This account of the visit of the General Convention to Racine College is compiled from the reports at the time in the Chicago newspapers. No apology is deemed necessary in publishing it and presenting it to the esteemed members of the great Council. It is deferentially hoped that the little pamphlet will be regarded as a pleasant souvenir of an occasion, which will ever remain as one of the brightest in the history of the Church University of the Northwest.
THE visit to Racine of the members of the Protestant Episcopal Triennial Convention, was most successfully carried out and heartily enjoyed by a large number of Bishops and clerical and lay Deputies, who availed themselves of the invitation of the Rev. Dr. Gray, the Warden, to inspect the noted Church College.
By a special resolution the General Convention had adjourned an hour earlier, to enable the delegates to reach the special train at the Milwaukee & St. Paul depot by one o'clock. The train was tendered to Dr. Gray for the use of the Convention by the Hon. Alexander Mitchell, President of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Road, a churchman and a trustee of the College. The admiring rail-road men who stood about the station, pronounced the train "the [3/4] finest that ever pulled out of the depot." The baggage car and the four coaches were making their first trip, and were gorgeous in fresh paint and gilt, while a parlor car, the "Alexandria," was given up to the Bishops and their families. In the Bishops' car were Bishops Neely, Knickerbacker, McLaren, J. A. Paddock, of Washington Territory, Niles, Lyman, Scarborough, Burgess, Boone, Peterkin and Brown, and the following accompanied by their wives: Bishops Weed, Whitehead, Paddock, Whittaker, and Prolocutor Langtry, of Canada.
In all there were nearly three hundred persons on the train, some score of these being Bishops, the remainder clerical and lay deputies, with a few invited guests, not members of the Convention.
The Committee of Escort on behalf of the Warden of Racine consisted of Bishops McLaren of Chicago, Welles, of Milwaukee, Brown of Fond du Lac, Revs. Dr. Clinton Locke, J. H. Knowles, Edward A. Larrabee, and Messrs. Hon. Alexander Mitchell, George A. Armour, W. K. Ackerman, John DeKoven and Frederick B. Tuttle.
The trip from the city to Racine was uneventful. The cars were well filled, the company in high good humor, and the journey rapidly and comfortably made. Upon arrival it at once became apparent that the people of the city of Racine had risen to the necessities of the occasion and intended to discharge the hospitalities of the city in a significantly handsome manner. In accordance with a resolution unanimously passed at a meeting of the Merchants' Association held the week before, all the private carriages and buggies-in fact every available vehicle in the town-had been placed at the disposal of the authorities of the College for the conveyance of their guests from the depot to that institution, a distance of about a mile and a half This was the very important part in the affair filled by the citizens of Racine without a single exception, and had it not been for such a generous co-operation with the Rev. Dr. Gray, the indefatigable Warden would have found the transportation of his several hundred guests from the depot to the College an unusually difficult task. Upon the arrival of the train the depot was found to be surrounded by carriages, and with the assistance of an efficient committee the guests were comfortably seated in the vehicles and rapidly driven to the College.
The early frosts had shorn the Campus of much of its [4/5] summer-time beauty, but we found it still a charming spot, with its wide stretch of verdure, its graveled walks and quaint gothic buildings. The chimes were pealing out a welcome when the long procession drove into the enclosure and deposited the multitude of visitors in front of the residence of the Warden. The students were drawn up in double line along the walk across the quadrangle, by which the Convention was to pass for the formal reception. The boys wore their gowns and caps and were a most academic looking set, with here and there a tutor sporting his master's hood with its red border or white fur. Upon a rug at the end of the line, under the canopy formed by the College flags, the Warden and Faculty stood to receive their visitors. Dr. Gray wore the purple gown of the Warden, and the Faculty were distinguished by the various regalia belonging to their degrees The scene was a very beautiful and impressive one as first the Bishops and then the Deputies passed between the line of students, standing cap in hand, to receive the [5/6] personal welcome of Dr. Gray. This ceremony over, all the officers and students offered their services as guides to show their guests over the various buildings of the College.
The Institution is modeled on the plan of the great English Schools, and is in striking contrast with the disconnected structures so often perpetrated for educational architecture. Along one side of the grounds is a long group of buildings, making up the Grammar School, with a dormitory hail at either end and study rooms and refectory between. On the opposite side are the College proper, the warden's residence and the Gymnasium, while in the center is the beautiful Chapel.
