While curate at S. James' I had little time for reading. My days were taken up with parish work, and while I might have kept a good many evenings free I preferred to spend many of them with a group of boys whom I hoped to, and to some extent did, influence. "When I got settled in Batavia, I so planned my work that I had plenty of time for study. In Berkeley I had been interested in Biblical problems, especially in relation to Old Testament criticism. I did considerable work in Hebrew outside the class work. I was not very much interested in New Testament criticism; at that time it seemed that the Old Testament problems were the more pressing. In the eighteen eighties the conservative attitude of the Church leaders was giving way under pressure. Through good luck rather than through choice (perhaps I should piously say through Providential guidance), just as my reading had left my mind quite open on the then burning question of Darwinism and made me quite ready to accept the evolutionary hypothesis, so it had left me an open mind on questions of the Higher Criticism. I had rarely come in contact with anyone who denounced evolution. Bishop Williams did, to be sure, sometimes refer to "devilution," but one only smiled and did not take him seriously. In Old Testament our teacher, Professor Binney, was a higher critic in principle and therefore inclined me in that direction.
Now when I had time on my hands I felt that I must go into the question with a view of determining how far, if at all, the acceptance of critical positions would affect my religion. I was not at first attempting to judge of the truth of any given concrete critical conclusion; but assuming that the underlying critical assumptions were true, that the method of approach to criticism of the Old Testament was valid, had I to give up or seriously modify my theological position? How would the critical analysis of documents, the revision of dates and authorships and so on affect me? As far as I can understand myself, I was quite ready to modify my position if the facts called for it. I set out on this study, and soon arrived at the conclusion that, granted that the position of the critic was well-founded, my religion would remain just where it was. As it was not affected by the conclusions of science, so it was not affected by the conclusions of criticism.
But the question now came to the front: How far were individual conclusions of critics well-founded? Was there any particular "school of criticism" to which I must give allegiance? So I set to work to study Old Testament problems. Naturally it soon became evident that "the conclusions of criticism," like "the conclusions of science" was just a convenient cliche. What one really had to deal with after one had granted, as I had, the legitimacy of the historical method was the conclusions of this or that critic. The method was all right, but the conclusion reached in a given case might fall far short of proof in terms of the method. One soon got used to the bluff that "science teaches" or that "criticism has determined," and, following the oft-repeated exhortations of the critics themselves to clear one's mind of prejudice and think in terms of modern knowledge, arrived often at conclusions that were not considered modern at all in the opinion of this or that critic. As to prejudices--who is without them? To be without prejudice is to have not an open but a vacant mind. In the end, however, I accepted the greater part of the conclusions of the less radical critics--the conclusions which I think have stood the test of time.
I had reached this point intellectually and was known by my friends to be fairly well read in Old Testament problems, when, owing to the intervention of Walter Webb with Bishop Nicholson, I was offered the chair of Biblical Interpretation at Nashotah House. That is not the accurate title of the chair but accurately describes it. The holder was expected to teach both the Old and the New Testament--a quite preposterous undertaking! But I at that time had a notion that I should like a professorship in a Seminary, and I was young enough and rash enough to think that I might fill the place. The obvious thing to do was to go to Nashotah and look over the ground, which I accordingly did.
At that time Dr. Gardiner was President of Nashotah House. He had been a Religious of the Order of S. John the Evangelist and had withdrawn from the Order at the same time as Fr. Grafton and Fr. Prescott had done so. He had been made President of Nashotah House through the influence of Bishop Grafton and was in reality Bishop Grafton's representative, whom he supported in the conflict of jurisdiction which later took place between Bishop Grafton and Bishop Nicholson and with which I am not here concerned. I do not think that Fr. Gardiner was intellectually fitted for the place, and shortly after this he resigned and made way for Dr. Webb.
