A Storm at Oxford Echoed at the Chelsea Seminary.--Sindbad's Whale Flops.--The Cloister Goes Under.--Friends Cross Over to Rome.
ON the 13th of February, 1845, a convocation of the University of Oxford condemned William George Ward's Ideal of a Christian Church, as containing passages inconsistent with the Thirty-nine Articles, and deprived him of his degrees in the university. Mr. Ward was not only a clergyman in priest's orders, but a fellow of Balliol College and had been professor of mathematics at that college. Of course, this blow, aggressive and decisive as it was, fell not only upon him, but upon a large number of others who stood in the same position with him. When the convocation broke up and passed out into the street, Mr. Ward was cheered by the undergraduates, and the vice-chancellor was saluted with hisses and snowballs from the same quarter. To borrow a most truthful and forcible expression already applied to these proceedings, "the university was ostracising half its most promising sons."
It must, however, be acknowledged that the Anglican Church, notwithstanding her enormous latitude of doctrine, was too thoroughly Protestant in spirit to hold such men as Ward. And on the other hand, a large number of Puseyites were too much puffed up with the fancy of being Catholic for him to sympathize any longer with them.
"A Catholic priest at Old Hall College was put somewhat out of countenance when, in answer to his rather sneering remark, 'I suppose you call yourself a Catholic, Mr. Ward,' he received the reply, 'Oh dear no! You are a Catholic, I am a Puseyite.' He did not believe himself to be a priest, or to have the power of forgiving sins. . . . And when once a friend said to him, 'Bear in mind that you are, on our principles, realty a priest of God,' Ward broke off the discourse by saying, 'If that is the case, the whole thing is infernal humbug.' "
The University of Oxford is a far more ancient and venerable institution than the Church of England, and far more vigorous with real English life. It has more of a mind of its own, it has more liberty to speak, and its word goes farther among English churchmen. This it is that made Ward's condemnation so crushing a blow to all would-be Catholics. It was still possible for men belonging to the "movement" to remain in the university and in the church on condition of keeping their mouths shut, but these men said in their hearts, to use the words of McMaster's letter already quoted, "If we stay, as we want to, in our church, we stay to work and to talk, not to be quiet." By keeping this in mind the reader will easily understand that by the above act of convocation the Oxford movement had practically come to a collapse. What was true of the Church of England was also true of her affectionate little daughter on this side of the water. Ward retired from Balliol and from Oxford, Oakeley resigned his charge at Margaret Chapel, London, in the following summer, and Newman did not hesitate to intimate to his friends that he was no longer at peace in the church of his birth. In this country also a crisis had come. Several seminarians were, upon complaint, subjected to an informal trial at the Twentieth Street seminary.
What interested Wadhams in a very special manner was that Henry McVickar, a prospective member of our little monastery, feeling crowded out by the result, withdrew to rooms at Columbia College. The Protestant Episcopal Church was no longer a home for many earnest souls. The test contained in McVickar's letter of November 6th, 1844, already given, for "reforming a bad system," had been applied and failed. Her framework would not bear that load "of all possible good," which they had attempted to put upon it. Enthusiastic young men might still be allowed to play Catholic, but they must not presume to mean anything by it. McVickar, though much discouraged, still seemed to hope something from the monastic idea, though he gradually grew more non-committal until finally he withdrew. His next letter to the prior of St. Mary's, dated at Columbia College, February 23d, 1845, reads as follows:
"MY DEAR WADHAMS: I received your welcome letter a few days back and have sent a bundle as directed. You cannot tell how I regret not being able to send you Ward's book, but when Adams left here I promised that a copy should be sent to Nashotah, and if I could not get any one else to send it I would send my own, which I soon expect to have an opportunity of doing. I shall, however, try and get you a sight of the book before long. As to its being published I can only say I hope for it. Mr. Johnson of Brooklyn offers, I understand, to take twenty-five copies if the Appletons will put out an edition.
"Speaking of Mr. J-----, some of the students whom I have seen tell me that about fifteen of them were over there yesterday (Saturday) to chant the Psalter for him and are to go again on Easter eve.