Racine College was founded in 1852 under the auspices of the Episcopal Church in the diocese of Wisconsin. The first president was the Rev. Roswell Park, D. D. In the summer of the year, 1857, the corner stone of Kemper Hall was laid, subscriptions having been obtained in Racine for $12,000. In 1859 St. John's, Nashotah and Racine Colleges were combined in Racine College. Dr. Park retained his connection with the College as Chancellor, but Dr. DeKoven was appointed Rector, and assumed the entire responsibility.
The success of the School was very marked, when, in 1879, the loss of that commanding genius who had for so many years guided the life of the College, gave a severe blow to its existence. For a long time its future seemed in doubt.
Dr. Gray is in his element as Warden of the College, and his wise administration has already made its influence felt in every part of the school life. The College is full, and its tone for all that is good and true is as strong as ever.
Dr. DeKoven was often mentioned in connection with the Episcopate, and was elected as Bishop of the new diocese of Springfield. The House of Deputies refused to consent to his consecration on account of the advanced character of his churchmanship. Yesterday the General Convention, pilgrimaging to the Racine College which his life and influence created, gathered about the simple granite monument that marks his grave, and stood with uncovered head to do reverence to his memory and the worth of his life work. There was no pre-arrangement nor any attempt at prominence that might attract men to the spot, but as by common impulse the first thing [6/7] all sought yesterday was DeKoven's resting place, and beside it no man stood but with bowed and reverent mien.
The hour before dinner was most profitably and agreeably spent in an inspection of the College buildings, the halls, library, dormitories, recitation rooms, and other departments. The beautiful Chapel, with its richly adorned interior, was the theme of general admiration. The dinner in the Refectory was a bounteous and elegant repast, and so well served as to prove the capacity of the culinary department to dine about four hundred people without the slightest confusion or embarrassment.
A choir of the boys sang a beautiful grace at the beginning, and the last course having been concluded, Dr. Gray, calling for order, delivered an address of welcome. In it he said:
 Right Rev. Fathers, Brethren and Friends:
You will sympathizingly appreciate the great difficulty under which I labor in venturing to express the very profound joy and gratitude with which I welcome you to Racine College. That you should have been willing to accept our invitation, to give up a portion of your invaluable time to come so far to see us in our home and work, is a sacrifice and tribute which fills my heart with unutterable gratification. I would indeed there were more time at your disposal to see not only what we are, but what we do, our work for God and His Holy Church.
You must understand, strangers though you are, the most of you, to this part of our great and dear land, the difficulties under which we struggle in endeavoring to promote the cause of Churchly education in this, which might be called, metaphorically speaking, the frontier post of Catholic civilization. To give a higher and a holier culture than is afforded by the common systems about us, is under God our mission and our trust, and to His Name be all the honor and glory for what has been done and what shall be done. In the good days to come our cause will be favored and forwarded inestimably, infinitely, I believe, by your visit. If we have done anything to add to your pleasure during your sojourn in attendance upon the Great Council of the Church, may we not ask that to that pleasure you will add, from time to time a prayer in our behalf.
I welcome you to Racine College in the name of my Colleagues, who have borne the brunt of many a. fight for God and His Holy Church, through the changes and chances of the past; I welcome you in behalf of these students, my dear Boys, children of the Church, the great Church of this great land, in behalf of all these I welcome you. And lastly, there is another welcome--let me speak it with bowed head and reverent breath--I welcome you in the .name of him beneath whose portrait I stand, in the name of one who loved you all and the dear Church which you represent, in the name of one who labored with you, as he labored for us, and died in the holy cause of Catholic Education, in the name of one whose remains sleep in peace beneath the shadow of our Chancel, in the sainted name of JAMES DEKOVEN I welcome you to his loved Racine.
The Rt. Rev. William E. McLaren, Bishop of Chicago:
MR. WARDEN :--On behalf of the Bishops present, I desire to [8/9] introduce to you and to those present, our beloved representative, The Rt. Rev. John Scarborough, Bishop of New Jersey.
The Rt. Rev. John Scarborough, Bishop of New Jersey:
MR. WARDEN AND DEAR BRETHREN ALL:--I feel greatly honored in being chosen to speak for the Bishops on this occasion, to return our thanks for the very great pleasure of coming to-day to Racine College. There are two Shrines, one on this side, one on the other side of the water, which always appeal to the hearts of Churchmen; one is the shrine of JOHN KEBLE, in England, and the other is the shrine of JAMES DEKOVEN, in America.
I am sure the present Warden will not take it amiss if we look back of his day, and, not to belittle the importance of the present work, reflect upon the grand work of the one who preceded him.
