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.
Consecration of Christchurch Cathedral--Ninth General Synod--Legislation recast in shape of Canons--The Ven. Archdeacon Harris--The Discipline Bills--Church of Sweden--St. John's College, Auckland--The Maori Apostasy--Tenth General Synod--Reminiscences--Bishop Barry--Samoan Chiefs--Episcopal Superintendence of the Fiji Group--Sir Alexander Stuart--Education System of New Zealand--Petition to Legislature--Diaconate and Lay Ministrations--St. John's College--History of Church of New Zealand--Conclusion.
The usual interval of three years between one session of the General Synod and the next was happily broken in the case of the eighth and ninth Synods by an auspicious event, which brought together the majority of the bishops, and united them in solemn acts of worship and hearty thanksgiving. The occasion was the consecration of the nave of the Christchurch Cathedral, which, after many disappointments and innumerable delays, had at length been brought to completion with its lofty tower and spire, and peal of ten bells. [Footnote: See Part IV.--"Diocese of Christchurch"--for a further account of this Cathedral.] The Bishops of Auckland and Melanesia, being prevented by distance from being present in person, could only write their congratulations; the four other comprovincial bishops testified their sympathy with [397/398] the Primate by being present, and taking their part in the octave of services and sermons, by which the joyous occasion was solemnised. The day of Dedication was the Festival of All Saints, November 1st, 1881.
The last days of March, 1883, saw the members of the ninth General Synod gathering from north, south, and west towards a new place of meeting on the east coast of New Zealand. Napier, the seat of the Bishopric of Waiapu, [Footnote: At the session of the Diocesan Synod, at which Bishop Stuart was nominated, a member moved, "That the name of the see should be changed to Napier"; which was immediately met by another with the counter-proposition, "That the name of the town of Napier be changed to Waiapu."] had on no former occasion been sufficiently advanced to receive the Synod, but from this time it took its full rank among New Zealand cities. The session was opened by the Most Rev. the Primate on Tuesday, April 3rd, in St. John's Schoolroom. This building has since been taken down to make room for the handsome new brick Church, which is soon to he consecrated as the cathedral of the diocese. There had been the usual preparatory service in the morning at the old St. John's Church; and at the special choral evensong in the same venerable wooden edifice, a vigorous discourse was preached by the Bishop of Wellington on Ezek. iii. 11, in which two main points were insisted upon by the preacher with all his well-known fire and energy; first, the fitness of the Constitution of the Church of New Zealand as an organisation for the proclamation of God's Word to men; secondly, [398/399] the duty of the Church, the clergy especially, in this day, to be unflinchingly faithful in bearing witness to the Bible as the Word of God, without abatement, and in no apologetic tone, "whether men will bear or whether they will forbear."
The history of the legislation of this Synod will not detain us long. By far the most important act of the session was the re-casting of the legislation of the past into the shape of canons. The Synod had proceeded very cautiously and deliberately in this matter, the first step having been taken at Nelson in 1877, when a commission was appointed "to sit during the recess, and to report at the next triennial session on the expediency of forming a digest of the existing statutes in the shape of canons, and the best method to be adopted in future legislation." They were also authorised actually to re-arrange the Constitution and Statutes under appropriate headings, and submit such re-arrangement to the Synod for its consideration. This Commission reported, at the Christchurch Session of 1880, (1) First, as regards the process of legislation, that, in their opinion, no better course could be adopted than that which had been previously pursued, namely, the carrying of Bills through their several stages in the manner provided by the Standing Orders, with preambles, when necessary, setting forth the reason why, or the circumstances under which, the new enactment or amendment was proposed to be made. The history of the legislation would thus be preserved, the enactments passed in the course of any session being printed as part of the proceedings thereof. But, secondly, (2) With regard [399/400] to existing legislation, that it was highly expedient, for the sake of clearness, connectedness, and convenience of reference, that a digest of the Constitution and statutes, in the shape of canons, should be made. They were persuaded that the advantage--not to say absolute necessity--of such a digest would become increasingly manifest, as time proceeded, and the enactments of the Synod of necessity increased in number and complexity. The Commission submitted at the same time a digest they had prepared, together with an analysis of the same, in which the provisions of the Constitution and the statures were arranged, after the pattern of the American church, under general headings called titles, divisions called canons, and sub-divisions termed sections. The Synod did not forthwith adopt the digest, but ordered the analysis of it to be printed with the proceedings of the session, together with the report of the Commission, and recommended the next General Synod to consider the expediency of adopting the procedure recommended by the Commission, and giving the force of a formal enactment to the digest they had prepared. The whole subject was accordingly gone into very fully at the Napier Synod of 1883, and, after very careful consideration, not without some opposition, the digest was finally adopted. For this very important and valuable work, the result of a vast expenditure of thought and labour, the thanks of the Church are due, almost exclusively, to the Ven. Archdeacon Williams.