Dr. Gardiner received me very kindly and entertained me at his house. He was a very genial man, whom I got to know better when I was in the diocese of Fond du Lac. He told me of some of his experiences as a monk, and among others the following story which I think is too good to be lost. He returned one evening from a preaching mission and reported to the Father in charge, who happened to be Fr. Prescott. Fr. Gardiner after finishing his report said, "I would like some supper."
"Supper was at six o'clock," said Fr. Prescott.
"I know," said Fr. Gardiner, "but the train did not get in in time to enable me to get here at six."
"You know the rule, Fr. Gardiner," replied Fr. Prescott.
"But, Fr. Prescott," Fr. Gardiner insisted, "I have been away on work for the Order and it was impossible for me to get in any earlier and I am hungry; do you mean to say I can have no supper?"
"You know the rule, Fr. Gardiner," again replied Fr. Prescott.
Fr. Gardiner went to his room and washed up and then came back and said, "I have used all the money I had, Father; can you let me have some more?"
"Certainly, Fr. Gardiner," replied Fr. Prescott, and forthwith handed out some cash.
"Now," said Fr. Gardiner, "I am going down to the Parker House and have an oyster supper, Fr. Prescott Will you join me?"
"Why, yes, I think I will," said the Father in charge.
The incident ended amicably.
President Gardiner showed me about Nashotah and explained the situation to me. For some reason I do not remember I went alone to the house that I should occupy if I accepted the situation. It was about a quarter of a mile from the Seminary. The wife of the retiring professor showed me over it and took pains to point out the dilapidated condition of the house. It was in very bad repair indeed. I went back to the Seminary (it was vacation time and there was no one about). I took supper or dinner--some meal--with Dr. and Mrs. Adams. Dr. Adams was one of the founders of Nashotah and a unique character. Many amusing stories were told of him. I remember one. At the close of breakfast one morning he ordered a plate of biscuit to be taken from the table, saying that he would not give thanks for such a dispensation of Providence as that.
I returned from Nashotah in a very doubtful state of mind. The place was very isolated which would not have at all mattered if I had only myself to think of, but how could I take my parents to such a dilapidated house and so isolated a place? They were old. There would be no human companionship. The nearest doctor was miles away. There was no telephone. Though they would have gone willingly, I could not see it.
I went to see Bishop McLaren and told him of my call. He said that he did not know that I knew anything about the Old Testament. I said I had been studying it for some time, and that my friends thought that I knew enough about it to justify me in accepting the call to Nashotah House. He said he was sorry that he had not known about it before, as he wanted an Old Testament instructor at the Western. I asked the conditions. He said he could say nothing about it till I had decided what I was to do on the matter of Nashotah. I said that I had made up my mind and should decline. Thereupon he offered to appoint me instructor at the Western Theological Seminary and I accepted out of hand. I was to keep Batavia and come in and teach one day a week; that would mean three lectures. Bishop McLaren asked what salary I wanted and I said I had not thought about that. He said that I had better leave that to him; that he had a reputation for generous dealing in such cases. I had heard of that, but I left it. He made it three hundred a year! That was amusing, but I did not mind. It would pay my car fare and some part of my book bill. And I should not have to move.
I wrote Bishop Nicholson that I could not accept the offer of Nashotah as there was no decent place for me to take my parents, as the house offered was impossible. He wrote back that the executive committee did not know that. I replied that I thought when they made an offer of that sort it was their business to know. I think Bishop Nicholson never had any further use for me.
The Western Theological Seminary was of recent foundation. Really it was not needed, as there were plenty of Seminaries in the Church. But someone offered Bishop McLaren money to found a Seminary and for nothing else, and Bishop McLaren, being a Scotsman, could not bear to let the money go. So the Seminary was built and partly endowed, but there was not endowment enough properly to carry the Seminary on. There could be no resident staff. When I joined the staff there were two resident professors and an instructor who, like myself, had to earn part of his support by outside work. There were also three lecturers who came in from time to time.
