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1 correction by white28patch - Show corrections


(From the South Australian Register, November 21.)

On Wednesday and Thursday tho Synod sat at the Chapter-House as a Court of Enquiry for the purpose of investigating certain charges preferred by Mr. G. S. Kingston against the Rev. James Pollitt, incumbent of St. Luke's Church, Adelaide, under the 22nd and 23rd Fundamental Provisions for the government of the United Church of England and Ireland within the Diocese of Adelaide. The Lord Bishop presided, and the following clergymen and ge.ntlemen were appointed assessors :-Very Rev. the Dean, Revs. E. Jenkins, G. H. Farr. C. Marryat, and A. R. Russell, Mr. McDer- mott, Major O'Halloran, Dr. Duncan, Mr. Tomkinson,

and Mr. Wicksteod.

The Lord Bishop delivered -an address to the asses-


The registrar rend over tho charges as follows.:^

" 1. That the Rev. James Pollitt did, on or about tho 3rd day of September last, clandestinely perform the ceremony of marriage between Captain John Finnis and Mary Ann Russell, at the residence of the said Captain John Finnis, in Franklin-street, Adelaide.

"2. That the said marriage was incestuous, the said Mary Ann Russell being one of the daughters of a sister of tho said Captain John Finnis, and therefore that the said Captain John Finnis and Mary Ann Russell were related to erich other as uncle and niece, and within the prohibited degrees of consanguinity. That such rela- tionship of uncle and niece between the said Captain John Finnis and Mury Ann Russell was well known to the said Rev. James Pollitt, and therefore that he did wilfully and knowingly aid and assist the said parties in contracting an incestuous marriage.

" D. That the said marriage being by lioense, it was necessary in order to obtain such license, for the said Captain John Finnis to make an affidavit before the said Reverend James Pollitt that the said Mary Ann Russell was not related to him within the prohibited degrees of consanguinity ; and inasmuch as the said Rev. James Pollitt was perfectly aware of the relationship between the said Captain John Finnis nnd Mary Attn Russell, he, the said Rev. James Pollitt, by so administering such oath to Captain John Finnis as aforesaid, and by en- couraging or allowing the said Captain John Finnis to swear that oath, which the said Rev. James Pollitt well knew to be false, he, the said Rev. James Pollitt, was guilty of gross dereliction of his duty as a surrogate.


The accuser made a statement to the Court, and various witnesses were examined.

The accused read bis defence to the Court, and produced a written certificate, of which the following is

a copy ;

" To whom it may concern.-I hereby certify that the Rov. James Pollitt did not receive and was not ac- quainted with the opinion of Mr. Grave respecting my marriage until after the marriage took place, such docu- ment being my property, and no other person had a right to it.


" Adelaide, November O,1850."

The decision of the Assessors (after haring been left by themselves in the Chapter-House to consider the testimony given beforo them,) was delivered by their Foreman, Mr. MacDermott, who stated their decision to be unanimous. Mr. Wicksteed, one of the Assessors, had been obliged to quit the room before the Lord Bishop could be called in to receive the decision of the Assessors. The decisiou is in the following terms ;

" 1. "We find that the first charge against tho Eev. James Pollitt has been fully supportod by the evidence.

*' 2. We find, on the second charge that there is ample evidence to show that at tho time of Mr. Finnis's mar- riage Mr. Tollitt had sufficient reason to believe thnt'the relationship of uncle and niece did exist between the said Mr. Finnis and Mary Ann Russell.

" 3. Wo find, on the third charge, that Mr. Pollitt, being nware of the consanguinity, was guilty of gross dereliction of duty ns a surrogate in administering the oath required for taking out a marriage licence.

" M. MACDEHMOTT, Foreman.

" The abovo finding on each charge has been unani-


" M. MACDEHMOTT, Foreman.


Tho Rev. Mr. Pollitt, on teing asked if he was desi- rous of appealing from the above decision to the whole I Synod under the 25th Fundamental Provision, stated

that he had no desire to appeal to the Synod.

The Court adjourned until three o'clock p.m., to enable the Lord Bishop to pronounce such a sentence on the accused as he might feel it to be his duty to pro-


The following sentence was pronounced by tho Bishop :

" That considering ' the gross dereliction of duty as surrogate,' of which the Rev. J. Pollitt has been found guilty, my sentence is, that his letters of surrogacy be cancelled from the present date, November the 20th 1856, so that he be no longer empowered to issue licences for marriage.

" That the said James Pollitt, having had * sufficient reason to believe,' though not found to have had ' actual knowledge' of the relationship existing between John Finnis and Mary Ann Russell, merits the gravest cen- sure, as minister of St. Luke's, for not having particu- larly inquired into that fact, and so warned the parties

concerned of the sin of contracting an incestuous mar- ] riage, and that he bo censured accordingly. '

" That, UDder ordinary circumstances, such careless- ness in the exercise of the pastoral otlice would justify the suspension of the said James Pollitt from officiating for a season, according to Canon 02. But considering his long service of 20 years in the ministry, both ns a missionary and pastor of a congregation, and the testi- monials to his ministerial character and labours which he can produce, he be admonished to act with more cir- cumspection, and especially to abstain from solemnizing marriages in private dwellings situate within reasonable distance of any building consecrated or licensed for divine worship by the Ordinary.

" Chapter House, November 20.1856."