H. A. (Herbert Alfred) Birks.

The life and correspondence of Thomas Valpy French, first bishop of Lahore online

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n, 180 ; Annecy ; Cliamoniz, 181 ; Edith
failing ; return by Adriatic route, i8a ; last letters to Edith, 189. —

1885. Edith at rest, 191 ; Soudan war ; Charles Gordon's death ;
Peigdeh ; Mrs. French returns to India for third synod ; arch-
deacon's furlough, 199. — 1886. Loss of old friends ; proposal to
resign, 193 ; letters from the Archbishop of Canterbury, 196 ; the
Duke of Connaught at Lahore, 198. — 1887. Letters to archdeacon
concerning his succession, aoi ; two escapes from landslips, aoa ;
Mr. Moulson's illness, 203 ; resignation announced, 207 ; native
testimonial, 209 ; farewell sermons, aio ; Agnes' wedding to
Major F. H. Thomdike, an ; Mrs. French returns to England,
aia ; the see resigned, Dec. ai, 913.

The Churches of the East from Bagdad to Beybout 2I5>264

Karachi to Bussorah, ai5. — Buasorah to Ctesiphon and Bagdad;
death of Mrs. Matthew, ax6, — Bagdad to Babylon, 919. — Birs
Nimroud, sao. — Nebuchadnezzar's palace, aai. — Arabic studies,
aaa. — Bomish girls' school, Bagdad, 393. — Jewish schools, aa4. —
Dr. Yalpy's motto-yerse, aa5. — From Bagdad towards Mosul, aad.

— Karkhook, aa8. — Nineyeh or Mosul, a3i. — Matran Mulus;
a Jacobite mass, 93a. — Chaldean patriarch, 934. — Comparison of
Babylon and Nineveh ; visit to Mariaco, 935. — Journey to
Jakhoo, 936. — A Jewish Passover; Nahirwan, 937. — Jazeerah,
938. — Nisibin, Dara, and Mardin, 939. — Diarbekir, 941. — A
Jacobite evangelical preacher ; Moslem intercessory prayers, 943.

— Oorfa, a Latin service, 944. — Bir, the Euphrates' ford ; church-
buildings and ecclesiastical affairs at Oorfa, 945. — A glimpse of
Haran ; village of Aktarim, 947. — Aleppo and Antioch, 948. —
Beilan to Beyrout, 95a

ADDinoirAL Note. Doctrinal history of Eastern Christendom, 951.

— Present divisions of the Eastern Churches, 953. — American
and English intervention ; extracts fh>m Bishop French's letters
to the Archbishop of Canterbury, 956. — A missionary problem of
the future, 364.


Ten Months in Syrla and Palestine .... 265-306

The British Syrian schools, 365. — Beyrout, 367. — The missionary
conference in London ; deaths of Bishop Parker ; Hon. Keith-
Falconer ; the Emperor Frederick, a68. — Memorial service at the
German church, 969. — Americans and Greek Church prelates,
970. — Pushtu revision, 971. — French writers on the inner life;
Aitat, 979. — Dair-ul-Eamar, 973. — Brumana, 974. — A Greek

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fiinenl, 375. — Work in the Tillages, 376. — Impressions of the
Lebanon, 978. »- ICar Ellas, Mount Gaimel, and Nazareth, 379. —
Sermon in Arable at Nazareth ; Cana of Galilee, 981. — Mahrakah,
Carmel, Nablons, aSa.— Sebastiyeh and Nablous, 983. — Samaritan
high-priests at Nablous, 984.— Joppa; Jerosalem, 985. — The
< Green Hill,' 986 (and 994). — Bethany, 987.— St. Andrew's Day
on Moimt Zion ; Greek archimandrite ; Roman patriarch, 988. —
Nehemiah's walls ; Prussian schools ; Gethsemane ; Moimt of
Ascension, 989. — Miss Barlee's Bible-class of Jewish women and
L. J. S. girls' school ; Bethesda ; death of Msjor Thomdike, 990.

