IMMEDIATELY after the adjournment of convention, Bishop Chase passed a pleasant day or two in Hartford, rejoicing to find his old-time parishioners as loyal as ever,--and then the indefatigable, indomitable old man sailed for England, to plead the cause of a new church college five hundred miles further than Kenyon toward the setting sun! This second voyage is invested with pathos; when he went to plead for Ohio he was in the meridian of his powers,--but that was twelve years before, and now his days were declining. In the interval, one by one among those who had befriended him then had dropped into the grave; he was especially saddened by the loss of his most valued friend, Lord Gambier. Moreover the English church was herself in straits, was being wounded in the house of those who should have been her friends; and yet,--a most encouraging sign of her vitality, however discouraging to his mission,--was beginning to realize her responsibility toward those of her communion in Ireland, Canada, India, and Australia. Chase's appeal was wholly unexpected; his welcome in England was a warning that would have disheartened any but him; his friend Lord Bexley told him not to look for success in founding a second college in the Mississippi valley,--pityingly salving the hurt of his words with a present of fifty pounds. The archbishop of Canterbury politely invited him to visit Lambeth,--but mentioned the above imperative claims upon his purse. He was cheered, however, by a cordial letter and gift of a hundred pounds from the faithful Kenyon; Lady Rosse, too, was still living, and testified to the permanency of her interest by the munificent gift of two hundred and sixty pounds,--so that actually he did better at the outset than before. His chief resources in the way of argument were the large number of English emigrants in Illinois, and the danger of their loss to the church, together with the phenomenal strides that Roman Catholicism was making in that region. In less than four months the subscriptions mounted up to the equivalent of seven thousand dollars, and two months later,--April, 1836--he sailed for home with pledges amounting to ten thousand,--so that out of the lion came sweetness at the last.
Before his departure, he had engaged his newly consecrated brother to visit his diocese for him, and so, shortly after the close of convention, cheered by wide and deep interest in his missionary venture of faith, witnessed to substantially by contributions aggregating upward of three thousand dollars from churches in New York and Philadelphia, increased by generous offerings from Upfold's and Whitehouse's parishes in Pittsburg and Rochester, Kemper left the East for Indiana and Illinois. Those territories had been admitted into the Union as states in the years 1816 and 1818 respectively. Up to that period the larger portion of them still owned the sway of primeval nature; simplest frontier conditions prevailed; there was a mere fringe of settlement upon their southern bound, along the bank of the Ohio river; the bison still roamed over their grassy northern savannahs, and in the woods wolves, wildcat, deer and foxes multiplied. The settlers had to confront the red man at every turn; even as late as 1832 they were stricken with panic at the raid of the Black Hawk. These conflicts tended to intensify the vigilant, militant spirit, sufficiently pronounced from the first, of the hardy pioneers, picked men of their kind. An ardent individualism was the note of the hour, whether in religion or politics, economic or social life. All sorts of eccentric characters were largely in evidence; it was an age of humors. Every clearing in the forest was an independent principality, producing pretty nearly everything that was consumed upon it. It was the log cabin age; in the midst of a clearing still marked by charred stumps and gaunt trunks of trees that had been deadened by girdling the bark around at the base would stand a rude dwelling of logs notched at the ends, thus producing dove-tailed corners, the crevices in the walls chinked with clay, the chimney outside, at one end. Within was a single room below, a loft above, the furniture of the room consisting chiefly of beds, with splint chairs and stools, and a shelf holding crockery, calabashes, a rifle and powder-horn. A big bowl, after doing duty as a wash-basin, would be pressed into service for mush or milk, which with balls of corn bread, pork, and greasy "chicken fixin's"--fried fowl--were the staple fare. Log walls thus fashioned were poor protection from the wind, which in winter would search them, shrunken with cold, and circulate in gusts about the draughty abode, making the pine torch or candle flare. Through holes in the roof one could see the stars. When time came to retire, modest men folk would step outside, to study the signs of the weather!
All manner of bilious attacks, pleurisy, fever and ague, were the plagues of those raw clearings; malarial fever, it has been said, was then the Grendel of Indiana, sometimes depopulating whole settlements. Yet it may be doubted whether this was any more owing to the climate and the newly opened, soil than to unsanitary habits, such as laboring under the noonday sun, and so getting overheated and then chilled. If there is one thing that sentient, hot-blooded creatures must have it is warmth; one cannot therefore think severely of poor sufferers who in the deadly chill of a fit of ague filled themselves with alcoholic stimulant. Tea and coffee were rare and expensive luxuries in the backwoods; quinine apparently was not available; so the plague of ague was accompanied by a plague of whiskey. The women consumed quantities of injurious drugs, for quacks and their specifics abounded.
About one such lonesome spot amid the wet forest the following veracious conversation between a settler and an inquiring stranger is reported to have taken place. The melancholy, monotonous, monosyllabic replies tell volumes. "What's your place called?" "Moggs'." "What sort of land thereabouts?" "Bogs." "What's the climate?" "Fogs." "What's your name?" "Scroggs." "What's your house built of?" "Logs." "What do you have to eat?" "Hogs." "Have you any neighbors?" "Frogs." "Gracious! Haven't you any comforts?" "GROG."
Yet such unromantic toilers, with their sordid cares and sufferings, and discouragements often, were the nameless pioneers and hewers of great states to be. Nor were their lives all winter, but had an equal share of spring and summer days, and their long hours of labor were followed by evening rest. And to the traveler by miry roads through the murky forest the forlornest of their clearings seemed a paradise, for it lay open to the sun and afforded dry standing ground.
It is no wonder that every farm was sufficient to itself in those days; it had to be,--for the difficulties and dolors of transportation were excessive. For much of the year the roads were practically impassable. (Here we may take a picturesque glimpse into the prehistoric past of the West: the road in whose mud the straining wagon sank to its axles had been the pathway of the light-footed Indian, and before him, the trail of the buffalo. To complete the picture: the Indian camps and trading posts whither these trails led were already becoming the sites of white men's villages, destined to grow into great and famous cities.) All travelers tell of the terrors of those roads; the cleverest of them has recorded that in spring "traveling by land becomes traveling by water, or by both mixed,--mud and water;" and he defined forest travel as "a taste of 'ma'shland,'--rooty and snaggy land,--of 'corduroys' woven single and double twill, and fords with and without bottom." Once, inquiring his way, he was directed--but with the warning that it was "the most powerfulest road!"
Politically and religiously, these states were cradled in Jeffersonian Democracy and Methodism,--individualistic both. It has been remarked that the tendency of the frontier was ever away from the influence of Europe. Prejudice amounting to hatred--which would naturally be intense among the many Irish immigrants--was felt and expressed toward England, and was extended toward New England, partly because of its attitude in the war of 1812. The frontier has been termed a crucible, in which the most diverse human elements were fused into something new, composite, un-English,--transmuted, shall we say, into the pure gold of Americanism? The year that Illinois was erected into a territory, Abraham Lincoln was born amid frontier conditions in the adjoining state of Kentucky; at the age of seven years he was taken by his parents to Indiana when it became a state; and when he had attained his majority, he settled in Illinois.
The intimate relations of prejudice and ignorance were copiously illustrated; prejudice against the old country, against old societies and their forms, contempt of the past, as of a bondage it was well to escape, excused ignorance,--and that intensified prejudice. Education and true religion had a hard struggle to survive; "schools and preachers," said a governor of Illinois, "could be dispensed with better than corn meal." There was a prevalent prejudice against education on the supposition that it unfitted boys and girls for workers and housewives. Unlearned preachers were supposed, by those that were themselves illiterate, to be "more favored than man-made ones,"--and people who thought thus were accordingly given over to the bedlam of camp-meeting revivals, the one intense excitement of the day, culminating in the hideous, hysterical, "holy laugh"; and to the ministrations of ranters like him who, mistaking the passage in the Apocalypse about "a pair of balances," read it "a pair of bellowses," with which, he explained, the wicked would be blown to destruction in the fiery furnace! Yet many of those circuit-riders were devoted men, who very early penetrated to the remotest settlements and were the one uplifting agency among them. They received no salary: most people thought that attendance upon their preaching was sufficient compensation,--and we cannot blame them, judging by the above quoted discourse. They were freely entertained, though, wherever they went,--were not expected to pay at ferries or taverns.
Spurious, factitious religious excitement had its inevitable consequence in infidelity even to the pitch of blasphemy. The more cultivated scepticism of Jeffersonian grain was amply defined by the politician before quoted: "One Christian creed is as good as another. The creed of each must be right to himself when it is founded on the best lights in his power. It matters not what particular faith any Christian may possess; it is quite immaterial how he arrives at it, so that it is reached with honesty and sincerity."
The erection of these territories into states did not alter the above conditions, but gave them wider scope, while introducing new factors. Everything henceforth was on a larger scale, even the epidemics of malarial fever, which recurred with desolating effect, appalling prospective immigrants and checking, each time, the inflow of population. One cannot make too emphatic the fact that these states were cradled into being through utility; they were business ventures, and ran each other hard in the matter of advertising. The settlement of the West has been described as an industrial conquest. Freedom, religious or political, was not its motive; no one fled or had cause to flee from the East because of oppression. The impelling power was the desire to better one's condition; the highest, purest motive discernible was that on the part of parents to give their children a better start in life, materially,--for certainly none went West for the sake of higher education. Hence the utilitarianism, and that of materialistic cast, that was the presiding genius at the birth of state after state. And a people's origin is more than half of the whole. "The intense mental activity and untiring energy of the people," wrote an observer, "in the pursuit of wealth, threaten serious results to their social and moral well-being." And yet we must remember that thousands of years of civilization were at their back; the inheritance of ages ran in their blood; the great human needs were not obliterated from their souls but stifled in them, and only waited an opportunity to reassert themselves.
As in the case of Ohio, territorial officers had brought their slaves into Indiana and Illinois, and when state constitutions came to be drafted for the latter there was agitation
over the introduction of slavery, which became more excited after the admission of Missouri as a slave state in 1820. Three and four years after that date determined efforts were made to naturalize the system in Illinois, the strongest argument being the numbers of Virginians and Kentuckians that crossed the state with their negroes, to settle in Missouri. Had the initiative of the latter been followed by Illinois, it is believed that it would have created a reflex wave of slavery that Indiana could not have resisted.
The backwoodsman and squatter fought shy of encroaching civilization; it was noticed that they could not abide the vicinity of a school, which seemed to mark a descent of their children in the social scale; they accordingly took what they could get for their clearings and followed the sun, crossing the Mississippi into Iowa, leaving schools and the Sabbath behind. Indeed, migratory habits became confirmed in them; "every one in Puddleford expected to move somewhere else very soon;" farmers would shift from place to place half-a-dozen times, as superficial cultivation and neglect of the principle of rotation of crops exhausted the soil. It was a picturesque sight to see their "prairie schooners,"--wagons with swelling covers of white cotton cloth stretched over hoops, and containing their belongings,--toiling along a dusty road, followed by the cattle. As a precaution against the fierce fires that periodically licked the prairies, they would choose sites for their cabins upon the edge of a strip of woodland.
To the plantations that thus changed hands more careful cultivation would be applied; and ere long a frame house would rise upon one and then another, the abandoned cabin being relegated to the uses of a summer kitchen and winter wood shed. Now at last parlor was separated from kitchen as bedrooms were from both,--and from each other! The evolution of the dining-room marked a yet higher stage. And now an occasional pianoforte appeared--that symbol of advanced civilization,--together with horsehair covered furniture, a rag carpet, stove, timepiece, grotesque likeness in crayons, and mirror whose only virtue was that it never flattered. "Settlements" sprang up, consisting of "a smithery, mill, tannery, and above all, a store"; "cities" were named before the roots had been grubbed up from their central squares, whereon courthouse and tavern faced each other, while on a corner stood the jail.
The sentiment of loyalty, that guarantee of good government, had not been developed toward either state; nothing yet had been done to elicit it,--there was nothing to be proud of. Indiana and Illinois could be abused anywhere with tacit consent. Money was scarce; there was much indebtedness; and financial honor Was at as low an ebb as civic spirit. "Cheap public service," was the cry; the honor of holding office was estimated as sufficient compensation; salaries were so low that no poor man, for example, could be state governor unless he stole. The spoils system was evolved by frontier politics, and bequeathed--a pernicious legacy--to the nation. Those politics were characterized by one who knew as "nasty, pitiful intrigues and licentious slanders. Any silly charge, if uncontradicted, defeated an election. Defaming and clearing up, cursing the administration and treating to whiskey, constituted an electoral campaign. Even youths, as future voters, were courted and cajoled till they grew conceited, positive, insolent."
The evils of defective education and a lack of literature and wholesome pastimes became glaringly apparent, spiritually, intellectually, and morally, among the young men of the rising generation. They mistook dissipation, we are told, only too often for manliness; they hung around saloons and billiard-tables; for their untutored energy and natural craving for excitement, denied healthy outlet, drove them, in the reactions of drudgery, to hard drinking, gambling, and seduction. Their headstrong passions forced expression in a veritable monotony of profanity. Abuse of stimulants led to equivalent abuse of the great narcotic; consumption of tobacco was inordinate in all its forms, smoking, snuffing, and chewing with its consequent spitting: present day opinion, rendered dispassionate by the passage of time, is ready to admit that Dickens' "Chuzzlewit" affords a not unfair picture of some of those raw communities. In many of them a spice was added to life and delays of justice were expedited by occasional "necktie sociables,"--lynching parties. Yet it is the testimony of an experienced and critical observer that in the roughest districts of the West, tyrannized over by bullies and "eye-gougers," a sensible, self-controlled man could go about his business without molestation.
This was the palmy time of the flat-boatmen of the Mississippi; the frontier of commerce was approaching; and we are reminded that the people of the new states were beginning to manifest new and varied wants. The age of homespun and leather wear was passing away; manufactured goods and a few luxuries were beginning to be brought down the Ohio from Pittsburg and up the Mississippi from New Orleans. The highest ambition of the growing youth was to go on a flatboat to the latter city.
We have spoken of Dickens' strictures. Not the West only, but the whole country as well was then characterized by that peculiar sensitiveness that betrays the justice of criticism. Young men especially who had grown up in western settlements, who had seen nothing of the world and so had no standard of comparison, whose uninstructed minds and consciences were possessed by the most uncouth ideas, self-confident and satisfied, prone to exaggerate, bitterly prejudiced against the East because they knew nothing of it, not given to reflection or self-criticism, grew frenzied under the criticism of others. They made no pretence of good manners; at meals bolted their meat in silence,--conversation at such times would have seemed folly to them and a waste of precious minutes; the amenities of life, such as "please" and "thank you," struck them as suited to effete monarchical societies, but as incongruous with free-born, independent Americanism. Force of character and self-reliance are admirable qualities, certainly,--but mark the nemesis of this pugnacious, iconoclastic spirit, this illusory self-sufficiency, contempt of the past and of old authority: it is simple ignorance and vulgarity. Rejecting what is good in the old one is given over to what is coarse and bad in the new; his pretended freedom is actual bondage to the baser elements of society and his own nature, is resoluble into a plea for license and anarchy; his contempt of the great names of old delivers him up, hoodwinked, to undiscerning idolatry of contemporary opinion and reputations. This attitude of mind is responsible, by way of disgusted reaction, for the Anglomania of an ensuing generation; and both betray unstable equilibrium.
The most effectual efforts to control the frontier that were put forth by the East were by sending thither missionaries and schoolmasters. Baptist exhorters had followed close upon Methodist, and now came Campbellites, or Disciples, Cumberland Presbyterians, and representatives of innumerable curious sects beside, such as the Soul-sleepers, whose distinguishing tenet was that disembodied souls are in a somnolent state between death and the day of judgment.
These missionaries received meagre stipends from home and nothing in the field, and hence had to work with their hands, chop wood, and plough for their living. So it came about that they were often denounced in the East as "given to secular employments!" One of them, a Presbyterian, proposed a new society: "The-make-congregations-by-what-they-voluntarily-promise-society,"--for "most clergymen do perform all they ever promise and often a very great deal more."
One of these worthy men who at his first coming was discouraged by the survey, for the young people in particular seemed to have lapsed into heathenism, made the cheering discovery after a little effort that though religious feeling, through disuse, had become dormant, it was not extinct, and that only regular and faithful work was required to cause the nobler qualities again to assume control. There is interesting evidence of the fact that soon became notorious to all observers, that churchless villages were backward, rude, vicious, and failed to attract settlers; hence it became good business to solicit and advertise ecclesiastical privileges. But with the multitude of sects mutual antagonism flamed more fiercely. The five hundred citizens of the capital of Indiana were divided among ten religious sects: "Almost every householder had a 'meeting' of his own and in his own dwelling." A schismatical, self-righteous spirit was abroad, that "magnified differences, hunted more diligently than intelligently for scriptural excuses for division, and perverted texts to support creeds and uncharitable criticisms of varying creeds." Such was the common burden of sermons; there was no exchange of pulpits in those days! "Most that was done at many of our meetings was to revile others and glorify ourselves. Extra saints used to resort for worship to the top of the courthouse steeple. Men thought there was one church in the world and that their own, and wondered what judgment would fall on other denominations. They were possessed by a disposition to dogmatize, to settle not only their own faith but also their neighbors', and to stand resolutely and dispute fiercely for the slightest shade of difference of religious opinion." And finally, that opinion was badly mixed up with politics, and confounded with noise: "a quiet religion in Puddleford was no religion at all!"
After the suppression of the Black Hawk insurrection in 1832, immigration of better quality from the South, New England and Great Britain began to pour in, bearing with it property, education, and some sound religion. Now the northern tiers of counties began to be settled; neat white cottages, of New England style, with pine trees flanking the approach to the door, began to appear; towns sprang up and soon numbered their thousands, and boasted many stores, among them a bookstore, hotels, newspapers, schools and churches. Now appeared Roman Catholics, Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Congregationalists, Universalists, Unitarians, "and a few Nothingarians." Trained lawyers replaced the old-time pettifoggers, and physicians the quacks. Lyceum courses of lectures, universities, and charitable institutions drew within the horizon of the possible; and we hear mention of musical societies and another sign of the approaching frontier of culture, albeit untimely: a wandering artist, a disconsolate swallow of premature culture, dies in one of the settlements. Temperance societies are organized, to suppress intoxication at elections, primarily; and, best of all, progress in pure religion is recognized as "an index to the dignity and elevation of society, of states, of human life." Interest in it deepens, young men begin to seek the ministry; educated clergymen are called to urban parishes, and institute Sunday-schools; written sermons and chaste eloquence replace the spontaneous ranting of former time, and sacred music and song the discordant noise.
The first Episcopal minister of whom we hear in these quarters was an almost mythical being named Henry Shaw, who, in 1823, gathered a congregation at Vincennes; but who he was, whence he came and whence he derived his orders, no one knows. We no sooner hear of him than we hear that he "quit preaching and was elected to the legislature"; and from later ambiguous allusions we infer that his character was not of the best,--that, in a word, he was a clerical adventurer. What finally became of him is also unknown; out of the dark into the dark he goes.
The same year an emissary of the infant Domestic Missionary Society of the church, sent out to reconnoitre in both states, organized a hopeful parish at Albion, Illinois, whose history is conclusive as to the practicability of an early introduction of the church into this region. The nucleus of the parish was composed, without doubt, of a cluster of English immigrants; much zeal was manifested at the outset, and a rector was called from the East. Upon his declination, the congregation entreated the Missionary Society for a supply; and when that appeal also proved unavailing, it dissolved away.
Such experiences as these should quiet all plaints about the irreparable loss the church is supposed to have incurred through her comparatively late entrance into this field; the time was not ripe. Both men and money were needed for the work, and neither was at hand. The General Seminary only graduated its first class that year, the Theological Seminary of Virginia was located at Alexandria, and Bishop Chase went abroad to solicit funds for a western seminary. Even for the East the supply of clergy was sadly inadequate. Funds were also lacking; the Missionary Society was in its inception, and after a moment of promise had to struggle for life against a decline of interest. Undoubtedly it should have sent a bishop instead of a priest as its first missionary to the West, but in 1823 such a step would have seemed utterly impracticable. No society can be imagined where Episcopal services were more needed than in Indiana and Illinois at that time, and on the other hand there was none where they were less wanted. A bishop would have had terribly hard work and could have accomplished scarcely anything for ten years; still, he should have been sent. Not until after 1832 was the soil prepared for the church's seed.
Leaving his young children in charge of their relatives in Philadelphia, and accompanied by the Rev. Samuel Roosevelt Johnson, Bishop Kemper reached Indiana in November, 1835. A word is necessary concerning his companion, who was destined to exert a moulding influence upon the new diocese. He was the son of a distinguished minister, a scholar and eloquent preacher, of the Dutch Reformed communion, whose name, originally Jansen, had by simple change of spelling been conformed to its English homologue. After graduating at Columbia College, the younger Johnson received Episcopal ordination, and now, at the age of thirty-three years, attended Bishop Kemper upon his first missionary journey.
They discovered that in the whole state of Indiana there was one lone missionary of their communion, located at the capital, but not one church. New Albany was the largest town, numbering upward of three thousand inhabitants, and this and Evansville, where there were seven hundred souls and no minister of any kind, seemed to be highly promising stations. Having traversed the southern part of the state, the bishop sought to reach St. Louis by river, and touched at Paducah, a growing town of a thousand inhabitants, that could boast a theatre, but not a single place of public worship. Something untoward must have happened to the travelers, for they now had to take an open wagon, wherein their trunks served them for seats, and drive across the southern end of Illinois. After toiling through a swamp fitly called Purgatory, they arrived at St. Louis in the middle of December. Here there was an organized parish and church building, the only one in the jurisdiction of Missouri, in which there was not a single clergyman,--an exact converse of the case in Indiana.
The arrival of Americans, after the Louisiana purchase, in the old French military and trading post of St. Louis, was followed by municipal incorporation, the organization of the fur trade, a post office, newspaper, school, and bank; and the appearance of the first river steamboat, in the summer of 1817, marked a fresh era in the life of the place. The year after, the foundation of a Roman Catholic cathedral was laid, and in 1819, the year of Chase's consecration, the Episcopal parish of Christ Church was organized. After a period of suspended animation, a church building was completed in 1830, but even after that there was a vacancy until Bishop Kemper assumed the rectorship and secured the services of the Reverend Peter Minard as assistant minister. Apart from the metropolis, there was hardly a town in Missouri worthy of the title, but only straggling villages and a scattered and ever moving population of frontiersmen, stock raisers and small farmers. Civilization here did not differ materially, save in the points of slavery and the frequency of duels, from that in the states immediately to the eastward. There was little capital or credit, and so, in the midst of undeveloped and almost inexhaustible natural wealth, the people were generally poor. The religious among them were possessed by bitter sectarian prejudices; Roman Catholics were numerous, and had had a resident bishop since 1826; irreligion was of mutinous and blasphemous rather than of intellectual, sceptical cast. Thomas Hart Benton, the representative statesman of the frontier, held the vote of the state in the hollow of his hand. Bishop Kemper met him, but they cannot have been congenial, for Benton, though brought up in the church, had connected himself with the Methodists, and the bishop's prejudice against Jefferson had descended to Andrew Jackson and men of his party.
Still attended by Mr. Johnson, the bishop spent the winter of 1836 in Illinois, fulfilling his promise to Chase. Early in January he consecrated the church at Jacksonville, and in February organized the parish at Alton. The cold proved intense and travel difficult. In the course of this visitation, apparently, he recrossed the Mississippi and stood for the first time on the soil of Iowa; for in consequence of his representations Dubuque was made a station of the Missionary Society.
Iowa has been called "a great meadow between the Mississippi and Missouri rivers"; it contains a greater proportion of rich, arable land than any other state in the union. Its name is said to signify "beautiful land," and the impression made upon the favored ones who first looked out over its undulating prairies, with their waving grass and flowers, was not that of an aboriginal wilderness, but of "a lately cultivated country, suddenly deserted by its inhabitants." As a territory it had been attached to Missouri until that became a state; thenceforth for many years its condition has been aptly defined as political orphanage, until in 1834 it was appended to Wisconsin, which was itself an appendage of Michigan territory. Dubuque had just been laid out, and, the year of Kemper's visit, the site of Davenport was surveyed, and its streets were planned. The population of the territory was estimated at upward of ten thousand souls.
Kemper now heard of "Milwalky in Ouisconsin" as a hopeful site for a mission station, and soon after, in view of the erection of Michigan into a state and consequent separation therefrom of Wisconsin territory, the few church people in the latter, at Green Bay, conceiving that they were thereby separated from Michigan diocese, applied to him for Episcopal services. Much feeling was excited by this action.
He was then on his way to the East, where one of his first acts was to join in the consecration--the first in which he took part,--of Samuel Allen McCoskry, of Pennsylvania, as first bishop of Michigan. Kemper could testify that in the three states he had just inspected he could easily find places for a hundred missionaries, and he put so strongly the case for church building in the West that a society was formed in New York to promote it. His aim in his eastern tour was threefold: to plead in the seminaries for men to volunteer as missionaries, and, everywhere else, for means to sustain them, and also to start a church college west of the Mississippi. It needed only six months' experience to convince him of the wisdom of Bishop Chase's ideal. For some weeks he had difficulty in getting a hearing for his college plan, and was somewhat chagrined, when on a sudden the tide turned and within twenty days he secured for it subscriptions amounting to as many thousand dollars, and thus ensured its foundation. After this, wherever he went the keenest interest was aroused in his work,--an interest that was attested then and in after years by gifts to the cause from eastern clergymen and laymen, divinity students, ladies old and young, (widows and orphans, one may truly say), Sunday-school children, parochial missionary societies and entire congregations. It should never be forgotten that, as the western states were peopled from the East and their development depended upon eastern capital, so their dioceses owed their being to the grace of God acting upon eastern hearts, and producing the fruit of self-denial.
November found the bishop back in St. Louis, anxiously expecting the promised arrival of two clergymen, and his disappointment was keen when he learned that they had accepted positions elsewhere. Meantime there was borne to his ears on every wind the Macedonian cry, "Come and help us." The prospect of a gift of land and subscriptions for a college at Lafayette, Indiana, where his friend Johnson had just organized St. John's parish, drew him thither in haste; and during his absence, early in January, 1837, an act incorporating Kemper College was passed by the Missouri legislature. The bishop had chosen the title, "Missouri College," but exception was taken to it, and at the last moment his name, as that of the principal trustee, was substituted, without his knowledge.
The year then opening was a troublous one, in both church and state. Kemper was engaged with his brother bishops, McIlvaine, McCoskry, and Otey, and for some time vainly, in endeavoring to restore peace to the agitated diocese of Kentucky, whose bishop had been accused of falsehood. They brought in a verdict that excited loud cachinnation: "Guilty, without criminality." Their meaning was perfectly perspicuous: Bishop Smith had made a misstatement, but without culpable motive.
The financial panic that swept the land like a cyclone in 1837 wrought havoc with the credit of these states. Their currency had been inflated with worthless paper, and wildcat banking brought in its revenges. No moral principle had been recognized in the management of many banks; it is said that in Michigan there was a mutual understanding among them, and that the same silver and gold were dispatched from one point to another ahead of the inspectors, and exhibited to them at bank after bank. The demoralizing, disintegrating folly was exposed of making haste to be rich; of undertaking internal improvements at other people's expense, and thinking to pay for them with riches manufactured by the printing-press; of imagining that something could be made out of nothing, or out of land itself without steadfast human labor. The crisis was so severely felt in Chicago, which in only a couple of years had sprung from a village into a town, that people were forced to raise vegetables in their house lots, to keep from starving. Ere long, payment of interest ceased upon the state debts of Indiana and Illinois. The intoxication of speculation was followed by weary years of depression; and this grievously affected the missionary cause.
1837 also marked a crisis in the anti-slavery campaign. Elijah Lovejoy, a Whig, Presbyterian minister, and editor of a denominational journal that opposed slavery, came to a violent end at Alton. A career like his served to confirm Kemper in his abhorrence of the mixture of politics with religion; and he always thought that the methods of the abolitionists defeated their chosen end, and tended to perpetuate slavery.
His unconquerable optimism in the face of financial disaster is inspiring. He still hoped to prove "that if Indiana was ever lost to the church, she is regained." He had the satisfaction of laying the corner stone of a church at Crawfordsville, and of organizing Christ Church parish at Indianapolis. He was kindly received at New Harmony, and made the acquaintance of Robert Dale Owen. He had no sympathy with Owen's communistic scheme, and had a horror of infidelity; but personally the intercourse between them was courteous and friendly, and the bishop enjoyed examining the philosopher's fine library and collections illustrative of natural history.
In the late autumn he was speeding across Missouri to Fort Leavenworth, the most important post on the frontier. Colonel Stephen Kearny, the commandant, had begged him to secure a chaplain for it. The bishop's account of the trip is so vivid, and expressive of his buoyant spirit, that it is well to quote from it. "I have now experienced a little of western adventure, and really entered into it with much more spirit and enjoyment than I could have imagined. Shall I tell you how we were benighted and how we lost our way, of the deep creeks we forded and the bad bridges we crossed,--how we were drenched to the skin, and how we were wading for half-an-hour in a slough, and the accidents which arose from the stumbling of our horses? But these events were matters of course. We had daily cause for thankfulness and praise. ... What a proof of the sluggishness of our movements is the fact that, so far as I can learn, I am the first clergyman of our Church who has preached at Columbia, Boonville, Fayette, Richmond, Lexington, Independence and Fort Leavenworth,--in a word, I have been the pioneer from St. Charles up the Missouri!" And so he trod for the first time that portion of the vast tract then vaguely known as the Indian Territory which in after days was to take its name from the tribe of Kansas Indians.
