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An Ecclesiastical Difficulty.

The election of Canon Smith as Bishop of Sydney and Primate of Australia is disputed as illegal and invalid by the Bishops of Adelaide, Brisbane, Riverina, Grafton, and Armidale, and Bathurst, with Canon Selwyn and Archdeacon Hales, the VicarsGeneral of Newcastle and Tasmania respectively. The counsel to whom the case was submitted are Mr Salomons, Q.C., and Mr C. J. Manning, and their opinion is wholly adverse to Canon Smith. The fault which vitiates the election is due to the action of the senior bishop, the Bishop of Goulburn, who acted as " returning officer," and collected the votes of the whole episcopal bench. Two names —those of the Rev. H. C. G. Moule and of Canon Smith were submitted to the bishops for their choice, and a majority voted in favor of Mr Moule; but some six intimated that, in case Mr Moule declined, they weve willing to vote for Canon Smith. The Bishop of Goulburn received a cablegram from Mr Moule declining the offered post, and on the strength of this contingent and informal expression of opinion in favor of Canon Smith which he had received, the Bishop of Goulburn declared Canon Smith " elected ! " As counsel put it:—" Having ascertained that Mr Moule declined the acceptance of the high office to which he had been elected, the Bishop of Goulburn proceeded, without attempting again to get the votes of the bishops in a formal manner, to officially report to the

Dean of Sydney the election of Canon Smith, apparently founding each report upon information somehow or other obtained by him, that a majority had expressed a wish for his election in case Mr Moulo declined. Even assuming that the bishops were not functi officio by their formal election of Mr Moule, and that they had power to reopen the matter, the proceedings adopted as above stated cannot, we consider, be looked upon as an ' election' within the meaning of this Ordinance. An election of which a considerable number of the voting body have no opportunity of voting, as in this case, cannot possibly be held to be a good and valid election." " The election," counsel go on to say, " was complete when the voting-papers gave Mr Moule a majority, and that the subsequent transfer of votes to Dr Smith was illegal, and that his election is consequently void,"

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Bibliographic details

An Ecclesiastical Difficulty., Issue 8038, 15 October 1889

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An Ecclesiastical Difficulty. Issue 8038, 15 October 1889

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