Correspondence between Wadhams and Old Associates at the Seminary.--Efforts to Establish Monastic Life.
I HAVE now so far drawn on my personal reminiscences of Bishop Wadhams as to present to the reader a general and, as I trust, a characteristic sketch of the man, such as nature and divine grace conspired to make him. It is, if I have succeeded in my design, a picture which may serve as frontispiece to what follows. I propose now to go over the same general ground again, and by producing letters which have come into my hands, chiefly such letters as he had himself treasured up from his correspondents, to show him in such light as the eyes of friendship saw him, more especially during that momentous transition time which led him and so smany other converts, both in England and in the United States, into the bosom of the holy Catholic Church.
One of the earliest of these letters is from James Lloyd Breck, a young friend of Wadhams, in sympathy, like himself, with Newman, Carey, and others. Breck was at Nashotah, in Wisconsin. His letter is dated "October 21st, 1842." The Nashotah mission was a somewhat romantic attempt to found an Episcopal monastery in the Northwest. Breck was the "superior" or "prior." Besides the superior, the community at this time consisted of one assured member, the Rev. William Adams, who was at the head of the school department, while Breck labored on the mission as evangelist. The number of scholars in this school is not stated in the letter, but, as the writer assures us, "the foundation of a permanent church school, in all respects adapted to the most Catholic principles," had been laid. A seminary was also embraced in this institution, and thus far had a nest-egg consisting of one seminarian. The size of the institute at this time may be estimated from the dimensions of the building, which measured thirteen feet by seventeen feet. It consisted of one room only, which served as kitchen, study, sleeping apartment, etc., for the whole community. Two vocations for this monastery had not turned out well. A young clergyman, the son of an Episcopal bishop, had felt obliged to absent himself too frequently, for too long periods, from the cloister. Another difficulty was that he had engaged himself to be married. The other applicant had been found too scrupulous. Breck and Adams were only deacons as yet, and the applicant, who was in priest's orders, considered it as not canonical or rubrical to have a private communion service for their benefit. The household had, in consequence, soon been reduced to the slender community already stated. In his letter the reverend superior earnestly urges Wadhams to come and join them.
"If," he writes, "dear Wadhams, you conclude to come, remember we receive you on the ground of our first principles, which are: (i) so long as connected with this institution to remain unmarried; (2) to yield implicit and full obedience to all the rules and regulations of the body; (3) community of goods so long as community of purpose; (4) teaching on the staunch Catholic principles; (5) preaching from place to place on circuits--route, mode, etc., to be determined by the bishop or by one authorized by him. We sincerely hope that you will find it your duty to join us. ... I learn from Brother Adams that he has just written to our dear Brother Carey. How greatly we long after him, as a companion in our labors!"
A letter from this Brother Adams to Wadhams, directed, like that from Breck, to the General Seminary in Twentieth Street, New York City, is dated "December 6th, 1841." He begins by giving at some length a description of the country surrounding this new monastery; its beauty, its productions, and the character of its inhabitants. These latter he praises far above their neighbors of Illinois, Michigan, and Kentucky. "Nowhere have I seen any specimen of that vile animal that is called 'loafer' among them. . . . They have none of the Eastern prejudices against the church; they will listen to any sermon respectfully and with attention; not in the yawning, spitting, pick-tooth, boots-upon-the-bench sort of style and attitude in which your Kentuckian graces the house of God, but calmly and respectfully; and yet, mark you, my brother, a sermon, however strong it may be, or however pointed, will have as little effect upon these men as boiling water flung in the face of a marble statue. Sermons can make no impression."
The writer then proposes his remedy for this difficulty, which lies in an example of penance and self-mortification united to a "Catholic" churchmanship. He then urges his friend Wadhams as follows:
"Dear brother, if you can in almost every way deny yourself, can be content to remain unmarried for an indefinite period, to live on the coarsest food, to deny yourself the pleasure of cultivated society; then come to Wisconsin. . . . Whether you do come or no, in the name of God, and if you would not fall into many a perilous pit, begin a systematic course of self-denial, fasting upon the stationary days of the church. This is the only thing that will save a man from the legal spirit on the one side, and the luscious and animal spirit of religionism on the other.
If you want direction on this point, Carey will give it you. The spirit you see in him (what a spirit it is!) is the offspring of this practice."
