DR. MACLEOD had for several
years been convinced that the Church ought to send a deputation to India.
There were many important questions connected with missions in that
country, which, he believed, could be decided only by Commissioners, who,
besides considering matters affecting particular localities, might take a
wide survey of the condition of India in reference to Christianity. He had
long anticipated, too, the possibility of being himself appointed to such
a duty, and was prepared, at almost any personal risk, to undertake it. "I
have the most distinct recollection," writes Dr. Clerk, "that in the
summer of 1865, speaking to me, as he often did, of the possibility of his
being asked to go to India, he told me that medical friends, to whom he
had casually mentioned the matter, had assured him it would entail certain
death, but that he had counted the cost, and that if the Church asked him
to represent her, he would rather die in the discharge of his duty than
live in the neglect of it. I am convinced that, in the true martyr spirit,
he gave his life for the conversion of India, and that the fruit will
appear in due season. He ardently anticipated glorious results from a
Christianised India—a youthful Church with the warmth of the Eastern heart
and the quickness of the Eastern mind, drawing its inspiration, not from
the stereotyped forms of the West, but directly from the Fountain of
Eternal Life and Truth. Often did he in the most glowing language picture
the effect upon Europe and America, should light again stream from the
East to quicken their decaying energies."
He was, therefore, not
taken by surprise when the General Assembly of 1867, acting on the
unanimous request of the Mission Board at Calcutta, appointed him, along
with Dr. Watson of Dundee, to represent the Church of Scotland in India.
Before he left this country
he carefully determined the chief questions to which his attention should
be directed. Ever since his enthusiasm had been kindled by his intercourse
at Loudoun with the noble widow of ex-Governor-General Lord Hastings, he
had taken an almost romantic interest in the policy of our Eastern empire
; was familiar with the details of every campaign from the days of Clive
to the Indian mutiny; and had read much of the religious as well as civil
history of the natives. He had also for years taken an active part in the
management of India Missions; and in order to profit by as wide a range of
experience as possible, he corresponded with persons in this country well
acquainted with, or earnestly interested in. these Missions, and obtained
from them various, and therefore valuable, statements of those
difficulties and objections regarding which inquiry was needed. From the
topics suggested by these and similar authorities, he and his brother
deputy drew up, during their outward voyage, a series of queries,
embracing the points which most required investigation.
They had also peculiar
advantages, when in India, for gaining the best answers to their
inquiries. They were welcomed as friends by the representatives and agents
of every Church and Mission, from the bishops of the Church of England in
India down to the poorest native catechist, and received from them all
every possible aid and information. They enjoyed the frankest intercourse
with educated natives of all varieties of creed and of no creed, and with
the conductors of the Press, religious and secular, Christian and Hindoo.
They were honoured likewise with the confidence of the highest and best
informed Officers of State, in each of the Presidencies, and were thus
able to gauge opinion in different places and among different ranks and
types of men, and to form their conclusions from unusually comprehensive
data. "We had in our investigations," he reports, "advantages similar to
those possessed by a Government Commission, which cites select witnesses
and visits select districts, and the value of whose conclusions is not to
be estimated by the time spent in inquiry, or to be balanced. against
those arrived at by 'the oldest inhabitant' of any one village."
In speaking of the trouble
Dr. Macleod took to obtain trustworthy information, not only on the
questions bearing directly on his mission, but in regard to everything
which came under his notice, and the consequent accuracy of the
conclusions he reached (an accuracy which has since been recognised by
some of the ablest authorities on Indian affairs), Dr. Watson thus
describes the difficulties which had to be encountered:—
"No one who has not had
something to do with gathering information can imagine the difficulty of
sifting the opinions and statements which are made by residents in India
on its internal affairs. If you are content to take the first witness you
find as an authority, and to form your judgment according to his evidence,
you will avoid much perplexity; but you will run the risk of holding most
erroneous and one-sided views. Dr. Macleod used often to express his
astonishment at the opposite and contradictory declarations made to him by
persons who seemed to have had the best opportunities of knowing what they
spoke about. Two men, or half-a-dozen men, who ought to have been each in
his own line a guarantee for correctness, would on some point give as many
different opinions, formed on their own personal experience.
"Each man had lived in a
little world of his own ; in the presence of his own countrymen he had
been a stranger to all except his own circle. And, indeed, one is
surprised at the separateness and isolation of European society in the
great centres of the population; for, if you pass from one little circle
to another, it is like crossing into a new region of mental life; and the
instruments for gauging facts, opinions, experiences, and modes of thought
need to be readjusted. To follow implicitly the traditions and convictions
of your informants on almost any subject of wide interest, you must lay
aside to-day the impressions you took up yesterday; to-morrow you may have
cause to return to your earlier ones, and day by day you may have to
modify now one and now another of your notions, proved on what you
believed good grounds; and after all you will retain your latest
conviction with caution and modesty.
"It was no easy matter,
then, for a man like him, who wished to probe everything, and to attain to
the truth, to ascertain correct data. . At times he grew impatient, and at
other times he used to look on the matter on its ludicrous side, and
illustrate it by a story his father had often told, of an incident at the
trial of some case at which he was present. The witness in the box was a
Highlandman unable to speak a word of English, and he gave his evidence
through an interpreter. When a question was put to the witness, he would
hesitate and say. ' I think, well, I daresay, yes.' Then the interpreter
turns to the judge with this statement, He says, 'Yes,' my lord, but he
seems not quite sure.' 'Ask him again,' says the judge; and again the
witness hesitated, balanced statements, and concluded with 'I think, well
I daresay, no.' Whereupon the interpreter announced the reply, and
shouted,' he says 'No,' my lord,' and so the case proceeded, interrupted
every now and again by the twofold answer.' He says, 'Yes,' my lord; he
says, 'No,' my lord,' until the judge completely lost his temper.
"It was often through
similar difficulties of contradiction from the witness-box, and from
different lips, that Dr. McLeod was obliged to draw his knowledge of what
were the facts and opinions of Indian life: and he seized every chance of
correcting his impressions by putting the right questions to the right
men, and by a sort of instinctive appreciation of the value of the replies
he received to his numerous and sifting inquiries."
The reception accorded to
the deputation was enthusiastic, and their labours were constant and
onerous. Crowds, in which natives were mingled with English, assembled in
the Churches in which they were to preach, or at the meetings they were to
address. Every day, almost every hour, had its engagements ; examining
schools, conferring with missionaries, and responding to the attentions
and hospitalities which were bestowed on them. To the Indian habit of
early rising there was too frequently added the home custom of late
sitting, with its consequent exhaustion. "It is certainly trying," he
writes, "for a stranger, who is entertained hospitably every night, and
who consequently retires late, to have his first sleep broken by the card
of some distinguished official handed to him about daybreak." This strain
upon his system told more perniciously than he was at the time conscious
of. "It was very difficult," Dr. Watson says, "to convince him that, for a
man like him, labour in Scotland, with its cold and bracing atmosphere,
was one thing, and labour in a tropical climate was another thing. He
believed it on the whole; but unless the belief was impressed on his mind
by physical pain or inconvenience, it was inoperative; and he was apt to
forget that he was in a region where exertion such as he was accustomed to
at home would entail upon him consequences of a serious kind. The only
instance in which he seemed to distrust the climate of India was in regard
to his mode of living. He could both enjoy life and forego its enjoyments,
as few men could, without a sense of loss; he could avail himself of the
most boundless hospitality, and he could at the most sumptuous table fare
like a hermit; and when, a day or two after his landing in Bombay, he was
told by a physician that everything which was safe for him at home was not
equally safe in India, he was perfectly unaffected by the news; and, so
far as meat and drink were concerned, he walked strictly by medical rule.