Another archdeacon, venerable not for his years so much as for his services to the Church--in the [400/401] Diocese of Christchurch more especially--and for his high character, was conspicuous for his zealous and unremitting labours, as well as for his calm judgment, in the proceedings of this session. This was the Ven. W. Chambers Harris, Archdeacon of Akaroa, and formerly Head Master of Christ's College Grammar School, acknowledged to be--in a large measure through his wise and able government--the first public school in New Zealand. The early and lamented death of the Ven. archdeacon, scarcely more than two years after the close of this session, removed an earnest labourer from the earthly service of his Master, one who is still, and long will be, sorely missed in the diocese in which his lot was cast, and who, had it pleased God to spare him, would probably have risen to yet higher offices in the Church than that which he so worthily filled. [Footnote: The Ven. William Chambers Harris, M.A., was educated at Bradfield, Berks, and Brasenose College, Oxford, of which he was a Scholar; Second Class Mod., 1862; ordained Deacon by the Bishop of Oxford (Wilberforce), 1864; Priest, by the Bishop of Christchurch, N.Z, 1866; Assistant Master of St. Peter's College, Radley, 1865; Head Master, Chaplain, and Fellow, Christ's College, Canterbury, 1866; went home invalided in 1873, and resigned his Mastership. Recovering, was appointed Head Master of Wimborne Minster Grammar School, 1874. Resigned, and became Vicar of Marchwood, Southampton, 1877. Returned to New Zealand in 1879, having been appointed Organising Chaplain to the Bishop of Christchurch, and again made Fellow of Christ's College. Appointed Archdeacon of Akaroa in 1882. Again returned to England, seriously ill, in March, 1885. Died at his father's house at Llanrwst, North Wales, on the 2nd June, 1885, in the forty-fifth year of his age. His conscientious endeavours to "improve his talents" to the very end of his days were most exemplary. By determination and earnest practice he had succeeded in making himself, in the last year or two his life, an exceedingly able extempore preacher.] His chief work in the Napier [401/402] Synod--the only one of which he was ever a member--was the perfecting of the Discipline Statutes, now arranged as Canon I., "Of Ecclesiastical Courts," and Canon II, "Of Ecclesiastical Offences," both under the general heading, Title D, of "Of Discipline." These enactments, as we have seen, were carried very hastily through the Synod at the very close of the session of 1877, and were in a somewhat chaotic condition. The archdeacon bestowed upon them a prodigious amount of labour--for they are very lengthy--and carried them through the Synod in the thoroughly digested and complete form in which they now stand, and in which they are likely to remain, it may be, for generations to come.
The Commission on the Diaconate, appointed at the preceding Session, presented a very full and valuable Report, upon which, however, no action was taken until three years later.
The Bishop of Dunedin laid upon the table the correspondence which had passed between himself and Bishop Grafstrom, of the Church of Sweden. The letter of the Swedish Bishop, which is printed in the Appendix to the Proceedings, is a highly interesting document, speaking hopefully of the prospects of intercommunion between the Church of Sweden and the Churches of the Anglican Communion, though not without reference to the existence of lingering prejudices in the opposite direction [402/403] among his countrymen. With regard to the proposal made at the last Session, that the Church of Sweden should send to New Zealand, and bear the cost of the maintenance of, a Missionary to the Scandinavian settlers in the Colony, who should be ordained by one of the New Zealand Bishops, Bishop Grafstrom expressed his regret that the Foreign Missionary Society, or Board, of the Church of Sweden was unable at present to incur the necessary expense, inasmuch as the Mission to South Africa, which had been almost ruined by the Zulu war, absorbed the whole of the available funds of the Society.