— Miss Jacombs' school at Bethlehem, 991. — Christmas at Beth-
lehem, 999. — Hebron, 993. — Mosques of Omar and Aksa ;
Jericho, 995. — English chapel in Church of Holy Sepulchre;
Salt, 996. — Desolate journey to Nablous, 997. — Tabor and Tibe-
rias (Scotch mission^ 998. — Hard travelling to Tyre yi& Safed,
300. — Letter to Mr. Clark on trifles and realities, 303. — Damascus,
Baalbec, &c., to Beyrout ; perils at sea, 304. — A Turk baptized
at Constantinople ; home at Chislehurst, 306.

Last Days at Home 307-3^

Impressions of England, 307. — Assyrian mission; and letter to
Archbishop Benson about a college for Greek priests, 308. —
St. Paul's, Penzance ; a vestry incident and Martyn's house, 309.

— Visit to Bath, 310. — To Bishop Auckland, 31 z. — Stanhope;
Ambleside ; Lincoln ; letter to Lefix>y, 319. — Christmas at Chisle-
hurst, 313. — Westcott at Durham, 315. — A confirmation at
Chigwell, 317. — Burton and Lichfield ; a consecration at Lambeth
parish church, 318. — Pamphlet on Eastern Church; talk and
action on topics of reunion, 319. — Depression and its remedy;
Bamborough and Holy Isle, 391. — Offer of temponuy charge of
diocese of Exeter; Pfander's grave, 393. — The Archbishop of
Canterbury's blessing at Chislehurst, 394. — Plans for Eastern
work, 395. — Last letter from England to Canon Edmonds, 396. —
' A harder wrench than ever,' 399.


The Joubkey to Muscat by Tukib akd the Red Sea

Littoral 330-360

Tunis, 330. — Kairowan, 337. — Moslem brotherhoods and Abd-ul-
Kadir, 349. — Lincoln Judgement, 345. — Alexandria and Cairo,
346. — Alexander Charles Maitland, 347. — The Bed Sea ; Jedda ;
Soakim ; Maasowa ; Hodaida ; Aden, 349. — Mission and grave of
Keith-Falooner, 354. — Oxford House, 355. ~ Karachi ; last sight
of India and his Indian friends, 357.

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The Lonely Pioneer 361-391

MackAy's appeal for Muscat, 361. — Hesitation of the C. M. S. com-
mittee, 363. — Curzon's description of Muscat, 364. — General
Haigh's description, 365. — Maitland's account of their arrival and
first settling, 366. — Muttra, 368. — Maitland leaves, 373. — The
Sultan of Muscat, 375. — Notes from diary, 376. — Easter Day,
381. — Notes continued, 38a. — Preparations for camp ; increasing
heat, 384. — Fever and weakness, 386. — Leper village and Arab
inquirer, 387. — The Cross and its lessons, 388. — Letter to
Mr. Knox on his accepting Aston, 389. — Last letter to Mrs.
French, and service on The 3phinXf 390.


The Final Resting-place 392-408

The C. M. S. anniversary at Exeter Hall, May 5, 1891, 393. — Speech
of Sir John Kennaway, 394. — Of Archbishop Benson, 395. —
Bishop French's journey to Sib, 396. — Illness at Sib ; returns to
Muscat, 398. — Licreasing Illness, 399. — Removal to Residency,
death and burial, 400. — Death due to exhaustion rather than
sunstroke ; the Sunday collect, 401. — Reception of the news
in England, 40a. — Letter from Archbishop Benson ; Press notices,
403. — Brass in Cathedral, 404. — Mr. Griffith's visit to the ceme-
teiy ; the Rev. Peter Zwemer's mission- work, 405. — The bishop's
grave and its lessons, 406. — The prayer of all the ages, 408.

