By Eyre Chatterton
Bishop of Nagpur
IT used to be commonly said that if one was given his choice of a sphere of work in India, he would almost certainly choose the United Provinces. For the United Provinces is in many respects a most attractive country. Its people are intelligent, hard-working, prosperous, and for the most part peace-loving. Its climate is for the greater part of the year excellent, and in the hot weather one can retreat easily into the high Himalayan country with its glorious scenery. If it lacks some of the romance of the Punjab and warlike North-West Frontier, it has its places like Lucknow and Cawnpore, which hold imperishable memories of heroism and suffering for the British race. It is a land of historic cities, such as Benares, Agra, Bareilly, Meerut, Lucknow, Cawnpore, Aligarh, and Allahabad. It possesses splendid educational institutions, and has as many as four Universities, at Allahabad, Lucknow, Benares, and Aligarh. Many of the great places of pilgrimage, so dear to the Hindu, are found within its boundaries, such as Allahabad with its junction of the three sacred rivers; Benares and Hardwar; and the fact that Mother Ganges runs through it from one end to the other makes it to a Hindu almost a Holy Land.
It is in this favoured country that the diocese which we are about to describe is situated. The Diocese of Lucknow was established thirty years ago. Bishop Johnson, to whom our Church owes so much, had long felt that the growing Missions of the Church Missionary Society and the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel and the big military and civil stations in this region required the care of a whole-time Bishop, and not the occasional flying visits of a hard-worked Bishop of Calcutta. And so for some years he carefully laid his plans for the new diocese and, with the assistance of Bishop Wilkinson of North and Central Europe, built up an endowment for the future Bishop’s salary. To Allahabad, the capital of the United Provinces, which was to be the headquarters of the new diocese, he sent some of his ablest Chaplains, such as Brook Deedes, afterwards Archdeacon of Hampstead, Oscar D. Watkins, afterwards Archdeacon of Lucknow, and author of a learned treatise on Matrimony; Scobell, Stephenson, and Hardy.
Long before the idea of this new diocese had been worked out, the Church Committee of Cannington, a newly planned residential quarter of Allahabad, had decided to build a really handsome Church in this quarter of the station, and had employed Mr. (afterwards Sir) W. Emerson, the well-known architect, to prepare its plans. Then as money came in more plentifully and the idea of a diocese materialised, the early plans were considerably modified and enlarged, so as to prepare the way for the Cathedral Church of the Diocese.
Then came a further development. A wealthy American, Mr. A. C. P. Dodge, came on a visit to India one cold weather, accompanied by his wife. While at Allahabad she was taken dangerously ill with small-pox, and during her illness, which terminated fatally, was attended constantly by the Rev. W. H. Brennan, then Railway Chaplain at Allahabad. Stricken with grief and touched by the sympathy of Mr. Brennan, who had allowed the body to remain in one of the schools previous to burial, Mr. Dodge on his return to America sent Bishop Johnson a large sum of money as a memorial to his wife. Of the sum which Mr. Dodge gave to the Bishop of Calcutta, half was ear-marked for the Allahabad Cathedral building fund and half to form an endowment to provide grants towards the salaries of two clergymen, one to minister to Europeans and the other to Indians. That portion which was assigned to the building fund covered the cost of two transepts and the beautiful Choir.
While Sir W. Emerson’s full design has not yet been completed, and a portion of the nave at the west end with two beautiful western towers have still to be built, this Cathedral is certainly our handsomest Anglican Church in India. Grouped round it are various Church buildings: the Bishop’s House, originally built for a Clergy House: two houses for Cathedral Clergy; a Girls’ School, called appropriately after Bishop Johnson; and a house which is the headquarters of the Women’s Diocesan Association.
