I HAVE put together in this chapter a series of letters scattered over a period extending up to 1892. Taken together they throw light on Lefroy's happy nature, seeing the humorous side of things: also something of municipal duties, besides a record of his attempt to live in the very heart of the city among the people.
It is hardly necessary to emphasise the warm affection which subsisted between the Cambridge men. The following letter tells of the love and admiration Lefroy had for Allnutt:
"C.M.D. Aug.: 13, 1887.
"We are getting A. started off for his fifteen months' furlough. It has brought out in a very unusual degree the way in which he has won the love and respect of all the boys in the School and College. They got up a testimonial and address in the college entirely of their own motion, and collected over £10, which, considering most of them are quite poor, and that the whole idea of giving anything to a Sahib--who is supposed to be the general giver of all things--is quite strange to them, is I think very good. But what pleased me far more, and I am sure touched him very deeply, was the language used on the occasion. In the first place, it was one of the most forcible evidences I have seen of the depth to which our teaching really has affected them, for there was an entire, or almost entire, absence of the ordinary Oriental bombast and grandiloquence, and a simplicity and directness which was quite Western. And conformably to this, the expression of the emotions was evidently so perfectly genuine and sincere. As W. said to me coming back, 'I wish some of those who don't believe in educational work as a true and right branch of Missionary effort, could have been there to-night.' I wish indeed they could, and almost more that some of those who look askance at Missionary work altogether and object to us as stirring up religious prejudice and ill feeling. I venture to say it is very few Government officials, even of those who are most punctilious in their adherence to the rules of religious neutrality (a thing of all others most hopelessly outside the natives' comprehension, who have a way of thinking and calling it indifference) could have evoked as hearty and deep an expression of feeling. It certainly does astonish oneself at times; for after all, we are here to upset by God's grace their old faiths and customs, and to recreate the country in Christ Jesus; and it is only logical to suppose that we should be very much hated and objected to; only logical, but somehow hopelessly the reverse of fact. And it has been more than the mere personal expression of feeling that has delighted us for, besides the evidence of a deep general effect having been (or being in process of being) wrought on their whole tone, in various ways, in private conversation or the like, one and another has given signs that he has been personally and directly touched by our religious teaching. I cannot help believing that, with God's blessing, we are working up to a real movement towards Christ in the College, and even now, I believe, if one could be found strong enough to take the first step, as he will surely when the time comes, he would not take it alone.
"The class I am myself teaching, the head one in the College, who will take their B.A. in a few months now, occupies an attitude towards the Bible (in respect of some of its members at any rate) which I have never experienced before: e.g. I was teaching St. John xi. the other day, and d propos of Martha and Mary, I remarked that, if we were wanting to look at it from an evidential point of view, it had often been noticed as a proof of the Gospel story how perfectly true to themselves all the characters who appear in glimpses here and there in the narrative are. I referred for illustration to Thomas, how he was always inclined to take the more despondent view, e.g. that very chapter, and I turned for reference to ch. xiv. 5. I was, however, conscious that there was another more forcible instance in point, but could not at the moment recall it, when one of the boys sitting by me, a Hindu, said, 'Yes, sir, and don't you remember it was Thomas who doubted longest about the Resurrection?' The absolutely sympathetic point of view, so to speak, with which he was following and lifting me over my difficulty touched me very much. And certainly if any man ever deserved a testimonial and a hearty 'Godspeed' it is A. His work for the last eight years has been simply incessant, and all so well directed and concentrated and full of effect He found the school in a miserable condition. He has regenerated it; founded the College and carried it on till it takes a high place among the institutions of the Punjab: enriched both with all kinds of special branches of study, military drill, etc.; reformed the whole method of teaching, or is in a fair way to do so; instituted a most flourishing club on the pattern of a young men's club in Cambridge (where he was engaged in parochial work) to which he was much attached. This is quite one of the features of our work now, unique in this part of the country at any rate, and forming one of the links we most value between us and the boys. Add to all this that he has largely influenced the whole educational work of the Punjab."
It was to be expected, of course, that Lefroy's practical sagacity should mark him out as a man of affairs as well as a spiritual leader, and the natural result followed. The citizens of Delhi requested his help on the Municipal Council. Lefroy responded, and delighted in further study of human nature.
"Delhi: Oct. 20, 1885.
"You will be amused to hear of the last development of events and the newest opening which is presenting itself to my energies. Local self-government took a mighty development in India in Lord Ripon's time, finding vent chiefly in Municipal Committees, which had indeed existed before, but then as a mere name, while now they have really been entrusted with some powers. There is talk of my being elected by the English residents as member for our ward! What would you say to me as Municipal Councillor? It is not certain however. Some of the leading men have asked me to stand, but by a junior section another man has been put forward, and I have refused to have any fight, though I have accepted the offer if the other man should withdraw, and my election be unanimous. It is, of course, a very open question whether it is right for me as missionary to undertake the work or not, but we have talked it over amongst ourselves and on the whole think it would be right to try, the chief inducement being the contact into which it would bring me with some of the leading men of the city, to whom our Mission is especially supposed to address itself, but whom we have so far signally failed to reach."
"C.M.D.: Feb. 8, 1S87.
