Chapter I. The Venture.
"THE real nobility of the thing was that they came out to do the Lord's work without any other consideration. No question of salary or support was raised; there was no murmuring in want, no notion of getting a better place. It was a work of faith; and this is the spirit that does great things in the Church."
Such were the words with which a friend, whose acquaintance with Nashotah is of long standing, brought to a close a conversation with the writer concerning its early history. That our heavenly Father has accepted the offering, and His favor has blessed the effort, is a belief founded on the continued existence of the Institution; and it is with a hope that the story of faithful labor may be both interesting and edifying, that the outline of it is here sketched from such memoranda as could be gathered together in the absence of any regular journal of its incidents.
In the year of grace 1841, that part of the United States which is called Wisconsin, a territory containing upwards of 56,000 square miles of surface, was the chief "objective point" of the great tide of emigration which has for more than thirty years overflowed from Europe and the Eastern States into the "Great West." The country had been known to the French voyageurs since 1654, and a settlement was made on the south shore of Lake Superior as early as 1655; but up to within a few years of the date mentioned, the only white settlers had been Indian traders, trappers, and garrisons of the military posts. In 1836, however, it had been organized into a "Territory," with a Governor, a Secretary of State, a Legislature, and Courts of Law; and by the close of the year 863,673 acres of the public lands, which had been thrown open to purchase in 1835, had been sold to individuals by the government of the United States. The population of the Territory in 1836 was 11,686; in 1840 it had increased to 30,945; in 1842 to 46,678; and in 1870, the date of the last census, to 1,053,464 souls. The country thus inviting settlement was, at the time we are speaking of, a wilderness of dense forests, alternating with wide expanses of prairie,?"a vast plain, varied only by the river hills and the gentle swells or undulations of country denominated rolling,"?intersected by numerous rivers and abounding with lakes of deep and crystal water. Cultivated fields were few, and villages far between; but it required no great prophetic insight to predict the future of Wisconsin.
In the summer of the year 1841 three young clergymen of the Protestant Episcopal Church came, immediately upon their ordination, to do missionary work in this new region. They were?the Rev. WILLIAM ADAMS, a graduate of Trinity College, Dublin; the Rev. JAMES LLOYD BRECK, a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania; and the Rev. JOHN HENRY HOBART, a son of the great Bishop of New York, of that name, and a graduate of Columbia College, New York City. They had been classmates in the General Theological Seminary, and while there the design had been formed, by themselves and others, of establishing an Associate Mission somewhere among the settlers of what was then the Far West.
The honor of originating the project is given to a classmate, Mr. J. W. Miles, a candidate for Holy Orders from the diocese of South Carolina. He had been actively engaged in Sunday-school and mission work in connection with his theological studies, and entertained, with some enthusiasm, the idea of missionary life after his ordination. The study of the great missions of the seventh and following centuries, in the Ecclesiastical History course, fired his imagination, and the Great West and its wilderness seemed to present a field where the labors and self-denial of Augustine and Boniface, and Willibrord and Anskar, and their companions, might be imitated. On the 18th of June, 1840, he presented a scheme to such of his classmates as seemed likely to enter into it, in which, with some youthful exaggeration of thought and language, the general plan was set forth. He proposed that a certain number from every class, as they completed the Seminary course, should devote themselves to the West; that they should band together as co-workers in a common cause, "without assuming the vows of a religious house"; and freely forego every consideration that could interfere with entire devotion to the work. They were to go forth as a compact, organized Missionary body, resolved upon implicit obedience to their earthly head, the Bishop of the Missionary region of the Northwest, a cheerful submission to the rules that would be found best for their government, and a purpose to exercise all the self-denial which would be necessary in the prosecution of the work. At such point as the Bishop should direct they would establish a Missionary College or religious house, where they could teach gratuitously, as far as practicable, and from which they would itinerate throughout the surrounding region. They were to secure fit boys, as they found them, to train up for the sacred ministry, and to trust in God that the enterprise would be sustained and prosper.
Seven of the class became personally interested in the proposition. These kept their own counsels, lest the scheme should come to naught, and "sudden zeal end in certain ridicule." One meeting was held to secure unanimity of purpose, and the subject was then laid before the Professor of Ecclesiastical History, the Rev. Wm. R. Whittingham, at that time just elected Bishop of Maryland. By his advice, five principles were laid down to govern the Association:?1. So long as connected with the Institution, to remain unmarried. 2. To yield implicit and full obedience to all the rules and regulations of the body, subject in all things to the Bishop. 3. Community of goods so long as community of purpose. 4. Teaching on the staunch Catholic principles of the Church. 5. Preaching from place to place on circuits; route, mode, etc., to be determined by the Bishop, or his representative in the body.
The summer vacation now coming on, the class dispersed. When they re-assembled five were found to be still interested in the project. Its reality began to be felt, a special office of devotion was prepared and used weekly under Episcopal sanction, and the matter was opened to the Rt. Rev. Bishop KEMPER, the Missionary Bishop of the Northwest, and received his approval. As the time for their ordination approached one more withdrew, and the original mover of the project was held by his Bishop for work in the diocese to which he properly belonged. The three who were free to go received, in the course of the summer, their appointment as missionaries, with a stipend of $250 each, and an assignment to work in Wisconsin, and started on their journey of a thousand miles into the western wilderness,?the Rev. Mr. Hobart in advance, and Messrs. Adams and Breck together, a little later.
A journey to the West at that time was a much more formidable undertaking than at present, when the immense development of the railway system of the United States has placed the most distant points in comparative proximity to each other. The route of the two fellow-travelers was by steamer up the Hudson River, from New York to Albany; thence by rail to Syracuse, a distance of 150 miles; thence north, by canal-barge drawn by horses, to Oswego, upon Lake Ontario. Here they embarked upon a steamer for Queenstown, upon the Niagara River; made a short stay at Niagara Falls, and went thence by stage to Buffalo, where they took steamer again, and passing through Lakes Erie, Huron and Michigan, arrived at Milwaukee, in Wisconsin, in not less than two weeks from the time they started.
Of this journey one memorial has drifted into print, in the shape of a letter written to a friend from Niagara Falls. Passing over the description of the great cataract which every such letter must contain, we may quote one or two paragraphs which show the workings of their minds at this time:?
"Young travelers," says the letter, "cannot feel that coolness in calculation that old ones do. When a steamboat is burned, or a railroad collision takes place, they do not see what is really the case, both from the regularity of apparent accident and the care that people will take after such an occurrence,?that the safest traveling will be the very day after the accident. They will be like the store-keeper, who, when the house was struck by lightning, hallooed to his clerk, in an agony of anxiety, to run down to the cellar and see about the powder?not thinking that the fact that he had time to enjoin such a precaution was sure sign that it was unnecessary. And even so, Mr. B??? and myself felt rather fearful, when setting out, because of the disaster that had taken place on the route we are to pass. The steamer Erie, with a heavy freight and some two hundred persons on board, had taken fire about forty miles on her voyage up Lake Erie, and all, save thirty, had perished. There were among them upwards of a hundred German emigrants, going to settle in Ohio; these perished within a few hours of their destination. When we saw upon the banks of the Delaware the newspaper account of the accident, we most certainly thought that H??? was among the passengers; for it was about this time that he was to embark. But it was not so. He escaped the devoted vessel by some few days--not more than a week."
The following paragraph sketches, with a few graphic touches, a scene by no means peculiar to the village of Niagara, but which was too sadly characteristic at that time, anywhere outside of the cities, of the degradation of religion caused by the sect-rent and disorganized condition of American Christianity:?
"After dinner we sallied out to see if there were any Church clergyman in the place. We were pointed out the Church. It had been built as a 'Church of all denominations,' in those days when there was no Sacrament save Christian liberality; no Gospel save preaching, and no doctrine but that which all sects agreed in; that is, natural religion or traditional infidelity. It was, in these golden days, a Church for all, or, to use the phrase of a learned and rather sarcastic friend, an ecclesiastical omnibus. It was a Church to preach in for 'all who come along.' This arrangement came to an end, as such things do; and it was purchased by, I believe, one of the few Church people of the place, the congregation being very small, and unable to house itself except by that gentleman's liberality. And I confess the architecture and accompaniments of that 'Church of all denominations,' more than anything I have met with, forced upon my mind the wretchedness, the squalid and beggarly raggedness of schism. Here it was?this Church of all denominations?with a railroad station on the one side, and the pig-pen of the Eagle Tavern on the other?tenanted and uncleaned,?yet was there a tower with four wooden pinnacles, which said, as plain as pine could say, 'I'm a Church.' We entered, and found a professor of phrenology arranging his implements for a lecture.
"It is but fair to say it is but lately this edifice has come into the hands of Judge D???, the wealthy individual above alluded to as having bought the building, and he almost wholly sustains the Church in Niagara. (The collocation of this sentence with the one above it, incidentally indicates the extent to which the popular notion of the un-sacredness of church buildings had infected the minds even of sincere and zealous Churchmen of that day.) God be praised that there are yet individuals who will do for the Church that which the purblind common-sense of the mass and the far-sightedness of politicians will not do. It was an old complaint of the heathen, that men spend more on the grooming of their horses than they do on the education of their children. The reproach is alive to the present day; and we add to it another, which heathenism knew nothing of,?that we spend still less upon the institutions of religion. And I believe if the revenues of those who contribute to the support of religion could be calculated, the proportion that goes to that object would be less than the hundredth part. But somehow it seems as if it had become a law since CHRIST came upon earth, that the support of His Church should come, not from the mass, not from Government, but from the far-sighted faith and holy hope of individuals. Such ecclesiastical history shows us to be the origin of tithes, cathedrals, colleges and monastic establishments; and such the infant history of our own Church shows will have been the root and ground of all the institutions, we shall yet possess."
Their farewell to Niagara must not be omitted. The writer of the letter is still living, and it is due to him to say, what may very well be said by another, who has known him long, that he has never been over-demonstrative in the expression of his feelings, and that what follows would not have been written except in a private letter to a near and dear friend. Having been once printed,, it belongs to the public. They have descended the spiral staircase, and are at the foot of the fall:
"We looked on till we were dizzy, and then, by a sort of simultaneous movement, we bethought ourselves of prayer and praise. It seemed a thing unfitting to leave this grand cathedral?its cataract that has a voice in His praise, if we could understand it, its floor of dark green, whereupon yet man never stepped, upon which, nevertheless, other beings may meet to praise Him?without letting those words be heard which have resounded to his praise in many lands and many ages. We knelt down and humbly repeated the Confession, the Lord's Prayer, the Creed, and the first selection of Psalms, and after that the 'Glory be to God on high,' and never, did it seem to me, were confession, and prayer, and praise employed in a nobler temple; never had the old ancestral creed or the angels' song a more appropriate accompaniment than the clangor of the falling water. It seemed to me that this was a service by itself. We went back in silence and mounted the spiral staircase, and turning to the right we came to an upper view of the British or Horseshoe Fall, passing over flat rocks, so flat, indeed, it seems strange they are not overflowed. We came to Prospect Tower, erected upon the edge of the Horse-shoe Fall?horse-shoe no more, for a piece of rock has fallen out of the centre. We ascended and looked down in wonder. The breadth of the fall is said to be nine hundred yards; the height, one hundred and seventy feet. "From this point the sight of the rapids up the river is fearful. And here, in the sight of the most stupendous of God's works upon the earth, we recited the Te Deum."
Chapter II. The Mission.
WISCONSIN was at this time, and for many years after, under the jurisdiction of the Apostolic Bishop KEMPER, the first and only missionary bishop of the Northwest. The only clergy resident in the Territory at that time were the Rev. Richard F. Cadle, chaplain of the garrison at Prairie du Chien; the Rev. Solomon Davis, missionary to the Oneida Indians at Duck Creek, near Green Bay; the Rev. Lemuel B. Hull, missionary at Milwaukee (then a village of about 1800 inhabitants, now a city of 80,000); the Rev. Aaron Humphrey, missionary at Beloit; the Rev. Washington Philo, deacon, missionary at Aztalan; and the Rev. Wm. Alanson, missionary at Southport, now Kenosha. The lay strength of the Church, as appears by the reports of the missionaries published in the "Spirit of Missions''' at the close of the year 1840, was: Milwaukee, 25 families and 16 communicants; at Green Bay, 25 families and 21 communicants; at Southport, 12 families, communicants not reported; at Aztalan, 5 families and 5 communicants; at Madison, 3; at Prairie du Chien, 4: and at Janesville 5 communicants, and from Beloit no report. The Indian Mission at Duck Creek is reported at 80 families and 91 communicants?more than the whole number of white persons enrolled in organized congregations.
