EXCUSE the irregularity of my penmanship, for I am writing under the gallop sort of influence of a high-pressure steamer on this "Father of Waters." We are now three clerical and one lay-brother actually on our way up the Mississippi to St. Paul and the Falls of St. Anthony. On board the same boat, called the "Yankee," is an English clergyman, from Newfoundland, on his way to the English Mission of Prince Rupert's Land, under the Episcopal jurisdiction of Bishop Anderson. We have met, by the Providence of GOD, on this river, without any previous knowledge of one. another's Institutions. Thus the Mother and Daughter Churches labor side by side for the furtherance of the great plan of Redemption by CHRIST JESUS. The Rev. Mr. Taylor accompanies us to the St. Peter's River, and then continues his route overland (under the protection of the British Fur Company) a distance of three hundred miles to the northwest of our present location, intending to camp out every night. Is not this united labor for CHRIST truly delightful and encouraging in these days of strife? That here, so many hundreds of miles distant from you, there should ,be carrying forward so great and glorious work for CHRIST and His Church, free from all turmoil and confusion! GOD be blessed for His goodness in sending to us, for our next neighbor over the line, such a Bishop as the Right Reverend Father of Prince Rupert's Land. When at Nashotah, I was rejoiced at seeing a letter from him to our own Bishop, inviting Catholic Communion and intercourse with him, as his nearest neighbor. This is delightful and encouraging indeed, and we shall labor hard to bring shoulder to shoulder, in this extreme Northwest. There are no Dissenting preachers within Bishop Anderson's Diocese; at least, so the Rev. Mr. Taylor informs me. Blessed country! The Romanists, however, are there. We are now to be the first permanent mission to Minnesota, and there are no missionaries besides us within that Territory. What a responsibility for the Church rests upon us! Let me beg you and your sisters to pray for me and my associates, that we may always both do and think those things that are right. We will not be forsaken, if we are faithful. Young men from the Seminary will join us. Our meeting at the Church of the Holy Communion was most encouraging to our hearts. I think some of those young men are earnest and true. We hope, then, for a reinforcement a year from now. Thus will our hands be strengthened and the Mission enlarged. But what of Nashotah? Thank GOD, here also I can take courage. The Rev. A. D. Cole was elected (unanimously) President of the Nashotah House, and he has accepted. The next question is, Who is Mr. Cole? I am happy in knowing, and in being able to tell you. He is a Connecticut born and bred man. To this you will not object. He was three years a classmate of the founders of Nashotah in the General Theological Seminary, an intimate friend of Brother Adams. Besides, in his ministry he has displayed great zeal, devotion and industry, united to a practical turn of mind. He has a long head, that is, clearness and foresight, so that I truly look for greater things in the second stage of Nashotah than in its first. All this is full of good promise to the Church.
I have attended to all your wishes respecting the books, and I cannot readily express to you my gratitude for your kindness to us and this Mission of my heart. Upon the day of our arrival at St. Paul or Minnesota, we hope to celebrate the Holy Eucharist, when we shall make your "offering" (in the beautiful purse), in the giving of which to GOD, we shall pray for you, and your dear mother and sisters.
The Rev. T. Wilcoxson, also gives his brief account of the farewell sojourn at Nashotah, and goes on to narrate the journey to Minnesota, recording their first service on that new ground:
(June 9th, 1850.--Second Sunday after Trinity, at Waukesha, about fifteen miles from Nashotah.)--I walked out with George P. Schetky.
(Sunday, June 10th)--Third Sunday after Trinity, a farewell service was held in the chapel at Nashotah--may I say in honor of Mr. Breck, who had been its late President, and was now the Dean of the Associate Mission for Minnesota.
(Tuesday, June 18th.)--We left Nashotah.
(June 19th.)--We left Milwaukee, and reached Janesville, but too late for Mr. Breck to meet his appointment for that place. The next night was passed at a rough lead-mining town. We reached Galena, Illinois, about noon on Friday, June 21st.