In all other respects he forgot his belief in the dangers of India: he
spoke in public, he talked in private, he listened, he exerted body and
brain from morning till night, he spent himself without grudging and
without consideration. On one occasion he preached for about an hour while
sailing down the Red Sea, and at the close of the service he was almost
dead. His face was flushed, his head ached, his brain was confused; and
when he retired to his cabin the utmost efforts were required to restore
him. The warning was noted by him, and often remembered, but it was as
often forgotten or neglected afterwards.
"I shall not attempt," Dr.
Watson continues, "to describe the interest which was felt amongst all
classes in India in the speeches and sermons of Dr. Macleod. The visit of
a man of much less note would have attracted some attention, and would
have brought together a very large proportion of the English-speaking
population in every city which was visited. Moreover, the novelty of the
visit, the first of its kind from Scotland, was sufficient to awaken the
sympathies of Christians, and to excite the curiosity, if not a deeper
feeling, amongst all the races and religions of India. His name had gone
before him in every province. No efforts had been used to draw the notice
of the world to his visit; the ordinary publication of a list of
passengers by the next steamer, confirming a rumour that Dr. Macleod was
on his way to India, was of itself enough. His arrival was looked forward
to with eagerness, and, soon after his landing, invitations and enquiries
from all parts of the country were sent in. Wherever he went he was
received with kindness and cordiality; in many places with that deep
respect and veneration which had grown up in the minds of those who had
admired his works and had heard of his labours, and in many places he was
welcomed with feelings of ardour arising to enthusiasm.
"The foremost men in India
in civil and military and ecclesiastical posts were ready to do him honour
and to aid him; in public and in private they testified for him their
personal respect; and when they found him to be a man whose eyes were
observant, whose sympathies were quick, whose large-heartedness was so
comprehensive and whose humour was so genial and overpowering, it seemed
as if all barriers were broken down, and as if they had known him
personally all their lives. He gained access to persons and sources of
information which, without any wish to disoblige, would have been shut to
most other men.
"Nothing indeed was lacking
in the welcome which greeted him; and never did visitor appreciate
kindness more. But withal he was not misled by these marks of flattery and
good-feeling. He could distinguish between the genuine and the unreal: he
knew well enough that whilst there were many who testified their zeal and
good-will, many more had the future in view, and were careful to
propitiate an author who was likely to command as wide a circle of readers
as any writer in Great Britain. And, apart from this, he had set his heart
on the special object which carried him to India; and all external
attentions, all readiness to listen, all offers of hospitality or public
respect, were regarded by him as helps to his work, and as opening up for
him a surer path to that knowledge of Indian life and Indian affairs of
which he was in search."
From his Journal:—.
"Cuilchenna, Jul 24, 1867.
"Dear place, with what
genuine love and gratitude I write its name ! I thought I was too old to
love nature as I have done. What a time I have had, what glorious scenery,
what fresh mornings, and, oh, what evenings ! With smooth seas gleaming
with the hues of a dove's neck; mountains with every shade which can at
such times be produced ; Glencoe in sunshine and in deepest crimson;
Glengoar, with its sunbeams lighting up the hill sides with the softest
dreamy velvet hues; mountain masses of one dark hue clearly defined
against the blue sky, and fading into grey over Duart. What cloud shadows,
and what effects from pines, and cottages with grey smoke and lines of
silver along the shore, and the masts of ships at anchor! Praise God for
this glorious world ! the world made and adorned by Him who died on the
cross, What a gospel of peace and good-will it ever is to me—not a prison
but a palace—hung with pictures of glory, full of works of art, and all so
pure and holy. Every bunch of green fern, every bit of burning heather,
the birches, the pure streams, the everything, says, 'I love you—love
me—and rejoice!' Sometimes I wept, and sometimes prayed, and enjoyed
silent praise—I bless Thee for it!
"And then there was my dear
family all together, and all so well, and the walks, the pic-nics to the
hills, Glencoe, Glengoar, the fishing in the evening—all sunshine—all
happiness—most wonderful for so many and all sinners, in this world of sin
and discipline. It is of Cod our Father, and a type of what will be
"Forbid that this should
hinder us and not rather help us to do our duty, severe duty, and to
accept any trial. I feel this is a calm harbour in which I am refitting
for a long voyage."
To J. M. Ludlow, Esq.:—
"Yes, I go on the 5th of
November on a great mission to India, not verily to Presbyterians only,
but to see what the eye alone can see, and to verify or test what cannot
be seen, but which I either question or believe anent missions in general
"I have been in paradise
with my family. The heavenly district is called in maps of earth, Lochaber.
But what map could give all the glory in the world without, and the world
"It has been a blessed
preparation for labour night and day. I had a mission sermon of good-will
To Mrs. Macleod:—
"Balmoral, Friday, September 10th, 1867.
"It was a glorious day; but
rather a weary journey from Glasgow yesterday.
"This morning's telegram
announced the death of Sir Frederick Bruce suddenly at Boston. Lady
Frances Baillie, his sister, is here. I have been with her and prayed with
her. She accompanies me to Perth to-morrow. I feel very truly for her.
Three such brothers, Lord Elgin, General Bruce, and Sir Frederick dying so
"I had a long and pleasant
interview with the Queen. With my last breath I will uphold the excellence
and nobleness of her character. It was really grand to hear her talk on
moral courage, and on living for duty."
From his Journal:—
"August 11, Glasgow.—I have long been convinced of the vast importance of
sending a deputation to India, and my friends in the Committee know it. I
never brought it formally before the Committee from an awkward, silly
feeling of fear lest they should suppose it was a mere personal affair. I
had, however, I believed, mentioned to friends in private that so
convinced was I of its importance, that I was disposed to hazard the offer
of my going at my own expense.
"How often did I ponder
over India! It possessed me, but I held myself in. I determined not to
lead but to follow. The Lord knows how often I asked His counsel.
"When the Sunday question
came up, I gave up all thoughts of India. I felt then that I was tabooed.
I would, indeed, have resigned the Convenership, except from the
determination not to confess any sense of wrongdoing which I did not feel.
I learned but the other day that a meeting was called at the time to get
me to resign; the vote was taken and carried against them. I thank God for
the noble freedom of the Church, which could not only entertain the
thought of sending me, but act upon it as they have done.
"After my report for the
last Assembly was finished, a letter came from Calcutta, from our
Corresponding Board, requesting the Convener to visit India.
"I called a meeting in
Edinburgh of a few friends in the Committee, best fitted to advise me.
They told me I must lay an official document before the Committee. The
meeting was called by the Moderator of Assembly, and I was absent. All I
said was that this Assembly should decide one way or other, if I, a man
fifty-six years of age, was even to consider the proposal. I telegraphed
next day to Dr. Craik to print their deliverance, whatever it was, so that
the Assembly might have it before them in a tangible form. It was printed
accordingly, and I simply read it, excusing the fact of its not being in
the report, from the request having come so late, and in this form taking
me aback. The Assembly discussed the question, and were, strange to say,
unanimous in granting the request, if the Presbytery of Glasgow agreed
thereto, and if Funds were raised independent of the subscriptions for the
Mission. Mr. Johnstone, of Greenock, nobly offered to guarantee £1,000 if
I went, and so this barrier was removed!