Bishop McLaren was Founder, President of the Trustees, and "boss." During the fifteen years that I was in the diocese of Chicago I got to know him very well and we always got on amicably till the end. He started life as Presbyterian minister and for a while was a missionary in South America. His observation there of the working of Roman Catholicism greatly disgusted him with the Roman Church. Toward the end of his life, I think, the effect of his missionary experience wore off. I remember when there was a question of the sending of a bishop of the Episcopal Church into Mexico, Bishop McLaren incurred the criticism of the High Churchmen by supporting the movement. I doubt whether he would have done that later. He came into the Episcopal Church and had not been in it very long when he was elected Bishop of Chicago. His predecessor, Bishop Whitehouse, was rather a stiff Churchman, and it was under him that the Reformed Episcopal schism took place. The story that I heard was that the Chicago electors thought that a recent convert from Presbyterianism would not be a very stiff Churchman. If that was so, they made the mistake of their lives.
Bishop McLaren was a very decided Catholic in theology. He knew precisely why he came into the Church and it was not because he was seeking another brand of Protestantism. He was intellectually a very able man. His sermons were intellectual treats. He was a man of deep spirituality. The retreats he gave for the clergy were of the best; and he wanted his clergy to make use constantly of retreats and Quiet Days. His theological reading in later years ran largely on the lines of mysticism and spiritual theology generally. I think it was his study of Roman works on these subjects--and there were no others available--that broke down his earlier hostility to Rome. He was an attentive administrator and in most respects handled his diocese well.
But there were other very curious sides to his character: aspects which were difficult to fit in with the character elements that I have tried to bring out. He had an overweening sense of his office: he appeared to think of a bishop as an absolute ruler. It was amusing to one who like myself cared for none of those things, to see how he dominated his convention. In the early years of his episcopate that attitude was resented by some of the laity who themselves were accustomed to be dominant. On one occasion a layman, irritated by some action of Bishop McLaren, arose and said: "These bishops, these bishops, we shall soon have them riding on white asses." "Perhaps," said Bishop McLaren, "that would be as well as having the asses ride the bishops."
His arbitrary dealing in matters of diocesan policy, his lack of tact, alienated both clergy and laity. One instance will suffice. While I was at S. James' Bishop McLaren established a mission in that part of the city. A very prominent layman told me that he went to Bishop McLaren and offered to identify himself with the mission and aid its work. He was most rudely rejected by the Bishop as one who was intruding on the rights of the bishop! In later life he seemed to have no friend. His irritability made him difficult of approach. To put it plainly, he was a bully, and when anyone shrank from his bullying his tendency was to bully him more. The ones who got on with him were the ones who were not afraid of him and stood up to him. One of the priests of the diocese told me of a delightful instance of his lack of control on the occasion of a parochial visitation. The Bishop preached on the foolishness of being disturbed by little things. He pointed out how foolish it was to be upset by some incident of quite inconsiderable importance. So many people ruined their day by lack of control and irritation over minor incidents. At this point he turned to the boy choir and said: "If you do not keep quiet down there, I cannot go on with my sermon." The Bishop had sense of humor enough to recognise his inconsistency and owned up later on in the sacristy.
Another amusing incident took place during a Quiet Day that the Bishop gave for the clergy. There was a meditation on humility, very fine, very touching in its application to the life of the priest. It was the sort of thing that Bishop McLaren could do supremely well. The clergy were much moved and the Bishop himself evidently felt deeply the application of what he was saying. After the meditation the Bishop retired to his room, and Keator, who was subsequently Bishop of Olympia and who looked after a good many things for the Bishop, went in to see him about some document that he was having printed for the Bishop. When the Bishop came to look over the document he noticed that Keator had left off his degree, D.D., or whatever it was. Whereupon he told Keator plainly what he thought of him and of his business ability. Presently Keator emerged from the Bishop's room to the room where the clergy were still meditating on how far they fell short of the virtue of humility, and said: "It is all off, boys; he did not mean it!"
