I PROPOSE to devote a chapter specially to tours during the years from 1913 to 1917. Lefroy was never out of pain, but he does not refer to bodily infirmities, and his buoyant spirit carried him through years of suffering. There is no sign of weakening in his public addresses. Moreover, in private life he was ever delightful company, as the memories of a relative which I have printed will prove.
"Calcutta: Dec. 31, 1912.
"You and Mary will be amused by my first acts in connection with my new office--the purchase of a motor-car and a billiard-table. The first I am getting not merely for purposes of locomotion. There is a great stirring community here, chiefly commercial, full of life; I want the car to typify that my wish is to come among them as one of themselves, entering in to the full tide of life and being, so to speak, up to date. Also I think driving it may prove a help in taking my mind off work when recreation is not as easy as it used to be. The billiard-table is on behalf largely of the same community. I am told there are many young fellows--thoroughly nice, often Public School and University men--but there are few who much try to get a hold of or help them, and for such I should very much like the house to become a place of general resort. Much will have to be changed; at present it is in appearance, not in reality, decidedly palatial and unapproachable: e.g. a gong at the entrance is struck once for every foot-caller, twice for a carriage, three times for the doctor, four times for the Viceroy. Think of the feelings of some shy lad of the type I mean! Few things, I expect, would attract them more than a billiard-table."
His last days in the Lahore Diocese.
"Palace, Calcutta: Feb. 20, 1913.
"I do feel as never before the mistake I made in not securing a wife before I entered on the event of the last few days! Only in that way would there have been any reasonable chance of your being kept properly au courant. As to my going into it all! The Delhi days were very full, and if Lahore didn't do much for me in the way of presentations and the like, my old home made up for it. I enclose a cutting with an account of the chief one. It was very nice. On Sunday I had the Ordination, and immediately after it a nicely illuminated Urdu address was presented on behalf of the congregation, and another on behalf of the Christian students of the College, the latter giving me with it a handsomely bound Bible in Bengali with suitable inscription. I promised to do my best to acquire the ability to use it. I really am going to have a solid shot at the language--though whether I shall find that I have got past the power of learning it to any good purpose remains to be seen. In connection with the main College presentation I ought to have said that the address is enclosed in a really beautiful ivory casket, with a lot of medallions on it--those Delhi paintings in ivory--of Taj, Jama Musjid, etc., etc. Sunday evening I went to Holy Trinity Church, and there my quite last act of ministry in the diocese was amongst the old Daryagang folk--not a few of whom were there in person--and their compeers, amongst whom my chief ministry in Delhi lay for so long. It was very happy. That night at 1 a.m. I left for Calcutta, and you will believe that my heart was pretty full as we ran over the Jumna bridge and I felt the old diocese and the old life in the Punjab were behind me. . . .
"I dreaded the first address in Calcutta a good deal, as on both the previous occasions that I have occupied this pulpit I have been thoroughly uncomfortable, so you will believe what a happiness it was to find the moment I began that I was all right and could talk to them in my natural way. I had lain awake since 2.30 and was feeling rather cheap, but perhaps on the whole this was a help, as it threw me back more entirely on help from above, and I tried to give myself up entirely to the influence of the Holy Spirit. . . .
"I am sitting in the beautiful great study, where all Episcopal Synods have been held. Such a perfect room to work in, an inspiration, while Thompson is arranging the books in the shelves."
I make no apology for printing the following memories of a lady, a relative, and a missionary:--
"He was a delightful host, so thoughtful for detail in arranging for one's comfort and enjoyment as well as being most interesting and amusing; at times he kept the whole table entertained with Irish stories, and especially at the time of the Bishop of Assam's wedding in Calcutta, Christmas, 1917, when the latter had two anxious days waiting for his fiancée to arrive from Ireland. The two bishops were full of fun, capping each other's stories. The two or three following ones are examples.
"1. Mrs. Lefroy (the Bishop's mother), on arriving in Killiney, went to see the woman who was to supply her with milk, and examined the pans, etc. Mrs. Lefroy: 'Now you will really send me good milk, won't you?' Woman: 'Why, yes, m'am, sure; I will send it to you just as the Lord Almighty sends it to me.'