The earliest record of that territory is of one of those violent summer hailstorms that still distress the farmer. On a sultry and dazzling afternoon in June, three centuries before Kemper's visit, a Spaniard named Coronado was crossing its treeless plains, when of a sudden the sky was overcast and he and his troop were pelted with hailstones as big as oranges. Its only development up to Kemper's day was owing to its being threaded by the Santa Fe trail for traders between Missouri and Mexico. What he saw of the possibilities of mission work among the Indians there interested the bishop profoundly.
On his return to St. Louis, where he hoped to rest for some months, doing pastoral work, looking after his college, writing letters and reports, he found a letter awaiting him from Bishop Otey, entreating his company upon a tour in the southwest. The two bishops had been closely drawn to each other at the time of the Smith trial, and ever after were faithful friends. To Kemper the invitation came as a constraining call, and accordingly, in January, 1838, he dropped down the great river to Memphis, where news reached him that Otey was prostrated by an attack of fever, and begged him to make the visitation in his stead. "If possible, I shall gratify him," Kemper wrote home, "for I am much attached to him, and I belong entirely to the Church." So began a magnificent tour which, taken in connection with his other activities, affords the most impressive spectacle of the expansion of the church throughout the land at the opening of the second generation of the nineteenth century. His route lay through Natchez, New Orleans, Mobile, Pensacola, Tallahassee, Macon, Columbus (Georgia), Montgomery, Greensboro', Tuscaloosa, and Columbus (Mississippi), and terminated at Mobile and New Orleans, whither he returned in May. He could report that in about four months he had visited nearly all the parishes in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and Florida, confirming in nearly all; that he had consecrated eight churches and advanced two deacons to the priesthood; and that he had become a living witness to the church at large of the wants, claims, and prospects of the southwest. He estimated that at least fifty missionaries were needed there immediately, and put the pointed question: "Is climate ever to be taken into consideration by those who have solemnly bound themselves at the Altar of God?"
This superb tour was the prelude to the consecration of Leonidas Polk.
Among the testimonies to the genial impression produced by Kemper's personality we select two from Mississippi, from the missionaries at Woodville and Columbus. "I cannot doubt that the labors of this amiable and excellent prelate will greatly advance the interests of the Church in this destitute region. His indefatigable zeal and amiable manners have secured him friends in all who have known him." "He was the first Bishop that had ever been in this region, and I am happy to say that he made a good and wholesome impression for the Church. Our people were very much pleased with him in the pulpit, and delighted with him in the private circle. We only regret that there is but little hope of our seeing him again."
No sooner had he returned north than he started upon a visitation of Indiana, and presided over its diocesan convention. At Vincennes he walked and talked with General William Henry Harrison, who owned property in the town, to such good effect that he obtained from him a gift of a fine lot of land for a church. He preached at New Harmony in a room that Owen had helped prepare for service.
In the growing town of Milwaukie (as it was then spelled) a parish had just been organized by the name of St. Paul. An experienced missionary named Richard Cadle, who had formerly been employed by the board of missions in Michigan, had been transferred to Wisconsin, where he was busily gathering congregations. That territory and Iowa were now formally placed under Kemper's jurisdiction, and in July, for the first time as bishop, he entered Wisconsin, with which his relations were destined to become the most intimate of all.
The imaginative charm of this wonderful career lies in the illimitable perspectives opened by it into space, time, and eternity.
Until within only four years of his visit traffic with the Indians had been the one interest of the territory, and the fur-trade had opened up and marked out the way for all its future development. Green Bay, Milwaukee, Fond-du-Lac, Oshkosh, Sheboygan, Madison and many other towns stand upon the sites of Indian villages and trading-posts, and many a highway was once an Indian trail. The water ways had early been well explored by French voyagers and Jesuit priests. The Black Hawk war first advertised the country, and in the summers immediately ensuing waves of immigration, of good quality, native American and protestant, broke upon its eastern coast. Methodist and Presbyterian ministers put in an appearance, schools were opened and newspapers started at Green Bay and Milwaukee, and mail was carried up the coast once a week. Kaleidoscopic changes marked the infancy of the territory; it participated in the speculative excitement of the year 1836, which reached its height in Milwaukee in a building mania; after the collapse, next year, a thousand dollar house-lot could be bought for a barrel of pork or flour, or a suit of clothes. For some time after, immigration was checked. At the date of the bishop's visit, the white population of the territory amounted to twelve thousand souls. He passed through Prairie du Chien, Cassville, Mineral Point, Madison, and Fort Winnebago, preaching and administering the holy communion, and early in August arrived at Green Bay, where he confirmed six persons and laid the corner stone of Christ Church. He also visited the Oneida settlement at Duck Creek, being escorted thither by a mounted guard of thirty Indians, and laid for them the corner stone of Hobart Church. He then retraced his steps, and heard news that agitated his manifold jurisdictions: that he had been elected to the bishopric of Maryland.
The following tribute, elicited at this juncture from the vestry of Christ Church, St. Louis, witnesses to the esteem in which he was held:
"Resolved, That Bishop Kemper seems particularly fitted for his present situation as Missionary Bishop at the West, not only in the great essentials to be expected of every Bishop, piety and devotedness, but in the lesser qualities which are all important to his efficiency and success in this region; viz, firm health and constitution, which have been tried by the climate; a cheerful temper and popular manners, enabling him to come in contact with our heterogeneous population, with favorable impressions on their side to the cause in which he is engaged; and great prudence and caution, peculiarly requisite amidst a population made up of almost all religions and nations, whose moral and religious character is yet unformed, and where different denominations of Christians are striving to make establishment.
"Resolved, That we bear testimony to the activity and perseverance of Bishop Kemper while he has been amongst us, and to the great services rendered by him.
"Resolved, That, in our opinion, his removal from us would be to undo much of what has been done and is in progress, favorable to the growth of the Protestant Episcopal Church amongst us; that it would require of his successor several years' labor and travel to gain the practical information possessed by Bishop Kemper of the wants of the West, and to inspire the confidence of the scattered friends of the Church, to the degree now acquired by him, from personal intercourse with them at their homes throughout this vast region.
"Resolved, That his presence seems necessary to Kemper College, an institution just commencing here under favorable auspices, of which he may be styled the founder, and is relied upon to procure for it proper professors and instructors, as well as necessary patronage for the future."
This action of the vestry, widely disseminated, no doubt expressed and helped to confirm the convictions that actuated Kemper in his refusal to forsake his proper and chosen sphere of labor, to the great relief of all concerned save the people of Maryland; and it was so clear and emphatic that it put a quietus upon any future attempt to withdraw him from his western field. An allusion in the first resolution, to his "firm health and constitution," may have sounded somewhat surprising, but it is a fact that he had completely outgrown the delicacy of his early years in the ministry, so that he positively enjoyed the intense cold of the wintry plains,--protected against it as he was in the fashion we will let him describe in his own words, momently.
The last resolution touched a subject very near his heart. A desirable property had been bought in the neighborhood of St. Louis, building had been begun upon it, and that very autumn Mr. Minard began instruction in the preparatory school of Kemper College.
On his return from general convention, the bishop was twice overturned in vehicles between Baltimore and St. Louis, but without serious injury. He consecrated the completed fabric, "of wood, in the Gothic style," of Christ Church, Indianapolis; and here a carelessly worded or printed report would seem to indicate that on one and the same day he was consecrating a church in Indiana and galloping across western Missouri on his way to the Indian Territory! Similar powers of bilocation are reported of mediaeval saints. It was in fact the middle of November that found him engaged in the latter journey, but the momentary confusion affords a kinetoscopic impression of the celerity of his moments. In letters to his family, he pictures himself as chilled to the heart and shaking with cold while eating in a wretched cabin without a window, so that the door had to be left open for light; the meal consisted of corn-dodgers and coffee, without butter or sugar. The tract through which he rode, on horseback, was sparsely inhabited, and what people there were were pitiably poor. He went once for twenty miles in a driving snowstorm without seeing a house; one night he was glad to share with eleven others the shelter of a log house of a single room; the snow drifted in and lay in heaps upon the middle of the floor: no one troubled himself to remove it, and it did not melt in the slightest degree. Fastidious though the bishop usually was about his toilet and the like, he enjoyed this extraordinary experience. Of course he could not have existed without the wraps that he describes: "I have on thick blue cloth leggings, buffalo moccasins over waterproof boots, a lion skin greatcoat with collar turned up and a handkerchief around it to keep it tight, another handkerchief around my ears, and want nothing beside but a mask of rabbit skin." He was deeply disappointed at the condition in which he found the lately deported Indians, professedly Christian, whom it was his object to visit; they were abandoned to the evils of intemperance, having been debauched by the rum-sellers of the border.
In picturesque contrast with this freezing tour was his visitation in Wisconsin the succeeding summer: the heat was intense, and the mosquitoes were so many and fierce that he had to wear a veil, for protection. His recommendation that Racine be made a mission station was adopted. On his way down the Mississippi he stopped at Dubuque and Davenport; in fact, for 1839 and the following year it is sufficient to record that he repeated his regular routine of visitations in Indiana, Missouri, Wisconsin and Iowa, only interrupted by his annual tour to the East.
Turning to the state that he was continually encircling on these tours, we find that all through these years it was suffering acutely from the stringency in the money market, and that in consequence the diocese remained stationary. In 1837, Bishop Chase consecrated St. James' Church, Chicago,--and then the panic and ensuing hard times put an abrupt stop to church building. The diocese numbered eleven clergymen; there was sore need of traveling evangelists, as the bishop declared to his convention; he lamented the fact that he was its only itinerant, and often had to stay at home for lack of funds. It was almost too much to expect a man of his age and size to undergo the toil and exposure of such travel,--over the wind-swept prairies, through creeks and sloughs: in 1838 a carriage in which he was riding was upset and some of his ribs were broken. On his diocesan tours he never failed to find a welcome in the loneliest hamlets and solitary cabins; the people were very friendly, but mostly without means, and engaged in a desperate struggle for bare subsistence. In such a situation it behoved a minister to go and seek, he said, without waiting for a call and salary; and he pointed out that the conditions of the primitive church were repeated in this country, where there is no public support of religion. Missionaries must be content with corn meal, molasses, and pork, instead of bread, sugar, butter, and beef; they must be prepared to endure hardships, yet will not lack compensations; a buffalo coat and boots, for example, with warm cap and gloves are great comforts,--and the coat makes an excellent blanket. In a new country versatile genius is in demand; the missionary should be something of a doctor, nurse, and cook.
Bishop Chase was delayed by the hard times in the execution of his educational project. In fact, he had to encounter in Illinois the same difficulties that in Ohio had beset the locating of Kenyon College. No good land was to be cheaply bought; everywhere he found "individual cupidity" in conflict with and defeating "public utility." After some years he succeeded in getting a site according to his mind: a low, wooded ridge along a creek, in Peoria county; and on the 3rd of April, 1839, he had the satisfaction of laying the corner stone of the chapel of Jubilee College. It was a beautiful day, and the knoll was thronged with folk from far and near, who found sitting room on the heaps of stone just quarried for the chapel. The bishop said that never before in his life had he been filled with such solemn gladness; and he explained that the name he had chosen for the college suited best of any his feelings and circumstances: "after seven years I rejoice in a return of God's favor."
The year 1839 saw the second crisis in the history of Kenyon College, and Chase remarked, with a considerable degree of pardonable satisfaction, that his successor in the bishopric of Ohio was forced to adopt his position. Dr. Sparrow had rallied the opposition to Bishop McIlvaine, who had no alternative, he said, but to quell it or quit the diocese. So battle was joined and the bishop triumphed,--for the diocese did not seek another episcopal resignation; McIlvaine said, later, that he would have resigned had he been outvoted. His opponents on the college faculty were removed; Sparrow left Gambier, an "earthquake of feeling in his heart." But the change did not work well; confidence declined; and before very long McIlvaine himself vainly sought Sparrow's return, promising himself to leave Gambier.
Chase's English funds, all that he had, had been consumed in the purchase of land and beginning of building at Jubilee, so he had to look around for means, and resolved to travel for his college through the southern states. He applied to Kemper for his good-will, and received the following note:
St. Louis, Mo., Nov. 29, 1839.
The plan of the venerable Bishop Chase is exceedingly interesting, and one of great importance to the future prosperity of our country, and the welfare of the Church of the living God in the Diocese of Illinois. I wish him every success in his noble and arduous undertaking.
Missionary Bishop of Missouri, Wisconsin, Iowa, etc., and Acting Bishop of Indiana.
New Year's day, 1840, Chase was in New Orleans again,--when suddenly a clergyman appeared, begging for Kemper College. "How like my former trials!" he exclaimed, recalling the competition when he was first in England. He only obtained in that great city fifty dollars for Jubilee; but arrears of salary thirty years old were paid him by Christ Church. He sailed in a schooner to Charleston, where he succeeded in raising an endowment of ten thousand dollars for a professorship. Thence he proceeded to Savannah and Columbia, where the Reverend Stephen Elliott gave him two hundred dollars. "I never was better treated," the bishop testified, "than in South Carolina and Georgia."
At Norfolk he visited a man-of-war that was lying in the harbor, and found that the sailors preferred the Church service to any other: "The Church they regard as the regular troops; all others, as the militia." Thence he traversed the northeastern states with a fair degree of success, getting subscriptions in Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York, Brooklyn and Hartford.
The year 1841 was a notable one in the history of Kemper and his group. His college at St. Louis was then in running order, domiciled in its own large hall; more than forty students were receiving instruction in mathematics, the classics, rhetoric and "belle lettres," from a faculty of three professors,--but over the institution hung an ominous debt of nearly five thousand dollars; a storm was brewing in that cloud, then only as large as a man's hand. The grammar school continued, alongside the college, and the bishop's ambition now was to engage a theological professor and open a seminary. In January he journeyed east with this in view, and also to seek missionaries for the upbuilding of the church in Wisconsin; and at the General Seminary met four students who gave themselves to him for the latter work. Here comes into relief the importance of seminary courses in apostology; those young men had been inspired by Dr. Whittingham's lectures in church history, in which he caused to pass before their mental vision the heroic figures of the golden age of missions, which ever after loomed and beckoned upon their spiritual horizon: Columba and his companions, mariner missionaries among the western islands of Scotland; St. Gall, amid the Swiss mountains; Boniface, the apostle of sylvan Germany; Willibrord, of the Frisian dunes, and Ansgar, of the Scandinavian lakes. Their hearts had burned within them as they heard Kemper tell, upon his previous visit, of similar splendid opportunities in the boundless West, and they had eagerly talked the matter over in their rooms, taken trusted advice, and come to an affirmative decision. Their names were William Adams, James Lloyd Breck, John Henry Hobart, and James Warley Miles. The first, an Irishman, was the matures! in mind as in years; he was a thinker and scholar, fond of the contemplative life, yet no dreamer, quick-witted, and a born teacher. Breck was his junior by several years, but became the soul of the movement. He was born near Philadelphia in 1818. His parents were church people, and from the first he enjoyed catholic nurture. At the age of twelve he was placed in the school that Muhlenberg had just opened at Flushing, Long Island, whither Bishop Kemper also sent his sons, and there, for the six ensuing impressionable years of his life he responded to the moulding influence of that great evangelical catholic. There the precocious youth resolved to devote himself to a celibate ministry; stringent discipline was what his nature craved; and the religious life, narrowly interpreted in its mediaeval sense,--that is, the ascetic,--became henceforth his lode-star. He was so well advanced in his studies at Flushing that in 1836 he was able to enter the junior class in the University of Pennsylvania, whence he passed, after two years, to the General Seminary. Hobart was a son of the bishop of that name. His dominant inspiration was missionary. Only after much urging, and then with extreme reluctance, could his bishop be persuaded to relinquish his claim to Hobart's services, while Miles's positively refused to let him go, saying that he was more needed in South Carolina, his native state. This was a great disappointment to all concerned, for, according to Breck's testimony, to Miles was due the first suggestion of a religious house somewhere on the western frontier, to evangelize and educate the people.
On the fourth of March, General Harrison was inaugurated President of the United States,--a victory for the northwest, as Jackson's election was for the southwest, marking the rise in political importance of those sections,--but after exactly one month he expired. Dr. Upfold improved the sad occasion to administer a severe castigation to his people, upon a text from the prophet Jeremiah: "My people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water." During his ten years' pastorate at Pittsburg, Upfold had become a power in his parish, the community, and the surrounding country. He had paid off a debt upon his church, had had the edifice thoroughly repaired and a fine organ placed in it; and, unwilling to let his activities be circumscribed by parochial routine, had ministered to vacant parishes in the neighborhood of the city, and made missionary excursions that familiarized him with the needs of western Pennsylvania. The sermon referred to was one of his greatest homiletic efforts; it was an exposure of the short-sighted worldliness of the American populace, and the evils of the times. The people have forgotten the Lord their God, and are given over to irreligion and accompanying profligacy, peculation and speculation; departing from republican simplicity, they are abandoned to the pursuit of luxury and its means; have imported debased amusements, and lavish their wealth on "histrionic adventurers, singers, fiddlers, and lascivious dancing girls." Sabbath breaking, profanity, and intemperance are fearfully common; the press is obscene; the love of money has become idolatry. Money is the god of thousands, and its acquisition the passion of the age; avarice and indulgence are the ruling propensities of the nation. Wealth had become a source of confidence, making men feel independent of God,--hence the scourge of the late financial disasters, for recovery from which the besotted people looked every way but the right one, putting their reliance upon industry, the richness of the soil, republican government,--and especially upon a man, William Henry Harrison, whose election was to cure every ill and restore confidence and credit. And now he is taken from their eyes.
A union of church and state, the preacher concluded, is to be deprecated, but no infidel state can stand. Without religion there can be no stability; government will degenerate into anarchy, as during the French Revolution. "Religion, practically recognized in our public affairs, and by our public men, is the great safeguard of our liberties."
Immediately after graduation from the seminary, Adams, Breck and Hobart were ordered deacons, and accepted by the board of missions for work in Wisconsin. Hobart left first, to survey the field; the others followed in September; they made Prairieville (now Waukesha) their centre of operations, organized a parish which they called St. John's in the Wilderness, and itinerated in every direction for a radius of fifty miles.
The missionary jurisdictions of Indiana and Missouri had by this time been organized as dioceses, Kemper presiding; and the former now eagerly elected him as its diocesan, but he declined. The time had not yet nearly come for him so to settle down, and he was deeply interested in his college and the Wisconsin mission. It was a moment of hope and energy in Indiana; Dr. Bryan Killikelly, missionary at Vincennes, was in England that summer, pleading for his work, and with the cordial assistance of the bishop of London obtained over two hundred pounds sterling to help him in building his church.
Dr. Andrew Wylie, an eminent Presbyterian dominie, and president of the state university at Bloomington, alienated by the violent controversies within his communion, and concluding that "sectarianism is heresy," applied to Kemper for ordination. This famous conversion fluttered the dovecotes of western Presbyterianism as a similar event, the conversion of a rector and several tutors of Yale College, had agitated the Congregational societies of New England more than a century before.
The bishop was the recipient this year of a legacy from some maiden ladies of Philadelphia. He accepted an invitation to preach the triennial sermon before the board of missions in St. Paul's Chapel, New York, and took as his text the admirably appropriate passage in the tenth chapter of St. Paul's epistle to the Romans, the thirteenth and following verses. At the close of a glowing incentive to missionary duty, he spoke, as his audience expected him to speak, of his own field, in prophetic strain: "With respect to the western portion of our own country, the mighty West, the seat of future empires,--from whence the arts and sciences and, if we are faithful to our trust, the elevating and holy doctrines of Christianity in all their vital influence are to extend far and wide, through Mexico and the almost boundless plains of South America to Cape Horn and the Isles of the Pacific,--even in the West, amidst the wildest speculations, the most intense excitement, and the all-absorbing desire to be rich,--even there the Church has been planted, and in many a village is to be found a band of faithful worshippers.
"To theological students, in whose welfare I am most truly interested, I can speak with plainness; for at the present day, if amid the prodigious efforts of Popery, the beautiful example set us by various denominations in this country, and the delightful, the noble stand which our highly honored mother, the Church of England, has at last taken in reference to missions, there is even one, looking to the ministry, who has not in all sincerity and from his heart said to his Saviour, Speak, Lord, for thy servant heareth,--and is not ready to say to the Church, Here am I, send me,--he has mistaken his calling. The spirit to be cultivated at the schools of the prophets is the spirit of unreserved and entire devotion to the cause of Christ Jesus and Him crucified. The heart, the whole heart is required."
On the second Sunday in Advent, Andrew Wylie was ordered deacon, being upward of fifty years of age. It was felt to be a deeply interesting, indeed momentous event in the history of the infant diocese of Indiana. The ordination took place at New Albany, and Samuel Roosevelt Johnson was the preacher. In his sermon he set forth in incisive terms the doctrine of a catholic deposit,--a trust, not subjective, but "a witness which God has given His Church, independent of us, transmitted to our care, which we must accept and faithfully declare and hand over to the generation which shall succeed, without addition, diminution, or reserve.
"I would prefer grace to knowledge that might lead to grace,--would rather possess my privilege than know of it."
The ordinand cordially assented to these sentiments,--indeed, the preacher and he were the formative ecclesiastical influences of the diocese. Wylie was its representative at the next general convention, whereat his was the only voice raised in defense of the Oxford tracts. It has been pointed out that a wave from Oxford that had just struck New York, leaped over Pennsylvania and Ohio, and then poured along the same parallels, inundating Indiana and Wisconsin, eddying around and finally engulfing Illinois. Hence the desperate efforts the evangelical association made to check its further progress by placing their men in Iowa, like stones in a wall, having the Mississippi for a dyke.
Little did Henry Lee dream at that time of his coming relation to the latter see. After finishing his course at Cheshire, he moved to Massachusetts, taught school for a while at Taunton, carrying on his theological studies privately, was ordained by Bishop Griswold, and installed, in 1840, as rector of Christ Church, Springfield.
Joseph Talbot meantime left his native Virginia for Kentucky, and engaged in business in Louisville. He was baptized the year he attained his majority, and in 1841 began his preparation for the ministry. At that date, Hawks had for some years been in holy orders, and was in charge of Trinity Church, Buffalo; and Vail had given evidence of unusual activity and ability. After graduating at the General Seminary, he was ordered deacon by Bishop Brownell, and was called to be assistant at St. Paul's Church, Boston. While thus engaged, he organized All Saint's Church, Worcester. He was priested by Bishop Griswold on the feast of the Epiphany, 1837, and was rector of Christ Church, Cambridge, for two years thereafter, when he returned to Connecticut. In 1841 he brought out his remarkable book, "The Comprehensive Church," which was read in manuscript and approved by Bishop Brownell.
Its thesis is that everything necessary to Christian unity and ecclesiastical union, with nothing superfluous, is to be found in the Episcopal church. Its tone is tolerant, undogmatic; it is an interesting contribution from the ecclesiastical side to the literature of the age of Henry Clay and compromise. The writer explains at the outset that he does not intend to discuss disputed points, such as apostolical succession or the principle of a liturgy. His initial premise is that originally all Christians were churchmen, and that religious divisions are great evils. He refuses to surrender the term "Catholic" to the Roman church, and defends the church of England from the charge of schism: the papacy was never universal, and had no lawful authority over England, no authority to excommunicate a national church; Roman excommunications are valid only in the Roman diocese; England broke with the Roman, not with the universal church. As regards the relation of the English and American churches, the brave claim is advanced that the current figure of mother and daughter must yield to that of sisterhood, on the principle of the equality of national churches; a declaration of ecclesiastical independence! The Protestant Episcopal church was moored, theologically and every way, alongside the English, until Vail cut the cables. Sectarianism seemed to him without excuse; its principle he defined as "continual separation, in order to secure the most exact assimilation," until at last unity is resolved into its units, and the sect becomes the individual. He answers the popular apologies for division on the ground of its supposed benefits,--increase of zeal, for example; pointing out that such increase is difficult to distinguish from fanaticism, and is moreover outweighed by the skepticism it engenders; whereas there never was more genuine and heroic zeal than in the early ages, when the Church was one. The arguments of the Baptists are completely turned by the fact of the rite of confirmation and admission of the lawfulness of immersion. It is admitted that the one distinctive point in each denomination is generally a truth, made disproportionally prominent; the question is, Is there in existence any religious organization that combines the truths of all?--and the author answers, Yes, the Episcopal, "because, in its system, those points which its own members hold essential and which are not provided for in any other system, and those also which are held essential by the various other denominations, are distinctly recognized and amply provided for." In it "the elements of the three great systems, the Episcopal, the Presbyterial, the Congregational, are so combined that the entire strength of each is preserved." The laity have a share in its government, parochial, diocesan, and national; in fact, its constitution bears a striking resemblance to that of the republic, with which it is geographically co-extensive. (Happily for the writer, Kemper had just made this last claim good.) The theory of the Episcopal church is, that the church of Christ is itself the great Missionary Society appointed by Him, and that His sacraments are as free to all His true disciples as are the benefits of His precious blood. As to doctrine, there have been and are, both in the English and American churches, both Calvinists and Arminians among both clergy and laity. And forms of public worship may be changed by the will of the majority. The author regrets that churchmen themselves too often exhibit sectarian spirit, not realizing the largeness of their communion, and how many diversities of opinion and practice are permissible in it. "It is treason against nature and nature's God," he exclaims, "to attempt to shape all the varieties of individual, mental, moral, and physical character, by one exact and elaborately contrived standard of human rules. ... It is the fundamental error of sectarism, ...--an error into which the weakness of men is continually falling. It springs from that inordinate but hidden self-love, which causes every man to look at himself as the standard of perfection, to which all others must be made to conform.
"The great fault of ecclesiastical legislators, in all ages of the Church, has been in legislating too much. ... They seem to have forgotten that there are laws in nature itself and in the Gospel as well as in their codes of canons. They ought to have faith in the common sense and the deliberate judgments and the sincere hearts of Christian people; they should trust much to the laws of experience, the laws of the human mind and affections; they should have calm confidence in the gracious care of the Holy Spirit, the superintendence of the Head of the Church."
Such is the argument of Vail's remarkable treatise, the most remarkable, indeed, about the only publication in book form produced by the group around Bishop Kemper. It may reflect too fully the spirit of compromise of the age out of which it arose,--may be too pliable in some of its applications,--though he maintained that in practice extreme tendencies would be automatically adjusted,--but its spirit is in line with sound Anglican and truly catholic tradition,--is in truth identical with the spirit of Richard Hooker and, further back, of Bishop Pecocke; and those who cry out against it owe to it their foothold in the church. It offers a refreshing contrast to the violent party contests and ecclesiastical trials of its day; it indicated, long before, the lines along which the church was to progress; and, finally, in its clear-cut distinction between nature and sin it was far in advance of the times and still remains so in a measure.
Kemper's plan of visitation of all his dioceses and jurisdictions for the year 1842 reveals a general intention of spending a week at every parish or mission station visited. This may have been the common custom then; Bishop Cobbs followed it, and so had time to call upon every church family in every place, become personally acquainted with every individual, and so be in truth the chief pastor of his diocese. Kemper reported this year that there were thirty-one clergymen and that he had confirmed one hundred and ninety-one persons in his field. In a report from Prairieville, Wisconsin, rendered by William Adams, as clerk of the associated mission, we find the following reference: "We have had an interesting visit from Bishop Kemper. We believe he is satisfied with our efforts. And though in his services he wore the robes appropriate to his office, a thing before unheard of in this region, still we have heard no complaints, and we know that the dignified and impressive way in which he performed the solemn duties of the Episcopate, as well the reverential suavity of his natural manner, have brought it close to the most careless, that the commission borne by an apostolic bishop is not of man, neither by man, but of the Holy Ghost."
In the same report a "Catholic feature" of the mission is noted,--classes of adult catechumens, conducted by the brethren; and an intention of having weekly communions, "according to primitive practice," is recorded. To this end the brothers had sought to secure the services of the good missionary priest, Richard Cadle, and to convert him into the Father Superior of their order,--but the worthy man shied at the novel honor. With funds that Hobart had obtained at the East a beautiful tract of land was bought about Nashotah (signifying "Twin Lakes"), and thither, in August, the mission was moved. The following October, Adams and Breck were advanced to the priesthood, and the latter was made head of the religious house. A few theological students answered to the lay brothers of Vallombrosa; they supported themselves by farm work, etc., according to the primitive method at Gambier. The community rose at five o'clock, had services (lauds or prime) at six and nine in the morning, on Wednesdays and Fridays the litany and on Thursdays Holy Communion at noontide, and services at three and half-past six o'clock in the evening, answering to nones and vespers. Now at length, as Breck wrote home with glee, he began to feel that he was really in a monastery. But within a year from that hopeful start it seemed as if the community would be dissolved. Adams had a severe attack of pneumonia, felt unequal to bearing the business burdens of the house, and returned to the East; Hobart lingered a few months longer, and then followed; and Breck began to think of moving further west.
