Page:The Irish in Australia.djvu/257

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243
THE CHURCH IN THE COLONIES.

of its becoming permanent. The inclination of these colonists, which keeps pace with the spirit of the age, is decidedly adverse to such an institution; and I fear the interests of religion would be prejudiced by its establishment. If, on the contrary, support were given as required to every one of the three great divisions of Christians indifferently, and the management of the temporalities left to themselves, I conceive that the public treasury might in time be relieved of a considerable charge; and, what is of much greater importance, the people would become more attached to their respective Churches, and be more willing to listen to, and obey the voices of, their several pastors."

This brave and statesmanlike description of the situation, Sir Richard Bourke followed up with a plan of his own devising for the future equitable distribution of the Government grant for religious and educational purposes. The Imperial authorities in London took some time to digest the most momentous despatch they had yet received on Australian affairs, but at last came the reply from Lord Glenelg, the Secretary of State for the Colonies in Lord Melbourne's Administration. It bore the date of November 30, 1835, and was a complete and highly satisfactory endorsement of the broad liberal views that had been enunciated by Sir Richard Bourke. Writing on behalf of his colleagues in the cabinet as well as for himself. Lord Glenelg thanked Sir Richard for the "full and clear statement" which he had transmitted to them, with respect to the existing means of religious instruction and education in New South Wales, and for the suggestions with which that statement had been supplemented. "I am disposed," his lordship continued, "to commit to the Governor and the Legislative Council the task of suggesting and enacting