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No. LXXXVIII. JANUARY, 1836. VOL. VIII.
VIEW OF THE PRESENT STATE AND PROSPECTS OF THE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH IN THE AUSTRALIAN COLONIES, AND OF THE ENCOURAGEMENT HELD FORTH BY GOVERNMENT TO VIRTUOUS AND INDUSTRIOUS FAMILIES OF THAT COMMUNION TO SETTLE IN THE TERRITORY OF NEW SOUTH WALES.
(BY DR. LANG.)
THE present Governor of New South Wales, Major-General Sir Richard Bourke, having taken into consideration the utter inadequacy of the existing provison for the intellectual and spiritual welfare of that rapidly advancing and flourishing Colony, as well as the inexpediency and injustice of appropriating so large a proportion of the public funds as has hitherto been set apart for the support of the Colonial Episcopal Church, in comparison with the sums appropriated for the benefit of other communions, has, at his own request and suggestion, been authorised by the Right Honourable the Secretary of State for the Colonies, to make effectual provision for the general diffusion of useful knowledge by means of schools all over the territory, and for the future maintenance and support of the ordinances of religion, agreeably to the customs and institutions of the leading communions of the colony. The nature and extent of the provision contemplated for the latter of these objects will appear from the following Heads of the New South Wales Ecclesiastical Bill, “published by authority," in the "New South Wales Government Gazette," of the 20th July, 1836:
"A Bill to promote the Building of Churches and Chapels, and to provide for the maintenance of Ministers of religion in New South Wales.
"In conformity to the principles upon which His Majesty's
Government have been pleased to sanction contributions
been raised by private contributions towards the building of a Church or Chapel, and Minister's dwelling, the Governor, with the advice of the Executive Council, to be authorised to issue from the Colonial Treasury any sum not exceeding the amount of such private contributions, to the extent of £1000, in aid of the undertaking. "2.-The Governor, with the advice of the Executive Coun. cil, to issue stipends to officiating Ministers at the following rates, namely:
"If there be a resident population of 100 adults, subscribing a declaration of their desire to attend the Church or Chapel of such a Minister, £100 per annum.
"If 200 adults, £150 per annum.
"If 500 adults, £200 per annum.
"3.-If, notwithstanding, there be less than 100 adults, the Governor and Executive Council to be authorised to issue, under special circumstances, a stipend of £100 per annum.
4.-In places where there is no Church or Chapel, and there is reasonable ground for delaying the erection of the same, the Governor, with the advice of the Executive Council, to be authorised to issue any sum not exceed-· ing £100, towards the stipend of a Minister, in aid of private contributions to the same amount, such contributions not being less than £50.
“5.—Trustees, not less than three in number, to be appointed for every Church or Chapel by the private contributors towards the same; to which Trustees the real estate therein shall be conveyed, and who shall receive and account for sums issued in pursuance of this Act.
"6.-Free sittings to be reserved in every Church or Chapel,
to the extent of one-fourth of the whole, for the use of
"7.-Trustees to be appointed for Churches or Chapels
In anticipation of the immediate operation of this enact ment, the nature of which had been known in the colony for some time before, the leading Episcopalians of New South Wales, who, the undersigned is happy to state, regarded it almost universally with the utmost satisfaction, as a measure of real benefit to their own communion, not less than of equity and liberality to others, had, under the superintendence and management of their recently appointed Bishop, who had arrived from England on the 29th of May last, formed them
selves into a Committee, and raised a considerable fund for the planting and endowment of additional Churches of that communion throughout the territory. Funds had also been subscribed, previous to the announcement of the enactment, for several additional Churches of the Presbyterian communion, for which salaries for the ministers had been guaranteed by the Government, under the old system, during the year 1835; but as that enactment placed the Presbyterians on the same footing as their Episcopalian brethren, they will be able to avail themselves of its provisions in the way of settling additional ministers to a much greater extent than could possibly have been done under the old system, or than is likely to be done, for some time at least, by the Episcopalians of the colony. The zealous and unremitted exertions, however, of the members of both communions, will be indispensably necessary, for the future, to maintain the ascendancy, and to secure the general reception of the great doctrines of the Protestant Reformation, which are alike held by them both, in those vast territories of which Great Britain has been enabled by Divine Providence to obtain possession in the Southern Hemisphere. For as the Man of Sin, feeling his throne tottering on the old continent, is now in anxious and diligent search for new continents to subject to his unhallowed domination, it becomes the bounden duty of the friends of the Protestant Reformation generally, whether they may march under the standard of Reuben, or under the standard of Judah, to unite all their moral and spiritual energies to secure the attainment of their common object, and thereby to dispossess the Canaanite of the heritage of the Lord.