Not long after his letter Adams visited our theological seminary in Twentieth Street; and many of us gathered around him, listening eagerly to his description of Nashotah, which seemed to us like a holy shrine set up amid the prairies, the nucleus of another Citeaux, with Breck for a St. Bernard. It must have increased very much from this small beginning. Nearly twenty years later three students from that institute visited me when I was officiating as parish priest in St. Peter's Church, Troy. They were tired of the kind of Catholicism they found at Nashotah, sincere though it was, and were resolved to become true Catholics. One, named McCurry, attached himself as priest to the diocese of Albany and was assigned to St. John's Church, in that city. The second is Father Henry L. Robinson, now rector at Chicopee, in the diocese of Springfield, Mass. The third convert was Graves, who, after finishing his studies, became connected with one of the Wisconsin dioceses. Nashotah is now, as I am informed, a flourishing seminary, receiving students from various parts of the United States. It is considered quite a conservative institution.
Whether Wadhams felt any inclination for this attempt at monastic life in Nashotah, I cannot say. Some others did--myself among the number. I endeavored, but without success, to persuade my father to transfer me to it from the seminary in New York. He took time to consider, and consulted Dr. Horatio Potter, then in charge of St. Peter's Church, Albany, but afterward Bishop of New York. The answer was unfavorable, Nashotah being represented as a nest where Catholic Protestants might be fledged into Catholics of the Roman type. My father gained still stronger impressions of danger from a Presbyterian clergyman, the famous Dr. Cox, formerly of Brooklyn. When asked what he thought of Puseyism, his answer was given in his own characteristic language: "Puseyism, sir, is the quintessence of the blackness of the darkness of the dark ages squirted into the nineteenth century." The doctor had some reason to speak in strong language. Puseyism had invaded his own household. He is said to have uttered his grief upon a public occasion in the following manner: "Hear, O Heavens! and give ear, O Earth! I have nourished and brought up children, and they have turned Episcopalians!"
Adams, the head of the school department at Nashotah, surrendered to Cupid in due time, marrying the daughter of Bishop Kemper. This was a great grief to Breck. The good prior, unable to cope with the "married influence," eventually turned his back on Nashotah and started a similar institution at Faribault, Minn. The fate against which he struggled followed him to this new plant also. Breck himself ere long got entangled matrimonially.
In all six students are known to have left Nashotah for the true fold at that time. Another convert in the immediate vicinity was the Rev. William Markoe, rector of St. John Chrysostom's Church. With him came his wife and his sister-in-law, who is now a nun.
I introduce next a precious letter from Arthur Carey, written after Wadhams had taken deacon's orders and was settled in Essex County. It was directed to Ticonderoga. Carey was looked upon at the seminary, both by professors and students, and by a host of others outside, as a sort of Saint Aloysius. His was, indeed, a beautiful and lovable character, and only a man like Wadhams could have secured and cemented a friendship so strong as that which existed between these two pure and fervent souls. We give the letter, therefore, as a memorial of both:
"NEW YORK, October 23d, '43.
