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Octavius Hadfield

Letter written by Octavius Hadfield to brother George December 18, 1846

page 191

To brother George.

Since the passing of the late free trade measures (good as I believe them to be) it will become absolutely necessary to reconsider all colonial questions, and to establish matters on a thoroughly new basis. Very little attention has been given to ecclesiastical affairs in the colonies. While the Bishops have generally assumed high grounds they have very little real power. The common law of England extends to the colonies, but the ecclesiastical does not, nor does the jurisdiction of the ecclesiastical courts in England extend to offences committed in the colonies. There is nothing but conscience to lead a man to obey the Bishop in matters on which they differ: and conscience is not likely to effect much in this way, when a man conscientiously conceives his own views of the subject in dispute to be the correct ones. I have a strong impression that the whole of our ecclesiastical affairs require to be thoroughly examined and reformed, and moreover I would submit our prayer book—especially the calendar—to the same process.