the colony, he might by the force of hard work, combined with tact and discretion, have lived down all opposition; but he was prevented by difficulties of a financial nature from taking this course, and being too honest to disguise his principles, and his new position having made his name more conspicuous than of old, he became more and more an object of dread and suspicion, as each mail brought news of his having taken part in services and celebrations of a startling [313/314] description. To such an extent, and so rapidly, did the alarm and opposition spread that, in June of this year (1867), a strongly-worded memorial, drawn up by the Rev. W. F. Oldham, of Riverton, and largely signed by office-bearers of the Church and other prominent laymen, was sent home to the Archbishop, "entreating his Grace to urge upon Dr. Jenner the desirability of not entering upon the duties of a bishop over an unwilling, and, to a great extent, hostile diocese, but to beg him to renounce officially all intention of coming to this colony." The Bishop of Christchurch, in an earnest remonstrance addressed to Mr. Oldham, deprecated the opposition, but in vain; and, very shortly after letters arrived from England, which raised the excitement to fever heat, Mr. W. Carr Young, the mover of the resolution recognising the duty of making preparations for the reception of Bishop Jenner, having had occasion shortly after to visit England on business for the Provincial Government of Otago, being resolved to judge for himself regarding the rumours of the bishop's extreme opinions and practices, attended on the 13th June the Dedication Festival of St. Matthias, Stoke Newington, in which it was known that he was to take part. Being astonished beyond measure at what he saw and heard, he felt it to be his duty to write a letter to Archbishop Longley, in which he stated that, on the occasion referred to, he "had witnessed the most extravagant scenes, and heard the grossest doctrines that ever disgraced a so-called Protestant Church," and that Bishop Jenner "not only assisted in this popish ceremony, but [314/315] afterwards at a luncheon publicly expressed his admiration of the whole service as conducted at St. Matthias'." If those were the views of the bishop, "he would assuredly practise them," and the result, he was persuaded, would be "the certain disruption of our Colonial Church." He therefore "earnestly hoped that it might not yet be too late to rescind Bishop Jenner's appointment." He also wrote to the bishop himself, telling him plainly how much he was shocked at what he had witnessed, and urging him to weigh well the position of affairs in the Rural Deanery, before he decided on sailing for New Zealand. He assured him that "the appointment of a bishop was condemned by all as premature, and was totally rejected by some as unauthorised"; but that "the chief, if not the only, serious objection was purely on personal grounds, namely, on account of his High Church views and ritualistic practices." He further informed him that "the prospect of obtaining the bishop's fund, and providing an appropriate residence, was by no means encouraging when he left Dunedin," and that he was satisfied that, when the news of the proceedings at St. Matthias' reached the colony, it would be "impossible to obtain the necessary contributions."
On the 1st July, Bishop Jenner wrote to the Rev. E. G. Edwards, saying, "I have determined to remain in England for the Pan-Anglican Synod. I hope to arrive at Dunedin before Christmas. if a house of some kind can be be got ready for us by that time, we shall be grateful." He then goes on to speak of Mr. Young's threatened opposition, and [315/316] of the service at St. Matthias'. His "sh in that service," he says, "was confined to giving the Absolution and Benediction," adding, that he did not "consider himself in any way bound to avoid taking part in any services that are allowed by the law of the English Church." At the same time he declared that "nothing could be further from his intentions and principles than to endeavour to force a ritual such as that of St. Matthias on the clergy and laity of his diocese." "I should most undoubtedly discourage," he says, "the most obvious improvements in Divine worship, unless they were introduced with the most tender and considerate regard to the feelings, and even prejudices, of the devout laity. Nothing, in my opinion, would he more ridiculous than to attempt to carry out 'high ritual' in New Zealand, particularly in such a settlement as that of Otago." Lastly, he declared that he was "prepared to carry out the undertaking he entered into before his consecration, when he signed the Constitution of the New Zealand Church--viz., to resign his office, when called upon to do so by the General Synod." "But I owe it to my own position," he says, "to decline to submit to any other authority whatever." No doubt he would have to encounter many difficulties, as Mr. Young had warned him; "but," he concludes, "only let me have fair play, and I have no fear but that, by God's blessing, I shall be able to surmount the obstacles which may be placed in my path."