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The Gathedbal at Lahore Frontispiece

The Cemeteby at Muscat To face p. 405

Map of the Dtocebe of Lahore At the end

Map of Pfrsia and part of Syria At the end

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' Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ/ —
St. Paul (to Timothy).

*And wheresoever in earth's wide field
Ye lift for Him the red-cross shield,
Be thin your song, your joy, your pride,
"Our Champion went before and died."'

John Keble.

The diocese of Lahore, with its two great frontier pro-
vinces, at all times holds within its borders some of the very
^ite of the European and the native armies. But the great
frontier wars in the first years of Bishop French's tenure of
the bishopric rendered the task of providing for the spiritual
needs of the army particularly onerous. The bishop wrote
to the archdeacon in June, 1879 : * The want of clergy is very
serious at present in the Punjab. Twenty-three chaplains
are really not enough for nearly 23,000 troops in the province.
The Bishop of Calcutta and the Government will have to
look the matter iull in the face.' Of the troops on service,
he said, 'It is cheering to see how they clamour for chap-
lains, and of the right sort too.'

It is beyond the scope of this biography to discuss the
Afghan frontier politics, or the details of military actions,


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"/«:'•• ". .•:: 'LFFE of bishop French

.'/. : JjH^^/ft-l^'^^^^slfet&bliiu^^ be given of the border history, and
* " *a somewhat' fuller record of the bishop's visits to the British
forces in the Khyber and at Candahar.

It will be remembered that French was present at a great
durbar at Lahore in 1869, when Shere Ali was welcomed by
the British Government, and that he had been struck by his
impenetrable and unimpressionable countenance. In 1878
considerable excitement was caused in India by the intelli-
gence that the Ameer had admitted a Russian embassy
to Cabul. Sir Neville Chamberlain, an old Beddington
acquaintance whom Bishop French had the pleasure of
meeting that summer at Simla, was appointed head of an
especial British mission, and prepared with a following of
near 1,000 men (a force of which Lord Carnarvon said that
it was too small for an army and too large for a mission),
to set out fron^ Peshawur.

The Ameer, either prompted by Russia or genuinely
doubting his power to protect the mission from his own
unruly subjects, refiised to admit it to his country, and his
threat of armed opposition led to the outbreak of war.
The capture of Ali Musjid, and the battle of Peiwar Kotul,
by which General Roberts became master of the Kurrum
valley, followed in November and the beginning of Decem-
ber, 1878. By December 20, General Sir Samuel Brown
had entered Jelalabad, and by January 9, 1879, General
Stewart, who was in command on the Sindh frontier, had
entered Candahar almost without opposition. Meantime
the Russian mission had withdrawn from Cabul, and Shere
Ali had taken his departure with them.

These movements attracted great attention in England,
where a war with Russia had lately seemed imminent,
and Lord Lawrence, in Parliament, strongly opposed the
forward frontier policy.

Writing to his sister, Mrs. Sheldon, on January 23, 1879,
the bishop said : —

*The chief blame of the war must rest on those who affronted
and alienated the Ameer. As things aie war was inevitable, as
the acceptance of the Russian embassy exposed our frontier most

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fatally, and by damaging our prestige endangered the lives and
property of Europeans and of our friends. It was as defensible
as all self-preservation is. No one could doubt that who knows
anything of the real state of things in India. The name and
cause of England would have been utterly contemptible, and
a revolt at any moment probable, if the warlike and turbulent
Iribes on the frontier had been left to their old fanatical and
insurrectionary spirit with Cabul and Eussia to back them up.

* Mr. Gordon is now at Candahar. I sadly want him back for
the Belooch mission, which is left in confusion by his impulsive
ardour of advance, a valuable quality when under proper checks
and safeguards. I have let him know clearly that I am not well
pleased. My only comfort is, I tell him, that as he was suffering
so much from fever last year, perhaps the cool climate of Candahar
may brace him for more years of work. I will support him all
I can, but must be firm where faithfulness to pledges is at stake.
The archdeacon is at the camps about Peshawur, and writes to me
pretty full accounts, as also does the chaplain, Mr. Swinnerton.'