To many people it may seem strange that the Cathedral of the Diocese is at Allahabad, while the title of the diocese is taken from Lucknow. This anomaly arises from the fact that Allahabad was situated within the legally defined territories of the original Diocese of Calcutta (founded in 1815), and therefore a title for the new diocese had to be found in a region which lay outside this area. As Lucknow, the capital of the northern Province of Oudh, never was in the Calcutta Diocese, having been annexed about 1857, this historic city of Lucknow has given its name to the Diocese of the United Provinces.
The first Bishop of Lucknow, the Right Rev. Alfred Clifford, was consecrated in St. Paul’s Cathedral, Calcutta, on Sunday, January 25, 1893. He had been for many years a distinguished missionary of the Church Missionary Society, part of which time he acted as Secretary in Calcutta.
There is certainly no part of India in which the Church of England has more interesting missionary work than in the United Provinces. Its missions in these regions go back in some cases to over a hundred years. Quite recently Agra, Meerut, and Benares have been celebrating their centenaries. It is well to remember that the mission work in these places was started by Chaplains of the East India Company. Fisher at Meerut, Martyn at Cawnpore, Corrie at Agra and Benares, all belonged to that company of godly Chaplains who were pioneers of our Church of England work in Northern India.
In the year 1848 the Rev. James Long of the Church Missionary Society, Calcutta, wrote a somewhat full account of various missions in India carried on by his Society. His account of the early days of the Agra Mission is very interesting.
“The Church Mission at Agra was founded by the Rev. D. Corrie in 1812, when he was Chaplain at Agra, and became the scene of his early missionary labours in India. Here he used to beseen walking through the streets withhis Bible under his arm, ‘exposed to the persecuting bigotry of the Musalmans, yet preaching the Gospel’; and Abdul Masih, once a Mahratta trooper, was appointed a Scripture-reader and Superintendent of Schools under his direction. Abdul was baptised by the Rev. D. Brown in Calcutta in 1811, and was soon after removed to Agra. The favourable reception he met with led to the formation of a mission at Agra, for whenever he preached outside the Fort of Agra, the very tops of the houses were sometimes crowded with Musalmans anxious to hear him. Such misconceptions, however, then prevailed relative to the nature of Christian ordinances, that it was resolved to allow the natives to witness the administration of the Sacrament of Baptism, as a report was current amongst them that on the baptism of converts a piece of beef was given to the Hindu catechumens, and of pork to the Musalmans, and that each of the converts received five hundred rupees.
“Abdul’s house at Agra became at times like an exchange, it was so frequented by crowds of inquirers; and Abdul had the good sense to wear his native costume, and not appear as the Portuguese did, neither native nor European.”
Abdul Masih’s ministry here was attended with great benefit to the most bigoted class in the East–the Musalmans of India. In order to “get at the head through the heart,” Abdul administered medical aid gratuitously to the poor, which proved with several parties the first step in their introduction to the Christian fold; though it excited the indignation of the native doctors, who found their trade on the decline in consequence.
“In 1818 Abdul made a visit to Delhi; his arrival was made known to the Great Moghul, who applied to him for a copy of the Gospels in Arabic.
“In 1826 Abdul was ordained. This excited a strong sensation among the natives, as he was the first Musalman who became a minister of the Gospel. It gave him, however, influence over his countrymen. . . . His Ordination had so authenticated him as a character approved of by the Church Missionary Society, that on his way up from Calcutta to Agra he was treated, wherever he came, with the most marked respect, and on Easter Sunday of that year he administered the Eucharist in the Urdu language to Europeans, native Christians, Romanists, and Armenians.”
After Abdul’s death two distinguished missionaries, originally German Lutherans, who had received Anglican Orders, worked in the Church Missionary Society Mission at Agra, the Rev. T. Hoernle and the Rev. G. Pfander. Hoernle was a really great organiser and Pfander was a great linguist. Pfander was originally a member of the Basel Mission, which started its work in a part of Persia bordering on Armenia and Russia. Owing to the jealousy of the Armenian and Russian Clergy, the mission removed to India, and some of its missionaries, amongst whom was Pfander, joined our Church Missionary Society.