"DEAREST WADHAMS: Do you recollect how happy I used to be when you tapped at my room door at the seminary, and I said 'Come in!' and in you came; and how I used to jump up to receive you, and how we used almost to hug each other; and how we sang together, and, horrible to tell, looked over the breviary together, and talked and laughed together; and how you abused my pope, on the door, and how I took his part, and now we discussed all the affairs of the church so wisely, and then adjourned and took a nice long walk, and so on? And now it is all over, and we are parted, and you are doing I know not what, and I am all alone in my room, writing to you, and feeling funny, queer, strange, a kind of blue feeling--do you know what I mean? I hope not, for it is very far indeed from pleasant; and yet I seem to wish you might occasionally feel blue, so as to sympathize with me, and to make you think over past times, that are gone forever, and are never coming back again. Think of that: Never coming back again! No, never! I have a good deal, or at least a little, news to tell you, but it seems so natural to run on in this old-fashioned, loose way that I hardly like to stop it. Does it remind you of old times? Does it make you think of those times, when you used to visit me and eat brown bread and sit before the fire? Or, are you now too parsonical for these seminary reminiscences? It is cruel even to hint that you have got above those times, when I know perfectly well that you have not, and that you will not in a hurry--I mean that you never will. Will you ever? Will you ever, Wadhams? Ah, why do not you answer? Why do not you say, 'No, never!' and pacify me? Why do not you speak? But, poor me! it is not your fault; you can't speak to me when you are so far away, can you? If you could, you would, would not you? Wouldn't you try and make me laugh now, and cheer me up a bit, if you were here? Yes, to be sure you would, like a good fellow as you are, ain't you? This is something like the way we used to run on together, I think; but I must stop it now and begin to be serious. And to begin, I must beg ten thousand pardons for forgetting so shamefully to leave the Critic for you to take with you. I have been thinking ever since that I would send it by post, but my brother tells me it would cost you a dollar in postage. Tell me what I am to do, and it shall immediately be attended to. If you tell me to send this one by post, I shall conclude you will wish me to continue and send them all the same way; unless you say to the contrary. Pardon me for my carelessness. And now about myself. I am engaged as Dr. Seabury's assistant. His vestry renewed their call immediately after the convention, and as the bishop urged me strongly to accept it, I have done so for six months. The salary is five hundred dollars per annum--quite enough to support me, but no more. I am lodging at 101 Charlton Street, quite near the church. I preach on Sunday afternoons, and open the church for Wednesday and Friday services, morning and evening, and saints' day services. I was afraid to begin with daily services, and the doctor thought better not at present. He says I may do anything I please, and he will never interfere with me, but always support me, which is pleasant, at all events. Dr. Sherwood, of Hyde Park, gave me a book (which I must lend you, as soon as I see you) by old Dr. Smith, of Connecticut. It is very interesting indeed. Its title is Primitive Psalmody, and he maintains that chanting is the only canonical ecclesiastical music; that metre psalm-singing is an abomination, and that metre hymns are only to be tolerated. He is very warm, quite eloquent, and rather learned; he is extremely severe on the Puritans and Calvinist party, and wonderfully polite and reverential toward the Church of Rome. He was himself a very good musician. He was a Scotchman, and came over with Bishop Seabury. Dr. Sherwood was his pupil, and he is a churchman of the very highest grade and an admirer of the O. [Oxford] Tracts and the British Critic, of which he is a 'constant reader.' Please direct to me, at my lodgings, when you write, and this you must soon and frequently do, and I will endeavor, as I can, to answer you. Isn't Bishop Mcllvaine cutting some strange capers? He will do mischief yet, before he stops; it is impossible to say what he may not do, if he once makes up his mind to it; but I doubt whether he carries any great weight out of his own diocese. The laity and clergy cannot really do much harm in our church, because they can never carry anything against the bishops; I suppose the bishops can always carry their own dioceses; but on the other hand, the bishops may do almost any amount of harm, if they be once opposed to each other. Our diocesan organization enables each bishop to separate his own diocese, in effect, from all others; and so we may place ourselves in a position of relative schism, and eventually break up our general convention. McMaster is now sitting by my side; he has just come down from the seminary, and is now reading to me out of the October number of the British Critic. He sends his best love to you.
"Yours ever in all brotherly love,
The active religious zeal fermenting in the minds of the more fervent students at the General Seminary, and looking forward to future work, extended itself in two directions. There was much interest in foreign missions. Some took a special interest in China and the Eastern countries of Asia. Others were more interested in Bishop Southgate's efforts to establish an unity between Anglicanism and the ancient schismatic Greek churches. Not that these students looked upon the Eastern churches as schismatic, for that would have placed themselves in the same category; but there was a feeling that the nearer Anglicans, with their "apostolical succession," could be made to harmonize with the various Greek churches, the more appearance of real unity they would present in the face of that great church whose centre was at Rome, but whose circumference encloses all nations and all ages.