"2. Miss Lefroy talking to her gardener about a rock garden, he wished to show her his plans. She said, 'Wait while I go in for a cloak;' to which he replied,' Why, sure, you are not wanting a wrap; you're as hardy as a wild goose.'"
It was always the amusing side of an incident or of a person which struck him first, and one often saw a quiver at the corner of his mouth and a twinkle in his eye. Also he was very observant, and nothing escaped his notice.
In Simla he had the photograph of a number of most grotesque gargoyles in his room, and he said that when he was hard up for the subject of a sermon he studied the gargoyles' faces and they always gave him an inspiration.
On his study table in Calcutta he kept a child's toy, a little painted wooden Humpty Dumpty. Sitting one side up he was grinning, and turned the other side up the corners of his mouth were down. When worried over some problem or tired with writing, he would glance at Humpty Dumpty, and if he found him looking doleful he would say, "Let us turn him up the other way and we shall get along better." And all the time in pain.
To the Rev. C. Mayhew.
"July 10, 1914.
"The past two months have been the worst of my life as regards health. I went down with an obstinate attack of fever less than a week after reaching home, and since then I have never been out of the doctor's hands, while there has been much severe treatment (including all teeth out!) and another longish go of fever. I don't want to pile up the agony, and the M.D.'s declare that it will all work out for good, and that they believe that they have now got at the bottom of my arthritis and can arrest further progress (God grant it!), but you will not be surprised if I have not been able to keep level with correspondence."
There follow a series of letters telling of his tours. Interspersed are some commenting on the work of which an account has already been given.
"The Palace, Calcutta: March 20, 1913.
"I have had some quaint language experiences during the last week. On Sunday I celebrated and preached in one of the chief Bengali congregations here--the simple method being that I took all my parts in English, they theirs in Bengali. The great majority of them were educated and could follow English fairly--or so I was assured--and it was wonderful how easily and smoothly everything seemed to go. I tried to be slow, clear, and simple in preaching, and altogether the service seemed to me a quite satisfactory one. The congregation represented a much higher type, socially, of Indian Christians than I have had to deal with before, one family having come in its motor! Then last week there was a Bengali Confirmation in the Cathedral, and while the greater part was taken for me by a Bengali Canon, who translated, and, I imagine, greatly improved upon, some notes of an address I had given him, I had learnt up the Bengali of the central part of the service and tackled it boldly. It wasn't mere parrot-work, for I recognised most of the words from Urdu and Hindi and knew their meaning, though of course I knew no other words of the language. I was greatly encouraged by the way in which my efforts were received, the pronunciation being quite approved of, and as Bishop Copleston told me this was the real difficulty of the language, it means a lot to me. I cannot spare a minute in the day for its study here, but I am arranging to take a teacher up to Darjeeling and make a real attempt to tackle it"
"On the banks of the Brahma Putra: April 21, 1913.
"I am just ending my Assam tour; to-morrow I start for Darjeeling. It has been very interesting, though the sense of how wholly inadequate the spiritual ministrations are has been very saddening. There are actually fewer clergy in these parts than there were eight or ten years ago. It makes me feel how much the Assam Bishopric is required, and I shall begin to correspond with people at home on this as soon as possible. I have seen a lot of the tea planters and have been most favourably impressed--on the whole a wonderfully good type of men--and of their hospitality you can form some idea when I tell you that at one house Chota haziri comprised three hot meat courses and two cold, to say nothing of such details as porridge, eggs, etc. My heart rather sank when I remembered that within three or four hours at most we should be expected to deal--and deal faithfully--with Bara Haziri!"