At this period Kenyon College was in such financial straits that it was in imminent danger of being lost to the church,--but a mighty effort was made, collections were taken for it on a large scale among congregations throughout the eastern dioceses, and it was saved; but the extraordinary exertion resulted in a deficit in the missionary treasury that reduced many a poor minister on the frontier to pinching poverty.
One is startled to hear that in 1843 a medical department was annexed to Kemper College and already boasted of the formidable number of seventy-five students. The attention of the church was called to this Protestant Episcopal University west of the Mississippi, which "promised a rich return for its fostering care," and seemed destined to "hand down the name of its beloved founder to other ages." There were but a score of students, however, in the collegiate department, at whose first commencement the bishop presided that summer.
The good example set by his young itinerants in Wisconsin moved him to urge the appointment of two or more missionaries of similar type to operate in Indiana. That diocese now made another attempt to perfect its organization, electing Thomas Atkinson of Virginia as its bishop,--but he declined. Its leading presbyter, Roosevelt Johnson, waived a like offer. Missouri diocese had similar aspirations and electoral difficulties, which it solved by throwing the onus upon the general convention, entreating it to choose a bishop. In 1843, Cicero Stephens Hawks accepted a call to the rectorate of Christ Church, St. Louis; and the favor with which he was received determined the choice of the convention. On the 2oth of October, 1844, (the day of Cobbs' consecration), and in Christ Church, Philadelphia, he was consecrated bishop of Missouri by Philander Chase, now presiding bishop, assisted by Kemper, McCoskry, Polk, and DeLancey.
With this event terminated what is in one way the most interesting period of our hero's life,--the dawn, or morning of his episcopate, with its wide and long vistas, its freshness and promise. Wonderful indeed was the accomplishment of those nine mystic years, especially when we consider that it was before the days of railroads,--that he had to toil painfully in wagons, on horseback or afoot along wretched roads over boundless tracts that the traveler now crosses smoothly, gliding at the rate of a mile a minute in a palace car. One outlet of his energy having been stopped, we become aware of a certain limitation; yet the setting off of Missouri simply freed him to expand in other directions. Truth to tell, he had felt least at home in that state; out of the city of St. Louis and two or three towns, he had always felt balked by the class he had to deal with,--the unimpressible "poor whites." The era of beginnings was not wholly over; and the noonday of his episcopate which we now enter was equally missionary with the earlier period, and possesses an interest of its own. As a happy aid to the memory, it may be pointed out that the remainder of his career is articulated into five-yearly periods: in 1844, Hawks became bishop of Missouri; in 1849, George Upfold, of Indiana; in 1854, Henry Washington Lee, of Iowa; in 1859, Henry Benjamin Whipple, of Minnesota; in 1864, Thomas Hubbard Vail, of Kansas. Would that for symmetry we might add, in 1869, Ozi William Whitaker, of Nevada; but, though an indirect connection may certainly be traced, that field lay beyond the utmost western verge of Kemper's horizon. These dates, furthermore, coincide with epochs in his life that are divisible by five, thus: fifty-five years, sixty, sixty-five, seventy, seventy-five, and eighty years.
For some time his centre of interest and of gravity had been gradually shifting from Missouri to Wisconsin, from St. Louis to Nashotah,--and the latter henceforth became his base of operations. The winter of 1845 was spent in Wisconsin, partly at Milwaukee, where he consecrated St. Paul's Church, partly at Nashotah, which he visited repeatedly. So much of the latter half of the year and of 1846 was passed in Milwaukee that that city may be regarded as his transitional residence. It received a city charter in the latter year, having attained a population of nearly ten thousand souls, of the most heterogeneous character; already nearly every European nation was represented in it, and every sect. It was erected into a see of the Church of Rome, and a Swiss priest named Henni was made its bishop; at the same time, Universalist and Unitarian societies were formed there. In its diversities, Milwaukee was a type of the territory of which it was the metropolis, into which a veritable human deluge was pouring; long before the last Indians were removed from its bounds, English, Scotch, Irish and Welsh, French, Belgian, Dutch, German, Swedish and Norwegian, Polish and Hungarian immigrants were swarming there; after the revolutionary disturbances of 1848 (in which year the territory became a state), the inrush from Europe resembled a stampede; in a single year the increase amounted to almost a hundred thousand souls. And so Wisconsin became the polyglot state of the union, its foreign-born out of all proportion to its native or American inhabitants. This is its distinction, and it makes it a fruitful field of study and its future a problem for the human biologist.
In November, 1846, Bishop Kemper took possession of a rustic homestead, thenceforth humorously known as "the Palace," hard by Nashotah, and for the first time since leaving Norwalk, a length of eleven years, had a house whither he could bring his daughter, now a young lady, from Philadelphia. For all those years he was literally a homeless wanderer; a lot hard to be borne by one whose domestic tastes and ties were as strong as his. With deep delight he kindled his hearth-fire again, and unpacked his books and other souvenirs of his old home and vanished wife. The year following his father died, at the age of ninety-eight, and the bishop's two unmarried sisters came to live with him. And two years after that his son Lewis, who seems to have resembled him in temperament and character, was graduated at Columbia College and began the study of theology at Nashotah. So the bishop had at last quite a family gathered about him, amid which he led a serene and beautiful existence.
He rose early, at five o'clock in summer and six in winter, and attributed his established health in large measure to his habitual morning bath in cold water, followed by the use of the flesh brush. He was punctilious about his toilet. At a quarter before seven he had family prayers, and at seven breakfasted, always taking two large cups of coffee with a great deal of sugar. He had a good appetite, healthily stimulated by the varying fare of the changing seasons; he welcomed the new vegetables of spring, the fruits of autumn, and especially the first hot buckwheat cakes in winter with boyish delight. The rest of the morning he spent in his study, preparing for official duties, attending to his correspondence, making up his accounts, and reading. He made it a rule to read daily in his Greek Testament and in some solid book, preferably of divinity, and generally found time to do some light reading beside, making it a point to keep up with the news of the day through journals and reviews. He enjoyed books of humor, particularly, it is remembered, as a hit at the Yankees, Judge Haliburton's "Sam Slick"; but strangely enough did not care for "Pickwick" or Dickens' other books. He disapproved of Bulwer's novels; his repugnance to that meretricious writer resembled the sentiment he entertained toward Lord Byron. When strongly urged, on some occasion, to read a novel of the season, he refused. He let his children read Scott's romances, but not too many of them at a time, fearing lest they should acquire a taste for fiction. He cared little for poetry, even for Tennyson's or for Keble's "Christian Year"; strange as that would seem, were we not aware of his imaginative deficiency.
At one o'clock he dined with his family and frequently had guests, for he cultivated the grace of hospitality, which was to him both a duty and pleasure, and made indeed a model Episcopal host. In memory of White, he always had his candidates dine with him immediately after their ordination. His house became a gathering place for the clergy, and he entertained distinguished visitors from the East, in increasing numbers after Nashotah became a station on the railroad between Milwaukee and the Mississippi. His was a liberal soul; and so simple were his tastes and so perfect was his economy that out of his annual missionary stipend of fifteen hundred dollars he was able to give largely to struggling missions in his field; there was probably no one in the church who gave away more in proportion to his income than he. He hardly ever had wine upon his table, one of the few exceptions being Christmas day, which, after he had formed a home in Wisconsin, he always tried to spend with his family. He sometimes drank a little beer, but weeks and months would often pass without his touching it. He liked desserts, having indeed a taste for sweets, as he had also for bright colors.
After dinner, if weather permitted, he would drive for hours or ride horseback, for he never acquired the habit of taking a nap in the afternoon. He liked to be much in the open air, and to this also he owed the firm health of his maturer years. If it were cold, he wrapped himself up well, having a horror of being chilled. Yet he did not suffer, happily for one who had to be exposed in all weathers as much as he, from extremes of temperature; the crisp cold of the northwestern winter was exhilarating to him. His temperament was sanguine. He observed natural objects with an attentive eye, and taught his children to do the same. Yet he was not particularly fond of animals,--never made a pet of cat or dog, for instance,--though he could not bear to see them suffer; he was exceedingly, almost morbidly sensitive about having any horse, cow, calf, or even chicken killed on his place, and disliked to be told of it. He was considerate of his domestics, and they revered and delighted to serve him. He preferred to help himself as much as possible; carried his own portmanteau upon his travels; and never coveted precedence or expected to be waited upon. The terrible problem of poverty (save that of his missionaries and their families!), of the relation of capital and labor, did not force itself upon his notice in that environment and time, but his view of the source of happiness for the farm hands and other laborers of his little community shows what his attitude would be: he believed that if in all the relations of life all men would sincerely take the Lord's prayer upon their lips, be actuated by belief in the creed, and square their conduct by the ten commandments and the catechism--especially that part of it that treats of one's duty to one's neighbor,--all the difficulties of life would not only be resolved but would never arise; and who can deny that the most threatening problems of crowded factories and cities would yield to such treatment? He had a horror of debt as of a plague, impressed it upon his clergy, and earnestly discountenanced ambitious schemes of church building beyond a congregation's means. It was an article of his ethical and spiritual creed to make payment when it was due; he scrupulously avoided getting into a position where he might have to be asked for it twice. In all financial dealings he was governed by that old-fashioned sense of self-respect, honor, independence, manhood, that cannot live and sponge upon others for goods or service. Connected with this attribute was his conscientious recognition of social obligations; all through his busy episcopate, as time and strength permitted, he was particular about making and returning calls.
At supper, which was at six o'clock, he always took two large cups of tea, very much sweetened; and afterward sat and talked with his family and friends. At nine he had prayers, and retiring immediately after, was in bed by ten. His mode of life and mind conduced to tired nature's balmy restorer; he slept without waking until daybreak.
Sunday he kept as a day of holy rest and refreshment, equally removed from the strictness of the Presbyterian and the laxity of the Romanist. He always appeared at both morning and evening services; paid pastoral visits to the old and infirm; and gave such Christian hospitality as did not encroach upon his servants' rest. He never read newspapers on that day, or traveled if he could possibly help it. His children looked back to the Sundays spent with him as to glimpses of paradise on earth; and Christmas was the crown of all the year. Every Twelfth-night he entertained the students of Nashotah.
At first the members of that community, to the number of three clerical instructors and six students, were all accommodated in one small frame house of five rooms, that served as chapel, lecture-hall, library and dormitory! The kitchen and refectory were the cabin that had sheltered the missionaries upon their first arrival. The frame building was known as the Blue House, from some sky-blue paint, a present to the mission, with which it was covered. In a tiny room, where only four persons could receive at a time, the holy communion was administered. The problem of accommodation was solved in a larger room upstairs, by having five bed-frames hinged upon its walls so that they could be folded up by day, and the bedroom be thus converted into a study. The men slept on straw pallets. Breck, the president and superior, was one of the occupants of this room, a corner of which was his office and study, his desk and table being an empty box set on end. He was then the presiding genius of the place. The key to his character is military; he was by nature a soldier, by grace a Christian and ecclesiastical soldier; he longed for discipline, and was only happy when obeying and exercising it. His tall figure, in cassock and girdle (the dress adopted by the brothers), reading the roll call, for the major part of the year before daybreak, by lantern light, after the rousing bell had rung out from an old oak-tree,--such was the striking picture that ever after haunted the memories of his old pupils.
The community lived by faith, and was not allowed to suffer. The students were expected to do at least four hours of outdoor work a day. One of them served as cook, others as washermen, and of their exploits in the former line especially amusing anecdotes used to be told. A favorite and healthful mode of recreation was rowing upon the lake. On Sundays they were all engaged in lay reading at villages and scattered farmhouses for many miles around. After a chapel was built at Nashotah, the people of the neighborhood came to worship there, and so was formed the parish of St. Sylvanus.
After an absence of a year and a half, William Adams returned from the East, to the relief and encouragement of the brethren, stipulating that he should not be expected in future to assume the business management of the house, but should be left free to devote himself to educational and clerical functions. Henceforth, accordingly, he applied himself to inculcating "Pearson on the Creed," an ounce of which, he was used to say, was worth a pound of Paley. His method of instruction was textual, and he required his students to commit long passages to memory.
As the number of students increased, fresh accommodation was needed, and a shanty was raised and divided by partitions into cells seven by nine feet in size. Beside the lake a baptistery was built, whereat the sacrament was administered by immersion.
In those early days there is no doubt that Nashotah excited widespread and extraordinary interest and curiosity. Eminent churchmen came a long way to visit it, among them Kemper's old friend and Breck's preceptor, Dr. Muhlenberg, who was accompanied by the accomplished William Ingraham Kip, then rector of St. Paul's Church, Albany. Dr. Kip formed with the young head of Nashotah House a friendship that was destined to have important consequences. Bishops McCoskry and Upfold were frequent visitors. To Bishop Kemper's daughter, who spent a day there in the summer of 1845, Nashotah seemed an earthly paradise, a realization of the idea one would form of "the first beginnings of one of the pure old monasteries." She was particularly impressed by Breck's profoundly reverential manner at the time of the early celebration, as if he were "in the immediate presence of the God whom he was addressing." The altar (no communion table!) was raised above the chancel floor, and on it stood a large cross flanked by vases filled with white flowers.
Miss Kemper was right; Nashotah was the Cluny of the American church in the nineteenth century. And, the year of her visit, a derivative idea found embodiment, like Camaldoli amid its mountains, at Valle Crucis, in Bishop Ives' diocese of North Carolina.
To many worthy people, however, like the old lady, somewhat mixed in her ideas or expression, who confessed that she preferred "an honest pulpit, with legs!" and who balked at flowers in the font on Easter day, for fear that they inculcated the doctrine of baptismal regeneration, these doings and appointments seemed altogether Romish and wrong. This was the year of John Henry Newman's secession, when suspicion and acrimonious party spirit reached their acme. It was also the year when the trial of Bishop Onderdonk of New York issued in his suspension. During that painful trial of his old schoolmate and college classmate Kemper's hair turned perceptibly grey; he felt the scandal and disgrace as acutely as if it had been a brother's. And now his turn came to suffer personal detraction; all the evidence we need of the rancor of party spirit in that troublous time is that unkind insinuations were circulated touching Kemper's soundness in the faith! In a circular letter to the clergy of his jurisdiction, issued in the winter of 1846, he directs them to "report without reserve all the efforts I have made, directly or indirectly, to influence you to adopt peculiar views or party feelings." What those views were appears from an indignant disclaimer, in reply, from the missionary at Laporte, Indiana; an article had appeared in the public press "intimating, or rather affirming, that the deficit in the revenues of the Church for domestic missions was owing to the semi-papal views of many of the domestic missionaries." From the chorus of denials of these injurious insinuations one may be selected as a type. Dr. Killikelly of Vincennes bore witness that the bishop's "unobtrusive goodness and patient endurance of fatigue and privations in his arduous undertaking have gained for him the high esteem and admiration of all classes of the community. If any doctrine has had the preeminence in the sermons that we have listened to [from him], it has been the great doctrine of justification through faith in the atonement of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. He has, on all proper occasions, set forth and contended for the Church as she has been handed down to us from the Reformers."
Like his friend Muhlenberg, Bishop Kemper had in the beginning sympathized with the Oxford Movement, but toward Rome he shared in full measure the strong feeling of aversion of the English church and nation. As to partisanship, we know his dislike of secular politics, and as regards the ecclesiastical species his sentiment was equally strong if not stronger. He hated and abhorred party spirit in the church, and disliked the terms "high" and "low." The term "broad," as descriptive of a type of churchmanship, was not in vogue until after 1850. As to any exercise of undue influence upon his clergy, no bishop ever abstained more scrupulously from the slightest shadow of it. He never said a word or lifted a finger to influence an episcopal election, such as Hawks's, for instance, in any of his dioceses. The attacks upon Nashotah filled him with sorrow and apprehension, and he hastened to its defence in his report for 1845: "That it is worthy the patronage of every sound Churchman, I have no doubt. In thorough training upon the truest principles of the Gospel, as a religious house, similar to those of primitive days, where retirement from the world, frequent and ardent communion with God through all the ordinances of his Church, industry, hard study, obedience, and the spirit of self-sacrifice will be duly inculcated; in these respects it will, I believe, fully realize, if properly cherished, the most sanguine expectations of its best friends. Party spirit, and the topics which occasionally agitate the various dioceses of our country, are unknown there. Simply to the Church they cling."
"This last sentence was exceedingly infelicitous as an apology,--a seeming justification of the charge of the enemies of the school that in its devotion to the church its grip upon the cross was relaxed; that the tendency of its teaching was to substitute dependence upon rites and ceremonies for the interior operation of divine grace and personal religion.
In an address to the diocesan convention of Wisconsin, the bishop enlarged upon the need of long and thorough trial of the motives, Ability and acquirements of candidates for holy orders, for lack of which many have afterward injured and disgraced the fold. The clergy have to encounter "the strongest minds, ignorant of the sublimest truths, perverted by every species of error. What knowledge of mankind, and of the Holy Scriptures, what faith, meekness, and perseverance are necessary to bring such men under the influence of the Gospel!" And he urged all candidates to go to Nashotah, where "the discipline and instruction have been so correct."
The diocesan committee on the state of the church reported that that school had at times been unjustly reputed unsound in the true Protestant faith.
On another occasion the bishop declared that "the sons of Nashotah have never wavered in their allegiance and devotion to the Protestant Episcopal Church,"--but such boasting went before a fall: immediately afterward it became a humiliating necessity to announce the deposition of William Markoe for Romanizing errors. Markoe was a scion of a rich and fashionable family of Philadelphia. He studied at Nashotah, and after finishing his course at the General Seminary, returned thither as chaplain. He built a church in the adjoining village of Delafield, and furnished its altar with elegant ecclesiastical embroideries brought from England. His submission to Rome caused Kemper "deep and unfeigned sorrow."
A certain Gardner Jones imposed upon the authorities of the school and was appointed professor of Hebrew, but coming under suspicion, and charged with being a Roman priest, he suddenly withdrew to a Romish seminary in Indiana.
Episodes like these, and the unfortunate fact that, beside Markoe, five sometime students at Nashotah went (to adapt an expressive westernism) the whole Roman hog, were gleefully greeted by assailants of the institution as complete justification of the suspicions that from the first they had entertained.
In this relation, Breck's opinion of Newman's perversion is of interest; he held that it was a proof of the want of true Catholicity in the Anglican communion, whence yet it was cowardice to run away. It is said that Breck's fraternal biographer did not lay all the evidence before the public,--evidence that would show that there was a time when the president of Nashotah House himself was on the verge of perversion.
Under the pressure of these agitations, Bishop Kemper was forced to assume a position that admitted of no misunderstanding, and to adopt a tone, in instruction, admonition and condemnation, of unwonted severity. He lectured on "the scriptural principles of the reformation of the Church of England," lauding "the glorious martyrs, Ridley, Cranmer, and Latimer ... our great and glorious English reformers, whose blood enriched the Church." He called upon the Wisconsin clergy to rally around their "primitive symbols, evangelical worship, and admirable articles," all needed in the present time quite as much as at the Reformation, and all "wonderfully and delightfully conformed" to the inspired volume. "I am exceedingly solicitous," he said, "that as a diocese you take a right-minded and conservative stand amid the agitations that now disturb our Zion. Avoid party spirit, often as rancorous as it is groundless, and nourished by mischievous beings who attack with virulence whatever is not conformed to their imperfect views, and revile church members in religious papers. ... I beseech you, let no party spirit exist among us." He warned them that "a corrupt church is using every effort to bewitch the world by her sorceries. ... The soul-destroying errors of Mormonism and infidelity are prevailing, and those of Rome and rationalism are applauded, and dealers with familiar and diabolical spirits are often to be met with." He denounced "the blasphemies of Rome; ... the dark designs, Jesuitical practices, idolatrous rites, and unfounded claims" of the Roman church; her friendship is "death to our hopes, and our most formidable evil." Yet some have fallen into "her more than Egyptian bondage; ... bright but perverted intellects flee to this refuge of lies."
Whitehouse believed in the "martyr witness of the Waldenses and Wickliffe," and the "vigorous and productive protest" of the Reformation; Vail deplored "the fatal corruptions and idolatries of the Romish communion;" and Chase was very bold: he enjoined upon his clergy to "avoid the traps of new doctrines; wild schemes of salvation on the one hand, and the piebald fripperies of Romanizing tendencies on the other;" assuring them that as he traveled about Illinois he encountered many "Jesuits and other Romanists, whose object it is to corrupt the faith once delivered to the saints, ... and to subjugate America to the papal power." Hence the importance of united effort among all Protestants, to guard against a threatened relapse into the "ignorance and superstition of the dark ages." He was roused to a pitch of indignation by an impudent invitation to the Protestant Episcopal Church to turn Romish: "martyrs died," he retorted, "rather than own the corrupted creed of the Romish church, or submit to the usurpations of her self-created pontiff." We look up to the throne of God, not to the chair of the pope; we should "commit a great sin by acknowledging an earthly spiritual monarch, in calling the pope our master, when Jesus Christ is our only universal Bishop, as he and he only was such to the Apostles and first Bishops of the Church." It is a suggestion "repugnant to our consciences and abhorrent to our feelings. Rome is a precipice including the gulf that is beneath her; 'approximations to Rome' are not innocent: it is a sin to think of her idolatrous practices without abhorrence; to look upon her with complacency is adultery of the heart. But Rome is said to be changed now. Where is the proof? Can infallibility change? [By this claim] she hath incarcerated herself in error and thrown the key away." Her mass is idolatrous; her gaudy trappings were plucked from heathenism. He deplored the sophistry of modern apologists for the church of Rome; a disposition "to reform the Reformation" was at work in the Episcopal church,--whereas "to be in the Church with Romish sentiments is a crime."
The severity of these expressions gave umbrage to many; but shortly after their utterance, Newman's lapse silenced all criticism.
A glance at the experience of the Roman intruders into Chase's diocese is instructive. One of the earliest priests that appeared in Chicago was a deep-drinking Irishman named O'Meara; "a notorious scoundrel," exclaimed one of his own order: "may God preserve Chicago from such a priest!" It soon became necessary to have a bishop on the spot, and in 1844 an Irishman named William Quarter was consecrated for the new see, and began to build a cathedral, college and female seminary; but O'Meara and his tactics made his life a burden, and after four years of contention, Bishop Quarter gave up the ghost. He was succeeded by a Jesuit, who proved unequal to the situation, and was shortly transferred to Natchez, where he had all the time he wanted for reflection. The next bishop, O'Regan, was accused of arbitrary conduct, and was in perpetual controversy with his subordinates and with prominent laymen; three priests abandoned his diocese, and within six years from his appointment he sought peace by resignation. His successor, James Duggan, was selected because of his conciliatory disposition; he was devout, amiable, and of cultivated mind. He had endeared himself to the whole community, not only to both clergy and laity of his own communion but to Protestants as well,--when the strange discovery was made that his mind was affected (it may shrewdly be suspected that his malady was a liberal spirit), and he was suddenly and silently removed. Meantime, revolted priests were much in evidence as popular lecturers, exposing the secret processes of the Roman machine, and being assaulted by Catholic mobs.
Such was the peace of the church whither "bright but perverted intellects" fled for infallibility. For this experience was not local or peculiar, but was a type and summary of the history of the papal communion in America. Quarrels about property, quarrels of bishops and priests, of priests and people, of people with their bishops over the removal of popular or retention of unpopular priests, make up the staple of the history of the collision of mediaeval hierarchical claims with the American spirit.
Our picture of Bishop Kemper's environment would be materially lacking did we not interpret his reference to Mormonism. That strange religious hybrid, an unnatural compound of Judaism, Mohammedanism, and anthropomorphic polytheism, with its baptismal immersion, its visions, prophecies, miracles, faith cures and gift of tongues, left its trail all over the northwest in the very years of which we are treating. Ousted from Ohio and Illinois, it ramified in Missouri, Iowa, and Wisconsin, being introduced into the last named territory in 1844 by one James Strang, who took to himself five wives and set up his latter-day monarchy on an island in Lake Michigan. Bishop Chase mourned the delusion, which seduced many English immigrants from the church. Having been inquired of about the validity of its baptism, he burst out: "Have I lived to see the day when Mormon baptism is put on a par with other dissenters'?"
Joseph Smith he characterized as "a second Mahomet, a false prophet, who is deceiving his thousands;" his revelation is a lie, like the Koran, a dreadful imposture, ruining immortal souls. Such apostasy is denounced in the Bible, and is darker than schism. Submission to Mormon baptism is sin, to be repented of; Smith's baptism is null and void, no matter what form of words is used; it is even worse than nothing, for it is sin, God's name being taken in it in vain.
Jubilee College matters take up much space in Chase's reports. More professorships were needed, also scholarships for candidates for the ministry,--as experience showed that the wealthy would not give their sons to God and that the willing had no means. In 1845 he had the pleasure of reporting a clergy list of more than twenty names in Illinois, seven churches ready for consecration, classes numbering nearly fifty students at Jubilee, and thirty-five scholarships, obtained on a recent begging tour in New York and New England. By the year 1847 he had become so infirm that he had to be seated while preaching; yet his candidate for an assistant bishopric was rejected at general convention by a close party vote, so widespread was the prejudice against his administration as "self-willed." It had contributed, nevertheless, to form a better public sentiment throughout the great commonwealth, at whose birth anti-christian influences had presided. For some time all college charters granted by the legislature of Illinois contained a clause prohibiting the inculcation of any creed; but in the year just mentioned, after some difficulty, Bishop Chase succeeded in getting a charter for Jubilee without the obnoxious clause; and in July he presided at its first commencement, at which five of its students received the degree of bachelor of arts.
In 1849, Robert Harper Clarkson, having passed through college at Gettysburg, and having finished his preparation for holy orders under Bishop Whittingham's supervision and been ordered deacon by him, accepted a call to the charge of St. James' Church, Chicago. At the time of his arrival there, the city was still only an overgrown village, though it claimed twenty-five thousand inhabitants. Its streets were still roads, a few of which boasted plank sidewalks along part of their length; there were no public conveyances, no gaslights, no sewers; until within a short time before hogs had run at large in the streets. That very year it suffered a fearful visitation of cholera; Clarkson showed of what mettle he was made by his care of the plague stricken; and he won the heart of the community.
The reader will be able to understand, perhaps to share, Bishop Kemper's "utter astonishment" at the news that in 1845 Kemper College was closed. The debt before mentioned had rolled up to twelve, or according to one estimate sixteen, thousand dollars; no relief could be looked for in St. Louis, where the churches were all in debt; the faculty had been just supported for a year by the tuition fees, and had such faith in the institution that they offered to conduct it for another term with no other salary than such fees supplied; but the trustees felt bound to close its doors. A fatal decision, for while there was as much life in it as the faculty manifested there was hope; the students were doing well and would have disseminated interest; and there was every probability that some one would come to its relief and save a property (at the present day of fabulous value) for the church,--but after the teaching force had been dissolved the difficulty of a revival became insuperable. For a time the building was used as the county courthouse. Its loss was a terrible blow to the diocese of Missouri, in which at the time it engendered much ill feeling, and which was affected by it through all the coming years in ways impossible fully to estimate. Bishop Kemper was never after able to allude to it without tears in his eyes. Of course it was complained that Bishop Hawks had not exerted himself as he might have done to save the school; and it is a fact that his interest was absorbed in a proposed mission, of itinerating and educational type like Nashotah, for which a hundred acres of land, shortly increased to upward of three hundred acres, were given him. The people of Palmyra, by their liberality, manifested such zeal in behalf of the new institution that it was located in their midst, in 1848, under the title of St. Paul's College.
The summer of 1845 was intensely hot and told on Kemper's strength; the following winter was intensely cold; and the summer and autumn of 1846 were humid and sickly. The sufferings of the missionaries, their wives and children, were severe,--sufferings, it was said, of which the church triumphant would know though the militant church never could, and indeed seemed not to care about. The zeal of the former decade had grown cold; there was a manifest decline of interest in the western mission field; people were weary of annually repeated appeals for aid, and thought that after ten years more missions and dioceses should have become self-supporting. Yet in those trying years many a worthy minister tasted the uttermost bitterness of poverty; one had to subsist, with his family, upon a diet of potatoes, and another's wife was without shoes. In their extremity they would borrow of each other's little stores, not wishing and not able to apply to the world, which demanded the exorbitant interest on loans of twelve per cent, per annum. Bishop Kemper candidly confessed that, though not in despair, even his cheerful spirit was cast down; and Chase declared, in his downright way, that the suffering of the clergy through breach of promises made to encourage them to turn to the West as missionaries was bringing the good faith and moral character of the church into question. The problem of clerical support pressed with equal weight upon Whitehouse, his successor in the see of Illinois; indeed, from the ever intensifying strain of admonition, entreaty, expostulation and denunciation that runs through his addresses one would infer that the situation was steadily growing worse. An experience of only two years was enough to convince him that, as a rule, salaries in that diocese were not only disproportionately low in comparison with ministers' services but were even insufficient for their necessary expenses, their material needs; while salaries that had once been fair, but remained the same while the cost of living had increased, were thereby rendered equivalent to a positive reduction. The voluntary system, Whitehouse continued, is sometimes regarded as permitting breach of promise of support and non-payment of subscriptions. It were a sad hour if this dependence on the religious sense of the country were found insufficient or misplaced. Some ministers are almost starving; and what of their future and that of their families? "They are ground down to the veriest pittance, and life's heartiness, dignity, affection and power are shrunk and withered by the shifts of poverty," in times of unprecedented commercial prosperity. Certain of the laity who came West poor, a few years since, and are now rich to repletion, think that they have done all that can be expected of them if they pay the rent of a pew. Continual changes of place made by ministers, so deleterious to the progress of the church, are owing to the "bad faith of the laity in pecuniary provision." Year by year he returned to the charge, deploring "the galling bondage imposed by cares of worldly maintenance on the spiritual energies. ... It is mere mockery to preach to such [sufferers] against 'the love of money.' A brawny, ignorant laborer delves as much from a ditch. The ministry is free from the spirit of covetousness."