A missionary society was existing at the seminary and was in a flourishing state. There was a class of students, however, in whose minds there was a strong yearning for what in the Catholic Church is called "the religious life;" meaning not merely a general aspiration toward Christian perfection, but embracing those special means to this end which consist in a mingling of community life with a seclusion from the world. It is hard, nevertheless, for an earnest American mind, however much it may long for internal purification and sanctification, to divest itself of the thought of active work for others, and therefore, in the mind of Wadhams and men of his own type, the highest ideal of a Christian ministry naturally took the form of a community of missionaries bound to poverty, chastity, and obedience. The institute at Nashotah was an honest and earnest attempt at this; and no wonder that so many eyes at the New York seminary were fixed upon that land of lakes and prairies. New York State, however, had its wilderness in the North Woods, of which Essex County formed a part. There, immediately upon his ordination, was stationed Edgar P. Wadhams. There he was already doing missionary work, with a heart yearning after perfection. This pointed him out as a natural centre round whom others might gather. What has just been said will make the following letter seem both natural and intelligible. Henry McVickar, the writer, had been a fellow-seminarian with Wadhams, was a classmate of my own, was familiar and in active sympathy with both. Let me also say of him here, briefly but emphatically, that he was a most fervent soul of rare endowments, and a Christian gentleman of the most perfect type.
His letter to Wadhams, directed to Ticonderoga from Chelsea, bears the date of August 30th, 1844. It must be understood that "Chelsea" was then the name for that part of New York City in which is situated the General Seminary, at the corner of Ninth Avenue and Twentieth Street. The letter was, therefore, written in McVickar's room at the seminary. After some previous matter, which for brevity's sake I omit, he launched into the subject which was uppermost in his mind in the following words:
"Walworth and myself have been plotting against your freedom all the morning, and as I don't feel easy I propose to confess the whole truth to you--which is this, that we propose offering our assistance in transforming you into a monk, Prater or Pater, whichever may seem best.
"Mr. Dyer's death (what a blow it must have been to you! I can well feel) has opened the Essex County mission so that it may be put upon a new and better footing (I speak under correction). You may remember some conversation we had together before you left here, in which you expressed the opinion that you might find one or two young men, desirous of preparing for the ministry, who would live with you and form the nucleus of such an institution as Nashotah. I wish to remind you of the idea you then brought out. I confess it struck me very much at the time, and has been a hope next my heart ever since.
"Can anything be done to realize it? Are you inclined to it? Will Judge B------back you? If so, let me know; when it will be needed I will provide some more backing. In the mean time I can offer you a coadjutor after your own warm heart--Walworth, . . . who finds himself unable on account of his eyes to proceed with the seminary course. . . . Inclination would lead him to Breck, but in compliance with his father's wishes he gives that up, and he now looks to your quarter. He could lay-read and teach, with a moderate use of his eyes. ... I have seen some late letters from Breck, by which he appears to be prospering. Although he is the only clergyman, he has among his students some five lay-readers, and thus supplies twelve or thirteen stations every Sunday, and finds his efficiency far greater than he could have expected.
"Walworth proposes to come and see you in September--say the fourteenth; meanwhile he will be here; and we should like to hear from you in the interval."
It seems very probable that even at this early date Wadhams' mind had been visited by strong misgivings as to the character of the church to which he was attached--whether he could safely trust himself in it as being in any true sense a branch of the church of Christ. There is a passage in this letter which evidently shows that McVickar believed him to be troubled with misgivings of this kind. The passage refers to some previous letter of Wadhams':
"I fear your rainy sky in Essex makes you low-spirited. ... I had intended to urge you to give up the idea of the possibility of your leaving the mother who begot you to God, but I cannot bring myself to believe that you will ever leave an altar on which lies the body of Our Lord while life is in you.
"Whatever is true we have a right to believe and act upon, but always with prudence, tempering truth with mercy, 'Jesus with Mary.'
"It was very kind of you to write, and I shall long to hear from you again. I beg the benefit of your prayers at the 'offering of the Salutary Host,' and remain,
"Yours most sincerely,
Shortly after the above letter Wadhams came down to New York, and upon his return to his mission took me with him. On our way north we visited McMaster, at Hyde Park, and the Rev. Mr. Wheaton, at Poughkeepsie. McMaster was full of advanced ideas and disposed to rally us both as slow-coaches. When driving one day from Hyde Park to Poughkeepsie, as we passed an Episcopal church McMaster called out suddenly: "What are you taking your hat off to, Wadhams? To that old meeting-house? There's nothing inside of that but a communion table, where the vestrymen put their hats. Wait till you come to a real church with a real altar and a sacrifice."
