LIFE AND LETTERS OF
GEORGE ALFRED LEFROY
D.D., BISHOP OF CALCUTTA, AND METROPOLITAN
PRELATE OF THE ORDER OF ST. MICHAEL AND ST. GEORGE
SOMETIME BISHOP OF TASMANIA
LATE SECRETARY OF S.P.G.
LONDON, NEW YORK, BOMBAY, CALCUTTA AND MADRAS
Chapter I. Home and School Life
Chapter II. Cambridge
Chapter III. Delhi
Chapter IV. The Leather Workers of Delhi
Chapter V. Religious Influence in Mission Schools
Chapter VI. Headship of the Mission
Chapter VII. Lefroy and Islam
Chapter VIII. Lefroy and Islam (continued)
Chapter IX. Mahommedanism, its strength and weakness
Chapter X. Life at Delhi--Head of the Mission
Chapter XI. The Lahore Episcopate, from 1899 to 1905
Chapter XII. Holidays in the Himalayas
Chapter XIII. Lahore: 1905 to 1912
Chapter XIV. Problems of European Life
Chapter XV. The Attitude of the British Race in India towards Educated Indians
Chapter XVI. Spiritual Letters and Problems of Doctrine and Discipline
Chapter XVII. The Calcutta Episcopate
Chapter XVIII. The Metropolitan in Calcutta and on Tour
Chapter XIX. The Last Months
When the relatives of the late Bishop of Calcutta approached me with a request that I would write his "Life," it was impossible to refuse. He had been a warm friend of many years. I had just been freed from the S.P.G., and was myself born in India, with a family name not unknown in the Punjab. Moreover, I had spent six weeks in Delhi in 1913.
If the charm of a Biography depends in great part upon letters, then this volume ought to find a welcome; and no biographer can have been more highly favoured than I have been by the wealth of the bright, hopeful, thoughtful correspondence placed at my disposal by the family. For thirty-nine years this devoted son and brother wrote almost weekly to one or other of the home circle. All these letters have been preserved and are in truth an unconscious autobiography of utmost value. My difficulty has consisted in choosing among them. No son or brother, again, could ever have poured out his soul more fully to his own people than did George Lefroy: and at the same time no family has ever been more honourably reticent in regard to these confidences than the brothers and sisters who were privileged to receive such an education, for such indeed it is, in missionary problems.
To Miss Helena Lefroy I have to give my deepest thanks. She has read all the proofs and has made the index. Though I am solely responsible for all that is published, Miss Lefroy's counsel at every stage has been quite invaluable, and through her I have been in touch with all the other members of the family. In regard to the portraits, we all agreed that the photograph which forms the frontispiece gives the best impression of the man while he was still physically in his prime. The picture of Lefroy as Bishop of Calcutta, a reproduction of which is given, was painted by Mr. Goldsborough Anderson, and is the property of Mr. Edward Lefroy.
Perhaps the friends who have helped me most for the delineation of character, are the Bishop of Bombay, Bishop Foss Westcott (now the Metropolitan), and Archdeacon Firminger, of Calcutta. To the Bishop of Madras, to many members of the Delhi Mission, chiefly to the Rev. F. J. Western, to the Bishop of Lahore and many members of the Diocese, past and present, as for example the Rev. H. U. W. Stanton, to many clergy and friends in the Diocese of Calcutta, especially the Rev. J. Godber, I desire to freely express my gratitude for help given.
It will be noted also how delightful a contribution has been made by a group of Indian gentlemen, both Christian and Moslem: nor have women missionaries in India failed to add their quota.
Those who knew Lefroy at school and college have been most helpful: and Mr. H. P. K. Skipton, secretary of the Indian Church Aid Association, most generously placed at my disposal all his material after writing the charming appreciation of one whom he loved and revered. This article is now published separately. My wife and Miss Fletcher gave me invaluable aid in copying letters, and Mr. A. W. Nott has been a constant helper.
In regard to the book itself, I have always held that biographies are spoilt by lengthiness, and that one volume is several times better than two, except in very exceptional circumstances. The best praise a book can receive is a wish that it had been longer. The central point of interest for most people will, I have no doubt, be found in the chapters which deal with the work of Lefroy in his relations with the Moslems. These I believe will be of permanent value, and I specially desire to explain that in regard to questions of Mahommedan controversy and criticisms of the tenets of Islam, I have not introduced any new matter. I have only quoted from articles written by Lefroy many years ago, such treatises being still available for purchase.
With regret I complete my task, wishing that I had accomplished it better. I can truly say that no one will have gained more than I have myself by the study of the life work of so great, so lovable, so bright and hopeful a man of God.
H. H. MONTGOMERY (Bishop).