I congratulate the Warden and his co-workers that Racine College is filled to overflowing with Christian young men. The Chapel lies between the two Halls. You cannot go to one, you cannot come from the other without passing through the House of God. The Chapel is the center of this grand enterprise; it is as it should be, the fore front of every Christian college.
It was my privilege to be a guest of this School years ago, and returning to it to-day, my mind peoples these halls with those who are the men of this age and this day. The young men who then learned their lessons here, have gone out to take their places and do their work in the world as Christian young men. It is not always the large College that turns out the large men. Sometimes it is the small College that does the great work, because it does the special work. As I once heard one say, the question is not whether a man has gone through college, but whether the college has gone through the man. I believe it is true that if the college goes through the man, he will come out better educated, better able to take his place in the world and do his work in the Church.
I think Warden Gray evinced a great courage when he invited us to Racine. It was a generous invitation--come one, come all. Both Houses are strongly represented here to-day, and I believe that if the question were to be put where we should hold our next General Convention, with unanimous voice we should say "Racine."
 Warden Gray--Excuse me, Bishop, an interruption--in the name of Racine they are now invited.
Bishop Scarborough, of New Jersey--We came West to learn, and I assure you that we have done much learning during the past two weeks. We have seen the great throbbing heart of that great center, Chicago, and now, having been witnesses of the material prosperity of the great West; are come to its intellectual center, and are made aware of your wonderful growth and development. With God's blessing may you continue to grow until this becomes the great University of the Northwest. While I congratulate the present Warden on the great success which God is giving him, I must not omit to say that I have learned since coming here--I will not! say by chance, because nothing is learned by chance--in speaking with some of the young men of this great work, I have learned where the great power lies, and I am sure the Warden will pardon me if I say that I have learned that Mrs. Gray is the power behind the throne. (Great applause.) Again I thank you for the great pleasure which you have given us to-day.
Rev. Dr. Farrrington, of Northern New Jersey:
MR. WARDEN :--I make bold to ask the Rev. Dr. Coit, Chairman of the Committee on Church Education, in our House, to respond in behalf of the Clergy.
Rev. Dr. Coit of St Paul's School, New Hampshire:
REV. MR. WARDEN AND GENTLEMEN OF RACINE COLLEGE:-- I am much more accustomed to be a silent listener than to hear the sound of my own voice upon public occasions. I feel very greatly honored in being asked to return the thanks of the Clerical Deputies here present for the kindly welcome of to-day. I suppose the only reason why I am selected to make response in behalf of the Clergy, is that for a number of years I have been an humble laborer in the same field of work in which the respected Warden of this Institution holds an exalted position. I think the Warden and all interested in this great work of Christian education, are to be congratulated upon the fact that so large a number of the members of the General Convention have come on this excursion to-day, showing how very deep the interest really is in the cause for which they are laboring, that regardless of the difficulties with which we have [10/11] to contend in this work, the occasional misunderstandings, I might say, perhaps, even misrepresentations to which we are liable to he subjected, the honest devotion of any individual in the direction of Church education will certainly be appreciated, and especially the devotion of one who fills so important a position as does the Warden of this Institution. And I might be permitted, as one very deeply interested in this particular work, to say that my own experience is, that if we go along humbly and faithfully, simply depending on those agencies which we have in hand, and doing our duty, the value of this great work will assert itself, because it is the very best work, and the only true way in which education can really be conveyed to man--I don't mean to their hearts and characters only, but even to their intellects. I think no greater mistake can be made than the effort to divorce the education of the mind from the education of the heart and character. [Applause.] I believe with all my heart that we should be brought back more and more in this country to the spirit expressed in the motto of the great University of Oxford, "Dominus mea Illuminatio," not only for the sake of the character which stands first, but also for the intellect, so that when men attack us--we shall be attacked no doubt before our work is over--and say that we are in danger of substituting religion for brains, it will be foundby and by that both brains and heart have had a fair share of education and instruction and I am absolutely certain that when religion and brains are divorced the brains will suffer, and the intellectual education itself will go for very little indeed.
Now I must be excused for these few words, because I am so entirely unused to any sort of speaking of this description, especially after-dinner speaking. [Laughter.]
In the name of the Clerical Deputies of the House, I desire to return thanks to the Warden and Faculty of Racine College for the great pleasure afforded us by this brief visit.