"And now we have a good deal going on here. I specially am busy, in virtue of my office of Municipal Commissioner, in connection with the Queen's Jubilee, which we are to celebrate on the 16th inst. (This date has been fixed because the heat on June 20th would make anything like public rejoicings impossible.) I am responsible for feeding the schoolchildren of Delhi, amounting to about 3000, and the poor people. The last sounds a specially pleasant office, but is so wholly vague as to be I fear in a large city like Delhi almost impossible. From the point of view of my co-councillors, Hindus and Mahommedans, it would be easy enough. With them it is a matter of religion, on any such occasion as this, to spend a certain amount in alms. These usually take the form of a dinner; but the unfortunate part is that from their point of view it does not matter the least who eats it! They have given away so much in alms and if the strong fight their way in first and get the victuals, that is nothing to them, their merit remaining all the same. In this sort of arrangement I need scarcely say I have refused to have any part. I can only join if some clear line of deserving people is drawn and, so far as possible, all within that get their share. This, however, it is enormously difficult to do in a city like this, where the poor may be counted in thousands. I have suggested limiting it to the halt, maimed, blind, etc., those, ije., who are simply unable to do anything for a livelihood: whether this is the form it will take or not, I do not yet know. All the Committee is clear about is that the money (about £100) must be spent.
"But I have a much bigger thing than this on, and which seems just drawing to a happy issue; and if it does it will be a matter for very great and humble thankfulness. Ever since the late riots there has been a very strained feeling between the Hindus and Mahommedans issuing in all kinds of little annoyances and quarrels. Latterly, moreover, they have taken a leaf out of the Irish book, and the Hindus have boycotted four large Mahommedan merchants. It was a very serious matter indeed, as it meant the stoppage of a very large trade. The Government interfered, and the Deputy Commissioner did his utmost both by argument, and then by the pressure which in a country circumstanced as this is, Government can in a thousand ways bring to bear, to make the Hindus recommence trade, but could not effect it. Then came the proposal for the celebration of the Jubilee in the Municipal Committee, and I went one morning fully intending to protest against our doing anything unless we first reconciled our own differences. That day, however, I did not seem to have any opportunity for saying what was in my mind; but the next day I went to the leading Hindu and told him that I could not have any heart in assisting in preparations for the Jubilee so long as the city was in the state it was in. I asked him if there was no possibility of some solution being arrived at. He said that he thought it was possible if there were some go-between who could bring the parties together without compromising the dignity of either. I then went to the leading Mahommedan. To cut the matter short, I have had a number of interviews with men of both sides, with independent Hindus and independent Mohammedans, with boycotted Mahommedans and boycotting Hindus, and this evening I found they had met together and drawn up a Committee of ten persons, five Hindus and five Mahommedans (installing me and another Englishman whom they had asked me to associate with myself in the matter as of more standing and repute in the city, as presidents), who pledge themselves to stop the boycotting and then attempt to arrive at some amicable settlement of the religious differences. The paper has not actually been signed, and therefore it may still fall through, but I am every minute waiting for it, and if it comes, I shall indeed thank God and take courage."
"C.M.D.: June 17, 1887.
"The conservancy of the city is very bad, the mortality being, according to the doctor, higher almost than is known in any other city supposed to be managed in all decent European habits, ranging from fifty to seventy per thousand, while London is, I believe, not much over twenty. Just at present the doctor and Deputy Commissioner are in a state of great excitement about this, as they well may be, and are trying to find remedies. Chief among them, as they believe, is an entire alteration of the status of the Municipal Committee in its relation to the sanitation of the city. This relation is, they tell me, quite unique, or almost so, and ahead (so to speak) of the position occupied by the most daring local self-government corporations in England. The point is this: that whereas Municipal Committees elsewhere universally appoint one man, usually their secretary, whom they pay to carry out all the executive work of the Board, reserving only a general right of supervision and of dropping on the secretary if any of the regulations of the Committee are not carried out in his ward. Here in Delhi it is otherwise, for here each member is himself in direct executive charge of his ward: all the conservancy staff being directly responsible to him and to him alone, and the secretary occupying little more than the place of an office clerk to keep accounts, write reports, etc.
"This plan, they say, is hopeless, most of all when the Committee is composed of Orientals who, on the one hand, don't know and haven't got the least idea what an Englishman means by cleanliness; and, on the other, believe rates of mortality and all such matters to depend so absolutely and directly on the fiat of the Divine Will that nobody but an impious Englishman would dream of trying to alter it by attending to such details as drainage, waterworks, etc. They want, therefore, to upset the present arrangement and put all direct authority into the hands of an English secretary, thus securing centralisation and uniformity of action on the one hand, and the prompt and business-like habits of our nation on the other. So far so good, and certainly the case is a strong one, but now comes the difficulty. Full of this intention, they came to one of the monthly meetings of the Committee and, a propos of a proposition which only most indirectly involved the question, and which, when circulated beforehand, had given neither me nor any of the other members the smallest idea that such a very large and vital question would turn up, they sprang their mine on the astonished Committee. Now, per se, this did not commend itself to me, as I think that if there is the name of freedom, there ought to be at least some attention to the forms of freedom, and the fullest notice ought to have been given of the intention to introduce such a matter. Secondly, I knew how vital a question it was, for without approving of it, it is a simple fact that what makes the natives at present, here in Delhi, take a good deal of interest in the municipality, so that there is a good deal of canvassing at election times, and representatives of some of the best old families are on it, is just the little direct authority which, under the system I have described, they do wield, and this is unspeakably dear to the mind of an Oriental. That they make all kinds of bad use of it, employ their authority to annoy personal enemies in a thousand of the pettiest ways, use their staff of men largely to carry out their private affairs, etc., goes without saying: and all this might have been, in my opinion would have been, a most amply valid reason for never entrusting them with the privilege of self-government at all. When however it has been given them, to take it away is a different matter, except on the most patent and entire incapacity beyond that which must have been well known and assumed at the time of the passing of the Act; and I had little doubt that if it were now done it would cause the deepest dissatisfaction, lead probably to the withdrawal of most of the present members and certainly put an end to all attempt at independent action, and reduce them to what they originally were, a mere consultative body, whose views and advice were more often disregarded than the reverse.