The following important Resolutions were passed with regard to St. John's College, Auckland:--1. "That the Synod do approve of the temporary removal of St. John's College to some situation nearer the Auckland University College, and do authorise the Trustees to make an application, if necessary, to the Legislature to pass an Act empowering them to do so." 2. "That it be an instruction to the Trustees and Governors of St. John's College to report particularly and fully to the Synod as to the results of the temporary change, and whether it is desirable to make the removal permanent; and, if so, whether it would be practicable to build the new College in some portion of the Cathedral ground."
"On the last evening of the Session"--we quote once more from the New Zealand Church News of May, 1883--"the Synod went into committee, at the instance of the Bishop of Melanesia, on the Report of the Sessional Committee on Home and Foreign Missions, especially with regard to a recommendation [403/404] that the Synod should consider the best means of bringing back to the Church those Natives who had lapsed from the Christian Faith during the Maori wars. On this subject several exceedingly interesting speeches were made, in particular by the Bishops of Auckland, Dunedin, and Melanesia, Archdeacon Williams, the Rev. Samuel Williams, and Colonel Haultain. But the most marked feature of the discussion was a proposal made on the spur of the moment by the Bishop of Melanesia, to the effect that a Pastoral Letter should be addressed by the Primate in the name of the Synod to the Native race, especially to those who had abandoned the Faith they had once professed. The proposal was received with acclamation, and at a later period of the evening his Lordship read the following brief Address which he had prepared, and requested the Rev. S. Williams to translate it into the native tongue, and take steps to circulate it:--'To our Brethren of the Native race in this Island.--It has pleased Almighty God, that we, the representatives of the Church of the Province of New Zealand, should meet in Council in the Diocese of Waiapu; and we are reminded by our presence here of those who were once our fellow-members in this Church, but are not so now. We are about to conclude the business for which we have met, and to return to our homes, but cannot do so without expressing our heart's desire that they who are separated from us may be again united with us in one body, under the one Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. We would ask, therefore, our Maori brethren to consider among themselves, whether their reunion [404/405] may not be effected, and earnestly trust that our appeal to them in this behalf may not be in vain. Signed on behalf of the General Synod of the Church of the Province of New Zealand, by H. J. C. Christchurch, President.'" [Footnote: In answer to an enquiry made by the writer, the Ven. W. L. Williams wrote as follows in February of the present year: "The original Hauhauism of 1864 and following years is, I imagine, extinct altogether. The fact is, there was not much religion in it. The movement was more political than religious. In the Taranaki district Te Whiti has absorbed it, so to speak. In this district (Poverty Bay), and in the Bay of Plenty, Te Kooti's system has taken its place, while in Waikato, Taupo, and parts of the Bay of Plenty, several other kinds of 'Karakia' are in vogue, but in all of them there is a very strong political element. There is, however, a great reaction taking place in the eastern portion of the Bay of Plenty and at Taupo, which there is reason, I think, to hope will extend itself."]
On Friday, April 20th, after sitting for thirteen clays, the Synod separated, the session having been closed with the usual solemn acts of devotion.