We did not find Mr. Wheaton at home, but visited the church in which he then officiated as assistant. While standing outside the chancel our advanced friend said: "There are four sacraments administered in this church, if any at all." "Baptism, the Lord's Supper, and Confirmation," said Wadhams; "that makes three; but what is the fourth?" "Why, Penance," said McMaster. "Do you see that chair inside the railing? That's where Wheaton sat when I made my confession to him. It was something new for him and he didn't want to do it, but I insisted upon it; and didn't I frighten the life out of him!" Years afterward it was a pleasure to meet Dr. Wheaton when he had become a Catholic.
Wadhams and I proceeded from thence to Ticonderoga, the trip from Troy to Whitehall being made on the canal. After a few weeks I was obliged to return to New York to consult my oculist. From there McVickar and I addressed a joint letter, or rather two letters on the same sheet, to our friend at Ticonderoga. Mine runs as follows:
"DEAR FATHER EDGAR: If this epistle should be too brief, charge my eyes with the offence. I don't know where to direct it to, but trust it will find you at Ti. I will be ready to come back to Wadhams Mills just as soon as you wish me. . . . Please write me immediately. . . . Say what books you would have me purchase.
McV-----has just given me a check for $50 for tools, books, etc. I shall purchase all the Lives of Saints, breviaries, and two or three manuals of devotion; what more would you like in the way of books or else? Can the cooking-stove, shovel and tongs, beds, bedding, etc., be obtained best in Essex Co.? Shall I bring writing paper, etc.? We are, I think, all three ready (i.e., willing) for action. May God and Our Lady prosper us! My love to Judge B-----, etc. . . .
"Yours faithfully forever,
This is McVickar's letter:
November 6th, 1844.
"MY DEAR WADHAMS: Walworth's return last Saturday gave me the greatest satisfaction. I had missed his sympathy more than I could have suspected I should, and I can appreciate better than before the comfort you will be to one another this winter.
"Any plans you shall adopt I shall subscribe as the best, only I would have you consider this winter as one of trial, and on that account perhaps, as well as others, we should practise the doctrine of reserve; consider the mighty game we are playing, and how sure we ought to be of our moves before we make them; but in all these matters you are a far better judge than I am, and I am ashamed (if it were not an evidence of the interest I take) of my self-sufficiency.
"I hear that they want to call McMaster to Fishkill, if the bishop will ordain him; but the bishop is so full of his own matters (having been presented for trial for immoral conduct) that he cannot bestow much thought upon Mac, who has had a severe trial. Our turns may not be very far distant.
"The Lives of the English Saints I am delighted with, and would not part with them upon any consideration.
"Could you not manage to pick up some orphan child this winter belonging to no one (the younger the better), over whom you might exercise complete control? They are the stuff we must in a great measure depend upon. As my letter is made up of patches, I will end it by an extract [from'] Ward's book which may point out the course 'the Apostolicals' in England would advise: 'However, the one method that carries God's blessing with it of reforming a bad system is first of all to load the existing framework with all possible good, if it will bear it well; if not, God himself has solved for us the question and the system breaks down with no direct agency of ours' (p. 368).
"Your promised letter I shall expect with great anxiety, and I shall feel authorized hereafter to apply to you for guidance in any difficulties into which I may fall, and shall ever remain, with the sincerest love,
All the earnestness and hopefulness with which we three aspirants after monasticism set to work to realize our vision is to be seen in our purchase of breviaries and other books for prayer and pious reading, and of tools for manual labor, for we believed, with St. Bernard and his Cistercians, that good monks must labor as well as pray. That hope was very high in our hearts may be seen from the fact that Wadhams and McVickar made their wills to secure a sort of endowment for the institute. I, who had no other property but myself either in possession or in prospect, had only myself to bequeath, and I did it with a will. We had even fixed upon a name for our "Clairvaux," which was to be called St. Mary's, and our minds were sometimes occupied in designing cloisters. I have no personal recollection of McMaster as included in our proposed community. It would seem, however, from the following letter (written in 1844, and mailed from Hyde Park, N. Y.), that he had offered himself to Wadhams for some kind of a combination which was to be cemented by vows:
"IN FESTO O SAPIENTIA, Dec. 16.