It is not to be supposed, however, that these were all the Church people who had emigrated to Wisconsin. The statistics merely show the need there was of a thorough search for them, and therefore of an earnest pastoral work, such as our young friends of the Associate Mission came prepared to do. It is one of the unavoidable evils attendant upon emigration, especially to a new country, that not only are old religious associations left behind, but the emigrant feels under no great necessity to establish new ones. The principles as well as the prejudices of a fixed state of society are too often worn away by the attrition of the heterogeneous elements which are aggregated in the growing village. The fact that the clergy follow after, rather than preoccupy the ground, has a bad effect; the vacuum caused by their absence is filled up with other influences, and habits of inattention to religion are formed which are more congenial to the natural heart than the strictness which has been lost. Add to these considerations that the first population of a new country is largely composed of such persons as followed David to the cave of Adullam, and that a new society is a hotbed for the growth of every new ism that springs from the fertile brains of heresy, infidelity and socialism, and it is seen at once that immediate attention to missionary work on the opening of any new area to immigration, is the bounden duty of the Church. The Associate Mission of Wisconsin was, in this respect, in advance of the opinion of the day, and to its operation and success is due much of the impulse given of late years to the missionary cause throughout the entire West.
The headquarters of the Mission were established, under the Bishop's direction, at Waukesha (or Prairieville, as it was then called), a small village, then containing a population of about four hundred, sixteen miles inland from Lake Michigan, west of Milwaukee; and a field was assigned them for their work thirty miles north, west and south from Waukesha as the centre. (The Bishop resided at this time in St. Louis.) It was desired by the clergy themselves, as well as by the Bishop, they being only in deacons' orders, that they should work under a presbyter, and the Rev. Richard F. Cadle, above mentioned, was transferred from Prairie du Chien to Waukesha to exercise a general superintendence over the district. He was an excellent man, a "gentleman of the old school," but naturally very diffident, and of a retiring disposition, and too conservative in his habits to sympathize entirely with the aggressive energy and sanguine anticipations of his younger brethren, and in a short time he took for himself the station at Whitewater. and retired from the association. The only record of his connection with the work is an "acknowledgment" in the Churchman of September 4, 1841, of the receipt of $118 "'for the establishment of a mission in the Territory of Wisconsin."
Having arrived in Prairieville, the three associates obtained such accommodations as the village could afford, by engaging an apartment in a log-house, consisting of two rooms, one of which was occupied by the family of the proprietor, while the other was given up to his "boarders," with one reservation. The table was set for the entire family in this room, and here all took their meals in common. Subject to this interruption the apartment was their own, and constituted their entire domain; and here they lived and studied, and prayed and slept, and here they were "at home." It was a marked change from the comfort of the city: but the life was so new, and all around them so strange, that the privations and primitive simplicity of the situation doubtless added to the interest with which they entered upon their work. And unquestionably the fact that they were an "Associate Mission," and that on every return to their humble home, each found the others to welcome, to counsel, and to endure with him, contributed not a little to the cheerfulness that sustained them. Their first public services were held in a stone building, called the Academy, which they occupied on Sundays until a small frame church was built. This was begun in the fall of 1841, but was not completed for some time. It would hold, when ready for occupancy, about one hundred persons, and to its cost the missionaries contributed from their common fund the sum of fifty dollars. One of the clergy always remained here on Sunday, while the others held services at a distance.
The earliest definite information accessible to the writer of this, concerning the work of the Mission after its location at Prairieville, is contained in the quarterly report made to the Board of Missions, dated March 31, 1842, and published in the Spirit of Missions the following May; the report of December 30, 1841, not being accessible. The Rev. Mr. Adams, as secretary of the Mission, informs the Board that the clergy had held service ninety-seven times during the quarter, at thirteen places, besides thirty-nine services, held by four lay readers licensed by the Bishop. Twenty-one persons had been baptized, including five adults: two hundred and sixteen baptized Church members had been found and registered, of whom eighty-eight had been confirmed and fifty-eight were communicants. Classes of adult catechumens had been formed at three stations, which were fully attended, Bishop Hobart's "Companion to the Common Prayer" being used as a text-book, and lectures delivered on the subjects brought forward from time to time. The missionaries had made one hundred and fifty-eight parochial visits, and had traveled 1580 miles, partly on foot and partly on horseback.
"It will be seen by the above," the report proceeds, "that we have done no small amount of missionary labor, and we cannot but believe that we have created an impression favorable to the Church in this region of the country. This we can discern as well from the number that united in the services, as from the regularity with which they are attended now that the stimulus of novelty has gone off: and this perhaps is due in part to our own punctuality; as we have permitted no weather, however severe, to prevent our attendance on our stations, however distant they may be; having several times ridden to stations upwards of thirty miles distant through snow-storms, or when the cold was below zero. This known punctuality secures us congregations, no matter how long may be the interval between one appointment and another.
"We have everywhere used the entire service, even among men who had never been at the service of the Church, and congregations wholly void of Church people. This has been no difficult matter when we have lit upon such a congregation; and all of us, I believe, have met with such contingencies. We have told them that we wished to preach to them, but could not do so unless some of them helped us and used the service. We invariably have found some willing, have given out prayer-books, mentioned page and column, and gone through the whole most rubrically; and we cannot but feel that to perform the service, the congregation uniting, is a better preaching, a something more valuable than sermons. We have found no complaint of its length; and have always had the Ante-Communion Service, both because of the Bishop's request, as also because we must believe that to read the Law of Sinai before the people, who in the responses acknowledge its obligation on themselves, is the best preservative against the two pests of the age, Antinomianism on the one hand, and Perfectionism on the other. (At this time the use of the Ante-Communion Service on Sunday mornings was unusual in many congregations; and there is an onslaught of amusing fierceness on the writer of the above in one of the Church papers of the day, because he said this part of the service in a church (which he supplied for the Sunday) where it was unusual. The rubric that required its use was disregarded by many. Hence the Bishop's request, and the mention of the fact. Remember that this was 1842.)
"As to our private life (for our public life is best seen by the amount of duties we have done, and by the marked approbation of the Bishop), we have, had the daily service of the Church as often as we could; and if we can add one or two to our number, of which there is some prospective shall, with God's blessing, have the weekly communion according to the practice of the primitive clergy. And surely four or five clergymen doing duty zealously and honestly, in a circuit of thirty miles diameter, in perhaps the healthiest, and in future the richest part of the West, devoting themselves altogether to this object, holding service each five or six times a week, unencumbered with families or worldly interests, all testifying to the same doctrine, principles and practice, and making it evident to the people that it is not theirs we seek, but them,?surely this is an organization worth being sustained, and fitted to lay the foundation broad and deep, and fitted, too, after some few years, to sustain itself and produce a native clergy."
The hope and the plan for the future, which thus breaks out through the narrative, needed considerable modification as time brought matters to the test of experience, and some of what follows was found impracticable when it was tried, as it was thoroughly before it was given up. The idea, it will be seen, was of a school for general education, with a Divinity department for such as proposed to enter the ministry; the pupils to support themselves, in whole or in part, by labor, while pursuing their studies. It was a favorite notion at the time, and several "manual labor" schools were founded in different parts of the United States; but they have all abandoned the system as impracticable, except in special cases, which will provide for themselves. The continued strain upon the physical and mental organization was found to be too great. The report goes on: "Had we, say five [clergymen attached to the Mission], the Committee would well expend its money in supporting one wholly to teach school, on condition of his using the service daily in the school; for surely a congregation daily is as truly a missionary work as one twice on a Sunday. Since we have come here we have met with five or six young men, some of great promise, who would study for the ministry and support themselves, if they could get a gratuitous education. The necessaries of life are easily got: at one institution here three and a half hours' labor a day pays for board. The Church, sooner or later, must come to a free education of all her children; and a judicious use of the monitorial system will do a great deal in the conduct of a school. But this is a matter scarcely to be thought of yet, though we can hardly, without regret, see slipping away from our hands young men who, by all we can judge, would make a useful and zealous clergy,?especially when our books, united, form no inconsiderable library in classics, Hebrew and theology."
Among the matters for anxious consideration, which pressed upon men thus alive to the duties and responsibilities of their position, not the least was the condition of that large class of foreign immigrants who had been baptized in the Church of England. One of the first parishes organized within the bounds of the Mission was St. Alban's Church, Lisbon, the congregation of which was wholly composed of an English colony which had settled in that town. But the religious status of the English in Wisconsin generally was very unsatisfactory; and it was felt that a remedy for this might be found in the revival of the primitive practice of formally transferring the emigrant to the care of the Bishops and clergy of the Church in the United States, by letters of communion. One of the members of the Associate Mission determined to make an effort in that direction, by bringing the subject before the clergy of the English Church, through a letter to one of their periodicals. A communication, bearing date June 10, 1842, was therefore sent to the British Magazine, in which it appeared in due time, and was copied into several other publications,?the first utterance, it is believed, on this important matter. "You are not ignorant," says the writer, "that an immense number of emigrants pass annually from England to America, especially into the far-spreading and fertile regions of the Northwest. Indeed, within thirty miles of the place where I now write, there cannot be less than five hundred English families, almost all from the agricultural counties, and all in possession of lands, which to themselves and their descendants will make decent property. Now, sir, the most of these have been baptized, and a great number were confirmed, and have been communicants in the Church of England. Yet let the English Church know the fact that an immense majority of these her children fall away when they come here. This lamentable result, perhaps, is not so far attributable to Scriptural ignorance, as to neglect of Catholic practice. . . And this is to be found in the fact that she permits her children to leave her for foreign lands, without any credentials to the Churches there and their Bishops. Such was not the practice of the Ancient Church. To all her children such letters were given." After quoting Bingham to this effect, the writer proceeds: "Now, I need say nothing of the Catholicity or Apostolicity of such a practice. They are evident. Its admirable accommodation to human nature is perhaps an argument that would tell better in these times. In fact, such a certificate, signed by the Bishop of the diocese, and countersigned by the minister of the parish, and directed to the Bishops in America, would be for the emigrant a sort of anchor that would stay him in the Church. It would be at once a subject of honest pride to him, and bring home to his dearest affections the reality of the right he possesses; and, instead of the loose latitudinarianism of feeling he has now?the vague thought that he is cast loose in a new world, in which he may pick up any notions he pleases,?his national pride would cling round the idea that though poverty had driven him from the land of his birth, still in the remotest wilderness of his new country there is the old ancestral Church, of which he is, and in which he has a certified right," &c., &c.
What immediate effect this letter might have had, the writer does not know; but the subject remained before his mind, and when, in 1856, he received from England a circular, entitled "A Scheme of an Association for the Spiritual Relief of English Churchmen emigrating to the United States of America," he wrote to F. H. DICKINSON, Esq., M.P. for Somerset, an elaborate communication, going over the whole ground of the religious position of the English emigrant in the United States, giving statistics and facts of great importance. It was published in an Occasional Paper of the Anglo-American Church Emigrant Aid Society.
With this, we may leave the first period of the "Associate Mission of Wisconsin."
Chapter III. An Appeal.
SO marked had been the success of the Mission during the fall and winter of 1841-2, that Bishop KEMPER cheerfully gave his consent to an appeal to Churchmen at the East for funds to establish an institution under their care, where they could still further develop their plans, and bring their school into operation. The Rev. Mr. HOBART was therefore authorized to proceed to New York and endeavor to interest the Church there in the enterprise. He arrived in that city early in March, 1842, and by the kindness of the editor of the Churchman, the Rev. SAMUEL SEABURY, D.D., was permitted to print in that paper a modest and dignified appeal, which deserves to be put on record, both as a part of the history of the Mission, and also as an exposition of the hopes and designs of the associates, and of their ideas of the situation. After a few words by way of preface, Mr. HOBART says:?