Toward the end of his life there was a marked change in him. He seemed to lose grip on the sacraments. This may very well have been the result of a false trend in his mysticism, or it may have been a loss of confidence in the Church. I recall that on his last visitation to Ba-tavia while I was there, he sat in my library after the service talking with me. He said that he did not believe that the Episcopal Church had any future. It was a class Church and destined to die. When I protested he said: "Oh, not immediately; it will last some time, but it has no future." He made no suggestion as to what we were to do about it or what was likely to succeed. At times he came and stayed at the Western Seminary for a week or more and never attended any service in the chapel to the great scandal of the men. I have never known a person so full of contradictions. Naturally he could not see that people were alienated from him by his actions: he thought it was their own perversity. "No one," he once said, "knows how much I have suffered from the benefactors of this Church." One can forgive a good deal for that!
The Western Seminary had come into existence some years before I joined its staff. Among its earlier students were a large proportion of mature men who had come from business or the professions. In the senior class when I began to lecture there was Parker Curtis, who still remains one of my best friends, and who was but a little younger than myself. Grimes, who afterwards became an archdeacon somewhere, was older than I. Among the men who had been graduated earlier three became bishops--Edsall, Keator, and Williams. I saw something of Williams after he became Bishop of Nebraska. He told me of the following experience. He was travelling on a train when there came into the car another bishop, obviously a Roman. The Roman, noticing Williams, came and introduced himself and asked of what diocese Williams was bishop. Williams told him of Nebraska. "But we have no bishop of Nebraska," the Roman protested. "Nevertheless," Williams said, "I am Bishop of Nebraska." "Oh, I see," said the Roman, "you are an Episcopal bishop." "Yes," said Williams, "aren't you?"
The Western was established as a distinctly Catholic Seminary. The staff was selected with this in view and there was entire harmony among them in matters ecclesiastical. The chapel services were of traditional Catholic order--Matins, Mass, Vespers, Compline. There were not many students in my time. They, too, were harmonious in ecclesiastical outlook with rare exceptions. Occasionally one strayed in whose background was Protestant. I am afraid that his fellow-students did not treat him with all the charity desirable. But charity is the virtue of maturity rather than of youth.
The Dean of the Seminary was the Reverend William J. Gold, D.D. If I gained nothing else from my association with the Western, I should consider my work amply repaid by the friendship of that splendid man. We became very intimate; most of my evenings when I was in residence were spent with him. He was a man lovable, gentle, humble, the type of Christian that convinces one that Christianity is worthwhile. He was a graduate of Harvard, widely read and a sound scholar. Unfortunately he was not, I gathered from the men, an inspiring teacher. They were all fond of him, but he had not the qualities which enable one to impart knowledge. It is one thing to know a subject and quite another to make a class enthusiastic about it. The latter he seemed not able to do. He was not eloquent or persuasive; one had to know him very well to understand him and feel his attractiveness. That came out in private talks. As both he and I were wide readers outside our departments we found much in common to talk about and discuss. He had taught a good part of his life. He had been connected with Racine College and with Faribault Seminary. He died shortly after I left the Seminary. One of my deepest regrets is that I never went back to see him after I left.
He had many stories to tell of his experiences. I remember one that he told in illustration of the futility of much extemporary prayer. It was of a funeral that he had to attend while he was in Racine. A rather important man who had been in some way connected with the college died, and Dr. Gold was sent to represent the college at the funeral. The burial was to take place at Kenosha. The Protestant pastor who conducted the service made the usual prayer. After the customary eulogy of the deceased, he began mentioning surviving persons. He began with the widow and prayed, "O Lord, suffer not our sister to remain sitting alone as a sparrow upon a house-top." Then he went through the list of all the relatives he could think of and, looking for further victims, his eye fell upon the pall-bearers. He went on, "We pray thee, O Lord, to bless these friends who have come in to bear the body of our deceased brother to its last resting-place in--in--" He had forgotten the name of the place. A sympathetic pall-bearer leaned over and whispered, "Kenosha." "In Kenosha, O Lord," he ended.