"My physicians said Yes.
"My wife said Yes, if God
so wills. My aged and blessed mother said Yes.
"My congregation? Well, I
wrote dear James Campbell, my wise, cautious, loving, and dear friend and
elder, and he read to my Session a letter written from Cuilchenna, which
told the whole truth, and the Session said Yes. Could I say No? Could I
believe in God, as a guide, and say No? It was difficult to say Yes. The
wife and bairns made it difficult; bat was I to be a coward, and every
officer in the army to rebuke me? No! I said Yes, with a good concience, a
firm heart, after much prayer, and I dared not say No.
"No doubt all my personal
feelings, the Mission question excepted, would keep me at home. I have
seen so much of the world that I would not go to India for the mere
purpose of visiting it as a traveller, should I see it in a month for
nothing from the Himalayas to Cape Comorin. I would not give a week in
Rome, which I have never seen, for any time in India, were it close at
"Apart from Missions,
nothing could possibly induce me to run risks, encounter fatigue, and make
such sacrifices in my fifty-sixth year.
"I cannot as Convener lay
my hand on any one authentic and reliable book or report, enabling me to
get a clear, firm, unhesitating grasp of the real state, difficulties, and
requirements of our Missions.
"We are at this moment
passing through a crisis in our Mission history both in India and at home.
There are questions of increased salaries, according to the circumstances
of each Mission station; the employment of home native teachers; the
employment—its nature, place, pay, &c, of native ministers, with their
future relationship to the Board, the local Presbytery, and the Committee;
the formation of Corresponding Boards, and the clearing up of constantly
recurring misunderstandings with them; the personal examination into the
actual condition of each Mission station, and the encouraging of the
missionaries; the obtaining accurate information through letters from the
Home Government to the Indian Government, and from every leading
Missionary Society labouring in India, that so, by confidential
communications with representative men of all parties and creeds, we may
estimate the actual state and prospects of Missions in India. Such is a
faint outline of some of the objects of a deputation as far as India is
"As to the danger, it is
nothing, for God is everywhere. As to family, He can take care of them; so
can he of the dear congregation. But it seems to me,—and surely my Father
will not let me be in darkness!—to be my duty, and so I go, in the name of
God—Father, Son and Spirit.
"August 20.—Dear Watson
goes with me. Thank God the way is clear.
"The one grand difficulty
is the fact that I have not, since the Sabbath controversy, been much of a
pastor. God knows I have not been spending my time selfishly. Every hour
has been occupied for the public—that is, my small public—good. There has
been no idleness. But I have not been able amidst my work to visit, and
though I condemn myself by the confession, yet I will make it, that a
chief, yea, the chief ground of ministerial usefulness, is the personal
attachment of the people, and this is gained most by personal visitation.
It is a righteous ground. I am amazed at their patience and attachment to
me ! My only consolation is my heartfelt attachment to them—if they only
knew how great it is!
"Come life or death, I
believe it is God's will. I ask no more. All results are known to Him.
Enough if He in mercy reveals His will. To suspect myself deceived would
be to shatter all my faith in God. Again I say I know not in what form He
is to be glorified in or by us. All I know is, that I solemnly believe God
says, ' It is my will that you go.'
"But when I think of
probabilities, I would be overwhelmed unless I knew that I was not to be
over-anxious about the morrow, or about anything, but to rest on God for
each day's guidance, strength and blessing. The many I shall meet, the
importance of all that is said or done, the responsibility of personal
influence, emanating from personal being; the sermons and addresses; the
questions to be asked, and the judging of the replies to them; the
patience, truth, and perseverance, judgment and temper needed; the
redeeming, in short, of this magnificent talent when abused. How solemn
the thought ! And then the right use of it when I return— the labour and
wisdom this implies—the results which depend on its use! How affecting!
And I getting so old—little time left—and having so many difficulties from
within and without! But the good Master knows all—and He is so good, so
patient, so considerate, forbearing, strengthening, over-ruling! Amen.
"I have no legacy to leave
in the form of wishes. I leave God to arrange all. For my family I have
but one wish, that these clear ones—each a part of my being—should know
God, and be delivered from evil. Rich or poor, well or ill, my one cry to
God is, 'May they be Thine through faith in Jesus, and obedience to Thy
"And God will provide for
my dear people. Oh, how good they have been to me!"
To James A. Campbell, Esq.
"I think Young's view of
sacrifice superficial in the extreme, and that in his desire to give
prominence to personal righteousness as the grand end of Christ's work, in
which I cordially sympathize, he leaves really no room for pardon as an
act of mercy. But as I have not his work on the subject with me, and no
space for writing, I won't indulge in criticism. The best book out of
sight, I think, on this great question is Campbell's, my very dear friend.
It has defects when brought to the severe test of exegesis, but it is the
"I quite agree with Mr.
------that it ought to be the aim of the legislation of every Church to
make its dogmatic basis square more and more with the creed of the Church
Catholic. A Church is catholic only when it is capable, as far as its
creed is concerned, of embracing living Christendom, so that a member or
minister righteously deposed from its communion should thereby he deposed
as righteously from the whole Catholic Church.
"I think the Popish Church
eminently sectarian, and the most remarkable union, or rather disunion of
'Catholics' I have ever seen was in the Holy Sepulchre, around the symbol
of the grand fact which should unite all—Jesus the Resurrection and the
"As to the question of the
Sabbath, it never did nor could excite my enthusiasm. It is an outside
question, interesting theologically as involving the higher question of
the relation between the old and new dispensation;, Judaism and
Christianity. Practically, we are all one in wishing and blessing God for
a day for social worship; and for enjoying, in its rest from servile
labour, a blessed opportunity for deepening our spiritual rest with Christ
in God. I protested against the base superstition attached to it, which in
the long run would, as education and independent thought advanced, but
weaken its basis and turn against it those who wished most to preserve it.
I also protested, at the risk of my life, for more elbow-room for the
"How strange and sudden has
been the revolution, that I, who two year's ago was threatened with
deposition, and was made an off-scouring by so many, am this year asked by
the Assembly to be their representative in India ! God's ways are verily
not our ways '"
From Professor Max Muller:—
"I hope your visit to India
will give a new impetus to the missionary work in India, by showing how
much more has really been achieved than is commonly supposed. One cannot
measure the success of a missionary by the number of converts he has made,
and it does not seem to me likely that Christianity will, for some time to
come, spread in India chiefly by means of direct conversions. Its
influence, however, is felt everywhere, and even the formation of new
religious societies apparently hostile to Christianity, like to the Brahma
Somaj, is due indirectly to the preaching and teaching of Christian
missionaries. From what I know of the Hindoos they seem to me riper for
Christianity than any nation that ever accepted the gospel. It does not
follow that the Christianity of India will be the Christianity of England;
but that the new religion of India will embrace all the essential elements
of Christianity I have no doubt, and that is surely something worth
lighting for. If people had only to go to India and preach, and make
hundreds and thousands of converts, why, who would not be a missionary
From Sir Arthur Helps:—
"Council Office, October 3, 1867.
"What on earth takes you to
India? I do not think I ever flattered any man in my life, but I do say of
you, that you are the greatest and most convincing preacher I ever
heard.....Now, are we not wicked enough here?