We pass over nearly three years, and the scene is shifted from Napier to Auckland; but the majority of those who are again met together in council at the tenth General Synod are the same. The Bishops are the same without exception; all the seven were present at Auckland, as at Napier in 1883, and at Christchurch in 1880. The clergy were nearly the same; only the frosts of time had left more visible traces on the heads of some. There was one, however, who had taken a conspicuous part in every Synod from that of Nelson in 1862 to that of Napier [405/406] in 1883, both included, whose familiar countenance and voice were greatly missed: the truly venerable Archdeacon Maunsell was living close at hand in Parnell, and his slightly bent form might be seen almost daily on horseback; but he was released from duty and in feeble health. Among the lay members was one who had taken part in the Conference of 1857, nearly thirty years before, and had signed the original Constitution, the Hon. Colonel Haultain. There were three others, who should have been mentioned before, as earnest and influential members of many Synods in succession, the Hon. J. B. A. Acland of Canterbury, Mr. C. Hunter Brown of Nelson, and Mr. E. E. C. Quick of Dunedin; to whom should be added a much-valued new member, Mr. Hugh Garden Seth-Smith, M.A., Resident Magistrate of Auckland. In all seventeen clerical and twenty lay Representatives attended with great regularity; and in no former session have the lay members generally taken a more active part in the proceedings. The session opened in the midst of the steamy heat of an Auckland summer, on the 28th January, 1886, the aged and beloved Primate, now 82, once more presiding. The place of meeting was the Cathedral Library, unaltered since the Fourth Synod met there in 1868 under the presidency of the Bishop of New Zealand and Lichfield. The coincidence led the Primate to indulge in many sadly interesting reminiscences in his opening Address: with the name of Bishop Selwyn he joined those of his two trusted friends and advisers, Sir William Martin and Mr. William Swainson, both residents in that city, [406/407] and members of the Synod over which Bishop Selwyn presided for the last time--"now sharing his place of rest with him"--the name also of John Coleridge Patteson, who was also a member of that Synod, "whose memory will be ever dear to the New Zealand Church, alike for his singularly attractive graces, and for self-sacrificing faithfulness in carrying on the work begun by Bishop Selwyn in the South Sea Islands, and for the consecration of that work by his death."
But if this meeting of the General Synod was rendered peculiarly interesting by these reminiscences of the past, it was also marked by memorable incidents of the present, hereafter to rank among the treasured memories of those who took part in or witnessed them. In the first place, the Most Rev. Dr. Barry, Bishop of Sydney, and Primate of Australia, who was travelling for health's sake, was present by invitation, and sat on the episcopal bench, next to the President, on the opening day. A resolution of welcome having been passed, Dr. Barry replied in a brief but most appropriate and admirable address, in which he spoke of having watched with deepest interest, long before he had had any expectation of coming to this part of the world, the growth and development of the Church in New Zealand, especially the working of its synodical system. Speaking of the need of unity and common action among the distant branches of the Church, his lordship shadowed out the possibility, in the future, of a Synod which should unite the Church of New Zealand with the Churches of Australia and Tasmania. "How that may be brought about," said [407/408] his lordship, "I cannot tell; but I am profoundly convinced that the one main need of our colonial life is the need of unity. There is not the slightest danger of over-centralisation; there is rather the danger of too independent action of the various dioceses." The Primate of Australia preached the same day before the Synod and a crowded congregation at the special evening service at St. Sepulchre's Church, taking St. Matthew xviii. 20 for his text.
On the third day of the session, the Bishop of Dunedin introduced to the Synod two Samoan chiefs, who were visiting Auckland for political objects, and whose acquaintance he had made in the course of the preceding year, while engaged in a missionary tour to some of the Islands of the South Pacific. Their names were Mr. Joine Upolo and Mr. Siamanu. Though not members of the Church of England, but Presbyterians, they had received the Bishop very kindly at their homes, and had been very helpful to him in furthering the objects he had in view in visiting their island. The President welcomed them heartily, and explained to them the objects and work of the Synod. Mr. Upolo replied in excellent English, thanking the Primate and the Synod for the cordial reception they had given him and his companion, and explaining the object of their visit. He believed that, if the Church of England sent ministers to Samoa, they would be well received. In connection with this incident, it should be stated that the bishops had under their consideration a communication addressed to the Primate with reference to the episcopal superintendence of the Fiji group and other adjacent [408/409] islands; and on the next day they laid before the Synod the following resolution at which they had arrived:--"That a communication having been received by the Primate from His Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury suggesting that, during the session of the General Synod, the bishops of New Zealand should consult with the Primate of Australia as to the best regular provision which might be made by them for the episcopal oversight of the English Church congregations in Fiji and adjacent islands, and a request for such oversight having been received from the members of the Church of England in Fiji, the bishops of this province, after a conference with the Primate of Australia, are of opinion that efforts should be made for the supervision and visiting of the congregations and members of the Church in Fiji, Samoa, and other adjacent islands, and that their proximity and the commercial connection of these islands with New Zealand indicate that this duty can be best undertaken by the Church in New Zealand; the bishops, therefore, will, if practicable, arrange for one of their number to visit these localities, prior to any arrangement being made for episcopal supervision, and in the meanwhile have requested the Bishop of Dunedin to act as correspondent, referring in any case of special importance to the Primate."