I also recall a story of two Faribault professors whom we will call Roe and Doe. They went out one afternoon for a ride in Roe's buggy. They fell into a violent dispute on some question of theology. Roe was a very excitable person; Doe rather stolid. Roe raged but Doe was unyielding. Finally things came to a climax. "I won't ride in the same buggy with you," shouted Roe. "Well, you don't have to," Doe answered. Whereupon Roe got out of the buggy and walked home. Doe remained and drove back in Roe's buggy.
The other resident professor was the Reverend Francis J. Hall, now widely known here and abroad for his theological work. If I remember rightly, he had begun his studies at the General Seminary in New York and when the Western opened had come to finish there, as he was a candidate from Chicago. From the beginning of his studies he planned to devote himself to the writing of a complete dogmatic theology. He held to this purpose unswervingly, and after more than thirty years he brought it to a conclusion by the publication of the tenth volume. It has the distinction, I think, of being the first complete dogmatic theology produced by the Anglican Church since the Reformation. There have, of course, been handbooks and treatises on special doctrines, but no Summa.
Naturally I got to know Dr. Hall very well. His was just the sort of mind that one would expect to stick to one subject for years, especially such subjects as mathematics and dogma. It was not surprising therefore to find that mathematics was one of his amusements. His mind seemed to work automatically in a certain way. If one proposed a subject to him for consideration, the subject immediately classified itself under heads--three heads, the students used to say, but I would not go so far as that: sometimes there might be four. His mind never seemed off his work for any length of time; he had the gift of immediate concentration. He wrote on little square pads of which he always had some in his pocket. If he had a few moments leisure he pulled out a pad and set to work. If he came upon you in the library or hall he immediately pulled out a pad and began to read to you what he had last written and asked you what you thought of it. This was rather a bore as one was not specially interested in dogmatics, and had no opinion to offer on demand. One found soon that he really did not want one's opinion: he wanted one to hear his. Dr. Gold told me that after some attempts at criticism which were not met with enthusiasm, he confined himself to setting right Hall's English. Dr. Gold was rather meticulous about that. I hope I am not conveying the idea that Hall was a nuisance: he was not. He was a very pleasant companion and I enjoyed his friendship very much and my association with him in the Seminary work.
The other resident member of the staff, an instructor like myself, was the Reverend Henry Nealy. His work was in the Preparatory Department. "We became close friends, but after he married and I left the Seminary I saw him very rarely.
One of the men who came in to lecture was Dr. Davenport, whose subject was Canon Law in which he was considered an expert. He was for many years the chairman of the committee on Canon Law in the House of Deputies of the General Convention. I saw him but rarely and the principle impression he made on me was that of a delightful story teller. He was always bubbling over with some absurd story. He also was given to ragging and was particularly obnoxious to Hall, who was his favorite victim. Soon after Hall married and was still living in the Seminary, Davenport alleged that coming in one night and passing Hall's door he heard him reading the Bible to his wife: "Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands," and so on. When it was a question of a coadjutor for Chicago and Davenport was mentioned, Hall told me that he could not possibly bring himself to vote for him. I have always thought that Davenport's prize story was of the sermon of a Roman priest. According to Davenport, at Mass one morning the priest said: "I am going to preach to you of the wonderful miracle that our Blessed Lord did when he fed five thousand men with five thousand loaves of bread." "Faith," said Jimmy Dugan from the front seat, "that's no miracle, I could do that myself." The priest: "Owing to a sudden indisposition I shall be unable to continue the sermon this morning, but will go on next Sunday." Next Sunday: "As I told you last Sunday I will preach of the wonderful miracle that our Lord did when he fed five thousand men with five loaves of bread--Could you do that, Jimmy Dugan?" Jimmy: "Sure I could." The priest: "How would you do it?" Jimmy: "I would do it with what I had left over from the last time!"