"Darjeeling: June 11, 1913;
"I had a delightful holiday, if short, last week; what wouldn't I have given to have had you two and Mother or Fred with me! The flora and colouring of all sorts were amazing: orchids of every kind--tree and ground; one very beautiful--for that matter they all were--the 'Bamboo Orchid,' a graceful plant, of bamboo appearance, some six or seven feet high, and on top one of the exquisitely delicate orchis flowers. Then the ferns! There were tree ferns thirty or forty feet high, growing like a palm--a straight stem, but then the glorious fern sprays bursting out at the top. Growth everywhere--ferns, creepers, moss covering every tree and every spot of ground. In one or two places I noticed a sort of chaplet of ferns, some pinnate kind, springing out of a tree, not where there was a bough, or anything that we could see to give the least hold, but simply ringing round the bare stem, standing almost straight up to a height of two or three feet It was all very wonderful. An old gentleman, at whose bungalow, on a tea estate, we spent one night, told us he had on one occasion accurately measured the growth of a bamboo and found it to be twenty-two inches in twenty-four hours. A very remarkable old man he was--came out, the son of a Scotch gardener, but by quiet perseverance, and real ability, has made himself quite the leading naturalist in all these parts, and you can imagine the scope for such! His collections of ferns, flowers, butterflies, and almost everything you could think of were endless. We had neither the time to go through them nor the knowledge to appreciate them. He showed us specimens of the Atlas Moth, measuring eleven inches from tip to tip and most gloriously marked. Then we had 2\ days at the St. Andrew's Homes, which were our special objective. A wonderful work for some of the poorest Eurasians is going on there. Most wise and practical training under a hard-headed Scotchman, and every help given them for character-forming. There were 400 children, half of them being Church of England, and for these hardly any special provision exists, as regards religious teaching and training. It was especially to consult with the head as to what could be done to remedy this that I went. He is most liberal and sympathetic, and I think something will come of it. On Sunday afternoon I was going to have service in a schoolroom for Church of England children, but he asked me whether I would not use their church--he knocking off their service altogether, and the Scotch community coming to our service. I gladly assented, and we had a most hearty service, the minister, Dr. Graham, reading the lessons for me. I don't honestly feel sure that I have heard the last of it, for if one of them--more warm-hearted than wise--sends a flaming notice to the papers, 'joint Church service conducted by the Metropolitan and the Presbyterian Minister,' or something to that effect, the fat will be in the fire--especially in view of the great suspicion with which I am at present regarded by all the 'spikey' ones. But I am perfectly clear in my own mind that there was no compromise of principle of any sort, I am thankful to say."
The Provincial Synod
"Train for Madras: June 25, 1913.
"Bangalore Thursday--Wednesday passed as Tuesday--very satisfactorily, and at 10 p.m. I got here and was met on the platform by the Bishop of Madras, looking very well and as cheery as ever. I cannot tell you how I am looking forward to these next four weeks here. Indian bishops have never got together before for anything like so long, and I think--especially in view of our three personalities, markedly differing, in temperament, antecedents and everything--it ought to have great value. I hope there will be a real output of constructive work, Synod Constitution, etc., etc.; but be this at it may, I cannot doubt that by God's goodness it will mean a drawing of us all three still closer together in bonds of mutual understanding, sympathy and affection, and this itself ought to mean a lot for the Church in the big and difficult days that are coming. The Bishop of Madras has taken a fine big house for us out here, and the weather is sufficiently pleasant, what they call cool in this poor misguided South."
"Bangalore: July 23, 1913.
"It is the last day of our meeting in Bangalore. Tomorrow early I start for Calcutta, getting in on Saturday, and after a very full few days there, get off for Simla on the 31st for consecration of the new Bishop of Lahore. We have been four Bishops in the house for the last few days, Dornakal having joined us, and Tinnevelly also will be with us to-day. It has been a time of very great interest and I hope will yield permanent results, though we can put out nothing whatever as yet, all conclusions being too tentative and provisional. But the contact of the three of us has had all the value I hoped for, and I am sure we have been much helped by the Holy Spirit. Three more differently constituted minds it would, I think, be hard to find, and this of course had added greatly to the interest of meeting. It has not facilitated conclusions, for continually entirely fresh aspects were presented and one line of thought cut clean across another, but I think it did secure that all questions were viewed from a variety of standpoints and looked at all round, and I am sure the importance of this when we are making a start on an Immensely big enterprise of this kind--fraught necessarily with so much of weal or woe to the Church--is great. We have differed very sharply, but the utmost harmony and good feeling have prevailed, and eventually we have been able to come together on all issues except two."
In August, 1913, the Metropolitan consecrated the Rev. H. B. Durrant, Bishop of Lahore.
"Viceregal Lodge, Simla: Aug. 7, 1913.