Years before, Chase had singled out wealth as the popular idol and covetousness as the besetting sin of the West; yet all, he said, "are very jealous of the affections of the clergy in this respect, and fain will starve their bodies to save their souls."
"The demand for ability in the ministry is at its maximum, the means of securing or rewarding it at a minimum," Whitehouse concluded; and later, in a tone embittered by the injustice and impiety of such dealings, he exposed the fact that many a salary was a speculation on a preacher's ability to draw a crowd, and if he failed, pledges were broken, irrelevant faults would then be imputed to him, and finally he would be ousted from his place.
"Our clergy," said Clarkson, "do not as a rule receive what is sufficient for their needs or what is commensurate with the means of their congregations." Most parishes determine salaries according to the least they can offer instead of the most they can raise; and lack of heart among the clergy, frequent changes, and long parochial vacancies are the result. This, however, one may say in passing, is far better than to make liberal promises, largely based on the estimated contents of a clergyman's private purse, or that of his wife, or having made them, to pay according to his supposed actual expenditure for the necessaries of life.
Bishops shared the penury of their clergy. In beginning his work, Kemper impressed upon the people of his jurisdiction the importance of starting funds for the support of diocesan bishops; but, a dozen years after his appeal, Upfold was in receipt of an episcopal salary of one hundred dollars a year. His salary as rector of St. John's Church, Lafayette, was six hundred dollars, out of which he had to pay three hundred for an assistant. The inadequate support of his clergy was the burden of Up-fold's addresses: "Many receive little more annually than the wages of an ordinary day-laborer, and some not so much." The common and stereotyped plea, in extenuation, is that of "hard times"; but these, if hard to the laity, are harder still to the clergy. There is ability to remedy this bad state of affairs, if not by money, at least by providing the necessaries of life. He adduced, as a warning, the fact that God can and often does take away means that are abused to purposes of "personal and selfish gratification only;" and besought the people at least to pay their minister's pittance punctually, for neglect of this simple business principle, mournfully common in this particular relation, was the cause of serious embarrassment to the helpless clergy and harassing and unjust suspicions among their creditors.
It is melancholy to contemplate the underlying stratum of human suffering in which the bases of all the western dioceses were laid. But it gives the right perspective to know that these ills were by no means peculiar to churchmen: a devoted Presbyterian missionary, who in the course of his career organized twenty-eight congregations, did not receive from his people for the first six years of his work the amount of Upfold's episcopal salary for the first year.
Everywhere there was crying need of a "Make-congregations-by-what-they-voluntarily-promise-Society."
Distressing as it was, the situation would have been intolerable but for the efforts of Christian women, who, not having the money they wished to give, earned it by the sacrifice of time, material, and skilled labor, and turned the proceeds over to vestries to complete the purchase of building lots, the building and then the furnishing of churches, and to pay arrears of ministers' salaries. Sales of eatables and fancy work are no doubt a frontier method and not the most dignified means of ecclesiastical support, and the motives of the buyers, while certainly not bad, may not be the highest,--but none can impugn the purity of motive of the kindly earners, evidences of whose zeal are plentifully scattered through the early records of the dioceses of Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin and Iowa.
In explanation of the long drawn and bitter indictments of financial dishonor brought against their people by the pioneer bishops, one must frankly accept the statement that in the West, both northwest and southwest, a quite different standard of financial honor from that of the long-settled East was in possession of the field,--a standard to which men like Kemper, Whitehouse and Upfold could not accustom or reconcile themselves. The debtor and creditor legislation of American commonwealths, says the author of "The Winning of the West," is not pleasant reading for one who is or would fain be proud of his country. The reader would do well to peruse again the opening pages of this chapter, descriptive of frontier conditions, with reference to their bearing upon the subject in hand; remembering this rule, that pioneer traits persist as survivals in the place of their origin. Religion was not a motive in the settlement of the West. European and English ideals were despised; English immigrants fell away from the communion of the church. The influence of the past and all authority seemed a hateful and ridiculous bondage. The West, remarked Whitehouse, is new, impetuous, defiant; pioneering as if nothing social or religious were settled. A curious and interesting indication of the independent temper of the people has been recorded: it was practically impossible to induce them to kneel in public worship. There existed no reverence for the ministry as of divine appointment; the estimation in which it was held was betrayed by the expression which often struck unpleasantly upon Whitehouse's ears: "to hire a minister." It was an inclement climate for episcopal prerogative; an anecdote which if it be not true is at least well invented is told of a burly Irishman who had some business with Bishop Upfold, who answered his rap at the door: "Is Misther Upfold in?" "Sir, the Bishop of Indiana is before you!" Quick as thought the visitor turned on his heel--"Och, and now he's behoind me!"
Enough has been said of the miasma of infidelity and materialism, and the incessant shifting of the population of the frontier, which had such a depressing effect on all religion, and of the intense individualism, profound ignorance and bitter prejudices of the sects, that operated so adversely to the church's progress. The immigrant sought no continuing city, came without thought of making a permanent home, formed no local attachments; in Chicago, it was said, a minister was the pastor of a procession. This continual moving about and solution of ties was highly injurious to domestic and religious feeling. Vail pointed out that the two chief perils of the spiritual life in a new country were business and pleasure: the hurry to get rich, the fever of speculation, and the rush for amusement, afforded by traveling concert and theatre troupes, shows of all sorts, the circus, horseraces and balls. Bovine comfort in the sense alone, relieved by a little excitement once in a while, was the low ideal of the masses, while even harder to reach and influence was the class of honest, virtuous, moral citizens, many of them benevolent, and some among them readers of the Bible, who were members of no religious body and felt no need of salvation.
The conclusion is inevitable that, however it were, the church and western society were ill adjusted in that day. The populace was devoid of "the church idea"; our "Catholic heritage," historic episcopate or apostolical succession, and "incomparable liturgy" did not appeal to it in the least. A popular objection to the prayer-book service was its sameness, day after day. Of course it was easy to rejoin that it was positively too reverent and devotional in tone and spirit for an irreverent and undevout multitude and age. But it would manifest only proper humility if, before seeking to shift the whole onus upon a reprobate age, church people were to ask themselves if they may not have been a little in fault, a little too self-complacent, too quick to take offence at irregular zeal, too narrowly devoted to our order and forms,--in a word, too restrained and exclusive of emotion; making an idol of conformity, "dying of dignity." It is always well to see ourselves as others see us; and to the Methodists, for example, the "old church" still seemed, mistakenly, of course, to be the petrifaction that it had been in the latitudinarian age.
Many reasons have been alleged for the parsimony of church people in supporting their ministers. The extra expense of providing an episcopal salary is adduced as a burden of taxation unknown to presbyterian and congregational polities. Then it is said that Episcopalians have a relatively high standard of living to sustain,--that a relatively large proportion of their means is consumed in social and general culture, which is by no means necessarily worldly and self-indulgent; and so far as it goes to maintain a fine ideal of human life, the finest that our country has to exhibit, one would not quarrel with such expenditure,--but the harmony of piety and culture, because it is so fair an ideal, is hard to realize, and if the former quality be wanting the latter will not long be distinguishable from worldliness; we must acknowledge, with compunction, that church people are involved, to an extraordinary degree, in social entanglements, fashion and luxury, with corresponding decay and extinction of the spirit of sacrifice, which is the spirit of missions. And the ebbing away of interest in a congregation, first from foreign, then from domestic, diocesan and finally parochial missions, is accompanied by internal dissensions and falling off in attendance on public worship, and that by reduction of the minister's salary, and increase of selfishness and meanness in the homes of the parishioners, the spirit of avarice throttling the spirit of Christian love. Such progressive shrinkage of spirituality is the melancholy explanation of the decline and fall of many a parish. "Spiritual awakening," it has been truly said, "and the setting free of money to do the Lord's work, stand to each other as cause and effect." And here it is to be pointed out that the relatively high degree of mental culture among Episcopalians prevents them from being moved, a thousand as one man, by appeals to the emotions such as carry Methodist and Baptist assemblies, for example, off their feet, and lead to triumphs of liberality that darken the offerings of churchmen, whose inbred conservatism and knowledge of the world make them suspicious of new enterprises and fervent appeals, and induce an habitual trial of motives. Sad experience makes many of them sceptical about schemes of endowment, so apt to go agley through careless investment and misapplication. But in the early day in the northwest, beside the actual want of capital, the character of many of the clergy was a sufficient reason for their lack of remuneration. Clerical incompetents and adventurers who had failed in the East went West to improve their fortunes. All denominations suffered from this cause; we catch complaints from Presbyterians of "hireling workers," and the first Roman priests were poor of their kind, covetous, dissipated, drunken. Nothing so wore on Kemper's spirits, and later on Upfold's,--nothing, in their judgment, was so serious a drawback to western missions,--as the clerical timber, the number of "poor, crooked sticks," that they had to fit into diocesan fabrics. One of these, for example, not a bad man by any means, but hopelessly devoid of practical sense, was a source of amusement wherever he went, owing to his ignorance and obstinacy. He could not and would not learn to harness a horse and hitch him in a wagon; could not be made to see how the old-style collar went on the animal's neck; and once mounting his horse in a hurry, hind-side foremost, sat with his face to the tail. "Able men, thoroughly instructed as sound divines, and prepared to refute every error," said Kemper, "and only such, should come to the West. Those who cannot succeed at the East,--who are illiterate, ignorant of human nature, indolent, or characterized by great peculiarities, would be useless here. The post demands skilful, vigilant, and brave soldiers, ready to endure hardship." As these were hard to get, it is no wonder that he was speedily forced, like Chase, to the conclusion that "we must soon begin to look to our own soil and our own resources for our clergy." Years later, Talbot testified that "it has been found that the men best adapted to our western missionary work have been trained to it on the spot."
Certainly no good churchman, filled with the love of God and human souls, and richly dowered with common sense, ever failed to receive meet compensation anywhere. The trouble in pioneer times was that too many had the last qualification without the zeal, and their canniness was soon seen through; missionaries that went West in search of fortune, and parishes that expected to get much for little, to get good clerical service cheap, were mutually disappointed. Others who had the churchmanship or the zeal but lacked the saving grace of good sense were disqualified by eccentricity shading into fanaticism of type more or less mild. Given a minister of the right kind, who duly instructs his people in the theology of giving, and the cause of penury would be removed. This last suggestion might be expanded into a volume; in this branch of their duty the clergy themselves are remiss,--false modesty, sensitiveness, or what not renders them tongue-tied; they should in due season impress the truth that people's gifts to God are the sacrament of their means,--a sign of loyalty and homage, a tribute to the King of kings.
Bishop Kemper was severely disappointed that for a term of years he was so straightened in finances that he could not revisit the Indian territory. Golden prospects of spiritual gain were thrown away by a near-sighted, close-fisted policy in the present. The Mexican War and consequent territorial accessions inimitably enlarged his field of vision; of a sudden the sphere of domestic missionary duty was extended as far beyond the westernmost station of the first year of his episcopate, as that station was from the shores of the Atlantic. "Should my services, as it is highly probable, be no longer required in Indiana," he wrote, at the close of that war, "I contemplate, during the fall, an extensive visitation of Iowa and the Northern territory; and I feel assured that, whenever missionaries are wanted for the country that is washed by the Pacific Ocean, there are two or more able men in the ministry who will be ready to go to that important region." He had announced his expansion policy as follows: "I shall require hereafter each clergyman within my jurisdiction, who is aided by the Board, to visit, at least four times every year, one or more places within twenty miles of his residence; and thus new stations will be prepared for the fostering care of the Church."
"Iowa to a fearful extent has yet been unexplored by the Church. There are now missionaries at Burlington, Davenport, and Dubuque; Iowa City, Bloomington, and the town of Fort Madison should be immediately attended to, while two or three itinerants would be of the greatest use."
In 1846 Iowa became a state,--" the first free child born of the Missouri compromise." The preamble to her constitution, expressing gratitude to the Supreme Being for his blessings, and the sense of dependence upon him for their continuance, registers a marked improvement in the temper of the times; a religious regeneration had taken place since her neighbor to the eastward became a state, a generation before. It is not extravagant to opine that Kemper's life and work had contributed to this desirable consummation.
In 1848, he laid the corner stone of St. John's Church, Dubuque. The missionary at Burlington was almost ready to begin building there, having collected funds for a brick church. "Keokuk is growing rapidly," the bishop reports, "and will be an important place." He was distressed by a blight that had been cast upon a promising beginning at Bloomington by the intemperance of the missionary, who was tried and suspended. At Trinity Church, Davenport, where a missionary of the board had labored for five years without local remuneration, a public appeal in which he "urged in plain and pointed terms the duty of church people to do something in the way of sustaining" him at his post gave great offence. "No people have a right to expect the Domestic Board to sustain a station forever," he averred, with perfect truth, "and I stated this fact plainly and distinctly to the congregation;" but something in his manner of statement, and something also in the background, apparently, caused great and increasing prejudice; in the two ensuing years, only sixty-five dollars were paid him, in response to his appeal, by the congregation, which steadily diminished until in 1849, when he was replaced by Alfred Louderback, a missionary from Bishop Chase's diocese, it had shrunk to only a dozen souls.
The "Northern territory," Bishop Kemper's allusion to which may have puzzled the reader, was that subsequently known as Minnesota. It was as late as the year 1819 that the authority of the general government was first made good over its vast extent by the establishment of Fort Snelling. The first settlement within it was made by lumbermen, in 1837, upon the St. Croix river. In 1846, there were a few shanties of Indian rum-sellers upon the site of St. Paul. When Iowa and Wisconsin became states, this territory, which had pertained to both of them, was organized by the name of Minnesota. Kemper visited it for the first time in the spring of 1848, spending a few days with the pioneer missionary at Stillwater on the St. Croix, who, beside the chaplain at Fort Snelling, was the only clergyman in the field. The bishop learned enough to convince him of its coming importance; farms were being cleared in every direction, and the villages of St. Paul and St. Anthony were rapidly increasing in population.
1847 was a memorable year in the history of the diocese of Wisconsin, which then held its primary convention, twenty-one clergymen and representatives of seventeen parishes attending,--an excellent showing for the bishop's nine years' work. He was elected diocesan, but gently declined the honor, being unwilling to resign his missionary charge. The school at Nashotah was incorporated the same year, and gave the world its first book: Professor William Adams' maiden treatise, bearing the somewhat sensational title, "Mercy to Babes." It is worthy of remark that not a native American but an Irishman by birth made the first contribution of the western church to theological literature. It is a plea for the restoration of the sacrament of baptism, that Americans may become a righteous people. The motive of its production was the great strength of the Baptists and similar bodies in the West. They demand (i): Scriptural warrant for infant baptism, and (2): a profession of faith by the candidate. Adams replies by demanding (1): any Scriptural evidence of its prohibition,--and goes on to show that it is consonant with the tenor of Scripture: why exclude infants, for example, when exercising the divine commission to "baptize all nations"?--while he affirms (a): that baptism is more than a sign of profession or an ordinance,--for it conveys spiritual blessing, grace, remission of sin, and is the entrance into the kingdom of Christ, that is, the Church, and into mystical union with the Redeemer.
The conclusion is that it is cruelty to withhold these inestimable benefits from babes, and so imperil their salvation.
The year after the publication of this treatise, Adams married Elizabeth Kemper, the bishop's daughter. This union was the death-blow to Breck's ascetic ideal, which henceforth declined, while Adams' influence increased at Nashotah. In his next book the latter came out boldly with the dogma that it is generally wrong not to marry: "Marriage is, by its very nature, and by the very nature and being of man," he wrote, "a better state than singleness, a more moral state, a more natural and useful state; and except there is some impediment that makes it positively wrong to marry, ALL are bound to marry, and are better mentally, morally, and physically because of it."
Nevertheless, when after marriage hot soda biscuits were provided for his breakfast, he had them removed from the table while he said grace,--for, he declared, he could not consistently thank God for such a dispensation! He was master of a keen and caustic wit,--a warning and a woe to the presumptuous or wilfully stupid student. One rarely repeated a foolish or irrelevant question after he had encountered the professor's meditative upward gaze and pointed reply: "Young gentlemen, I can teach theology, but there is one thing I can't do. I can't furnish my pupils with brains." The bumptiousness of the new student, disposed to argue a point, saying that he couldn't see or couldn't believe so and so, did not long survive the discomfiture of his indulgent, pitying acquiescence: "Very well; that is possible in extraordinary cases of malformation of mind."
In 1847 Bishop Kemper had the sorrow of losing his old and tried friend and faithful collaborator, Samuel Roosevelt Johnson, who was transferred from Indiana to New York, where after a short time he became professor of systematic divinity in the General Seminary. All through the term of years study of which we are now concluding, the bishop had watched over Indiana with the tenderest care. From the beginning he had been attached to it by peculiarly strong and warm ties of affection, and his compassion for the diocese in its trials and disappointments (it had just suffered the mortification of a second rejection of its episcopate by Thomas Atkinson) led him to redouble his exertions in its service. And warmly were they appreciated, as the following touching tribute from a struggling missionary proves: "Amid our overwhelming cares, our spirits are truly refreshed by the annual visitation of our beloved Missionary Bishop. It is like the return of day to the polar regions, and we forget the sorrows of the past in the gratification of the present. At my home station four candidates have just been confirmed, and all admitted to the communion. The Bishop preached in our unfinished church, and it truly was a season of refreshing to our souls." In the progress of his visitations, Kemper often encountered old pupils of Dr. Wylie, of the state university. In the summer of 1847 occurred the first breach of the excellent health he had enjoyed for the first twelve years of his episcopate; after a visitation in the region of the Wabash he was prostrated by an attack of bilious, or remittent, or malarial fever, and as soon as he was able to travel, went East, according to his physician's advice, and was in time to attend the session of the general convention in New York. The ensuing November found him back in Wisconsin, and for the 15th and 16th of December we find the following entry in his journal: "I attended with several of my clerical brethren the examinations of the students at Nashotah, in Latin, Greek, Hebrew, History, Arithmetic, Geography, Algebra, Natural Philosophy, Euclid, and Rhetoric. Much satisfaction was afforded. At the close of the exercises a matriculation sermon was delivered by me to the students. There are here about twenty-five lads and young men, in various stages of preparation for the ministry."
We have here an indication of the academic department which was shortly after fully organized at Nashotah, and attracted boys from all over the state. Wherever he traveled the bishop was enthusiastic in his commendation of the school, not the least of whose recommendations was the fact that the annual cost of a student's living needed not to exceed seventy-five dollars.
In the course of a visitation in its neighborhood, he preached in several private houses, in a mill, a bar-room, and a ballroom. In February, 1848, he consecrated Grace Church, Sheboygan, and in April laid the corner stone of St. Paul's Church, Beloit. In passing between Wisconsin and Indiana he often preached in Chicago, where, in 1849, Nashotah's first ordinand, a Swede named Gustaf Unonius, organized St. Ansgarius' Church for his fellow-countrymen. In June of the latter year Kemper presided over the diocesan convention of Indiana which elected Dr. George Up-fold as its bishop. His record as rector for eighteen years of an important parish in Pittsburg, which was still regarded as a western city, taken in connection with mission work that he had done in its vicinity, made him a most eligible choice, and the rejoicing was great when he terminated the long suspense of the diocese in perfecting its organization by signifying his acceptance of the call, "at a period," as his people testified when he came to lay down his earthly burden, "which promised nothing but severe labor, great personal self-sacrifice and self-denial, with small visible results to long-continued, patient work, laying foundations that others might build thereon." It is to be regretted that, though he must have known Upfold's earnest desire that it should be included, Philander Chase, to whom as presiding bishop it fell to make arrangements for the consecration, omitted Kemper's name from the list of consecra-tors. The slight, or oversight, was remedied by the bishop-elect, who telegraphed an urgent invitation to take part; and on the i6th of December, 1849, being the third Sunday in Advent, George Upfold was consecrated the first diocesan bishop of Indiana, in Christ Church, Indianapolis, by Bishops Bosworth Smith, McIlvaine, Kemper and Hawks.
Our hero was thus relieved of the oversight of twenty-three parishes,--for to that number, beginning fourteen years before with none at all, had he nursed the new diocese. "He retires from that scene of his missionary labors," said a writer in the organ of the board of missions, "with the high consciousness of having long willingly rendered severe, self-sacrificing, and disinterested services, unrequited, except by honor and affection,--followed by the reverence and respect, the love and the best wishes and prayers of all. Blessings go with him on his way,--blessings on his person and his work." Planting himself firmly in Wisconsin, he could henceforth turn westward an undiverted gaze, for the remainder of his jurisdiction lay west of the Mississippi. Of Wisconsin he could report, in 1850, that "already a few of our congregations have, with God's blessing, gained such strength, that beside supporting their own rector they might almost sustain a missionary." He found the parish at Racine, now worshipping in a neat new Gothic church, in a greatly improved condition, the new rector, the Reverend Azel Dow Cole, having won all hearts.
The scion of a Puritan family in Connecticut, Cole was born in 1818,--the same year as Breck, whose classmate he became at the General Theological Seminary, and whose work at Nashotah he was destined to continue. Of his sensations when, as a college student at Providence, he first entered an Episcopal church and beheld its form of worship, he has left the striking impression that he felt as if every one there were committing idolatry. Naturally, when he became an Episcopalian, his churchmanship was of pronounced type.
Breck had for some time been meditating a move further west. He felt oppressed by the business cares of Nashotah House which he had now borne for several years, and was rendered restless by the conviction that his ideal had never been fairly tested there, and was becoming a rapidly vanishing quantity. He was also worried by the problem which he expressed in the following words: "Can the Church recover and be Catholic, or must she become Romish?" More than all this, we must recognize the fact that the fever of the frontier was in his blood; Chase and Kemper the bishops and Breck the priest were the three eminent pioneers of the church in the West, and their careers sum up a sufficient history of its planting. Still with the ideal of a pristine monastery flitting before his mind's eye, and taking with him two young unmarried ministers, brought from the East, named Wilcoxson and Merrick, Breck left Nashotah in the early summer of 1850, but though he forsook Wisconsin he did not at this time pass beyond the bounds of Kemper's jurisdiction; plunging with his companions into the forests of Minnesota, which they claimed for Christ by rearing on the border a great rustic cross, they threaded its streams and established their mission house on a site commanding the village of St. Paul.
The presidency thus left vacant at Nashotah was filled, and well and faithfully rilled, by Azel Cole. When he took charge there was a debt upon the institution and no funds to its credit; its dependence for material support was upon the free will gifts of friends, coming by mail. During his long term of service, Dr. Cole was president, professor, and priest at the seminary, rector of St. Sylvanus', and a conscientious preacher and missionary at stations near and far. For many years he was both treasurer and secretary of the faculty, conducting a considerable correspondence, despatching circulars, editing a Sunday-school paper, and even acting in the capacity of steward, buying provisions for the refectory at his office door. The sad financial necessities of his position bred in him a regrettable but doubtless inevitable closeness in money matters. His figure was tall and erect, his expression grave and somewhat forbidding; his eyes were dark and searching, lips thin and close-pressed, the upper one shaven, cheeks and chin covered with a bushy beard. Behind a certain constraint of manner he concealed a kind heart and tenacious will. For some time he and Dr. Adams were the only teachers at the seminary, until Lewis Kemper was graduated and appointed tutor in New Testament Greek.
In 1850 Adams published his principal work, "The Elements of Christian Science," with the explanatory sub-title, "A Treatise upon Moral Philosophy and Practice." The work would be more intelligibly and accurately defined today as moral theology or theological ethics; upon a carefully considered psychological basis the author constructs a system of duties and activities directed and restrained by religious, Scriptural and ecclesiastical motives and sanctions. The use of the term "science" is explained in the preface: every living thing is scientifically investigated under the two aspects of its Nature and Position, (in modern phraseology, organism and environment); and from these complementary points of view the author proposes to consider man as a moral being. He starts from the premise that human nature and all its powers are good in themselves,--not bestial or devilish,--but fallen. The perfection of that nature is to be sought in something outside itself, /. <?., in God. The subject of the conscience is first treated, because in the doctor's view the normal movement is from ilie moral to the intellectual powers; moral precedes and produces mental awakening, he says, and he thus dethrones the popular educational fetish: "He that shall send his son to a school wherein his mental powers are trained in the very fullest way, and expect that by reason of that training his moral powers shall be educated, without a direct training addressed to them,--that man has mistaken the very nature of things." The Calvinistic doctrine of total depravity is negatived by the admission that the natural man does good, and does it by the aid of divine grace. The dilemma of the binding nature of the decrees of conscience, which may yet be utterly mistaken, is thus resolved; conscience by itself is fallible, and needs enlightenment; it is infallible as far as it reports accurately the will of the Holy Spirit. Restlessness, shame and fear are the penalties for breach of conscience, the only cure for which is the Atonement made by our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
The next division of the work is on the reason, which is carefully distinguished from "reasoning" or arguing, the infidel and sectarian passion of the hour. Adams professed himself a trichotomist, distinguishing psychical and spiritual factors in human nature,--an animal soul or understanding and a spiritual reason. Throughout this discussion there is much unacknowledged indebtedness to Coleridge's "Aids to Reflection." The highest law or object of the reason is the faith of Christ, revealed in Holy Scripture, taught by the Church.
In the part of the treatise that deals with the affections, that property of our nature is defined as disinterested love of persons; if things enter into the calculation affection degenerates into desire. It must issue in action, or else it degenerates into sentimentalism. Its highest exercise is when it is occupied with the person of the Incarnate Lord, in the Holy Communion. This division ends with a plea for weekly communions. In that which follows, upon the home and its affections, occurs the declaration concerning marriage, before quoted.
The last part treats of the will, and the dilemma of its freedom and bondage is thus turned: spiritual motives free the will, carnal ones enslave it. The author ranges himself with the Greek soteriologists by the following remarkable judgment: "In bringing into Christianity the Stoic doctrine of Fate, Augustine ... inflicted a grievous wound upon the simplicity of the Gospel." The will should in all things be ruled by the law of liberty, which is the law of Christ.
One can hardly doubt that Adams had his own father-in-law in mind when he penned this ideal picture of psychological harmony: "Who is the man that is naturally the best in your circle of acquaintance? Why, it is that man that unites, in the greatest perfection, these four governing powers,--first, the Will--he that having a straight, definite, decided course before him, pursues it with decision and energy from day to day; second, the Conscience,--who in that course makes it his main object to go according to his sense of right and wrong; third, the Affections,--he who, as regards his brethren, observes the great Christian rule of 'loving his neighbor as himself; and fourth, the Reason,--who tempers all this into a harmonious and consistent course by a considerate mind."
The above is a wonderfully accurate analysis of Kemper's character, the key to which was, as we know, his absolute steadfastness to duty, and as far as it goes is a most faithful mental photograph,--but to complete the picture we have to add certain spiritual qualities, especially that Christian cheerfulness, that strain of childlike happiness, that was so winning in him. He kept the heart of a boy after the snows of more than sixty winters had descended on his head. "We Christians," said St. Clement in his loveliest passage, "having learned the new blessings, have the exuberance of life's morning prime in this youth which knows no old age, in which we are always growing to maturity in intelligence, are always young, always mild, always new; for they must necessarily be new who have become partakers of the new Word. And that which participates in eternity is wont to be assimilated to the incorruptible: so that to us appertains the designation of the age of childhood, a lifelong springtime, because the truth that is in us, and our habits saturated with the truth, cannot be touched by old age; but Wisdom is ever blooming, ever remains consistent and the same."
In this quinquenniad, the bishop was able to devote more time and attention than before to building up the church in the northern part of Wisconsin, and of his activity in this direction the consecration of St. Paul's Church, Fond du Lac, and St. James' Church, Manitowoc, both in the summer of 1852, may be taken as illustrations. He had the great gratification of reporting the foundation, the same year, of a church college at Racine, "under the Rev. Dr. Roswell Park, a distinguished and highly scientific Presbyter, whose entire devotion to his sacred duties of training up the young men committed to his care in the nurture and admonition of the Lord is full of the most gratifying promise. To the generosity of the inhabitants of this thriving and beautiful place we are indebted for a good building, finely situated near the city, and on the border of Lake Michigan."
