Project Canterbury

The Life and Letters of George Alfred Lefroy, D.D.
Bishop of Calcutta, and Metropolitan

By H. H. Montgomery

London, etc.: Longmans, Green and Co., 1920.

Chapter XV. The Attitude of the British Race in India towards Educated Indians

There is no need to emphasise to-day the paramount importance of this question, and it will be of interest to note what, in November, 1906, the Bishop of Lahore set down in his third Triennial Charge to his diocese. I give merely a series of extracts, but as such I have made no alteration in the language used.

"I come to the subject to which, after much and careful thought, I have decided to devote the remainder of my Charge, namely, some slight consideration of the novel conditions which, by any at all intelligent and sympathetic observer, are seen to be emerging in this great land of India, some appreciation of the new problems concerning the mutual relations of the English and of the educated classes of this land, and the place which the latter are entitled to take in the government of the country--in short, the consideration of all that position of affairs which, under the broad title of the 'Change of Times,' has recently bulked so large in the columns of our local newspapers. The fact that from one--and that perhaps the most obvious--point of view this problem is primarily a political one does not, I feel quite sure, make it in any way unsuitable for treatment on an occasion such as the present, affecting as they do the whole future of our relations with this land, and of all the work which, on so many sides and with so many varying aims, we are striving to accomplish in it. But also the very rise of these new conditions is, as I hope to make plain by what I shall presently say, in large part due to our national Christianity, and to the entire attitude towards, and manner of dealing with, this vast Dependency, which our national Christianity has imposed upon us. ... I believe the present movement amongst educated Indians to be of very grave importance indeed. I believe that we--we Englishmen--are face to face with questions of such seriousness that it is scarcely too much to say that we have reached 'a parting of the ways,' and that our whole relationship to, and power of influencing or further helping on the life and thought of this great land largely depends on the temper in which we meet and deal with problems which are thus at the present time arising. I do not want to exaggerate in the least. I am quite aware that in many of the ebullitions of political agitation which have recently attracted attention, more particularly in Bengal, there is a very large element that is artificial, foolish, and of no serious account whatever. . . . Our English rule has struck its roots very deep indeed--it rests on very secure foundations, not those of military strength alone, though it would be unreal and foolish to ignore that kind of strength too, but on far nobler and firmer ones still, which have been laid through many generations, and those roots are not to be lightly torn up. ... I do desire to repeat that it is my deep conviction that we have reached a point of utmost gravity, and of far-reaching effect in our continued relations in this land, and I most heartily wish that there were more signs that thie fact was clearly recognised by the bulk of Englishmen here, or even--in at all general and adequate degree--by all our rulers themselves. . . . The very first thing which, as it seems to me, it is necessary to do is to ask the 'whence' of our rule, wholly unique as it is in the world's history, in India. To what are we going, ultimately and in the last resort, to ascribe it--to our own expanding trade, to our own military strength, to our own national genius for colonisation and government, to our own anything you please; or ultimately, and in the last resort, to the Providence of God. . . . We believe in Almighty God. . . . We hold with absolute and unswerving conviction that it is He, and He alone, Who has called us to that extraordinary and unique position which we occupy . . . and that it is to Him that we shall one day, as a nation, have to give account. . . . We are here not primarily for our own sakes or for anything we can get for ourselves from India, but for her sake and for the extraordinary, the unique opportunity thus afforded us of bringing to her of our best in every department and range of life. . . . Would it not be madness to come with our English ideals, our ideals of personal freedom and equality of opportunity, of local self-government, established or aimed at, and of essential justice between man and man, to seek by every means in our power to infuse thereinto the life and thought of this land, and then--then to expect nothing to happen; to expect that all things would continue as they had been from the beginning? . . . We shall recognise that not stagnation, not an indefinite continuance of the relation of England to India just on the lines with which we ourselves are familiar--but progress and movement have been looked for, and their prospect welcomed--and their prospect welcomed--by some, at any rate, of the master minds who have in the past represented us in these lands. ... I most certainly hold that what we see around us at the present day--the discontent, the restlessness, the desire for larger life, and especially for closer and more sympathetic relationship with us on the part of the educated classes of India--I hold that all this is not merely something which, on the principles and methods which in our rule we have deliberately adopted, was bound sooner or later to come, but also that its appearance is in part at least a testimony, not to the defects or evils of our rule out here, very real or grievous though these may in some respects have been, but to the excellence, the nobility of our rule, and also to the success which is attending it. ... There are not a few details of conduct and bearing increasingly noticeable amongst the better class of Indians at the present time, which inevitably jar on Englishmen, and add greatly to the difficulties of cordial relationship. There is a most noticeable diminution in that spirit of courtesy, and of little courteous observances, which have been in such special degree a characteristic, and a very attractive characteristic, of the best Indian life in the past, and the passing away of which is a very real loss indeed. But by a large number of Indians such little courtesies are now regarded with disfavour as savouring of flattery, subserviency, or servility, and are ignored up to a point which, to English habits of thought, amounts merely to boorishness and rudeness. . . . There is on many sides, e.g. in almost every native newspaper with which I am acquainted, a tendency very noticeable at the present time to see the worst of English life, ... to throw into the shade to the utmost degree possible its stronger, finer sides. ... To a certain extent I can understand and sympathise with this. Englishmen have assuredly not been slow to call attention to the defects which they have seen in Indian life and character. . . . Yet in encouraging this temper so far as is constantly done now (by Indian newspapers) they are rendering in truth a very bad service to the land they love. . . . Have not the educated classes of Indians a very real and legitimate ground of complaint in the general attitude which is taken towards them by Englishmen in this land; the utter aloofness and distance of relationship which is maintained, the grim refusal of anything even approaching to a brotherly and sympathetic bearing? ... It is, I suppose, one of the universally recognised defects of the English character that it is naturally unsympathetic, reserved, cold. . . . But I do not think that any one can question that at the present time, and under existing conditions in this land, it is handicapping us terribly, and that it--more than any other single course that can be named--is at the root of the difficulty which is already upon us. ... To you, whether missionaries or chaplains, I appeal from the bottom of my heart to be prominent in this good work, to see to it--to ask the Holy Spirit of His grace to grant it to you--that by no word or act of arrogance or contempt you deepen the gulf, the existence of which, at the present time, is being so forcibly brought to our notice; ... so to treat all natives with whom you come in contact, and more particularly so to avail yourselves of any opportunities that may present themselves of meeting with a genuine, unaffected sympathy, respect, and friendliness the better class of educated men, that you may each do something towards lessening the friction. . . ."

