LATELY BISHOP OF BRITISH HONDURAS
AND CENTRAL AMERICA
AND NOW OF NORTHERN AND CENTRAL EUROPE
Wells Gardner, Darton & Co., Ltd.
Chapter I. A Unique Diocese
Chapter II. My First River Expedition
Chapter III. In a Schooner Amongst the Cays
Chapter IV. The Consecration of a Bush Church
Chapter V. Amongst the Bananas
Chapter VI. Earthquakes and Volcanoes
Chapter VII. "Floods, Landslides and Wash-outs"
Chapter VIII. On the Way to Panama
Chapter IX. Beautiful Guatemala
Chapter X. The Perils of Nicaragua
Chapter XI. Costa Rica
Chapter XII. Easter Day at Panama
Chapter XIII. The Greatest Engineering Enterprise in the World
Chapter XIV. White and Black
Chapter XV. The Rebuilt Churches of Jamaica
Chapter XVI. A Few Words to Laymen
FULHAM PALACE, S.W.
My dear Bishop,
I readily accept the Dedication of your book, for I am only thankful that I have had this privilege of being allowed to help you in your work by such advice and sympathy as I could give.
You know how fully I have trusted your judgment all through this very trying Mission, both in accepting the office, and resigning it when you thought the right time had come for you to do so.
I believe that you were sent there to do a particular thing at that particular time, which few but you would have attempted, and which has stimulated and directed Church work in that country of bananas in a way which will very soon be plainly seen and last for many a long day.
I hope the book will be widely read, and gain increased interest and support for the work, which I know you will hold dear, and help in every way you can, as long as you live.
A. F. LONDON.
MY time of service in Central America can hardly be called an episcopate in the ordinary sense of the word. With no home, no centre of work, no abode of any kind, but always moving on from place to place in a huge jurisdiction, I have had to fulfil what I may more fitly call an episcopal mission.
It will be abundantly clear from the following pages that the Bishop of British Honduras ought to be a man, under ordinary circumstances, of between thirty and forty, but three years ago it was important that he should be one of both age and experience, if he was to obtain a hearing from those, both at home and abroad, whose consent and approval would have to be obtained if certain very necessary rearrangements in the work were ever to be carried out.
It was from the special character of the work, therefore, that at the call of my revered Primate, the Archbishop of the West Indies, and of the Provincial Synod, I consented to undertake it, although I had declined, when elected unanimously to another Diocese, where all was in good order, four years before.
I think I may venture to say that the special work I was called upon to do has been done, and "in far less time than could possibly have been expected," my Primate has more than once kindly and reassuringly told me; and though I cannot say more at present, I am hoping that in a few months, perhaps even less, its results will be officially and publicly made known, both in our own country and in the United States.
It will ever be a disappointment to me that I could not pay a farewell visitation to my Diocese, but though I have touched--as is right--with a light hand upon certain privations and exposures to which one was subjected both in 1909 and 1910, yet they have had their effect, as one is no longer young, and I was warned by the medical authorities I can best trust, that if I did return the probability would be that I should be incapacitated from any other work in the future.
As all was duly arranged, therefore, and the way made clear for a younger man to take up the work, and have a home, and a centre of work, and other advantages such as of necessity had been denied to me, after consultation with the Archbishop and the bishops of the Province assembled in full Synod, I decided to resign, and it was finally arranged that I should do so in the July of this year.
I feel that this personal explanation is necessary to those who read my book and see how keen and full of interest I have been, and still am, with respect to the work described, and who may wonder, therefore, why one's connection with it has been so short. I shall always thank God for having been called to it, and shall ever continue keenly interested in it and help it all I can, and shall always regard the clergy and laity I have known in connection with it as close personal friends.
The illustrations are printed from photographs which I have taken myself, except my own portraits at the beginning of the book, reproduced by permission of Messrs. Russell and Co., the coach-house dining-room in Jamaica, and the illustrations to the chapter on the Panama Canal which have been furnished to me by friends in the States.
I am indebted to the friendly Editor of The Treasury for having enabled me to give some of these experiences and incidents in the pages of his excellent magazine, and thus interest many people in the work both in our own country and the United States.
And I cannot refrain from adding to my preface the following extract from Ex-President Roosevelt's kind letter accepting the dedication of the American edition:
"I took a very keen interest in your experiences in that unique diocese of yours, and I am glad that we are to have not only an account of these experiences, but a knowledge of your ideas as to what is the right type of work to be done under such strange conditions. It is a work both interesting and difficult, a work which only a thoroughly competent as well as a devoted and disinterested worker can do; but a work of supreme value when rightly done. As an American, I feel a very real sense of gratitude to you, because we Americans are more deeply concerned in Central American problems and affairs than the people of any other country, even your own. Moreover, I am touched by the cordial sympathy of your interest in what we of this country have been doing on the Panama Canal Zone. My dear Bishop, I am able to testify, from my own knowledge, to the value of the work you did in Central America, from the standpoint of Christianity and civilization, and I wish all possible success to your book and to you yourself."
As I stood one morning, according to custom, at the door of one of my timber churches in Costa Rica, to say good-bye to the people after the Early Celebration, before leaving them for that year, a tall, strong negro came out, leading his little boy of seven by the hand. When he and I had expressed our mutual goodwill in the usual "God bless you" and "God speed" he glanced down at his little son, who at once, looking timidly up at me as he did so, recited a text, "Early in the morning will I direct my prayer unto Thee, and will look up" It was a text I had taken weeks before at their Children's Service, and the father wished his bishop to see that one small person out of the congregation remembered what had been said. But I place the incident here because it will always be to me typical and emblematic. Whenever I am thinking of the future of the dark race, I shall see again that little black face turned wistfully up into mine, and I shall feel that it is thus that the negro race is "looking up" into the face of the white race all over the world to-day, and especially in our great Empire--"looking up" to us for example and leadership and responsibility fulfilled, for sympathy, friendliness and inspiration; and if I can awaken such feelings in my readers where they do not exist, or strengthen and deepen them where they do, then these pages will not have been written in vain, though many of them have been penned with great effort, and amid the scenes and incidents, the perils and vicissitudes they are meant to describe.