Project Canterbury

A Few Days at Nashotah.
by Bishop William Ingraham Kip

[Albany, NY: J. Munsell, 1849. 31 pp pamphlet.]

Letter II
Government and State of the Mission.

[pp 10-16]

We need clear and explicit statements with regard to the finances of our religious institutions. The publication of such statistics is the only thing which can preserve the confidence of the community. I propose, therefore, to take up the different departments of this Mission, and from documents recorded by others who have made the examination, as well as from the information I was able personally to obtain, to show as fully as our limits will allow, its present state, and the way in which the system works.

I mentioned in the last letter that lands had been purchased on the Nashotah Lakes. These amount to 584 3/4 acres. Of this tract, about 100 acres have been cleared and fenced, 75 of which are crops. A greater part of the Mission lands will be divided into farms, and placed under the control of farmers who are Churchmen, and whose families will add to the strength of the Parish Church. One with his family already resides on a portion of the land, and has taken sixteen acres to cultivate on shares. [1] Another with his family is daily expected from Ohio. He is to take the general supervision of the Mission farm, and reside in the farm-house lately erected.

In addition to this, the Mission some time ago received a donation of 260 acres on Green Lake, seventy miles north-west of their present location. The object is that a branch of the Mission may be there established, to become another centre of influence. Thus, as the parent institution strengthens, it may begin to colonize, and ion this way keep up with the tide of population which is swelling westward. At the time the donation was made, the lands were entirely beyond the white settlers, but the Rev. Head of Nashotah House has recently received the messages, literally repeating the Macedonian cry, "Come over and help us. They state that many Church families have already settled in that neighborhood, in some cases induced by the prospect of having the Mission established there. They desire the offices of the Church, and it is to be hoped that some clergy can be spared to form them into a Parish.


."In June of this year, Bishop Kemper, (at the request of the officers of the Mission,) appointed a Committee, consisting of Rev. Solomon Davis, and the Rev. Benj. Akerley, to visit the Institution, and report fully on every department. They made a thorough examination, and we copy that part relating to the finances, at the same time calling attention particularly to the opening sentences:

"A fear was at first entertained on the committee,s part, that accounts of receipts and expenditures running through nearly six years would require several days before even this one point could be disposed of. In this they were happily disappointed; for owing to the perfect system and order ruling in every department of the Institution, it required but the glance of an eye to learn any fact in relation to its fiscal concerns, or economical arrangements.

"It appears that 584 3/4 acres of land are held for the use of this Institution, on which there has been paid $675.00 for claims, and $505.30 to the General Government for titles, making the gross sum of $1180.30, while the title of 180 1/2 acres still remains in the General Government. The money for making these purchases was obtained of W. H. Aspinwall, R. B. Minturn and others, who contributed the sum of $2285.44 for the purchase of land, erection of buildings, and other expenditures necessary to carry out the object of this Institution.

"The property above named is held by the Rev. James Lloyd Breck, in trust, for the education of students in Theology, with a view to their ordination as Ministers of the Protestant Episcopal Church.

"Besides the above sum of $2285.44"contributed by W. H. Aspinwall, R. B. Minturn and others, and which was acknowledged in The Churchman of September 24, 1842"the following additional donations have been annually received and duly acknowledge, viz.:

For the year ending September 12, 1842........$750.17
For the year ending September 12, 1843........834.84
For the year ending September 12, 1844........2,698.22
For the year ending September 12, 1845........1,916.93
For the year ending September 12, 1846........2,545.74
For the year ending June 17, 1847 [2]........1,976.00


This sum, added to the first donation of ........ 2,285.44
Shows the whole amount contributed up to this time to be, $13,007.34

"These sums of money the Committee found recorded under the appropriate dates, and with the name of each donor in a book called The Book of Donations.

