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WILLIAM GRANT BROUGHTON, BISHOP of AUSTRALIA to REV. E. HAWKINS

This entire was addressed to the Revd Ernest Hawkins, Assist. Secretary to the Society for Propagation of the Gospel, Trafalgar Square, London and there were two manuscript ratings of an ‘8' and a ‘3', in addition to ‘3985', of an uncertain meaning. There was a very fine red unframed oval PAID SHIP LETTER/ [crown]/ JY [rosette] 11/ 1845/ SYDNEY (Figure 1).

 

 

This postmark is a Type SL2, used from 19.5.38 to 4.3.1846, as described by John S. White’s The Postal History of New South Wales 1788-1901, 1988, page 254 (Figure 2).

The manuscripts on the reverse are hard to interpret particularly whether they were entered by the receiver or a third person, and they are: ‘Bp. of Australia’; ‘3985/60'; ‘July 14 1840'; ‘Entd. p178'; ‘J.W.’, and there is an arrow pointing to the red sealing wax (Figure 3).

The red sealing wax is of importance for with ‘the eye of the faithful’ the wax is seen to be indented by a Bishop’s mitre seal (Figure 4).

In another view there is a partial arrival red postmark in England ‘G/ 2(5) NO 25/ ( ) which is overstruck with a red ‘SHIP-LETTER’ (Figure 5).

The last part of the letter has the following written: " Thanks to yourself for your kind and constant communications and pray be assured that I am, Reverend Sir, Your most faithful humble servant, W:G: Australia" with the addressee’s name at the bottom of the letter, ‘The Revd Ernest Hawkins’ (Figure 6).

William Grant Broughton, first Anglican Bishop of the entire colonies of Australia was a frequent correspondent with colleagues in England and I have compared the writing in this entire with another letter sent to England in 1833, and there is no doubt that ‘W:G:’ in this entire is ‘W:G: Broughton’ in the letter (Figure 7).

In order to fathom the complexities of this cover entire I decided to research Rev. Ernest Hawkins first. He was a son of Major Hawkins and was born January 25, 1802 at Hitchin, Hertfordshire, England. He was educated at Balliol College, Oxford where he graduated B.A. in 1824, M.A. in 1827 and with a B.D. in 1839. He became a curate at Burwash, then a sub-librarian at the Bodleian Library, followed by a curacy at St. George’s, Bloomsbury. Subsequently he was minister of Curson Chapel, Mayfair, London, and a prebendary of St. Paul’s, London. He began his work with the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in 1838 as under-secretary and by the time of this entire he had become Secretary in 1843, a position at which he was very successful.

His success was measured by the fivefold increase of the Society’s income, and the number of the colonial episcopates in the British Empire increased from eight sees to forty seven sees. In 1859 Hawkins served as vice president of Bishop’s College in Cape Town, South Africa. He retired from the Society’s service in 1864 and became canon at Westminster, London that year, and he died there on October 5, 1868. He was author or editor of numerous religion-related books about missions of the Church of England in the North American Colonies, a book of psalms, of prayers for working men, the Gospel of St. John and his personal sermons.

 

Of particular relevance to Bishop Broughton’s letter is the following paragraph: When the Colonial Bishopric Fund was founded in England in 1841, the chief agent of its successful operation was Canon Ernest Hawkins who was secretary both of this fund as well as of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel; and, he became a general strategist for the overseas expansion of the Church of England. He was a skillful organiser of Missionary committees in England, ‘a wise advisor on the appointment of the right men to colonial bishoprics’. Hawkins was largely instrumental in the planning of the 39 colonial dioceses that were opened between 1841 and his retirement in 1864.

The Australian Dictionary of Biography in its account of Bishop Broughton records the following: "Broughton returned to England in 1834 to promote the interests of his church. He wished to enlist the support of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel and the British government in providing clergy and money for the Church of England.......Broughton was consecrated bishop of Australia on 14 February 1836 in Lambeth Palace chapel by Archbishop Howley of Canterbury, assisted by the bishops of London, Winchester and Gloucester. Broughton arrived back in Sydney in the Camden on 2 June and was enthroned in St James's Church three days later by Samuel Marsden". I have interpreted these 2 paragraphs as follows: Hawkins may have been partly responsible for Broughton’s ascendancy to the role of Bishop, and that they had frequent correspondence, for both men were inveterate letter writers, and the present entire cover in 1845 was just one example of this relationship, and perhaps Broughton’s appointment may have explained the reason for Broughton being so deferential to Hawkins.

A brief synopsis of Broughton follows: He was born on 22 May 1788 at Westminster, London, the eldest son of Grant Broughton. He was educated at Barnet Grammar School in 1794-96 and at The King's School, Canterbury, in 1797-1803, where he was a King's scholar from 1798. He gained a clerkship in the Treasury department of the East India Co.; then in 1814 a family legacy enabled him to go to Cambridge where he was a scholar of Pembroke Hall (B.A., 1818; M.A., 1823). In 1818 he had entered the church, and was ordained deacon. That year he married Sarah, daughter of Rev. John Francis. There were two daughters of the marriage, Emily and Phoebe, and a son who died in infancy. His ordination was to a curacy in Hampshire, where he remained until 1827. A year later he became chaplain of the Tower of London.

In his ten years as a country curate Broughton spent much time in research. In 1828 he was nominated as archdeacon of New South Wales. Broughton and his family left England in the convict ship John and reached Sydney on 13 September 1829. Broughton was not without ambition but he accepted the appointment of Bishop with some reluctance and with the expectation that his colonial term would be short. In fact he spent the rest of his life in Australia. Broughton's main concern was to provide the colonies under his jurisdiction with the spiritual institutions of England. While he agreed that the colonial church had a missionary duty and the necessity to promote its physical expansion, he considered that its chief task was to sanctify and uphold the social structure. In the year after his enthronement Broughton began to build his cathedral, but did not live to see his cathedral completed; he used St James's until a temporary wooden church, the second on the site, was built in 1842 as the pro-cathedral.

The conference of the Australasian bishops in October 1850 was 'the crowning event of Broughton's career'. Broughton, presided over and dominated its sessions, intended its statements on ecclesiastical government and clerical discipline, education and missionary action to be persuasive in the historical development of the church. Broughton sailed for England in the Salacia on 16 August 1852. He was obliged to travel by way of South America and it proved an arduous voyage. He landed at Lima, Peru where he held services, travelled to Panama and crossed the Atlantic in a ship on which yellow fever raged. He reached England in November in ill health, but he worked hard to promote a meeting of colonial bishops and to convince Whitehall of the constitutional difficulties of his church. Broughton had little time to achieve his object, for he died on 20 February 1853 at the London home of Lady Gipps, widow of the former governor of N.S.W.. He was buried in Canterbury Cathedral, the scene of his schooldays, the first post-Reformation bishop to be so honoured. A picture of Bishop Broughton is see in Figure 8.

This greatly excerpted version of Bishop Broughton was taken from the Australian Dictionary of Biography.

 

 
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