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Bishop Montgomery: A Memoir

By M.M.

[London] The Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, 1933.

Chapter XIII. Travels (continued)

Bishop Montgomery and the Bishop of Worcester were sent as Delegates to the Convention of the Episcopal Church in the United States in 1916. The welcome he received this time was quite overwhelming. Of course he was no stranger to hundreds, if not thousands, who had also met him at the Pan-Anglican Congress. His chief engagements were:--

Two sermons in New York, one of them being the cathedral; a service in the open air at Washington from the Peace Cross before 1,500 people; an address before the Joint Houses of Convention at St. Louis; the Missionary Convention sermon; an address in Philadelphia to 250 of the clergy in company with Bishop Brent; two sermons at Montreal, one in the cathedral.

The bishop wrote a long article on the Convention, which appeared in The East and The West.

In New York the bishop and Winsome stayed a week-end at Ophir Hall, Mrs. Whitelaw Reid's house. Again he spent his birthday with Miss Coles in Philadelphia, and the cake this time was decorated with sixty-nine candles.

At Washington they were the guests of Bishop Harding and his daughter, and while there they paid a memorable visit to Mount Vernon, Washington's home. Washington died in 1799. Since 1885 the place has been in charge of Mr. Dodge. The house and 270 acres of land was bought by the women of the Commonwealth who raised 200,000 dollars, and it is now vested in a Women's Corporation for the State. Gradually a large portion of the furniture, books, papers have been bought or given back. Everyone who visits Mount Vernon pays 25 cents, and about 120,000 come yearly. A large staff of servants is kept. Mr. Dodge showed the visitors everything. "The climax came when we stood in Washington's bedroom where he died; the bed was there. Our last visit was to the grave. The tree planted by the Archbishop (Davidson) was growing well--an English oak. I begged for a leaf, which I have sent to Lambeth."

Bishop Montgomery paid a visit to the embassy, where he was most cordially received by the ambassador, Sir Cecil Spring Rice. The ambassador took him next day to see a most wonderful piece of sculpture. It was a statue by Gaudens of Kwanon, one of the Buddha incarnations. The bishop was greatly impressed and moved by this figure. The ambassador came to hear the bishop speak at the Peace Cross. "The ambassador was most affectionate; finally he asked me to give him my blessing."

The next day both the bishops went to St. Louis to attend the Convention. While there they spoke to several hundred men at the Business Man's Club. Everyone present was evidently delighted.

Many new friends were made on this trip--the Fraziers, Godfreys, Randalls. The Randalls' house, "Cloud Capped," Baltimore, became another home to the bishop and Winsome, and here Winsome was left behind to return to England some months later. The bishop's last visit in America was to the Godfreys in New York, very wealthy and generous people. He sailed in the Carpathia on November nth. American hospitality followed him to the last, and in his cabin he found two big baskets of fruit and provisions from the Russells and Godfreys. "I must provide for seasick ladies and children."

It was an uncomfortable voyage, the ship rolling a great deal and always there was the fear of enemy submarines. The bishop took service on Sunday. "An old Presbyterian came up to me and said, 'I have crossed fifty-nine times, but I have never enjoyed any service so much as to-day's'."

His greatest missionary journey was in 1910-11 in the Far East. He left London in September, 1910, and returned in April, 1911. In these seven months he visited all the Anglican missions in China, Japan, Korea, Borneo, Singapore, and Rangoon. Canon Lanchester writes: "In 1910 I had the privilege of accompanying Bishop Montgomery, then Secretary of the S.P.G., on a seven months' tour in the Far East. Travelling companions get to know each other's characters well in that time, and I came back deeply impressed by association with a true man of God, wise, courteous, kindly, and withal full of fun and vigour. He was then sixty-four years of age, but he entered with schoolboy zest into all the humours of life and travel in the East. We were jolted in wheel-barrows along the apologies for roads in North China; we rode in rickshaws in Japan, and were paddled in a war canoe up the rivers of Borneo. We slept in a grimy Chinese inn and bathed in a natural hot-water pool in Japan. Wherever he went--in China, Japan, Korea, Borneo, Malaya, Burma--his genial courtesy and broad outlook attracted Europeans and natives alike, and everywhere he left friends and happy memories behind. He loved to collect humorous stories from the missionaries, such as the Chinese paraphrase of 'out of sight--out of mind'--'invisible, insane'! His visit did much to encourage the workers abroad and to help the society at home to a better understanding of their problems and difficulties."

Another of the bishop's travelling companions through Russia and Siberia was the Rev. Basil Simpson, now Bishop in Kobe.

Writing to convey a resolution of sympathy from his diocese he says:--"Twice he had to deal with me (and wonderfully he did it) in my being sent abroad; first, nearly a quarter of a century ago when I first come to Japan: and more recently when the old archbishop sent me to Kobe and Bishop Montgomery was doing temporary work as General Secretary of S.P.G. again.

"On the former occasion I had the pleasure and privilege of travelling with him by train for ten consecutive days and nights across Europe and Siberia, when he came on his tour of the Far East. . . . For these close experiences, and for much help through his 'Visions,' both written and lived, I; no, we all, thank God and praise and bless His glorious Name for His servant, our leader for so many years."

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