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Bishop Selwyn and the British Empire: Imperial networks and colonial outcomes

Strong, R. (2011) Bishop Selwyn and the British Empire: Imperial networks and colonial outcomes. In: Davidson, A.K., (ed.) A Controversial churchman: Essays on George Selwyn, Bishop of New Zealand and Lichfield, and Sarah Selwyn. Bridget Williams Books Limited, Wellington, New Zealand, pp. 159-175.

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In 1847 Bishop George Selwyn was on one of his inland trips by Maori canoe, going down the Kaipara and waitara rivers in Northland. With characteristic Victorian obsession about avoiding idleness, he took with him a copy Henry Manning's The Unity of the Church published in 1842, reading it while his Maori helpers did the work of paddling. manning had sent the work to Selwyn out of his long-time concern for the spread of the Church of England into the British Empire. Selwyn was grateful, as he believed that the division of Christianity into competing denominations was a hindrance in commending his religion to the Maori. Selwyn was particularly grateful for this indication of esteem from the influential High Church Archdeacon of Chichester. He regarded Manning as having been instrumental in his vocation as the first Bishop of New Zealand. Manning and Selwyn had an intermittent correspondence during the 1840s, with manning sending the colonial bishop copies of his various archidiaconal charges, his university sermons, and dedicating the fourth volume of his published sermons to Selwyn as an exemplar of ushering in the kingdom of God by deeds, not mere words. The correspondence in turn enabled Selwyn to air his own views in support of the Anglican National Society for the Education of the Poor in the Principles of the Established Church in the contentious English national debate over education in that decade.

Item Type: Book Chapter
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Social Sciences and Humanities
Publisher: Bridget Williams Books Limited
Copyright: 2011 The Authors
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