Mrs. Besant.--Naturally Lefroy's spirit was stirred within him on the occasion of Mrs. Besant's advent in the Punjab in order to lecture. The Bishop preached two sermons on the subject in Christchurch, Simla, on July 1st and 8th, 1906. I give concluding words.

"We are told that this vision of India ever becoming a Christian land is a baseless dream. I recognise instantly that the real question at issue is not the wisdom of this or that particular missionary, the ability of this or that missionary worker, but simply this--is our Blessed Lord indeed living and reigning to-day, and did He speak the truth when He declared that in heaven and earth alike all authority was given unto Him, and when, in virtue of this He entrusted to His disciples the task of the evangelisation of the world, promising them for its accomplishment, His own continual presence day by day while time shall last, or was he laying upon them an impossible commission? For me, at any rate, there can be but one answer to this question, and I feel as certain that India one day shall be indeed a Christian land, as that I am occupying this pulpit this morning. We are offered a Pantheon of semi-human, semi-divine teachers in which a niche is condescendingly found for the man Jesus. I decline the offer--not less in my own name, than in yours, fellow-members with me of the living and ascended Christ, and fellow-partakers, as we hope and believe, of His glory which shall be revealed. Such a Pantheon is an earthly habitation built upon the shifting sands of human imagination; but to us has been given the vision of the Holy City, coming down out of heaven. ... I decline the offer, and lay down my life in absolute and unreserved devotion at the feet of Him, my Lord and my God, the Eternal and now Incarnate Word of God, Jesus Christ, Who loved me, yea, and loves me to-day, with as direct, as quick, as personal a love as ever--Who loves me and gave Himself for me."

The Episcopal Synod--1908

Lefroy attached the greatest importance to this annual meeting of Indian Bishops held in January at Calcutta. Perhaps the Synod of 1908 was also specially important, since the Indian Bishops, after their meeting, prepared to visit England for the Pan-Anglican Congress and the Lambeth Conference. Lefroy, of course, took his full share in these gatherings, and he made an important speech in the Albert Hall in July of that year. In preparation for the Episcopal Synod he issued five statements sent confidentially to the Bishops beforehand.

(i) On Unity I quote one paragraph.

"I would urge that, not content with laying stress on the duty, and efficacy of prayer for Unity, and on the general duty of getting to understand each other better, we should urge on the clergy and laity of our Communion to be more ready to avail themselves of such bases of practical Unity as already exist with a view to advancing towards that which we have not yet got. It should be clearly pointed out that united action on our part with members of other Communions may rightly, and therefore most urgently should, extend as far as our common basis; in other words, we ought to unite whenever possible not only in work of general philanthropy, temperance, etc., etc, (in which we do already, I hope, try to co-operate cordially), but in several important branches of Evangelistic work, such as Literature, Bazaar preaching, Missionary Conferences, Prayer-meetings, and some others. I myself take part, not infrequently, in a weekly Bible and Prayer-meeting held in Lahore by missionaries of our own Church, of the Presbyterians, Episcopal Methodists, and any others who like to come. Few things will do more to open the way to closer union than cordially utilising in practice such union as we already have.

"It would have to be recognised that the Holy Communion and some other things lie at present outside this range."

(2) Racial Problems and the Present Political Unrest

"I doubt whether any of the subjects which will come up for consideration at the Synod touches more vitally the question of the spread of Christianity in India during the next few years than this one. . . .

"It is obvious that such periods of transition are fraught, for the Government of the country, with the largest issues and constitute the most vital possible test of its statesmanship and wisdom.

"But we need to remember that this is true no less of the Church than of the secular Government.

"It is certain that the attitude of educated Indians during the next decade will be profoundly influenced by the attitude which the Church at this time adopts towards the new movements, the new aspirations, of India. An attitude of indifference or of aloofness on her part must inevitably evoke a spirit of antagonism and dislike on theirs.

"I can understand that some may deprecate our dealing in any public manner with these matters on the ground that they do not primarily concern us. My own very strong conviction is, however, that, to accept this view would be a disastrous mistake. We ourselves are in the midst of--our work is being affected in countless ways by--this stir of thought and aspiration, and whether we like it or no, the educated classes will insist--as, in my opinion, they have a perfect right to insist--on our declaring our own attitude and feeling with regard to them. At such a time to be silent is simply to be indifferent and unsympathetic, i.e. to repel and alienate.

"As to the line which we might suitably follow I will only suggest a few points:--

"1. We should recognise, in the frankest and most cordial manner possible, that we--we as Missionaries, we as members of the English race--are responsible for this awakening in India. We should accept it, and gladly, as the natural and necessary result of our own work. We should make it plain that, in our view, for no such movement to have come sooner or later to the birth, would have meant the utter failure of our country's and our Church's Mission to India.

"2. We should go further than this. We should make some frank reference to the new sense of nationality, and to the national hopes and aspirations which are stirring all around, and say how wholly we sympathise with these in principle--however clearly we may recognise the enormous difficulties that stand at present in the way of their realisation. . . ."

(3) The National Missionary Society of India

The Bishop gives a sketch of the venture as supplied by the secretary, Mr. V. S. Azariah (now Bishop of Dornakal), It shows that there were 100,000,000 of the people of India outside the reach of existing missions.