During the middle of the last century St. John’s College, Agra, was founded as a missionary centre of the first importance by the Rev. Thomas Valpy French, afterwards Bishop of Lahore. Those who have read Bishop French’s Life will recall the interest of its early days and how splendidly the Christian students of St. John’s College behaved during the Mutiny. Mr. French was assisted by the Rev. E. C. Stuart, who was afterwards Bishop of Waiapu, in New Zealand. This College has under a number of able Principals been doing a remarkable work for the Church ever since it was started. Mr. Haythornthwaite was Principal for many years, and was succeeded by the present Bishop of Lahore, the Right Rev. H. B. Durrant. To the present Principal, the Rev. Canon A. W. Davies, the College owes a deep debt. Partly through his generosity and partly through the Pan-Anglican and Government grants, fine College buildings have been erected. Canon Davies has also endowed certain Lectureships in the College.
We have written at some length about the early missionary work at Agra. It would be possible, if space permitted, to write almost as fully of the work which has been carried on for long periods in other large cities of the United Provinces, such as Benares, Lucknow, Allahabad, Cawnpore, andMeerut.
Benares will for ever be linked with the memory of Daniel Corrie, first Bishop of Madras. During his Chaplaincy in Benares, which began in November 1817, he did all in his power to spread the knowledge of our Lord in that great heathen city. Under his influence Maharajah Jay Narayan Ghosal, a wealthy man, opened a High School for Indian children. It is the oldest High School in the United Provinces. The school was established, in the words of the Maharajah Narayan, “for the Name of Jesus Christ for education in English, Bengalese, Persian, and Hindi.” It was entrusted to the care of the Church Missionary Society. In early days it received a monthly gift from no less a person than the Governor-General in Council. In September 1824, Bishop Heber visited the school and writes of it as follows:–“The boys were fond of the New Testament, and I can answer for their understanding it; I wish a majority of English boys might appear equally well informed.” Though but few boys have confessed Christ openly while atschool andsomefewmore took the step after leaving school, yet all missionaries agree that this school has made a deep and lasting impression on the boys who attended it. The school still flourishes under Mr. W. D. P. Hill, formerly an Assistant-Master at Eton. Attached to this school is a hostel which has for its motto “Live pure, Speak true, Right wrong, Follow the King,” and all the boarders within it, whether Christian or non-Christian, are encouraged to approach life in the spirit of religion.
Two of the earlier Church Missionary Society missionaries in Benares have also left names which will never be forgotten: the Rev. W. Smith and the Rev. C. B. Leupolt, who laboured there for many years and were greatly blessed in their work. Many Indians, some of them of high caste, were added to the Christian Church during their period, and a Christian settlement, with a Church School and other branches of work, was established at Sigra on the edge of Benares.
When Bishop Heber visited Meerut he was especially struck by the splendid work of its Chaplain, the Rev. J. Fisher. It was the work which he did at Meerut, assisted by Captain and Mrs. Sherwood (who were, one recalls, great friends of Henry Martyn) which prepared the way for the Church Missionary Society missionaries who were afterwards appointed to that station. In an interesting pamphlet, entitled A Century of Work in Meerut of the C.M.S., we have an admirable description of the way in which work has developed in that station and in the rural districts around it during the last two or three generations.
As in Agra, so later on in Meerut, Mr. Hoernle did a great work during his lifetime. Not far from Meerut is Sardhana, the capital of a small native state, which formerly belonged to Walter Regnaut, a French military adventurer, who was called in India Sombre or Somroo. In the life of Bishop Wilson we have already read of the handsome gift to our Church from this Frenchman’s Indian wife, better known as the Begum Sumroo. Work at Sardhana has recently developed in a remarkable way, and it is now the centre of one of the Mass Movements towards Christianity in Northern India. Allahabad and Lucknow have all got their interesting tales to tell of valuable missionary effort connected with the Church Missionary Society. During the last few years there has been a well-marked movement towards Christianity amongst the Chamars, or leather-workers, in some of the country districts of the diocese, notably in the districts of Meerut, Moradabad and Bulandshar. The total number of Indian Christians in the diocese belonging to the English Church is now 13,000, as contrasted with 5447 in 1890.