Is there not enough work
for you to do here, but that you must go away from us to India? for it
appears that you are going to that hot place, if I make out your bad
"I am realty, without any
nonsense, unhappy at your going. But surely you are coming back soon."
From his Journal:—
"October 27, Sunday.—The
last Sunday before I sail has come, and it is almost the ending of the
most joyous and most blessed time I have had in all my life.
"The work during these two
months has been heavy. I have attended eleven meetings of some importance,
and preached eight sermons for other congregations than my own; have had
eleven district meetings of my people, at each of which I have given a
long lecture on India; had the happiness of shaking hands with those who
attended; have taught a communicants' class for five nights; have examined
each of forty communicants; have given the communion at Mission Church,
Barony, and Parkhead; have had sixty baptisms or so; have been at Balmoral;
preached at Dundee; visited friends in Fife, Edinburgh, Helensburgh, and
Shandon; have had two public dinners given me; have visited with my wife
sixty families, and at least twenty others by myself; had Indian Mission
and other meetings; and had a delightful lunch in my own house of thirty
of my dear brethren; have finished my sketch of my father's life ; written
a month for 'Home Preacher' (four sermons, and very many prayers), besides
collects and prayers, which have finished the whole; have written 'Billy
Buttons;' have written 'A Pastoral,' and circular for India Mission ; have
this week got two licentiates for the Mission Church, &c, &c.
"In short, every day till
two, sometimes three, sometimes four a.m., has been so fully occupied that
I hardly know how I have a brain at all, for the above is but an outline
of work—innumerable interstices have to be filled up."
"But what a time of joy and
thanksgiving it has been. Take this last week as a specimen.
"Thursday the Presbytery of
Glasgow gave me a dinner, with Dr. Jamieson [Dr. Jamieson had led the
debate on the Sabbath question in opposition to the views of Dr. Macleod.]
in the chair. He spoke like a Christian and a gentleman, and the whole
thing was dignified, Christian, catholic, and good.
"Tuesday, the soiree of two
hundred and fifty workers in the congregation.
"Wednesday a dinner given
me by about fifty friends—such friends— with my good and true friend
Walter Smith representing the Free Kirk ; the Bishop of Argyle, a truly
free man, gentleman, and Christian, representing the Episcopal Church. Dr.
Robson represented the U. P. Church ; beloved John Macleod Campbell (the
first public dinner he ever was at!) representing no Church. There was a
troop of dear friends around me.
"Thursday was the Fast; and
a prayer-meeting was held in the evening by the Presbytery as a
Presbytery, that crammed the Barony; Dr. Jamie-son giving an admirable
address, and my friends Dr.Craikand Dr. Charteris led the devotions. What
a glorious sight of godliness and brotherly love ! How truly I thank God
for this for the sake of the Presbytery and Church as well as for my own
sake personally, and as one of a deputation to India.
"On Friday, the
presentation of portraits of myself, my wife, and my mother, painted by
Macnee, and a marble bust given by 400 of the working-classes to my wife,
and a cabinet coming. God bless them!
"This day I had in the
Barony some 1,150 communicants; in the Mission Church 243; at Parkhead 85;
in all, 1,478. Among these were my darling mother, my wife, John Campbell,
Mrs. Macnab, my sister Jane, aunts—all beloved ones.
"I preached on Joy in God,
and giving of thanks. It was not written; no vestige of it remains. But it
was a great joy verily, and perfect peace to preach it. I never had such a
"The Mission Church was
crowded in the evening. I preached on 'I know in whom I have believed.' A
glorious text! Dear friends, Mrs. Lockhart, the Crums, Mrs. Campbell, were
there, and Peel Dennistoun (my own son), who joined in communion for the
first time to-day.
"Again I say what a day of
"And now I retire to rest,
praising and blessing God. Amen and Amen.
"30th.—This is my last
night at home. I have finished my story of 'Billy Buttons'—how, I know
not! I hardly recollect an idea of it. Today visited sick, and baptized,
&c. I have had a happy party with me: my darling mother—so calm and nice,
my aged aunts, my brothers and sisters —my children! What a blessed
meeting, finished by prayer. I wrote thirty letters last night, after
meeting of Session, from 11 till 4 a.m.
"Thank God I wrote with a
full heart a most cordial letter to Dr. Duff, but it grieves my soul to
hear that they open the 'Free Barony' to-morrow, the day I leave, and that
Dr. Duff opens it! Nine hearers only left the Barony twenty-four years ago
and joined the Free Church; on the Sunday question not one, yet they build
a Free Barony ! Free ! In contrast with the old? In Doctrine? Discipline?
"God sees all, and He is
better than us all.
"I have left everything in
order. I believe I shall return safe. But oh! those I leave behind. I joy
in God! I know He is with me, and will guide me, and make me, poor as I
am, advance His Kingdom. Amen!
"What more can I desire?
"I bless God for the
manifold signs He has given me of His goodness. My Father, it is all
between me and Thee.
"Father, I am Thy child;
keep me as a child ! Amen and Amen.
"31st October, 1
a.m.—P.S.—I must here record the pleasing fact that two engine-drivers
from the Caledonian Railway called here to-day to express the wish of
themselves and comrades that I would speak a good word to their brother
engine-drivers in India ! They were to send me the names of their friends
abroad. This is very delightful and encouraging."
Before he left London a
farewell dinner was given in his honour at Willis's Rooms, at which Dean
Alford presided, and many friends, literary and clerical, were present.
The effects of the fatigue
he had suffered during the last few weeks told visibly on his health. When
he started for Paris, his limbs and feet were much swollen, and continued
so nearly all the time he was in India.
His impressions of India
have been so fully narrated in his "Peeps at the Far East" that only a few
extracts from his letters are given here for biographical purposes:—
To Mrs. Macleod:—
"We are running along the
coast of Sicily. The day superb, a fresh summer breeze blowing after us,
and every sail set, the blue waves curling their snowy heads; the white
towns fringing the sea, the inland range of mountains shaded with the high
clouds. No sickness; children even laughing. Nothing can be more
exhilarating. I have been very well, though the limbs are as yet much
about it. We have a very pleasant party on board. Such writing, reading,
chatting, laughing, smoking, knitting, walking, lounging, eating and
drinking on the part of the seventy passengers you never saw!
"I am getting crammed all
day by a Parsee, a missionary, two editors, and a judge, and already know
more than I knew before starting. Every hour brings a new acquaintance.
"Oh, that I knew that you
were as I am! and my children. Had you only this blue sky and warm sun,
and laughing sea! It is the ideal of a clay. The sheep, and cocks and
hens, and cow are all happy, and the boatswain whistling like a thrush.
"Tell me always about the
To the Same:—
"The Rangoon Steamer,
"Preaching on board has
been a difficult task. The pulpit was the capstan, and it was intensely
ludicrous to feel one's self embracing it with all one's might as the ship
rolled to leeward.
"Red Sea.—I preached
yesterday nearly an hour on deck, but had so to exert myself that I was
quite exhausted. Old Indians ministered to me, and poured iced water over
my head, and gave me some to drink with a little brandy in it, which quite
restored me. But everything savours of heat. The sea water is hot. The
crew are all Lascars or Chinamen. Punkas are kept going in the cabin, or
it would be intolerable. But I just thaw on—laugh and joke, and feel quite
"It was so odd to-day to
see all the crew mustered—about fifty blacks in their gay turbans, like a
long row of tulips, with half-a-dozen Chinamen with their little eyes,
broad-brimmed hats, and wide trousers. They are most earnest at the wheel,
and are the steersmen."