"In a letter to Walworth I have mentioned some of the reasons that led me to take the step I took at the seminary. At the time I felt very much the need of advice, but those upon whose judgment I would have placed the most confidence were absent; and what I did had to be done quickly and some protest seemed necessary. And, indeed, I was more restricted by the action which was taken than you seem to suppose; perhaps I made too great concessions--I allowed that I was not the judge of what was injurious to the seminary, but I conceded that the faculty were, and that if they would point out how they thought I had injured it I would avoid it for the future. This they did in a general way, but so as to restrict me more than I thought right; but if I had remained at the seminary I should have submitted to it and thought it my duty to do so. But I was free to leave the institution, and I did so.
"... No. 8 of the Lives of the Saints is one of the most thorough of the series. McMaster supposes it to be Mr. Newman, and he is a good judge of style.
"McMaster has not been very well this winter. When last I heard from him he was cogitating a successor for Bishop O-----. . . .
"I have had a long letter from Johnson, who has advanced astonishingly--developed, perhaps I had better say. I wish you or Walworth would write to him, and urge him to come into this diocese. I regard him as a most valuable man.
"Mr. Kneeland is my room-mate at present, and is studying theology with an energy that would shame most students. He has just finished Ward, and Moehler [on "Symbolism"], and is delighted with them.
"I saw Mr. Carey the other evening. His accounts from his son Henry (Arthur Carey's brother), who is in Madeira, are far from encouraging; his heart appears very much affected. Give my best love to Walworth, and believe me,
"Very truly and sincerely yours,
The letter that follows needs no introduction.
"NEW YORK, Maundy Thursday, 1845.
"MY DEAR WADHAMS: ... To begin with the question which concerns me most intimately, you ask: When and whether I will join you? To this I reply, it depends upon my obtaining orders. If I do, with the bishop's permission, I will join you as deacon immediately afterwards. To join you as a layman is a question I have never considered. My present judgment is against it. Now, I wish to be very explicit in this matter with you.
"I am extremely doubtful whether I can obtain orders without exciting new commotions and troubles; and if I think so when the time comes / shall not apply for them. You must therefore act without counting upon or regarding me in this matter.
"My three years' candidateship (till the expiration of which the bishop tells me I cannot be ordained) does not expire till some time toward the end of November next.
"Under these circumstances I do not think it right that I should control in the least your movements. In order, therefore, to render your action as free as possible and that you may act for the best, I accept the release you have given me so far as to avoid the trust under your will, and desire you to revoke it, or destroy the will as soon as convenient. This does not in the slightest interfere in the establishment of the house, if you wish to do so, and at the same time simplifies matters and renders you freer to choose the best course.
"With this statement as to myself I must leave you and Walworth to decide the other questions, and upon your own course. I am glad Walworth has been engaged in so useful a work as preparing a book of devotions, and hereby offer my subscription for half a dozen copies at the least, or as many more as he sets me down for. The warmest inquiries are made after him by the students that I meet at the Annunciation. [Dr. Seabury's old church, where Carey had been assistant, situated at the corner of Prince and Thompson Streets,--C. A. W.]