"Work done.--The missionary idea has been preached in all the important centres in the Punjab, U.P., and Madras. Two organising secretaries have travelled for the Society, organising branches and creating missionary interest. As never before--it may safely be asserted--the Indian Christians all over India have been now reminded of their duty towards their country, and more people are to-day giving their money, and offering their intercessions for the evangelisation of India than two years ago. The income of the first year was Rs. 3,500. The first field opened by the Society was in Montgomery District in the Punjab. The Punjab was chosen not only because of its need, but also because the Christian community in the Punjab was coming forward to the aid of the Society more than most other provinces. This district will be worked in conformity to the Church of England. The first worker appointed is a graduate of the Punjab University, and one trained in the C.M.S. Divinity School, Lahore.

"The Society would respectfully request the authorities of the Church to recognise the Society as one of the channels through which the missionary activities of the Indian Christians will flow. The Indian Christians have begun to look upon this movement as their own in a peculiar sense. It has created in the Indian Church a greater Christian patriotism, and a nobler spirit of self-sacrifice for the evangelisation of their own country. This is bound in its turn to bring a reflexive benefit on the Church itself. Such being the case it is entitled to the sympathy and prayer of those presiding over that Church to which a large body of Indian Christians own allegiance. By declaring their interest in and sympathy with the movement in general, by advising and helping in the Society's work in so far as it works in fields placed under the Church, by recognising the title to Holy Orders given by the Society, by admitting the converts in such fields to the privileges of the Church, and by maintaining a cordial relationship to the officers of the Society and the workers in the Church of England fields--the Bishops will greatly help in strengthening the missionary spirit quickened by this new organisation.

"I have cordially accepted the proposal of the Society to commence work in an unoccupied district in this Diocese. The man they have selected as their first missionary has been trained in the Lahore C.M.S. Divinity School and is a thoroughly nice young fellow. I have expressed my readiness to accept the Society's appointment as a Title when the time for his ordination comes, though I foresee some difficulty on the subject of his training during his Diaconate.

"I hope that the Synod will be prepared to encourage and assist the Society in the ways suggested by Mr. Azariah."

(4) Opium

The Bishop emphasises the difference between opium eating in India and opium smoking in China and earnestly urges strong action to abolish the China trade, and refers to the resolution of the House of Commons in May, 1906. Then he proceeds:--

"(1) We may be perfectly certain that every possible effort will be made, by powerful vested interests, to deprive that resolution of its force, or to postpone action under it as long as possible; and in view of this any utterance calculated to stiffen the back of Government in its dealing with the question will be most appropriate.

"(2) It seems to me that even the Resolution then passed was an exceedingly lame one, throwing as it did so much onus on the sincerity of China's efforts to rid herself of the drug before we consent to reduce our share in the trade. It seems impossible to doubt that--whether from wholly pure or partially mixed motives--China does heartily desire that our trade should cease or greatly lessen. Is it then for us to lay down conditions under which alone we are prepared to withdraw from a trade, the enormous moral injury resulting from which is denied by practically no one? We should not dream of taking up such a position if we were dealing with any European Power. I think also that it can scarcely be doubted that there is a very real movement towards moral reform in this and other matters in China at the present day, however much it may be hampered and discredited by the extreme official venality and corruption; and we surely ought to assist this to the utmost of our power.

"This awakening of China, which is going, one can scarcely doubt, to be one of the most remarkable phenomena of our days--exceeding in its importance and its effect on the world at large, as many hold, the wonderful awakening of Japan which we have so recently witnessed--invests the opium question with singular importance at the present time. It can scarcely be doubted that the attitude which the most earnest of her moral reformers take towards Christianity in the near future will depend in large measure on the attitude which the Christian Church takes towards this question of the opium trade."

(5) An Indian Church Weekly Paper

"The power of the Press is a commonplace amongst us, and like other commonplaces it exercises little effect on practice, at any rate so far as the Church of England in India is concerned. All recognise, I believe, that our representation in the Press at the present time is deplorably weak. The abandonment of the Indian Church Quarterly meant--whatever its drawbacks may have been--a very real loss, for in its day it did good work. No one regards the Indian Church News as satisfactory or as representing the Church in any true sense. We have our Diocesan Records, which serve an undoubtedly useful function, but an extremely restricted one. We have no weekly journal to represent effectively the Church as a whole, to serve as a family newspaper, to keep the educated Church laity in touch with Church life and movements, to keep alive the feeling of corporate unity in the Church of the Province and to unite it in the working out of a common policy. I fully believe that the absence of such a journal is one cause (no doubt, one amongst many) of the deplorable weakness of corporate feeling in our Communion, viewed as a whole, throughout the Province, and of the utterly weak-kneed character of much of our Churchmanship.

"On the other hand, the Episcopal Methodists, not to refer to some other Nonconformist bodies, give us a practical illustration of how much success it is possible to obtain in the direction I indicate, if the matter is properly taken in hand. Their Indian Witness is, I believe, a thoroughly good publication, with a considerable circulation, and means much to the life of their Communion.

"Surely the success which they have attained is not impossible for us.

"It should be remembered that, if their success is in no small measure due to their addressing themselves to a social class below that which we ordinarily think of as prominent in our own body, we ourselves have far more members of that same class in our Communion than they have, and I cannot doubt that we should obtain the same response from them if we bore them as clearly in mind and addressed ourselves as directly to them. It may be that we are too much in the habit of overlooking them, and the loss entailed by this must be very great."

The above are merely extracts from the Bishop's Memoranda, sufficient to give his attitude.