Dr. Taylor, who was one of the trustees of the Seminary and subsequently Bishop of Quincy, was another lecturer, I think on polity. Dr. Seymour, Bishop of Springfield, lectured on Ecclesiastical History. One gathered from the students that his lectures mostly consisted in accounts of his personal adventures. He was a fighting bishop and was always in some controversy. He was, I think, the most irrational person I have ever met. Dogmatic and keen in controversy, one never dared to differ from him. Springfield appeared not to be a very exacting diocese, and Dr. Seymour found it possible to spend much of his time elsewhere--so much, in fact, that he came to be known as the Bishop from Springfield. He was looked up to by the Catholic party as one of its outstanding militant heads. In the lecture room he laid down the law incisively. Each year he dwelt on the value to the Church of a celibate clergy and of the obligation of the men to offer themselves. Then, to the astonishment of everyone, being then over sixty years old, he married. When he next appeared at the Seminary to lecture some rash youth raised the question of celibacy. If he was expecting to get a rise out of the Bishop he succeeded and the question of celibacy was suffered to rest for a year or two. Then quite unexpectedly it emerged from the silence in which it had rested--emerged now elaborated and illustrated by incidents as to what would happen to you if you married. The class were warned of the fate of the married priest, how he would have to hang about dry goods stores and hat shops and carry bundles and do other odd jobs unbecoming a priest.
It did not take me long to realise that I was not an outstanding success as a teacher. I knew my subjects pretty well and could talk intelligently on them, but the grind of getting subjects into the heads of pupils and preparing them to pass examinations was too much for me. I ought to have given up? Possibly. But I kept on because I loved the study and loved the associations. Also I felt that if I was not doing my work very well, I was doing it at least as well as my successor would be likely to do it. My attitude on critical questions raised some trouble in the minds of students who had been, most of them, brought up, so far as they had been taught anything about the Bible, to assumptions that we should now class as Fundamentalism. I heard later that a certain Western bishop who had students in the Seminary complained of my teaching, alleging in evidence of my rationalism that I taught that the book of Jonah was not history. But Dr. Gold was altogether of my point of view in criticism, and I never heard that Bishop McLaren raised any objection to my teaching.
In any case, I was sufficiently popular with the authorities to have them after I had been in the Seminary some years ask me to take up the teaching of history. This would double my work, but the additional work was the work I liked best; it would also double my salary so I now should be receiving the princely sum of six hundred dollars a year for six lectures a week. I was glad to take the history, as history was the subject in which I was best fitted to teach as it had been my chief subject for study since I was a boy of sixteen. I may mention while I am on the subject that the last year of my connection with the Seminary I was asked if I would take over in addition to the other subjects the teaching of morals. This came to nothing as the next year I was out of the Seminary. I had done a bit of reading on morals in preparation for my catechism on that subject; I suppose that I must have shown that to Dr. Gold.
One of the joys of my Seminary life was my association with the men. I was especially intimate with a small group of men who were directly or indirectly in the Seminary because of the boy friendships I had made at S. James'. I have already mentioned Edward Roland, who was now in the Seminary. I have also mentioned in my account of my work at S. James' a boy whom I had come to know there, Harold Addison. After leaving High School he went to Harvard. I never lost touch with him, as both while a high school boy and while in Harvard he spent a part of his vacations with me in Batavia. He was the sort of boy and young man who made lasting friendships and because of his lovable nature and intellectual brilliance exercised a deep influence on his friends. Among the friends whom he made in his class at Harvard were two--Charles N. Lathrop and Selden Peabody Delany. Lathrop's father was a priest, but I gathered that Lathrop himself had given up the practice of his religion by the time he entered Harvard. Delany was a Presbyterian. Through his connection with Addison and Lathrop he was confirmed. While in Harvard all three made up their minds to study for the priesthood, and owing to the fact that Addison was a candidate from Chicago, and that I was at the Western they all entered there. The Western had never had at one time three college men of more than average intellectual ability, as they were. Through their close association with Addison, Lathrop and Delany came into intimate association with me. A fine friendship developed between us which lasted on till death broke it in the case of Addison and Lathrop and defection from the Church in the case of Delany.