To the Same :—
"On the Indian Ocean.
"We were immensely
gratified by the address [See Appendix A.] which was presented to us by
the captain and officers and all the passengers. It took us quite
aback—its spontaneity, his heartiness. I send you a copy as published in
the Times of India. The original I shall preserve as one of the most
precious documents in my possession. I told the passengers that I was
pleased with it, were it for no other reason than that it would please my
wife and mother, and congregation and friends at home. I preached to them
with all my heart, on holding fast their confidence in Christ—and I felt
the power of the gospel. It required all my strength to speak for
forty-five minutes and the thermometer 85 deg., to about a hundred and
sixty people, and to dominate over the engine and screw. But all heard
Letter from Dr. Watson to
"On board the Rangoon, on
the Indian Ocean.
Monday. November 25th, 1867.
''We are here in
expectation of landing at Bombay to-morrow, and all in a bustle of
preparation. The fountains of the great hold of the ship are opened, and a
score of fellows, black, brown, copper-coloured, of all dark hues, from
soot to pepper and salt, are lifting the luggage on deck, from one tier to
another. Some passengers are eagerly peeping down, to watch when theirs
shall appear; others, like your husband, are busily arranging their cabin,
and gathering together cuffs, ties, caps, coats, hosen and hats, that have
been tossing about for nearly a fortnight. Norman, you must understand,
has a cabin to himself, and this arrangement has developed his admirable
habits of order. 'Come here,' he sometimes said to me as we were steering
down the Red Sea, or in this pleasanter Indian Ocean, ' come here and see
my draper's shop,' and there it was, like a village draper's, with all
manner of clothes hanging from the roof—here a shirt hung up by a
button-hole, there a neckerchief tied by the corner, bags, books, papers,
forced into unwilling company and appearing uneasy in the society into
which they had fallen. There was a decent black hat with its sides meeting
like a trampled tin pan. 'Man,' says he, by way of explanation, ' last
night I felt something very pleasant at my feet. I put my feet on it and
rested them—I was half asleep. How very kind, I thought, of the steward,
to put in an extra air cushion, and when I looked in the morning it was my
hat!' To-day, however, everything is magnified in character a hundredfold.
I have just stepped into his cabin, and the draper's shop is like a dozen
drapers' shops; a lumber-room before a washing day; a travelling
merchant's stall on the morning of a country fair; a pawnbroker's
establishment in the process of dismantling will give you an idea of it.
There is not an inch of the floor or bed to be seen, all covered with
boxes, and the contents of boxes. You look up to the ceiling but there is
no ceiling. Never did a public washing green show such exquisite variety,
and for two yards outside of the cabin door are open trunks waiting like
patient camels to be loaded and filled. 'Steward,' I hear him say, 'did
you see my red fez?' Is it a blue one? is the counter inquiry. 'No!' roars
Norman, 'it's a red one. If you see it, bring it, and if any fellow won't
give it up, bring the head with it.' ' All right, sir,' replies the
obsequious steward. 'Any man,' I hear him say again, any man who tries to
open a portmanteau when it won't open, or to shut it when it won't shut,
for half an hour, and keeps his temper------' the rest of the sentence is
drowned in the laughter of bystanders. Poor man, it is not for want of
muscle and labour that these ill-conditioned portmanteaus misbehave.
"We have had a very
prosperous voyage, and a very happy one. Long talks of our friends at
home—now in merriment, and again pausing to let the corners of the eye
right themselves—talks of what has been, and talks of what we expect to
see and do."
To Mrs. Macleod:—
"I was awakened at three on
Tuesday morning by our guns signalling for a pilot. Soon the whole vessel
was alive with excited passengers, and sleep was gone. The sun was rising
as I went on deck, and never in my life did I see anything more gorgeous
than the golden clouds, the picturesque hills, the splendid bay, and the
"My eyes are closing with
"I am writing all alone
under the verandah in Mr. Crum's house. The shades of evening are rapidly
closing, ' for in one stride comes the dark,' and the weather is hot, and
the crickets are chirping, and the mosquitoes are buzzing, and the sultry
air closes the eyes. I must sleep.
"The features which struck
me most on landing, and when driving five miles or so to this, were crowds
of naked men with thin lanky legs, some with huge earrings or huge red
turbans, not a stitch on but a cloth round their loins, ugly,
miserable-looking creatures; but the whole crowd, without the colour or
picturesqueness of the East. They look black, ugly, poverty-stricken
wretches; the native huts, such as one would expect to see in the poorest
villages in Africa: the streets confused rubbish, unfinished, a total
absence of order or anything imposing, huggery-muggery everywhere. The one
good feature, until I came to Malabar Hill, where we live, is the glorious
masses of cocoa-trees and palms, here and there, with houses or huts
nestling near them, and troops of naked bronze children running about.
"December 3, Tuesday.—We
have had a great St. Andrew's dinner. Morning meeting of missionaries of
all denominations. Dr. Wilson most kind. I preached on Sunday. Such a
crowd. The governor, commander-in-chief, and a number of high-class
natives were present. I never saw such a scene. Had a long meeting with
the Corresponding Board yesterday.
* * * * *
"Colgaum.—As we left the
village to return at eight, the scene was very striking. The huge red moon
was rising over the village, between us and the sky was the outline of the
temples, with banyan and other trees. Shepherds were driving in flocks of
sheep and goats, while in the centre of the picture was the group of
white-robed Christians, pastors, elders, and people, with the missionaries
from the great Western world.
"The night will soon pass!
"At eight we returned to
the same place, accompanied by------, who, like most Europeans, knows
nothing almost of the American Mission or any other; and though seventeen
years in the district, had never visited or examined into it, and would
have no doubt told the people at home that they were doing nothing. He
confessed his surprise at what he saw. There were thirty Christians and
about seventy heathens present. Psalms were sung in Mahratti, and the
tunes Mahratti also, the precentor being a pastor, who accompanied the air
on a big guitar, held vertically like a bass fiddle. Then prayer, then an
address on Transmigration of Souls. Then one by a famous native preacher,
intellectual, calm, and eloquent, Ramechuna, on the only true religion
which, he said, was in accordance with the character of God, the wants of
men, and was revealed in Scripture. Among other evidences he mentioned the
moral character of Christians, and appealed to the very heathen to judge
as to the difference between the native Christians and the native heathen.
I gave an address on both occasions, which was translated, and so did
Watson. They gave an address to us. The Moderator sent in his own
hand-writing a letter after me, which I beg you to copy and keep as gold.
"I never spent a more
delightful evening in my life! The Americans have six hundred members,
seventy or eighty teachers, six native pastors, with excellent schools for
Christian children only. Preaching is their forte.".... It is one of the
mysteries in this land to hear natives teach Christianity, who have been
possessed of every argument in its favour, for years, but are as far from
accepting it as ever. Their difficulties are not from immorality, for
their lives are equal to the average of most professing, though not real,
Christians at home. They are happy, on the whole, in their families, live
all together, and are fond of their relations, and are sober, and, among
each other, tolerably truthful and honest—and, on the whole, faithful
servants, &c. Nor are their difficulties chiefly intellectual, though the
Christianity which they oppose is often misapprehended—I fear, in some
respects and in some cases, misrepresented—by missionaries with little
culture. But their difficulties are social; they have not, as yet, the
deep convictions and the moral strength to give up Caste. This would, in
almost every case, imply the breaking up of their whole family
life—parents, wife, children, and friends being separated from them as
literally out-casts. But, nevertheless, I cannot comprehend the want of
soul, the apparent want of a capacity to be possessed, overpowered,
mastered by the truth, Many will fly round and round the light, but never
see it. They will give the fullest account of Christianity, and say they
disbelieve in all idolatry, yet every day perform at home their idolatrous
rites—be almost ready for ordination, and take a whim to go as a pilgrim
to the holy cities. Superstition and Fetisch live in them."