The Synod thanked their lordships for their communication. We may add that by request of the Bishops the Bishop of Nelson paid a visit in the course of the year 1886 to Fiji, Samoa, and other of the islands included within the scope of the Archbishop's letter.
 Later in the evening of the day on which the Samoan chiefs were introduced, another distinguished visitor, who had just arrived from Sydney, and was present in the room, was invited to address the Synod, the subject under discussion being one on which he was specially qualified to speak with experience and authority. The gentleman referred to was Sir Alexander Stuart, brother of the Bishop of Waiapu, and lately Premier of New South Wales, [Footnote: Sir Alexander was on his way to London, where he was commissioned to represent his Government in connection with the Indian and Colonial Exhibition. While in England he was taken ill and died, deeply regretted.] and the subject under discussion was religious instruction in public schools. Sir Alexander said that, "in New South Wales the Education Act did not ignore religious teaching, as that of New Zealand did; on the contrary, it provided for it. But Churchmen there had passed through a time of great trial. He himself had been thrown into the position of being the champion of the Denominational system in Parliament. The enormous power given to the public schools by a lavish expenditure, and by the will of the majority of the people, had overwhelmed the Denominationalist party, so that they had been obliged to capitulate, and make the best terms they could. As it is, permission is given to the various churches to give religious instruction within school hours. At first this proved a dead failure; the clergy had not taken advantage of the opportunity afforded them. But that was not the case now. From year to year they [410/411] were availing themselves of it more and more, and a great impetus had been given to the work by the arrival and exertions of the Primate of Australia. In more than four-fifths of all the public schools in the Diocese of Sydney--and they were very numerous--religious instruction was systematically given, in some instances by the clergy, in others by bands of trained teachers who assisted in the work. In the country schools, of course, it could not be given so methodically as in towns; but, with few exceptions, some degree of religious instruction was imparted in all, at least once a week. In a majority of cases the schoolmaster holds out the right hand of fellowship to the clergyman and his assistants, and acknowledges the benefit derived from the religious instruction; they find the children more amenable to discipline and better behaved. The parents also highly approved of what was being done. In 1884 the subscriptions given in aid of the movement amounted to £500; in 1885 it rose to about £2,000; and at the last annual meeting held in connection with the movement no fewer than 1,200 people were present." In conclusion, Sir Alexander said that if the few words he had spoken had given those present encouragement to engage vigorously in the same great movement, he would, indeed, be happy at having been able to be present and give the result of his experience in New South Wales.