In February Share Ali died, and Yakub his son. who had
formerly rebelled against him and been confined five years
in a dungeon, was recognized as Ameer, and began to make
peace overtures. The negotiations proceeded slowly under
the able conduct of Major Cavagnari, and the troops mean-
while suffered much from heat and cholera and other
sickness in the inhospitable passes. One incident, the
drowning of almost a whole squadron of Hussars in the
Cabul river during a night reconnaissance, was particularly
painful. ' What a terrible loss ! ' the bishop wrote from
Ambala, April 6. * It makes one shiver all over.'

On May 6 the bishop wrote to Mrs. Sheldon : —

*Mr. Hughes thought we might go together into the Khyber to
the camps there, but Mr. Egerton (the Lieutenant-Governor) rather
deprecates it, as Englishmen of any rank might bo seized and kept
for the sake of obtaining a ransom. He said, " We should not like
a joint of your thumb to be sent into Peshawur with threats of
death if a ransom were not paid by Government." He seemed
hopeful when I called last Wednesday of Yakub Khan's coming to

On May 26 the treaty of Gundamuk was signed, by which
the English obtained the right to maintain an embassy at
Cabul, and the control of the Kurrum, Pishin, and Sibi

B 2

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valleys, and the Kliyber and Michni passes, as a defensible
frontier, they in turn engaging to protect the Ameer from
foreign enemies, and to give him a subsidy of six lacs of

Meantime the bishop had travelled to Peshawur, and
wrote thence to Mrs. French: —

''May 26^ 1879. I preached three times yesterday. The English
congregations are wretched, the ladies and most of the regi-
ments being away, so that if I want to see them I must go after
them and find them. Thus far I am kept in good health, and
it is a wonder that four nights' steady travelling should not have
knocked me up more. , . . With such a force on the frontier, to
distribute one's few chaplains aright is a great difficulty and
anxiety. This place is distinguished by its greenness and verdure
all the hot weather through, through the abundance of water from
the hills ; but this is the cause of its greater sickness also. Cholera
has all but ceased, and the panic is allayed.'

'Camp Lundi KotuL, Khyher, May 29. I reached Ali Musjid
yesterday from Peshawur, chiefly driving in a little cart with
Mr. Jukes. The sickness has nearly passed away, still it has left
the force a little drooping and dispirited, and I do hope I may be
able to raise and cheer their spirits a little. The scenery of the
Khyber near Ali Musjid is something wonderfully grand, and the
gorges, grim and sombre, quite a match for the people who inhabit
them. It is a strange state of things. All found with arms, pxcept
those who wear a crimson sash or turban to signify they are
friends to the British, are shot down mercilessly. We march in
the morning, sometimes, as to-day, with an escort of two troopers.
The officers find quartei-s for us in tents or barracks. We dine at
mess. At Ali Musjid nearly all are native troops— Sikhs, Bhopalese,
&c. ; a good body of officers are there, some truly pious men. At
4.30 this morning we had Holy Communion, to which seven came.
To-day I am General Maude's guest. He is himself ill, but most
kind and attentive. I go with Mr. Spens to the hospitals this
afternoon, the chief doctor also accompanying. One young officer
opened his heart much to me last night. General Maude wants me
to consecrate a cemetery here next week. This is the extreme
point of our empire in this direction, according to the terms of the
new peace. Mr. Spen? is quite martyr-like in his devotion. The
snowy peaks of the Safid Koh are already in sight The scenery
is enchanting, though the hills are all bluff and bare, full of caves
in some places, where the wild Afridis hide like foxes or rabbits.
. . . Whenever the defiles emerge into a more open space of ground
the white tents of the British camps burst in sight.'