"The consecration went off very happily yesterday, all being as nice as possible, bar the weather, which was most unkind. I thought it would keep many away, as it was an unceasing pour from early morning, but it scarcely seemed to affect the attendance at all, which shows what real interest was being taken in the event. The only actual loss was that we couldn't have a photograph taken, for which I am really rather sorry. The Bishop of Dornakal was with us, and was one of the presenting Bishops. I believe his appearance in this way, in so important a function, at the centre of the Empire, will do real good--bring home to many who had given the matter little or no thought what we have done in making him a Bishop. I think every one was favourably impressed by his appearance and manner. Almost the whole of official Simla was there, including the Viceroy and Lady Hardinge. The Viceroy told me the Lieut.-Governor himself, who is absent on tour, had expressed his entire readiness to return for the occasion if H.E. would like it. (Sir Michael O'Dwyer is a member of the Church of Rome.) "I am just going to have an interview with H.E. to find out how things are going, re title of Archbishop and one or two other matters."
"He tells me his Council have unanimously agreed not to recommend the change of title to the Secretary of State. It is a disappointment to me, and I think the reasons he gives are quite without weight, but I imagine this ends it, and I am only glad that it is not a matter which has a more intimate relationship to the well-being and progress of the Church's work out here. I don't know whether my letter will go home to the Secretary of State at all. Have I told you that the Archbishop of Canterbury has talked to Lord Crewe about it, and he has expressed himself as decidedly favourable to the proposal? I pointed out to Lord Hardinge that the refusal of a perfectly reasonable and constitutional request of this kind must mean a good deal to us at the present time when we are feeling that movement ahead in various directions is essential, and we hoped to find the State sympathetic and helpful."
In 1914 the Metropolitan paid his last visit to England. He went on arrival to Lambeth Palace, and was struck down with a severe attack of malaria. Needless to say he was tenderly nursed by the Archbishop and Mrs. Davidson. He had a second attack after returning to his brother Edward's house, always his headquarters when he was in England, but in due time he was able to travel with his sister to Aix-les-Bains and tried every remedy there, including a process called "passive movements," which gave intense pain. It was to no purpose. At the beginning of that fateful August he was at Chamonuix; the hotels were closed, and they managed to reach England, and he went to his brother Fred at Ilkley, a never-to-be-forgotten visit; then to the Irish home, and then for the last time he returned to India.
The Assam Bishopric.--The proposal to create a separate Bishopric for Assam was first made in 1901 by the Bishop of Calcutta (Dr. Copleston). No one was more insistent about it than Bishop Copleston for the sake of Assam and as a relief to the Metropolitan. To this end he spent much time in Assam laying foundations. He even went so far as to undertake the work of Chaplain at Shillong when that post was vacant. Indeed, his practical interest in that district was so great that he incurred criticism at Calcutta. He had, moreover, subscribed £1000 to the Endowment Fund before he resigned in 1912. He also agreed to give £ 100 a year towards the stipend of the Bishop, if it were necessary, in order that there should be no delay in consecrating a Bishop. Meanwhile Bishop Wilkinson (of Northern and Central Europe) had warmly advocated the cause and continued to raise funds towards the endowment until the date of his death. Originally the Endowment Fund for the Bishop's stipend had been fixed at £20,000. The S.P.G. provided £2000; the S.P.C.K. £1000; the Colonial Bishoprics' Fund £1000. The Indian Church Aid Association in 1911 gave £4000, in addition to other monies raised by them. Bishop Lefroy left as a bequest a sufficient sum to make up the necessary Endowment Fund. The stipend to accrue from the fund was fixed at £800 a year. In 1914 Letters Patent were obtained for the Consecration of the Bishop, and the Rev. H. Pakenham Walsh was consecrated at Epiphany, 1915, by the Metropolitan in Calcutta.
A Unity Retreat
"Serampore: April 21, 1915.