In behalf of the City of Racine, the Hon. James R. Doolittle said:
MR. WARDEN AND GENTLEMEN --It would be an honor and a pleasure at any time to welcome such a body of distinguished men from every part of the United States to Racine, if but for a single hour; but when I remember the errand upon which you have come, that you come here as the representatives of a great Church in the United States, which you believe to be the true Church, [great [11/12] applause,] and for the purpose of visiting Racine College, which has been so deeply cherished by all the citizens of Racine, let me assure you, gentlemen, that that pleasure is more than doubled. I welcome you therefore in the name of the people of Racine, for I believe that your visit here on this occasion will lend a moral power and support to Racine College, which will be of vast benefit to that Institution in the future. It is not for me, a layman, to speak upon the great subject to which the learned Bishop and Clergy have referred--I mean the development of the heart and mind. Those things are first of all to be considered in my opinion, in education, but there is something which parents looking to the good of their children will consider, the physical development of the youth committed to any institution of the land. On that subject let me say a single word. Having travelled much in the United States and seen most of the places where Institutions of learning are situated--it is not because I live at Racine--I assure you there is no spot in the United States where a young man can be so safely placed in an Institution of learning, when we consider his physical health, growth and development. We are situated upon a point extending into Lake Michigan, nearly three miles east of Kenosha, and five miles east of Milwaukee, and all the groves and halls and speaking rooms of this Institution are filled with God's purest air. It comes from over the prairies and from over the waters, a very menace to ill health, and there is absolutely no impurity in the air whatever. I have lived by the side of this Institution from the beginning. I have seen it when it was just struggling into existence under the control of the great, good, devoted, self sacrificing Dr. PARK. [Applause.] I have lived by the side of this Institution when it was under the control and direction of Dr. DEKOVEN, that man most extraordinary among all teachers, [applause] having a power over young men which I have never seen equalled by any professor in my life. I have seen this Institution gradually growing and developing from a small beginning, until now it is an acknowledged Institution of influence and power among the Institutions of higher learning in this country. I have watched the students as they have come from all parts of the country, for I live within half a mile of this Institution, and have during all that period, since 1851, seldom heard of a student in the hospital. I do not remember to have heard that a student ever died at this Institution. I have seen the boys and lads coming from the South and other States, pale and [12/13] emaciated, and have seen them grow into ruddy, rosy checked boys and stalwart young men, and let rue assure you my friends, who represent the Church, that if a man is to be able to attend to the affairs of this life he must have a body, as well as brains and heart.
That body must be filled with life, energy and power, if you want to make a man of him, and then if you crown that power with his intellectual development, and above all his spiritual development, and so educate him at the same time to love God and man, he will be a man of power who can serve his country and his generation in the Church and in the world.
Again, in a word, because time is precious and there is a railroad train going to start directly, in behalf of the good citizens of Racine, let me say, you are welcome welcome now, and if you should hold your triennial Convention here, we will make you doubly welcome then.
Mr. J. H. S. Quick, of Chicago:
I will ask Ex-Governor Rice, of Massachusetts, to respond for the Laity.
Ex-Governor Rice, of Massachusetts:
MR. WARDEN --1 need not state my surprise that there should have fallen to my lot the pleasing duty of responding to the words of welcome which have just dropped from the lips of the distinguished gentleman who last spoke.
We are gathered here, Sir, from all parts of the country, from the maritime Provinces of Great Britain on the Northeast, to Mexico on the Southwest; from British Columbia on the Northwest to the Gulf of Mexico on the Southeast.
We represent, I believe, every State and Territory in this vast domain. We may be supposed, also, to represent the various sentiments of American civilization. We have been received in this majestic city, seated upon this bluff, like a queen upon her throne, looking out upon this great expanse of water as if conscious of the vast domain tributary to her enterprise, and all the advantages that make up a great and prosperous community. It is this city, Sir, that extends to us at this hour and this moment so cordial [13/14] a welcome and as if to render the compliment still more effective and complete, she has selected as the messenger to convey that welcome, one who is graced not only with judicial, but with senatorial honors, and who, in the walks of social life, stands eminent among his fellow citizens and acquaintances in this great nation.
I have said, Sir, that I was surprised that the agreeable duty of responding in behalf of the Laity should have fallen upon me. When I said that I spoke out of my heart, my head was then, and even now is, in search of some fitting phrase with which to respond to this welcome; but, Sir, whether a word be uttered or not, every man and woman in this presence is conscious that our hearts respond more warmly, more cordially, more sincerely than lies in the utterance of any man.