Lefroy reached England in 1908 in time to see his mother once more and to be at her bedside when she passed. He had visited Palestine on his way to England, and on his return to India later in the year he was accompanied by his sister, Miss Lefroy, for a winter visit

I have now to refer briefly to only two more of his published utterances during the Lahore period. The time was approaching for his acceptance of the call to Calcutta. His fourth triennial Visitation was made in November, 1909. In his charge the most important subject handled was the danger which he anticipated as possible of the creation of "Race Churches." I give a few extracts:--

"We come preaching one Christ, the One Mediator between God and man for all men--everywhere--alike, and we bring the message of that Body in which--not only there are not, but in St. Paul's language there cannot be, Jew or Gentile, bond or free, male or female, Indian or English: so necessarily, so vitally, are all who are really in Him made one also in each other. We preach that. Do we show it? Assuredly not, as those know best who are most intimately acquainted with the thoughts of Indian Christian Communities at the present time and know how much of estrangement, dissatisfaction and bitterness in regard to this matter there is among them. . . .

"On the one hand, there are the English congregations ... the great majority of them are avowedly birds of passage, with but a passing interest in the land, and no desire to throw in their lot in any really deep and permanent way at all with the people of the land, whether Christian or non-Christian. Think of the bulk of the Army, who in this Diocese comprise about 28,000 out of the 36,000 Europeans. . . . This great system on the one hand, and on the other, the Indian congregations, for the most part poor and illiterate, though with an increasing proportion of men of a very different stamp and as far removed in all sorts of ways from the English congregations as possible. Is not the danger--one might almost say the inevitable-ness--of Race Churches most real and unmistakable? . . . The issue as it affects us in this country is simply this. In the case of very many people there is an instinctive sense of repulsion from men of an alien race--a repulsion of which I am sure Indians are often conscious, at least as much as Englishmen, possibly more so. It is not, I believe, necessarily in itself a wrong feeling, being purely spontaneous and instinctive, though it very quickly becomes wrong if it is given way to and allowed to influence conduct. The question, then, is which in our own case is the stronger, this sense of repulsion on ground of race if for us it unhappily exists, or the attraction towards such an one arising from our common membership in Christ? . . . The difficulty, of course, is immense; we shall gain nothing whatever by minimising it: so too, assuredly no less, was the difficulty which confronted St. Paul in connection with the fusion of Jew and Gentile. ... To just one measure which I have myself taken in connection with it I will make passing reference, I mean the question of the admission of Indian Christian children of suitable families, to our English boarding schools. This was perhaps the most glaring instance of a colour-line being drawn in purely Christian institutions that existed amongst us, and the injury that it was doing was--as all those most qualified to judge were agreed in holding--very grievous indeed. Accordingly, as most of you know, I addressed in the early part of this year a letter to the committees of our various schools expressing my earnest hope that they might, with due safeguards, remove this barrier; and it is with true pleasure and thankfulness that I record that with one exception my request was everywhere complied with--everywhere, that is, where need for compliance existed. ... I wish now to lay stress on the cultivation of a warmer, more brotherly, more affectionate feeling in the ordinary intercourse of daily life. Nothing has done more harm, wounded Indian Christian feeling, I believe, more deeply than the patronising tone and temper in which we--those even of us who do most truly desire to be friendly and draw together--are so very apt to meet them. Extreme care needs to be taken in regard to the little things which in our daily intercourse produce in the aggregrate so great an effect, e.g. that if an Indian Christian comes to see us he should not be kept waiting, or left standing, in a way that an Englishman of the same social standing would resent. Indeed, the reverse ought to be the case. I mean that we ought to be far more careful in the case of an Indian than of an Englishman, both because they are naturally a more sensitive race than ourselves, and because we have accumulated so woeful a balance on the wrong side in the past which needs to be readjusted to the utmost of our power. . . . Last Advent I held an Ordination in Hindustani in Holy Trinity Church here. One of the cathedral vestrymen went over to show his sympathy and interest by taking part in it, and at the close of the service he came into the vestry and shook hands with each of the candidates with a courtesy and an unmistakable respect and reverence for the office to which they had been admitted which could not have been surpassed. I cannot tell you how much his action was appreciated. ... I trust it may before long be possible in some stations for English and Indian members of our Church to unite, more regularly and formally than is done at present, in the Holy Communion, there being perhaps once a month a Celebration only in one church, the Station and Mission Church alternately, and all Communicants being asked to gather at the one Holy Feast of Unity and love."

(I was myself present a few years ago at one such service on Advent Sunday at the Station Church at Delhi, a truly delightful occasion. The officiating clergy consisted of both Europeans and Indians.--H. H. M.)

In 1910, in the Bishop's Pastoral Letter, the following words occur:--

"I hope that Chaplains on being posted to a new station will be careful to inquire whether there are any Indian Christians of suitable social status to be included in their calling list, and in that case will make a point of calling upon them, at as early a date as they conveniently can, in exactly the same way and with the same formalities as they call on English folk. ... On the occasion of any parochial or social function also it will mean much if Chaplains will make a point of including in their invitations any Indian Christians of suitable status there may be in the place. ... I wish also to urge most strongly on missionaries their bounden duty to keep in touch to the utmost degree possible with the English society of their Station. I know as well as any one how difficult it often is to do this on account of claims of afternoon or evening work and the like, but I am sure it is worth a most real and sustained effort to effect it. It is ridiculous to blame English men and women out here for holding aloof from the missionaries and taking little interest in Mission work if the missionaries themselves hold aloof from the English and show little interest in them and their life in this land. I am sure that no small portion of the responsibility for the gulf which too often does exist in a Station between the English life and the missionary. Indian life rests on the shoulders of the missionaries for having failed in their duty in this direction."

Letters of the Same Period, 1905-1912

Difficulties of Consecration of Bishops for India have long been a trouble to the Church.

The following letter refers to the problem:--

"Harvington, Simla: July 6, 1905.