This year, too, the first railroad in the state, begun at Milwaukee the preceding year, crept by Nashotah in the direction of Madison and the Mississippi.
An equally if not actually more prominent feature of the bishop's work in this tract of time was the attention he paid to his jurisdiction beyond the great river. He made as a rule two visitations a year in Iowa and Minnesota. The latter territory was beginning to repeat the history of Wisconsin; a similar heterogeneous human deluge was pouring into it; and here, as elsewhere, experience proved that European immigrants offered about the most intractable material for the church to work with. For two years Breck and his associates did yeoman's service,--but what were they among so many? The resources of the mission were overtaxed; it was not reinforced; at the end of that time Merrick was taken ill and had to leave; the fast growing town of St. Paul made increasing demands upon the services of his companion; and the mission was practically dissolved. In 1852 Breck himself became absorbed in work among the Indians. "We intend going up the waters of the Mississippi full three hundred and fifty miles above this," he wrote from St. Paul, in March of that year, "for the purpose of visiting bands of Indians, and selecting a location. ... We are willing to bury ourselves in the woods along with the Indian, and live a wigwam life, if we can only save him from ruin, which is his present condition, soul and body." In the same letter he told of an event of a picturesque character to which he was looking forward: a meeting, in the wilds of Minnesota, of his own missionary bishop and the bishop of Prince Rupert's Land,--" each holding dioceses, as Professor Adams would say, the largest since the days of St. Paul."
Bishop Kemper was warmly interested in the new departure, for the needs of the red men were a weight upon his soul. Almost the only work that the church was doing for them was done for the Oneidas of his diocese of Wisconsin, and it grieved him that, year after year, he was unable to visit the Indian territory. Breck threw himself into the work with his accustomed ardor, and achieved results that deeply impressed the leading men of his territory. Before long he had a class to present for confirmation, and in a neat log chapel at Kaygeeashkoonsikag, the site of the Chippewa mission, Kemper confirmed Mary Medemoyan Statelar, Rebecca Odahbenanequa Manitowab, Charlotte Pewahbekokethegoqua Johnson, David Kahsequa, and John Annegahbowk Johnson. Even these phonetic and orthographic terrors pale before the formidable name of the mission station of Kahsahgawsquahjeomokag, or that of a place whence Breck often had occasion to date his letters,--Nigigwaunowahsahgahigaw! In 1854 we hear mention, for the first time, of a box of clothing sent by the ladies of a faraway parish to a western missionary; it was for some of the Indians under Breck's care, and he returned grateful acknowledgment. "Every article in this box has proved highly serviceable," he wrote, "and could the ladies behold the young girls in the schoolroom preparing their own dresses under the admirable supervision of Miss Mills, their teacher, and then see them washing and ironing them, in order to appear in clean apparel for Sundays, they would think this step a great advance upon the Pagan habits of half nakedness and filth in the extreme of eighteen months since. The women are well disposed to adopt the white dress, and to wear shawls instead of the blanket."
By this time Bishop Kemper had laid the corner stones of five churches in Minnesota, and there were, beside two army chaplains, six clergymen in the territory, one of whom, Breck's comrade, Wilcoxson, was acting as an itinerant evangelist, and actually obtaining contributions for domestic missions from the missions in his charge.
Even more than to Minnesota did the bishop devote himself to Iowa, laboring in this period, as he labored throughout the previous one in Indiana, to foster its feeble churches and build them into a diocese. The growth of the state was phenomenal; in the five years of which we are treating its population more than doubled; in the year 1850 nearly two hundred thousand people poured into it as into a land of promise. On roads where in 1851 a coach twice a week was sufficient service, only three years later two coaches a day were required. By that time the Chicago and Rock Island railroad had been completed to a point opposite Davenport, and the corner stone was laid of the first bridge that was to span the Mississippi. What between Whigs, Democrats, and Free Soilers, politics in the state were simply riotous. Presbyterians were very active in forming their societies, Mormons carried on an aggressive propaganda, while at Salubria a certain Abner Kneeland, the David Strauss of Iowa, inaugurated an "age of reason" in which Thomas Paine's writings were to be substituted for the bible, dances for prayer-meetings, and gamesome holidays for Puritan sabbaths. It was remarked that in crossing the Mississippi one traveled beyond the sabbath.
In 1851 an unusually rainy spring was followed by a prolonged drought, and that was accompanied by a terrible visitation of cholera.
At that date there was no copper money in circulation, and the little three-cent silver piece was barely tolerated, being seldom seen save at post offices and in church plates!
These few points, taken at random, will serve to indicate the difficulties with which Kemper had to contend in planting the church in the new state. The difficulty of obtaining and supporting clergy seems here to have been at its maximum, and the little he was able to accomplish, when contrasted with the rapid and almost fearful increase of population, was deeply humiliating to his soul. It is little wonder that he sometimes wrote in despondent mood.
"Were it not for the sure word of prophecy, and the precious promises of the Redeemer, I would wish to relinquish a post which I sought not, and where I have almost thought at times I commanded the forlorn hope." The average annual contribution of the Episcopal church for missions was thirty thousand dollars, of which half went for domestic missions; the Roman church had annual offerings amounting to more than seven times that total to apply to its extension in the Americas, and principally in the United States. In Missouri, Bishop Hawks suggested a means, the only means in a weak diocese, he said, for the relief of widows and children of deceased clergymen, and that was for every parish to insure its rector's life, and so remove a source of paralyzing anxiety. In Indiana, an enterprising missionary at Evansville cast about for support in ways described in the following instructive report: "The timely relief which the citizens of this place gave me a few weeks ago by a donation party, removed my design of abandoning the missionary field for a position which would afford me bread. I gave a course of lectures on chemistry in the Medical College the first winter, in expectation of remuneration; but in this was disappointed; for the receipts by notes of hand and a few dollars in cash did not more than cover my expenses. Education of an elevated character is not sustained by this community, and hence from this quarter I can reap no aid. I even tried popular lectures during the winter, once a week, but made nothing--there are so few to appreciate instruction of the kind." Elsewhere in the same diocese a fellow missionary achieved better success by a method that many might have adopted and might still adopt to great and general advantage: to lighten his people's burden in building a church, he opened a school.
It is surprising that cultivated clergymen have not done more for popular education.
At Crawfordsville, the missionary added to his Sunday-school work a class in Church History.
In Iowa the bishop had also to encounter over again that great obstacle to ecclesiastical plantation with which he had had to contend in Indiana fifteen years before,--the continual moving of the population. The missionary at Burlington gave forcible expression to the evil, while at the same time he pointed out a certain compensation: "Could I have retained the persons who have been connected with my congregation since I have been in this place, my records show that I should now have a congregation of more than four hundred persons. We may justly hope that the many individuals, thus scattered from us to the four winds, will carry with them the instruction and benefits here received, as good seed that shall ultimately bear fruit."
This process of ecclesiastical dissemination was abundantly illustrated in the same state; the nucleus of Trinity parish, Iowa City, and of St. Paul's, Des Moines, was the fruit "of the early labors of that pioneer of pioneers, Bishop Chase,"--was, in each case, a little knot of communicants nurtured by him years before in Ohio; and greatly would it have rejoiced his heart and consoled his spirit to know it.
Of Augusta, a village not far from Burlington, the missionary just quoted reports: "The morals and general interests of the place have been sadly injured by the Mormons. ... It seems past recovering from the baleful effects of their unholy influence."
The parish at Davenport had been in a bad way, with a dilapidated place of worship, on which there was a debt, and a diminishing congregation, favored by only one service on Sundays and only three or four administrations of the Lord's Supper in a year; but under the Reverend Alfred Louderback it began rapidly to improve. He was in truth an active, zealous, and intelligent missionary, and holds in the early history of the diocese of Iowa a position not unlike that of Roosevelt Johnson in Indiana or Lloyd Breck in Wisconsin and Minnesota. He proved very helpful to Bishop Kemper, accompanying him upon his visitations, and doing efficient service in the founding of St. John's Church, Keokuk. By the year 1851 there were six missionaries in Iowa, one of whom discovered that the disposition of the people--"at least the better class of people,"--was favorable to the church.
The bishop laid the corner stone of a church of Gothic design at Cedar Rapids that year, and in 1852 consecrated the finished edifice at Keokuk. Meantime at Bloomington, which had changed its name to Muscatine, there was rising "a chaste and beautiful specimen of the old English style" of ecclesiastical architecture, rendered possible by several hundred dollars procured by the energetic missionary on a begging trip at the East, the local vestry and congregation having pledged twelve hundred. A sure sign of sincere interest and spiritual growth was afforded by this congregation, in that it stood the searching test of bad weather! The missionary noted that during a trying winter, when walking was exceedingly bad, attendance upon public worship was regular, and even increased. At this time, consideration of "the vast extent and utter destitution of the western field" strengthened Louderback to resist a tempting invitation to return to his old parish in the East. We have glimpses of him as he drove about the state with Bishop Kemper in a buckboard. They always went provided with blankets, both woolen and of India rubber; for sometimes they had to lie on a bare floor, and often their accommodation was not much better. One winter's night, when they had found shelter in a poor cottage on the plains, somewhere west of Dubuque, they were snowbound by a sudden and violent storm; in the morning all the water in the house was frozen; and they had to shovel a path through the snow to the shed where they had put their horse, to give him provender. In another place, the bishop's sleep was anything but sound; it was in a single roomed cabin, and the children of the family were put up in a loft formed of loose and rattling boards laid across the beams; and he lay below, in momentary expectation of having them all down on him. So unassuming was he, that when helped to "chicken fixin's" he would never express his preference, and so it happened that a leg generally fell to his share; until at last his companion's spirit was stirred within him, and he burst out: "Do give the bishop a bit of breast, or we shall have him running all over the prairies; he's had nothing but legs this whole journey."
The Reverend Hugh Miller Thompson, like Dr. Adams, an Irishman, who appeared in 1852 as missionary at Madison, Wisconsin, having just been ordered deacon in Nashotah chapel, bore like witness to the bishop's uncomplaining and actually joyful endurance of hardship. In a report dated at Portage, he gave the following vivid picture of some of the experiences of a winter visitation in Wisconsin: "On Monday I was to take the Bishop to Baraboo. The river had frozen again, and he was expected at night. The thermometer was fifteen degrees below zero. The ride was seventeen miles, most of it along the banks of a frozen river and over a bare prairie, with the wind blowing bitterly the wrong way, right in our teeth. We could only get an open buggy; but the Bishop was ready at eight A. M. to face the prairie. He preached twice, confirmed twice, addressed the candidates, and administered the communion; and having been on his feet till nine or ten at night, might be called pretty good for a sexagenarian.
"We bundled 'the buffaloes' as best we might, and started, and after a 'spicy' ride, with the icicles hanging round our faces, arrived in Baraboo. ... The Bishop has an appointment for to-night at Madison, and after seeing him in the 'express,' to ride again forty miles in this bitter weather, over the 'bluffs,' and preach in another vacant parish when he has performed the journey, I rode home alone, feeling that not one of his clergy should dare complain." A report from Oshkosh helps to fill out the picture of the same visitation; having told of an Ash-Wednesday sermon there by the bishop, the missionary continued: "The next day he pushed northward, although it was very cold, on a visit to the Oneidas, with all the hopeful cheerfulness, apparently, and vivacity of youth. Time seems to deal very gently with him. Though much exposed, he seemed quite well as he passed through this place on his return homeward."
When Kemper resigned the oversight of Indiana, one of his attached clergy there, wishing to remain under his jurisdiction, and having received an appointment to the chaplaincy of Fort Laramie, was transferred thither at his own request. The post was nearly a thousand miles west of the Mississippi, and this circumstance led the bishop to urge a definition of the western boundary of his mission, which, some thought, extended to the shores of the Pacific. Before many summers had passed, he received from that chaplain the following account of one of those shocking tragedies that have marked with blood the westward movement of the frontier,--a "massacre of a young officer and his entire command of twenty-nine soldiers by the different bands of Indians who were assembled, near here, to receive their annual presents. Several depredations had been committed by them during the season of emigration; and on this occasion a detachment was sent to the Indian villages to claim, as prisoner, a recent offender; and a hostile demonstration on the part of the detachment, to enforce their object, was the signal upon which upward of fifteen hundred warriors rushed upon them, and in the most brutal manner assassinated the whole command, mutilating their bodies in the most savage and barbarous way. They then helped themselves to the goods intended for them, as well as rifled the stores of the neighboring traders and of the American Fur Company; and further designed to attack and burn the fort, putting to death every white person, and actually marched on this fiendish mission, but were providentially dissuaded from their purpose. The shocking spectacle of the mangled and gory bodies lying over the place of slaughter was exposed for two days, none daring to remove or attempt to inter them. Alarms for the safety of the fort and its remnant of inmates were frequent by day and night messengers, and we all huddled together for mutual defence in the ruins of the old adobe walls, fortifying our position as well as we could. ... Had the attack been at first made upon us, we must all have perished."
Before passing to a fresh period of our history, we must duly pause to mark the demise of that old hero, Bishop Chase. During the last years of his life he had to endure, beside a sore burden of physical infirmity, many losses and anxieties connected with Jubilee College, and much difficulty in the choice of an assistant bishop. He himself was evangelical, so to say, by heredity, having been brought up by Puritan parents (and this, by the way, is the ultimate explanation of his preference of a sylvan location, far from the corrupt world, for his colleges). Having been asked to express his sentiments regarding a new "Society for the Promotion of Evangelical Knowledge in the Episcopal Church," he replied that he had no objection to it, for its title was in accordance with the gospel, and its founders were good men,--such men as Bishops Meade and Elliott favoring its institution. He declared that in choosing Henry John Whitehouse as his successor, he had been actuated by a desire to secure "an evangelical man." His choice was confirmed by a special convention called to meet in September, 1851,---but straightway arose an outcry about "undue influence,"--nothing short, in fact, of a charge of simony. There was talk of payments of money, and pledges exacted from certain electors; and so Chase's episcopate closed in Illinois, as in Ohio, amid most unedifying controversy. It transpired that he had had funds for defraying the expenses of that special convention, which he had employed as Constantine employed his in providing for the traveling expenses and entertainment of the bishops convened at Nicaea.
There was another version of the reason of the bishop's selection, engendered amid the party conflicts of later years. It was said that, having been informed that Dr. Whitehouse possessed a fortune of fifty thousand dollars, (and three thousand a year went much further then, before values had been affected by Californian gold and the civil war), Chase exclaimed with emphasis: "Let the godly man be elected!" The invention is only of value as indicating what some people were ready to believe; but if any mercenary motive sullied the purity of Whitehouse's election, the subsequent troubles in the diocese were a sufficient commentary upon it, and only what might have been expected. And yet the possession of a fortune is no disqualification for the episcopal office.
In 1844 Whitehouse had exchanged his rectorate of St. Luke's Church, Rochester, for that of St. Thomas', New York,--Upfold's old time parish. For many years he had been an active, zealous and very efficient member of the committee on domestic missions; and this, in the estimation of his friends, was his greatest qualification for a see still essentially missionary. The chairman of the committee, our old friend, Samuel Roosevelt Johnson, wrote him an official letter of congratulation upon his elevation, regret for the loss the committee would thereby sustain, and grateful appreciation of the valuable services he had rendered it in the past. He was consecrated assistant bishop of Illinois in St. George's Church, New York, November the twentieth, 1851, by Bishops Brownell, Eastburn, Hawks, Alonzo Potter and others, including John Williams, who had been consecrated just three weeks before. It was none too soon, for before the first anniversary of the event, Bishop Chase had left the world. In the "Motto," a diocesan monthly that he had edited for several years, the old bishop published a piteous letter in the winter of 1852, unfolding his trials and tribulations over his college property: mills worth many thousand dollars had been destroyed,--floods had done great damage in the lowlands, and the last summer's wheat crop had failed upon the uplands of the domain,--while to cap the climax, part of the property, upon which buildings had been erected, was claimed by minor heirs of the former owner by virtue of a deed which the bishop insisted must be spurious, for he had taken every pains, when purchasing, to secure a clear title. Final judgment in the case, however, rendered in Chicago, was adverse to his cause, and he had to buy over again or compound for more than three hundred acres of college land. Such were some of the losses and vexations that beset the closing months of his busy life. He died on the twentieth of September, leaving, after every deduction has been made for faults of temper and method, an imperishable name in the annals of American Christianity. His body was laid to rest in the God's acre of the college that he loved so well and labored for so untiringly; upon the monument that marks his grave is carved a cross, with his life's legend: JEHOVAH JIREH,--"the Lord will provide."
As Bishop Whitehouse moved about the diocese upon his ensuing visitation, treading in the dead bishop's footprints, he was a witness everywhere to the "profound respect and warm, confiding affection" that he had won. Death cleared the vision even of his enemies, enabling them at last to behold him in the guise of eternity. In his episcopate of seventeen years in Illinois, he had consecrated sixteen churches and confirmed nearly a thousand souls. Whitehouse warned the diocese that henceforth it must rely upon its own resources, for he could not bring himself to make personal appeals for outside aid, as his predecessor had done, by travel and correspondence.
The new bishop came to Chicago full of the idea of founding a cathedral there. By the end of the year 1852 he had negotiated for a lot for an episcopal residence, and in February following for an adjoining lot for a cathedral church, pledging therefor the sums of six thousand and four thousand dollars respectively, the latter with the condition that said church should be built within ten years from date. In his address to his convention, shortly after, he enlarged on the necessity of an episcopal fund and "a bishop's church and residence in the city of Chicago;" the church to have free seats, daily services, and to be the centre of the charitable, educational, and missionary work of the diocese. He proposed himself to build the bishop's house, and in the meantime he expected the diocese to excuse some delay in his taking up his residence within it.
To this date, accordingly--1853--'s *° ^e referred the inception of the first cathedral projected in the American church. The proposition was subjected to a fire of criticism; beside being novel and foreign, it seemed to many to be unnecessary and unnatural; a popular objection was that it was as absurd as the attempt would be to transplant an English oak. Yet angrier criticism was excited by the bishop's continued residence in New York, whence he came to make his periodical visitations. His excuse was that he had a large family of growing sons and young children whose education he had provided for and who must have a home while being educated in New York. It may also be that Mrs. Whitehouse was averse to moving West. Whatever the rights or wrongs in the case, there sprang out of this non-residence a luxuriant controversy, that threatened a severance of relations between the bishop and the see. The Illinois convention of 1854 "affectionately" urged him to live in the diocese: he took this as implying censure, and proposed to resign; the next convention entreated him not to take that step: in reply he alluded to his "anxious conflict of duty," (diocesan with domestic). As all through these years he was in receipt of no episcopal salary, he thought that the diocese was unjustifiable in its criticisms. He accused the rectors of Chicago churches of Congregationalism; they complained that he was autocratic, or to put it plainly, that his administration (like his predecessor's) was self-willed. And so the grounds of misunderstanding and ill feeling were deeply laid at the beginning of his episcopate.
The full meaning of his reference to Bishop Ives' lapse to Rome cannot now, in all probability, be discovered. Bishop Kemper, characteristically, ignored that sad event: from his addresses no one could ever gather that it had occurred. Bishop Upfold animadverted on Ives' "apostasy and treachery"; and Bishop Whitehouse said: "He has gone out from us because he was not of us. ... I can honor obedience to conscience even when it leads to what I must count apostasy from truth. I bow in sorrow and shame when the antecedents and issues are so foul that we take refuge in the diseased mind as a grateful explanation."
During these years, Vail was in charge of a church in Rhode Island, and repeatedly served as deputy to general convention from that diocese; Talbot, having while yet in deacon's orders organized a church in Louisville, was called in 1853 to the parish at Indianapolis, and the year following received a doctor's degree in divinity; Whipple, who like Talbot had turned from a business career to the ministry, was ordained and appointed rector of the church at Rome, New York, and was doing occasional work in winter as a missionary in Florida; Armitage was graduated at Columbia College and the General Theological Seminary, was ordered deacon, and began his ministry in New Hampshire and Maine. Lee had succeeded Whitehouse in the charge of St. Luke's Church, Rochester,--a famous evangelical parish. In 1852 he was chosen to preach the annual sermon before the board of missions, at its meeting in Boston. He took as his text the forty-seventh verse of the twenty-fourth chapter of St. Luke's gospel: "Repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem." He ranked domestic missions first in the order of importance: it is the church's primary duty to support them. But while charity begins it does not end at home: "the true spirit of the gospel tends to self-diffusion." As the apostles, while they began at Jerusalem, did not wait until every one there was converted before they pushed on, so the church should lose no time in carrying Christianity to the heathen. And the two interests interact: a church strong at home can do effective foreign work, and foreign missions increase and deepen the strength and spiritual life of the mother church.
In 1853, at the close of the session of general convention, Dr. William Ingraham Kip was consecrated missionary bishop of California, in Trinity Church, New York, by Bishop Kemper, assisted by Bishops Upfold, Whitehouse and others. It was the fifth consecration in which our hero took part. In 1854 he could report that there were in Iowa three consecrated churches, and two more nearly ready for consecration, eleven clergymen, and a call for another one for the flourishing village of Fort Des Moines, and confirmations aggregating forty persons upon his last visitation. The parish at Dubuque now became self-supporting. He presided that year over the primary convention of the diocese, which met in the basement of the Presbyterian church in Davenport. He bade its members seek for their ecclesiastical head a man of God, earnest, patient of fatigue, ready to endure hardship,--and cautioned them against the intrusion of any worldly motive, such as, for example, the income of their candidate. Henry Washington Lee was the choice of the convention; his character could stand the test of Kemper's ideal, and he was further recommended by his sound and sensible missionary sermon just quoted. An objection raised by Louderback, that there was not the requisite number of clergy canonically resident in the diocese, was overruled; Lee accepted the call, and on the eighteenth of October, 1854, was consecrated, in his parish church at Rochester, first bishop of Iowa, by Bishops Hopkins, McCoskry, Whitehouse, and others. It was the only consecration of a diocesan bishop for any of his missionary sees in which Kemper had no part.
In 1854 Bishop Kemper was for the second time elected diocesan of Wisconsin, and now accepted the election, with the proviso that this should not involve the resignation of his missionary jurisdiction. An unusual number of remarkable men participated in making the early history of that diocese,--the bishop himself, Adams, Breck, Cole, and others that might be mentioned,--and in the above year one of the most remarkable of them all came to cast in his lot with it: the Reverend James DeKoven. He was born in Middletown, Connecticut, in the year 1831. As a child he appears to have been naturally religious, and as his mind developed he gave evidence of a rare combination of qualities,--active imagination and acute intellect; so that it has been said that the temperaments of the poet and the lawyer met in him. His course at Columbia College was remarkably successful; he won a high reputation for character and scholarship, and for readiness and skill in debate. Immediately after taking his bachelor's degree, in the summer of 1851, he entered the General Theological Seminary; and there his zeal and talents, rapidly unfolding, made him a marked man. He manifested his enthusiasm for teaching by gathering a class of poor boys from the city streets. They met every Sunday afternoon, and he succeeded in holding their attention by interweaving tales of adventure with his religious instruction. He became so deeply interested in this work that for a time he was inspired with the idea of forming an associate mission in one of the worst, poorest, and most crowded districts of New York. Failing in this, he turned his gaze westward. Having been graduated in theology in the early summer of 1854, he was ordered deacon by Bishop Williams of Connecticut, and, declining two inviting offers at the East, accepted a position at Nashotah as tutor in Ecclesiastical History, in connection with mission work at the neighboring village of Delafield. He speedily gave fresh evidence of his zeal for church education by starting a parochial school at the latter place. In 1855 he was advanced to the priesthood by Bishop Kemper, in Nashotah chapel.
The same year, ground was broken for the first permanent building at that seminary,--Bishop White Hall; funds for the erection of which had been collected by Bishops Kemper and Upfold. Its name bore witness to Kemper's loving memory of his old preceptor, and was doubtless designed to vindicate Nashotah's loyalty to American tradition, and to set at rest the floating rumors about Romanizing tendencies at the school.
The bishop reached, this year, the extreme northwestern point of his diocese,--the new settlement of Superior, where, for a wonder, the church was first upon the ground and its building the first place of public worship. While sailing upon the lake of the same name, he was caught in a sudden and violent storm; his fellow-passengers were beside themselves with fear, expecting every moment to go to the bottom; but the bishop exhibited the perfect self-possession of faith; his soul was calm in the consciousness that he was going upon God's work, and in the midst of a fearful commotion of the elements he was not afraid.
There is little to add, further, to the story of the church's extension throughout Wisconsin. It was a period of healthy growth, of the lengthening of cords and strengthening of stakes. In 1856 the parishes at Fond du Lac and Watertown became self-supporting, and these and other similar evidences of increasing strength make up the staple of diocesan history for several years. In 1857 a movement for the endowment of the episcopate was begun.
In 1859, upon the resignation of Dr. Park, James DeKoven assumed the office of warden of Racine College, leaving Nashotah House only to draw more tightly the bonds between the two institutions; and at Michaelmas of the same year Bishop Kemper laid the corner stone of the tasteful Gothic chapel at Nashotah.
Beyond the borders of Wisconsin, the bishop repeatedly visited Marquette, in the northern peninsula pertaining to Michigan; and his work in Minnesota during this lustrum corresponded to that in Iowa in the preceding one. He also visited Kansas; his solicitude for the spiritual interests of that territory was, no doubt, what determined him not yet to resign his missionary jurisdiction. The gaze of the whole country was turned upon Kansas; the bill, passed by congress in 1854, to organize it and Nebraska into territories, threw them both into the political arena to be scrambled for by free soil and slavery partisans; and the following year saw a prelude to the civil war upon the prairies of Kansas.
The winter of 1855-'56 was very severe, and the sufferings of destitute settlers, in that time of border warfare, beggar description. From both territories came appeals, that winter, for the ministrations of missionaries of the church; and the cry from bleeding Kansas wrung the heart of a noble clergyman of Connecticut, the Reverend Hiram Stone. As soon as his resolution to exchange his pleasant parish at Essex for the toils of a missionary in the agitated territory became known, and he was accepted by the missionary bishop, St. Paul's parish, New Haven, volunteered to provide his support. So great was the confusion and so
BISHOP KEMPER AND HIS CONTEMPORARIES 169
hot the strife upon the border, that Bishop Kemper directed him to remain awhile in Wisconsin, until he himself could reconnoitre. In July, 1856, the bishop set forth, was joined by Bishop Lee at Des Moines, and together they traveled to Council Bluffs, crossed the Missouri river, and trod for the first time the soil of Nebraska. Omaha was then a canvas city; it had not reached its second anniversary, yet it numbered considerably over a thousand souls, who found shelter in booths and tents. The first service of the church there, conducted by both the bishops, was attended by a throng of people; Bishop Lee preached, and afterward Bishop Kemper administered the communion to six persons. He then moved southward, visiting Bellevue and Florence, where, as well as at Nebraska City, he secured lots for church building, and entered Kansas, which he had not seen for eighteen years. He preached at Doniphan and Fort Leavenworth, and at the latter post confirmed an officer and administered the Holy Eucharist. He held service at the neighboring Leavenworth City, and at Lecompton (then the seat of the territorial government) baptized an infant. At Atchison he secured two lots for the church. Beside these points, he visited Palmetto, Topeka, Brownsville, Lawrence, (where there were as yet no church people to be found), and Council City, where he read both morning and evening prayer, preaching at both services, and confirming, in a log cabin: and only did not administer the communion because no wine could be obtained. Beside these public and official duties of holding service, preaching, and administering the sacraments, which he punctually performed whenever opportunity offered, the bishop was also often able to appear in the beautiful character, so congenial to him, of a missionary pastor, consoling the bereaved, visiting the sick and dying, and burying the dead.
170 AN APOSTLE OF THE WESTERN CHURCH
Wherever he went, he scrupulously avoided all reference to the surrounding civil strife; and this course won much popular approval.
The summer was intensely hot, and through lack of fresh and wholesome food the bishop contracted a prevalent complaint known as "land scurvy." It was the first serious breach in his health; he was nearly sixty-seven years of age, and was never afterward quite as well and strong as before; but that tour was the laying of the corner stone of the diocese of Kansas.
Upon his return to Wisconsin, he directed Mr. Stone to make Leavenworth his headquarters, and to itinerate thence. For some time the congregation at that place worshipped in a third-story room, which during the week was used for all sorts of purposes, theatrical exhibitions included. The town was growing rapidly, and rough and vicious characters abounded.
In default of action by the general convention, the presiding bishop, Brownell, recommended to Bishops Kemper and Lee that they should give episcopal oversight to Kansas and Nebraska respectively, their expenses to be defrayed by the board of missions. In accordance with this understanding, our hero again visited his appointed field in the spring of 1857, and on the nth of May had the pleasure of laying the corner stone of a church at Leavenworth, named for the mother parish in New Haven, St. Paul's. He was much enfeebled by the hardships of the tour.