"All this made me feel it very difficult to go in with the authorities while the responsibility of opposing and perhaps upsetting them on a question involving the sanitation of the city and the lives perhaps of thousands was obvious.
"But now you will ask very naturally,' Why should it so very much matter what your particular views were on the point, and what probability was there of the Deputy and the doctor being in the least affected by them?' The way of it is this, and it is a curious illustration of the way out in a foreign country, where Englishmen are rare, you may get almost pitchforked into a position entailing an authority and a responsibility which many years of experience would very likely not bring to you at home. Left alone with English officials, the natives are merely like driven sheep, and never think of opposing them. If, on the other hand, they have any Englishman to give them the lead, while they still most fully recognise and tremble at the official status of the Deputy Commissioner, yet if they feel strongly and are strongly appealed to, they may be made to move with us. However, on this particular occasion I was not alone, but there was another independent Englishman who was prepared most fully to act with me, if not to lead the way. Finally I felt moved, and spoke for some time, pointing out the difficulties of the position, and finally appealing to the Deputy Commissioner not to press the matter to a division now, but postpone it till due and explicit notice of it had been given and a special meeting convened to consider it. When I sat down, the Deputy Commissioner knew, on the one hand, as I did, that unless he abandoned all pretence of free discussion and voting, and simply fell back on his personal authority, he could not carry his point; and on the other, he and the doctor are personal friends of mine, and always treat me with the most extreme courtesy and kindness: so the notice was withdrawn and has not yet come on again."
In 1890 the Cambridge Mission determined to hire a house in the centre of the city in order to get into touch with the people. At the same time time they determined to print a series of Papers to set forth the Faith:
"C.M.D.: March 11, 1890.
"We are trying another rather interesting little experiment just now. As you know our house is some way outside the city, and consequently people, in this lazy, unenergetic land, are slow to come to us, and we are not ' en evidence' to the extent we should like. We have now hired a little native house right down in the very heart of the city in one of the little squares where traffic is busiest, and I go there pretty often in the mornings and sit most of the day. I have my books and my work, and my teacher comes for my Arabic lesson, etc., so I am occupied in any case; but I also hope that some may realise my accessibility in a way they could not have done hitherto and drop in for talk and inquiry. Hitherto the result has been remarkably small. Still I think it is a right step, if only as putting us, as I say, more ' en evidence.' It is not compatible with the rules of our common life to go and live there, or it is what I should dearly like to do; and I believe one could get a hold of some if one were to. How far it would be compatible with the rules of physical life I am not quite sure."
"C.M.D.: March 24, 1890.
"I am writing this now in my little room down in the city, of which I think I told you in my last letter. It is in the very heart of the city, looking into a crowded market with many sights and sounds that would be new to you, some of them attractive, some of them distinctly the reverse. Anyhow it seems to bring me closer to them, even if only in my own thought, for I confess I have not so far been encumbered by the rush of visitors, inquirers, or the like. Still, they may come, and meantime I have my Arabic teacher and work away at languages, sermons, letters, articles, examination papers and what not, and feel, as I say, at any rate nearer the people. And then if hunger takes me (for I come down often immediately after breakfast and stay till five or six o'clock) I can send out into the Bazaar and for a penny procure a variety and amount of comestibles (indigestible invariably, this characteristic departs not from them) which would astonish you. But I have my Etna and a tin of cocoa and milk, and this makes wonderful things go down."
"April 29, 1890.
"I am not at present living with the Brotherhood, but occupying the rooms I told you of in the city. It is very painful to think that we have now been here ten years, and with the exception of the boys in school and college, there are hardly any whom I know personally, or have any real religious influence on. Something I hope one is doing in the Christian Church itself, and that must eventually be the true instrument of conversion: still I cannot help thinking that we might and ought to be able to get into more direct contact with the people than we do. But, separated as our lives necessarily are from theirs, and with the enormous gulf in all kinds of ways that yawns between, it is very difficult to know how it is to be done. A few have come to me here, and I have no doubt that if one could live more as I am for these few days one would gradually get far nearer them. But again this seems impossible. It is incompatible with our idea of brotherhood and common life, and according to ordinary European belief it is mostly incompatible with health and strength. Of this latter I am not so convinced, though doubtless one would have to pay a certain price. At present I am getting on very well. My servant brings me food twice a day from the house. The nights are not a strong point. The mosquitoes are very much in evidence, and then just at present, it is the Mahommedan Fast, during which from sunrise to sunset they may touch nothing: food, drink or pipe. Consequently, they have to get in a good deal of eating and drinking in the night, and to facilitate this a crier comes round about 2 a.m. and makes a tremendous shouting and noise to wake them all up. Then cooking, etc., goes on for an hour or so. Then things get a bit quieter again. It is an interesting experience, and it speaks well for their earnestness and zeal; but as a simple matter of personal comfort and quiet rest, I could consent that they should manage things otherwise. A few weeks since we had the foundation stone of the new College laid with a considerable amount of eclat by Sir C. Elliott, the Head of the Public Works Department in India."
Here is a cheering message sent to the missionary:
"February 28, 1888.