"The Mission is an attempt, by concentrating the labors of several clergymen in one district of the country, to lay the foundations of the Church there, with a breadth and depth that shall include all the religious wants of that peculiar section, and insure, so far as human efforts can, permanence and stability. The labors of a single clergyman on a solitary outpost, valuable, of course, beyond human estimation, are yet attended by this disadvantage, that he is liable to be overwhelmed by the mass of vice, ignorance, and worldliness which surrounds him, to be outrivalled by the numbers and zeal of sectarian teachers, and oppressed by the sense of loneliness and comparative insufficiency. Though he were the most laborious and self-denying of men, yet the little that he alone can effect, amid the rush and whirl and change and boisterous activity of a new and rapidly-growing country?in proportion to the extent of the demand upon him?is appalling. In some measure to counteract this difficulty, the body of Missionaries who have been settled in Wisconsin proposed to unite their strength. They proposed, by living together according to a common rule, and working together according to a fixed plan, to husband their resources, whether of moral and intellectual power or of worldly means?to sustain each other's hands?and to grapple with the irreligion of the neighborhood with an ability more commensurate to the work than the single strength of the solitary Missionary. In addition to the impress which such a plan promised to make on the present generation, it seemed to open a way of providing for the future. Under the direction and superintendence of the clergy thus united, a school might gradually be formed in which an education would be given to the pupils, thoroughly Christian in all points of faith and practice. Keeping this in view as the avowed and most important object of instruction, the motives and the sanctions of religion would be continually brought to bear upon them, and especially would the rewards and sacred privileges of the ministry be held up to their view. Under such a regimen we hoped that a proportion of the pupils, unprecedented in the annals of the modern Church, might be led to look forward to the ministry, and thus the great object of the school be gained; viz., the increase of laborers in the vineyard of the Lord. Such in its twofold aspect was the plan, which has in a measure been already carried out.
"Three deacons, under the general superintendence of a priest, have taken up their abode in Prairie village, in the county of Milwaukee. For six months they have been itinerating over a portion of the Territory, in general terms about fifty miles square. They have visited almost every township, and if not almost every house, yet wherever there was a probability of a churchman being found?or any one likely to receive their services?there they have gone; have made every proper inquiry as to the religious condition of the individuals in question; have registered their names and distributed among them tracts and Prayer-books; have catechised, the children, and taken every unostentatious method of promoting the cause of their MASTER. Divine service has been celebrated about 250 times; six regular stations have been appointed; and occasional ministrations have been given to ten or twelve other places. By the quiet, steady performance of duty; by the constant and studiously plain preaching of repentance and amendment through faith in the Redeemer, the attention of the people seems to have been arrested; the usual prejudice against the Church in a good measure removed; and a decided feeling excited in its behalf throughout the whole bounds of the Mission.
"The result has been that an extensive district, in a small portion of which, a year ago, one persevering Missionary, the Rev. Mr. Hull, of Milwaukee, performed on a monthly journey of five successive days as many services, now witnesses twice as many services in a week, is watched throughout its whole extent by eyes attentive to the opportunities of advancing the truth, and is daily showing more and more of the desired effect.
"In the performance of these services the Missionaries have endeavored by relieving each other, by comparing notes, by frequent consultations, so that the case of not a station and hardly an individual connected with their mission, has been left undebated,?and by mutual advice, to apply their united strength to the best advantage. They have been equally careful of the funds committed to them, have kept a common record of their general and personal expenses, and have reduced all within the limits of strict economy." (A foot-note to another place says: ''During the past winter about $800 has been contributed to the Mission by the kindness and liberality of friends, of which about $200 only has been used." This of course did not include the Missionary stipend.)
"In going to Wisconsin the Missionaries were careful not to publish an extensive project, and to make no promises of fulfilling uncertainties. An attempt was made, but soon abandoned, to procure funds to a considerable extent, but they have since been very thankful that they incurred no such responsibility. Whatever has been effected has not, save to a very small extent, been done in payment of a special debt incurred by promises made and moneys received. They therefore make their present application with more boldness. Having done, not wonders, nor any extraordinary service, but only what common sense shows such an organization as theirs is capable of effecting, they appeal, on the strength of this, for means to carry out their plan.
"There are some facts which give to the Territory of Wisconsin at the present time a peculiar interest. It bids fair to take a speedy pre-eminence among the Western States. Having been only a Territory during all the wild times of speculation, it is now unburdened by the State debts which are crushing its neighbors of Michigan, Indiana and Illinois. Equal to them in the fertility of its soil, it far exceeds them in the healthfulness of its climate, the abundance of its pure water in its numerous springs and water-courses, the agreeableness of its scenery, the favorable intermingling of its small prairies with oak openings and timber land, and, above all, in the sober, industrious, and generally moral character of its population, who are, in the main, but a colony from New York and Vermont, mixed up with Germans and other foreigners. These considerations have already attracted towards it the main tide of emigration, and will, in all human probability, cause it to absorb for some time to come a very large proportion of sober and industrious emigrants. Its rapid increase seems then to depend almost on a moral necessity; unless it be supposable that they who are seeking a new home in the far West will disregard such manifest and numerous advantages. Whatever movement, therefore, secular or religious, may be made in regard to Wisconsin, cannot be an unimportant one; while, to be effective, it should be speedy and energetic.
"With peculiar force is this remark applicable to the Church. The external propriety of manners, which in a social point of view is so greatly in favor of the settlers in Wisconsin, has little to do with religion. In this respect they are under the same unfavorable influences with all 'pioneers of civilization.' They have broken up old associations, and the blessed privileges of a settled neighborhood; they have taken themselves and families away from friends and relatives; they have made a total change in their modes of life, and commenced a new course in ruder style, removed from the restraints of an older country, for the one object, not of bettering their worldly condition at once?for in numberless cases the present change is for the worse?but of enriching themselves in the future, at the cost of immediate and great personal sacrifice. The first and plainest requisition religion makes on them is to abandon an object which has been so dearly bought. I need not explain how reluctantly such a demand is complied with, and how slow must be the progress of true religion in the face of such an obstacle. Nor is it necessary for me to point out two plain inferences from this fact: first, that any attempt to Christianize the present generation must be immediate, strong-handed, steady and persevering,?working hard for slow and small results; and secondly, that with special truth, the hope of the country is in the education of the young, and yet more especially, in raising from among these, by proper training, future ministers of the Gospel.
"It would, of course, be vain to say that the Mission at Prairie village has an ability at all equal to the accomplishment of such a work. It is a work which, rightly undertaken, would find its only fit precedents in the example of the forty missionaries, with Augustine at their head, or of the Saxon Willibrord, and his eleven fellow-laborers for half a century. But as forty are better than four, so four can do more than one, and, in their sphere, exhibit a scant outline of what a more strong-handed Mission might accomplish. Under such circumstances, to do something and as much as possible, is an unquestionable duty; more especially when considerable success seems certain to attend the effort. In the conviction that such an effort will meet with general approval, we ask to be sustained in making it.
"Our present need regards the establishment of a school. Our inquiries throughout the country have satisfied us that, had we the means to accommodate them, forty or fifty pupils would, in a short time, be under our training. The advantages of this would be inestimable; nor are there any serious objections, 1. It would bring under direct religious discipline a body of youth who are now almost wholly destitute, yet on whom so much in the future depends. 2. It would be as sure as any human plan could be, to develop in some of them, who would in no other way be reached, the desire and resolution to enter the holy ministry. 3. It would be the means of placing the Mission on a permanent basis. The land and buildings having been purchased and paid for, the cheapness of living in Wisconsin would, even with the present low emoluments, enable the school to support itself, while each successive year would rapidly add to its ability. Join this to the freewill offerings of the people for the support of the ministry who serve them?which, as soon as they are able, their sense of justice and of Christian duty will cause them to make?and it seems reasonable to believe that, in a comparatively short time, the Mission will be independent of aid external to the Territory. 4. It is perfectly within the power of the present Missionaries to take the first steps towards such a result, provided they can procure the needed funds. The extent of their missionary field is monthly diminishing as the country fills up, and they discover places for Divine service nearer home; so that much less time than at first is spent upon the road, and more is given for their occupation at the central point. According to their system, their distant stations are visited on Sunday, when one of them remains at Prairie village. Thus time enough will be at their disposal. Nor will the character of the education they will be required to give exceed their ability. In most cases it will be simple and elementary; and they feel themselves competent to impart the ordinary degree of classical and English education. In the communication of this they have already provided assistance in the simple branches. Three young men of piety and respectable ability, the sons of settlers?who, but for the present Mission, in all human probability, would not have been gained to the Church, are seeking an education with a view to the ministry. (Two of these entered the ministry.) So far as our assistance can go, we propose to give it freely, asking in return their aid in the minor duties of the school.
"By all these means we seem able, without materially changing our missionary labors, or attempting too heavy a work, to make the humble beginning of an institution whose capacities of future development cannot be limited; and which, if successful in its commencement, will be enabled to command all necessary aid of learned instructors,?which will grow to be independent of the feeble efforts by which it was founded,?which, if it sends out but fifty youths instructed in our most holy faith, and educated under strict religious influences, and is the means of adding only half a dozen soldiers of CHRIST to the ranks of our clergy,?will amply repay all the money, time, and strength we can spend upon it; but which, if it answers reasonable anticipation, will greatly exceed such a result, and, in the language of our Bishop, be 'the greatest blessing that could be bestowed upon the Northwest.'
"To make a beginning as we desire, we need about $5,000 to purchase land and erect a building.
Several desirable situations can be procured in the neighborhood of Prairie village, at prices varying from eight to twenty-five dollars an acre. It would be prudent and economical to procure a sufficient quantity of land to yield, as much as possible, our own provisions. In the erection of a building, the scarcity of labor, the delays, and cost of materials incident to a new country, all enhance the expense. We have named, however, the lowest sum with which it seemed possible the building could be completed without running us into debt; rather than incur which, it would, of course, be better for us to delay, or stop altogether.
"To procure the sum named above, the undersigned, at the direction of his Bishop, has come to the East," &c., &c.
THE appeal of the Rev. Mr. Hobart was favorably received in New York, and the responses made to his personal solicitations were such as to permit him to acknowledge, in the Churchman of September 24th, 1842, the receipt ("since October, 1841, besides those whose receipt has been heretofore acknowledged) of moneys amounting to the sum of $2,275.44." The encouraging advices he forwarded to his colleagues, from time to time, justified them in proceeding to secure a location; and their knowledge of the country, gained by their itineracy, enabled them to lay down in advance certain conditions to guide them in their selection. It seemed unadvisable to establish such an institution as they had in view in the village of Prairieville, partly because, from the growth of the village, the church there would require before long such exclusive attention as could be given only by a settled rector, and partly because it was desirable to secure a larger domain than could be bought with the means at command in immediate proximity to a settlement of that size. A few miles to the west was a region of small lakes, beautiful for scenery, and where land could be obtained at a lower price. It was resolved to purchase a tract upon one of these lakes, and the clergy made it a point, when on their journeys, to examine different localities. In the course of the summer it was learned that a claim could be bought upon the Nashotah Lakes, and on a set day the Rev. Mr. Adams, accompanied by the Rev. Lemuel B. Hull, of Milwaukee, rode out on horseback to view the spot. They took with them their lunch, consisting of dried beef and biscuit, and spent the day upon the ground. Their unanimous conclusion was that this was the place of all others for their purpose, and they returned well pleased with the result of their expedition.
The Nashotah, or Twin Lakes (Upper and Lower), are two of a chain of four, the others being the Upper and Lower Nemahbin, lying about the centre of this lake region, twenty-five miles from Milwaukee, and on the "summit," or ridge, which separates the tributaries of Rock River and the Mississippi from those of Lake Michigan. From this fact the town of Summit, in which they are situated, takes its name. The general water-level of the vicinity is about three hundred feet above Lake Michigan, and the highest elevation in South-eastern Wisconsin is attained by a hill four miles away, which attains an altitude of 669 feet above the same baseline. To any one who ascended this hill in 1842, the prospect presented would have been that of a broken and rolling country, covered, as far as the eye could reach, with masses of forest foliage, mostly oak, the lights and shadows following the swells and undulations of the country, and the continuity of the forest unbroken by the insignificant clearings of the settlers. In the hollows of this expanse lie the gem-like sheets of water, reflecting the blue light of heaven. North of east is Pewaukee Lake, the largest of all, four and a half miles long, and from half a mile to a mile wide; (Popularly translated Snail Lake, but meaning the white shells that lie on the shore very thickly.) looking-north is Nagowicka, (Said to be Black-snake Lake, but really Blackbird Lake, the blackbirds being numerous about it.) with its island, and beyond that Pine Lake, with its island, each having a circumference of about five miles, and area, by measurement, of six hundred and ninety acres. (This is true of both lakes.) Beyond these, but invisible from this point, is North Lake. To the north-west the eye catches the triangular sheet of water called by the Indian name of Okauchee, and as it sweeps around towards the west, Oconomowoc ("Place of the winds") and La Belle; and south of these, Silver Lake, so called from the tint given to the water by the white sand of its bed. Westward, and nearer than the last-mentioned, are the Upper and Lower Nemahbin, the sisters of the Nashotahs, and beyond them Crooked Lake; and then, as we turn south-west-ward, Golden Lake in the distance, beyond which the limestone ridge trends away till it is lost in the high prairies of Southern Wisconsin.