As the provisions of the new arrangement are to be extended to Roman Catholics equally with Episcopalians and Presbyterians, and as the Roman Catholic Bishop of New South Wales has already sent home his Vicar in Van Dieman's Land, the Rev. W. Ullathorne, R. C. P., for a supply of priests from England and Ireland, and is at present also endeavouring to found a college for the education of Romish priests in New South Wales, every effort will be made not only to rivet the chains of popery on a deluded people in the Australian colonies, but to extend the reign of superstition over the neighbouring and highly interesting isles of the Pacific. Nine-tenths, perhaps nineteen-twentieths, of the Roman Catholic population of New South Wales consist of convicts and emancipated convicts and their families; the few respectable families of that communion being chiefly Irish Lawyers, whose indirect influence, however, on the ignorant and the unwary of other communions, is by no means inconsiderable. The Episcopalian and Presbyterian communions, on the other hand, com prise almost the whole of the respectable free emigrant popula tion of the colony, besides a large proportion of the convicts and
freed persons. The greatly superior advantage, therefore, which the friends and members of these communions will have in rendering the new arrangement available for the planting of additional Protestant Churches, and the settlement of additional Protestant ministers, is evident and unquestionable.
Under that arrangement, there will be room for the immediate settlement of not fewer than TWENTY additional Presbyterian ministers in New South Wales; fifteen of whom will obtain salaries of £150 each from Government, from the very first, in addition to what they may receive from their congregations; the rest having £100 per annum each, with the certainty of augmentation to £150 in a year or two, provided they do their duty. Four or five of them will eventually obtain the maximum salary of £200 per annum, from the Government; and if they are only zealous and efficient men, they will find the people of the colony liberal in every instance without exception: of this the undersigned is perfectly confident. In at least fifteen of the new Presbyterian appointments there will be no difficulty whatever in raising at least £300 for the erection of a Church and manse, so as to secure a similar sum from the colonial Government.
The new arrangement has not yet been extended to Van Dieman's Land. It will, however, very shortly, as a matter of course; and the undersigned is in hopes of obtaining an order for its immediate extension to that Island, from the Right Hon. the Secretary of State, as far as the Presbyterian Church is concerned, through the influence of certain Christian and philanthropic Members of Parliament, before he leaves England. In that case, TEN additional Presbyterian ministers will be required for that colony; in which, though a much smaller colony, the proportion of Presbyterians, as compared with the entire population, is greater than in New South Wales. The subsequent annual demand for ministers for both colonies will be very considerable, while the new colony of Southern Australia is also likely to present a wide and highly interesting field for the Presbyterian Church.
As a considerable number of the Presbyterian inhabitants of both the Australian colonies consist of natives of the North of Ireland, and as an extensive emigration is expected to take place to New South Wales from that part of the United Kingdom, it has appeared to the leading Presbyterians of the latter colony both expedient and just, that at least one-fourth of the whole number of ministers required to supply the exist ing demand for that communion in both colonies should be licentiates of the Synod of Ulster; and arrangements will of course be made accordingly.
The Government of New South Wales have of late been endeavouring to introduce the Irish system of national educa