"I had a nice little bit of cheer just now when I was feeling rather tired and needing it. An old student of our College, a Hindu of good family, and who, with his brother, is one of the nicest fellows we have turned out, came to see me. He has left Delhi and is working, together with the brother, in Government employment. We were talking, about the education of women; I was urging it on him, saying what a hindrance it must be to them, as they advanced a little in education, etc., to have such ignorant women in their houses; and I was contrasting it with what English ladies were to us, and my mother had been to me; and he said, 'Yes, I know it is so in England, but it is not so here. Our wives are no help to us at all, and whatever good any of the males of our family have they have got from the Cambridge Mission.' He said it so simply and earnestly and gratefully that it was very pleasant. And then again I was asking him what private reading he was keeping up now that he had left the College, and he said, 'I often read the Scripture. I love the Bible very much and often read it.' He is a boy of remarkable directness and often bluntness in speech, and I do not for a moment believe he would say it if he did not really do so. So we may hope the leaven is spreading ' not by observation,' but the ripening will come some day."
In 1891 the S.P.G. recognised Lefroy, on the nomination of the Bishop, as Head of the Mission; that is, of all the Church of England work carried on in Delhi. The relations between the actual Cambridge work and the rest of the Delhi Mission have been so happy for many years, that my readers will wonder at Lefroy's doubts.
"Delhi: October 28,1891.
"I know you will be glad to learn that this morning brought me a letter from Mr. Tucker telling me that, on the Bishop's nomination, the Society recognise me as Head of the Mission in succession to Mr. Winter, and ' quasi incumbent' of St. Stephen's Church. The ' quasi' is a little amusing. I wonder how they would define it if I were to press them on the point! This, however, I certainly do not mean to do. They seem prepared to be friendly and straight with us, and I am not going to split straws over words. . . .
"Of course, one of the most difficult of all my works will be the new relation to the ladies. I have plunged into this already, many points (some of them not easy ones) having cropped up already. The day after to-morrow I formally make a beginning. The ladies have all been away for their holidays, and I have asked them to get back by Friday, so that I may come over to meet them all, have prayer together, and talk over the new departure and work. I know there will be delicate little points. I hope all may go smoothly."
"Nov. 18, 1891.
"The plot thickens about the difficult question of the future of the Mission. ... I have written now to Cambridge to say I will not take the Headship unless I am convinced that S.P.G. are prepared to trust me, and treat me accordingly. There will, in any case, be very much of difficulty and delicacy in the position which I should occupy towards them, standing in some degree outside their own organisation and rules, and yet managing one of the largest and most important of their Missions; and this would probably become intolerable if we did not at least begin with a spirit of hearty trust and mutual co-operation; much better not to begin such a relation than be compelled to break it off after frictions and unpleasantnesses have arisen. How it will all settle itself I do not know; fortunately higher wisdom does.
"Meanwhile the work, especially in the Bazaar, goes forward definitely. Positive results or visible progress is very, very slow, but to doubt that it will come is to impugn, not human nature but God's handiwork. That they need something to lift them nobody, I think, who has ever come in close personal contact with heathen or Mahommedan, not viewing them entirely through the glasses of the Light of Asia, etc., will deny."
"C.M.D.: Dec. 30, 1891.
"All the points about which I was most anxious with relation to the S.P.G. have either been cleared up, or seem in a fair way to be so satisfactorily. Mr. Tucker recognises that my appointment carries with it the control of the ladies' work; he says the house is at my disposal, not indeed putting this in a quite satisfactory way, as I cannot really be separated from the rest, and he rather shirks the real question of whether they will make it over to us, to modify considerably and to occupy in force. Once, however, they have gone as far as they have, they cannot, I think, draw back from this as the only satisfactory settlement. I am also to be Diocesan Secretary. This is all I want and, as you may say, more than enough. What I shall do with it all, considering that I have already my existing work, much of which I cannot, and, please God, will not give up, is more or less of a problem; but if one has been called to it one will be able to carry it on for longer or shorter; and with such colleagues as I have got a man can do anything. It means, as you will recognise, entering on a new year of wider responsibilities and greater trusts than I have ever held. Ask for me humility and wisdom that I may honestly enter on it in strength other than my own, and may have the gifts of the Spirit to carry it through in such measure as it may be appointed for me to do."
It will be easily understood that Lefroy was often urged to give addresses and "quiet days" in places far removed from Delhi. Earlier in his Indian career he undertook a Mission at Karachi, and his correspondence shows how intensely he set himself to prepare for such efforts. The following letters tell of his work in important centres. His voice was not altogether a pleasant one, and chiefly no doubt because he had no ear for music. He used to quote a saying, that he "knew two tunes, the National Anthem and another." But the harshness of his voice was quite forgotten in the tremendous earnestness of the man.
"Simla: June 20, 1893.
"I took all three sermons here on Sunday. It was very tiring, but I think was good value. I took more or less of a new line, dealing with certain popular objections to Mission work with considerable frankness. I was on some delicate subjects. Yesterday I was out riding, and one young officer asked me most keenly after our work, and said he wished I would give a lecture on it, he would so like to come, and he was sure hundreds more would; and another, an A.D.C. to the C.-in-C. expressed great interest, and said he would value it much if we would let him come and see us and our work when he was marching through Delhi next cold weather. You will understand that this sort of thing is pleasant. It was certainly not by flattery I won them, for on the question of theif attitude towards Missions I carried the war into the enemy's country with somewhat uncompromising vigour."
"Cawnpore: Oct. 26, 1893.