In connection with this subject it should be stated that the whole Provincial Church of New Zealand has been for years past profoundly dissatisfied with the existing system of Government education, established [411/412] by the Legislature in 1877, which is exclusively secular. By permission of the local committees, the school buildings may be made use of for religious instruction before or after school hours; but no encouragement or even recognition of such instruction can be looked for from the school authorities. The Bible may not be read, nor may a prayer be said, in a Government school; so far as the force of law can go, the Name of God is ignored. At the same time, the high pressure at which the secular instruction is maintained is such as to absorb the time and energies of the pupils to such an extent as to render almost nugatory the most zealous efforts that can be made to supplement the secular teaching by any organised system of religious instruction. In a few parishes, here and there, where the conditions are exceptionally favourable, the efforts to utilise the time before or after school for imparting such instruction have not been wholly without success; and in a few other cases Church day schools have been set on foot, and carried on with a considerable degree of efficiency under circumstances of great difficulty. But the general result has been the almost complete paralysis of the religious instruction of the young throughout the land, so far as the Anglican Church and the Protestant sects are concerned: the Roman Catholics, being at unity among themselves, and concentrating their undivided strength upon this object, succeed in maintaining day schools in every considerable centre of population. The Diocesan Synods and the General Synod rarely meet without deploring the evil, and protesting in some form against it. The parents are, for the most [412/413] part, individually dissatisfied; but for the present there seems to be but little hope of change; the secular system dominates the public mind; and the politicians and the journalists "love to have it so." The only hope is that a reaction may come in time, and of this it may be that some faint presages are perceptible. Here and there, there is agitation in favour of Bible-reading in the public schools; but the General Synod has never been satisfied with this pretence of religious instruction. In four successive Synods, beginning from 1877, it has put forward in the form of petitions to the Legislature these two principles as necessary conditions of any system of public instruction with which Churchmen ought to be satisfied:--
"1. That the Education Act should be so amended that provision may be made for imparting religious instruction in school hours, in the public schools of the colony, by ministers of religion, or persons duly authorised by them, to the children belonging to their respective communions.
2. That any fully satisfactory measure for education by the State should contain a provision for grants in aid being made to schools set on foot by any religious denomination, provided the attendance and secular instruction in such schools shall come up to the required standards, and satisfy the Government Inspector."
It has been stated, a few pages back, that the Report of the Commission on the Diaconate, appointed at the Christchurch Synod of 1880, was presented, but not dealt with, at Napier in 1883, except [413/414] that it was ordered to be printed in the Appendix to the Report of the latter Session. At the Session now under review, a Select Committee was appointed "to consider the Report of the Commission appointed at the Synod of 1880, to enquire into the age for admission to the Diaconate and to consider both other plans for the extension of the Diaconate, and the proposal made by the Primate in his Address for the institution of an order of Lay Evangelists; and to make such recommendations to this Synod as they may think fit." The Report of this Committee, which is contained in the Appendix to the Proceedings of the Session of 1886, is deserving of thoughtful study. It draws special attention to the replies of some of the American Bishops, and that of the Rev. Dr. Hopkins, of Pennsylvania, on the age of admission to the Diaconate. The final result, when the Report of the Select Committee came before the Synod, was the adoption of the following resolutions:--"(1.) The General Synod recognises the right of the Bishops of New Zealand to grant the faculty referred to in the preface to the Ordinal. Such faculty to be issued by the Primate on the application of one of the Bishops with the assent in writing of the majority of the Bishops of the Province. (2.) With regard to the proposal to extend the Diaconate by admitting to the office persons intending to continue in the exercise of secular occupations, the Synod is of opinion that the admission of such persons to the Diaconate must be left to the discretion of individual Bishops. (3.) The Synod is of opinion that in parishes and parochial districts, where adequate [414/415] provision is not made for the spiritual wants of the people, Lay Evangelists should be employed under the sanction of the Bishop, and with the consent of the clergyman, to undertake short services, and to preach in mission rooms, or in the open air, or in such other places as may be approved of by the Bishop."
The passage in the Ordinal, referred to above, is as follows:--"And none shall be admitted a Deacon, except he be twenty-three years of age, unless he have a faculty. And every man, which is to be admitted a priest, shall be full four-and-twenty years old; and every man which is to be ordained or consecrated Bishop, shall be fully thirty years of age."