"MY DEAR WADHAMS: I would have written to you long ago, but I was determined you should keep your word and write first, as in duty bound. I am delighted to hear how well you are coming on; things seem to be nearer what you would wish than you could have hoped a few months ago. I am sorry you did not write a week earlier than you did, for then I would have had time to make this letter twice as long as it will be now. However, if you answer it soon, I will write a longer one soon after the holidays. I spend next week in town, and am full of business in the mean while. I have had two letters from England, within the month; one from Dalgairns, the other from Oakeley. Both are very kind and interesting. Oakeley cannot immediately go on with St. Bernard; his intimate friend and coadjutor, who was to have assisted him, has crossed and is gone. O-----says he has no intention of following him at present. He thinks the step (which was taken without consulting friends) was owing to morbid excitement of mind and peculiar circumstances. He means as soon as he can to resume his labors on St. Bernard. Dalgairns is full of the state of parties consequent on the recent election of V. Chancellor, and, like Oakeley, writes in bad spirits. The breach is irreparable between the thorough-paced ones and the Hook party, and this seems to discourage them. Ward's book they speak of in the highest terms. Of course an attempt is being made by some in authority to get hold of him and punish him, but this is not likely to succeed. He is coming out in a new edition in two volumes, enlarged from the first. Of the lives of the saints, St. Augustine is by Oakeley; Sts. Wolstan and William, by Mr. Church (a fellow of Oriel and follower of Mr. Newman, author of the articles on St. Anselm in the B. Critic}; Sts. Paulinus, Bega, etc., constituting No. VI., is by F. W. Faber, the poet. I am rejoiced to see him so true a man; he talks harder than any one of them, and I think from several things that he has recovered very much from his self-conceit, which used so to spoil his writings. Dalgairns leads me to infer that he himself is the author of St. Stephen and St. Gilbert, being Nos. I. and VII.; finally some of the shorter of the Legends of the Hermit Saints are by Newman. Have you all these? I see No. VIII. announced, and volume vi. of the Plain Sermons. "You ask very kindly about my own affairs. I know little about them externally. That Fish-kill business is all nonsense; they would not think of me. To tell the truth, I am very careless about taking orders. I believe a furious storm is gathering, and will very soon drive us to Rome. The only possible alternative is the breaking up of our communion between different dioceses. Whether that could save us, considering the reckless character of the Wtiittmg-kamtfes--or, as I am disposed henceforth to call them, the 'Hamites,' as if from the father of Canaan the accursed--whether such a division can save us, is, I say, very doubtful. I think our present tack is a deep love for our church--of course for her poor remnant of Catholicism, which remnant we as dutiful sons will strive to preserve and increase. I think we may well express ourselves strongly both in the way of affection for her and of deep consciousness that she has forfeited almost everything, and may very shortly forfeit the rest, which we are striving to prevent. I think, however, that it is most likely when we openly avow belief in the unity of the church as consisting in communion with St. Peter's chair, and in communion of saints as implying, or rather including, invocation of them, that they will stop their ears and hurl us out. I shall have a good deal to say to you when I return from the city. I am going to urge Seabury, furiously, to advance his colors, and take a bold stand in the Churchman. I wrote him a week ago a letter that I dare say has frightened him a little, and I mean to frighten him still more. If we stay, as we want to, in our church, we stay to work and to talk, not to be quiet. And this must and shall be allowed us; and so I told him. (By the way, he spoke very highly of you a few weeks ago when I was in town, and expressed regret that he never could get hold of you.) I must thank you for offering me a retreat at St. Mary's. There is nothing to keep me from joining you in the spring, so far as I am concerned; but it will not do to make schemes. I feel that hitherto I have done nothing to fit myself for what may be in store for us. My wretched want of humility has spoiled me in everything, and now, if now indeed, gives me everything to do yet. If I am ordained in the spring, which may be, cannot you come down? I speak only on conjecture, but there are several who will be likely to urge it. I have gone every length with Mr. Wheaton, and he goes with us heartily. Oh, if his wife was only in a convent! He is very religious and earnest, I assure you, in spite of his wife. When have you heard from Shepherd? Wadhams, I want to see a common rule adopted by us, whether living together or not, to be observed strictly. It must be general, but include regular canonical hours, celibacy by vow, and obedience to the superior of the 'order,' if we may so call it. Let it not surprise you when I say I am free to take these vows. Don't say so to any one. I cannot explain farther. To these, of course, confession must be added--oh! how I long to see it established with us, for my own sake. Platt wrote me lately from Rochester, and expressed a great wish to see you. He finds it hard work with those nasty High-Churchmen. I wish he was in this diocese. So say I of every one that is right-minded: Concentrate first, and go forth thence.
