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The Dictionary of Australasian Biography/Smith, Right Rev. William Saumarez

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Smith, Right Rev. William Saumarez, D.D., Bishop of Sydney and Primate of Australia, is the son of the Rev. William Snowden Smith, Prebendary of Chichester, and Mary Anne, his wife, daughter or J. Robin, of Jersey. He was born at St. Heliers in 1836, and married in 1870 Florence, daughter of Rev. Lewis Deedes, rector of Bramfield, who died in 1890, on the eve of her departure for New South Wales. He was educated at Marlborough College and at Trinity College, Cambridge, of which he was scholar and became Fellow in 1860. He graduated B.A. in 1858, taking a first class in classics and theology, M.A. in 1862, B.D. in 1871, and received the degree of D.D. in 1889. He was a most successful prizeman during his university career. The Bishop was ordained deacon in 1859, priest in 1860, and was chaplain to the Bishop of Madras from 1861 to 1865, curate of Holy Trinity, Cambridge, in 1866, vicar of Trumpington from 1867 to 1869, and was appointed examining chaplain to the Bishop of Norwich in the latter year and Honorary Canon of Chester in 1880. He was Principal of St. Aidan's College from 1869 to 1889, when he was elected to the see of Sydney . Difficulties, however, arose owing to the fact that he received a less number of votes than another candidate, who declined the appointment, whereupon Dr. Saumarez Smith was declared duly elected without a fresh election. Several of the principal Australian bishops protested that the nomination was invalid, the Archbishop of Canterbury declining to issue the necessary authority for his consecration. In the result he voluntarily withdrew his claim to the see, and was then duly elected and consecrated in 1890 as Metropolitan of the province and Primate of Australia. He is the author of a number of theological works, of which the principal are "Obstacles to Missionary Success" (Maitland prize essay for 1867) (1878); "Christian Faith" (five sermons preached before the university of Cambridge) (1869); "Lessons on the Book of Genesis" (1879).