"I gave three addresses on Faith, Hope, and Charity. I do not think Hope, as one of the very highest of the Christian virtues, is at all adequately brought out nowadays, either in sermon or in doctrinal books. Certainly out here, under the conditions of our work, it is a virtue that we stand eminently in need of, and it is distressing to see how often even missionaries fail to have it.
"You ask me about the lad whose letter I sent you to read. He is not a Christian, and, so far as I know, has no thought of becoming one. This is one of the aspects of life and work here that I suspect home people do not at all realise. There are many in his position: lads who have been brought up in Mission schools and colleges who really know scarcely anything of Hinduism, whose whole thoughts have been coloured by the teaching they have received from us, and who reflect it faithfully to a certain extent, and yet have not enough moral earnestness to face the tremendous step of becoming a Christian, or even it may be to receive the deeper teaching, such as that on the Atonement. They are, of course, in a very curious kind of position, neither Hindu nor Christian. It is not a satisfactory one, and yet I am sure it is by producing such that we are most of all preparing the way for the wide reception of the Faith. There is, at least, a congenial soil being made, and when the Heaven-sent native Christian Apostle arises it is to these hearts the message will come with fullest force. At present we lack the quickening fire of the Holy Spirit, or see it only in very rare cases."
The next letter tells of a notable event, the unveiling of Maitland's picture at St. Stephen's College. I give part of Lefroy's speech on the occasion.
"Delhi: Feb. 1895.
"We are having just at present a degree of brightness and hopefulness in our work the like of which I have never known since we came out. . . . We are being met by many evidences of the widespread preparation that is going on in whole classes, and of how much nearer the Faith they are now than, say, twenty years ago. ... A fortnight ago was a memorable day in our College work. A portrait of Maitland, subscribed for and given by the students, past and present, was to be unveiled. After the picture was unveiled I spoke. Then, out of the programme, a Hindu student stood up and said he wanted to say something. He is a reserved young fellow who keeps a good deal to himself, but with marked ability. What he wanted to say was to make a confession of Christ. Four or five times he said, 'I want to confess something which I never had the opportunity of saying to Mr. Maitland in his life,' and then he stuck and could not quite get it out. What, however, he did say most explicitly and without the least fear, was that he wanted to have it clearly understood that it was not the secular education given in our College which he chiefly valued. He said very likely as good education on this side might be given elsewhere, but it was the Christian teaching which was the distinctive characteristic of this place, and it was to it that he owed more than he could possibly say. It had profoundly affected his life. He added that in saying this he knew he was not speaking for himself alone, but that other students felt the same thing. This, remember, was in the face of a hall crammed with students, of whom the vast majority were Hindus and Mahommedans. There were also a few leading gentlemen of the city present, and, what is best of all, so far from there being a single sign of dissent I believe many were really with him as he spoke. Of course I do not mean for a moment that any considerable number would be ready to take so advanced a position, and doubtless there were those who disliked it, but, at any rate, there was no sign of dissent or opposition whatever. And by a strange coincidence, within a few days of this, one of our Zenana teachers was talking to the wife of one of the students, and she said, 'Oh yes, I know a lot of our young men are quite dissatisfied with their present position, and they are only waiting till a sufficient number of them are ready to move together, and they will join you.' When a conviction like this pervades the very homes of the people themselves, may we not say that the battle is half won? How much longer we may have to wait before the actual ingathering begins, we cannot say; but even so, can we not wait? These signs are evidence that the work is telling, and the foundations going in deep, and, please God, true and strong."
The Rev. A. C. Maitland died in July, 1894. He had become acquainted with mission work at Delhi before the formation of the Cambridge Brotherhood, and had assisted the Rev. R. R. Winter in the days when he was obliged through ill-health to leave Cambridge before his degree. After his degree in 1880 he joined the Mission staff at Delhi as an unpaid missionary, and was ordained deacon and priest in 1882 and 1884. Never actually a member of the Cambridge Brotherhood, he was, however, closely identified with them in all their work, He died at Delhi and left a bequest to the Mission amounting to ^7,300, the interest of which has been of signal value to the Mission annually.
George Lefroy unveiled Maitland's picture on February 9, 1895. The following is an extract from his speech:--
"I think one of the very best of all the good gifts which God has given us is the lives of good men, lives which are penetrated and made beautiful by the powers of the Divine life which run through them. . . . To quote from memory the words of a great American preacher, 'Out of the familiar windows of another human life the life of God shines forth,' . . . [Then speaking of Maitland's qualities] One I should like to give prominence to, the intense truthfulness and devotion to duty and unflinching uprightness which was so notable a feature of his life. As you know, these are characteristics in which this great country is not strong. . . . Let me remind you that in getting up this memorial and subscribing to put up this portrait of Mr. Maitland, you not only pay a well-deserved tribute to his memory, but you also incur no slight responsibility. You commit yourselves to the taking of that life as in some true sense the pattern of your own lives. God indeed enable you so to do. . . . The secret of that life, and in this I ask you to accept the authority of myself, was his faith in Christ crucified, risen, ascended. . . . I have done. I stand here in the quiet, deliberate, absolute conviction that our separation is but for awhile, that he is as truly living now as when he lived and moved with us in this place, and I await the day when, before the great throne of God, we shall be united again in that eternal life into which no separation can come."
When Lefroy sat down Lala Bala Prashad, B.A., rose and spoke feelingly of the value he entertained for the distinctive Christian instruction he had received in the college and from his late friend and professor W. Maitland.
Admission of Converts.
"1896 (in England).
