Harding to Lytton
Doctors Commons
10 December 1858
I am honored with your commands signified in Mr Elliot's letter of the 27th November Ultimo, 1 stating that he was directed to request that I would, at my early convenience, prepare for your consideration a draft of an instrument for erecting the New Colony of British Columbia into a Bishop's See, and for appointing the Reverend George Hills to be the first Bishop of the said See.
Mr Manuscript image
Mr Elliot was also pleased to state that the limits of this See may be defined in accordance with the delimitation of British Columbia as enacted by the 21st and 22nd of the Queen cap 99; and as by that Act it has been made lawful for Her Majesty on receiving at any time during its continuance a joint address from the two houses of the Legislature of Van Couvers Island praying for the incorporation of the same with British Columbia to annex the said Island toBritishManuscript image British Columbia, I would consult His Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury upon the question whether it may not be expedient under present circumstances or until that annexation is effected to give to the Bishop of British Columbia ecclesiastical jurisdiction over Van Couver's Island, similar to that with which the Bishop of Cape Town is invested over the Island of Saint Helena. Mr Elliott also stated that it will be proper to give to the New Bishop all the powers which are now usuallygivenManuscript image given to Colonial Bishops, and especially power to appoint his Cathedral Church.
In obedience to Your commands, I have prepared and herewith transmit a Draft of an Instrument for this purpose.
I have not thought it necessary to set forth in express terms "by Metes and bounds" the limits of the new See, inasmuch as the description of "the Colony or Territory of Vancouver's Island as at present established" willIManuscript image I apprehend, be legally sufficient and certain; the latter words, applied to Vancouvers Island, are used in the sixth Section of Stat: 21st and 22nd Victoria cap 99, 2 which defines the limits of British Columbia.
If however this description should be considered insufficient, then I would suggest the necessity of a correct description by "metes and bounds" of the Colony of Van Couver's Island being supplied.
I have (as instructed) consulted His Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury upon the point suggested in MrElliotManuscript image Elliot's letter, and His Grace has been pleased to approve of the proposed arrangement with relation to Vancouver's Island.
I have in other points attended to the instructions contained in Mr Elliot's letter and have followed the precedent of the Patent by which the Diocese of Ruperts Land was founded in 1849. 3
I have etc.
J.D. Harding
Minutes by CO staff
Manuscript image
Mr Merivale
There seems hardly any necessity for defining the delimitation of Vancouver's Island. But it might be safer not to overlook the numerous small islands along the Western Coast of British Columbia and Vancouver's Island itself and provide that the new Bishoprick shall consist of British Columbia and its dependencies and of Vancouver's Island and its dependencies?
PS 13 Decr
The letters patent may I think be safely [issued] in accordance with this draft.
HM D 17
Prepare them.
C D 18
Other documents included in the file
Manuscript image
Draft, Colonial Office to Queen's Advocate, 27 November 1858, requesting a draft of an instrument for erecting the new Bishop's See.
Minutes by CO staff
Mr Elliot
The creation of this new Bishoprick wd scarcely be complete unless jurisdiction were given to the Bishop over Vancouver's Island whether it shall remain separate from B. Columbia or be eventually incorporated with it, as contemplated by the Act for creating the Colony of B. Columbia. St Helena furnishes a case in point. 4
Other documents included in the file
Manuscript image
Draft, Colonial Office to Attorney General or Solicitor General, 27 December 1858, concerning British Columbia and Vancouver Island becoming a Bishop's See.
  1. E-Law, 27 Sep 58, draft for Bishops See FIND?? Elliot to Law, 27 Sep 58, bishop's see
  2. An Act to Provide for the Government of British Columbia. Section 1 defined the limits of the colony as the territory bounded "to the South by the Frontier of the United States of America, to the East by the main Chain of the Rocky Mountains, to the North by Simpson's [Nass] River and the Finlay Branch of the Peace River, and to the West by the Pacific Ocean," including the Queen Charlottes and other adjacent islands. Section 6 specifically excluded Vancouver Island as part of the new colony of British Columbia. Cf. Douglas to Lytton, 3 November 1858, 528, CO 60/1, p. 331
  3. = Diocese of Ruperts Land. The Diocese of Ruperts Land was established by Letters Patent under the Great on 21 May 1859 and included all territory draining into Hudsons Bay and the Arctic Ocean. David Anderson (1814-85) was consecrated the first bishop on 25 May 1849 and arrived to take up duties on 16 August 1849. For further information, see T.C.B. Boon, The Anglican Church from the Bay to the Rockies: A History of the Ecclesiastical Province of Rupert's Land and its Diocese from 1820 to 1950 (Toronto: Ryerson, 1962).
  4. = St. Helena. Bishopric of St. Helena. OMIT??
People in this document

Bishop of Cape Town

Carnarvon, Earl

Elliot, Thomas Frederick

Harding, John D.

Hills, George

Lytton, Edward George Earle Bulwer

Merivale, Herman

Smith, Peter

Sumner, John Bird

Victoria, Alexandrina

Organizations in this document

Colonial Office

Places in this document

British Columbia

Finlay River

Haida Gwaii

Nass River

Peace River

Rupert's Land

Saint Helena

The Rocky Mountains

Vancouver Island