"Bishop Copleston ran up to see the Viceroy over some matter connected with the Consecration of the new Bishop for Travancore. Hitherto consecrations to that See, and as I understand to Japan, China, and everything that is known as 'foreign territory,' have been under the Jerusalem Bishopric Act, and therefore necessarily at home. Bishop Copleston greatly dislikes this (perfectly rightly, I think, so far as principle is concerned), and holds that the Province ought to consecrate its own Bishops. You know how keen I was to be consecrated out here, believing it to be right in principle. He therefore falls back from the Act, on the general powers inherent in the Church, and says of course, as we are a completely constituted Province, we can consecrate him all right, without any specially empowering Act, and all we want is for the Governor of India to say that if he is so consecrated, with the full approval of the Governor of India, they will accord him due recognition as the successor of the late Bishop. He apparently has got the Viceroy to his side, but he recognises himself that it is very uncertain whether he will be able to carry Mr. Brodrick and the other authorities at home, including perhaps his Grace. I believe his position to be perfectly sound from the point of view of Church principles, but it rather ignores red tape and is not an easy morsel for lawyers to swallow. The position is made more difficult by the Bishop designate having rather taken alarm at the Metropolitan's proposals, fearing that they will land him in a native state with less definite status and certainty of recognition than his predecessors enjoyed, and having settled to go off home to satisfy himself, to inquire whether the authorities at home are inclined to agree and that his position is secure. In this and in all ways the Metropolitan takes the very high, spiritual view of things, and this is what makes it so good to be in his company for a bit, so as to get down to deeper ground."

And though it is two years later I insert here the next letter.

"Bishopsbourne, Lahore: Feb. 14, 1907.

"I saw the Metropolitan off from the Diocese last Monday. It has been a very great pleasure and help being with him for the ten days. It is so exceedingly good for one having to take a back seat occasionally--and yet so honestly difficult at ordinary times for one in my position, even if I were by nature far more inclined to occupy that position than I am. But the ten days of lying low, and listening to another talking, and attending on him--one, too, to whom I can look up with such a whole-hearted respect and affection as a much wiser and better man than myself--have been very refreshing and good. And he really is a delightful character--a real' Apostle of Love.' I heard him give a number of addresses--to very differently constituted audiences--and I think every one was on love--God's love to us--our love to God, and to man. It lifted me into a high region. And he got through the fairly stiff programme I had prepared for him much better than I expected. At leaving he expressed himself greatly delighted with all he had seen and said that for the character of our workers--men and women--for the solidity of plant, building, etc., etc., and general energy and 'go' in the work, he did not think he had seen anything at all comparable to it in any other part of the country. Of course the Punjab, with its splendid cold weather climate, as bracing as possible, ought to lead in all such respects, but it is well to think, on his authority, that it does."

The next two letters show that Lefroy, in regard to an acute political controversy, was strongly upon the side of Lord Curzon as against Lord Kitchener. At the same time it will also be noted that Lefroy's association with Lord Kitchener in regard to the welfare of the army was of the happiest description.

To the Viceroy, Lord Curzon.

"Simla: Aug. 21, 1905.

"May I say how very greatly I regret the step which I learn you have at length felt compelled to take. I am quite sure that in a very short time, even if it is not already the case, all thinking men throughout the country will recognise how very grievous has been the loss sustained by India in your premature departure. For myself I would like to thank you warmly for the unfailing kindness which I have experienced at your hands. I have every reason to feel that in Lady Curzon and yourself I lose from the country genuine friends."

"Viceregal Lodge, Simla: Aug. 21, 1905,

"My dear Bishop,

"I am much touched by your kind words. I do not think there is a less dejected man in India than myself, and if friends like yourself, who are impartial, think that I adopted the right course, great and valuable encouragement is given to me in my own feeling.

"I shall always look back with pleasure upon the facts that I was instrumental in offering a bishopric to so eminent a man, though at that time unknown to me, and that subsequent knowledge only availed to confirm (by no means a uniform experience) the wisdom of my act.

"Looking forward to our next meeting in England in 1908,

"I am,

"Yours sincerely,


"Harvington, Simla: Aug. 24, 1905.

"I have preached my two sermons on gambling, and they are to be printed, so I will send you copies. They are coming out first in one of the daily papers, which is best of all, as far more people see them in that way than any other. I was amused at the remark of a lady at lunch last Saturday. 'You are going to preach on Bridge to-morrow, are you not?' 'Yes.' 'You are going down immediately afterwards?' in an alarmed tone of voice, as though so only was there any reasonable chance of my life being spared. A few people have spoken warmly to me about them, and others I hear are indignant, which is perhaps a better sign."

"Bishopsbourne, Lahore: Aug. 29, 1905.

"My gambling sermons have 'caught on' at any rate, whether anything comes of them or not. I have scarcely met a fresh person this week who has not brought the subject up, and last night I was told that some men here in Lahore are laying their heads together to produce a reply. At any rate that's more notice than all sermons secure! Meantime I have had some very nice letters from subalterns, and other young fellows who are in difficulties, thanking me for what I have said, and putting all sorts of problems, as to whether I think it would be wrong for them to go in for the Calcutta 'Derby Sweep' simply to have the chance of helping parents at home, of paying off debt, etc., etc. I can't help much in such cases, but it seems as if I had got home to them."

A word of thanks is welcome.

"Viceregal Lodge, Simla: Aug. 22, 1905.

"I must write you one line to tell you how very much I appreciated the Confirmation Service yesterday. I am so glad Violet was one of the candidates. The rules you laid down for their future lives so clearly in your address will, I am sure, always be a help to her throughout her life, and I feel certain that yesterday's service will always be a happy recollection.

"I hope you will forgive me for sending you these few lines, but I thought I should like to tell you how thoroughly Violet appreciated what you said.

"Yours very sincerely,

"Mary Minto."

"Harvington, Simla: June 14, 1906.