"The news from England is important. Ward is deprived of his degree and fellowship. . . . Remember me affectionately to W-----, and if he is harassed with doubts, believe me there are many who sympathize with him. With a deep interest in all that concerns you, I remain, ever yours faithfully,
It ought to be easy for the reader to understand that this period was to Wadhams one of great mental anxiety and sometimes anguish of heart. This, however, did not keep the young deacon from faithful and hard labor in the field of his mission. I was eye-witness only to a small part of this, as I remained in Wadhams Mills during his frequent absences, officiating as lay-reader and catechist there on Sundays when he held service at Ticonderoga and Port Henry. I can say little, therefore, of his work and way of working, except what I saw him do at Wadhams Mills. I do not think any of his people at the Mills were sick that winter. He had opportunities, however, to show kindness to sick people not of his fold. I left him once at the village inn to keep night watch over a man suddenly taken ill, under circumstances which caused great alarm. I left him stretched out on three chairs beside the sick-bed. His weight rested chiefly upon a central chair; his feet reposed upon another, and his head was supported on a third, which was tilted up on two legs. He was accustomed to this way of couching and always said he never slept better than in that fashion. I heard the sick man whisper to a friend who happened in, "Isn't he a good fellow!" A young man whose apartments were right over the village store was taken with the small-pox. The villagers were filled with alarm and would none of them come near him. Even the village doctor came only once, and then covered from neck to foot with a long bag, something like a night-gown, made expressly for the purpose. The young man's family, only four miles distant, kept away from him, except his step-mother, who came to carry him home as soon as he was well enough to be moved. The village store beneath him was closed up, and a farmer who lived across the street was so frightened that I saw him once shaking his fist at the house when he saw the door opened opposite to him. Wadhams, however, was in and out frequently, and so was his good mother, who brought food for the patient. She took no precaution for herself, only she was careful to send two grandchildren home. It was decided by the villagers that for the public safety the young man should be removed to a deserted and dilapidated hut in the neighborhood; but, it being" the dead of winter, neither Wadhams nor his mother would listen to this; and, since the authorities could find no one willing to undertake the job of removal, the project was abandoned.
Wadhams preached every Sunday afternoon, alternating between Ticonderoga, Port Henry, and Wadhams Mills. The reader may be interested to know what his sermons were like at this time and how he delivered them. I recall one occasion when he preached in the school-house at Ticonderoga. He inveighed against lazy postures in devotion, and spoke of men who would not kneel for fear of getting dust on their knees, etc. The only person of this kind present was the leading gentleman of his congregation, who sat directly under the preacher's desk, and saw the commanding form of our friend looking down upon him, not more than six feet distant, and emphasizing him most earnestly with his eyes. This gentleman's respect for the young apostle was, nevertheless, too great to allow him to take offence. We both took supper with him that evening, and the conversation was as cordial on all sides as if nothing but abstract truth had been uttered in the morning sermon.
It is well to remark here that Wadhams took no pride in his own utterances. In the commencement he wrote out all his sermons, and that carefully. Still he was ready to read from printed books any sermon that pleased him, or anything that would serve his purpose when short of matter. In one same day at Ticonderoga he used manuscript sermons of mine and McMas-ter's, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. They were exercise sermons which we had written in New York and preached before the class. Both of us were in the audience, and we were astonished and delighted to see how much he made of them with his strong emphasis and earnest manner. He had read the sermons carefully beforehand, and prepared himself well to do justice to them. He was less cautious on another occasion at Wadhams Mills, and felt himself caught in a trap. His repertoire of sermons was exhausted and hard work daring the week had prevented him from making any preparation. "Walworth," said he, "I want one of your seminary sermons; I'm short."
"All right," I said; "I'll lend you one; but I never preached it at the seminary, and you may not like it."
"I've no time to read it," said he, "and I'll take it on trust."
The sermon was on the "Infallibility of the Church." It was rather a heavy gun, and would have excited much astonishment if used in Twentieth Street before the professor in class. I watched my friend as he delivered it, and not without some fear of the consequences. The audience showed no signs of agitation or dissatisfaction. Wadhams himself, however, grew red in the face as he proceeded, and I noticed that whenever he came to some terrible words about "the Rock of Peter," which often occurred, he braced himself up, and pounded the desk with unusual energy. After the morning service was over, and the Sunday-school exercises also--for which all the audience remained--I conducted his mother, widow Wadhams, to her house, where our rooms were, and waited with some apprehension for my friend's return. When he entered the room he glared at me for a little while, and then said, with a remarkable mildness: "I tell you what, my very dear Christian friend, if I had known what was in that sermon I wouldn't have preached it." "Well," I said, "if you are satisfied, I am sure the congregation is. Nobody here will take any exception to anything you preach."