It is unnecessary to write at length on the S.P.G. Mission at Cawnpore, as an admirable history of the Mission has already been written. Started by Henry Martyn in the early years of the nineteenth century, it received its first body of missionaries from the S.P.G. in 1833. Of these original missionaries the Rev. W. H. Heycock was amongst that great body of Englishmen, Englishwomen, and children, numbering about 1000, who were cruelly massacred by Nana Sahib’s orders in 1857. Some of my readers may remember the Rev. Roger Dutt, an able and eloquent Bengali clergyman, who worked in this Mission for eighteen years with marked success. Undoubtedly the wonderful development of this Mission will always be closely associated with the names of two brothers, the present Metropolitan and the Bishop of Lucknow. Under their inspiration the Cawnpore Brotherhood was formed in 1895, and from that time onward all kinds of valuable missionary activities have been undertaken in this Mission. Amongst these were the Industrial Workshops, started by Foss Westcott, which included a printing-press, carpentry shop, and brass foundry, to train Christian lads. Medical work, especially on the women’s side, was started, and the lady doctors of St. Katherine’s Hospital have had a fine record of valuable work. The success of their original Indian Mission High School led the missionaries to start classes up to University standard, and so the High School developed into the College of Christ Church. Another feature of the Mission is its strong Zenana Mission staff, which is doing a great work in the city of Cawnpore.
To the present Bishop of Lucknow, the Right Rev. George Westcott, we are indebted for the following facts connected with his diocese: “The number of the Clergy in the diocese varies: it has risen as high as ninety, at the present time it is eighty-two. Of these twenty-four are Government Chaplains, eight Diocesan (Additional Clergy Society) Chaplains, ministering to the European congregations not supplied with Government Chaplains, and forty-nine missionaries or Indian Clergy–thirty-four serving in connection with the Church Missionary Society, and fifteen in connection with the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel. It is a tradition of the diocese, carefully fostered by Bishop Clifford, that brotherly love should characterise the relations of the Clergy one towards another.
“Four of the Government Chaplains minister to civil and the rest to military congregations. Lucknow is the headquarters of the Eastern Command. The number of British soldiers in the diocese who are members of our Church is on the average, 10,000. The principal cantonments in the diocese are at Lucknow, Meerut, Bareilly, Allahabad, Cawnpore, and Chakrata. In all of these stations, with the exception of Jhansi, there are Institutes for Soldiers, five in connection with our Church, four Sandes Homes, and two controlled by the Y.M.C.A. Other European members of our Church number about 9000; one-third of these are connected with railways and the rest associated with Government or business concerns.