"I am not sure whether I have told you anything of the object which has brought me to this place--a Baptist college chiefly for training ordinands, on the banks of the Hooghly, about fifteen miles up from Calcutta. We are having what we have called a 'Unity Retreat.' The idea came--to me at any rate--originally from Mr. Holland, the very interesting and keen C.M.S. Missionary in Calcutta of whom I see so much. Then I took it up, and have taken the lead. We have come together, nineteen I think in all, all leading ministers of various denominations, in or near Calcutta, Presbyterians, Baptists, Congregationalists, Methodists, and various others; we came out on Tuesday night and spent yesterday and today in joint devotion and conference, most of us returning to Calcutta late to-night. I was responsible for the 'devotional exercises' yesterday, a Presbyterian M.D. to-day. The subject for discussion was 'What do I mean by the Church?' papers on it being prepared and circulated previously from three standpoints, Anglican, Presbyterian, and Congregational. Our paper was written by a member of the Oxford Mission, and, as most of the other Anglicans present are C.M.S. men, you may imagine that it contained statements at least as difficult for them to receive as for the 'separated Brethren.' But they have been very good and have not proclaimed our differences. You see that we have not shrunk from tackling a very burning question. We believed we could venture it, trusting to a really happy atmosphere and sense of mutual trust, and I think the results have quite justified us. Of course we have not attained any very tangible result, but I do not think it is too much to say that not a word has been spoken which one would have wished unsaid, and a spirit of brotherliness and desire for mutual understanding and approach has been manifest throughout. I do not think there can be any question that, as individuals, we separate with kindlier feelings and some greater degree of understanding of mutual positions and difficulties than when we met."
On Tour in the South
"Quiton, Travancore: Sept. 13, 1915.
"We have just got in by motor from Trevandrum--which you ought to find on a map--the capital of Travancore, forty-three miles. I had a variety of interesting functions this morning--especially a visit to a very remarkable C.E.Z.M.S. girls' school. It is built under the very shadow of the Maharajah's palace--a home of all strictest Hindu orthodoxy--and largely supported by H.H. Of course there is a long history behind it into which I cannot go. Now there are over 400 girls, all Brahmins or other high-castes, who are under daily Christian influence and teaching of the most direct sort. A number of them sang in Tamil, 'Jesus loves me, this I know,' as a sort of festive song, and with expressions of deep devotion. I have myself rather mixed feelings about this sort of thing, as I cannot doubt that the majority of them would sing it just as keenly, or more so, if you substituted the name of some Hindu god, and there is an element of unreality in it as things are. It is, however, very remarkable, and, our Lord being the living power He is, one cannot doubt that the underlying truth does find a way into not a few of the little susceptible and very affectionate hearts.
"Then I had a variety of interviews, chiefly in connection with what I can see will be a central object of effort throughout my tour in the Diocese. I scarcely suppose you know anything about the existence of an old Syrian Church (the epithet has no reference whatever to race or blood, but simply to ecclesiastical connection: for a good long time past they have been connected with Antioch, and their Bishops, or 'Metrans,' are consecrated by the Patriarch of Antioch) in these parts. Very great interest attaches to it, and the thoughts of many Anglicans are turning increasingly to it as a possible leader in the work of evangelisation in India because its Christianity is so truly indigenous. But one feature--a very sad one--stands out prominently. Such a history of faction and constant ecclesiastical splits and schisms I hardly thought any Christian Church could show. At present it is troubled--and any potentiality for spiritual effort in the cause of Christ is fatally hampered by one pf these, which has originated since Rae's book was written, so is not referred to there--but exactly of the type of which he gives many instances. Obviously the most urgent need for the Church's welfare is that the breach should be healed. They are, of course, quite distinct from the Anglican Communion, and in fact view us--theoretically at least--with a good deal of suspicion, much as the Russian Church does, but at the same time, ever since Bishop Middleton's time there have been friendly relations between us and them, and they are inclined to look to the Bishop of Calcutta with a certain amount of respect. Before I started on the tour the idea had been mooted in the papers that I might be called on to arbitrate in some way between the conflicting parties. I much doubt if they would either of them really agree to this, and assuredly I would not accept the position, for reasons into which I cannot enter, but I am throwing myself keenly into the matter on other lines, urging upon the leaders the horrible dishonour they are bringing on our Lord's name, and the fatal injury they are doing to His Church, and trying to arouse in them some fresh sense of the urgency of bringing their litigation to a close and healing their breaches. Of course it means a very big job, and I don't suppose I shall see any practical result whatever, but I am sure I am on the right lines, along which alone a real cure for the disease can be found--and that is enough for me."
"(Rice Fields) Tour: September 3, 1915.