1856 was a bubble year, in which money flowed freely, and all manner of schemes for spending it were devised. The church shared the stimulation of the sanguine business world; congregations began to build and repair churches, and called rectors with promise of generous salaries; and even the missionary board, in novel and welcome contrast with its customary monotony of pathetic appeal, expressed its gratification at the offerings for the cause, which were larger and more liberal, both from parishes and individuals, than ever before. In the summer of 1857 the bubble burst; an abrupt stop was put to much railroad building and like enterprises; and the church suffered from the financial depression, especially in the new states, with whose sanguine spirit she had become imbued, and like which she had embarked upon undertakings that now withered under the sudden drought of capital. Many a church remained unfinished, many a salary unpaid. But there is no ill without its compensation; loss and suffering brought men to their senses, making them realize their dependence upon the invisible; and the year 1858 beheld one of the widest waves of religious revival that ever swept over the land. All the evangelical denominations made multitudes of converts, and many accrued to the church, especially in the diocese of Iowa, presided over by the evangelical Lee. The growth of that diocese was phenomenal,--a threefold increase, more or less, in only a little more than three years! In the winter of 1858 Bishop Lee could report twenty-five clergymen and thirty parishes where, at his coming, there were eight and twelve respectively. His episcopal fund, which started in 1854 with three thousand dollars subscribed by his eastern friends, rolled up in three years to upward of thirty thousand. The missionary at Des Moines offered a suggestion: that rectors of eastern parishes should travel west and see the condition and prospects of the church there, "instead of spending so much time and money in going to Europe for sight-seeing." He believed that the missionary cause would be greatly promoted by such visits. Professor Francis Wharton, of Kenyon College, made an evangelical expedition into Iowa, in 1857, everywhere distributing bibles, prayer-books, and publications of his school of religious thought.
The progress of the church in Minnesota, if not as rapid and striking, was healthy and steady. Here too the evangelicals picketed their men, but did not succeed in securing a majority. The careers of Breck, Wilcoxson and the young Knickerbacker chiefly arrest attention. This lustrum saw the failure of Breck's work among the Indians, and the final discomfiture and downfall of his monastic ideal. He marked, with many a melancholy shake of the head, how his unmarried assistants "threatened love"; and before long he himself succumbed. On the nth of August, 1855, he committed the grand betrayal, and was married to Jane Maria Mills, (the missionary already referred to, in one of his letters above quoted). So much for "the system." The sale of ardent spirits to the Indians, which went on unchecked by an indifferent or feeble government, had exceedingly disheartening consequences. Under the goad of strong drink, the Indian became, for the time being, a maniac, and rushed headlong into all manner of sins and crimes, so that it seemed as if in a moment a rum-seller could level with the ground the painfully constructed fabric of years of evangelizing and civilizing work. There was a standing feud, moreover, between the Sioux and the Chippe-was, among whom Breck had elected to labor; and in the year 1857 it rose to a pitch that neutralized the effect of all his efforts, and rendered it impossible for him to remain in that part of the territory. He accordingly retreated southward, and started a fresh mission at Faribault, and in connection with it a school which he named for the American episcopal pioneer, Bishop Seabury. This he designed as the basis of a theological seminary,--a plan which had to encounter the opposition of his old-time colleague, Dr. Adams, his successor at Nashotah, Dr. Cole, and even of his bishop. These all held that Nashotah House was the seminary of the whole northwest, and that no other institution of the kind was needed there. This disagreement moved Breck to tears, but did not alter his opinion; and in the year 1858 he went east, to solicit funds for his school. The tour revealed how deeply his career had stirred the heart of the church, for it was like a triumphal progress in which one ovation succeeded another.
The same year, Bishop Lee was absorbed in the task of founding a college in his diocese, to be named for the patron bishop of the evangelicals,--Griswold. It was located at Davenport and incorporated in 1859. Kenyon, Kemper, Jubilee, Racine, Griswold,--almost every western diocese had its collegiate experiment in its salad days.
It was Timothy Wilcoxson who first pointed out the importance of Faribault as a site for a mission. That faithful and indefatigable itinerant sowed the seed of many a flourishing parish in southern Minnesota. His central station was at Hastings, where, after several years of effort, he was rejoiced to have a small wooden church of Gothic design ready for consecration by Bishop Kemper, by the name of St. Luke's, in 1857. In accordance with his recommendation, a missionary was appointed for Winona that year; and in 1858 the Reverend Edward Randolph Welles came from Western New York to make good proof of his ministry at Red Wing.
In 1855, the missionary at the Falls of St. Anthony reported that he had begun to hold evening services and that he had secured a lot for a church at the rapidly growing village of Minneapolis. A parish was organized there and subscription toward a church building begun in the spring of the following year, and in the summer the Reverend David Buel Knickerbacker, a native of New York state, began his long and splendidly successful ministry in Minneapolis. He had just been graduated at the General Seminary and ordered deacon by the bishop of New York. Under the inspiration of his zealous cooperation the building of a place of worship progressed rapidly, and the completed fabric, of wood, in the Gothic style, was consecrated by the missionary bishop, by the name of the Church of Gethsemane, on the third Sunday in Advent. Only two months after, the congregation made an offering for domestic missions. In less than a year the number of communicants increased from seven to fifty-three; the church was filled to overflowing at every service; and all indebtedness was paid off. On a Sunday in July, 1857, the devoted young rector was advanced to the priesthood, in his new church, by Bishop Kemper.
Minnesota attained to statehood in 1858, but it was the wake of the panic; the current of immigration was checked, and no money could be had to develop the resources of the new state. The embryo diocese, however, continued steadily to grow; there was, inevitably, much suffering among the missionaries, yet more kept coming in, and there were places for all; by the end of the year there were twenty clergymen connected with the diocese. The serious spirit induced by the hard times contributed to the growth of the church, as did also the rivalry of ecclesiastical parties for the possession of the field. Bishop Kemper visited Minnesota twice a year, as a rule; and in 1859 he presided at a convention called to elect a diocesan bishop. Party spirit ran high, but both sides could unite upon Henry Benjamin Whipple, and he received the suffrages of the convention. "The contest during the election," wrote Kemper, "was an earnest one, conducted by men who in the fear of God thought for themselves, who were uninfluenced by any worldly considerations, and determined to elect one who, like themselves, possessed the pioneer spirit of self-sacrifice for the love of Christ. ... They will soon, I trust in God, have in their midst, and for life, an apostolic Bishop of their own unanimous and hearty choice, and under whose administration, I believe, the Diocese will flourish as a garden of the Lord."
The bishop was able to adhere to his resolution to visit Kansas annually. He was there in November, 1858,--but it was too late to accomplish much; the autumn rains had begun, and unusually heavy ones at that, and the roads were impassable. The following summer he returned, and visited every parish and mission. At Leavenworth he held an ordination, at Wyandott consecrated a church, and at these and several other places,--Lawrence, Lecompton, Manhattan,--preached, confirmed, and administered the communion. He visited Topeka, Junction City, Fort Riley, Ossawattomie, Paola, Olathe and other points, preaching at all. There were then nine clergymen in the territory, including the chaplains at the forts, and at the request of the majority he convoked and presided at an assembly that proved to be the primary convention of the diocese. It met at Wyandott in August, and in spite of the bishop's dissuasives (he thought the step was premature, and his forecast proved correct), formed a diocesan organization and applied for admission to general convention.
There was great excitement, that year, over the discovery of gold in what was then the western part of the territory of Kansas, known as "the Pike's Peak country," and thousands of adventurers poured into that desolate region.
And now at last the time had come for our noble missionary to put off his harness; increasing years and failing strength warned him that he must transmit to younger shoulders the care of all his remaining churches beyond the Mississippi,--that he must leave it to younger men, in future time, to enter the vast regions that stretched away northwestward and southwestward, far beyond the utmost bound of his original jurisdiction. In October, 1859, one of the most interesting meetings of general convention that were ever held took place in Richmond, Virginia; and there the bishop-elect of Minnesota was consecrated by Bishop Kemper, assisted by Bishops Cobbs, Whitehouse, Lee, and others. There too our hero rendered his last report, and, with a parting plea for the Indian work, for "Dacotah" and the population about Pike's Peak, laid down his charge in the following words:
"I now, with deep emotion, tender to the Church my resignation of the office of Missionary Bishop, which, unsought for and entirely unexpected, was conferred upon me twenty-four years ago. Blessed with health, and cheered by the conviction of duty, I have been enabled to travel at all seasons through Indiana, Missouri, Wisconsin, Iowa and Minnesota, and partly through Kansas and Nebraska.
"My days must soon be numbered, for in less than three months I will be seventy years old. As age advances, I trust I have an increasing love for our Divine Master, and that Church for which he shed his most precious blood."
The grand result of that quarter of a century of labor was thus summarized by the committee on domestic missions:
"When Bishop Kemper was appointed Missionary Bishop, in 1835, with jurisdiction over Missouri, Indiana, Wisconsin, and Iowa, neither of which was an organized Diocese, there was but one of our clergy and one church in Missouri, one clergyman and one church in Indiana, and neither church nor clergyman in Wisconsin or Iowa. Twenty-four years have passed away, and by God's blessing on the Church, he now sees Missouri a Diocese, with its Bishop and twenty-seven clergy; Indiana a Diocese, with its Bishop and twenty-five clergy; Wisconsin, his own Diocese, with fifty-five clergy; Iowa a Diocese, with its Bishop and thirty-one clergy; Minnesota an organized Diocese, with twenty clergy; Kansas but just organized as a Diocese, with ten clergy; and the territory of Nebraska, not yet organized as a Diocese, with four clergy; in all six Dioceses, where he began with none, and one hundred and seventy-two clergymen where he was at first sustained by only two."
It remained for general convention to make provision for the missionary remainder of Kemper's old jurisdiction, which was now extended to cover the enormous tract of country, boundless plain and towering mountain range, comprised to-day in the states and territories of Nebraska, North and South Dakota, Montana, Wyoming and Idaho, Colorado, Utah, New Mexico and Arizona, and presumably Nevada, unless that was in Bishop Kip's charge,--altogether a diocese of almost a million square miles! Certainly, it was a day of magnificent distances. This stupendous charge was put upon the shoulders of Joseph Cruikshank Talbot, who by his energy, ability, and zeal, and especially by his power to make himself all things to all men, seemed to be marked for it both by nature and grace. He was consecrated in his parish church, Indianapolis, on the 15th of February, 1860, by Bishop Kemper, assisted by Bishops Hawks, Upfold, and others. In picturesque allusion to the fact that his jurisdiction embraced all of the territory of the United States that was not included in that of any other bishop, Talbot used laughingly to speak of himself as the "Bishop of All Out-Doors."
He lost no time before brushing the eastern fringe of his vast domain, paying a visitation to Nebraska and Dakota, and planning a long journey overland, by military posts like Fort Laramie, to Salt Lake, hoping to visit Pike's Peak on his return,--plans to which the outbreak of civil war put an abrupt quietus. It is not generally known that the wave of secession, after surging up and down the Potomac and Ohio valleys and across Missouri and Kansas, broke in foam upon the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. In the first year of the war a sharp struggle secured Colorado to the union, but its rich mineral deposits made it so desirable for the Confederacy that bodies of armed men from Texas made repeated raids into it, keeping everything in a state of commotion, and exciting the Indians by the news that their great white father was no longer at Washington but at Richmond. The petty chief at the old wigwam had lost his power, they said, and his medicine was of no good. In spite of such disturbances, or taking advantage of a temporary respite from them, Talbot set out in 1863 upon a tremendous tour, that amounted to seven thousand miles, through Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Nevada. Thousands of British converts to Mormonism crossed the plains that year, "firm in the faith of their abominable heresy. All seemed childlike and deeply imbued with religious veneration," testified the missionary at Omaha, who beheld them pass: "I have never yet conversed with a lay Mormon whom I believed to be a hypocrite." No mission of the church could be started in Utah; no street or field preaching was allowed therein, and no house could be hired for service in Salt Lake City,--which outwardly, said Talbot, "is the most moral, orderly, and quiet city I have ever seen." No saloon, gambling den or brothel existed in that community of fifteen thousand souls,--"yet its inner life," went on the same remarkable witness, "is most shocking to the Christian sense. Polygamy, open, unblushing, and defiant, exists in Utah." In 1864, the border and Indian troubles reached their climax; parties of emigrants were massacred by the savages, their bodies horribly mutilated, and their bones left to bleach upon the plains of Colorado, Kansas, and Nebraska.
There was civil war meantime in the diocese of Illinois. Too many biographers yield to the temptation to produce "edifying" lives by the suppression of truth, by smoothing out every wrinkle; there prevails in this species of writing an effeminate shrinking from plain facts, a tendency to gloss them over; important controversies are hushed up by sidelong reference to "certain difficulties." But it cannot be that bishops, priests, and prominent laymen would indulge in controversies if it were wrong to do so; how then can it be wrong to recount them? If it were wrong, why did they engage in them? It is becoming less and less advisable or possible for biographers to commit these sins of omission; people will not rest content until all "difficulties" have been sifted to the bottom. They have an ineradicable suspicion that there must be something the matter with a man who is always giving and taking offence, who is always in hot water, and only extricates himself from one controversy to plunge into another. Such a career, they instinctively feel, is an index to a spirit of self-seeking, whether what is sought be power or money. Bishop Whitehouse repeated in Illinois much of the troublous experience of his predecessor there and in Ohio; and one cannot but believe that there was something wrong in the temper or methods of both bishops as well as in the temper of their dioceses. By the year 1860 the feeling against Whitehouse had reached its height; he came nearer than he realized to adding one more to the list of episcopal trials that make the church history of that generation painful reading.
It will be remembered that early in his episcopate he had contracted for certain lots of land for a cathedral church and episcopal residence, in Chkago. After only two years, the lots had so increased in value (they were on the southeast corner of Wabash avenue and Jackson street) that the original owner refused tender of payment for them, openly alleging said rise in value as his reason for so doing. Meantime the nature of the city's growth in that direction, rendering them less suitable for his purpose, disposed the bishop to effect some compromise,--against which the standing committee of the diocese put itself on record. Some years later, the deadlock still continuing, all the clergy of Chicago advised a compromise, to forefend the aggravation of litigation. With this land controversy was connected that other one over the bishop's non-residence; and by 1859 that had become so bitter that the general convention took cognizance of it, and resolved that bishops should live in their dioceses. In February, 1860, accordingly, Whitehouse leased a domicile in Chicago; in April following, he sold his home of sixteen years in New York; and in June agreed to annul the long-standing contract for his Chicago property, and to reconvey it to the former owner in exchange for six thousand dollars. This is the famous "compromise transaction," which raised a storm that shook his episcopal throne. He was accused of sacrificing the interests of the diocese; his course, it was murmured, was "open to misconstruction" ("evil construction," he retorted); he was suspected of diverting trust funds to his own use. He became so accustomed, he said, to "scurrilous and agitating articles in the secular and religious press," that he ceased to pay attention to them. A prominent layman named Ker-foot issued a pamphlet in which he charged the bishop with a "tendency to close framing of bargains and contracts,--a shrewdness singular in ecclesiastics." His plan for a cathedral failed, the pamphleteer averred, because men detected a second thought, some financial scheme or lust of power, working in his mind; and our "social-ecclesiastical system" has been aggravated by his non-residence. A noticeable decline of prosperity at Jubilee College was attributed to his indifference; yet more, it was alleged that the diocese itself was in a stationary or backward condition; and on the floor of convention a member explained that contributions to diocesan missions had fallen off because of "non-residence," and might be expected to cease altogether owing to the odium of "the compromise transaction." The bishop accordingly had to "explain and vindicate" his course before his convention; a committee of inquiry was actually proposed; and he prepared a protest against such inquiry as an infringement of his rights as an individual and his privilege as a bishop. The compromise was a "personal transaction," and he solemnly protested against any interference with the trust in his charge and all attempts to coerce him to abnegate his full right. He feared, he said, that "factious objects" were involved, and he gave warning that nothing should overbear his "inflexible sense of right and duty." In view of the allegations of diocesan deterioration and missionary decline, he concluded a pamphlet that he published in September with a vindication of the diocese in general at the expense of the Chicago churches; the diocese had done its duty nobly and given evidence of growth and strength, but in the nine churches of its chief city only seventy-six souls were confirmed and only one hundred and eighty-nine dollars contributed to diocesan missions in the year 1859-'60: "if there has been any suffering or disappointment among the missionaries, I have to say, frankly but kindly, the Chicago clergymen are responsible."
Here were all the materials for an inflammable pamphlet war. The Chicago clergy were indignant at the invidious attack, and caught up the gage of battle. "That the Bishop should even seem to wrong or find fault with the Chicago Churches or clergy, on the eve of his advent amongst us, is mysterious enough; but that he should give such an erroneous tabular view, in face of data to which all can refer, is far more mysterious. That he should seem to disparage the work of any of his clergy is a sad fact; that he has misquoted the records in order to do so is a still sadder fact. ... We are compelled to say, 'frankly but kindly,' that the Bishop's statements are erroneous. ... The diminution was not in Chicago, as the Bishop states, but in the Country. And on this subject we feel bound to say, what we should not under other circumstances have felt ourselves compelled to say, viz: That the Confirmations in Chicago, though larger in proportion to the whole number than last year, are very much limited, owing to the plainly expressed unwillingness of many to receive the holy rite, or allow their families to receive it, from the hands of our Bishop. To this fact, most of us must bear reluctant testimony. As to our Diocesan Missions, we can only hope that this attempt of the Bishop to depreciate our efforts will not add to the difficulty we already contend with, in persuading our people to contribute to the support of the Missionaries he nominates. One more suggestion: if the Bishop's statements are erroneous in these relations, may they not be in other particulars?"
This document was signed by Robert H. Clarkson, Clinton Locke, Charles Edward Cheney, and all the other rectors of the city churches. The last named had only just accepted a call to Christ Church; in his convention address, this year, the bishop had borne witness that "during the few months of his pastorship," Mr. Cheney had "exerted an encouraging influence in that promising neighborhood." Little did he dream of the troubles still in store from that settlement!
The clerical circular brought out an episcopal broadside, under date of October 10, rebutting the charge of inaccuracy, pointing out that though the bishop had the right to nominate missionaries, their appointment rested with the board, and that actually, aware of "the strange jealousies in which his lot was cast," the bishop had been so cautious that he could not remember having ever absolutely nominated a single missionary. "One more suggestion: If the Bishop's statements are correct in these relations, may they not be in other particulars?" He condemned the "passionate tone" of the circular as "incongruous with the ministry of Christ. ... The mystery will change sides, if the Clergy who have so peremptorily affirmed it as not only existent, but done with malice prepense, should not acknowledge their fault and return to a better mind." The ground of the whole difficulty, he declared, had been "a struggle between 'Congregationalism' and 'Episcopacy,' in which the former had an old vantage ground, and kept the Bishop at bay, thwarting in various ingenious modes the fixing his seat in your city. ... Now, however, this has passed. Unassisted, he has provided himself a home, and brings his family with him. I am not certain that you are all pleased with this solution of the vexed question."
A friend and admirer of the bishop's now rushed into print in his defence in a circular with the sensational heading, in large letters, "Episcopal Troubles in Illinois." "By many it is well understood that the contest against his non-residence has been waged for the sole purpose of perpetuating it. ... The reason for his non-residence is simply this: neither the diocese, nor Chicago, nor any committee, has ever made him a bona fide offer of a residence, rent free. ... Had a suitable house been provided in Chicago, Illinois would have had her Bishop and his family 'At Home' years ago, for they have ever been ready and willing to come. But had the 'Bishop's Church' been erected, as it should have been, other edifices would have remained on paper, and certain rectors been 'overshadowed by his eminent abilities.'
"It is, without controversy, the duty of every rector to favor with his influence and means the educational institutions of the diocese whose honors and emoluments he is sharing; but several of the rectors at Chicago are Trustees of the College at Racine, and especially favor Nashotah; while others prefer Kenyon. This being so, the alms and influence of Illinois being perverted to build up Wisconsin, how can the low estate of Jubilee be charged to the neglect of Bishop Whitehouse?" But by this time the hoarse rumor of approaching war began to drown the shrill notes of this unseemly squabble.
To one who looks back from the present day, the great strength of the democratic party in the lake states and Iowa, up to the very eve of the war of secession, is cause for astonishment. Up to 1860, Douglas controlled majorities or large minorities in all of them, and the election of Lincoln in November of that year marked a political revolution the cause of which is well expressed by the sentiment of the Iowa legislature: That the state was bound to maintain the union, which, like her rivers, should be inseparable, by every means in her power. Two constraining motives were adduced for this resolution: that otherwise the mouth of the Mississippi would pass under the control of an alien power, and that the dangerous principle of secession would be established. If at any time the eastern states were to follow the example of the southern, those in the midland would be left without free communication with the sea. Furthermore, secession removed no cause of war; slavery, with the difference of sentiment it engendered, would still exist; and in case of friction there would be no arbiter but the sword. The only reason for separation was the triumph of the republican party, which meant the exclusion of slavery from the territories; and how access to them would be attained by separating from them, how the South would win the point in dispute by seceding, was difficult to see. The vista of the future loomed lurid and blood-red, and the whole movement seemed one toward anarchy.
"The continued existence of slavery," said Governor Robinson of Kansas, "according to its own partisans, requires the destruction of the union. New guarantees are demanded, on threat of secession; the time has come, therefore, for the destruction of slavery." He was among the first to see this so clearly and to express it so forcibly. Kansas became a state in January, 1861; and in the ensuing four years' struggle contributed more men, in proportion to her population, than any other state in the union, to put down secession and slavery. Those were years of confusion, incessant alarm, and guerilla warfare upon the border; the most shocking event was the surprise of Lawrence by a body of Missourians in August, 1863, the massacre of nearly two hundred of its inhabitants, and the burning of the town.
The firing on Fort Sumter aroused the fiercest feeling in Iowa, and that state furnished sixteen regiments of infantry and six of cavalry during the first year only of the war. The feeling in Wisconsin also was at fever heat; companies were formed in advance of demand by the general government; camps were established at Milwaukee, Madison, Fond du Lac, and Racine; and fully half of the voting population of the state served in the war. Minnesota likewise was stripped of men and arms,--and this was the signal for a terrible outbreak of the Sioux Indians; their medicine men predicted that they would reoccupy their ancient lands, which would be cleared of the pale-faces; and in six hours, on the i8th of August, 1862, eight hundred whites were slaughtered. By the panic that ensued, Dakota and the northwestern portion of Minnesota were practically depopulated, and immigration was checked by the struggle. Bishop Whipple charged the government with creating among the Indians a worse condition, by its system of dealing with them, than slavery bred among the negroes. It is cheering to know that many settlers were saved by Christian Indians, who gave warning of threatened raids.
In July, 1863, a confederate force threatened southern Indiana,--and sixty-five thousand men rose, at the call of Governor Morton, to defend their state.
When the great conflict was over, the sentiment of the West was well summed up in the words of a distinguished Iowan, to the effect that "Iowa is not relentless,--but she does ask that there shall be no confusion in our national morality between right and wrong: between the effort to destroy our national life and that to preserve it,--between those who fought to break up the union and those who died to save it."
It is rather remarkable that the low-church bishops were most outspoken in loyalty to the union. Bishop McIlvaine of Ohio was the most pronounced of all; he even served the government on a semi-diplomatic mission to England, to seek to influence the sentiment of churchmen there. To many it seemed as though his zeal impelled him into a confusion of politics and religion. "Our duty is plain," said Bishop Lee of Iowa: "it is to uphold the constitution and the civil authority." On the eve of the struggle, he issued the following prayer for use throughout his diocese:
"O most mighty God and merciful Father, whose wise and righteous Providence governeth all things in heaven and on earth: save and deliver us, we humbly beseech Thee, from the dangers to which, by our sins, we are exposed, and let unity, peace and concord prevail throughout our land. Spare Thy people, good Lord, spare them, and let not Thy heritage be brought to confusion. Preserve our nation from desolating judgments, from discord and contention. May we be a united and happy people, showing forth Thy praise and dwelling securely under the shadow of Thy wings. Pardon our manifold transgressions, and deliver us from every evil; or if Thou shouldest visit us in judgment, remember mercy; through Jesus Christ, our only Mediator and Redeemer."
Bishop Lee then turned aside to lay this wreath upon the grave of Nicholas Hamner Cobbs: "The gentle and loving Bishop of Alabama was taken from the evil to come. His beautiful life is a precious legacy to the Church and to the world."
He criticised the action of the southern dioceses, in forming an independent organization, as hasty, irregular, un-canonical and schismatical; ordinances of secession, he maintained, were not sufficient to justify ecclesiastical separation, for a revolution must be crowned with success before there can be a new nation and a national church.
As the war went on, he noticed that one of its injurious effects was to decrease the number of applicants for confirmation.
Bishop Whitehouse had his tribute to pay to the saintly Cobbs, as one in whom "gentleness and firmness, simplicity and power, zeal and discretion, strength and humility, wisdom and innocence," were beautifully combined,--a remarkably penetrating and accurate judgment. On the death of Bishop Otey he remarked: "the diptych of American episcopacy is full of honorable renown."
The relations of the pioneer bishops of the South and West were very friendly; what Kemper and Otey were to each other has long since been told, and both Kemper and Upfold felt for Bishop Elliott the highest admiration and regard.
Whitehouse regarded the war as a divine chastisement of a spiritually adulterous people; we are a corrupt generation,--but, he added, "the government must be sustained." Political separation illustrates the evil of heresy and schism. "Intense individualism, despising of government, mockery of prescriptive right, insubordination, disbelief in divine appointments, are working their fearful consequences; the discipline of this trial may bring about an improvement." But he observed, as the war went on, that it was not working righteousness. There was a noticeable decline of piety, reverence, and integrity; infidelity was on the increase, or was at least more open. Baser elements of society were brought to the surface; large fortunes were made through the war; and there was much apparent temporal prosperity,--but beneath all was a disturbing sense of suspicion and insecurity. The tenure of ministers was more uncertain, and congregations divided upon political lines.
After the battle of Gettysburg and the capture of Vicksburg he prepared this prayer:
"O Lord God of our salvation, we bless thy holy Name that it hath pleased Thee to hearken to the prayers of an afflicted people, and to grant us such present help as causeth us to hope for thy full deliverance from our miserable confusions. ... May thy goodness lead us to repentance and amendment of life. ... Take away all ignorance, hardness of heart, and contempt of thy Word, and so fetch home, blessed Lord, those who have gone out from us, that we may again become one in the goodly heritage which Thou gavest to our Fathers.
"Do, O Lord, for our country and for us all what seemeth to Thee good in thy love and our need. ... Visit with thy consolation the sick, the wounded, the prisoner, the poor and distressed, and all deprived of relatives and friends. Be the Father of the fatherless, the God of the widow, and the solace of parents bereaved of their children."
In the spirit of this petition, offerings for the sanitary work of the army were constantly made in the churches of Illinois.
Upon the proclamation of a national fast day, to be observed on the last day of April, 1863, Upfold set forth this special prayer, for use in Indiana:
"Almighty God, who dost command us to humble ourselves under thy mighty hand, that Thou mayest exalt us in due time; we, thy unworthy servants, desire most humbly to confess before Thee in this the time of sore affliction in our land, how deeply as a nation we deserve thy wrath and indignation. In the great calamities which have come upon us we acknowledge thy righteous visitation, and bow down our souls under the mighty hand of our holy and merciful God and Father. Manifold are our sins and transgressions, and the more sinful because of the abundance of our privileges and mercies under thy providence and grace. In pride and living unto ourselves; in covetousness and worldliness of mind; in self-sufficiency and self-dependence; in glorying in our own wisdom, riches, and strength, instead of glorying only in Thee; in making our boast of thy unmerited blessings, as if our own might and wisdom had gotten them, instead of acknowledging Thee in all, and seeking first thy kingdom and righteousness; in profaneness of speech and ungodliness of life; in polluting thy Sabbaths, and receiving in vain thy grace in the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ; we acknowledge, O Lord, that as a nation and people we have grievously sinned against thy divine Majesty, provoking most justly thy wrath and indignation against us. Righteousness belongeth unto Thee, but unto us confusion of face. Because thy compassions have not failed, therefore we are not consumed. Make us earnestly to repent, and heartily to be sorry for these our misdoings. May those who seek the dismemberment of this our national union, under which this people, by thy Providence, have been so signally prospered and blessed, be convinced of their error and restored to a better mind. Grant that all bitterness and wrath and anger and malice may be put away from them and from us, and that brotherly love and fellowship may be mutually restored, and established among us to all generations."
Bishop Hawks declared that the desolation wrought by war was to be seen at its worst in a border diocese, especially, it seemed to him, in his own. The year 18,61-62, he moaned, was the most sorrowful of his life, so far, freighted with anxiety and care; his country distracted, the church of God desolate: "Missouri bleeds at every pore." He noted strangely diverse effects of the conflict upon different parishes: some were excited by it to feverish activity, others were apathetic and languid. Some congregations were divided, some completely scattered and extinguished. Consecrated buildings were used as barracks or otherwise violated. Many of the clergy left the distracted diocese, and their places were not supplied; young men went off to the war, and there were no candidates for the ministry. He lamented that, when hard and active work would have been a relief to him, opportunity to make visitations was taken away. He echoed Bishop Whittingham's sentiment: "We have sinned in proud self-sufficiency and boasting complacency in our institutions." God has been forgotten. Under plea of "the pressure of the times," laymen cease to support public worship.