"Mrs. Annie Besant has just been lecturing up here, and the whole world has run after her. I suppose you know more or less what she stands for. She is certainly a beautiful speaker--very eloquent, with excellent choice of words. And on some points I can go with her, e.g. one lecture was simply an argument for the spiritual, instead of the merely materialistic, view of life. I enjoyed it, without agreeing with all details, and was quite glad she had given it, as there were a good many present who rarely set foot in church. On the other hand, much in her first lecture was wholly anti-Christian in essential principle and position, yet this too appears to have been greatly admired by many of our own people--including some good Church folk--who seem wholly unable to see how wholly such teaching conflicts with our blessed Lord's claims, and seem to have been attracted merely by her maintenance of the shallow, but so popular, position that it does not matter what a man believes if his life is right. I am a good deal distressed. At one time I thought of giving a public lecture in reply to that first one of hers, but now I don't think it would be desirable to do this. I must deal with it in church some day."

"Chaman, Afghanistan: Tuesday, March 20, 1906.

"I am at one of the farthest outposts of our Empire--indeed beyond the Empire, properly speaking--for we are really in Afghanistan proper, and it was only with the utmost reluctance that the late Amir let us occupy this spot on his side of the mountain range which is the true boundary between the countries. I believe he said that in driving the tunnel through, we had 'run a borer into his vitals.' I came through on the engine yesterday, the driver lighting up the tunnel for me by some electric arrangement which they had fitted up for T.R.H. who were here last week. It is a fine engineering work, but a good deal like other tunnels. Here it seems funny to find a regular English life going on--the young fellows at their polo, the ladies (there are only four of them in the one native regiment which constitutes the entire garrison) playing croquet, etc., with the boundary between the two countries indicated by a line of white posts about three miles off, beyond which if you set a foot you are liable to be captured and put in durance vile, while the Afghan fort grins at ours about seven miles off."

"Multan: March 14, 1906.

"I am enjoying my trip in special degree. At present it is partly due to the splendid facilities which are being given me to address the troops on moral questions. They are splendid opportunities and I am most thankful for them, but they take a good deal out of me, especially when added to all the usual duties of a Visitation.

"Here almost the whole garrison was paraded in the open--a temporary platform made for me; the General Commanding came up on to it with me, and for fifteen or twenty minutes I talked very straight. Some of the officers said afterwards they thought much good had been done. Even five years ago this sort of thing would not have been thought of--nothing but voluntary meetings, and at them, though they have some distinct advantages, you are apt not to get the very men you most want to talk to."

It will be remembered that a few years before this time Lefroy and Allnutt had conceived a plan for Commentaries for Indian Christians.

"Bishopsbourne, Lahore: Dec. 6, 1906.

"I am sending you a copy of my Charge, which is just out, and also a copy of what is to me a most fascinating and valuable little commentary (?) on the Philippians. In its preface you will see what its special purport is and the part I have taken in connection with it. If one can't write books oneself, it's something to help in making other people write them, and I think this little volume is a most real acquisition. In its constant reference to Indian life and thought it is quite unlike anything we at present have, while simply as an English Commentary I think it takes a very high place. I am reading it myself devotionally in the mornings and like it greatly. But the chief idea of the series is that they should be translated into the chief vernacular, and so supply what is at present a great need. It is also very pleasant--and on the line in which I always want to work--to see how different 'parties' are drawing together in the scheme. This first production is from the pen of a C.M.S. man in Madras, the next will be, I expect, by Canon Brown, head of the O.M. Calcutta."

It may be as well to state here the progress made in the issue of these Commentaries. All are published by the S.P.C.K. At the present time (1919) the following are in existence besides Philippians: St. Matthew, by Dr. W. Stanton; Acts, by T. Walker; 2 Corinthians, by A. Crosthwaite; Hebrews, by W. H. G. Holmes; Revelation, by Dr. Waller, Bishop of Tinnevelly.

The following letters deal with the Bishop's relations with Lord Kitchener, and will be welcome reading. But the first refers to Lord Kitchener's brother.

"Harvington, Simla: July 2, 1903.

"I have been very greatly cheered and encouraged during the last week by some intercourse with Gen. W. Kitchener, brother to the Chief and at present in command of the Lahore District He was up here for a week, and came twice to see me and to talk over a scheme he has for starting a tea-house for the men, first of all in Lahore itself, where it appears to be urgently needed, and then, if the plan succeeds, in other places as well. He has thought it out all himself, though now making the draft of it over to me for alteration or correction, wanting me to get the patronage of the Viceroy and Lieut-Governor, and altogether to take a leading part in running it, and his attitude in the whole matter is the nicest possible. He was at the early Celebration on Sunday himself."

"Harvington, Simla: 1905.

"I sat next Lord Kitchener at dinner a couple of nights ago and had a lot of interesting talk. He was spinning some extraordinary tales of his doings on a tour he took along the Indian Frontier some time ago. He asked me to ride out with him on Saturday to a country house he has, six or seven miles out, to see his garden, of which he is very fond, and have lunch. It should be interesting. It will mean nearly a day off, as we are to start at eleven; on my way back I have to stop in the afternoon at a house for tennis, and in the evening I have been compelled to go to the theatre, for a variety entertainment got up on behalf of the Mayo Orphanage, one of our important institutions up here, which I am bound to support. The latter I would gladly be out of, but the day off I can do with, as I haven't had one since I came up, barring a Sunday six weeks back when I was rather seedy.

"Lord Kitchener so plainly wants to be friendly and civil. I heard, quite indirectly and unexpectedly, that after a long talk I had with him some weeks back on questions of morality in the Army, he sent round a general order to all officers on one point which I had strongly urged on him, though with little hope that he would take action. I hope real good has been done, at any rate in this one respect, and I shall have another good go-in on Saturday, all being well.

"Harvington, Simla: June 27, 1907.