We spent the Fourth Sunday after Trinity (June 23d) at Prairie La Crosse--then a hamlet of fifteen or twenty houses. We held service, and celebrated the Holy Communion in the morning, on a bluff about two miles back of the landing. In the afternoon we held a service by the river side, at the house of a German named Levy. The next morning we paddled a canoe over the river, some distance above La Crosse, and there kept the Feast of St. John the Baptist. And there, for the first time, the Associate Mission for Minnesota stood on the soil of Minnesota. A rustic Cross was reared beneath a large and spreading elm tree; and the stone on which the elements were consecrated was the same thin slab of limestone that the day before served as an altar on Altar Rock, back of La Crosse landing.
In the afternoon we held another service at La Crosse, baptized a child, and gave the Holy Communion to four German Lutherans.
We now resume the more systematic narrative, as given in his own letters. The freshness of grasp with which the new work is undertaken, is never mingled with unavailing regrets for the past; but, except the repeated disappointments as to getting men from Nashotah, all allusions to his first field of labor, though not frequent, are loving and generous. Minnesota, however, absorbs him enthusiastically. He begins with a letter to his mother:
(June 30th.--To his Mother)
I have just preached, my dearest mother, my first sermon at St. Paul. This morning I passed with the Rev. Mr. Gear, the chaplain at Fort Snelling, where also I assisted in the service and preached. After which, we came to St. Paul, crossing the Mississippi in an Indian canoe, and riding six miles in a wagon. The Rev. Mr. Wilcoxson accompanied Mr. Gear and myself, whilst Mr. Merrick remained at the fort with another clergyman, by name the Rev. Mr. Taylor. Now, my dearest mother, here we are in the extreme West, five clergymen of the Church, together. The Rev. Mr. Gear is the Chaplain at Fort Snelling, the only clergyman in Minnesota before we arrived. He has been here ten or eleven years; and, I rejoice to say, was instrumental in giving the first English Service within Minnesota. Thus has the Church given the first sound of the Gospel in this region of country. The Romanists are, however, an exception, for they were here with the Indians (who are no longer influenced by them, for they will not civilize them) before we were, and are yet with the French and Half-breeds. The first English Service in this place was celebrated five years ago. And from that time to this there have been more or less of the Church Services, although at times they have been interrupted for six months together. Now from this you will judge that the Church is not altogether unknown here. This is true, but it must be borne in mind that only within the past year or two have settlers come in, consequently the mass of these people (fifteen to eighteen hundred inhabitants) are new settlers. The Church is therefore still very new amongst this people. Again, whilst the Rev. Mr. Gear has been preaching here a good deal, which has been a noble and voluntary act of a clergyman nearly 60 years of age, yet his Morning Service at the Fort, six miles away and across the river, and another in the evening at the Fort, have given him but a very little time amongst these people; and again, his having to teach the children at the Fort has prevented his visiting this place during the week. I mention these things, dearest mother, to show you what a noble man has been at work before us, for all which he has received only the reward of a good conscience. He has been instrumental in laying the foundation for the Church in this place, and consequently a goodly number of persons are interested, some few of whom are communicants. The response was delightful, and the attention of the people good. The Holy Eucharist has never been celebrated here. And now, dearest mother, we are approaching the scene of our labors in earnest. To-morrow we expect to pitch our tent, and soon we hope to erect a temporary dwelling
(July 19th.--To his Brother.)