But the principal debates of this session had reference to the removal of St. John's College. Extraordinary interest in this subject was manifested both within and without the Synod, and the discussions were of a very animated character. Early in the Session a Select Committee was appointed, on the motion of the Bishop of Melanesia, "to consider all questions connected with St. John's College and report thereon to the Synod." It will be remembered that, at the last Session, held at Napier in 1883, the Synod sanctioned the temporary removal of the College from Tamaki to some situation nearer the Auckland University College, and authorised the Trustees to make application to the Legislature for power to effect such removal. An Act had accordingly been passed without opposition, in the course of the same year, entitled, "The St. John's College Auckland Removal Act, 1883," authorising the [415/416] removal of the "said Collegiate Institution from its present site to a site in Parnell, or elsewhere in the neighbourhood of Auckland," and providing that "it may be from time to time removed as the Trustees for the time being with the authority of the General Synod may determine"; and that, "all the endowments of the said Collegiate institution shall avail for the benefit thereof, and shall be held on the same trusts respectively as if the site of the said institution for the time being had been the site thereof when the said endowments were made." In the Report of the Governors of the College laid before the Synod in 1886, they stated that, in accordance with this Act, they had purchased a convenient property at Parnell, close to the Bishop's residence and the Cathedral site, consisting of three quarters of an acre of land, with buildings suitable for their purpose already erected upon it. The students had moved into these premises at the beginning of the year 1884, and temporary arrangements had been made for their supervision and instruction. Such of the students as were sufficiently advanced were attending the lectures of the University College professors. An important statement, which follows in the report, we will give in the words of the Governors: "Irrespective of the reasons for the change of location, which were submitted at the last session of the Synod, there is now a more serious obstacle to the continuance of the college at Tamaki, in the subsidence of the foundation of a part of the main buildings, which renders its occupation dangerous; and the Trustees have been assured by a competent architect, whom [416/417] they employed to inspect and report on the buildings, with a view to take remedial measures if practicable, that their thoroughly unsound condition admits of but one safe course, viz., rebuilding.' Such a course, under present circumstances, is absolutely impossible. A new and suitable building could not be erected for less than £8,000 or £10,000, and it will be many years before the funds derivable from the endowments will admit of such an expenditure being incurred."
"Inasmuch, therefore, as a return to the old buildings in their present condition was impracticable, and as the results of the removal to Parnell, in so far as the training and instruction of the students were concerned, were so satisfactory" (as they had shown in detail in their report), the Governors had decided to recommend, "that the Synod should approve of the retention of the institution in its present locality until the Synod of 1892, when the subject might be again brought under its consideration." They proposed this extended period, because they found it impossible to make anything like permanent arrangements with a warden and tutors, when the prospects were in such an extreme state of uncertainty as at present. The last paragraph of this report we give, as before, in the words of the Governors:--"The Governors deem it unnecessary here to enlarge on the disadvantages attendant on the isolation of young men from society generally by placing them in a building far removed from Auckland, in a district sparsely inhabited, and where their only acquaintances would, as a rule, be limited to the small number [417/418] of their fellow-students, and where also they could not have that constant intercourse with the Bishop and the town clergy, and that opportunity of being initiated into parochial work, which are of primary importance to candidates for holy orders." The report was signed by the Bishop of Auckland as chairman.
On the other hand, a shot, if we may be allowed the expression, had been fired into the camp from the other side of the world, which disturbed all the calculations of the Governors. Those who know only so much of the origin and early history of St. John's College as they have been able to gather from the preceding pages of this history--those who are aware how much the heart of Bishop Selwyn was wrapped up in this institution, and how it was associated with all the plans and aspirations of the earlier period of his episcopate--will not be surprised to hear that the news of the resolution arrived at by the Synod in 1883, sanctioning the removal of the college, and the application to the Legislature for permission to remove it, occasioned painful surprise and sad reflections to the surviving friends of the great bishop in England, and caused them to forward to the Primate, to be laid before the Standing Commission, a strong protest against the whole proceeding. This document, dated 26th December, 1883, was signed by the revered widow of the bishop, by his elder son, the Rev. William Selwyn, and by Bishop Abraham. Can it be wondered at that it should exercise a potent influence with a Select Committee, moved for, nominated, and presided over by one so trusted and beloved as his younger son, the Bishop of Melanesia--and with the Synod at large? It was simply a contest between warm sentiment and dry, hard fact. Who, without feeling self-accused of coldness of heart, and downright sacrilege, could venture to hint that the selection of the site of St. John's College was a mistake from the beginning? But we must refrain from trespassing on the domain of contested opinion, and confine ourselves to the statement of the historical conclusion. The whole question was fully discussed in committee of the whole Synod on Friday, February 12th, and, after a debate of much warmth, but happily tinged by no bitterness--rendered memorable by the tact and courtesy, as well as by the firmness, of the chairman, Colonel Haultain, and by the fine spirit displayed by the Bishop of Melanesia--the resolutions recommended by the Select Committee were adopted, with amendments, in the following shape:--
"(1) That, in the opinion of this Synod, a resident warden should be appointed for St. John's College as soon as can be. (2) That occupation of the buildings at Tamaki be resumed, as soon as they can be put into proper order. (3) That a definite standard of attainment be required, before candidates are admitted to scholarships. (4) That the permission given by the General Synod of 1883 to sell a part of the Tamaki estate be, and hereby is, rescinded." The Governors would have been left in a state of painful perplexity and uncertainty, especially by the second of the foregoing resolutions, but for the following addition moved, after their adoption had [419/420] been made sure, by Colonel Haultain, seconded by the Bishop of Melanesia, and carried almost unanimously:--"That, until funds can be provided for the maintenance of a warden, and for restoring the College buildings at Tamaki, this Synod does not direct the Governors to change the location of the college." The effect of this resolution, in the opinion of many, would be to neutralise all the preceding ones.