These are not all, but only the principal sheets of water which are visible from this one point. There are said to be thirty-two in the county. The "Mission" is plainly to be seen by the observer on the hill; but the Nashotah Lakes themselves are concealed by their high banks and dense foliage. They lie east of Oconomowoc, south of Okauchee, west of Nagowicka, and north of the Nemahbins, into which their surplus water flows, the Upper Nashotah being the head, and having no inlet; it is fed by springs in the bed of the lake itself. The Indians called the Upper and Lower Nashotah by this name, meaning "twins," because of their correspondence in size and shape, the one being about two miles, and the other two miles and a quarter in circumference.
Upon these lakes was the "claim" which the Missionaries proposed to purchase. It lay to the east, and south of the Upper Nashotah, and extended about halfway down the east bank of the Lower Nashotah, the lakes being the western limit, and the eastern the section-line. It was described in the Government survey as "the east fractional half of section 12, town seven, range 17 east of the fourth principal meridian," and "the west fractional half of section 7, town seven, range 17 east," containing altogether 464 acres, more or less. Negotiations were at once commenced, and the land was purchased. The deed was made jointly to the three Missionaries. [This is the mode of designating the surveyed lands in the new territories of the United States. A section is a square mile; a township a tract six miles square, containing thirty-six sections. The meridians run north and south, and the ranges east and west. The smallest amount of land sold by the Government is forty acres. It is described as the N. E. 1/4 of the S. W. of sec. 6, town 9, range 12, east, etc. If a lake or river cuts off a portion of the square, it is described ns the "fractional" half or quarter.]
The tract which thus came into their possession is a spot which, for natural beauty and for the purposes of such an institution as they proposed, is unsurpassed. About midway of the east bank of the Upper Nashotah is a level plateau, elevated about sixty feet above the water, and containing about ten acres. From this the ground falls rapidly to the north, and in small ridges towards the south, while on the east it is bounded by a ridge somewhat higher, beyond which is level country for a short distance. Here was the natural site for the institution, and here the buildings have been erected. North of this plateau the bank is broken into picturesque knolls and hollows; while southward it stretches on a low level across a meadow or filled-up marsh to the Upper Nemahbin, with which, evidently, the Upper Nashotah was at one time connected. West of this lowland the ground rises rapidly again, and presents to view a bold hill or bluff, once doubtless an island, beyond which is the Lower Nashotah, of which this forms the eastern bank; the lower lake lying southwest of its sister, so that the outlet from the one to the other is at the west of the upper lake, but north of the lower. West of these lakes, the country stretches out into a small level prairie, fringed here and there with trees; and eastward it becomes level in like manner, until it passes into the undulating margin of Lake Nagowicka. Upon a domain of this character there are a number of picturesque sites for residences, commanding beautiful views, while back from the lake the more level land is better suited for farming purposes. Famous as the Churchmen of the Middle Ages were for the location of their institutions, they were seldom more fortunate than was the Associate Mission in obtaining this site. In fact, the country about Nashotah is becoming, for its scenery and healthfulness, a popular summer resort; and, at a village some five miles distant, there are now every year several thousand visitors.
Here, on the 30th day of August, 1842, the Rev. Messrs. Adams and Breck (Mr. Hobart being still at the East) arrived with their worldly possessions. On Thursday, September 1st, they took formal possession of the domain in the name of the Blessed Trinity, by a public religious service in the open air, at which, beside themselves, two laymen were present, and by which they set it apart and dedicated it to the service of God, for an institution of piety and learning.
The laws relating to the public lands required, to establish a right of pre-emption, a personal residence of the pre-emptor, and improvements of some sort upon the land. The usual interpretation of the requirement was that the erection of a cabin which would afford a shelter, together with the beginning of a "clearing," were sufficient to give a claim. The Missionaries found, on their arrival, that the improvements actually made upon their purchase consisted of a "claim shanty," seventeen feet long by thirteen wide, made of rough boards, without lath or plaster; and in this they took up their abode; one corner, as they facetiously described it in after-times, being their chapel, one corner their study, one corner their kitchen, and one corner their bedroom. They immediately put under contract a building of a better character, which, though unfinished, they were able to occupy in November, and in which the three clergy (Mr. Hobart having returned), and three resident students, who joined them as soon as they were able to receive them, spent the winter of 1842-3.
On the 9th of October, 1842, Messrs. Adams and Breck were advanced to the Priesthood. It was their desire to be ordained in a consecrated church; but there were at that time only two such buildings in the Territory of Wisconsin,?one, the Church of the Oneida Indians, at Duck Creek, the other at Green Bay. The ordination took place in the Indian Church at Duck Creek. The journey was made in a lumber wagon, and occupied four days each way. On their return they brought a bell, and some other effects which had belonged to the Green Bay Mission, now given up, and which were made over to them by those having authority in the premises. The bell was hung in an oak-tree near the house; and, though its position has been changed, it still calls to duty and to prayer.
Thus came into existence the institution which is known to the Church at large as Nashotah, and to the people of the vicinity, even to the present day, as "the Mission." From this centre the itinerant work was carried on as it had been begun, the clergy traveling on foot from place to place; threading their way through the forest by the old Indian trails, which had been trodden for centuries before the white man came, baptizing infants, catechizing children, speaking to adults from house to house, preaching the Gospel wherever they could find a hearing,?sometimes in a settler's cabin, sometimes in a school-house, where there was one, sometimes in the common room of a wayside inn, sowing the good seed here and there, as opportunity offered.
Chapter V. Nashotah.
IN the fall of 1842, three acres of land were ploughed up and fenced. The next spring the house, of which mention has been made, was finished, and the "claim shanty" was moved near it, and made useful. The shanty has disappeared; it became a kitchen, then a carpenter's shop, and finally was pulled down; but the house is still standing, though not on its original site, which is occupied by the present stone chapel. It is known traditionally as the "Blue House," from the color with which it was painted,?really a lead-color, a mixture of lampblack and white. The structure was humble, but fully equal to the average house of the country at that time. It was a low two stories in height, a frame building containing two rooms on the ground floor and three above. The front room below was the common room, the other was the kitchen; underneath was a cellar; the rooms above were study and sleeping-rooms combined. Here the clergy lived, attending to their own housekeeping, as well as to their numerous missions.
During the summer of 1843 other buildings were added to the Mission premises. The first of these was a chapel school-house of peculiar construction, fitted to the exigencies of an institution which aimed to do a great work with little means. It was a plain frame building, as were, all those erected during this period. It was divided into two stories, the lower floor consisting of one room, which might do duty both as a school-house and a chapel. It would hold about fifty persons. The second floor was divided into rooms for students, and underneath was a basement, which was also divided into rooms; and in course of time these also were occupied by students. In fact, it is said that these basement rooms were in request, as being the warmest and most comfortable in winter; and that the Rt. Rev. Bishop Kemper, during the winter of 1843-4, which he spent at the Mission, made his home in one of them, as being thus the recipient of the Mission's most considerate hospitality. Beyond the schoolroom, or nave, whichever it was, was built a small chancel, one story only in height, which could be shut off by folding doors when the room was wanted for educational purposes, and which was thrown open only at the times of divine service. Here was said the daily morning and evening prayers, and here was celebrated, once every week at least, the Holy Eucharist.
By the end of this year, eight students found accommodation on the premises, and the next year (1844) these increased to twenty-eight. To accommodate this influx, cottages of the same humble character were built as they were wanted, besides which other improvements were made from time to time; such as a barn, a dairy, a wash-house, ice-house, and finally a farm-house; so that the Mission in a short time presented the appearance of a small village.
Before the institution, however, got fairly started on its educational career, certain important changes took place. The Rev. Mr. Adams spent eighteen months at the East, from May, 1843 to October, 1844, and his place was taken for a time by the Rev. William Walsh, a young clergyman of good family from New York, who remained a year. At the close of 1843, the Rev. Mr. Hobart relinquished his connection with the Mission, and took clerical work at the East, where all his connections were. These changes are not to be wondered at. To gentlemen born and bred, men of university education, the hardships of pioneer life were peculiarly trying, and the triple labor, not only of carrying on an arduous mission, but also of establishing a school without adequate means, and at the same time of breaking up a farm, and reducing it to cultivation, together with the necessity of doing their own housekeeping, cooking and domestic work, might well weary the most devoted enthusiasm. Society there was none outside their own circle; culture was wholly wanting; books, that prime necessity to a studious man, were inaccessible; and in the face of the difficulties that beset them, it is no wonder that the one sought a vacation in a change of scene, and the other retired to more congenial pursuits.
The school, however, had been established, and the work must go on. Mr. Breck remained at his post, and, with the assistance of Mr. Walsh and the help of the students, the Missionary work was kept up, instruction given, and-more land brought under cultivation. In October, 1844, Mr. Adams returned, and has remained at Nashotah ever since. On his return he took the definite position of tutor, or, as they call it in America, Professor, involving at first the general direction of all the studies of the institution, and gradually, as means permitted additions to the faculty, limiting himself to his own special department of Systematic Divinity and its cognate studies. Mr. Walsh, as was said, retired, after a year's residence; and upon Mr. Breck, as President and pastor, and general head of the Mission, devolved the conduct of the increasing business of the Mission, and the pastoral care of the students.
The interest excited by the appeal of Mr. Hobart had not ceased, and friends continued to send their offerings for the support of the Mission. Besides the sum acknowledged by Mr. Hobart, there had been received additional, up to September 12, 1842, $750.17; in 1843, the contributions were $834.84; and in 1844, $2,698.22. These sums more than met the expenses of building and preparing ground for cultivation; but they were inadequate to the support of the clergy and students. Nor was it desired at this time that the institution should be supported by funds collected from abroad. It has been mentioned that the idea of combining manual labor with education was quite popular in the United States at this time; and it was supposed that the students could contribute materially towards their own support by the cultivation of the farm, and the performance of the various duties required in the internal economy of the institution. To secure a due co-operation and distribution of labor, the Mission was formed into a Brotherhood, in which the principle of a common fund and a common life was applied to the clergy and the lay brethren. The members, though bound by no irrevocable vows, did bind themselves to merge all personal considerations in the good of the institution, while they remained its inmates, to share equally with the rest the means they might possess or receive, and to perform such labor as the interests of the community required. The lay brethren, being students for the holy ministry, were to receive the reward of their industry in the spiritual and intellectual training which should fit them for their vocation; and upon their ordination they were to be released from all obligations to the institution, except such as their sense of its value to the Church might continue to impose upon them, in the way of directing a portion of the offerings of their parishes towards its support.
The general scheme of the Brotherhood was arranged about as follows: The Bishop was made the head of the institution, and given an entire control over it; his word being "decisive to the most minute of principle and practice." The Pastor, under the Bishop, and in accordance with the rules of the institution, administered its government. The lay brethren were to be over fifteen years of age, and were divided into students and members. All entered as candidates for studentship, and underwent a probation of six months; when, if the authorities were satisfied with their piety and other qualifications, they were permitted to matriculate as students. At the end of another six months they might become members. A student's motive for becoming a member might arise either from a desire to share his abundance with the poorer brethren, or from inability to support himself. On becoming a member, all moneys received by him passed into a common fund, from which he received the necessaries of student life, and an outfit when ordained. The members bound themselves to remain three years, unless sooner admitted to Holy Orders. Those who did not become members remained as students, paying for their board by working with the members, and contributing beside $25 per annum to its funds. They provided themselves with clothing, textbooks, and other necessaries.