Bishop Hawks believed that churchmen were more considerate toward their slaves than members of other Christian bodies were; and he defended the southern dioceses against the charge of schism, which he distinguished as separation from the catholic church, and not from a national organization.
The diocesan organization of Kansas proved to be immature. In 1860, its clergy elected the Reverend Francis McNeece Whittle, rector of St. Paul's Church, Louisville, as their bishop,--but the laity did not concur. At a later convention, the Reverend Heman Dyer of New York, Secretary of the Evangelical Knowledge Society, was elected, but declined the appointment. The troubled diocese then put itself under the charge of the bishop of Iowa, who did his duty by it faithfully. In the winter of 1861 he wrote over four hundred letters in behalf of the sufferers from famine in Kansas, and obtained from twenty dioceses more than five thousand dollars, which sum was administered to the most needy by the clergy.
Many parishioners of Trinity Church, Lawrence, were slain in the massacre at that devoted town, in 1863, "by Quantrell and his band of fiends," as the rector bore witness. "The blood of our slaughtered brethren at Lawrence is crying to heaven for vengeance," exclaimed Bishop Lee: "May your homes escape the desolations of the destroyer." He obtained aid from the East for the survivors.
Of seventeen parishes and missions of the church in Kansas at the opening of the war, eight became defunct during its course.
Equally deplorable was the effect of the great struggle upon the church's educational institutions. The president of Kenyon went to the war, and in two years the attendance at that college had fallen off nearly fifty per cent. "Jubilee College is struggling against fearful odds," said Whitehouse, and he thought that its only hope of safety lay in a removal to some city, preferably Chicago, which would solve the problem of supplies, labor, boarding of students and visitors, etc. "No inducement can be offered," he continued, "strong enough to attract and hold in the centre of an isolated domain, removed from all social excitement and convenience, a body of young men sufficiently large to supply continuously the classes of a University." The theological seminary, he maintained, ought by all means to be moved to Chicago. Bishop Hawks' college at Palmyra declined, and its property was sold; pledges for Griswold College were not paid; Racine also was sorely tried, and but for the heroic exertions of its warden would have failed.
In 1861, Bishop Green of Mississippi recalled his candidates for orders from Nashotah. Beside such decrease in numbers the income of the seminary diminished and the debt accumulated to such an extent that in the gloomy spring of 1863 its faculty consented literally to go to grass,--to relinquish all salary, and live upon the produce of the school farm, if the students would stay and work it. They had just expressed their readiness to attempt it, when Dr. Cole received a letter that brought tears of relief and thankfulness to his eyes. It enclosed a draft for three thousand dollars, with promise of another as large, from a friend in the East who did not wish his name to be known, and who gave as his reason for this gift, "the war." With praise to God and gratitude to their unknown benefactor, professors and students returned to their accustomed round of prayer and study.
Bishop Kemper was heartbroken at the news of the bombardment of Fort Sumter, but according to his principle of reserve on such matters (and a man's principles crystallize with advancing years), made no allusion to it, or to the death of Cobbs, at the meeting of his convention immediately after. He charged its members to withdraw their thoughts from the world and its transactions, and to deliberate on eternity. Excellent advice,--but being too narrowly interpreted, his addresses in war-time are marked by a tame, insipid, and exclusively local tone and interest at which one chafes. Doubtless abstraction on such occasions from worldly passions is right and necessary, but to ignore emotions that every one is feeling, to maintain rigid silence about matters of national life and death, and issues that wander through eternity, seems weak, unnatural, and even perverse. There is a better mean than the extremes of McIlvaine and Kemper.
The bishop's health all through these years was a cause of anxiety to his family. He was subject to what his daughter described as "lost turns," which came on with a vague feeling and resulted in transient mental vacancy or loss of consciousness. The attacks were not epileptic, apoplectic or paralytic in their character, but were akin to vertigo; the first came on just after he had participated in Talbot's consecration,--his eldest sister had for some time had similar seizures; and naturally his family was anxious every time that he started upon a visitation. Strange to say, these attacks ceased in 1865, so that his health was poorest just during the war. Yet in the spring of 1862 he gave an account of himself in a letter to a lady of Philadelphia that abounds in the blitheness that was his charm. He explains that his time is taken up with small and feeble parishes, to each of which he seeks to give a Sunday, and that his correspondence is steadily increasing, so that he is as busy as a bee. Hence he expects indulgence: "I know you will pardon a youngster of seventy-three. Ask me all imaginable questions concerning Christ Church, Philadelphia, during the early years of my ministry, and I will answer them with the greatest pleasure. ... If you will have my photograph--I have not one by me to enclose,--my children consider the one in which I am unrobed the best.
"I am off in the morning for Fond du Lac on Lake Winnebago, and have the prospect of a ride on Monday over--no, through--very muddy roads in an old-fashioned stage. But these advantages are not hardships. I am blest with almost uniform health, and I now require, after the experience of twenty-seven years, much traveling and a little roughness to keep me cheerful and happy. Can there be a greater privilege than to be enabled to delight in doing the duty of that state of life to which our blessed Lord has called us?
"I am now writing by candles and without spectacles,--they were put aside six years since. I would be ashamed of being so egotistic had you not called me out."
In the autumn of the same year he wrote to his old friend and fellow-worker, Dr. Samuel Roosevelt Johnson, addressing him by his pet diminutive:
"MY DEAREST ROSEY:
"Your letter of 12th July ought to have been answered, but as it did not require immediate attention, and I was at the time very busy in visiting parishes--and was not as I used to be--for considerable prostration came over me both in mind and body--so far indeed that I began then and have ever since acknowledged myself an old man--I laid by your letter, and soon after started on a tramp which was quite equal to days of old. After many most uncomfortable days of detention I arrived in sight of Superior City, now a very decaying place. I say in sight, for when two miles off the captain of the Planet declared the storm was too great to permit him to go into the harbor. So a few of us young fellows went down by a rope into the jolly boat in the midst of a heavy rain--pushed off in the utmost confusion of baggage and passengers--after a while got out some oars--and with waves dashing over us and occasionally aground, were finally landed in safety. When my work there was done--and I confirmed ten--I had the choice of waiting eleven days for the boat--or coming home by land. Four days in most primitive vehicles brought us to St. Paul in the midst of the Indian excitement. Think of four in a room, two in a bed--and live stock to boot! Was it not equal to the best days of Hoosierdom? But I won't detain you any longer. I reached home wonderfully renovated--and every night I was absent I slept well. ...
"While I embrace with gratitude and much pleasure your very kind invitation, I cannot but think there is some doubt about my coming on. The rebels may have Philadelphia and even New York in possession by that time--or I may before starting have a forgetfulness which has attacked me two or three times within as many years, and which tho' soon over, makes my children anxious--and should it return would doubtless induce them to persuade me to stay at home."
A church paper called "The North-Western Church" was started at this time, for the dioceses west of Ohio. It was adopted by the diocese of Wisconsin as its organ, and was recommended by Bishop Whitehouse as evincing "ability and right spirit."
Five of Kemper's clergy were now serving as chaplains in the army, yet still we remark an obstinate closing of his lips about the war. The year 1863 went by, with its dejecting reverses and thrilling successes, and still he issued no special prayer for use in his diocese, holding that the book of common prayer made sufficient provision. From his public utterances thus far one would never imagine that his country was engaged in a struggle for existence, the most tremendous of recent times, but would draw the conclusion that he and his clergy were ecclesiastical lotus-eaters, meditating only the purchase of lots for parsonages and cemeteries,--that Wisconsin was an arbor deeply pleached, where the fiercest storms of the outer world died away in a merely unusual rustling of leaves. But after the war had gone on for three years he was pulled out of his shrinking policy; his ignoring position proved untenable. "The war has occupied our prime attention," he admitted, in 1864: "Individuals and families have removed. Some parishes are all but destroyed, and want of laborers is painfully evident. Yet some churchmen are growing rich. We are living in fearful and trying times; there are few but have relatives and friends in our country's service. Yet we are pledged in the house of God to draw our minds from worldly subjects, and especially from whatever may be rightly called mere politics."
One cannot but feel that under this jealous seclusion of the spiritual, this scrupulous separation of ecclesiastical from national interests, there lay that mistaken and injurious contempt of political life and inadequate conception of its significance that give point to the sneer of one who was asked what Episcopalians believe. "I can't tell you what they believe," he replied, "but I can tell you what they don't believe in: they don't believe in religion and politics."
Now at last the bishop produced a special prayer, which is certainly a model of its kind:
"O God, who art the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords, the Almighty Ruler of Nations, we bless and magnify Thy glorious Name for all the mercies and blessings which Thou hast bestowed upon us even in this period of our sorrow and humiliation. We render Thee our grateful thanks that peace and order have been preserved in this portion of our land, that honest labor has been plenteously rewarded, and that Thy Church has been permitted to serve Thee in all godly quietness. Enable us to show our thankfulness to Thee for these and all Thy other mercies by sincere repentance of the sins which have justly brought Thy chastening hand upon us, by loving, active sympathy for all in trouble and affliction, by earnest efforts and hearty prayers for the restoration of the unity, peace and welfare of our beloved country, and by the renewed devotion of ourselves to Thee in an humble, holy and obedient walking all our days; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom with the Father and the Holy Spirit be all honor and glory, world without end. Amen."
The manuscript of the above is singularly plain, though colorless, one might almost say characterless; the letters a, c, e, i, m, n, o, r, s, u, w, are often indistinguishable in it, the looped letters being often left open at the top, and all degenerating into a series of short up and down strokes.
In the autumn he wrote again to Dr. Johnson, at the General Theological Seminary. We note a characteristic criticism of the bishop of Maryland, and a delightfully irreverent reference to the bishop of Indiana (whose disease was the gout):
"DELAFIELD, WIS'N, 22d Oct., '64.
"MY OWN DEAR ROSEY:
"Among other missionaries I have one up the Mississippi on the borders of Minnesota. It was my intention as usual to visit him this spring, but the river was so low I determined to wait for more water. Finding that apparently I would wait in vain, I gave notice of my coming, but the P. O. department proved to be so treacherous and uncertain that my voyage was delayed many weeks, and I have only now returned after all but three weeks' wandering. Here among many others, I find your favor. ...
"There was a probability of my being in New York about this time to attend the semi-centennial meeting of one of your societies, but my detention north prevented--besides, the invitation was not quite sufficiently cordial and urging. Next year I shall hope, D. V., to be in both the great cities once more and for the last time, in all probability.
"Only think! Three of our few young men at Nashotah are drafted! As we cannot pay for them we contemplate if possible admitting them to orders, as they are all seniors.
"I believe if Mr. Baker would come here at once he could obtain most useful employment. Mineral Point, Watertown, and Manitowoc are vacant, besides Christ Church in Janesville; and if he wished to try his hand at missionating I could give him a choice of two or three stations.
"Dr. Adams says that Bishop Whittingham should never have left the Seminary. All his friends will doubtless rejoice when he returns. He threw himself into the political concerns of Maryland with the simplicity and thoughtlessness of a child.
"I occasionally hear of and see Uncle George. He is brilliant, cross and diseased; and I fear does not receive that respect from the clergy of his diocese he so richly deserves.
"I am perhaps as busy as ever; and altho' I do not do as much as I once did, I have infinite cause for gratitude and praise for the health I enjoy and my almost entire freedom from pain.
"Believe me, most truly and affly. and forever yours,
It must not be supposed that the church in the West was stationary or retrogressive throughout the war. It enjoyed many compensating advantages, chief of which, counterbalancing indeed all the evils wrought by the conflict, was the abatement of ancient prejudices among the population. Division along political lines, superseding for the time all other divisions, had a wholesome effect, religiously, in taking men's minds off from points of ecclesiastical difference that had been enormously exaggerated by having long been favorite subjects of feverish controversy. The war put a quietus upon that suspicion and dislike of the church as English, that was an inheritance from revolutionary days. Bishop Upfold's witness, in his convention address of 1863, is to the point:
"With us all is sober prose and hard labor. Yet we are not without some evidences of being out of the woods--at least of beginning to emerge. Since my entrance on the Episcopate, thirteen and a half years ago, sixteen churches have been erected, paid for, and consecrated, several of them elegant and substantial structures of brick or stone, and three others are awaiting consecration.
"The strong prejudices against our communion, more prevalent in Indiana than perhaps most western states, appear to be on the wane,"--and he adduced the fact that of late he had remarked large congregations, largely composed of strangers, during his visitations,--a thing unseen and unheard of at the beginning of his episcopate,--affording opportunities to make the evangelical doctrines and impressive services of the church better known.
Upfold published this year a "Manual of Devotions," modeled upon that of Henry Thornton of Clapham, with which he had lately become acquainted and with the "fervor and evangelical spirit" of which he was greatly delighted,--as that was modeled on the book of common prayer.
The war had a benign effect in distracting attention from the episcopo-clerical feud in the agitated diocese of Illinois. Frustrated in his plans for a grand edifice, Bishop White-house began negotiations, in 1861, for the purchase of the Church of the Atonement, on Washington street, Chicago, which he converted into the Cathedral Church of Sts. Peter and Paul. The year after, the cathedral organization was completed by the appointment of four canons, and a lay body, consisting of eight curators, to take charge of temporal affairs. The treasurer was styled "bursar"; the title "guild" was introduced into American ecclesiastical terminology; and a surpliced choir and dignified ritual were introduced. In the episcopal address to convention in 1863, attention' was called to the fact that "the Bishop's Church" had been beautified; stained glass windows had been set in its walls, polychrome decoration applied to walls and ceiling, an exquisite snow-white font presented,--and antiphonal chanting was the rule.
In this latter year, Dr. George David Cummins was received into the diocese of Illinois and settled as rector of Trinity Church, Chicago. He was born in Delaware in 1822. His father was a member of the church, but his mother and sisters were Methodists, and after graduation from Dickinson College, Pennsylvania, in 1841, he became a circuit rider in their communion. Taste for a liturgy attracted him to the church, and late in the year 1845 he took deacon's orders, in the evangelical diocese of Delaware. He served successively as rector of churches in Norfolk, Richmond, Washington, and Baltimore; and received the degree of doctor of divinity from Princeton College. On coming to Chicago, he became a close friend of Dr. Clark-son and Mr. Cheney.
In 1864, a committee of the same diocese brought into convention a sensible report about Sunday-schools, pointing out that their two chief weaknesses were lack of seconding in the home, and of proper relation to the church through her rectors. In every parish, the rector should be the head of the Sunday-school, and should conduct a normal class for teachers,--for there was great complaint that the teachers themselves were not taught, and consequently their instruction suffered grievously in the mind of their pupils by comparison with that given in the day-schools. There should be better classification or grading, that advanced scholars be not retarded by the dull and negligent; and it should be distinctly understood that the function of the Sunday-school is to conduct its unbaptized members to baptism, and the baptized to confirmation; and that attendance at its exercises should by no means be regarded as a substitute for attendance upon the services of the church.
In his address, the same year, Bishop Whitehouse raised a note of warning against the "licentious and rationalistic" tendency of the volume entitled "Essays and Reviews": the inspiration of the bible and everlasting punishment, he said, are not matters of opinion; and because in America the Church is even more exposed than in England to the "malaria of perverse science," he charged his clergy to resist demoralization and to stand for the plenary inspiration of the scriptures.
A school of religious thought had arisen in England that found its philosophic ground in the doctrine of the divine immanence in nature, and hence was regarded with suspicion, dislike, and dread by adherents of the transcendental schools. It was undogmatic, and aimed to get at the spiritual substance of religion rather than to dwell upon its phenomena,--and hence was called hazy. Everywhere it found and asserted natural and rational elements in religion, and affirmed that the supernatural and natural are not different in kind,--and so was accused of pantheism. Its most objectionable, concrete affirmation probably was, that every one is by nature a child of God; which seemed to be in flat contradiction to the catechism, and to undermine the accepted view of the sacraments. It maintained strongly that there was a human element in the Jewish and Christian scriptures, and a divine element in the sacred books of other peoples, and hence cultivated with ardor the new sciences of Biblical criticism and comparative religion,--seeming to its elder rivals to be merely leveling and destructive. Practically, it sought to come in touch with the progress of culture and society, to establish better relations with natural science and philosophy, especially as represented by German thinkers, and to come into better accord with the state and with this present world, so as to be able to influence them. Inevitably, it was charged with being of worldly complexion and motives, and its type of natural piety was turned into ridicule as "muscular Christianity." Essentially and at its best, it was simply a fresh exemplification of the quite natural and also supernatural principle of growth and change in religion, inevitable in the application of old truth to new conditions, and perfectly consonant with scripture, the practice of the church, and common sense. But as it was expounded in "Essays and Reviews," it did undoubtedly appear to be of purely critical, combative and destructive propensity. A catena of sentences from the once famous volume will illustrate what has been said:
"Thorough study of the Bible, the determination of the limits of what we mean by its inspiration, and of the degree of authority to be ascribed to the different books, must take the lead of all other studies. The great force is the intellect. We cannot encourage a remorseless criticism of Gentile histories and escape its contagion when we approach Hebrew annals. The essential strength of the religions of India, Arabia, Hellas, and Latium lay in the elements of good which they contained. Liberal criticism traces revelation historically within the sphere of nature and humanity. Confused thought and furious passions disfigure most of the great Councils. Some reconsideration of the polemical element in our Liturgy, as of the harder scholasticism in our theology, would be the natural offspring of any age of research in which Christianity was free. Mr. Darwin's masterly volume on 'The Origin of Species' must soon bring about an entire revolution of opinion in favor of the grand principle of the self-evolving powers of nature. An alleged miracle is an object, not an evidence of faith. Subscription to the Thirty-nine Articles should be given up: stronger minds are reluctant to enter an order in which intellect may not have free play. A national church is properly an organ of the national life. The Bible contains erroneous views of nature. Natural conscience questions the eternity of hell torments. Interpret the Scriptures like any other book."
Radical as these sentiments sounded when the book appeared in 1860, it is still difficult to understand, at the present day, the frenzied panic they created. The bishop of Oxford characterized the publication as a "lurid jet of the great Antichrist"; an address to the Archbishop of Canterbury, denouncing it, received the signatures of ten thousand clergy; and suits were brought against two of the essayists. They were acquitted by the privy council, in 1864, of verbal contradiction to the Articles, were immediately condemned by convocation, and excitement was at its height, and spread to America. This year accordingly is memorable as that of the introduction of the so-called Broad Church movement into the American church.
We have seen what Bishop Whitehouse thought of it. Bishop Upfold also took the alarm, and charged his convention as follows:
"We live in troublous times, requiring of us great circumspection and care in our responsible calling. It is the boast of many that this is an age of free thought and free inquiry; and some are disposed to make the most of this assumed liberty of opinion and doctrine, and run it into dangerous licentiousness. It becomes us therefore, my brethren of the Clergy, to set our faces as a flint against this disorganizing spirit, which is working such mischief to the cause of Christ and his Church, and resist all temptations to bold theological speculations such as have recently become rife across the Atlantic, in the indulgence of pretentious intellectual pride, disposing men to be 'wise above what is written,' and to depart ad libitum, from the recognized standards of the faith, our creeds and articles of religion, which are all founded on the only infallible rule of faith, the inspired Word of God. Be it our care in all our teachings to avoid all such vain, rationalistic philosophizing and sentimental fancies, ... display of captious criticism on the inspired Word of God, or any other ostentatious intellectual display." And at the same time Bishop Kemper warned his convention that there were now "some who calling themselves by the name of Christ dare impiously to assert that our Blessed Lord did not cause all Holy Scriptures to be written for our learning, and that therefore we may question some of the truths of that inspired volume and deny some of its clearest statements." Shun as a pestilence, he exclaimed, such "pride and arrogance, inordinate self-conceit and total want of reverence,--the crying sins of our age,--and conform to the minutest injunctions of the Prayer Book." We have not as full a record of Bishop Lee's sentiments, but we know that he denounced both rationalism and ritualism--which was also just beginning to rear its head--as "dangerous enemies of the faith." On the whole, the evangelicals, for reasons which we cannot pause to elaborate here, though startled, were not so excited and unbalanced by the rise of the new school as their rivals the high churchmen were. Dr. Vail indeed dared to think and to proclaim that the church needed to be broadened.
After a rectorate of several years at Taunton, Massachusetts, Vail removed to Iowa, toward the close of 1863, to assume the rectorship of Trinity Church, Muscatine. In September, 1864, the convention of the diocese of Kansas acted upon Bishop Lee's recommendation to proceed to the choice of a bishop, while expressing heartfelt gratitude to him for his deep interest and watchful care through the years of utmost depression in the diocese. A committee nominated Thomas Hubbard Vail; the election was unanimous; he accepted it, and was consecrated in his church at Muscatine, on the fifteenth of December, by Bishops Kemper, Whitehouse, Lee, and Bedell, thus becoming the first diocesan of Kansas. It was the first consecration that took place west of the Mississippi river.
The most important event in the history of the American church in the years immediately after the civil war was the breaking up of Bishop Talbot's colossal and unwieldy jurisdiction, and its distribution among four missionary bishops. Bishop Upfold had to have an assistant. Rheumatic gout held him in its clutch. For years he had struggled against it, but in 1865 was forced to surrender. The last diocesan convention he attended met at Richmond, in his state, in June of that year. Its principal business was to elect an assistant bishop. Talbot was universally popular; the people of his old parish at Indianapolis were intent upon getting him back; and he received and accepted the election. In July following, Upfold consecrated Grace Church, Indianapolis; the month after, he held an ordination to the priesthood in the same city, on both occasions remaining seated while preaching; and these were his last public official acts, and the last times that he appeared in church. Most of the remainder of his life was spent in his house, in a wheeled chair. At the meeting of general convention in October, 1865, Talbot was formally transferred to Indiana, and three missionary bishops were appointed for his old jurisdiction: Robert Harper Clarkson for Nebraska and Dakota, George Maxwell Randall of Rhode Island, then rector of the Church of the Messiah, Boston, for Colorado and adjacent territories, and Daniel Sylvester Tuttle of New York, for Montana, Idaho and Utah. Clarkson was consecrated in the single church of which he had been rector--St. James', Chicago,--by Bishops Hopkins, Kemper, McCoskry, Lee, Whipple, and Talbot. The absence of his own diocesan from the number is noticeable; it was an open secret that White-house had used all his influence in the house of bishops to secure the appointment for him, and thus remove the sharpest thorn from his episcopal pillow; he knew his man,--that Clarkson's sense of duty would constrain him to accept such a mission. Mr. Tuttle was so much below the canonical age that his consecration had to be postponed until 1867. The following year, at the meeting of general convention, Ozi William Whittaker of Massachusetts, then rector of a church in Nevada, was appointed missionary bishop of the latter state; his consecration took place in 1869. Bishop Whittaker had temporary charge of Arizona.
This domestic missionary expansion is interesting to us as the direct, logical outcome of Bishop Kemper's great work; but it had yet wider bearings. The suppression of the war of secession made the nation buoyant with the confidence of conscious strength, and this vital spirit was imparted to the church. Certain it is that at this period the church took on larger proportions, became less provincial and Anglican, more continental and American, and was more in her element in the more experienced nation, while at the same time the latter was readier to receive her teaching and adopt her practice. In the five years after the war, twenty-three bishops were consecrated in this country, compared with sixty-nine from the beginning up to the year 1865; that is, in the short period of five years there were a third as many consecrations as in the three-quarters of a century before.
Clarkson's opposition to his bishop, whether it were justified or not by the latter1 s autocratic policy, could not but have a narrowing effect upon his nature, which now, relieved of every such negation, expanded grandly. His rare pastoral faculty now had ample room for exercise, albeit in as untoward a field, so it was said, as ever Christian bishop looked upon. The extremes of temperature upon the wide, unprotected prairie were inimical to human happiness and life; once, while on a summer visitation in Dakota, Bishop Clarkson had to endure heat of the prostrating height of one hundred and four degrees, while often in the winter season cold waves would depress the temperature in Nebraska to thirty degrees below zero. Nor was this all: these sharp extremes were accompanied by violent disturbances of the atmosphere, by "blizzards" and tornadoes that proved terribly destructive. One of these storms injured two churches badly; another blew in the windows of some mission buildings and speedily reduced the whole group to a piteous wreck; even the chapel bell, weighing four hundred and sixty pounds, was whirled far away. Population was in the migratory stage: a missionary could report that he had found five hundred souls and a large hotel in a town only three days old; and as likely as not, in as many weeks or months every one would have moved away. Settlements were far apart, and were largely composed of young men who had come out to seek their fortune (or other people's); there was scant respect for prerogative, for ancient institutions; every man had to stand upon his own merits. It was the same frontier condition with which we are already acquainted; Clarkson repeated in Nebraska, thirty years later, Kemper's experience when he first came west. It was trying, no doubt, but it was also a bracing experience to the right kind of men, such as those two were.
The following was a not uncommon kind of tour in the early years of Clarkson's episcopate: to ride in his own wagon (for it was before the day of the Union Pacific railroad) over the pathless prairie all day long without seeing a human habitation, guided on his way by compass only; to be overtaken by a furious thunderstorm; at night, after supping on whatever food he had brought with him, to sleep upon the ground, under his wagon, or, if he were very fortunate, to find a shanty in whose loft he might take shelter, and from a wretched bed might watch the stars crossing the cracks between the boards that formed an apology for a roof; after such a trip, to reach a settlement where a school-house could be had for a service; to sweep its floor and make a fire with his own hands; then to go about the town advertising the service and urging people to come; to light the building with candles he had brought for such an emergency; to conduct evening prayer and preach one of those sermons of which men who cared little for religion said that they never heard them without longing to be better. The people were desperately poor, and could do nothing for the support of a clergyman; so the bishop had to find both the man and his salary, and had to be content with such ability as he could get. His great heart and hopeful spirit show through the words of one of his early addresses: "The conditions and prospects of our beloved Church are very encouraging in this splendid state of Nebraska,--as fair a heritage of the Lord's as the sun anywhere shines on. Nebraska will soon leap to the side of Illinois, Wisconsin, and Iowa in population and wealth. ... Congregations who will become attached to the Prayer Book and the Church may be gathered in any rural locality of the state"; and so he urged upon his clergy that every one of them should consider himself a missionary for the country surrounding his parish.
In 1867, the territory became a state, and Lincoln was laid out as its new capital, by politicians whose heads were filled with dreams of corner lots, and fortunes thence ensuing. In 1868, the primary convention of the diocese was held, and it was discovered that there were nineteen clergy, thirty-two parishes and missions, and about seven hundred communicants composing it. It was admitted into union with general convention immediately after. Clarkson remained East for awhile, to unite with Vail and Randall in some episcopal consecrations, and to plead the cause of Nebraska with such success that churches in New York, Brooklyn, Hartford, Philadelphia and Baltimore gave him funds for namesakes in it.
Bishop Vail noted sharper contrasts of wealth and poverty as a result of the war, and also an increase of free-thinking and abatement of old prejudices. In his diocese, in the new, agricultural state of Kansas, there was no capital to draw upon; the immigrants were poor, and he had to depend upon aid from the East for church-building and payment of salaries. He felt deeply the need of missionaries; it was agonizing to him to see the church being left behind by the population,--to see that she might be first upon many flourishing fields, and through lack of men and means to be unable to improve such splendid and transient opportunities. He wanted to found parish schools, a female seminary and a theological school. As he itinerated, he would hold service and preach in town halls and county courthouses, and Baptist and Methodist societies would sometimes give him the use of their buildings. On a visitation in the western, sparsely settled part of the state, he took provisions and fodder with him, having a saddle horse for change and relief beside his wagon. Often it would be too hot to drive by day, and he would travel by night, camping on the prairie grass, using his buffalo robe for a bed,--a necessary protection against the heavy, chilly dew that fell toward morning. Once when lost on the prairie he was lighted on his way by flashes of lightning from a distant storm. Again, he made a tour of four hundred miles, taking two weeks, in stage, carryall, and open wagon, through rain and burning sun,--and all to confirm three persons. It was worth while, he said, for each of them might prove a centre for a congregation, a stone in the spiritual temple. It is no wonder that he was well beloved throughout both state and diocese. His wife won, by her good works, the enviable title of "the Angel of Kansas."
In 1868, Bishop Vail made a visitation in Missouri at the request of Bishop Hawks, who was in failing health and died soon after, in St. Louis, at the age of only fifty-five years, broken in spirit by the calamities that had befallen his diocese. Whatever the cause, he wearily and despondently said, Missouri is certainly a very hard field for church culture, a stony vineyard, its clergy the worst sustained of those of any diocese, and many of them in penury. But for his private means, then almost exhausted, he could not have labored there so long as a bishop; his visitations often proved costly burdens.
Vail pronounced his obituary: "Bishop Hawks was a man of superior talent and of unusual gifts of eloquence. With a high sense of honor and of gentlemanly refinement he united the lovely characteristics of the Christian heart and life." And Upfold referred to his death, "after a painful and protracted illness, superinduced and aggravated by the peculiar circumstances of his diocese for several years past, arising from the convulsions of the late civil war, which created almost insurmountable hindrances to the work of the Church, and made a soil always ungenial still more unproductive."