In this, however, I was mistaken. In the evening we visited a cousin of his, an Episcopalian, whose husband, however, was a Baptist. He said to me: "I liked the sermon this morning very much, but there was one thing in it which I couldn't exactly take in. I don't see how you Episcopalians can prove the infallibility of the Pope." The sermon, of course, was not intended to carry the point of infallibility so far. Nevertheless, I let this odd mistake pass, not being altogether unpleased with it.
"You cannot?" said I, "why the thing is not so very difficult! Just look at the Scriptures," and I proceeded to present some arguments drawn from Scripture and from reason, arguments which at this very time were leading me rapidly to the Catholic faith. The preacher of the morning said nothing, but looked amazed.
The objector still objected, but the good lady, his wife, was disposed to stand firmly by any doctrine that seemed to come from the pulpit or the general seminary.
"Hush!" said she to her husband, "don't talk so much; you only show your ignorance." It is hard to say precisely how much of the confiding simplicity of Wadhams' flock was owing to thing else than his own magnetic sincerity.
Following these events and the communications from McVickar already given, there came a correspondence between him and myself which led to a distinct abandonment by him of our monastic scheme, a consequent termination of my residence with Wadhams, and to a termination, also, of my connection with the Protestant Episcopal Church. In truth, my state of mind was very much like that of Ward and Oakeley in England.
I had little confidence in the validity of Anglican orders. I felt myself to be in a state of schism, separated from the ancient and true Church of Christ. Moreover, whatever toleration was given by Anglicanism to Catholic ideas, rank heresy received far more efficient toleration; and I saw little hope of reviving a breathless corpse by our weak efforts to blow a little wind into its nostrils. I began to realize that, whatever of supernatural life there was in individual Anglicans, they did not derive it from Anglicanism. The condition of Wadhams' mind was very similar to my own. Even the fragmentary correspondence of that time now in my possession contains warnings from his friends which, if my remembrance serves, were never communicated to me. I think he was afraid of adding to my uneasiness, and his own soul was not in a mood that made him capable of reassuring friends. At one time, when there was some reason to apprehend serious danger from sickness, I said to him:
"My dear old fellow, if this thing should turn out badly I shall want better help than you can give me." "Never fear," he answered; "in that case you shall have a priest, and it shall be some one that is a priest for certain."
The correspondence between McVickar and myself above referred to contained expressions on my part of distrust in Episcopalianism and longing aspirations after unity with Rome which alarmed my friend in New York. These expressions drew from him declarations of a determination to abide in the church where he was at all hazards, and of an inability to co-operate practically with any whose hearts were already in another fold. The crisis had come. Sindbad's island whale was unmistakably in motion. She would not endure any more hot coals. The presumptuous sailors who had been dancing on her back were now obliged to look out for their own safety. It had become necessary either to go under with the whale or to strike out for a safer refuge. To particularize: St. Mary's Monastery in the North Woods had turned out to be a vision. That vision had vanished, and in its place was left nothing but a roofless log house on the Wadhams farm. The following note will now speak for itself:
"YOUR STUDY, May 5th, 1845.
"DEAR WADHAMS-. In a few minutes I shall be gone--and oh, as I lean my breast against your stand, how wildly something beats within. It seems as if I were about to separate from everything I love, and my poor heart, faithless and unconscientious, wants to be left behind among the Protestants. I am not manly enough to make a stout Catholic; but it is a great privilege to be a weak one. Well, do not you forget me. Indeed you cannot--you have been such a good, kind, elder brother to me, you would not be able if you tried to forget me. When hereafter you speak of me, speak freely of me for truth's sake, with all my faults; but when you think of me alone, try to forget all that is bad for love's sake, and although your imagination should in this way create a different person, no matter, so you call it by my name. We have stormy times before us, dear W------; but may God grant us the privilege to ride the storm together. Farewell until we meet again, and when and where shall that be?
'Lead Thou us on!'
In close connection with the above note is the copy of a letter from Wadhams to McVickar. The original was carried to New York City by McMaster. He had come up to visit us at Ticonderoga, and we had arranged together, McMaster and I, to enter the Catholic Church, and for this purpose to apply to the Redemptorist Fathers at their house in Third Street, New York. I went on first, leaving him to follow me after finishing his visit at Ticonderoga.