To the Same:—
"Bombay, December 1.
"It seems an age since I
left home. I feel as if I were an old Indian, and had become familiar with
heat and heathenism. I have been very well. The swelling in my feet is as
bad as ever, but I have no pain of any kind.
"As to our work here,
everything has succeeded beyond our most sanguine expectation. We have
seen much, heard much, and, I hope, learned much. We feel that we have
"I communicated yesterday
with the native congregation of the Free Church. About eighty
From a letter of Sir
Alexander Grant to a friend at home:—
"I had a select party of
educated natives to meet Dr. Macleod. He talks to them in a large,
conciliatory, manly way, which is a perfect model of missionary style. I
had the most charming talks with him, lasting always till 2 a.m., and his
mixture of poetry, thought, tenderness, manly sense, and humour was to me
perfectly delightful. I had no idea his soul was so great. His testimony
about India will be most valuable, for he has such quickness of
apprehension as well as largeness of "view, and has had such wide previous
experience of all European Churches and countries."
To Mrs. Watson:—
"Bombay, November 29th, 1867.
"If you are in the least
degree inclined to pity your beloved absentee, to feel anxious about him,
to imagine anything whatever wrong with him in soul, spirit, or body, or
in his conduct to superiors, interiors, or equals. I beg to assure you
that all such thoughtful, spouselike cares are thrown away. He is, if
anything, too much carried away by a sort of boyish enthusiasm for palm
groves, and laughs too much at the naked wretches called Hindoos who crowd
the streets. He is also very weak about his beard; it is growing so
rapidly that it threatens to conceal his whole body, and to go beyond the
skirts of his garments. All you can see in his face are a mouth, always
laughing, and two black eyes, always twinkling. But for my constant
gravity, he would ruin the deputation!
"Those who don't know him,
as I do, are immensely taken with him!"
To his Mother:—
"Madras, 23rd December, 1867.
"I have never forgotten
this anniversary of the first break in our family. [His brother James'
death.] It was a terrible time, but has passed away as such long ago, its
memory associated with that of a saint in heaven, and many spiritual
blessings to those who partook of the sorrow, and to myself especially. I
have full faith that all my dear ones above sympathize with my work here."
To Mrs. Macleod:—
"Bangalore, Last Sunday of 1867.
"I have had a peaceful hour
for devotion; and who but God can interpret my thoughts as on this day I
recall all the way He has led me during those many years—thirty of which
have been passed in the ministry—all ending in India, with the greatest
and noblest work ever given me to do, a-doing! The whole review, with all
its sin, its darkness, selfishness, vanity, the best hours how bad! and
with all I have been, and have done, and have left undone, and all I am,
with all the blessed God has been, and done, and is, and ever will be to
me—all this finds expression in falling at the feet of my Father in
adoration, wonder and praise; seeing the glory of salvation by grace, of
justification through faith in my God, of the magnificent suitableness to
all my wants, to all which ought to be towards God, in what was done by my
Head, Jesus Christ, for me, and what He is doing, and will perfect in me.
I have had great peace and joy in pouring out my heart for His grace and
guidance that our time and talents may be used for His glory; in
confessing our sin as a missionary Church, and praying that He Himself
would build up our Sion, and bless us by enabling us to take a part worthy
of a Christian Church in advancing His kingdom in this grand but degraded
land; in praying for you and all my darlings by name, that they may not be
merely well instructed, polished heathen, but truly attached to God in
faith and love, which through the Spirit are in Christ Jesus; and that
you, my own self, may be strong in faith and kept in perfect peace; and
for my beloved people, that they may be ministered to by the Spirit this
day and every day. May the Lord reward you all—family and people—for your
love to me and prayers for me ! But to my Mission work!
"I wrote to you up to
Friday, 27th. That was a busy day! Eight a.m., till ten, visited Dr.
Patterson's medical mission and hospital; eleven, a meeting till one, with
about thirteen native pastors of all the Churches, in the presence of the
European missionaries. Rajahgopal and others spoke as well as I could. We
asked, and got, information showing the great changes which have taken
place in the native mind in regard to persecuting converts, &c. At
half-past five we had a magnificent meeting in the great Memorial Hall,
with the bishop in the chair. The Governor, Commander-in-Chief, present,
and all the elite of Madras. I suggested the meeting, to tell on Madras
and Home, and to challenge contradiction on the spot to the statements
which each missionary gave of the history and condition of his mission. I
spoke, and so did Watson. The Bishop is a most Christian man: his meekness
makes him great. At eight, conference in our Institution ; dinner at nine.
Pretty hard day!
"December 31.—The last day
of the year! It is impossible to write, 1 am weary of 'attentions'—people
at breakfast, people at tiffin, people at dinner, people calling; then
meetings, visiting of schools, &c., &c, so that I have not one second to
myself. It is now two, and not a moment.
"We had about twelve
yesterday here to breakfast—Wesleyans—one of whom came out the same year
as Duff. We talked till one. Many of them did not seem acquainted with any
difficulties. -------said, I go to a village, sit down, tell them they
must live after death, and forever be in hell or heaven, and then tell
them how to get out of hell by Jesus Christ.'Galvanism, and Plymonthism,
and indifference, seem to divide the Europeans. There are noble civilians,
and bad ones; fine, manly missionaries, and weak ones. We recquire a
broad, manly, earnest Christianity, and not formal orthodoxy, weak '
Evangelicalism,' or sickly Plymouthism.
"We drove through the
Rettah, or native town, with its crowded bazaars. The houses are low and
the bazaars poor; yet many are very rich in it. Saw silk-weaving by the
native loom. Saw the best female school I think to be found in India,
taught by two truly noble women—so clever and energetic, such genuine
ladies—the Misses Anstey. They have money of their own; their work is one
of true love. What teaching! what influence! what power! The senior class
of fifty girls; the junior, with two hundred or more. I could not puzzle
the senior class on the Old Testament from Genesis to Samuel, nor on the
New in the Gospels and Acts. All are Canarese; but my questions were
interpreted. They do not yet profess Christianity, but never can these be
idolaters; and whether they marry Christian husbands or heathen, they must
exercise a leavening influence. My heart and eyes were full."
"January 1, 1868,
Bangalore.—This is my first greeting for '68 Our plans are again changed,
and instead of bringing in the year in the railway we are spending it
calmly and quietly here. The fact is I took a disgust yesterday at
travelling and work of every kind. "We had intended to tour it very hard
till Saturday, and to go over some hundreds of miles to see either
Seringapatam or Tanjore. But because we had rested and did nothing
yesterday we began to feel weary and to realise how we had been kept up by
constant excitement, and that we required perfect quiet. So after our
things were packed I took a fit of disgust at Idolatry, Missions,
sight-seeing and everything, and saw but one paradise—rest—and so we
return to Madras, where we shall have little to do till we sale on the 9th
for Calcutta. I am glad we did so, as we are enjoying this cool, or rather
cold, weather intensely, and doing nothing.
