Perspective of  Ronald Storrs

November 29, 2021
Perspective of  Ronald Storrs

Impressions on ‘Abdu’l-Baha

Perspective of  Ronald Storrs

Source: The Chosen Highway

Among the British Administrators of Palestine who thought very highly of ‘Abdu’l-Baha was Sir Ronald Storrs (q.v.), who was the first Military Governor of Jerusalem, then the First Military Governor of Northern Palestine (Haifa), and later Civil Governor of Jerusalem. He refers to his meetings with ‘Abdu’l-Baha in his book {Storrs Orientations} and also in a letter to Lady Blomfield:

………. I met ‘Abdu’l-Baha first in 1909, on my way out from England and Constantinople through Syria to succeed, in Cairo, Harry Boyle as Oriental Secretary to the British Agency. (The episode is fully treated in my {Orientations}, published by Ivor Nicholson & Watson.) I drove along the beach in a cab from Haifa to ‘Akka and spent a very pleasant hour with the patient but unsubdued prisoner and exile. When, a few years later, he was released and visited Egypt, I had the honour of looking after him and of presenting him to Lord Kitchener, who was deeply impressed by his personality, as who could fail to be?

………. The war separated us again until Lord Allenby, after his triumphant drive through Syria, sent me to establish the Government at Haifa and throughout that district. I called upon ‘Abbas Effendi on the day I arrived and was delighted to find him quite unchanged. When he came to Jerusalem he visited my house and I never failed to visit him whenever I went to Haifa. His conversation was indeed a remarkable planing, like that of an ancient prophet, far above the perplexities and pettinesses of Palestine politics, and elevating all problems into first principles.

………. He was kind enough to give me one or two beautiful specimens of his own handwriting, together with that of Mishkin Kalam, all of which, together with his large, signed photograph, were unfortunately burned in the Cyprus fire.

………. I rendered my last sad tribute of affectionate homage when in [November, 1921] I accompanied Sir Herbert Samuel to the funeral of ‘Abbas Effendi. We walked at the head of a train of all the religions up the slope of Mount Carmel, and I have never known a more united expression of regret and respect than was called forth by the utter simplicity of the ceremony.

(Signed) {Ronald Storrs}.

 


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