It is a noticeable fact that Wadhams should have made and preserved a copy of this one letter among so many which he wrote. No doubt he felt that it marked the turn of a great tide in his life. The letter reads as follows:
"CHURCH OF THE CROSS, TICONDEROGA,
"Tuesday in Whitsun Week, 1845.
"MY DEAR McVICKAR: Conscious of great neglect to you, I now sit down after again returning to this place to answer your last kind letter.
"I cannot well describe to you the feelings that Walworth's note--written after I left him and left upon my table--has excited. Of him, his worth and advantage to me for the past months I need not speak to you who know him better than I and consequently know what they must have been. Every one regrets that he has left these mountains, particularly Judge and Mrs. B------, and the Hammonds at the Falls. Poor fellow! he suffered very much from his eyes during the winter and spring, and, after it was finally settled that we were not to have your company up here, became discontented. What step he has now taken you, doubtless, know better than I do. Though sorry that he has left me alone among these mountains, I am not sorry that I have a friend among the Roman Catholics. On the contrary, I am glad, for there is no knowing how soon we all may be obliged to leave our present communion--'that dispensation of God which has been to all of us so great a blessing '--and go to the church which is Catholic. I say this, not expecting to abuse the kindness which he and other friends may extend to me there, but to express my thankfulness to them for their manliness and straightforwardness. We are certainly under obligations to them for opening and showing the way for those Americans that may follow. It seems to be a conceded point now among those who are leading the way in our church that the Church of Rome has all the wisdom, and it must follow that, while some are striving to gain that wisdom, some will, as a matter of course, remain unquiet until they can gain the religious graces which she alone bestows with that wisdom. Wai worth is one of these, and, partly of his own accord and partly from necessity, he crosses. There are others who will have more difficulty in leaving friends and undoing a work which they had trusted was good.
"I am under many obligations to you for Oakeley's letter and the Lives of the Saints, which I return by McMaster.
"Please write to me and inform me how and when I shall send you the Breviary and the Lives of the Saints (Butler's) and also what I shall do with the tools. I have lost the bill of the latter, but if you wish to have them sold please say (if you recollect) what they cost.
"Will it not be your pleasure to come and see me this summer? I shall be here and at Wadhams Mills alternately. But will manage to have my time entirely at your disposal if I can receive so great a pleasure as your company. Please write to me soon, addressing me at this place.
"Very sincerely your friend,
"E. P. WADHAMS.
"Monday, May 19th.
"P. S. Agreeably to your request, I have destroyed my will this morning; and must beg of you to be set free of the trust committed to me in your own. Ever yours,
"E. P. WADHAMS."
The next letter which I give the reader is one from myself to Wadhams, detailing after some sort the circumstances which attended my reception into that great motherly bosom which I had sought for so earnestly, but had been so timid to recognize. The mail which bore it to Ticonderoga must have passed McMaster as he brought down to New York the letter just given above.
"IN FESTO CORPORIS CHRISTI, May, 1845.
"DEAR WADHAMS: You have not, of course, forgotten your poor crazy friend, who used to get so wild when you left him alone, and talked of going over. Well, he has gone over now, and his soul is as quiet and happy as if it had a right to be happy instead of mourning in sackcloth and ashes. For fear I should not have room afterwards, I will begin by telling you statistically and methodically what I have done. I arrived here (New York) in due time on Wednesday morning, and the same day made my way to Father Rum-pier. I found him all that I wished--a wise, kind, earnest, spiritually-minded man, and put myself immediately into his hands. Last Friday (May 16th) I made my profession--the form you have probably seen in the Roman Ritual. Three or four witnesses only were present, as I wished the matter to be secret, for tranquillity's sake, until I had received the sacraments. The creed of Pius IV. sounded most musically in my ears, and I took pleasure in repeating it very slowly and distinctly. I was then freed from the curse and excommunication which you remember used so to trouble us. On Thursday, the day before, I had made my confession, and on Saturday came again to the confessional and was absolved, and on Sunday morning communicated, after which I had no longer any motive to make the thing a secret. It is well known at the seminary, and, of course, therefore, in other quarters; but, as I have kept very much at home, I do not know what is said about it. None of those to whom I have spoken before my profession used the least expostulation, but seemed to regard it as a thing of course, and an honest step. McVickar is silent and reserved in the extreme, but very kind. I do not know what to infer from this, but am unwilling to trouble him. I have made application through Father Rumpler to be admitted as novice at Baltimore, and shall probably hear next week. I have as yet had no intercommunication with my immediate relatives in this matter. This, my severest trial, will come on next week. And now I have told you all that relates to myself externally. My inward joy and satisfaction at being in the very church of God and communion of the saints, I cannot express. Should Judge B----- express any interest in my movements, make no secret with him. I feel much attached to him, not only on account of his friendliness to me, but from strong personal esteem.