^BasatiCal, Sunday, June i. We hope to start on our return to-

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morrow morning, as the camps are beginning to move towards
Peshawur, except that which is to occupy Lundi Kotul. I confess
I am not sorry the campaign is over, as the heat and dust in camp
is almost insupportable, yet I am glad to have ventured thus far
to express my sympathy and thought for what our armies endure.
... I visited some of the hospital tents in the evening. This
morning I preached at parade, the soldiers being drawn up in
three sides of a square, the general (Michell) and officers and
myself forming the fourth side. All are beginning to feel the heat
much. The hot wind blowing through the tent almost incapaci-
tates for any effort. All seem well pleased with the terms of the
peace. I hope it will be solid and lasting. I meet on the whole
with much civility from the officers. I don't think I knew any
one of them previously. Some of them have great blocks or bricks
of snow brought down from the hills. There is a large force here ;
5th Fusileers, nth Lancers, and a large body of Artillery.'

* Lundi Koitd, June 3. The time seems to go sadly slowly towards
the much longed-for reunion with you. ... I write with gi*eat
difficulty from heat and dust, and very small table, and constant
journe3ring. The evenings must be spent with the officers, who
are very hospitable, only so much of it does not suit me. Sunday
at Basawal was less hot rather than the Saturday had been, and
I preached twice besides looking into one or two hospitals. ... I was
hoarse from a little bronchial attack. The early mornings have been
quite cold, sometimes from a snowy breeze suddenly descending,
in strange contrast with the usual glowing heat. My further work
is cut short by the rapid return of the army. . . . Amid so much
excitement there is not much to be done. Ck)lonel Boileau at
Dhaka was particularly kind, and General Michell at BasawaL
I must say it will be a great comfort to be in a house again.
Mr. Jukes is very helpful, and takes most filial care of me. The
young officers are singularly attentive. Except just along the
banks of the Cabul river, which now and then come in sight,
the country is of the dreariest and most desolate imaginable.'

^Peshawur, June 6. I got here last evening after a journey of
some risks, especially from the sun's burning heat, thankful to
Him who has spared and kept me. Our camp at Lundi Kotul was
threatened with an attack from the neighbouring Afghan tribes ;
but, thank God, we had no such assault.'

Mr. Jukes, who accompanied him on this little cam-
paigning expedition, says : —

*He had declined the offer of a couple of horsemen from
Peshawur to Ali Musjid, but at the latter place I applied for them,
as I would not risk any more so valuable a life as our bishop's in
an enemy's country, for although there were convoys going back-
wards and forwards they were moving too slow for us. At the

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various encampments I tried to persuade him to use my camp-bed,
which I had taken for his special use ; but he never would use it,
preferring to lie on the ground. It was very hot weather also,
and he felt the sun severely, but he never would take off his
boots while resting. I found also that he did not possess a
pair of slippers, as he thought them very effeminate articles of

A few days later the bishop wrote from Nowshera, near
Peshawur, to Miss Mills : —

*I have just returned from some of the English camps in the
Khyber, and have been preserved from all perils of being smitten
by the sun, or by the Afridi arrow which flieth by day, or the
X>estilence (cholera) which walketh in darkness. Each regiment
has lobt its quotum of soldiers, dead from cholera, and left in the
little cemeteries extemporized under the rough and frowning
rocks. The dear soldiers have always had much of my heart, and
they seem to find it out. After parade service this morning
(a nice full church of English soldiers and officers) I went over to
a cholera camp three miles off on the banks of the Cabul river, but
only found two cases of patients. I hope they may both recover.
One said, ** Perhaps you will give us another visit, sir," which,
alas I I could not promise, as I leave about midnight for further
visitations near Kangra.