"I could write you sheets about a tour I took recently of about six days in one of the rice districts to the south of Calcutta, worked by brothers and sisters of the Oxford Mission, if only limitation of time did not prevent my writing more than about half as many lines! The method of travel was wholly novel to me. All from Calcutta to the sea is an immense flat delta intersected by endless waterways of every imaginable dimension, from great broad rivers to tiniest channels. By these most transport, and transit, in the district is made all the year round. (The whole country is under rice.) But at this season it is all flooded to a uniform depth of about four to five inches, the rice, however, keeping pace with the water, and standing at present about two inches above the surface. When excessive floods come, and the level rises so rapidly that the rice cannot keep pace, then it gets 'drowned' and famine follows. This is the case this year in considerable parts of Bengal, though not where I was. We moved about in a small, but very comfortable, houseboat of the sisters, with draught of only about two inches, but quite roomy. We would go along a water-channel, with beautiful green crops stretching as far as the eye could see on every side, you might imagine it to be flax, on ordinary dry ground, except that, of course, the water shows in places. Then you want to get to a village, so you just leave the waterway and the boat is poled and punted in any direction you please across the field--doing, of course, no harm whatever to the rice, which is just brushed aside to let it pass. It brings home to one the amazing flatness of the country. Not once did we come across a single inequality of surface, say of three inches, in which the boat would have grounded. Rate of progression from one to one and a half miles per hour--so, after motors and the like, there was a distinct sense of rest-fulness! And the work of the brothers and sisters is simply magnificent in kindness and devotion."
The following is the only letter in which the Metropolitan refers to the problems of the German Missions in India, at least to his home circle. The subject, I suppose, was too serious and complicated.
"Rancbi: July i6, 1915.
"I am enjoying my visit here very much. Negotiations are going on daily with regard to this very big matter of the making over by Government of all the German Mission work in these parts to the Church of England; in fact, I believe the Bishop is at this very time interviewing the head of the German Mission on behalf of the Government, and telling him exactly what their intentions are. It is perfectly delightful to see how completely he has won the confidence and support of his Government, while the papers are shrieking at him as a pro-German. I do not suppose there is any other Province in India where anything approaching to the same intimacy of relationship exists between the administration and the Bishop. Of course, in some ways the conditions are much easier, for it is a very small province, with quite a small knot of administrators--almost all of them earnest Churchmen--and the whole thing is rather in the nature of a family gathering. Two days ago the Bishop and I went out by motor to Murhu, some thirty miles off, where Dr. and Mrs. Kennedy are working, and had a most enjoyable visit. There is a splendid spirit in the place, and life evident everywhere. I meant to have said that the C.M.S. in the Diocese are rising splendidly to this sudden need and opportunity, and placing three or four good men at the Bishop's disposal, without even waiting to consult, or get the permission of, their home committee. All are viewing it as a call to the whole Church."
The Calcutta Diocesan Conference, and its first session under the new regulations.
"Darjeeling: April 27, 1916.
"Yours of the 29th reached me two days ago, and I expect the letters of the following mail this afternoon, so we are catching up. You ask about the Diocesan Conference. I secured the Town Hall: one large room served for our debate, and dinner was laid in the central hall, where we could have seated 300 just as easily as 150. We did not ask members to pay; one night they were my guests (about £30), for the other two nights I sent round a paper to the members of our regular Diocesan Council, a standing body, including some wealthy merchants, and the amount needed was easily raised. The club objections were, as you suppose, aroused by fears of too much influence being given to Indians. They caught chiefly at two points. I spoke, of course, of the whole movement as an advance in self-government on the part of the Church. Self-government is a term in constant use out here, always in the sense of developing the Indian sphere as distinct from, often in opposition to, the English: consequently, the term is very suspect with most Englishmen. I did not, at first, make it sufficiently clear that in our case the term was being used in quite a different connotation, not Indian v. English at all, but the whole Church seeking greater liberty of action. When this was really made clear, opposition on the point disappeared, though suspicions may have remained. Then, in the draft constitution I put before them, there was a proposal to call our Church 'The Church of India in communion with the Church of England,' instead of simply the 'Church of England.' In reality this clause ought not to have appeared; it was carried over from the draft originally prepared for a full and authoritative Synod, in which case we meant to propose this, but had no place in the constitution of a mere council. It gave great umbrage--again in the general line of being 'pro-native,' and asking Englishmen to take a back seat. I apologised for the mistake of its insertion, and struck it out--to their great satisfaction. I think the feeling continues that the conference did real good: I have had just one word about it with my Diocesan Registrar, a barrister, extremely nice fellow, and entirely in touch with the sahibs, and he said he thought it was 'magnificent!'"