"Your Committee next proceeded to ascertain the uses to which these donations had been applied, and from the Journal and Ledger ascertained the following facts:

The first building erected, and known as the Blue House, cost $350.00
The Chapel, $ 600.00
Enlarging the Chapel during the summer of 1846, $400.00
School House, $150.00
Kitchen and Dining Room, $200.00
Store House, with Students, Rooms above it, $200.00
A building of eight Students, Rooms, $400.00
Wash House, $250.00
Carpenters, Shop, $200.00
Barn, $500.00
Farm House, $500.00
Ice House, $80.00
Poultry House, $40.00

The total amount expended in building, and for which they are insured, is 3,870.00

An examination of the last quarterly accounts of the Heads of Committees, showed a further expenditure for stock, &c., now on hand, in the various departments, viz:

The steward's department, being cooking utensils, stove, &c., $238.60
Bakery"utensils, 8.37
Garden"hoes, rakes, &c., 12.75
Medical"drugs, medicines, instruments, 105.00
Dairy"twelve cows, calves, churns, pans, &c., 247.75
Land clearing"ploughs, wedges, &c., 30.00
Farming"oxen, ploughs, axes, &c., 310.00
Carpenter"tools, 37.59
Infirmary"utensils for chambers, 8.60
Poultry"chickens and turkeys, 17.00
Washing"boiler, washing machine, &c., 56.26
Clothing"wearing apparel now in use, material for new, bed and bedding, 1,295.89
Tailoring"flat-irons, shears, &c., 10.75
Brickyard"machines, levelling at yard, &c., 108.75

The whole amount of property in the various departments amounts to the sum of, $2,487.31
To this must be added the cost of clearing, breaking up, and fencing eighty-two acres of land, 820.00
Adding to these sums the money paid for claims, titles, &c., 1,180.30
And the cost of buildings, 3,870.00
We have, as the outlay for land, buildings, stock, &c., the gross sum of, $8,357.61

Further expenditures have occurred, in the maintenance of the students.

Students."During the year 1841, the Institution had one student; in 1842, five; in 1843, eight; in 1844, twenty-eight. Of these twenty-eight, six were mere academical students, and were dismissed at the end of the year. In 1845, the Institution had twenty-one; in 1846, twenty-three; at the present time, twenty-three.

"The actual cost in maintaining the students in clothing, food, lights, &c., has been $75 per year and labor. Counting the students year by year, eighty-five have been supported for twelve months, and twenty-one for six months. The eighty-five for twelve months, at the rate of $75 a year, have cost the Institution $6,376; and the twenty-one for six months have cost $787.50; making a total expenditure for clothing, food, &c., $7,162.59. This sum added to $8.356.61, being the cost of lands, buildings, stock, &c., shows an outlay of $15,520.11. The amount of donations to this Institution, as shown above, has been $13,007.34. Thus leaving a balance in favor of the Institution, of $2,512.77.

The Committee conclude their report by stating their confidence "that the moneys contributed to this Mission have been faithfully and judiciously applied.

Government."The Bishop of the Diocese is the Head of the Institution, and has over it an entire control. The Pastor, so far as empowered by the Bishop, and in accordance with the rules of the Institution, administers its government.

Members of the Institution."No person can enter the Institution under the age of fifteen years.

The members are divided into Students and Lay-brothers. All enter as candidates for studentship, and undergo a probation of six months. At the end of this time, if the Bishop, the Rev. Pastor, and the Rev. Professor, are satisfied as to their piety, and deem them endowed with sufficient mental capacity to exercise the Christian ministry to the glory of God and the edifying of His Church, they are then permitted to matriculate as Students, by promising a strict obedience to the Rules and Regulations of the Institution. At the end of six months after being admitted as Students, they may become Lay-brothers. The motive with a Student for becoming a Lay-brother may arise, either from a desire to share his abundance with poorer brethren, or from an inability to support himself. If he becomes a Lay-brother, all moneys received by him must pass into a common fund, from which fund all the Lay-brothers receive their support, e.g., clothing, food, washing, use of text books, and when ordained, an outfit, either in money or books, as they shall most need. The Lay-brothers also shall bind themselves to remain three years at the Institution, unless in the mean time admitted to Holy Orders, in which case, as in the case with all who are ordained, their connection with the Institution is severed. If any do not feel disposed to become Lay-brothers, they remain as Students. In this case they must provide themselves with clothing, lights, medical attendance, stationery, an axe, and pay to the Institution $25 per year. They must also furnish themselves with text books, unless payment is made for the use of the same by extra work.