"The famine is causing much distress in Delhi and involves the difficult question of how best to deal with the cases of those who at such seasons always come forward to ask for baptism, influenced chiefly we must believe by purely worldly motives, though in some of these there may possibly have been thoughts working before which have been brought by external pressure to the surface. Allnutt writes: 'The policy which our past experience seems to suggest is a clear announcement all round that none will be baptised during the time of poverty and famine, and not for at least six months after it may please God to give rain and plenty again.'"
Personal Reminiscences during Lefroy's Delhi Period
The following memoranda have been sent me. I could not set aside any of them.
Personal reminiscences by Mr. M. N. Dutt, M.A., sometime Professor of Mathematics, Government College, Benares, and retired Government Inspector of Schools, United Provinces:--
"I knew Bishop Lefroy during the nine years 1882-91, when he and I worked together in the St. Stephen's College at Delhi, where I was Professor of Mathematics and Economics. I met him very often at the Delhi Mission Councils also, of which I was a lay member.
"His personality was magnetic. The very first sight of him was enough to make him live in one's memory for ever. He was then a young man, of florid countenance, in the pink of health, and noted for his feats of walking. He would walk for miles and then stand and preach to the people.
"His intellectual powers were of a very high order, though he could not be called a very learned man. What he knew he knew thoroughly, and therein lay his strength. In ideas he was somewhat commonplace, and he neither made a study of the modern movement nor cared for it. He had no doubts, or very few, and was not very partial to those who were troubled in that way. All this made him a good steady-going critic. His refutation of his Moslem disputants at Delhi will be long remembered as both brilliant and masterly.
"He could express himself in the classical Urdu language of Delhi with as much facility as in English. He could talk in Urdu even better than the average native of Delhi. His command of Urdu was the wonder of his brother missionaries, and his popularity with the people among whom he worked was partly due to this intimate knowledge of their tongue. It is sad to see some missionaries working in India lose so much valuable influence because of their ridiculously poor knowledge of the people and their language. One day Lefroy was preaching by the side of a busy street of Delhi. His Mahommedan Maulvi opponent was holding forth to a large audience near by, criticising the Christian doctrines. When Lefroy began to preach, one of the Maulvi's audience, a Hindu, exclaimed, 'Lefroy Sahib has come and he is preaching. Let us go and hear him; he talks Urdu like one of us; in a former birth he must have been a Hindu.' I was present, and I saw with wonder the Maulvi's large audience melting away and growing smaller and smaller until the Maulvi was left alone addressing the air, and Lefroy had all to himself of that evening's preaching.
"Bishop Lefroy's life among the citizens of Delhi was an inspiration, and would be an enduring example of devoted Christian effort of the highest kind.
"Dehra Dun, July 24, 1919."
Memories of Mr. P. L. Singh, Head Master, St. Columba's Collegiate School, Chota Nagpur.
"My recollections of Bishop Lefroy are connected mostly with the early years of his missionary career at Delhi, before he became the Head of the S.P.G. and Cambridge Mission, and as in those years I was either in school or in college at Delhi, my recollections are those of a schoolboy or a college student. I remember how, one afternoon, we, the inmates of the Christian Boys' Boarding House in the Cambridge Mission Compound, were told that two new missionaries were coming, and I also remember how these missionaries drove up in the Mission trap to the Mission House, and how we welcomed them. These missionaries were Messrs. Allnutt and Lefroy. We of the Boarding House were mostly boys of twelve or thirteen who gave no little of our time to cricket and other games. Naturally the sight of these missionaries filled our minds with delight, for they were quite young, especially at the prospect of their presence at our games, and we looked forward to the time when they would join us.
"Mr. Lefroy's rooms were quite close to us, and so, one way or another, we were able to see a great deal of him. Though we were disappointed to find that he was not a good cricketer, we discovered in quite a short time that he was an athlete of no mean order: he was a good runner, a good tennis player, and a good rider. I remember how we tried to keep pace with him on his way to church, a distance of about a mile, especially in cold weather, when he generally did about half the distance running. He was full of vigour, and joined us in all our games. He also accompanied us in all our excursions,
"At the very commencement of our acquaintance we were struck with two things: his habit of prayer, and his ability in acquiring our tongue. Before him we knew missionaries that were loving, but from him we learnt that they could also be men of prayer. We often saw him on his knees, morning and evening. As to his ability in acquiring our tongue, that was truly marvellous. In quite a short time he was able to express himself correctly, having the pronunciation and accent of an Indian. Later on I heard some Delhi men say that he spoke like a Delhiman.
"Having such a command of Urdu it was clear that he was the proper missionary to be an evangelist. To the world outside he was, I believe, known as a great bazar preacher. Being a schoolboy and later a college student, I was not able to see much of him at any time, in this department of his life. Yet, whenever I found myself where he was preaching, I noticed that he had the attention of his hearers, and those who know Delhi and its crowd can realise what this meant. It is not every preacher that can preach in the streets of Delhi. Soon after he acquired some proficiency in Urdu he set out to study Arabic to read the Quran. In quite a short time he made a profound impression on all the Mahommedan preachers of Delhi: I may say he raised the tone of all preaching, non-Christian as well as Christian. It was fascinating to see him engaged in a controversy. He seemed as if he was altogether different from his opponents. His opponents strove only to shut him up, not caring in the least what arguments they advanced: while he strove only to lead them to truth, scrupulously careful to see that he said nothing that was unworthy or unfair. Whatever was said by his opponents, right or wrong, he heard most patiently, never losing his temper, or indulging in retorts. He had also a keen sense of humour and that often stood him in good stead.