"I had a very interesting, and in many ways enjoyable, day with Lord Kitchener last Saturday. I felt the matter in debate between us was of so much importance that it would be better to accept his offer and ride out with him in the morning. We started at 11 o'clock and never broke the walk for the six miles to his country house, going at it hammer and tongs the whole way, as well as for an hour or so after arrival. I wholly failed to get out of him what I wanted, which I greatly regret, but I felt again the pleasure which I have always experienced in dealing with him of being able to say exactly what you think, without reserve or qualification, and be taken in absolute good part. I was attacking vigorously a policy to which he is committed and by which he sets great store, and he was as pleasant and fair throughout as possible; indeed, at the end of our talk I had to admit that I believed in his place I should take very much his line, however I might regret it I still think good may have been done. He knows a good many facts that he didn't know on Saturday morning, and one or two of his high officers are quite with me in the matter, and will go at him independently on it, and the cumulative effect may come to something."

"Harvington, Simla: July 26, 1906.

"I had an exceedingly interesting day with Lord K. last Saturday. I rode out with one other Colonel to his house, and there were just the four (an A.D.C. the fourth) to lunch. He got on to Omdurman, and gave many interesting details. Then for a good two hours he and I were walking up and down the garden paths hammering away at questions affecting the morality of the army. I think it does real good having these talks, even if nothing very definite comes of them. It is a great pleasure being able to say to a man in that position just exactly what one feels--whether smooth things or rough--and to know that he won't mind a bit. I have never had to deal with a big man in whom this characteristic was more marked."

"Harvington, Simla: Aug. 15, 1907.

"I know you and mother will be interested to hear that Lord Kitchener has after all taken the action which I urged on hkn, but which at first he refused to do. The whole subject is such an unpleasant one that I don't care to go into details, but I hope and believe that some good will come of what has now been done. I have just had a message to say that he wants to have another talk with me on the subject, so I am going over to him this afternoon, and in the evening I dine with the Viceroy.

"In her last letter mother referred to Mr. Morley in connection with my Charge. I sent him a copy and got a very kind and appreciative answer through his private secretary. I have just written a letter for our local paper on the present position, urging more quietness and moderation and a franker recognition of the large section of thoroughly loyal educated natives that exists. I think much harm has been done, and the latter class greatly discouraged, by the sweeping terms of condemnation and contempt in which it is the fashion nowadays to refer to 'the educated class' in the Anglo-Indian Press."

The next letter happily closes the series.

"Simla: Aug. 17, 1909.

"My dear Bishop,

"Herewith a photo, which I hope you will like. "I shall always remember our many conversations and the kind and considerate way in which you have helped me to do something to improve the moral life of the men of the army.

"I hope they will keep it up.

"Yours very truly,


The next two letters, written three months earlier, indicate the Bishop's efforts to act as a mediator between the races. His Charge dealt with those troubles publicly.

I preface them by facts supplied to me by Mr. Alfred Nundy, an Indian and a Christian, Barrister-at-Law.

Mr. Nundy was editor of The Tribune at Lahore, and in 1907 he came into touch, and very helpfully, with the Bishop. There had been riots which culminated in the deportation of Lala Lajpat Rai. Lefroy considered that misunderstanding existed between educated Indians and the Government. Finally, he met on two occasions some of the Indian leaders at Mr. Nundy's house. He then arranged that a deputation should wait upon the Lieut.-Governor in order to explain the Indian position. On another occasion Mr. Nundy made his house of use by inviting the Bishop to meet the leading members of Christian denominations in Lahore, he being the only European present on the occasion. The result was most happy on both sides.

"Bishopsbourne, Lahore: May 16, 1907.

"I have a very big and delicate thing on this afternoon, though in comparison to the support of God's grace, for which I look, it is a molehill. You can understand, of course, the state of tension in which we have recently been living here and the bitterness of feeling between the two races which is being engendered by all this rioting on one hand and repression on the other. Things are much worse than when I wrote my Charge last October; much worse, I think, than I have ever known them since 1879. It occurred to me, meditating on the sadness of the position on Sunday, that possibly there might be room for some sort of intermediary between the Government and the leaders of the Hindu community--at any rate the moderate amongst them. I went to one whom I knew and asked was there a chance of my services being of any use if I offered them? He jumped at the idea and, after a certain amount of palavering, some twelve or so of them are to come to this house this evening. I hear they are all barristers, pleaders, or men of that ilk, and I have no doubt whatever that their hope will be to get me into a false position of some kind, e.g. in approaching the Government on behalf of this man who has been deported, or the like. My own position and aim, however, is so perfectly simple that I hope no harm will come of it, and possibly, by God's help, good. I have no doubt there are some extremists, genuinely seditious, who will decline to meet Government in any way, but I am not without hope that I may be able to induce some of the moderate to separate themselves openly and avowedly from their party, to admit--which is what the native Press are trying to deny--that there is real sedition astir, and to disavow it If this could be done a very real step would have been gained. But just at present it is delicate work for any one connected in any way with Government to have dealings at all--except on purely official lines--with those who are believed to be tainted with disloyalty."

"Bishopsbourne, Lahore.

"Sanawar: July 13, 1907.

"The meeting with the Hindu leaders came off and was very interesting. I can't tell you much about it without going into details for which I have not time, but I think some good was done. At the time hardly anything seemed to have come of it, as after i£ hours' talk they politely withdrew without taking any action. Two days afterwards, however, three or four of the principal men came to see me one by one, and seemed to be much more inclined to really make peace with Government and knuckle under a bit. I hope it may prove so."

No man ever enjoyed a bit of fun more than Lefroy, as the following letter indicates.

"Harvington, Simla: July 18, 1907.