Every person educated in the institution was expected to work an average of four hours per day, which was increased to eight hours a day during the summer vacation of two months. For two months in winter, only two hours' work was required each day. The manual labor was performed by committees, each committee having its particular duty. Of these, some were special, and depended upon the presence among the students of men brought up to a trade, or educated for a profession; e. g., the Medical Committee was due to the fact that an educated physician was for a while a student of divinity. Others were permanent, and their names indicate the kind of work done: gardening, bakery, dairy, farming, carpentry, clearing land, etc. The head of each committee was held responsible for the tools, furniture, etc., belonging to his department, and also for the work done. He rendered a quarterly account of the condition of his department to the "Lay Council." Each member of a committee was also required to make an individual report of his personal expenses, labor, etc. His expenses were charged against him, and his labor credited at a fair valuation. In this way the benefit accruing to him from the general fund of the institution could be calculated at any time, and also the value of the work done in lessening the expenses of the Mission.
This system, of course, was not drawn out in such detail for some time. Its complete development is probably marked by the date given, March 24, 1844, for the constitution of the Lay Council above spoken of. This council consisted of three members, chosen semi-annually; the first by the President, the other two by the members. Its duty was to advise concerning economical arrangements. At the end of every quarter it was required to examine the condition of every committee, to value the stock, tools, and furniture belonging to the several departments, and also to report upon the financial condition of the institution.
The studies, after the return of Mr. Adams, were under his direction, subject to the Bishop's supervision. The Theological branches were taught by himself exclusively; in the academical studies he had the assistance of the more advanced candidates for orders. A three years preparatory course was laid down for those who had no knowledge of Latin and Greek, and a three years' course in Divinity.
Returning to the missionary work of the clergy, we find mention, in a letter of Mr. Breck to Bishop Kemper, May 11, 1843, of a service of much interest, and one that led to important results, among a colony of Swedish emigrants, who thus were secured to the American Church:
"I have done one thing, which I hope will not meet with your censure; viz., administered to them the Holy Eucharist. Sometime since we were called upon to baptize their first American-born; we then gave them a letter of Baptism, and, understanding our practice of confirmation by the Bishop only, they replied that they knew its object, viz., to show the letter to the Bishop when the child should be presented to him for confirmation. They resolved to have worship in their settlement and in their tongue, as but few speak English, but they had no desire to depart from their liturgy, and therefore came to us for a Church Almanac, that they might know the order of the Sundays of the Ecclesiastical year. They also kept Good Friday and Easter, of course. This was their voluntary act. We have, however, had frequent conversations with them on the nature of the Church, etc. And about two weeks since they came, requesting the Holy Eucharist; and since this had been granted them so often before by a lawful branch of the Church, we could not conscientiously refuse (and this was Brother A.'s decided opinion, and he rejoiced in their acknowledgment of the unity of the Church). On Sunday last I therefore visited them, and, according to the circumstances of the case, administered it after the following manner,?I considered the precedent in the Oneida Indians as our warrant. Having had morning prayer at Delafield, 3 1-2 miles from the Swede settlement, I now commenced with the Lord's Prayer, speaking aloud only the words, 'Our Father, which art in heaven,' and continuing silent through the remainder, in order that the Swedes might repeat it to themselves in their own tongue, which, indeed, is their custom in Sweden, though this was no constraining motive. Here followed the Commandments; and they responded in English, having been previously instructed. The collect for the day was read by a Swede in their language; after which I announced the Epistle, and this was also read in their language. I then said, 'Here endeth the Epistle,' and announced the Gospel, which was read as the Epistle. All these parts are the same in their Liturgy as in our own. Then I said, 'Let us unite in the Apostle's Creed," which was said in Swedish. Here followed a short sermon, which was interpreted sentence by sentence. I now read the shorter Exhortation to the communicants, which was translated to them; and at the close of the words, 'Let us make our, etc., devoutly kneeling,' all knelt, and made their confession according to the form in the Swedish Liturgy. I now pronounced the Absolution; and went through, in order, the rest of the service in English, except Sursum Corda, which was responded to in Swedish. Their service resembles ours in many points. They are not tenacious of their old customs; that is, are willing to adopt ours; as, for instance, they have always been accustomed to receive the elements in their mouths from the priest, but at once complied with our rubric to receive them into their hands. One thing more I did, which was to leave the preparing the bread to themselves; and, according to their practice, they prepared unleavened bread, and in the form of a wafer, which I administered to them, not knowing any objection thereto.
"I have now done what I conceive to be my duty," Mr. B. continues; "viz., to state this whole matter in full, hoping that you will not think I have done wrong. We have a powerful influence over them, and think they will openly avow their American Churchmanship when you visit us. A Jewess, the wife of a Swede, has applied for baptism, and is now a candidate; she will, God willing, be confirmed by you when visiting our Mission. They seem to express as much interest in your visitation as any of the Americans. They live within three miles of Nashotah, and are a well-educated people; some are able to speak Latin, having received a collegiate education. At present there are about twenty communicants, and they expect more countrymen this summer. They are a people whose feelings are easily touched, and on Sunday many were in tears."
The same letter adds by the way:?"By the autumn we shall, I believe, have a church to consecrate, and another parish to form, viz., at Prairieville. We are to preach in it on Sunday week for the first time." Two parishes had by this time been organized within the bounds of the Mission,?St. John's, Elkhorn, on the southern border, and the parish of English settlers at Lisbon, by the name of St. Alban's.
The advances made to and by the Swedish settlement in due time bore fruit. Mr. Breck writes to the Bishop, Oct. 13, 1843:
"You may shortly hear from the Swedes, Norwegians, and Danes (numbering 150 to 200) inhabiting Pine Lake, requesting admission into the American Church; and that one of their men, a Swede, be admitted a candidate for Holy Orders. We have much to speak with you, Sir, respecting this very interesting portion of our Western community. The above intention has arisen entirely among themselves, and in no respect from the remotest hint on the subject from us. The man proposed has been their lay-reader from the very commencement of the settlement. He has received a classical education; was granted a license, as theological student, to preach, by a Swedish bishop; and now only desires to be admitted deacon, and to remain so under this Mission, ourselves officiating once in four weeks, which we intend doing at once."
Mr. Gustaf Unonius, the Swede alluded to, was a graduate of the University of Upsala, Sweden. He was received as a candidate for orders by the Bishop in the spring of 1844, and, after reading theology with Mr. Adams for a year, was ordained deacon May 11th, 1845,?the first graduate of Nashotah who entered the sacred ministry. In the meantime a parish had been formed of the settlers, under the name of the Scandinavian Parish, Pine Lake; and another at a short distance, called St. Olaf's Parish, Ashippun, and to these he was appointed to minister. He made journeys, also, throughout the Territory; and his report to the first Convention of the diocese gives a detailed account of all the Scandinavian colonies then known to him in Wisconsin. In due time he was advanced to the priesthood; and after some years was appointed to the Rectorship of the Swedish Church in Chicago, where he was authorized by the Bishop of Illinois to use the Swedish Liturgy. Later he returned to his native country, where he is still living, and has taken an active part in measures for promoting intercommunion between the Swedish and American branches of the Church.
Besides Mr. Unonius, three other students were prepared by this time to pass the examinations required by the canon, and were admitted candidates for orders. They were then licensed by the Bishop as lay-readers, and materially assisted the clergy, by keeping up Sunday services, and reading sermons at stations where the clergy were not present in person. The stations also began to help the Mission?not with contributions of money, for there was none in the Territory, and most of the business transactions of the day were by barter,?but by gifts in kind, and by such work as women could do for the community. Mr. Breck writes to Bishop Kemper, June 2, 1843:
"We have at length got into the chapel at Prairie Village, which we hope to present for consecration the coming autumn. It is as yet unfinished within, but we hope such will not be its condition when our Bishop arrives. At this station we have appointed three ladies to distribute sewing to others under these, whereby we have all our clothing made up for students as well as clergy, except the heaviest garments; thus much expenditure for tailoring, etc., is prevented. These (not Societies, for the work is done at the house of each, and we appoint certain ones as managers, without any connection, the one with the other, and others again under these)?these sewing communities we will gradually, as the students increase and the Church grows on the Mission, establish in all its parts. This is one amongst other economical arrangements that we must make in order to support ourselves and the students at the very low rate proposed. (The idea of entire support from manual labor, it will be seen, is falling through.) It would be, Rt. Rev. Father, impossible to maintain a student for $25 per year, unless other resources, aside from the sum of $25, were available; for his washing would come to $8 or $10 a year, groceries to nearly the same, books to half as much, and clothing to twice the sum. But using other means, such as the labor of the students for food, the industry of the ladies of the Mission for preparing clothing already purchased or supplied, and the charity of merchants or manufacturers in the East for much of the necessary clothing, and the donations of private Christians on our ground and off it for the general expenses,?by these means, Rt. Rev. Father, we trust in God to live.
"I have written," he adds, "to Mr. M???, of Philadelphia; requesting him to interest others who may send us a box of clothing, either bedding or wearing material; also I have written to my brother at Wilmington, who is one of several manufacturers of that place and its vicinity, to the same effect. In this way we may be the means of assisting many worthy young men, who otherwise could never attain unto the ministry. It matters not what the color or texture of the clothing may be, we are all pauperes Christi at Nashotah, and wish to remain so."
Other letters, the information in which has been kindly communicated to the writer, reveal to us glimpses of the internal economy of the Mission. In all it is evident that the theory of self-support for the institution must be given up, and that, whatever increase there might be in numbers, the manual labor performed could do no more than lessen the expenses, not supply the means. Thus, June 6, 1844, we have the following:
"We have great reason to be thankful for the regard in which we are held in Philadelphia; all that lies in my power I will gladly do to secure permanency to all our operations. The brethren are laboring hard to bring about a supply of food for the approaching winter. We are now twenty lay-brethren, and myself (Mr. Walsh and Mr. Hobart had gone, and Mr. Adams had not yet returned), and the expenses of such a household upon the start are very great. With about four exceptions, the Mission clothes them all, which, at $25 per annum, would make $400; but the first year nearer $500, for those that have come are in many respects very meanly clad; and up to the present we have had all our food to purchase, besides buildings to erect, etc., so that the next twelve months will be the trying time with Nashotah. In the autumn we shall have to purchase, or rather pay for, six hundred weight of butter, that we have ordered to be laid down. But, dear Bishop, we must make our own butter another year. There are two brethren here that understand fully both the making of butter and cheese?indeed do now make from our two cows a few pounds per week, and better butter I never wish to eat; but we must have ten or twelve good cows, and a milk-house by the lake, and an ice-house. I do, moreover, see another necessity that will, without doubt, arise before long; viz., the doing a portion, and in time all, the washing ourselves. We cannot pay out $250 a year for twenty brethren, $500 for forty. All, except shirts and the finer clothing, may be done. I have never hinted anything of the kind to the brethren as yet, but they have to me. In time it will work out. We have bought a wagon for $60, new, and eastern make, also a superior yoke of oxen for $60."
June 27, 1844?"It may be proper for me here to state that we shall need more house room and a small barn before another winter sets in; nor can I venture to enter upon these with the present state of funds. Indeed, I have commenced an additional building of the simplest construction, fifty feet in length, fifteen in width, and one story high (the entire cost of which, when lathed and plastered, etc., would not exceed $175), the frame of which is already up; but I cannot see how it is to be paid for when completed, and therefore I this day cease further operations until I can. I mention this, dear Bishop, in order that the good people in the East may know, if they make inquiry of yourself, that we still have necessities, and I might mention several beside. We ought to purchase this autumn four cattle for beef, and as many more milch-cows to make our own butter, which we must do. I will, in a few words, repeat what has been already written in letters, in all probability not yet received by yourself; viz., the reason why we have changed the expense of a student from $25 to $50. When there were three clergymen we received $750 per year from the Board (of Missions), but now only $250. And again, the entire number of those with us at present are here at the charge of only $25, with two or three exceptions; and yet, with only four exceptions, the Mission clothes them all. It should therefore in the future be $25 for every student; $25 additional when clothed by the Mission..... Our system is waxing stronger and stronger; the brethren are realizing their fellowship more and more; for these reasons, and their increased attention to the devotional exercises of the day, and particularly to the Holy Eucharist, and yet all a voluntary worship, is my strongest hope (sic) God's blessing has been with us so far, and we earnestly pray that it may continue. Every night before the Holy Communion I meet the brethren, and discourse to them about twenty minutes; after which, such as are troubled in mind come to me, stating the cause. I have not enjoined anything of the kind, but the Church's warning and their sense of duty brings them to me. I hope, when the Bishop shall next visit us, he will find Nashotah much improved, not only temporally, but spiritually."