"I left Delhi in 1890, and so was not able to see anything of him as Head of the S.P.G. and Cambridge Mission, or later on as Bishop of Lahore. However, I saw him, now and again, when he came to Calcutta as our Metropolitan. It was such a joy to meet him. He took the greatest delight in talking about his old Delhi days.
"I had also the joy of welcoming him, with the Mission I am working with, here in Harzaribagh, a few years ago, when we celebrated the coming of age of our Mission. He was here for only a couple of days, but in those two days he won every heart he came in contact with, Christian or non-Christian, English or Indian. His lecture to educated Indians made a deep impression on their minds and they still sometimes speak of it. He spoke; in his lecture about the future of India and its place in the British Empire. Every one present was struck with the broad-mindedness, sympathy and hope with which he dealt with the subject.
"Last I had the joy of hearing from him at the sudden death of our friend Mr. Allnutt. Little did I think that he would follow so soon. They had come out to India together: it was fitting that they should be called to higher work also together."
Mirza Rafi ud Din Beg, one of the leading Mahommedans of Delhi, writes as follows:--
"The late Bishop Lefroy was a great friend of mine. At any rate, I considered him as such, and this was his distinctive characteristic: he was not haughty and exclusive. He sympathised with us even in our thoughts, and acted accordingly. ... In our numerous religious discussions he showed himself invariably a gentleman, neither pressing his victory too much nor taking defeat to his heart. When he became a Bishop he did not become puffed up, but kept up his old friendships with us just as if he was a private missionary. Hence it is that I lament his death as a personal loss to myself, and still remember him with great affection. . . . When he departed from Delhi, as Bishop of Lahore, I wrote to him, congratulating him on his new post, but adding at the same time a hope that in his official capacity he would do nothing to check the spontaneous growth of Islam."
The Mirza feared that his friend might use political influence in the religious cause. Lefroy answered as follows:--
"I thank you much for your letter and kind greeting. I value them sincerely as coming from the opponent whom I respect far the most of any of those with whom I have had to deal at Delhi. With regard to using the power of the governing race for the propagation of our religion, I dare say your words of warning are not superfluous, for the temptation to do so in one form or another is no doubt a great one. At the same time, I do know perfectly well that to give in to that temptation is to be false to my Lord. Not only did He expressly say, 'He that taketh the sword shall perish by the sword,' and I am sure that this is not meant to be taken in its literal sense only, but as condemning the use of all unworthy and purely world means for attaining an end which, if it is to be worth anything, must be a purely spiritual one. But also these days through which we are passing remind us Christians forcibly that the way in which the greatest victory which the world ever saw (that commemorated by Easter Day) was won, was not by worldly means but by gentleness, love and perfect obedience. If you will look at the Epistle to the Philippians, chap, iv., verses 6 and following, you will see what I mean. I trust God will give me grace always to keep true to this example. If you are at any time in Lahore it will be a pleasure to me to see you."
The last review of Lefroy's Delhi life must be the personal reminiscences of the Rev. H. M. Weitbrecht Stanton, D.D. They form a connecting link between the Delhi and Lahore periods. I quote, partly from Dr. Stanton's obituary notice in the Record of January 19, 1919, but chiefly from a memorandum specially written for the "Life."
"Lefroy not only brought with him (in 1878) a first-class degree in theology, but that sense of the nearness of God in Christ which radiated from his whole life, public and private. The example of a man of affairs, instinct with driving power such as few possess, who always had time for devotion, and used it, profoundly influenced the life of the Delhi Cambridge Mission, and of his Dioceses. Especially were the Indian Christians impressed by it. ... He had a great love for boxing, and I remember his telling me once how badly he wanted to attend a soldiers' boxing match that was being held at Jutogh. I think he was prevented by pastoral duties, certainly not by fear of man. . . . I have seen him come in from preaching in the city so exhausted that before he could take up business he had to lie down flat on the floor for a quarter of an hour. . . . Lefroy also was strong on the matter of Christian servants. He considered that it was the duty of missionaries and well-to-do Christians to keep, as far as possible, Christian servants. As Bishop he would always conduct Urdu prayers in his chapel for them.
"One of the most delightful times we had together was at the C.M.S. Mission House in Meerut in February, 1895. Nearly three weeks were spent in the revision of the Urdu translation of the Prayer-book, under the chairmanship of Dr. Hooper. This revision had already been done by Bishop French with a company of assessors, but the dear bishop, who insisted on carrying his own opinion, had adopted so much of high-flown Arabic and Persian phraseology that the book was unsuited for the average congregation, and he had also made certain rubrical alterations which went beyond a liberal interpretation of the jus liturgicum and caused searchings of heart to the select few who read rubrics. So it was eventually resolved that the work should be gone through to correct these defects. Lefroy and Foss Westcott were among the members, two men marked out for distinction, though we little thought that we had two future metropolitans in our committee. I suppose hardly ^iny other translation of the Prayer-book has this distinction. Time ran a little short at the end of the session and Dr. Hooper very gravely asked whether we should leave out the marriage or the burial service. Lefroy replied that the Cambridge Delhi men found themselves able to dispense with the first, but even they had to provide for the second, and burial was taken! It was clear during this time that Lefroy was riding for a fall in the matter of health. Besides the six hours daily committee work, during which he vigilantly watched especially the relevant doctrinal and liturgical points, he was doing the current administrative work of his mission, and not content with this he insisted that I should read some German theology with him. He specially wanted to be able to read it for his Islam work. I asked him whether he never got a headache when he piled on work like this? No, he said, only sometimes my head gets woolly and won't work.
