The legislative power of the empire also takes precedence of that of the separate states in the regulation of matters affecting freedom of migration (Freizugigkeit), domicile, settlement and the rights of German subjects generally, as well as in all that relates to banking, patents, protection of intellectual property, navigation of rivers and canals, civil and criminal legislation, judicial procedure, sanitary police, and control of the press and of associations.
This office is divided into four departments, dealing with (i.) the business of the Bundesrat, the Rcichstag, the elections, citizenship, passports, the press, and military and naval matters, so far as the last concern the civil authorities; (ii.) purely social matters, such as old age pensions, accident insurance, migration, settlement, poor law administration, &c.; (iii.) sanitary matters, patents, canals, steamship lines, weights and measures; and (iv.) commercial and economic relationssuch as agriculture, industry, commercial treaties and statistics.
The bishop of Calcutta received letters patent as metropolitan of India when the sees of Madras and Bombay were founded; and fresh patents were issued to Bishop Broughton in 1847 and Bishop Gray in 1853, as metropolitans of Australia and South Africa respectively.
With the exception of Colenso the South African bishops forthwith surrendered their patents,and formally accepted Bishop Gray as their metropolitan, an example followed in 1865 in the province of New Zealand.