Sept. 18, 1845.?"We have received no very abundant supply of money since last spring, but have been, nevertheless, kept from distress; we are in some little debt to H???y, and some other small sums out of Milwaukee, amounting to about $200, but which are not pressing us for their payment. We have all the provisions necessary for the ensuing winter, save wheat and pork: both will be cheap. Also, we have the most part of the winter's clothing that will be necessary; yet this must amount to nigh on $100, which for twenty or more is moderate, compared with the last winter. We have put in twenty-four acres of wheat for the next year, and shall raise our own pork. There have been some depredations committed in the neighborhood, so that now we have to keep two of the students statedly sleeping in the wash-house, which is not yet either lathed or plastered. The school-house is lathed, but not plastered. We have had $10 given us to buy fowls with, and have turned the horse-stable into a poultry-house, no longer keeping so much as a single horse. (The farm work was done by the oxen.) We shall require to pay what we owe, and meet necessary expenses, nearly $500 the coming winter. The spirit of the brethren is steadily improving, and if it continues one year longer, their unity and efforts will be in the praise of all the Churches. ???has settled down with a determination to stand by us to the end, and to him the late rules act as a wholesome safeguard. ???'s health has required him to visit Detroit, but we expect him back again in a few weeks."
Two sentences in the above lead to a statement which may as well be made here as elsewhere. It will be noticed that Mr. B. speaks of a very limited supply of money, but congratulates himself that they had been "kept from distress." It would be interesting to know at what extremity he would at that time have considered "distress" to begin; for the fact was that the spring of 1845 was a time of real want at the Mission. The rule not to go in debt, however it might be temporarily stretched when a building or other improvement of the property was under way, was never relaxed for the daily support; and if provisions fell short and there was no money to buy more, the community lived on what it had until supplies came in, or money to purchase them. A postscript to a letter dated June 6, 1844, seems to mark an occasion of this sort; it is in these words: "Another God-send, dearest Bishop; Br. H. has sent us $98 worth of groceries (coffee, tea, sugar, etc.)?part has already reached Nashotah since writing this letter." It is not too much to say that more than once their diet was reduced to actual bread and water, and no great quantity of the former. Under such circumstances it is scant praise to say, "the spirit of the brethren is steadily improving." The esprit de corps at that time is astonishing. Whatever private murmurings there might be, the members were true and loyal to the brotherhood and the institution, the majority bore cheerfully all the hardships of their condition, and all carefully concealed from the neighborhood the extreme character of their privations. When the candidates went out to lay-read at the stations to which they were appointed, they were, of course, entertained by some one or other of the farmers or villagers of the vicinity, and it usually happened, on sitting down to a backwoods farmer's meal, that some apology would be made for the roughness of the plenty on the table, with the suggestion that doubtless at the Mission they were used to better fare. It is said that on no such occasion was the want at the Mission alluded to; but the remark was allowed to pass with an assurance that they enjoyed the meal set before them. And it was not until long after that the neighborhood really knew how poorly the brotherhood lived at that time.
And this may illustrate the fact that the brotherhood was a necessity, without which Nashotah could not have persevered through the years immediately succeeding its foundation. The community life sustained the members in bearing the hardships incident to their peculiar situation in a new country, and one which had no parallel at that time anywhere in the Church. In the excited state of Church feeling at that time, however, it could not fail to raise suspicions of the ultimate object of the institution; and much of the difficulty experienced by the Mission arose from accusations which were plausible, and could not fail to suggest themselves, but which were really unjust. Whether it be considered at the present time praise or blame, it is true, that no member of the Mission, unless it might be one, had any idea of a monastic establishment as an end in view. The men were honestly bent upon obtaining an education to fit them for the sacred ministry, and were willing to accept the conditions on which it could be acquired. They adopted the community life because it furthered this end; and no one ever bound himself to it any longer than he should be a student for the ministry. Circumstances at a later period as imperatively required that the brotherhood principle should be given up; and it is a true account of this whole matter that without the brotherhood Nashotah could not have been begun, and with it, the institution could not be continued.
Chapter VI. A Visitor, and his Account of the Mission.
IN 1846, Bishop Kemper, having organized the diocese of Missouri, and surrendered it to a bishop of its own, removed to Wisconsin, and purchased a farm adjoining the Nashotah property, which became his residence (November, 1846) until his death. He was thus enabled, when at home, to hold fuller intercourse with the members of the Mission, to supervise its affairs, spiritual and temporal, and to exercise an influence upon its daily life. About this time some further improvements were made at the Mission. The increase of population in the immediate neighborhood rendered necessary the formation of a parish, and to accommodate the more numerous congregation, the building before spoken of in which the services had been held was remodeled and enlarged. The second floor was taken out, the little chancel removed to one side for a vestry, and an extension, which doubled its capacity, with a more spacious chancel, were added. Some little attempt at ornamentation of a churchly character was also made, and the institution became possessed of a proper chapel, which was also the parish church of the neighborhood. A parish school had also been opened on another part of the domain, which was taught by the more advanced students; and as some persons from a distance sent their children to board in the neighborhood and attend the school, it was supposed that this would be the nucleus of a boarding-school, and in time develop into a collegiate establishment. The Divinity classes were proceeding well, and in another year several students would be ready for ordination.
At this time the institution had shown such evidence of stability that it was deemed proper to petition the Legislature of the Territory for a charter, and in 1847 it was duly incorporated with University powers. The property was then legally transferred to the trustees.
As a part of the movement connected with the incorporation, the Bishop about this time appointed a committee of clergymen not belonging to the institution to examine into its affairs. They made in due time an exhaustive report, of which use will be made hereafter. At present, however, it will be more interesting to see how the Mission impressed a stranger who saw it now for the first time. In 1847, the Rev. Mr. Kip, then rector of St. Paul's Church, Albany, N. Y. (now Bishop of California), paid a visit to Nashotah, and published in one of the periodicals of the day an account of his journey, from which the following is taken:?
"It was on the morning of the 27th of July, that we left Milwaukee on our way to Nashotah. A shower which had just passed over imparted a freshness to the landscape, while the cool breezes which swept over Lake Michigan gave the promise of a pleasant ride. As we left the city, we passed a group of Indians flaunting in the gay colors they so much prize,?a remnant of the powerful tribes which a few years since occupied this beautiful territory.
"A short ride, and we entered the broad belt of forest, which for hundreds of miles stretches along the western shore of the lake. Occasionally we passed heavily loaded wagons, filled with the household utensils of German emigrants, who are crowding into the Northwest. Women, still wearing the picturesque head-dress they used at home, and young children, were sitting among the furniture; while the men, in their blue frocks, were treading along wearily on foot....... For miles our road led through the forest, sometimes entirely unbroken, its giant trees towering high above us; then a partial clearing, with the log cabin of the first settler; then a better house of wood, the second generation of buildings; or, more generally, the wooden house built adjoining the log-cabin, so that the latter could be used for the kitchen. The corn of the settler was growing amid the charred and blackened trunks of trees which the fire had left unconsumed, while the road at times wound among the stumps which remained as they had been left by the axe of the first emigrants. Then we would come to a tract covered with giant trees, dead and leafless, presenting the appearance of a winter forest. They had been girdled the previous year, and thus killed; while the owner of the soil had not yet had time to fell them.
"Fourteen miles from Milwaukee we reached Prairieville, a small village, scarcely seven years old, the inhabitants of which have now, with good taste, restored to it its old Indian name of Waukesha. . . From Waukesha it is eighteen (thirteen) miles to the residence of Bishop Kemper. Most of the way is through oak openings, by which, in the West, they mean country covered with oak-trees in clumps, and without underwood, presenting the appearance of a natural park. Here they stretch on, mile after mile, far as the eye can reach; so that we could imagine ourselves in the middle of one of the beautiful parks of England. They present, indeed, precisely the same appearance. At last, through an opening in the hills, we begin to catch distant glimpses of lakes, from which we knew that our journey was drawing to its end. About three o'clock we reached a tavern, surrounded by a cluster of a dozen houses, the beginning of a town to be called Delafield, where we were directed to take a side road into the forest, with the information that the second house was Bishop Kemper's. A mile further brought us to the gate; and in a moment the Bishop, attended by the Rev. President of the Nashotah Mission, came forth from the house to meet us.
"Would my readers like a description of the Episcopal Palace? or do those who are living amid the luxury of the East desire to know how a missionary bishop lives in the Far West? We might tell them to imagine a clearing of a few acres in the depth of a mighty forest, and then, on the verge of the woods, a small, cottage-like building, which, as you stand in front of it, presents the appearance of a single story, with but three windows and a door. It was the first building erected by a settler, from whom the Bishop purchased the land for a farm for his son, and then, at the expense of a few hundred dollars, he endeavored to make the house habitable. For probably eight months of the year he is traveling incessantly over his wide-spread diocese, 'in perils by land, and in perils by water,' now under the burning sun, crossing a prairie two hundred miles in length, without a sign of habitation, now in districts where roads there are none, following the deep-worn Indian trail through the otherwise pathless forests, and now on some of the swelling rivers of the West, trusting himself to a frail canoe, always unwearied in labor, 'seeking for Christ's sheep that are dispersed abroad,' far from the sound of the 'church-going bell,' that he may win them to the true fold. I" was told by a layman of the diocese that the Bishop would land at Milwaukee after a two months' tour of duty in Indiana, and without even taking time to go home, set out at once for the more distant West, to confirm the scattered churches in Iowa.....
"The lands of the Nashotah Mission join those of the Bishop, and after dinner I proceeded thither to take up my residence, leaving the rest of the party to enjoy the hospitality of the Bishop. The President conducted me by a foot-path of about half a mile through the woods, and I availed myself of our walk to obtain from him some information with regard to the past history of the institution.....
"We had now reached their residence, a correct idea of which it would be difficult to give on paper. The whole of this part of the country is intersected by the most beautiful lakes, so that from a hill a few miles distant, eleven can be counted in sight, while more than double that number can be found in a circle of twelve miles. They are of various sizes, the largest being about two miles in length, some dotted with islands, the water perfectly clear, and the shore generally a high bluff, rising many feet above the surface. Two of these, which approach within a hundred feet of each other, and are united by a little brook, have retained the Indian name of Nashotah, or Twin Lakes. On the bank of one of them, where the shore rises fifty feet above the water, and then spreads out into a level plateau, covered with oak-trees standing in clumps, are the Mission buildings. The smooth and placid lake, clear as the famed waters of Lake George, in our own State, stretches out before them, about a mile in length, and half a mile in width. The noble forest-trees wave around its banks on every side, while from the high grounds on the opposite shore a small prairie spreads out for a couple of miles, having on its centre the old sepulchral monuments of the Indians. These are mounds of earth, piled up, perhaps, a dozen feet, and arranged in the shape of various animals, the outline of which can be readily traced. One represents a tortoise, another a serpent, another a bear; while some, from the large trees growing on them, must be of great age.
"Scattered over the grounds of the Mission, under the lofty oak-trees, are eight or ten low wooden buildings devoted to its use. Chapel, dormitories, dining-hall, work-shops, lecture-rooms, constructed with that simplicity and plainness to which their poverty has compelled them to adhere.....The view from this spot is probably one of the most enchanting that the world can furnish. It has been the lot of the writer of these lines to look upon many of the landscapes which in our own and other lands are celebrated for their picturesque effects; yet never, anywhere, among the far-famed lakes of England and Scotland, or even the sunny glades of Italy, has he found a scene more beautiful than that presented by Nashotah Lakes.
"Being joined by the Bishop and the ladies of the party, we proceeded to go the rounds of the institution. The first buildings to which we came were those devoted to the laundry department. They are on the borders of the lake, one being for washing; another, which contains a furnace, being used for ironing; while the third is occupied as a bedroom by the student, who is over this department. As this matter has been the subject of more comment than any other connected with the Mission, it may be well to explain it fully. In the poverty of the institution and of the students connected with it, it is of course necessary to have everything they can, done by their own members, that they may pay out as little money as possible. The washing, however, was at first put out, and the President informed me that he always expected that it should be. In the difficulty, however, of procuring servants in a new country, it was no easy work to find any one to discharge this duty. In addition to this, it was expensive. Some of the students, therefore, came to Mr. B???, and proposed that they themselves should do it. He found, upon calculation, that this would save the institution $500 a year?no slight sum to them,?and therefore assented. And now, he says, there are always those accustomed to indoor employments, who request to be put on this department, preferring it to other kinds of labor that would be allotted to them."