I turn aside here to give as briefly as possible Bishop Lefroy's efforts to win full self-government for the Indian Church. Thirty years before this, Bishop Johnson had created a Diocesan Council for Calcutta, but it was for advice only. Bishop Copleston had advanced much further. He was the author of the Episcopal Synod. The Indian Bishops meet in session annually for conference, but in Bishop Copleston's opinion it was not possible for synods, whether diocesan or provincial, to have coercive power under the present constitution of the Church of England. Such meetings could only be advisory. Ere Bishop Copleston resigned he recommended the addition of both clergy and laity to the Episcopal Synod, making it in a fuller sense provincial, but still only as an advisory council. In his last Episcopal Synod Bishop Copleston invited the Bishops to progress in this direction. Now all the while Lefroy was urging stronger action. As Bishop of Lahore he pressed for diocesan and provincial synods with coercive powers, and on the basis of "consensual compact."
The Episcopal Synod, at the beginning of December, 1912, adopted Lefroy's view, and formed a committee to draft a constitution for a Provincial Council, consisting of the Metropolitan (Lefroy) and the Bishops of Madras and Bombay. Meanwhile, the Indian Bishops went back to their dioceses, and almost all of them created diocesan synods. The committee of three had, in fact, before them the schemes from Bombay, Lucknow, Travancore, Nagpur, Rangoon, and Chota Nagpur. They spent two months over their provincial scheme, first meeting at Bangalore and then at Ranchi. Lefroy was, of course, suffering pain, but all along he was the chief motive force, the Bishop of Bombay taking upon himself the drafting of the clauses. At the conclusion of the two months' conference, the Bishop of Madras wrote to the Metropolitan to thank him "for the patient and able chairmanship, which enabled us to get through such a heavy programme without omitting anything of importance." Having completed their draft, the three Bishops took counsel's opinion whether a scheme of coercive character, and based on consensual compact was legally possible. The lawyers stated that it was not possible. Whereupon Lefroy pressed that the scheme should be so modified that it might become operative in the fullest sense some day with the smallest amount of change. The term "council" was, therefore, substituted for "synod," and all allusion to consensual compact was struck out, as well as of coercive power.
But the Church in India was preparing for the day when disestablishment might come, by living at once as nearly as possible under a system of government like that of the Church of Ireland, or of South Africa.
This draft constitution was placed before the Episcopal Synod of 1918, Bishop Lefroy presiding, was passed by it after having considered criticisms from all the dioceses which had created diocesan synods, and in February, 1920, an Assembly of the Church is to be held, which may resolve itself into the first Provincial Council. Whatever may be the practical result, no one can fail to see how keen was Lefroy's desire to press forward true self-government.
"River Steamer: March 8, 1916.
"This river trip, which I think I mentioned last week, is proving as delightful a rest-cure as possible. If only you and M. could be with me! You would be fascinated. But description, I fear, is beyond me. We (Robson and myself) came on board on Monday night, and very early in the morning we dropped down the river. Calcutta is about eighty miles up the Hooghly: we followed it for perhaps fifty miles, and then got into the regular delta, an interlacing mass of waterways running across in every possible direction and of all sizes. We then turned east, making our way sometimes along the shore of an estuary, and then along channels just wide enough to take the boat comfortably. It is now 10 a.m. on Wednesday (Ash Wednesday), and for twenty hours or so we have been in the narrower kind, constantly twisting and turning. We carry an electric searchlight, which enables night travelling, though how they don't lose their way, by night or by day, seems a marvel. In parts there is no sign of habitation, the banks being covered right down to the water's edge with mangroves and various primitive forms of shrubs and trees. A constant interest is the chance of coming on a tiger swimming across the stream. I believe it is not infrequent, although all I have yet seen was a beautiful speckled deer on a grassy point that we rounded early this morning. It wasn't a hundred yards off, and didn't mind the steamer in the very least. Also, in our bathroom this morning, there was the most glorious moth, an 'Atlas,' I think it is called, wings spread out, and measuring from tip to tip about 9 inches, with the richest colouring of browns and reds and purples. I think its race is well-nigh run, and we may be able to carry it off. Just now we are running through a part where the land is a little higher, doubtless rather older formation, and it is being brought under cultivation, with primitive little homesteads springing up, and the usual abundance of little brown, stark-naked babies and children, all looking supremely happy. The steamer is a fair-sized, flat-bottomed one, bound eventually for Assam, up some of the larger waterways, the Brahma Putra, I think. She is cargo entirely, i.e. not carrying native passengers, but with about half a dozen nice cabins on an upper deck for Europeans. The manager of the company is a devout Churchman, indeed I confirmed him, to his wife's great joy, about a year ago in my chapel, and he is doing me well, having selected a particularly nice steamer for the run, and plainly charged the servants to do us very well. Robson and I are alone, so it is really almost like a private yacht. When I add that the fare for each for a three days' trip (missionary rates!) is Js. 6d., plus $s. per day for food, of which there is the greatest abundance, with fruit, etc., etc., you will agree that we are rather in clover."