' I have seen a little of my old friends the Afghans, but not so
much as I hoped. I am working at their language again, all the
more so because my diocese throws its arms out into Afghanistan
by the three valleys we have annexed or assigned. So the Lahore
diocese grows by the new conquests. I piay that our dear Lord
may lead captivity captive among them, and make them wiUing in
the day of His power. . . . All along my journeys lately I have
seen little but ai*mies coming and going— miles of camels, oxen,
mules, carts, &c., and great has been the havoc among them from
weariness, heat, want of water, overweighty loads, &c. The
Peshawur mission is working nobly, and Mr. Jukes hopes to make
his way into Kafiristan vi& Jelalabad as soon as the way is at all
open. It has been a campaign of strange incidents, and the peace
most unlooked for. God seems to have most graciously answered
prayers I issued for use in the diocese. Many hearts must have
used them as well as lips I think.*

As they are not likely to find a place in military history,
it may be of interest to those whose friends were engaged in
these campaigns to know what prayers were sanctioned to
be used, in whole or in part, at all Church services through-
out the diocese.

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Prayer I.

* O Lord of Hosts, to whom belong the shields of the earth, and
whose it is to give and to withhold the victory in battle, we pray
Thee of Thy gracious goodness, if it be Thy will, to go with our
armies, and to be with them at all times, in the march, the camp,
and the field ; give them unity of plan and concert of action.

* Be pleased to direct by Thy wisdom the counsels of our states-
men and generals, and of all charged with the conduct of the
struggle on which our nation and empire are embarked. We pray
Thee to guide the course of it to such issues as may tend most to
Thy glory, to the growth of the kingdom of Thy Son, and to the
securing and consolidating of such an honourable and lasting
peace as may be fruitful in blessing both to the victoi*s and

' We ask it not for any goodness or righteousness of ours, for we
are fain to confess that we have often been wanting in faithful and
loyal acknowledgement of Thee, in bringing Thee the glory due to
Thy Name, and rendering Thee again for the benefits Thou hast
richly bestowed upon us ; but for Thine own mercy's sake, and
Thy kindness' sake to the unthankful and evil, do Thou yet for all
this pardon, accept, prosper, and bless us. We ask it through
Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.'

Prayer 11.

*Set bounds, we beseech thee, O God, to the scourge and havoc
of war ; may its term be shortened in Thy good Providence, and
the overflowings of wrath be restrained. Rebuke the spoiler and
devourer. Curb the spirit of hastiness, and bitterness, and blood-
thirstiness, and revenge. If success be given us, save us from
presumption and self-sufficiency; if reverses befall us, may they
tend rather to humble and chasten than to unnerve and dispirit
us. Suffer us not to provoke Thy displeasure by any evil thing or
root of bitterness secretly cherished, lest being weighed in Thy
balances of truth we be found wanting.

' [Assuage the sufferings of the wounded, relieve the pain, weari-
ness, and faintness of the sick and diseased in hospital. Be with
those walking through the valley of the shadow, and let Thy rod
and staff comfort them. Inspire heroism, fortitude, and courage,
and a spirit of patient endurance into our forces '.]

' May the lives of our officers and of our men of all ranks and of
both races be precious in Thy sight, and, even as Thou hast taught
us to pray for and bless our enemies, keep us clear, we beseech
Thee, from the guilt of overbearing and unrelenting treatment of
them even in the redress of wrong.

^ The words in brackets are written in the bishop*s own handwriting
on the printed form that has come to me. — Ed.

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* Finally, be pleased, Heavenly Father, so to increase in us the
spirit of Christ and His kingdom, that we may be found more
ready to sheathe the sword than to unbare it, and that not even the
laurels of war may be so dear to us as the olive-branch of peace.

'We humbly ask these mercies in the name of Thy dear Son,
our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.'

The addition of three valleys to his province still further
emphasized the need for more chaplains ; and in September
he arranged to meet the metropolitan at Mussoorie and,
each accompanied by his archdeacon, to discuss diocesan
arrangements. The meeting was most friendly, and ended
in the transfer of two chaplains to the Lahore ecclesiastical
staff. It was while they were here thus engaged that the
news of the Cabul disaster fell on them like a thunderclap.

Online LibraryH. A. (Herbert Alfred) BirksThe life and correspondence of Thomas Valpy French, first bishop of Lahore → online text (page 1 of 46)