Remember me gratefully to Mrs. B-----, also to Clarence, and the other children. Alas! dear Wadhams, what shall I say to you, of your kindness, gentleness, and thousand favors to me? I will just say nothing, for I will not have my feelings belied by an attempt to convey them by letter.
"Well, what have you and Mac been doing in Essex County? Has he been raising any commotion in your extensive diocese? If he is with you still, give, my warm love to him, although that is not very necessary, as I shall most probably be here when he comes down, and can do it for myself. I earnestly hope he will be cautious in the extreme in his method of abjuring his Protestant connections, for his own sake and that of others, and especially of the great cause. I do not mean he ought to do it precisely in the same still way as I--for, of course, every one must in some sort act according to his own natural method--but I mean he ought to say and do nothing without premeditation. So far as I have learned, Puseyism is still alive at the seminary, and wearing its own colors. It is scouring away at the outside of the cup and platter very bravely, as you remember it in our day there. The young Anglo-Catholics are acquiring the dyspepsia by fasting, buying up rosaries and crucifixes, which, nevertheless, they have no idea of using, and enjoy the satisfaction of knowing how frightened their mothers would be if they knew what their darlings were about. Perhaps this may seem to you somewhat cross, but indeed I am out of all conceit with Puseyism, whether ornamental, sentimental, or antiquarian. Christ is one and undivided, and must be sought for in His undivided church, which He inhabits and inspires. God grant that you and I may soon meet upon that Rock which rests itself upon the Rock of Ages!
"Give my sincere love to your mother--I shall not soon forget her, I assure you. Also to Mrs. Hammond and the doctor, Mrs. and Miss Hay, Mrs. Atherton, and all others who have been kind to me. If you will answer me immediately, I shall get your letter before I leave New York. With all my heart, most sincerely yours forever,
"Direct to me at New York, care of Edgar Jenkins, Esquire, 78 Eleventh Street. I visit often the brethren of St. Alphonse, but will tell you more hereafter. C. W."
The words in the above letter which speak of our anxiety at the thought of living in a state of excommunication may require some explanation. To furnish this I give the following reminiscence: In Sterne's Tristram Shandy is a story, given there as a joke, but often repeated among Protestants as a reality. It represents that on Friday in Holy Week the Pope publicly curses all heretics and infidels from the altar. The curse is given word for word, and is really something very horrible. It is, in fact, just so near the truth as this: that on that day, in all Catholic churches throughout the world, public prayers are offered for their conversion, in order that God may bless them. We did not either of us give much credit to such a tale, but still we were ignorant in regard to the real facts. Wadhams, I remember, had been more struck by the awful nature of anathemas from such a source than moved to a feeling of resentment. "It's a foolish story," said he. "It can't be true. But, I tell you what!--I don't want that old man to curse me."
The next letter connects itself sufficiently with the preceding one, and is here given without comment:
"SARATOGA SPA, June 26th, 1845.