"Train: February 6, 1917.
"At Ellore, my first halt on this tour, a thing happened which gave me deeper happiness, I think, than anything for long. There were about seven C.M.S. clergy, one Indian priest (Canon of Madras), Bishop Whitehead, and myself, and the clergy expressed their wish to be transferred from the diocese of Madras to that of Dornakal. I believe I am right in saying that four years ago some of them had expressed very strongly their determination not to work under an Indian Bishop. Certainly many of the Madras missionaries took this position. The change is a most wonderful testimony to the depth and power of Bishop Azariah's work. A more splendid indication of the wisdom of making the experiment could hardly be imagined. I know how intensely delighted Bishop Copleston would be, and I should greatly like to tell him of it at once, but I am not doing so as the matter is (N.B.) strictly confidential at present, and I don't think Bishop Azariah himself has the least idea the proposal is coming. I promised to say nothing myself. But I hope action will be taken before at all long, and I quite hope that such difficulties as there are may be overcome, and the step taken. It will be very splendid. It was delightful seeing Bishop Azariah among his people; the true leadership, together with the entire sympathy and mutual understanding."
It was during the course of 1918 that the Metropolitan heard that the army authorities had at length given orders that brothels in cantonments should disappear. It is a painful subject The Metropolitan never ceased pressing the Christian view, and he tells how the Salvation Army and others were splendid advocates. The two points steadily made were: (1) the women; the causes which led them to the life, their life whilst engaged in such a trade, and their end; (2) the moral effect upon the soldiers. Often in Lefroy's letters there came phrases such as "Continue in prayer about it." Once more at Darjeeling.
"May 28, 1918.
"I got up here last week and am in clover, being looked after, in the most filial way, by the Governor's Private Secretary and his wife, staunch Calcutta friends and very religious Presbyterians. The Governor kindly asked me to stay with him; but Mr. Gourlay explained that their smaller house, with no stairs, and no dinner parties, was more in my line just now. But we are in the grounds, just alongside the big house and I have the most natty little set of apartments such as my heart delights in, beautiful office table alongside an open window, with telephone at my elbow, etc., etc. I wish ail these little things didn't mean so much to me, and that there was more of the faqir spirit, but so it is. I have an unlimited invitation, and I know that it would not be easy really to outstay my welcome, but I don't want to be shameless, so I am making it three weeks in all, i.e. another fortnight from to-day. Then I move across to Kalimpong, but instead of halting for one night en route at a delightful tea garden, I have asked them to keep me for about a week. It will be the most entire quiet and rest, though of course the daily post. Then about a week at Kalimpong, the idea of these halts being to fill in the time till the rains break about the end of June, without cadging too much on any one household. It is a little amusing, all my hosts are Presbyterians! We get on none the less well, and they are all kindness itself. The weather is tolerable, not too cold, but little sunshine, much fog and cloud when not raining, looking out of my window this moment I can't see 100 yards. I think I must send you the enclosed from Ferguson Davie, which reached me three days ago. I am really much touched by the way in which he writes. He at any rate has no doubt as to where I ought to settle down if I do have to quit! You must let me have it back. I had not thought, recently, of taking any leave, and I don't suppose the cure he speaks of would do much for me, but all the same I am rather tempted. It is morally, even if not physically, good to go on trying things: a little head rest after three and a half years of very strenuous work would do me no harm, I have no engagements of importance pending, and I think the Diocese would heave a sigh of relief at the prospect of a little quiet, and I might get good."