Further, on the 26th June, Mr. Young wrote at length to Mr. Edwards, describing in much detail the proceedings he had witnessed at the service at Stoke [316/317] Newington, and stating that he had had an interview with the Archbishop on the 22nd, at which his Grace said that "Dr. Jenner's appointment caused him more grief and anxiety than he could express, and that he was not unprepared for the objections he (Mr. Y.) had urged; that he had not the remotest idea of Dr. Jenner's ritualistic tendencies, nor had he exhibited any before his appointment; that he thoroughly disapproved of the bishop's proceedings, and concurred in the course Mr. Young proposed to adopt for frustrating the appointment, only suggesting that the requisition should be addressed to Dr. Jenner rather than to himself, which would have the effect of forcing his resignation." Mr. Young added that he "had the Archbishop's authority for mentioning what his Grace expressed at the interview."
A special meeting of the Rural Deanery Board was held on the 11th September, to consider the foregoing letters. The rural dean (the Rev. E. G. Edwards) presided, the Bishop of Christchurch having left for England to attend the first Lambeth Conference. After much warm debate, and the rejection of two amendments, the following resolution, moved by Mr. James Smith, and seconded by the Rev. Algernon Gifford, was carried on division (ayes 12, noes 9):--"that the secretary he instructed to write to Mr. William Carr Young, conveying the thanks of this Board for his letter to the rural dean, dated 26th June last; but informing him that, while fully concurring in his opinion that any attempt on the part of the Bishop of Dunedin to introduce against the will of the members of the [317/318] Church in this diocese, such practices as those described in Mr. Young's letter, or any change of ritual or obsolete observance distasteful to the laity, would meet with general opposition, and, if persisted in, would lead to most unhappy results, yet having read the Bishop of Dunedin's letter to the rural dean, dated 1st July last, which, in effect, emphatically disavows any such intention, this Board does not feel justified, in the face of that assurance, in endeavouring to dissuade the bishop from undertaking the charge of his see."
The annual meeting of the Board took place on the 29th January, 1868, the Bishop of Christchurch being still in England. The rural dean read several letters addressed to himself. In the first, which was from Bishop Jenner, dated September 30, 1867, the bishop again "strenuously disclaims all intention of introducing what people call Ritualism into New Zealand", and authorises the rural dean to make this offer on his behalf--"to place my resignation in the hands of the Primate, at the expiration of three years from the date of my arrival, on being requested to do so by (say) two-thirds of the communicants of the diocese." In the course of the letter he says:--"My consecration may have been premature--the whole course of my selection and nomination to Dunedin may have been a blunder--but surely this is not my fault. I am consecrated and set apart for the work, and, come what may, I must give myself to it." The other letters were of less moment, with the exception of one from the Archbishop, in which his Grace condescended to plead for the acceptance [318/319] of his nominee, under the circumstances of his solemn promise, to abstain from "obtruding his ritualistic tendencies upon his flock," and his undertaking to resign the see on the conditions stated by him. At this session no affirmative resolution was adopted, but the following motion by the Rev. R. L. Stanford, seconded by Mr. R. B. Martin, was negatived on division--(ayes 5, noes 8): "That this Board earnestly desires to express its opinion, that the entrance of Bishop Jenner upon active duties in this diocese would be most disastrous to the Church, and that this resolution be laid before the General Synod for its consideration." As the year in which the next triennial session of this body was due had now begun, and Bishop Jenner had not arrived, the desire began to be entertained on all sides that the whole question should be referred for final decision to it, as the supreme legislature of the Church of the Province. Dr. Jenner himself acquiesced, though reluctantly, in this course. Believing that a reaction had begun to set in in his favour in New Zealand, he had determined, subject to the approval of the Bishop of Christchurch, to leave England on the 3rd February, 1868. But on January 