The years passed very pleasantly. I was happy in my family life with my father and mother growing old contentedly. I was happy in my parish work, where there was never any friction of any sort. Some changes had come as the years passed. Mr. Van Nortwick had died. He left the parish one thousand dollars for ten years. This raised financial problems and necessitated the election of a vestry. I was criticised in the diocese because I did not induce Mr. Van Nortwick's heirs to change the legacy to a ten thousand dollar endowment. That is the sort of thing it is easy for outsiders to say; but I never heard that the diocesan authorities interested themselves in the matter. We took part of the money and built a useful parish hall. The financial problem did not become pressing in my time. I was happy in my intellectual life and in the hard reading and study that I was able to do and that my Seminary work necessitated in any case. I was happy in my Seminary life--in my associations with both the staff and the students. And now came an offer that seemed to make the situation permanent and to settle me in the Western Seminary for life. I was happy in that, as while I have no special affection for places I do not like the trouble of change to the unknown.
I received a letter from Webb telling me that the professorship of Ecclesiastical History at Berkeley was vacant and that Dean Binney had promised to name me to the trustees, which was equivalent to an election. There were very attractive features about this. I had been very happy at Berkeley and liked Middletown very much. History was what I wanted to teach and what I thought that I was best qualified to teach. Life in Middletown would bring my parents once more in contact with many relatives and old friends; we should be only a few miles from the old home. Without parish connections I should be at full liberty to study to my heart's content, and there would be the long summer vacation at my disposal. I did not inquire about the salary. I took it for granted that it would be enough to live on and pay my book bills, which was all I needed.
On the other hand the ecclesiastical atmosphere was absolutely different from that to which I was accustomed. It would be mildly High Church, and there would be no Catholic contacts and the exercise of the Catholic religion as I had become accustomed to it would be impossible. Unless I took outside work of some sort my opportunities of saying Mass would be very limited, and I did not feel at all sure as to liberty of teaching. Nor was I at all sure that I wanted to give up all parish work; I have always dreaded developing a professorial mind and I would be sure to do that if confined to a Seminary.
So while thinking it over I let what was offered me be known at the Western. I did not do more than that. I proposed nothing and asked nothing, did not approach Bishop McLaren or the trustees in any way. The trustees themselves acted. They sent a committee to me to ask me if I would stay at the Western. They were financially limited, they said, but could offer me one thousand dollars a year. I felt that that would make my financial situation secure and would leave my life as I really wanted it, so I accepted and wrote Webb to withdraw my name from Berkeley. I felt as I imagine a cat does when it settles down in the evening before the fire.
In the ensuing year the question of the election of a bishop-coadjutor came up. Bishop McLaren did not very much want a coadjutor, but he needed one. I fancy that he could not bear to surrender any authority, to assign separate jurisdiction as he would have to do to a coadjutor; I do not imagine that he more than nominally did. He intended to remain boss of the diocese. His coadjutor, as he remarked, would have to coadjute. Bishop McLaren also thought that he was going to nominate the coadjutor, but that was where he made a mistake. The diocese considered that it was time that they took a hand in the management of affairs.
Bishop McLaren gave it out that Dr. Fiske of S. Stephen's, Providence, was to be the coadjutor. The clergy (I think that Peter Wolcott was the moving spirit) turned to Charles Palmerston Anderson, rector of Oak Park, as their choice. Anderson was what is known as a sound Churchman, but had never made himself obvious by any sort of extreme practices. He was of a pleasing personality, a good speaker, a man of sound judgment, and one, we felt, who would represent the diocese adequately, and when he came to the episcopal throne would be perfectly fair in his dealings with the clergy of all parties. Also we knew that elevation to the episcopate will most certainly also elevate a man's Churchmanship. In fact, it did. So we fell for Anderson; and I fell on account of Anderson.