“The Church is called upon to contribute generously to the salaries of eight Diocesan or Additional Clergy Society Chaplains, and towards the education of European children. The Free Schools in Allahabad, for the existence of which we are chiefly indebted to the Chaplains who laid the foundations of the diocese, the McConaghey School at Lucknow and Dunbarnie School at Mussoorie, help to supply the requirements of the children who are least well off. We have two High Schools in Allahabad, one for boys and one for girls, both with boarding establishments, and subsidiary Church Schools in Agra, Meerut, and Dehra Dun. Our Boarding Schools in the hills have been reduced to three in number–the Boys’ School at Mussoorie, once so well known as Stokes School, closed down some years ago on account of financial difficulties. Our present policy is to concentrate on certain schools and make them as efficient as possible. Our Girls’ Schools at Mussoorie and Naini Tal are doing well, the latter under the management of members of the Community of the Holy Family. Both schools in Naini Tal have had a chequered career. At one time the debt on the Girls’ School amounted to about Rs.85,000. At this crisis the All Saints’ Community of Poona and Bombay came to our rescue, paying this amount to the diocese for school buildings to clear the debt, and undertaking to run the school on behalf of the Church. It was agreed that, should the Community at any time be unable to continue this work, it should give the diocese the opportunity of re-buying the school. In accordance with this agreement, the Mother Superior notified the Bishop in 1914, that the Community was unable to continue the work. It was calculated that the Community had spent on the school altogether Rs. 100,000 and that a further sum of Rs.22,000 was due to them on account of furniture and other fittings. In response to an appeal from the Bishop, the Government offered to make a grant of Rs.65,000 for the re-purchase of the property, provided the Church was able to contribute a like amount. At that time a substantial sum had been made over to the Province from the Pan-Anglican Thank-offering Fund for educational purposes, and a grant of Rs.65,000 was made to this diocese for the re-purchase of the school estate and buildings. At the request of the Ven. Oscar Watkins, the Community of the Holy Family, whose members have now risen to the number at which it is permitted to undertake work abroad, kindly came to our assistance and is now in control of the school.
“Sherwood, the house in which the Boys’ School had been established, was acquired by Government to form part of the new Government House estate. The school was for a while accommodated in various buildings, and after some time was provided with a new home on Ayarpatta Hill at the cost of Government. Those who have had experience in the management of European schools in India know how difficult it is to keep the expenditure within the school’s income. On more than one occasion the Government has come to the rescue of the school and paid off its debt, but we have now reached a time when school fees have to be raised to a figure such as will secure equilibrium between income and expenditure.
“A considerable number of scholarships are provided for the children of poor parents, partly by endowment and partly with the help of annual subscriptions.
“Our Diocesan Council decided in 1919 that our Victory Thank-offering Fund should be devoted to educational work in the hills, and a Preparatory School is now under construction in connection with the Girls’ School (All Saints) at Naini Tal. The new block of buildings, estimated to cost Rs. 250,000, will also provide accommodation for members of the Teachers’ Training Class.
“The Boys’ School has also been recently provided with a Hospital. In the case of both these buildings, half cost has been defrayed by Government and half from the Victory Thank-offering Fund. We hope that before long a new block of buildings will be provided for the Boys’ School. This block will contain dormitories, class-rooms, and accommodation for two masters and a matron, and will enable us to raise the number of boarders in the school to 200. An endowment fund of Rs.75,000 on behalf of these two schools has also been established as part of the Diocesan Victory Thank-offering.
“Up to the present time the Roman Church has had a great advantage over our Church, in that it is able to secure the services of well-qualified teachers at no great cost. We look forward to the time when our Church in England will provide Teaching Brotherhoods for the benefit of European Schools in India.
“During the last few years a steady effort has been made to Indianise Mission work, and to give to Indian Christians self-government in co-operation with such Europeans as they may invite to co-operate with them. These efforts have been forwarded by the readiness on the part of the Church Missionary Society to diocesanise its work. We look forward to the time when, under Indian leadership and guidance, Indian members of our Church will make the Faith of Christ a far greater power in the land than it is at the present time.
“It is often assumed that members of our Church in India are lacking in generosity. I would note that last year (1921) European members of our Church in this diocese contributed Rs.200,000 to Church and philanthropic work, including Rs.35,575 raised under the Diocesan Assessment Scheme. In addition to this sum much will have been given in ways that are not recorded. The recorded offerings of Indian congregations during the same period amounted to Rs.17,720. We are doing our best to encourage systematic almsgiving.”
1. Alfred Clifford, consecrated 1893; resigned 1910.
2. George Herbert Westcott, consecrated in All Saints’ Cathedral, Allahabad, on November 6, 1910.
Books of Reference.–History of C.M.S.; History of Cawnpore Mission, S.P.O.; Memoirs of Daniel Corrie; C.M.S. Century of Work in Meerut; Centenary C.M.S. Work, Benares