9th, Bishop Harper, being in England, wrote to him to say that "recent advices from his diocese had convinced him that, the opposition being on the increase, Bishop Jenner's departure from England must be postponed until the General Synod should have met, and formally sanctioned his appointment." The Bishop of New Zealand, who was also in England, concurred in this judgment. The Rural Deanery Board also strongly [319/320] urged that the whole matter should be referred to the General Synod, and finally decided by that body. Writing to the rural dean from England on the 30th May, 1868, Bishop Harper informed him that the General Synod would meet in October of that year, and that he proposed to summon his own Diocesan Synod to meet towards the end of September, and to call upon that body to make a formal nomination of a bishop for the southern portion of the diocese, about to be formed into a separate bishopric. "This is evidently required by our Constitution," the bishop writes, referring to the famous 23rd clause. "Of course," he adds, "all deference would be paid by the Diocesan Synod to the expressed wishes of the Rural Deanery Board of Otago and Southland." "It was expedient, therefore," his lordship urged, "that the Board should meet, and express its wishes in a formal resolution, and forward the same to the Diocesan Synod; also, that the representatives of the Deanery in the Synod should attend at Christchurch when the Synod meets." This course being extremely distasteful to the rural dean and many others, and at the same time contrary to their judgment, they sought the opinion of Sir William Martin as to the true meaning of the 23rd clause of the Constitution. His reply, which was received on all sides with the deference due to an oracle, was as follows:--"As to the meaning of the clause 23 of the Church Constitution, I do not think there was any doubt in any man's mind at the time of the revision. It was intended to be an adoption of the ancient rule of [320/321] the Church, that a bishop is to be chosen by the concurrent voice of the clergy and laity of the diocese--that is to say, the clergy and laity over whom he is to preside. As the most regular and satisfactory mode of carrying out this principle, the nomination is required to proceed from the Synod. No doubt the ordinary case of an election to fill a vacancy in a diocese already possessing a Synod, was the case contemplated. In the r and exceptional case of an election of a first bishop, all that can be done is to conform to the spirit of the clause. An election by the Synod of Christchurch, though it might seem nearer to the letter, would certainly not have been according to the true meaning or spirit; for it would really have been an election by persons outside of the diocese. In point of fact, I suppose there was a fair and reasonable approximation to the rule in this case of Dunedin." In the last clause Sir William refers presumably to the acquiescence in the nomination of Bishop Jenner, implied in more than one resolution of the Rural Deanery Board.
The correctness of this judgment was tacitly admitted by all concerned, and now the meeting of the General Synod at Auckland was looked forward to with the liveliest expectation. The Rural Deanery Board met, in response to the request of the Bishop of Christchurch, on the 18th August, and passed the following resolutions:--"That this Board refers the question of the formation of the see of Dunedin, and the appointment of its first bishop to the General Synod for its final decision. 2. That, in the opinion of the Board, it would be injurious to the best [321/322] interests of the Church in this Rural Deanery if this question should not be settled by the General Synod.' The foregoing resolutions were laid before the Diocesan Synod of Christchurch at its annual meeting on the 9th of September. This body gave its formal assent to the division of the diocese of Christchurch, and the formation of Otago and Southland into a separate diocese, and, while not raising any objection to the settlement of the pending, controversy by the General Synod, indicated the following course as that which approved itself most to its judgment, namely, "that the General Synod should consent to constitute the diocese of Dunedin, and, calling into existence its Diocesan Synod, devolve upon that body the responsibility of nominating the first bishop of the new diocese." It will be seen in the sequel that this was the course which was ultimately adopted.
In our next chapter the scene will be transferred to Auckland.