A footnote to the above makes the following additional explanation: "The difficulty, almost the impossibility, of procuring servants in the West can scarcely be realized by those who are living at the East. Where land is only a dollar and a quarter an acre, every settler becomes of course a landed proprietor. His family, therefore, feel above discharging any menial office. Even the cook, a colored man, who is now employed at Nashotah, had to be procured from one of the lake steamers at the enormous wages of $25 per month..... This statement will show the reason why the washing of the establishment would be so expensive. The reader must indeed bear in mind, throughout the whole of these articles, that it is the account of a state of things widely different from anything to which he is accustomed. As the country fills up, and a different class of settlers come in, some of these features of Nashotah might be remodeled. (They have been. The farm is now rented, and all the manual labor given up.) At present, surrounded only by the log-cabins of the recent settlers, it seems to be difficult to arrange it otherwise. We have mixed much with those who have gone to that country, and been told again and again, by those brought up in refinement at the East, 'Here we cannot get servants; we are obliged to do our own work.' Why, then, should this be used as an argument against Nashotah, as we have often heard it, because they have the same necessity forced upon them? At some future day it will not be so." [It is not so now. (1873). The compiler of this, who became a student of Nashotah in 1852, was, as it happens, the last put upon the washing committee. He is not ashamed of the fact in either of its bearings.]
"A short distance further, on the borders of the lake is the Baptistery. It is a flight of steps leading into the water, at a convenient depth for immersion, where a platform has been placed on the bottom. Many of the settlers around are Baptists. The clergy have therefore wisely made provision to meet their difficulties at the outset. When one encounters those with whom immersion is a sine qua non, he takes the true ground, that the Church authorizes this form, and he therefore offers to perform it. In this way many are won, who otherwise would be driven into schism; and my informant stated that during the past year he received into the Church at this spot twenty-five individuals, who thus by baptism put on Christ. The first portion of the service is performed in the chapel, and the remainder at the lake. The form of immersion, too, is different from the way in which it is performed among the Baptists, where the individual is immersed backwards. Here, he kneels in the water; the officiating priest places one hand behind his head, taking him at the same time by the hand, bends him forward till the immersion is complete, and then aids him in rising.
"We happened to have arrived during the vacation, which lasts from the middle of June to the middle of August. During this time, though the students remain, the regular studies are suspended, and eight hours' labor a day substituted in their place. Many of the students were in the harvest-field, whither we walked. We found about a dozen employed in getting in the wheat, on a tract which had been cleared and brought into cultivation since the Mission was established.
"At six o'clock all assembled in the chapel for evening prayer. The service was said by the Bishop, and Dr. Muhlenberg (of New York, who was then on a visit), the lessons being read by a deacon residing at the Mission, a graduate of the last class. At the close of the service, notice was given of the administration of the Holy Communion at six o'clock the next morning. Then came the hour of tea; and at ten o'clock the bell rang, when all the students were expected to retire. So ended my first day at Nashotah.
"At five A. M. I was awakened by the bell, which hung from a lofty oak-tree. At this hour the students are expected to rise. At six another ringing of the bell called to prayers at the chapel. In accordance with the notice given the evening before, the Holy Communion was administered, and only the Communion Service used at this time. They began the custom of having Holy Communion on Thursday mornings at a time when the members of the Mission were generally scattered through the country on Sundays. Since the ordination of the last class, however, a number of' the stations where lay-readers were employed have been filled by clergymen, and the students are now more at home than formerly. They continue, however, to have the Communion every Sunday, Thursday, on all Saints' days and Holy days, and the days after the prominent festivals, for which a Preface has been appointed. The members of the Mission, however, are left at liberty as to the frequency of receiving. On this occasion, when the Offertory was read, some bank-bills were placed in the alms-basin by one of the students. This, I was informed, was a donation they had lately received. All such are offered at the altar previous to being used.
"Morning prayer was said at nine. This takes place at this hour on Thursday alone, in consequence of the morning Communion. On all the other days the morning prayer is at six A. M.
"At twelve each week-day a Litany is said. For these occasions, except on Wednesday and Friday, when the Litany of the Church is used, special services have been prepared, which have been approved by the Bishop. The attendance on this service is voluntary.....
"At five p. M. we again assembled for evening prayer. To my mind there was a solemnity in the service greater than I had often felt beneath the lofty arches and fretted roof of some magnificent cathedral. Without all was stillness; scarcely a ripple disturbed the lake, or a breeze stirred the leaves of the old oak trees above us. The only sound heard was the swell of the organ, and the anthem raised by manly voices, as it was borne over the old Indian grave, and floated through the glades of the forest. Around me were kneeling together Americans, English, Irish, Swedes, a Dane, a Norwegian, a converted Israelite, and the dusky sons of our own forests. Of the latter there are now three at the Mission, two of whom on this occasion were members of the choir. They came scarcely acquainted at all with our language, which had to be learned before they could commence their studies. One of them has been four years connected with the institution, and is expected in about four years more to be ready for orders, and thus able to return a teacher to his tribe. [This hope was not realized. None of the Indian students entered the ministry. They are, we believe, exemplary laymen.]
"These Indians are Oneidas from the Mission of Mr. Davis on Duck Creek, where a flourishing Church has been formed and a system of discipline adopted, as strict as that introduced by the Jesuits, and far more efficient. The Indians in their own figurative language have bestowed upon Bishop Kemper a name signifying the 'Keeper of the Word,' and on Mr. Davis that of 'The Clear Sky.' When the late Convention of our Church was held at Milwaukee, four lay delegates from the Oneidas appeared and took their seats. They walked the whole distance from the Mission, the last day traveling forty-five miles. On the evening that the Convention closed, a resolution was passed, expressing the gratification of its members at the presence of their Indian brethren, which being explained to the Chief, he rose with the interpreter, and replied in his own tongue in a short speech, which, even when heard as a translation, showed the point and sense which has always marked the addresses of our Indians. We believe that it is the first time the voice of one of our aborigines has been heard in the Councils of the Church.
"But to return to the routine at Nashotah. At nine p. M. they meet again for family prayers, though attendance on this service, like that at noon, is voluntary.
"On Sunday, at six A. M., is a special service, which has been prepared with the consent of the Bishop, and adapted to the wants of the members of the Mission. For the public worship during the rest of the day the regular services of the Church are of course used.
"During the last year the members of the Mission had seventeen stations for preaching and lay-reading, within a circuit of thirty miles. Several of these have since been permanently filled by the last class ordained. . . . The students act as lay-readers and catechists. (That is, such of them as had been admitted candidates for Holy Orders and had been licensed by the Bishop.) When from the scattered situations of the settlers they cannot form Sunday-schools, they go from one log-cabin to another, catechizing the young, sowing the good seed of the word, and thus 'seeking for Christ's sheep that are dispersed abroad, and for His children who are in the midst of this naughty world, that they may be saved through Christ forever.'"
In term time Dr. Kip states that the daily routine was: 6 A. M., prayers; 7, breakfast; 8 to 12. study and lectures; 12 M., litany; 12 1-4 P. M., dinner; 1 1-2 to 5 1-2, labor; then evening prayer in chapel; 7 P. M., tea; study till bedtime. In January and February only two hours' labor.
The report of the Committee of clergymen appointed by the Bishop above alluded to, is also printed in the letters of Dr. Kip. It gives a very full exhibit of the finances of the institution from its commencement, September 12, 1841, to June 17, 1847, the date of the report. It shows that the total sum donated from the beginning had been $13,007.34. Of this had been expended for land, $1.180.30; for buildings, $3,870; for clearing, ploughing, and fencing 82 acres of land, $820; for furniture, tools, live stock, and other property, $2,487.31. The number of students actually supported had been equal to ninety-six for one year. Their cost, had been found to be $75 per year and labor, instead of $25 and $50 as supposed. The labor done had been found to be worth $2,512.77, but had fallen short of their support $4,649.73.
It was at this time also that the Primary Convention at which Wisconsin was organized into a diocese was held; and this gave the Missionaries an opportunity to place on record, in their report to the Bishop, printed in the Journal of that Convention, a summary of their missionary labors from the beginning. On entering upon their work, they say, "we discovered only twenty Church families throughout our Mission; but since that time, one hundred and sixty-seven more have been added to our charge, either by baptism or removal from foreign parts. By reason of the organization of parishes, and their passing into the spiritual charge of clergymen unconnected with this Mission, only eighty-eight at present remain under our care. Since the establishment of the Mission over one thousand persons have been under our spiritual guidance; but of these only four hundred remain to us. We have baptized two hundred and fifty-six infants and forty-nine adults. The holy rite of Confirmation has been administered to one hundred and seven persons. In 1841 we found twenty-five communicants; since then, one hundred and four have been admitted by us, and two hundred and four have been received from the States, or foreign parts. The present number in charge of this Mission is two hundred and five." The report goes on to note that eight parishes had up to that time been organized within the original bounds of the Mission; one Swedish, one Norwegian, two English, and the others American and mixed. Two were still under the charge of the clergy of the Mission, and the incumbents of four others were graduates.
THE mode of life and the nature of the work at Nashotah during the first period of its existence will be understood from what has already been written. It continued the same in its general features until 1850; but for several years succeeding the time to which our history has been brought up in the last chapter, the surrounding circumstances were in a state of gradual but rapid change, which could not help but modify eventually the general character of the institution itself.
In the first place, the influx of population was much greater than had been expected when the association was formed; and, as the country became more thickly settled, the newness and strangeness of its life wore off, and the settlers reverted to the habits and customs of the older States from which they had emigrated. Society very soon came to assume the same aspect as at the East, and, in some respects was an improvement upon it. When it was found that there was wealth to be got by energy in the West, the enterprise that felt itself cramped by the competition of a more crowded community sought a Western home; and this was the case, particularly, with the younger men, whose prospects of business were overshadowed by the standing and influence of old-established houses in the commercial world, or of great reputations in professional circles. For this reason it happened that there were found in the Western cities?as in Milwaukee, for example?more young men of education, scions of good families, themselves unmarried, or but a few years married, than could have been found, in proportion to the population, in cities which were not so new. Among the writer's personal acquaintances of that day, were men whose grandfathers had been among the great names of the American Revolution; and such as these, coming with their wives and sisters, introduced into Western society the refinement which was hereditary in their families, and themselves obtained a breadth of character from the change of scene which was cosmopolitan rather than provincial. The fact that the Presidents of the United States have been, of late years, almost uniformly selected from the West is an indication of the importance of this section of the country, and of the large and national character of the men who inhabit it.
Now, this rapid development of the West in general, and of Wisconsin in particular, could not be without its influence (to turn from large things to small) upon Nashotah. Had the West remained stationary, or even doubled its population only once in a generation, the Associate Mission might have continued its existence in its original form for an indefinite period; and its idea and plan could have been worked out sufficiently to have set an example for other missions, both domestic and foreign. But from the first there was such a demand for clergy to supply new fields, that when the Mission became short-handed, by the withdrawal of one of the members, it was a great and continued disappointment to the others, that no one offered to take his place, or responded to the appeal to come and help them. It was evident, also, that some years must elapse before they could train up clergy from among their students to be co-laborers with them. Before this result was actually reached, the changes had begun to tell; and the call for parochial clergy drew away as many as were graduated as soon as they were ordained. The establishment of eight parishes within their district narrowed its limits; and the Associate Mission, which is properly an instrumentality for securing the ministrations of the Church to a large and sparsely populated region, came to a natural end.