"DEAR WADHAMS: What can I write to you? I know you must be anxious to hear all the news; but, in such an ocean of things I have to tell you, what can one do with a sheet of paper? I wish I had you here hung up fast by a hook in some corner where you could not get away. I would talk to you from sunrise to bed-time, and you would need to say nothing but 'no! no!--did?--did?' all the while. You will be surprised perhaps to find me writing from Saratoga. I came up about two weeks since, at mother's request and to try to comfort her, for she takes my conversion very much to heart, thinking me quite ruined by becoming a Catholic. I shall return in a very few days. By the by, the priest at the Springs is a Cistercian, or monk of St. Bernard (only think, a genuine live Cistercian), a very learned and, I think, a very good man. When Bishop Hughes travelled in Belgium this monk became much interested for this poor, infidelity-ridden country, and obtained leave to come and help the good cause on this side the water. You asked me in your last letter to describe to you the ways and customs of the brethren of St. Alphonse at New York. Indeed, I can tell you nothing beyond what M. has told you.
"In the first place, there are scarcely enough of them to constitute a 'house,' being only three, and sometimes four, Fathers, and a few lay-brethren. Then, again, I go in and out without ceremony and the Father Superior is almost always ready to see me, and as I am not put under rule, I know very little about their rule. McM., who stays with them all the while and is besides much more observing than I, is better able to inform you. But this will, of course, be entirely unnecessary, for you will soon come down to see us off--(of course, you have learned from Mac that we are to go to Europe--Belgium)--and make your profession before we go. Then you will see them all, and love them all as we do. We shall embark, probably, about the first of August with the Father Provincial from Belgium. "Oh! what shall I say to you of the joys of Catholic communion, the frequent and the real Sacraments, the privilege of daily Mass, and constant access to a confidential director? How miserable do all the unrealities of Puseyite speculation appear to one who is a Catholic in fact and not in dreams! I cannot bear to think of you all alone among those godless hills, an exile from the church into which you were baptized, and conducting unauthorized conventicles. Do not, I beg of you for Christ's sake, delay making your profession long. At least discontinue your meetings. Forgive me for speaking so, my dearest friend and kind benefactor, but I speak earnestly, believing that nothing is so expedient for us as to do God's will promptly. I have had a letter from Platt, who 'thanks God' for my sake and says he told the bishop he did not blame me for escaping from the torturing embrace of the Episcopal Church, but he cannot yet make up his mind to follow my example. I have urged him to come to New York and see me before I go, and told him he would meet you there. I presumed you would not let us leave without seeing us, and Mac said he would urge you to come down. Indeed, you should make your profession and confession before Father Rumpler by all means, and you will gain much by coming and spending a while before, as we have already become familiar with the brethren and others. Although I have been in the habit of attending daily Mass, I doubt if I have forgotten you once in the presence of the Holy Victim. May the good Mother shield and bless you also, for I owe you very much, and, although I have always behaved more like a saucy companion, I assure you I look up to you as a father, not in years, but in care and kindness.
"Do not forget to remember me to your mother, whom I remember daily in my prayers; to Judge B-----, also Clarence, and others whom I am bound to love. My eyes are constantly improving, yet I confess I feel the effects of this writing. Tell Mrs. Hammond, although our farm of St. Mary's is abandoned, in which she took such a kind interest, I hope she may live to bring many a rose and lily to the altar of our dear Lady. In the hope of giving you soon a right good Catholic embrace,
"Your affectionate friend and brother,
"CLARENCE 'ALBAN ALPHONSE.'
"The two names you see in my signature are the names by which I was confirmed. You will, of course, not use them as yet in directing letters."
The preceding two letters show that I had applied for admission into the Redemptorist Order and that I had been accepted by the Very Rev. Father De Held, Provincial, then on a visit to America, accompanied by Father Bernard, who afterwards succeeded to his office here. Father De Held was head of the Province of Belgium, which then included Holland, England, and the United States. These letters show also that I had been destined to make my novitiate, not at Baltimore, but at St. Trond, in Belgium. In the mean while McMaster had decided to join the same order, and so also had Isaac Hecker, now well known as first Superior of the Paulist Fathers of Fifty-ninth Street, New York City. The Provincial had decided not to keep us in waiting until his own return to Europe, but to send us on beforehand, and at once. Father Hecker was not one of our seminary set and had never been an Episcopalian. McMaster and I met him for the first time at the Redemptorist Convent in Third Street, after our reception there. He was himself only a year-old Catholic. He had had nothing to do with Puseyism, and knew very little about it. His chief experience lay in the New England school of Transcendentalism.