"I can't remember why it was that Lefroy was not elected a member of the Urdu Revision Committee for the New Testament, but I suppose it was because of the too great strain which even he realised this long-drawn task would have imposed on his powers. Besides this our relations were so close that he knew he could bring to bear whatever he felt to be of importance through the chief reviser. As a matter of fact, he was one of the most faithful contributors to the criticism of the tentative revisions which were sent round to capable outsiders before the sessions of the committee. It was through his help that the best of our non-Christian assessors were secured, and all the arrangements of the important final session at Delhi in January and February, 1898, were made by him. His readiness to help outside his own immediate work was extraordinary. I have never known him to refuse a request for needed help, whatever the tax it might involve; indeed, I fear that we his friends are partly responsible for the overweight which broke him down. I expressed some apprehension on this point one day to a member of the Mission. His reply was: 'Oh, Lefroy has broad shoulders.'
"My longest and closest connection with Lefroy was from January, 1900, till July, 1911, when I left India. Throughout that time I was his senior examining chaplain and more than once I lived for several months in his house. His was a very live mind, sensitive to interests in every direction and perfectly simple, never hesitating to say: 'I don't know,' or 'I never thought of that,' but very shrewd in testing search-ingly propositions and theories, and often flashing out with clear insight into the heart of a question, yet ever ready to hear the other side. Particularly in religious controversy with Muslims or Hindus he was insistent on the Christian attitude of absolutely impartial fairness.
"He was a constant and careful reader. Travelling suited him well and in the first-class compartment which is accorded to a bishop, as a high official, on the railways, part of his equipment was a neatly designed book box and a travelling lamp which could be fastened up behind the reader to supplement the defective lighting of the Indian railway carriages in those days. When the train arrived at his destination in the night his carriage would be detached on a siding till the morning.
"He was a born organiser and the Lahore diocese gave him full scope for his gift both on the Indian and the foreign side. When he came to us the C.M.S. organisation was in process of recasting with a view to its adjustment to the diocesan constitution. It was an untold help to have a bishop who could give himself to the work with an intimate touch with Indian thought and feeling and also with the experience of a non-established Church in Ireland.
"Lefroy has sometimes been spoken of as autocratic, and he could be at times, but he was always ready to consider reasoned remonstance. During his absence in England in, I think, 1908, the C.M.S. Central Mission Council, feeling the need of liturgical adaptation and enrichment, appointed a committee to consider details and place their recommendations before the bishop for conference with other missions.
On his return the bishop, hearing of this, sent the secretary of the Council a request to cancel this resolution as he had resolved to deal with the matter himself. It was represented that it was well within the competence of any body of clergy to consult on possible measures of Church reform and formulate their proposals for submission to the diocesan. He agreed and the matter was adjusted, with the result that a good scheme of liturgical advance was drawn up, though its execution, I fear, hung fire after his translation. The development of a scheme of synodal organisation with lay representation began while Lefroy was at Lahore, but was carried out at Calcutta. Meanwhile, when first translated he was very desirous to found a metropolitical see of Delhi corresponding to the Imperial District of Delhi, but this had to be dropped.
"Lefroy's missionary activity as a bishop was naturally in the main of a pastoral nature, and in this he was untiring. Countless were the petitions for settlement of individual affairs which came to him from Indian Christians in things spiritual and secular; some of them very amusing productions. He was specially edified when a letter was addressed to him as 'The Pope of the C.M.S Lahore.' In Delhi he was affectionately known as 'Liffrye Sahib.'"
I close the Delhi period by an extract from a letter written indeed December 12, 1893, but there are many such outpourings to one or other of his home circle, and throughout these years.
"May God's rich blessing rest on you and on me at this time and may our eyes be opened to realise more of the meaning of His coming, Who is the Light of the world and the Son of the Father and the Bond of union and communion between God and man. Working in the cause we are, ought to be the best way to enable us at such seasons to get some deeper glimpse into their true meaning, and then the glimpse should abide by us and stimulate us to a truer zeal and more ready self-offering through the days that come. Certainly no less clear declaration of God's Eternal Nature and of His purposes for us and no lower pledge of redemption and new strength for ourselves would be adequate to meet the needs, and stand the strain of the world we have to work in."
Lefroy's favourite book of private devotions was "The Mantle of Prayer," chiefly from the Devotions of Bishop Andrewes. He used to recommend this book to the clergy when Bishop of Lahore. And alongside of it there was the sense of humour. A letter written in London in 1896 reveals his nature lighting up life with fun.
"June 5, 1896.
"He told me I had a very strong gouty tendency. I thanked him for what was at any rate entirely fresh information, as I have never had, so far as I know, the smallest symptom of it, nor does he connect it in the least with present'trouble. Then as regards the present, he said, after beating about the bush a bit, 'I suppose you want me to give you my opinion, right or wrong?' I intimated it was rather for that purpose I had gone to him. 'Then I think you are in love, and have had a violent shock to your affections.' I thanked him again for further revelations, also wholly new, and asked him to try again. Finally he thought, in a disappointed kind of way, that if I was quite sure there was nothing of this kind, possibly sleeplessness and anxiety might do it, though he evidently preferred the other explanations. Altogether I got as little value from him as I did from a Dublin doctor to whom I went, and who after a careful examination announced to me in a cheery manner, and with the richest brogue, 'Deed, Mr. Lefroy, you're a deal stronger man than I am meself to-day,' an assurance that was satisfactory so far as it went, but not, as I tried delicately to convey to him, exactly what I wanted to know."