Bishop Whitehouse appealed for aid for the prostrate church in the South, especially in South Carolina, where ten churches had been burned and communion vessels stolen during the war, where the clergy were forced to labor with their hands for bread, and the colored race seemed to be relapsing into heathenism. He observed keenly and meditated much upon the effects of the civil struggle upon the church and society in the West. Vice flaunted, character was unsettled, licentiousness and its hellish accompaniments, intemperance, gambling, and profanity, had been spread by the war. We need, he said, in this "flush sense of strength," to cultivate humility, and to remember that the church never has been or can be popular in a world where her Lord is not enthroned. Depreciation of the marriage tie was spreading, and divorce was easy and frequent; the clergy were to oppose this "movement of infidel socialism," of corrupt nature and animal impulse, by refusing to assist at the marriage of a divorced person, unless it were the innocent party in a case of adultery. The demoralizing consequences of war, however, were not without compensating accompaniments,--the cloud had a silver lining; the evils of disunion had been exposed, and a deep moral impression created. Military discipline was conducive to order and ceremonial and the subordination of the individual. Thousands had been familiarized with the prayer-book by its use in camp and hospital and on shipboard; and all these corrective influences favored the western church. The bishop was much exercised over the relation of the church to society; the whole question of public and social amusement, he said, was very pressing,--for some churches were being turned into clubs. How, he asked, shall we "employ the social element without pandering to worldliness and frivolity "?
He returned to the charge against the Chicago clergy: there had not been a single candidate for holy orders from any parish in Chicago, trained in the same, during his episcopate. He called for a clerical training school and a chapter house for his cathedral, and branched off into a learned excursus on deans, cathedral and rural, concluding with a recommendation of four rural chapters for his diocese, at Chicago, Ottawa, Peoria, and Springfield respectively.
In 1866, he was engaged in extensive travels in Europe, through Spain, Italy, the Scandinavian countries, and Russia, prosecuting researches into the validity of Swedish orders and the relations of the American and Grseco-Russian churches. On Candlemas day, 1867, being the guest of Archbishop Longley, he took part in the consecration of three missionary bishops in Canterbury cathedral. The primate was contemplating a meeting of English and colonial prelates, and it was owing to his guest's representations that the plan was enlarged, and that American bishops were included in the invitation to the first Lambeth Conference. Bishop Whitehouse preached the opening sermon of the conference, in the chapel of Lambeth Palace. The degree of doctor of divinity was conferred upon him by Oxford University that year, while the University of Cambridge gave him the doctorate of laws, which it also gave to several other American bishops, among them McIlvaine, Kemper, Lee and Talbot.
Bishop Kemper did not attend the conference. His expenses thither and back were offered him, but he did not take advantage of the offer; had it been a council of the church, he said, he would have gone. So it turned out that his long life was spent entirely in his native land.
As after the subsidence of a long and violent storm the ocean is deeply agitated, and a heavy ground-swell will wash the beaches and dash upon the rocky coast for days, so, long after the civil war, society was stirred to its foundations and borne away from its former moorings,--but the old bishop was oblivious of these changes. It had been like the extraction of a tooth to him to make any public reference to the contest, and he ignored its cessation: no expression of gratitude for the return of peace is to be found in his convention address of 1865. In the autumn of the year he journeyed to Philadelphia, for the purpose detailed in the following letter to Dr. Johnson, putting by an invitation to visit New York:
"Your affectionate and very gratifying letter was duly received, and did circumstances permit I would certainly accept the kind invitation it contained. I came on to General Convention contrary to the wishes of my children, and devoted myself to the business of the House of Bishops and the Board of Missions. I have been punctual in my attendance (just following the example and principles of Bishop White), and I must say, if others had done the same, we could now adjourn; but with the exception of a few of us, members come in when they please, go away when they please or absent themselves when they please: and then when present are talking with their neighbors, writing letters, or making long speeches. My patience and my strength are exhausted, and I am convinced it is my duty to hasten home as speedily and directly as possible."
The absorbing interest of the year 1866 in the diocese of Wisconsin was the election of an assistant to its aged bishop. DeKoven was nominated, and he nominated William Cros-well Doane; Bishop Clarkson's name was also proposed, and secured three votes, to DeKoven's five. Opposition to the latter was strong by reason of his practices of eucharistic adoration and auricular confession. These were the points of difference between him and Dr. William Adams, who was personally offended by DeKoven's visits to Nashotah, to hear the confessions of students there. The name of William Edmond Armitage, rector of St. John's Church, Detroit, having been proposed to the convention, was favorably received, and soon secured the requisite number of suffrages. Columbia College, his alma mater, conferred the degree of doctor of sacred theology upon the bishop elect, and on the 6th of December he was consecrated in his parish church at Detroit by Bishops Kemper, McCoskry, Lee, Whipple, Talbot and Clarkson. It was the eleventh consecration and the last in which the venerable Kemper took part. On his way he revisited Indianapolis, and was deeply touched and pleased by the cordial, filial welcome he received. Often, indeed, his declining years were brightened by meetings with sons and daughters of the church whom as a missionary bishop he had baptized or confirmed. He now desired all missions and schools in the diocese to look for support to Bishop Armitage, who immediately made a thorough visitation, to acquaint himself with his new field, and especially assigned him the organization of church work in the city of Milwaukee, whose geographical divisions, large foreign population, subordination to the influence of Chicago, and lack of church edifices "fit to stand among its private residences," were great hindrances to the growth of the church. The new bishop immediately set about to procure himself a cathedral; started a new periodical, "The Church Register;" and procured funds for a new building at Nashotah,--Shelton Hall, in which he reserved and furnished a room for himself.
In 1868, a movement to divide the diocese gathered strength. Two years before, the convention pronounced itself in favor of a division, which met Kemper's approval; and now he greeted, as "a true return to primitive times," some signs of a diocesan organization at Fond du Lac. Bishop Armitage had the "see-principle" much at heart; and under these auspices a document was prepared, to be submitted to the coming general convention, recommending a return to the old idea of the episcopate as the apostolate, or missionary order; its seat to be the city, as the centre of civilization, in contrast to the restrictive, territorial conception still prevailing; the multiplication of bishops to go on until there should be one in every city of the land, each with his cathedral church as the focus of the spiritual and educational life of the diocese. Four such sees, it was concluded, were needed immediately in Wisconsin. This was the famous "Wisconsin Memorial"; it brought out plainly the paramount interest of the western church in matters of ecclesiastical polity.
In 1868, too, DeKoven matured an ambitious design relative to Racine College. He had taken charge of it as a diocesan school, a feeder to Nashotah seminary; but now, under the influence, without doubt, of the ideal of the University of the South, which was just being revived, he aspired to make of it the "Church University of the West." It was exempted, accordingly, from local, diocesan control, and became a general institution under the charge of bishops and other trustees in several dioceses.
Kemper had thought that the general convention of 1865 would be the last that he would attend, but three years later his health continued so firm that he was able to attend that of 1868 also, and to take advantage of the opportunity to see his old friends in New York and to revisit the scenes of his boyhood,--how changed to the outward eye by the progress of two generations! Aware that it was the last time, he made a pilgrimage to Norwalk, and stood by the grave of the wife whom he had laid to rest there thirty-six years before. He was spared to behold the fruit of his thirty years' labor in Wisconsin, presiding over his diocesan convention in 1869, his assistant bishop by his side, and surrounded by the remarkable number of sixty-eight clergy. After this, the last assembly of the kind at which his venerable figure and benignant countenance, with its crown of snowy hair, were seen, he journeyed to Minnesota, at its bishop's request, to consecrate the cathedral church of Our Merciful Saviour at Faribault, on the feast of St. John the Baptist, and to preach an ordination sermon from its pulpit.
This was the second cathedral in the American church, and the first to be built for the purpose.
In the gathering of clergy on that occasion, the bishop missed his old-time protege, James Lloyd Breck, who, nearly two years before, had left Minnesota for the far West. After the death of his first wife, Dr. Breck had married again,--he, who once regarded second marriages as next to adultery! No doubt he was actuated by the homely sentiment that one might as well be killed for a sheep as for a lamb. And now the old pioneer fever flashed up again in his veins, and, feeling impeded by the thickening mesh of civilization in Minnesota, he turned his visage to the land of gold, and vanishes from our view in the golden lightning of the setting sun.
It is difficult for us to realize to-day the veneration felt toward Bishop Kemper by the whole church in those closing years of his earthly course. Nothing like it has been seen since, and to find a parallel in the more distant past one would have to go back to the days of his ideal, Bishop White. In his letter just quoted, he made a filial reference to his old leader; and in sooth his position in the early history of the western church is of the same unique, never-to-be-repeated character as that of White in the eastern in the first half-century of the republic. It is true that he never presided over a general convention, but after the death of Brownell in January, 1865, he was the senior in age of all the American bishops. He was over two years older than the next presiding bishop, Hopkins, who died in January, 1868, and nearly five years older than his successor, Smith of Kentucky. The reverence felt for him throughout the whole commonwealth of Wisconsin, by men of every class, was beautiful and affecting; he could travel about the state for weeks without its costing him a cent, for people would not take payment from him for conveyance and entertainment. The rough lumbermen of the backwoods would stand, with uncovered heads, waiting for him to say grace before they would sit down to eat. And this sentiment was deepened by proximity; those who knew him best revered him most. The community at Nashotah and every one in the neighborhood, down to domestics and laborers in the fields, felt for him affection mingled with awe; and Renan has well said that the judgment of one's humblest friends, in respect to character, is almost always that of God. It is a pleasure to dwell upon the Indian summer of that holy life; the whole career is as beautiful, as finished, and as perfect in its close as a work of art. In those halcyon years, that serene old age after the labors of life's day, Jackson Kemper verified the exquisite sayings of Joubert, that the winter of the body is the autumn of the soul, that life's evening brings with it its lamp, and that no one is truly happy in old age except the priest. His children were about him, and his sisters, though growing very feeble, were with him to the end. The board of missions pensioned him to the amount of five hundred dollars a year, and his diocesan salary was better paid, so that he was in easy circumstances, financially, and free of every worldly thought and business care. He continued to take pious care of his health, walking to and from Nashotah as long as his strength permitted, and driving regularly with his daughter. So he enjoyed immunity from rheumatism and dyspepsia. He read and wrote until the last, keeping up his interest in the daily news, enjoying books of wholesome fun like the "Innocents Abroad," and deriving the greatest pleasure from articles in Littell's Living Age. He was especially interested, during those latter years, in books about Palestine, such as Robinson's "Physical Geography of the Holy Land," and in Rawlinson's "Ancient Monarchies of the East." He read the latest theological works until within a couple of years of his death, never went on a visitation without carrying some with him, which he would give or send to his isolated missionaries. Some time in 1868, happening to put his hand over one eye, he discovered, with a shock of surprise, that the sight of the other was gone. From that time he gave up trying to make out manuscript and fine print, and was read to more and more. His memory of the middle part of his life began to be obscured, the early years of his episcopate and especially his southern tour being seemingly blotted from his mind; while he remembered his boyhood in New York and early ministry in Philadelphia with luminous clearness, and never forgot passing engagements. One little infirmity of temper betrayed his declining age: the perfection of courtesy himself, he was impatient with bad manners, and would sometimes rebuke them sharply; but afterward was always sorry for his irritability.
The last year of his life, the portrait that is most familiar through reproductions was painted, for the state historical society at Madison. It presents his strong profile, softened by the pathos of age,--the mass of white and wavy hair that was such a decided beauty to the very last, the prominent brows, the almost Roman nose, firm lips and chin.
The year 1869 saw the beginning of the most serious internal dissensions that ever vexed the church in America,--a veritable ecclesiastical civil war, a reflection of the war of secession. The Reverend Phillips Brooks left Philadelphia that year, after a ten years' service, to become rector of Trinity Church, Boston; and the outlines of the broad church movement in this country began to be more clearly defined. It originated as a philosophic, irenical school, a peace party, whose primary thesis was that there was room for both the warring sections, high and low, within the comprehensive church; and it had accordingly to undergo the common fate of reconcilers, to be suspected and abused on both sides, and to arouse peculiar animosity in the stronger party. It was characterized by deep, sincere, single-hearted, and pervasive, albeit undogmatic, devotion to the person of Christ, and charity toward all who were called by his name; and to plain people this seemed more like true Christianity than the most thorough, intimate, and minute, inspired and infallible understanding of the hypostatic union, lacking that grace. Preaching was its strength, and its universal theme, the upbuilding of Christian character. It brought forward the old evangelical estimate of the infinite value of the individual soul, while envisaging the individual in his social relations as the evangelicals had never done. In the breadth of its sympathies and conciliatory strivings it tended to obliterate distinctions: it was indifferent to points of ecclesiastical polity, forms of government, usages in worship; in its genial optimism it overlooked the dark side of human life, and questioned the justice of eternal punishment. Its indefiniteness in matters where clearness and consistency are greatly to be desired, accounted for and partly justified the opposition of the high church party.
The catholic movement was passing into a new phase,--induced, no doubt, by the rise of the little horn of broad churchmanship. The less the latter made of forms, the more did its adversary cultivate them, making dogmas of apostolical succession and the real presence, and enveloping the latter in a cloud of symbolic ritual. It also rejected philosophy. "Advanced" churchmen were more interested in intensive than extensive spiritual culture; in the multiplication of eucharists and other services, in early celebrations, in the ornaments of the altar, church music, and all forms of ecclesiastical art and organization, and in the practice, both exterior and interior, of personal piety, by means of the confessional, books of devotion, and the like. It was a pity that these developments were accompanied by a noticeable decline of pristine missionary zeal, any subsidence of which is such a suspicious symptom, and that they seemed to be associated with a docetic, Apollinarian, or mono-physitic Christology, an unerring sign of a Sabellianizing theology. The most conspicuous feature of the new party, to enlarge a little, was its exaltation of the eucharist with insistence upon fasting reception, to an apparent depreciation of other worship and justification of the charge of its low church opponents that it was propagating a superstitious notion of the effect of the sacraments, which they stigmatized as "sacramental justification,"--the idea that the mere physical reception of the consecrated wafer justified the soul in the sight of God. Very offensive to a vast majority was the corresponding tendency to assimilate the worship of the church to that of Rome; to adopt her gorgeous vestments, to set the altar ablaze with eucharistic lights, to elevate the consecrated species in token of the completion of the sacrificial offering for the quick and the dead, to practice her bowings, genuflections, prostrations, and burning of incense, all in recognition of the present God.
These innovations excited apprehension and a reactionary sentiment akin to indignation among conservative bishops of the catholic school, such as our hero and Bishop Whit-tingham. The sacrifice of the cross is not repeated, said Kemper, but commemorated in the eucharist; and he adjured his diocese to adhere to the ritual of the fathers of the American church, White, Seabury, Hobart, Ravenscroft, Brownell, and Otey, not to depart from what delighted them, not to add to, alter, or omit any of the prescribed order of worship. Usages in the church of England, he continued, are without authority for us; and again he exclaimed, Avoid ritual novelties. Armitage echoed these sentiments, with certain qualifications: lawlessness is worse than ritualism, said he, and we cannot expect to have ritual petrifaction. Bishop Whipple handled the subject in the broadest, most statesmanlike way, in addressing his convention: "Every school of religious thought and feeling has its own peculiar mission. The Church needs it, the world needs it, and it can do a work which no others will do. It is the misfortune of human nature to elevate its own private opinions into matters of faith, and to claim from all others subjection to its rules of action. ... There must be within the Church all the liberty necessary for Christian work. We must permit men, so far as is consistent with the preservation of the faith and the unity of the Church, liberty of opinion and action." Whitehouse's sentiments at this period show how far he had traveled since his evangelical days at Rochester: great difference of ritual practice, he said, is a result of catholic liberty; and while "exaggerated attention to the minutiae of dress and ceremonial must be painful to a serious mind, this deep movement aims at the expression of the highest truths, the retrieval of unheeded privilege, the quickening of sacramental life;" it restores what the church has had in abeyance, and deepens the spell of religion; so "I dare not esteem it lightly nor crudely condemn it." It is destined to enter permanently into our church life. When he discovered, however, that the consensus of episcopal opinion was against all innovations in public worship, he questioned his convention as follows: "Suppose, in the face of this [prohibition], that the minister burns candles at the Holy Communion, or waves the censer, or bends the knee before the consecrated elements, or elevates the paten for adoration, or mutilates the baptismal service, or holds the prescribed services of the Liturgy subject to his own taste and self-will,--what is the Bishop to do, ... and what is the minister to do? Obey, or invoke public sympathy against the tyranny of his Bishop? And what are the laity to do? Respect the Church's discipline, or rail, and lay her honor in the dust?" But Upfold was very bold; several years before this crisis he had put himself on record, warning his clergy against "certain novel usages" that were spreading, and causing misapprehension, prejudice, and reproach. Among them was nocturnal celebration of the communion on Holy Thursday, "in defiance of church authority. Bad example is contagious, and so this will not be tolerated in my jurisdiction. I regret to say ... that decoration of the Communion Table or altar, chancel, font, and pulpit with flowers on Easter Sunday, as an assumed symbol of the glorious event we commemorate, has been introduced, without the sanction of this Church; purely an exercise of private judgment, dictated by an exuberant imaginativeness, and to my mind, a very questionable taste, ...--the practice of Romanists, and those who have eagerly looked Rome-ward, many of whom have ultimately gone over, body and soul, to that corrupt communion. Can fading flowers be an emblem of that which fadeth not away? Who thinks the more of the Resurrection for such an exhibition? It will not be allowed in this diocese,--I will not visit or officiate in any parish, administer confirmation, etc., on Easter Sunday or other occasion, where this floral display is attempted."
Doubtless the good bishop's acerbity is to be accounted for by a twinge of gout.
Lee feared that ritualism would do our church "incalculable injury," inculcating false eucharistic doctrine,--that of a carnal presence; and Clarkson fervently echoed an appeal to "stress the time-honored term, Protestant, because apostates revile it and discard the Reformation, whence come our liberties." And another bishop, in the vehemence of his centrifugal motion, flew off at a tangent and formed a new asteroid in the ecclesiastical firmament.
Dr. George David Cummins, of Trinity Church, Chicago, had been elected assistant bishop of Kentucky, and was consecrated in Christ Church, Louisville, on the i5th of November, 1866, by Bishops Hopkins, Smith, Lee, Talbot, Quintard, and Clarkson. At that date he still believed that he could work, untrammeled, with men of different views, in the same church \ and it is certainly not without interest to behold in his changing sentiments, as in a glass, the evolution of schism,--as rapid, in this case, as the growth of its ritualistic counterpart. Bishop Cummins was possessed by a dread and abhorrence of ritualism, and its portentous advance unsettled him in his catholic position of unity in essentials, liberty in non-essentials, and charity in all things, for he was persuaded that its essence was spiritual evil. For a time he believed in fighting error in the church within her pale, and, declining an overture of separation, he struggled for five years to put down ritualism in Kentucky, but without avail; and becoming disenchanted, discouraged over the condition of the church in general, and convinced that ritual error could not be eradicated from her, he concluded that there was nothing for him but to part company with her. He was on his way to this conclusion when a collision with the redoubtable bishop of Illinois precipitated its formation. In the summer of 1869, communications passed between the two relative to an invitation Cummins had received to attend a meeting of an evangelical missionary society in Chicago. Whitehouse waved him away from his diocese, warned him not to trespass on the premises. Cummins returned a notice of his intention to preach in that city on a specified date, in behalf of missions. Thereupon Whitehouse inhibited him from officiating in Chicago. This action excited intense feeling among all who were concerned, and some who were not; Bishop Clarkson thought that his old bishop ought to be brought to trial for such uncanonical breach of ecclesiastical comity. Cummins paid no attention to the inhibition, and preached in Trinity, his former parish church.
It is noteworthy that it was in the effervescent West, so full of unrestrained youthful energy, and given to extremes, that these religious movements revealed their inner nature,--that their implicit logic became explicit. And the pushing, young metropolis of the West was their storm centre. Around the figure of the inflexible, Hildebrandine White-house the tempest raged, and he was in his element, as he always was in a scrimmage. Diverse opinions have been entertained of his attitude during that crisis, some holding that if he had been of conciliatory temperament the storm would never have arisen, while others maintained that his prophetic soul divined the coming schism, and that his prompt action discomfited the conspirators and prevented the disruption from assuming the proportions it otherwise would have done. For now Mr. Cheney of Christ Church, Chicago, assumed what the French call an intransigent attitude, omitting the word "regenerate" in his administration of baptism, manifesting an intention of forcing an issue. This is the significance of Bishop Whitehouse's reference to mutilation of the baptismal service, in his passage above quoted. Mr. Cheney certainly gave greater depth and dignity to the dissenting movement by adding to Cummins' repugnance to ritual a doctrinal ground of difference. These leaders and their followers disliked the terms "priest," "absolution," "regeneration by baptism," "the body and blood of Christ," and absolutely repudiated the sense that their opponents put upon them. Their weakness lay in the admission, by secession, that that sense was the only one that the terms would bear; by their act, they abandoned the point in dispute, and surrendered the church, so far as in them lay, to their sacerdotal and ritualistic enemy. Mr. Cheney practically insisted that the term "regenerate" could only be taken in the sense he repudiated, and so omitted it from the office. The morality of such omission needs no comment, in the case of one who had upon his soul the vow of the priesthood, faithfully to minister the sacraments as the church had received them. Nothing had been added to the meaning of the word since he took that vow, ten years before. He was under no necessity whatever to adopt a new meaning, or any of the ritual he disliked. His action therefore must always seem to have been inspired by the true schismatic spirit of separation for opinion's sake, whose motto is, No fellowship with those who differ about definitions. Never was the broad church thesis more needed and less heeded. He left a canonist and ecclesiastical lawyer like his bishop no option, and in 1869 Whitehouse began to proceed against him, but was stayed by a writ of injunction. It was Greek meeting Greek.
Between the acting of a dreadful thing
And the first motion, all the interim is
Like a phantasma, or a hideous dream;
The genius and the mortal instruments
Are then in council; and the state of man,
Like to a little kingdom, suffers then
The nature of an insurrection.
When in that interim of suspense the bishop gave and acted upon a notice of a canonical visitation of Christ Church, it must have been a thrilling, not to say blood-crisping scene, to see him enter the church and the rector and congregation rise in stern silence to receive him. Not a candidate was presented for confirmation, and the atmosphere was charged with emotional electricity.
An unforeseen result of the trial was to crystallize all his other clergy in support of their bishop, so that at the close of his career Whitehouse had a united diocese at his back. And the inexorable prelate, as his enemies regarded him, "as cold as ice and as polished as marble," has been seen to sit upon the floor and fondle and play with the little children of one of his laymen.
Another providential use of all the divisions sketched above was that they took the minds of churchmen off of lines of political and sectional divergence, and turned them again to matters of ecclesiastical interest. And as the civil war in the case of the nation, so did these troubles make manifest the inherent strength of the church.
Bishop Kemper was taken from the evil to come; for certainly the five years after his death were the most troubled period in the history of the church in America. It almost seemed as though his departure removed a restraint upon party passion. But if on the one hand he was spared much that would sorely have afflicted his spirit, he was not permitted to see the wonderful growth of the West on the other. He had labored, and others were to enter into the fruits of his labor. At the very time of his departure, the frontier of culture was stealing over the West. Villages that he had known were becoming towns, and towns great cities; until shortly, throughout his old jurisdiction, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, St. Paul, Minneapolis, St. Louis, Kansas City, and Omaha were to cluster around the mighty Chicago, all boasting their splendid avenues, parks, public buildings and monuments, churches, colleges, libraries, art galleries and exhibitions, music halls, theatres, opera-houses, and all the insignia of a high civilization, most congenial to the catholic church. He had organized six dioceses, consecrated nearly a hundred churches, ordained over two hundred priests and deacons, and confirmed nearly ten thousand souls. At the end of another generation and of the century, the number of dioceses was doubled in the fields where he had labored, and in the twelve were over seven hundred churches, nearly six hundred clergy, sixty-five thousand communicants, and every two years more persons were confirmed than he had confirmed in the whole of his long episcopate.
The trip to Faribault proved to be the last journey of any length that Kemper took,--the last time that he was out of his own diocese. The following August, he had a seizure of some sort in the train, while on his way to Milwaukee, and after that failed gradually and perceptibly, and resigned to Armitage the visitation of all points at any distance from Nashotah. Still, for several months more, his health was relatively fair, and he was able to comply with requests for visitations, at which, it was observed, he spoke with a peculiar earnestness, and his accents seemed to come from beyond the grave. He was spared to see his eightieth birthday, the Christmas Eve of 1869, and the sun of the new year of 1870, the last he was to behold in this life. In the winter and spring of that year his appetite failed, and he began to be filled with a nervous restlessness, the result of weakness. His last public official act was a confirmation, near his home, on the third of April. Still for several weeks he continued to discharge all the official duties that he could by means of a pen, which he finally laid aside on the 18th of that month, and after that by the aid of an amanuensis. His mind continued clear to the end, books and letters were read to him, and he kept up his interest in the affairs of the diocese. He went to bed, those closing weeks, at five o'clock in the afternoon, and after five hours' sleep was up and about, eager to have some one read to him. The need of repentance was much on his mind that last month, and among his last words were these:
"I have everything to be thankful for; the presence of my Saviour, the help of his Holy Spirit, and a hope full of immortality."
On Wednesday, the 18th of May, he took finally to his bed. On Friday Dr. DeKoven came from Racine to see him for the last time; he begged him for his blessing, and the bishop rambled off into the ordination service. The day after, he entered the realm of unconsciousness. The last three days were passed in complete coma, induced by excess of urea in the blood, and he breathed his last early in the afternoon of Tuesday, May the 24th.
Those who gazed upon his features after death said that it seemed as though twenty years had been taken from his age.
Six bishops, the presiding bishop, Smith of Kentucky, Whitehouse of Illinois, Lee of Iowa, Vail of Kansas, Clarkson of Nebraska, and Robertson, the new bishop of Missouri, were present at the funeral, the following Tuesday, with more than seventy clergymen and two thousand people. The service was begun in Nashotah Chapel, various parts in it being assigned to the different bishops. A single hymn was sung,--Kemper's favorite "Rock of Ages,"--and it was taken up by the throng outside the chapel with thrilling effect. Then the vast procession moved to the cemetery, a quarter of a mile away, and Bishop Whitehouse committed his body to the dust.
At a memorial service held at the meeting of the diocesan convention the ensuing June, Dr. Hugh Miller Thompson, professor of ecclesiastical history at Nashotah, was appointed to preach a sermon from which we are fain to quote the following beautiful passages:
"There are deaths that come upon us with the sense of a completed harmony, when the work is done, when the story is all told, when the long, full day's travel is finished. ... They are deaths to thank God for--these deaths that end a long and fruitful life with a perfect close. They come with the calmness of summer sunsets that end the day, with the dreamy regret of the Indian summer that ends the year. They seem to belong to the diviner harmonies of the other world, to be visitations of God's eternal order here among the uncertainties and confusions of time.
"It is such a death we commemorate here in this memorial service, and I believe there is no one present who does not thank God that it came to our departed father. So harmoniously his beautiful life closed, so orderly and peacefully was the journey traveled and ended, so calmly, in a hale old age, with threescore years of faithful service behind him, did the summons come, that in our deep and sore sense of pain and loss to ourselves, there is still this underlying content, because the death was beautiful as the life was, because the one fitted the other, and God made both complete.
"For nearly sixty years, Bishop Kemper served at the altar. For nearly thirty-five of those sixty years he was a bishop. His active life covered a period of the greatest changes in his own country and the world, his whole life nearly the entire history of the American episcopate.
"Our witness, though man's witness is nothing to him now, is that he bore himself right manfully, loyally, and faithfully, as a true Bishop and ensample for the flock, and that the memory of his faithful life is a precious legacy to us and to our children, for all time to come."
Talbot told the people of Indiana that "no bishop in the line of our American episcopate has succeeded in concentrating upon himself more entirely than he, the love and veneration of the Church." And Clarkson said: "He did more than all other men in the land to mould the churchly life of seven great dioceses. ... O that every bishop who shall minister on this fair domain may inherit, even though in small degree, something of his fidelity, his single-mindedness, and his self-consecration!" And Vail took an even wider view: "His life furnishes a most important link, not only in the history of our American church but in the history of the Church Catholic of this age, as it develops its grand missionary work for the benefit of the world."
And so the great central luminary, having thrown off successive rings of planetary dioceses, had sunk to rest, without a cloud to dim his disk. The Christian Odyssey of the great West was over, and its lakes and streams and plains knew him no more. The Napoleon of a spiritual empire had passed away,--and who would not prefer Kemper's crown to Bonaparte's? The missionary bishop of a jurisdiction greater than any since the days of the apostles,--and St. Paul himself had not traveled as widely and as long, for Kemper had gone three hundred thousand miles upon his Master's service,--was gone to his reward. Well had his life borne out the meaning of his name: "Kemper," "A Champion." With the great apostle to the Gentiles he could say:
I HAVE FOUGHT A GOOD FIGHT,
I HAVE FINISHED MY COURSE,
I HAVE KEPT THE FAITH.