In like manner the internal economy of the Mission felt the influence of the movement around it. By the time the area of land cleared for cultivation was a hundred acres, it became necessary to place it under the supervision of an experienced farmer, that it might be turned to the best account. This was done in 1847. But when the farmer and his family were on the ground, not only was the expense of his employment, whether as superintendent for the Mission, or as tenant on his own account, to be got from the land, but the work could not wait the convenience of the hours set by the rules; and indeed there must at all times have been a difficulty of adjusting the relations of a regular system of lectures and study with the irregular demands of the farm. Now, so far as the labor of the students was productive, its result must appear in the supplies the farm could furnish; and this, we have seen, was charged with the support of the farmer, and very little could be done upon it with advantage by the students, now that it was cleared and fenced and ploughed, except in the harvest season, when the coincidence of the vacation with the stress of work to gather in the crops, made their help both profitable and necessary. The only result to be expected from the labor, then, was that kind of indirect productiveness which saves expense by performing services in the institution which must otherwise be paid for. But not only did this leave the whole question of support untouched, but as the country became settled and civilized, and help was to be hired at a reasonable rate, the popular feeling became more and more prejudiced against the employment, in domestic work, of men studying for the holy ministry. So that in this way also, the labor theory broke down, and a change in the institution was imminent, if it would go on and prosper.
Another circumstance likewise bore in this direction. The working of the Brotherhood principle, as soon as the pressure was removed from the outside by the changes above mentioned, must be regarded, if kept up, as an end rather than a means. Now there was no one who so regarded it, unless it might be Mr. Breck. So long as it seemed to be a necessity for the whole or partial support of the institution, it must, of course, be conditioned by rules, regulating it in all its parts, industrial, educational, and spiritual; and these, while the necessity continued, were cheerfully submitted to. But when a man was required to dig potatoes as a spiritual exercise, it being evident that no other advantage, economical or otherwise, would accrue from it, he was at least excusable in thinking that his spiritual as well as intellectual advancement in preparation for the ministry would be promoted quite as much by additional study given to a Greek classic or a Hebrew grammar. Besides, when it became evident that the brotherhood, if it continued, must exist rather for the sake of the rules, than the rules for the sake of the brotherhood, several other untoward results began to manifest themselves. In the first place there was a tendency to accumulate rule upon rule till the whole became intolerable, and a parallel spirit of insubordination on the part of men who felt that the irksome load was not the prescription of the Church for their training, but rather the exuberance of private fancy. Then the lazy would take advantage of the industrious, the selfish would prey upon the generous, and the hypocritical would feign a loyalty to the system which the honest were too sensible to feel. And all who are engaged with the preparation of candidates for the ministry, cannot but know that human nature exists, in a theological college, as in every other part of the Church, in both its developments of natural sin-fulness as well as Divine grace, and that there, no more than elsewhere, are the tares always to be distinguished from the wheat. The attempt, therefore, to continue the Brotherhood principle after its usefulness had departed, could not but produce general discontent, and result disastrously. Two of the principles upon which Nashotah had been founded, had by 1850 outlived the circumstances which called for their application to this particular institution. The Associate Mission had fulfilled, and well fulfilled, its intention, and the brotherhood had accomplished all it could accomplish. The third object in view, Theological Education, had been successfully attempted, and was increasing in importance every day. The institution, then, if it continued to exist, must be for the present a Theological College, and nothing else; and any further development would be in the direction of a University.
It is no wonder, then, that Mr. Breck, who had from the first thrown the theological instruction into the competent hands of Mr. Adams, and in whom the Missionary impulse was still strong, and the taste for frontier life had been rather stimulated than otherwise by his experience at Nashotah, should thus find himself drawn towards the still more distant region of Minnesota, when that beautiful and fertile territory began to reproduce the early days of Wisconsin. In the year 1850 he resigned the presidency of Nashotah House, and paid a visit to the Eastern States, where he organized an Associate Mission for Minnesota. The work, first at St. Paul, secondly at the Indian Mission of St. Columba, and thirdly, of the schools at Faribault, testify to his untiring zeal.
Upon the resignation of Mr. Breck, which was sudden and unexpected, it was at first feared that the institution would go down. There was some $3,500 of indebtedness, against about $15,000 of assets, real and personal; but the difficulty was that the assets were unavailable, whilst the debts were pressing. Mr. Adams, who had confined himself to his duties as instructor, and to clerical work, and who was now rising in reputation in the American Church as a writer and theologian, was looked upon at the Mission as a mere scholar, and it was to the surprise of every one that he manifested a business ability fully equal to the emergency, and successfully filled the gap until a new head was found for the work. In the meantime, those of the students who had not yet been admitted as candidates for orders were dismissed, and the Bishop took such means as seemed to be necessary to provide for the candidates until the trustees should decide upon the future of the institution. He required them to re-organize themselves into a community temporarily, to report to him the condition of the property, to estimate the probable annual cost of each student's support, and gave them leave to express their opinion upon the amount and kind of labor which could properly be assigned them, and upon any other matters on which they desired to speak. In a short time the students, of whom twelve remained, made their report to the Bishop, accompanied with an inventory of the moveable property of the institution, and its probable value, and a valuation, in which they pleaded inexperience of the real estate and improvements. They thought the necessary expenses of a student could be covered by $75 per annum for board, and $50 for clothing, that each student should provide himself with the latter, rather than draw from the common store; and that, when the student's circumstances were such that he could not meet this expense himself, the allowance should be made him in money for that purpose. They professed not to be disheartened by the resignation of Mr. Breck; informed the Bishop that, in obedience to his command, they had organized themselves into a community, under one of their number as the head, and two others as a council of advice, whose duty would be to direct the labor which they would carry on as their studies and health would permit; and assured him that they would endeavor to do their duty faithfully. They gave their opinion that the principal committees of labor should be the washing and gardening, with some one or more persons to see to the clothing-room, library, and fuel,?this being all they could undertake with advantage; and that, "with regard to cows, hogs, hens, and sheep, they would agree to whatever Mr. G??? (a student who had been brought up on a farm) thought could be attended to by himself, with the assistance that might be given him, or that would be to advantage." In regard to matters in general, they were not prepared to offer any suggestions; they desired few rules, and that each should be put upon his honor as a Christian and a gentleman; their object was to prepare themselves, under the Divine blessing, for the holy ministry, and they would study and labor faithfully to that end.
By the personal solicitations of Mr. Breck, while at the East, before his departure for Minnesota, and by the exertions of others, remittances were made to Mr. Adams, and he was enabled to pay the most pressing debts and to continue the work of the institution through the summer. On the 1st of September, 1850, the Rev. A. D. Cole, a classmate of Mr. Adams, having been elected to take charge, arrived at the Mission. He has continued to manage its affairs until the present time (1873), and, in addition, gives instruction in the department of Pastoral Theology, and acts as Rector of the parish.
As the interest of a love-story culminates at the marriage of the parties, when the life really begins, so the story of Nashotah loses its romance when its real work is most effective. What remains to be told is simply that year by year there has been the daily round of prayer and study. The number of students has increased from 12 in 1850, to 51 in 1871-2, in which year there were more divinity students than ever before, all but six being in the theological classes. The support has come from the daily gifts of the faithful, which have been to Nashotah what their endowments are to the colleges of the old world. The clergy, as well as most of the students, are still pauperes Christi. The principal changes since 1850 have been the substitution of comfortable buildings of stone and brick for the humble wooden cottages of Nashotah's infancy, the increase of the library to 6,000 volumes, and the enlargement of the corps of clerical instructors from two, to five. The departments of instruction are, Systematic Divinity, Pastoral Theology, Biblical Learning, Ecclesiastical History, and a preparatory course of Classics and Mathematics for those who need it.
The lakes and the land remain about Nashotah, but all else is new. The Indian trail, and even the later stage-road, have become obsolete, and in their place the Milwaukee and Saint Paul Railway, one of the great continental thoroughfares, passes by the Mission at the distance of a mile. The great forests have shrunk to groves standing here and there upon the hillsides or lake-shores, and the fields of the farmer, with their grass and grain, fill up the broad spaces of the landscape. Milwaukee, twenty-five miles distant, has grown to be a city of 80,000 inhabitants, and within one hundred miles is Chicago, the emporium of the West, whose population numbers more than a third of a million.
In 1854-5, the first permanent building of Nashotah was ready for occupancy. It is a brick structure of three stories and attic, containing thirty-two rooms; and is named Bishop White Hall, in honor of the first presiding Bishop of the American Church. Its cost was $9,000, about half the sum which would have been required to erect it ten years later. Another, called Shelton Hall, a large stone edifice, has also been built.
In 1858 steps were taken to effect a separation of the preparatory and the theological schools,?a move looking towards the further development of the preparatory department into a full collegiate establishment. The students of St. John's Hall, which was the name it assumed, were still members of and resident at Nashotah, and would probably have so remained, had not an event of considerable consequence changed the plans of those concerned. This was the affiliation of Racine College to Nashotah. A change in the management of that institution had become necessary, through the resignation, in 1859, of the Rev. Dr. Park, the founder; and it was proposed that the members of St. John's Hall should remove to Racine College, and continue their work there. The Rev. Mr. DeKoven, then a tutor at Nashotah, became the Warden of Racine College; and twenty-five of the students were transferred with him. The College, which was on the brink of failure, was thus enabled to retrieve itself by the help of Nashotah, and entered upon that course of prosperity which has blessed it ever since. The transferred students were still supported by Nashotah, and retained on her catalogue; as were also other students educated at Racine in the academic studies preparatory to the theological course; and this arrangement continued for several years, until the number of Divinity students, and the increase of expenses caused by the War, rendered it inexpedient for Nashotah to provide for the preparatory education of her future inmates, except in special cases.
The day before the proposition was received to unite Racine College with Nashotah, the cornerstone was laid, by Bishop Kemper (Sept. 29, 1859), of the stone Chapel, which is now the house of worship of the institution and the parish. It is a neat and substantial structure, in the Early English style, with nave and aisles, chancel, vestry, organ-chamber, porch and bell-turret, and will comfortably seat 300 persons. It was some time in building, and the furnishing has but recently been completed. Its cost has been about $10,000.
The breaking out of the Civil War a short time after this, brought down the number of students from 62 in 1860-1, to 37 in 1861-2; while the depreciation of the currency, and the rise in prices from the same cause, and the absorption of all interest in the struggle, made it an anxious question whether Nashotah could continue her work. By the Divine blessing, however, it was carried on without interruption, though not without embarrassment at times, reaching its lowest point in 1862-3, when 30 only were on the catalogue; and again gradually advancing until 1870-1, when the number was 54. The preparatory department is now intended only for those whose call to prepare for Holy Orders comes, to them at an age when it would be inexpedient for them to mingle with the younger life of an American college, and who require special training before they can enter with profit on the study of theology. The course has been arranged with special reference to these exceptional cases. They are sufficiently numerous in the American Church to require attention.
It has not been found expedient since the change from the Mission to the Seminary, to prescribe the routine of the daily life as minutely as was done at the time of the visit of Bishop Kip, whose description of Nashotah we have quoted. The students live in social and pastoral intercourse with their instructors; they are required to conduct themselves on all occasions as Christian gentlemen; to attend the daily morning and evening services in chapel; to be regular in attendance at lectures; to make good use of their time in study and prayer; and to give one hour a day, if necessary, to such work for the institution as may conveniently be assigned them.
Each student attends three lectures of one hour each every day during term-time, except Sundays and Mondays. The method of instruction is a system of lectures upon text-books, and reading of illustrative matter from other works when the textbooks do not give full information. The object is to bring the student, not only to learn, but also to think, and to give him as extensive an acquaintance with good books as possible, by the judicious direction of his general reading. The number of graduates, from the beginning to 1873, is one hundred and fifty-seven.
In the summer of the present year (1873) measures were taken to associate the graduates more closely with each other, and with the institution. At a meeting which was attended by the representatives of seventeen classes, it was decided to form, the whole body of graduates, under a law of the State of Wisconsin, into a body corporate, with the name of the Convocation of Nashotah House. Its object is "the promotion of classical, scientific, and theological learning, the mutual support of the members in case of sickness or distress, the relief of the families of deceased members, and the maintenance of an institution for the care of the aged, sick, and infirm members of the association." The Board of Trustees immediately granted to the Convocation a lease of forty acres of land for the institution proposed, and affiliated the Convocation to the House, by resolving that degrees in course should be granted upon an examination by members of the Convocation, additional to those heretofore held, and a recommendation from the Convocation. They also provide that professorships and fellowships endowed by the Convocation should be filled on its nomination, subject to certain necessary restrictions. It is hoped that this measure will give additional strength and stability to the institution, and exercise a favorable influence upon its future.