I trust, Sir, that among the growing and rising cities of the West, upon which we look with admiration and without envy, as the centres of the enterprise, the prosperity and genius of the American people, this city of Racine which receives us so cordially, will be among the most prosperous continually. It is worthy of observation, Sir, that, aside from the natural advantages which the eloquent gentleman has so appropriately described, this Institution is also located among heads, and hands and hearts, all which make its location as appropriate as does the particular spot of earth upon which it stands. Sir, if it be true that health comes from the soil upon which this Institution rests, from the breezes of the prairie and lake, I am equally conscious that the surroundings represented by my friend equally favor the intellectual and spiritual growth of the students who are here gathered. I cannot but feel, Sir, that it is a great boon to this western country that it has planted, and is planting so many Institutions of learning. It is impossible for a nation growing as fast as ours for more than a century, filling with a vast population gathered from all nations from every clime, to be molded into a homogeneous unity, unless there be planted on the frontier--always receding--Institutions like this, devoted to the education of the brains and culture of the heart. There are other Institutions of learning devoted to the training of the heart, but, Sir, it is necessary outside of the Church and inside of the Church, in order that men may lead in this civilization, and give to it its proper type and direction, that the intellect shall be trained, that [14/15] the men who represent this Church and this American civilization, shall be prepared, able and ready at all times to deal with the greatest political, philosophical and moral questions which have agitated men everywhere in any history of the world. Sir, the time has already come, when from across the waters and on our own soil, questions are agitating us which demand the solution of Christian minds, questions of philosophy which are to be shown to our young men as having a form of novelty, but which have been settled over and over again as questions of fact. It is time, Sir, that it should be promulgated everywhere that a little knowledge may lead to infidelity, whereas an acquaintance with the whole truth makes a man a Christian. This to-day, Sir, is the spirit in which the Church and her representatives must go forward. We must be prepared to meet all sorts and conditions of men, with every sort and kind of argument ever known or now known in the world.
In this fair and beautiful city, on which our eyes have rested with great pleasure, the frosts have fallen, the foliage has changed, the flowers have withered, but there has come to us an inward joy more ravishing than nature in her loveliest forms could create. It is the blossom of our reciprocal friendship and sympathy, in the generous, cordial and beautiful welcome which has been extended to us, which no frost can wither, no time can change, which we shall carry with us through this life, and which will still linger in sweetness and in beauty while we walk on the eternal shores.
Here the addresses ended and thanks were returned by Bishop McLaren.
Then, the chimes ringing the Vesper call, all who could find standing room entered the Chapel for Evensong.
The Altar was brilliant with its Vesper Lights, when, to the Processional hymn, "Lead kindly Light," the Choir, with Cross and banners entered the Chapel, followed by the College Clergy and the Bishop of Chicago. Choral Evensong was sung, the Bishop of Chicago giving the Blessing.
Thence we were conveyed to the train, leaving the College with a ringing "three times three" from the boys, and at 10 o'clock reached the city, having had "the brightest of all the bright experiences" of the Convention.
The life of Racine College is a hearty one, hearty in its work, [15/16] hearty in its play, hearty in its religion. And this is the best monument to the memory of James DeKoven--so that all who saw yesterday and heard, can make their own the tribute of the present Warden to the Warden past.
He took his all and laid it at the feet of God;
And Michigan's waters unto him became
Like those whereon of old his Master trod.
He pitched upon their banks his tent of toil,
Where lifelike underneath the wavelets smile,
And then by Boreal blasts tempestuous boil.
His life was love; his labour to the living Lord--
To build a Temple worthy of that Grace,
Which stooped from Highest Heaven--the Incarnate Word
Of Truth and Righteousness and holy Peace:
The life baptized by Bethlehem's manger Throne
He strove to lead in Nazareth's sweet increase.
Suffer the little ones, Christ said, to come to Me:
I took them in My loving arms on earth,
And they My jewelled crown in Heaven shall be.
For priest of God no better work, I ween--
Than through the mire and miseries of earth
To keep his Master's jewels fresh and clean!
And so as erst, in early times of crushing fear,
When men through surging seas of sin and wrath,
Walked safe, in simple faith that God was near--
So this true soul, that took its sourceful strength
From paths of childlike love, proved all a king
In time of need, and won the fight at length!
DeKoven--man of men, servant and saint of God,
To estimate thy worth were to attempt
To gauge the thrilling life in earth's sweet sod!
But would you see forever fresh and green
His monument, his work, his love, his fame,
Go kneel beside his grave in fair Racine!