Labor."There are thirteen Committees, the name of which designate the kind of work done by the members, viz: Gardening, Bakery, Medical, Dairy, Farming, Carpentering, Infirmary, Clearing-land, Washing, Clothing, Tailoring, Poultry and Steward.

The Clothing and Tailoring Committees regulate supplying the members with proper clothes, which are ordered and made out of the Institution.

The Infirmary Committee see that the students when ill are properly nursed and every want supplied. On a student joining the institution, he is a member of a section of four, and when ill, the members of his section take care of him, under the direction of the above Committee.

The Committees are permanent, except where a young man discovers no capacity for the particular branch of labor at first assigned him: in that case he is transferred to another, till he finds his proper place, in which, when found, he labors, till his connection with the Institution is severed. The head of each committee is held responsible for the tools, furniture &c., belonging to his department, and also for the faithfulness of the work done by the members under him. He is also required to render a quarterly account of the condition of his department, which account is examined by the faculty. In addition to the reports of the heads of Committees, each Committee man is required to man an individual report of his personal expenses, labor, breakage, &c. Each is charged with his expenses, as clothes furnished, &c., also with breakage, and is credited with his labor at a fair valuation

Studies."The course is thorough both in theological and academical learning. Students deficient in the latter are obliged to prepare themselves before being admitted candidates for Orders, and the time required is of course regulated by the capacity and industry of the individual. The course of study is directed by the Bishop and the Faculty. The theological branches are taught exclusively by the professor of theology, while the more advanced Candidates for Orders assist him in the mere academical branches. "As to the Rev. Professor himself, says the Report from which I have already quoted, "we have only to refer to the class of seven who were ordained in Ember Week of last Lent. These are living witnesses to his ability as a teacher, and to his soundness in the Faith once delivered to the saints.

I have been thus far particular in giving the financial Report of the Mission, and its whole internal arrangements, because those who conduct it desire that its principles should be investigated and submitted to the Church. Nothing here is done in a corner. The founders of the Mission assume no authority to themselves in right of their labors. They grasp at no power and assert no control over the disposition of its funds. They feel that they are only the agents of the Church, and amenable to her. They would submit themselves entirely to her voice. It is their intention, as soon as possible, to free themselves from the responsibility of having the property in trust, by procuring a satisfactory act of Incorporation at the next meeting of the Legislature of Wisconsin. [3]

The whole plan of the Institution is indeed one eminently adapted to the wants of our country. The trifling expense of education here renders it accessible to many who would be debarred from our other Colleges. The plan too of taking students at any stage of their progress is a new one. It unites all in one brotherhood, from the graduate of foreign Universities to the untutored Indian, who, when he enters the Mission, is unacquainted even with the rudiments of the English language. No preparation is required for admission, except that which is of the heart and the spirit. Non need therefore to be ashamed of his ignorance, or for this cause draw back. Here he will be taught to supply the deficiencies of his early days, and with patient toil be disciplined year after year until he is able himself to become a teacher.

It inculcates too, so thoroughly a spirit of self-denial. The candidate is thus prepared to endure hardness, and amid his wearing labors in this western wilderness, he feels that nothing new has happened to him, for the lesson was ever inculcated that thereunto was he called. We might too, speak of him who is the Head of the Mission"who, leaving a home of refinement and elegance, has for six years labored amid difficulties and trials, which nothing but his calm decision and indomitable energy could have surmounted. But we forbear, because we know he himself would shrink from disclosures like this, leaving what he has done in secret to be judged and rewarded by Him who seeth in secret.

We would merely remark, that he has infused his own spirit into this Institution, and we would ask, whether in this day of self-seeking and ease, such efforts should be looked on coldly by the Church, and with fields whitening around them for the harvest, the members of this Mission shall be crippled year after year, and the triumph of our faith held back, because their brethren of the East will not give of their abundance to furnish the armor, without which the young soldier of the Cross can not be arrayed for the battle.


[1] The farmer now, (1849,) cultivates 48 acres. The second farmer has arrived and cultivates 70 acres.

[2] At which time the Report was made.

[3] This has been done. The property has been transferred to the Trustees of Nashotah House, which has been incorporated as a missionary college with University powers.

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