"We returned last night at
8, and here I am writing as well and hearty as ever I was in my life,
actually enjoying the weather, so that I begged them at breakfast to stop
the punkah, as it was making me sneeze. In fact, I am getting too fond of
India. Take care you get me home, as they are spoiling me fast. Actually
asked to a ball at the Governor's!!"
"Calcutta, Jan. 23rd, 18G3.
"My only touch of illness since I left has been this week. I had my old
gout, which quite lamed me and compelled me to keep my bed since Tuesday,
and so I missed a state dinner at Government House, at which many were
invited to meet us. I was all right except the heel. But you know my love
for a day in bed. I had twelve missionaries in conclave around me. Church
Missionary, London, Baptist, Free and Established. So I was honoured while
on my throne. One old missionary was the friend of Carey and Ward. While I
keep my leg up I am quite well, and shall be as usual to-morrow. I never
enjoyed better health and spirits; but must take it more calmly. It is not
away! A public dinner is to be given us on Friday week. We leave for Gyah
on the 3rd. Like a school-boy I say, 'The month after next I hope to leave
India for home!'"
"Calcutta, 31st January.
"One line to say we are
well and hearty, very hard wrought indeed, having had much care; but all
things going on well.
"All parties strive to do
us honour from the Governor and Bishop down to the Fakir. I have much to
From the Friend of India,
Jan. 23rd, 1868:—
"The presence of Dr.
Macleod has cheered many a worker and helped to enlighten many a doubter.
More remarkable than his receptive powers, amounting to genius, which
enable him to appreciate the merits of abstruse political questions; more
striking than his marvellous conversational gifts; more impressive than
his public speeches, have been his sermons. That is the perfection of art
without art. Of his three sermons in Calcutta two were addressed to
doubters, being devoted to a semi-philosophical exposition of our Lord's
Divinity and Atonement. He spoke as a man to men, not as a priest to
beings of a lower order; he reasoned as one who had himself felt the
darkness, avowedly to help those who were still in the gloom. Affectation
seems as foreign to the character as it is to the thought of this John
Bright of the pulpit. The lesson taught to preachers by the crowds of high
and low who flocked to hear him, was, as it seems to us, that truth and
honesty, guided by faith and unconsciousness of self, and expressed in
manly speech face to face, will restore to the pulpit a far higher
function than the Press has taken from it."
His work in India reached
its climax as well as its unexpected close in Calcutta. The reception
there accorded to the Deputies was peculiarly hearty; but the fatigue and
mental excitement produced by speeches, sermons, conferences, and
addresses were excessive; and when, to mark the close of their three
weeks' labour in the capital, a public dinner was given to them—the first
which the Governor-General ever honoured with his presence—Dr. Macleod
made a speech which proved the last he was to deliver in India. From Dr.
Watson's account of the work gone through on that single day, it is not
wonderful that, at midnight, he found himself prostrated with illness.
"In the morning he drove
from the suburbs, where he was living, to a meeting in the city, where he
spoke about half an hour. From that he went to the General Assembly's
Institution, and took an active part in the examination which was held of
the various classes: this over, the advanced students of the Free Church
Institution assembled along with the students who had just been examined;
and in that great hall, which was full, and which accommodated about a
thousand persons, he delivered a vigorous and stirring address, which
lasted a full hour. When the proceedings came to a close, a large company
were entertained to lunch by Dr. Ogilvie at his house, and then, of
course, no one cared to hear anybody say a word except the guest of the
day. When he reached home that afternoon, after a drive of five or six
miles, he was in a state of sheer exhaustion; and though he was most
nervous about the evening, he tried to snatch an hour of sleep; for he
wished to do perfect justice to his work, and he felt that in one sense
the work of his mission was to terminate with the dinner, which was
arranged for eight o'clock that night, when every phase of English life in
India would be represented from the Viceroy downwards.
"He had spoken often of his
desire to give expression on this occasion to some of his strong
convictions on the relation of India to England, or of Englishmen to
India; and though he had had an opportunity at a large meeting previously,
presided over by the Bishop of Calcutta, to speak on missionary affairs,
he felt that the last occasion when he was to open his lips in public
before he left Bengal, was one which necessitated a wider range of subject
than any ecclesiastical topic, however interesting or important. His
reception in the evening was most hearty. He rose with a heavy sense of
what he was to say; and, as was often the case with him in his most
earnest moments, he started with a few unpremeditated strokes of humour
and homely words which touched all hearts, and in a minute or two brought
himself into rapport with the audience and the audience with him.
"Only on one occasion, when
he delivered his last memorable speech in the General Assembly, a few
weeks before his death, have I seen him so agitated, and, to use a common
expression, ' weighted' as he was then ; and it was with a deep sense of
relief that, towards midnight, he stretched out his feet and smoked his
cigar before going to bed, having received the assurance, from those he
relied on, that all his anxiety and care in regard to that last appearance
in public in India had not been thrown away."
To Mrs. Macleod :—
"Calcutta, 7th February.
"On comparing this date
with that on telegram you will be surprised at my being here, especially
if you have read the Friend of India and learn that I have been
'prostrated by fatigue' you will be in delightful anxiety, and my mother
will have food for alarm until I return home.
"Just after the telegram
was off I was threatened with dysentery. So the doctors gave me forty
grains of ipecacuanha in two doses in a few hours. This was on Wednesday.
I at once said Amen, lay in bed, obeyed orders, and slept all day, read
newspapers, &c, when awake, saw no one, and thoroughly enjoyed the blessed
rest. The complaint was checked yesterday, and between the perfect rest
and medicines I feel gout all gone, and except the weakness of being in
bed, nearly perfectly well, very jolly and not the least dowie, though
very thankful indeed that I am so well. To show you how sensible and good
I am, I have allowed Watson go off alone to Gyah, the only really rough
and rude drive on our route, and I remain here doing nothing, seeing
nobody, in the full rollicking enjoyment of idleness, till Tuesday or
Wednesday. I am even now able to join him, but I take four days' holiday,
though my not going to Gyah is a terrible loss and self-denial. This will
prove to you what I always told you, that I would return direct home, if
necessary, the moment any doctor said or believed I should do so. Are you
satisfied? Don't you feel I am telling you the whole truth? Took at me !
Don't I look honest?
"The fact is the back of
the work is broken ! It is, I may say, done, and well done, and all to
come is plain sailing, so that if I did not go to Sealkote at all (but
only went by rail to Delhi to see sights), I should feel a work was
already accomplished far beyond my most sanguine expectations. It was not
the work only, but the excitement that put me wrong. I never preached to
such congregations. The admission was by ticket, and stairs and lobbies
were crammed, and many went away.
"The Mission Meeting was a
great event. Such was never before held in Calcutta, called by the Bishop,
and attended by all denominations, and such an audience to welcome us.
"Then came on Saturday an
evening meeting as great on City Missions. I was taken all aback. But it
was a great success, and they tell me I have re-established an agency
which was declining. The public dinner made me ashamed of having so much
honour paid us, though it was given to us as deputies. The Viceroy had
never gone to a public dinner in Calcutta, and to see such guests meet to
do us honour and bid us farewell! It passed off splendidly!
