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A History of the English Church in New Zealand

And my respect to the General Synod


Jenner left the country soon afterwards, but he never withdrew his claims. In this attitude he was supported by the Bishop of Lichfield and by the rest of the English episcopate. The synodical system of the New Zealand Church is justly looked upon as one of the greatest achievements of Selwyn's life. There is something tragic in the reflection that he ended by flouting its authority.

The consecration of Bishop Neville on June 4, 1871, raised the episcopal bench to seven--its present number. But a sore trouble was impending. The New Zealand bishops were full of anxiety for the health of their young colleague in Melanesia, and before leaving Dunedin they wrote to him an affectionate letter, in which they urged him to leave his work for a time and to seek rest in England. They little thought how soon he was to find his rest, not in his earthly home, but in the heavenly Fatherland itself.

Their anxiety for Bishop Patteson's health was amply justified. During the previous year he had come to Auckland to be treated for some internal inflammation. Here his patience and sweetness had won all hearts, and his friends saw him off to his distant diocese with sad misgivings. He accomplished a lengthy voyage amongst the islands, amidst most favourable conditions, but he did not feel well enough to attend the General Synod which met in Dunedin in Feb. 1871. "I regret very much," he wrote, "that I am unable to attend the meeting

of the General Synod. I know full well how the very life of the mission is involved in its connection with the Province of New Zealand, and I earnestly wish to express in every way that I can my sense of the value of this connection, and my respect to the General Synod." The mission, he said, was flourishing, and was able to pay its way. But his heart was sore at the labour-traffic which was carrying off his islanders to the plantations of Queensland and Fiji. On this subject he sent to the synod a powerfully-worded memorandum, which, as we read it now amongst the synodical documents, seems to be written with his heart's blood. The synod passed a warm motion of sympathy with himself and his labours. The motion was forwarded to Norfolk Island by the primate, and reached the bishop on the day before that on which he began his last voyage. His reply deals with so many points of importance that it must be given at length:

"My dear Primate,--Your kind letter of March 7th has just reached me. _The Southern Cross_ arrived to-day; and we sail (D.V.) to-morrow for a four or five months' voyage, as I hope. I am pretty well, always with 'sensations,' but not in pain; and I think that I shall be better in the warm climate of the Islands during the winter.

"I did not at all suppose that the Synod would have taken any notice, and much less such very kind notice, of my absence. Many dear friends, I know full well, think of and pray for me and for us all.

"The point in my memorandum that I ought to have pressed more clearly, perhaps, is this, viz., the mode adopted in many cases for procuring islanders for the plantations. I am concerned to show that in not a few cases deceit and violence are used in enticing men and lads on board, and in keeping them confined when on board. I don't profess to know much of the treatment of the Islanders _on the plantations_.

"I am very thankful to hear that the Dunedin question is settled at length, and so satisfactorily.

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