"Simla is having a woeful laugh at your son, on this wise. Last week there was a sale on behalf of the Y.W.C.A. I had to say something at the opening and then to do something at the stalls. As you can imagine, the latter is difficult for me, especially at such an essentially feminine show. However, I secured a friend, a judge's wife, and said she must help me to spend a certain amount of money. At one stall she said to me, 'How would you like that cushion?' a very pretty piece of hand-painting, fruit and flowers, on satin. I liked it; it was rather expensive, but I said I might as well buy one good thing and discharge my obligations at once as go pottering on with a lot of small things, so I got it. As we walked away from the stall a lady came up and whispered to my friend, 'Will you tell me what the Bishop is going to do with that"--sache, I think they called it--anyhow, something for putting a lady's nightdress in! For such in truth it turned out to be, my friend asserting her own entire innocence. Anyhow, Simla has got a hold of it, and is having much sport. One of the Martin girls declares that a couple of days ago she heard two nursery-maids on the road which runs at the back of our house, and one was telling the other the story and speculating on what I wanted it for. Having bought it as a cushion, I hold that it is such; I have given it to Mrs. Martin, and it figures on one of her couches in the drawing-room, and looks extremely pretty. I know you will pity me."

An Indian Archdeacon

In 1909 Bishop Lefroy seriously set himself to obtain the services of a second Archdeacon for the superintendence of missionary work, as distinct from the oversight of chaplains and the care of Europeans. He also desired to appoint an Indian clergyman to the post. The subject is of importance ecclesiastically. Bishop Lefroy first approached the Chief Secretary to Government in the Punjab, and pointed out that in his "Letters Patent" the following passage occurred:--

"The said Bishop of Lahore and his successors may found and constitute one or more (but not exceeding two) archdeaconries within the said Diocese of Lahore, and may appoint one or more (as the case may require) fit and proper persons, being a chaplain or chaplains on one of our ecclesiastical establishments in India, of not less than two years' standing, to be Archdeacon or Archdeacons of the said archdeaconry or archdeaconries."

He said that Bishop French had tried to appoint the Rev. Robert Clark, a C.M.S. missionary, and no chaplain, and suggested he might be made an "Honorary Chaplain." The Government refused. Bishop Lefroy now asked to have the clause removed from the "Letters Patent," leaving the Bishop free in the matter of a second Archdeacon, promising that it should be no expense to the Government. He found State limitations were hampering him in the normal and healthy expansion of his Diocese.

In due time (April 26, 1909) a letter was written from the India Office favourable to the idea that there should be two chaplains, each with distinct duties and without any danger of clashing. But they further asked how such a feat could be accomplished, since they understood that an archdeaconry is a territorial jurisdiction. The Bishop then wrote to his Metropolitan, saying that he had looked upon an archdeaconry purely as an office and not a territory: it would not be feasible to assign a territory to the second Archdeacon. He needed an Archdeacon (preferably an Indian priest) who would exercise jurisdiction over the Indian Christians, and in no way interfere with Europeans. Suffice it to say that all difficulties were removed. The Indian priest, the Rev. Ihsan Ullah, was appointed Archdeacon with the hearty assent of chaplains as well as missionaries.

In a letter to his home circle enclosing the correspondence, and dated December 12, 1910, the Bishop says:--

"You will know that the enclosed means a lot to me--it represents, in a sense, 2\ years of work; though, of course, in another sense the real work in connection with it, for me and for the Archdeacon, is only now beginning. But I offer thanks to God for having enabled me to bring it to this stage. The Archdeacon preached in the cathedral on Sunday, and startled the people by his force and fire. He shouted too much, but the ring of sincerity all through was unmistakable, and I believe much impressed many--indeed, I hear one lady said she was on the verge of tears. The Lieutenant-Governor was stirred."

Women's Work

It is impossible to pass from the Lahore Episcopate of Bishop Lefroy without reference to the Society of St. Hilda. Moreover, it brings into prominence his earnest desire to promote the welfare of Europeans settled in India, and of those who are of mixed blood. These are called severally the Domiciled Community and the Anglo-Indians. (The name applied to the latter till of late was Eurasian.) There are, of course, an increasing number of Europeans who settle in India: for example, soldiers after they have completed their term of service, and who fill posts on railways and places of business, and it is all the more likely that they become permanent dwellers in India if they marry Indian wives. Thus a population of mixed blood arises, and there is no class in India which needs our practical care more than this. They are all Christians, and they may through neglect fall very low. It is especially the girls that call forth the instructed sympathy of English people. For the sake of both the classes mentioned, Bishop Matthew, Lefroy's predecessor, commenced, in 1893, a Women's Settlement at Lahore, with Katherine Beynon as the head. Their work grew, all the more because of the great civil and military establishments in the Punjab, as well as those of the railways. In 1896 Katherine Beynon was ordained deaconess by Bishop Matthew, and made the head of St. Hilda's Society. In due time the community was developed into a highly organised Deaconesses' Institution in 1903, with the Bishop as Warden, with Deaconess Katherine as head, with five other deaconesses and twenty Churchworkers. Deaconess Katherine is still the head, and Bishop Lefroy once said that when the history of the missions of the Church in India came to be fully written, the name of Deaconess Katherine would receive a very honoured place, although even then it would not be known what a power of good she had been. And it is good to know that she is closely related to the Lawrences. Schools at Lahore, Simla, Rawulpindi, and Murree are some of their responsibilities. Lefroy was probably considered by women workers as rather a stern person, but wholly sympathetic and with knowledge when they were in real need. In regard to St. Hilda's Society he was keen that it should be a united body, heart and soul; a representative of the attitude of the Church of the first days. "Remember," he once said to them, "your real witness out here will be what you are to one another: that relationship is what is being noticed and commented upon continually by those around." Again, in forming a constitution he was most careful that there should be no ambiguities to lead to trouble afterwards. Moreover, he had no patience with those who complained of their difficulties, or that they made any special work impossible. "I have yet to learn that the difficulty of a post is sufficient reason for withdrawing from it." There spoke the man who had graduated in bazaar preaching. In all money matters Lefroy was generous to a fault. St Hilda's Society does not forget that inasmuch as they could not at once rebuild Auckland House at Simla, he left the money for it in his will.

Project Canterbury