Trouble had already developed in the Board of Trustees. Bishop McLaren had a way of playing for sympathy. He would dwell on the hard labor that he had to endure and all the trials that came to him and would say that he must present his resignation; he must be relieved of some of the burden he was compelled to bear. Then the trustees would gratify him by expressing sympathy, but at the same time assure him that they could not get along without him, and he would finally agree to stay. Of course, he and everyone else knew that the whole thing was a comedy. Bishop Taylor is my authority for the account of what took place. The leading trustees, especially Taylor and Keator, felt that there should be a rather radical change in the Western and they determined that when Bishop McLaren next played his comedy they would call the bluff. They therefore worked out a plan of reorganisation quite unknown to him, and when he offered his resignation someone rose and expressed the deep regret that they felt in losing him, but understood that he must be relieved of some of the burden he was bearing and moved that his resignation be accepted. They then presented the plan of reorganisation. I suppose that no one was ever more surprised or more angry than Bishop McLaren at this action. He certainly had a right to feel aggrieved. His connection with the. Seminary certainly made it quite an unjustified action to plan a reorganisation without consulting him. The thing was too obviously planned to get rid of him. Wisdom would have suggested accepting his resignation and then appointing a committee of reorganisation. It was perhaps natural that he should attribute the source of this action as lying in the Seminary. But that was not the fact. I suppose that Dr. Gold knew through Taylor what was in the air, but I am sure he had nothing to do with suggesting the course of action. Then came the election of the coadjutor. While the preparation for the election was going on I happened to go to the girls' school at Sycamore to deliver a lecture of some sort. I had done this several times and Dr. Fleet-wood, the head of the school, seemed to think that the talks to the girls were worth while. This time my visit coincided with a visit by Bishop McLaren. We were talking together in the library when I, like an ass, said that it was wonderful how the diocese was turning to Anderson as coadjutor. I quite well knew that Bishop McLaren had given out that Fiske was to be elected. "What is that?" he asked; "Turning to Anderson?" He seemed not to have heard of any such movement. "How about Fiske?" he asked. "Oh," I said, "no one wants Fiske, even Stires has come out for Anderson."
This was obviously quite a shock. From what succeeded I was quite sure that he traced the source of the opposition to his wishes to the Seminary. This was not true. Dr. Gold was willing to accept Anderson. If he had not been willing and had come out for Fiske I am sure that his influence would have counted for a good deal; graduates of the Western and many others highly respected his opinion. But he did nothing about it and the Western men accepted Anderson, who was elected with practically no opposition.
This following the action of the Western trustees still further set the Bishop against the Western group. Moreover, the financial situation was bad; the Bishop could not raise money, so he concluded to close the Seminary. In the spring Nealy and I were told what was in the wind, and it was hinted to us that it would be well if we should offer our resignations. Nealy did. I knew that it would make no difference as to my status, but I was not inclined to make things easy for the trustees, so I would not resign. I received notice to quit. I was told that the financial state of the Seminary did not permit them to continue my salary.
I wrote a mild letter of protest to the Bishop. I pointed out that a year before of their own motion the trustees had asked me to decline an attractive offer of work and to stay at the Western, and that it seemed rather unjust to throw me out now. Bishop McLaren replied that I had not consulted him about the Berkeley affair and that if I had done so he would have advised me to accept. That seemed a little odd, as he must have known the situation when the trustees asked me to stay. The new coadjutor said that they had hired me for a year and paid my salary, and that therefore I had nothing to complain of--which seemed rather crude. As a matter of fact, they had not hired me for any specified term. However, I did not care very much; but it was rather a bore to look for a new job.