We little understood at first the full value that lay concealed under the long yellow locks that hung down over his broad shoulders and behind the bright eyes, which shone with an openness of enthusiasm which made us smile. On concluding to join us he had just sufficient time to hurry off to Baltimore, where Father De Held then was, get accepted, and hurry back again before the ship left port.
We considered it as contrary to holy poverty to go as first-class passengers; Hecker's brothers, however, took care to have a special room built up for all three in the second cabin. While these hurried preparations were in progress, the following letter was written:
"NEW YORK CITY, July 25th, 1845.
"DEAR WADHAMS: I intended to have given you earlier notice of the time of our departure, that you might have ample time to come and see us off at your leisure, but circumstances have turned up which oblige us to set off almost immediately, viz.: on Friday, the 1st of August. We shall cross in the London packet Prince Albert. I fear even now you will scarcely have time to come, there are so many chances of this letter being delayed. Most likely the packet will not get off until Saturday, the 2d, as I am told it is very common to delay a day or so, and sailors do not like to go out of port on a Friday. If I were going alone it would be great presumption to think you would come so far to see me, to whom you have no reason to be attached, except that you have shown me so much kindness and have given me so much reason to love you; but you and McMaster are older friends, and you will certainly wish to bid him 'farewell, and Godspeed,' before he sails. We shall both almost hold our breaths in expectation of you. It makes me very sad to think over our last winter's life. McM. tells me I am much in the habit of saying unpleasant things in a thoughtless way to my friends, and I doubt not it is true, although I was not aware of it before. How often I may have wounded your feelings last winter in this manner, for I know I talked very much and very thoughtlessly; but you, who were always so patient with me then, will not, I am sure, find it difficult to forget all these things now the time has gone by. As happy as I am to breathe the holy atmosphere of the Catholic Church, it is a bitter thing to leave my country--which I love all the more dearly for its pitiable religious destitution--and so many kind friends whom I may never see again in life. But it is very selfish to speak of myself now. Come down, dear Wadhams, at once, if you possibly can, and let me see your face again. We will talk over in one day more than a thousand letters can contain. What an age of awful responsibility we live in! How irresistible the impression that God has vast designs for the good of His church upon the very eve of accomplishment! Oh, what if He should call upon us at important and critical moments, and we should be found wanting! Let us cry out to God with groans and tears that we may be permitted to do and to suffer something in the good and holy cause. What have we to do with the enjoyment of the world, or even of the most tender family relations, which is all the same thing, while Christ is pleading with us: 'What, can ye not watch with me one hour?' It needs but a little time in the Roman Catholic Church to feel the depth and tenderness of her motherly love and care, and how blessed it is to labor in her cause, and to die in her arms. How can one 'fight the good fight and finish the faith' when joined to the abominations and covered with the trappings of heresy?
"How can one hope for the benediction of Jesus upon himself or his doings while he will not listen to the voice, 'Come, and follow Me'?
"Do come down at once and see us. Four years is a long time. Yesterday evening was the first we knew of the exact time of our departure, or I should have written before. God bless you, speed my letter, and bring you hither in time.
"Your faithful and grateful friend,
"P. S.--I am living now all alone at my brother-in-law's, Mr. Jenkins, 78 Eleventh Street; but it would be more sure to come at once to McMaster's quarters in the house attached to the rear of the Catholic church on Third Street, between Avenues A and B."
The above letter was mailed to Ticonderoga, whence it was forwarded to Wadhams Mills. An indorsement on the back of the sheet of paper upon which it is written shows that Wadhams did not receive it until the day we sailed. Did not this fact add an additional pang to the reading of it? In any case it shows why he did not come to see us off.