After sitting for thirteen days, this Synod was closed by the venerable Primate in the accustomed manner, it having been agreed that the next triennial session should be held in Dunedin in 1889.
We have reserved one resolution of this Synod to the last. On the fifth day of the session, the President, having previously informed the Synod that he had received a communication from the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, to the effect that they proposed to publish a series of histories of provincial Churches, and requesting him to appoint an editor for that of the province of New Zealand--that he had laid the matter before the bench of bishops, and that their lordships had received the proposal with satisfaction, and concurred in a certain recommendation respecting it--it was moved by the Bishop of Melanesia, seconded by Mr. Quick, and resolved:--"That this Synod accepts the recommendation of the bishops respecting the proposed provincial history, and requests the Very Rev. the Dean of Christchurch to accept the duty of editor."
The result is in the hands of our readers. The writer lays down his pen at the conclusion of this [420/421] main portion of the work, for which he is personally responsible, with feelings of humble and devout thankfulness to Almighty God for the abundant blessings He has vouchsafed to this Church--for the soundness of her faith, for the good success granted to the missionary labours of His servants, the revered founders of His Church in this land, the labours also of the translators of His Word, for the wealth of high and noble example He has given to this Church to treasure, for the wisely-ordered Constitution which binds her members together in unity, while it allows all an ample measure of liberty--and, he would add, for the profound peace and absence of party strife, which, with very few and partial exceptions, the Synods especially of this Church have to a remarkable degree, and for so many years, enjoyed. May her progress in knowledge and zeal and holiness in the future be in keeping with these blessings of the past! The closing months of the year 1887 still see the New Zealand Church under the wise, moderate, and constitutional rule of the octogenarian Bishop of Christchurch. May the heroic zeal and devotedness of her first great Primate ever inspire her bishops and priests to lead lives of self-sacrificing, self-forgetting labour! May the kindly, fatherly, conciliatory spirit of his successor ever prevail in her counsels, for the promotion of unity and concord! May her laymen ever emulate the example of those honoured men, whom time would fail us to enumerate, who have helped to build up the walls of our Sion! May all her children alike be animated by that fervent [421/422] patriotism, which breathes in the devout words of the Psalmist:--
O pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee.
Peace be within thy walls, and plenteousness within thy palaces.
For my brethren and companions' sakes I will wish thee prosperity.
Yea, because of the house of the Lord our God, I will seek to do thee good.
POSTSCRIPT.--Some days after the completion of the foregoing history, and two days before the closing of the mail, by which the writer had undertaken to transmit the MS. of the whole work to England for publication, an important event occurred, which he ought not, he thinks, to lose the opportunity of mentioning in a postscript. The Most Rev. the Bishop of Christchurch, at the close of his address at the opening of the annual session of the Synod of the diocese, on St. Luke's Day, October 18th, 1887, announced his intention of resigning his see at the end of the year next ensuing. His lordship went on to say that he would convene the next annual session at as early a date as possible after Easter, 1888, that steps might be taken for the appointment of a successor.