"Thank you for Spooner's Sermon; there are good things in it, but he is crochety and out of joint. He deals harder with others than with himself, I fancy, or he would be more religious in his tone. Have you seen Questions for Self-Examination, republished in Albany, under auspices of Williams & Potter, of Albany?
"I am glad Walworth is contented. Remember me kindly to him. I tried to see him when in town, but could not find him. Write me very soon, and a long letter. The details of your doings interested me much. Believe me ever most sincerely, Yours, etc.,
"B. B. J. McMASTER."
The Oxford Movement, so called, was now fast coming to a crisis, both in England and in America. In June, 1844, William George Ward, of Balliol College, Oxford, published his celebrated Ideal of a Christian Church. This ideal was so plainly contrary to the actual Anglican Church, so radically different, in truth, that it produced a general horror in the minds of average churchmen, and no small dismay in the ranks even of Tractarians. To borrow a simile of Dr. Newman, the result was like that produced by "Sindbad the Sailor" and his companions when they kindled a cooking-fire on the back of a barren little island. The experiment changed the island into a whale. The sluggish animal first shivered, then threw his tail high up in the air and relieved himself speedily both of the coals and the cooks. In Oxford a prosecution was soon initiated to condemn Ward and deprive him of his degrees. Affairs at the Twentieth Street seminary drew on toward a crisis at the same time. The American whale also woke up and prepared to dive, and the first that fell into the water were certain Catholicizing seminarians, who happened to be where the coals were hottest. The hard-fisted old Knickerbocker bishop, who was president of the seminary and had hitherto been their protector, had come into disgrace and was unable to give any efficient help. The High-Church bishops of the "Catholic" kind were made feeble through fear, and those of the Low-Church grew correspondingly bold and clamorous. What followed at the seminary is sufficiently developed in a letter from McVickar to Wadhams, dated at the seminary, December 31 st, 1844. The first few lines of the letter we omit. They refer to architectural plans for the new "St. Mary's" at Wadhams Mills.
"... An affair in which Walworth is interested, and of which, if report says true, he has already heard of from his bishop, is keeping the seminary in hot water." (This was a mistake so far as to any communication between Bishop De Lancey and myself.) "The history is this. About two weeks ago Mr. Ogilby sent for Watson (m. class) and told him that he had been informed that there was an organized party in and out of the seminary, including clergy, for Romanizing the church. Donnelly, Taylor, Watson, Platt, Walworth, and myself belonged to it. He questioned Watson on his views, and W-----acknowledged that he used prayers to the saints and considered the Church of England schismatical. As soon as we heard it, we (Donnelly, Taylor, and myself) called on Mr. O-----and asked him what he had heard against us and who had informed him. He refused to answer, and asked us to answer some of his questions, which we refused to do, and he reported us all to our bishops. D-----and I had seen Bishop O-----, who says he is satisfied; but the faculty have taken it up, and I am to appear before them on the 7th proximo on the charge of recommending Romish books, and also on the charge of believing in the papal supremacy. The information comes through P-----, whom I think Walworth knew, and who has used the basest deception to get information. Whatever happens it will make no difference in my remaining in the P. E. Church. We call ourselves Catholic. I may, therefore, hold.all Catholic truths, which I am determined to do.
"Whicher is here, and gives out that he is sent for by his bishop. I think that Platt may be down also.
"A letter has lately appeared by Mr. Oakeley giving his reasons to a Roman Catholic for remaining in the Church of England. It is said to be a very thorough thing. The reports of Mr. Newman's having gone to the Church of Rome are all false. Mr. Forbes is getting on astonishingly well, and Dr. Seabury's sermons are noble in doctrine and power; but Mr. Whea-ton of Po'keepsie, under Mr. McMaster's guidance, is becoming the staunchest priest in the church. So we have no reason to despair, and if we did not meet with trouble we should want one mark of holding the true faith. Remember me kindly to Walworth, etc."