"We have had many deeply
interesting private meetings with missionaries—Zenana included, which I
cannot dwell on ; but one meeting I must mention. I addressed the lads
attending our Institution, and at my request all the lads of the Free
Church Institution, who understood English, came to hear me, and all the
missionaries, as well as many of the ladies. They have met me with
unbounded confidence. They are a nice lot of follows. In one word, God has
helped us, and helped us in a way that quite amazes and overpowers me. May
He give me grace never to pervert those great tokens of His mercy to
personal sectarian objects.
"The Bishop has been very
kind, and Sir John Lawrence has acted like a brother to me; in fact, all
have contrived how to please and oblige us."
"Since writing to you
yesterday, what a change has taken place in all my plans ! I intend
leaving this for home on March 3, so that as you are reading this I am on
the ocean going home. Are you not glad and thankful? I, on the whole, am.
It happened thus : last night Dr. Charles said, ' if you had asked me, I
should have forbid your going to Sealkote.' 'Hallo!' I said ; ' asked you
V ' Take my word I shall ask you, and that most seriously, and no
mistake.' So I insisted that he, Dr. Farquhar, my old friend, and Dr.
Fayrer, Professor of Surgery, should meet here to-day, and give an
official opinion. They have done so. They don't object to my going along
the railway as far as Delhi, especially as the climate is better there
than here, but object to dak travelling,—i.e., going in a cab and two
horses as far as from Glasgow to London and back!—in my present state; and
they object to my being later than the first week of March, as the climate
might from present symptoms prove dangerous. I feel thoroughly well today,
except weakish from so much medicine. I am quite lame again in the heel;
but they laugh at that. Thank God the real work is done and well done! Had
this come on one day sooner! As it is, I am full of gratitude for all that
has been done, and bow my head for what I cannot accomplish. Dear Watson
is thoroughly able to do it as well as I am, and since he is so well he
will enjoy it as I would have done. Amen! Verily God's plans are not
After a brief tour to
Benares, Allahabad, Cawnpore, Lucknow, Agra, and Delhi, he sailed from
Calcutta on the 25th February. Owing to the kindness of Sir John Lawrence,
his voyage to Egypt was made peculiarly happy and comfortable. Lady
Lawrence was returning to England with her daughter, and was to sail as
far as Suez in the Feroze, an old man-of-war, then used for the service of
the Governor-General, and Sir John, with a friendliness which was heartily
appreciated, asked him, as a guest, to share the ease which the roomy
accommodation of the yacht afforded. The perfect rest and comfort he thus
enjoyed proved most helpful to his recovery.
To Mrs. Macleod:—
"I parted with William
Craik, whose kindness, constant, considerate, unwearying, was that of a
brother more than a friend. I cannot tell you all he and his wife were to
me. The Governor-General came down to the Feroze in his tug, and talked
with me for about two hours in the frankest manner, giving me an immense
number of most interesting facts about his life and government in the
Punjaub, the mutiny, Delhi, &c. I was greatly touched by his goodness, and
I loved him the more when I saw him weeping as he parted for one year only
from his wife and daughter. I cannot tell you what kindness I have
received. Sir William Muir came on Monday morning, to see me; and Sir R.
Temple came the night before I left, drove about with me, dined at Craik's
alone with us, all the while giving me volumes of information."
The only adventure which
occurred on his voyage to Suez was a harmless shipwreck some twenty miles
from port, caused by the Feroze running on a sandbank, and having no worse
consequences than the delay of waiting till a passing steamer took off the
passengers. He was met by Mrs. Macleod at Alexandria, and they came home
by Malta, Sicily, Naples, Rome, Civita Vecchia, and Marseilles. In spite
of some benefit derived from the voyage, his strength was visibly broken,
and his limbs betrayed increased liability to gout, accompanied by
ever-recurring attacks of acute pain, which he called neuralgia, but which
were really due to a more serious derangement of the system.
To Rev. Dr. Watson:—
"We got on board the
steamer—an old, broad-decked, strong-built, and high-masted man-of-war,
with a huge steam-engine, and able to go when we started six miles an
hour. India soon vanished into a few palm-trees rising out of the water in
the horizon; and as I thought of all we had seen and done, and not seen
and left undone, it appeared a strange dream, and I could not say whether
shame and confusion of face for my wretched work, or great thanksgiving to
God for His tender mercy, were most in my mind. Perhaps both alternated.
Anyhow, I thanked God with all my heart for His having given you as my
companion, for all you were to me, for His giving you the honour of
completing the work, and for the happy, happy hours we had together,
unbroken by a single shadow to darken our sunshine.
". . , . We have had a
summer sea every day since we left. Some days a glorious breeze, and all
sail set; other days very hot. I have never felt vigorous on board, and
fear, unless it is this hot damp climate, that I am in for gout and
sciatica for life, and that I never shall be fit for as much work as
before. But we shall see. I have prayers and exposition every day, and
find it pleasant. Sunday services as usual. Had a capital day with the
sailors last Sunday."
To Mrs. Macleod:—
"Sunday, March 8th.—A
glorious day. I have preached on the quarterdeck, and at four I met all
the sailors in the forecastle, and read to them 'The Old Lieutenant' for
an hour and twenty minutes to their great delight. The sun is nearly set;
it goes down like a shot about six, and no twilight. The sea is blue as
indigo, and the white crisp curling waves add to its beauty. Two white
birds, 'boatswains,' as Jack told me, 'with their tails as marling
spikes,' are floating in the blue, hundreds of miles from land; thousands
of flying-fish skim the water like swallows, each flying about sixty yards
or so. All the sailors are in their Sunday best; the Lascars dressed in
white with red caps on, squatted in a circle mending their clothes. The
half-naked coolies and firemen lounging and sleeping, or eating curry and
rice, making it up with their fingers into balls and chucking it into
their mouths. Old Pervo, the steward, dressed in pure white calico and
turban, is snoring on his back on a carpet spread near the funnel; and I
in my hot cabin writing to those I love, and wondering if I am indeed to
have the joy of seeing them again, blessing God for the health and perfect
peace He is giving me, and in heart trying so to adjust the difference of
Longitude (71°) as to follow the Sunday services of my beloved people.
Such is our Sunday at sea outwardly.
"Ceylon—The foliage! The
glorious foliage ! Every kind of tree, palm and chestnut; bread-fruit
tree, with its large furrowed glittering leaves— with the huge dark fruit
hanging by strings from the bark; the graceful bamboo, whose yellow
branches remind one of old-fashioned beds and chairs or sticks; the
plantain, with its large green leaves; down to the sensitive plant which
creeps along the ditches, while beautifully coloured flowers and creepers
colour the woods. I missed the flocks of paroquets and bright-coloured
birds one sees in North India, but the woods resound with the jungle fowl,
and birds with sweet notes. Sunrise from St. Nicolas tower was glorious.
The sun rose like a ball of fire out of the sea to the right, and his
horizontal rays, shooting across the island, separated the many ranges of
low hills, and brought out the higher hills to the north, up to Adam's
Peak, fifty miles off. All those hills are covered with forests of palms
and every splendid tree. A light mist lay between each ridge, and a sleepy
radiance of wondrous beauty over all. The smoke of comfortable cottages,
which nestle in the woods, rose here and there in white wreaths, giving a
sense of comfort and of home to the scene."
Days in North
By Norman MacLeod, D.D. (1870) (pdf)