So much has taken place in the history of Nashotah and of this Mission, since I took leave of you and yours for perhaps another series of years, that I scarcely know where to begin in writing to you. It was a most severe struggle to leave all my dearest relatives and friends. When I first went forth into the wilderness, there was much novelty in the enterprise. The Ministry was new, the act of leaving my friends was new, the country and people to which I was going were new, the whole mode of life was new, but now all is an old story. All has been well read. Missions in the West and the western life are common things to me, as your own quiet duties are to you. It was therefore duty only that could impel me to the hardships of the work again. For CHRIST'S sake only would I have again severed the link of relationship, which is so dear to me. And it has been severed again, completely severed, for perhaps years. Here am I again in the wilderness,--far more a wilderness than Wisconsin in 1841. Already I have been lost, and slept out a night through a howling storm, and next morning had to walk home to St. Paul a distance of over twenty miles, fording five Streams on the way. My Brother Merrick was with me, and he Stood it all, like a good Christian hero. The enormous prices for board and washing have driven us to take refuge under the Nashotah regimen. We are now encamped upon two acres of land that we have bought at the extravagant cost of $50 per acre. These join the city plot of St. Paul, however, and from their commanding site must always, as now, be greatly admired, overlooking as they do the valley in which St. Paul is built, and thence unfolding to our view the great bluffs which form the west bank of the Mississippi. On the top of the eminence where we are, is a beautiful oak grove, in the midst of which is a very little house (12 feet by 17 feet, with an attic) in process of erection, and this is to be our dwelling for the winter. One Divinity student joined us at Nashotah, and another is expected by the Autumn, so that we shall then be five in number.- We are at present camped out, having had a tent loaned us at Fort Snelling, in which we all live, day and night, cocking our own victuals, doing our own washing, &c. The price of the latter work in St. Paul is a dollar a dozen, and in Stillwater So- It is plain that a poor Mission, such as this, could never stand such prices. Neither could we pay $3 to $15 a week for board, much less rent a little house for $300 a year, which is the price of a neat one-story frame. The demand for house-room is very urgent. Our own little shanty, without painting and plastering, costs us $160. But after this outlay, we shall be, comparatively speaking, well off, for we can live on a very little, if necessary, and for the Church's sake are ready to do so. We are resolved not to run into debt, and hence, at times, we may suffer somewhat therefrom. The people are kind to us, and have already sent us some food. This, however, is only a temporary home. We expect to cross the Mississippi in search of a permanent one, when the Sioux are sent off. This position will then be very suitable for the residence of the future Bishop of Minnesota, or the future Rector of the parish, or it will answer admirably for a Church (male or female) School. I have left Nashotah, under what are, I think, the happiest circumstances. The Rev. Mr. Cole, my successor, is one in whom Prof. Adams places great confidence, which is a happy thing indeed. I do therefore look to Nashotah to see it become to the Church as a Theological training school (for the Divinity system is the only one that will be carried on at present), what it has not yet been, its second stage far outdoing its first. I have written to Brother Aspinwall, endeavoring to interest him in securing a support for Mr. Cole at $500 a year, for three years, believing that at their close he will have made his own way clear by securing abundance of personal patronage to himself, and of honor from the Church at large. I hope, for my own sake as well as Mr. Cole's, that this will be done. A letter just received from Mr. Cole has the following encouraging paragraph: "Nashotah is getting fast a stronger hold upon me. By the time I remove there (Mr. Cole is still in his parish), I trust to be more earnest than ever, in promoting its interests. Sustained by your prayers, and by the faithful supplications of such friends as those brought to my acquaintance in this correspondence, and supported by His SPIRIT who has always watched over the Institution, I feel much animated for the future." Some of the students in the General Theological Seminary are preparing to come to us. I trust the class formed thus will increase year by year, so that that Institution will redeem its character on the subject of Missions. I think the men interested in Associated Missions are earnest-minded, and intend to prepare for the work if they can. There are true men at Nashotah. I know these last. Some will come to me upon ordination. I had a pleasant visit there, and a most touching farewell. Should you see either dear sister Lucy or cousin Josephine they will tell you all about it. The day I left, my very heart was turned within me. I knew not, before this, how dear my people had become to me. I did not suppose it possible that my heart was capable of so much weeping. And will it be so again? Have I come here to interest a flock and then sever myself from them again? It would appear so. Already I find ties forming about my heart,--ties that the Christian soldier makes by the valor of CHRIST. But enough of this. I have, I trust, good men with me, reliable, earnest-minded, working men. One is a missionary spirit, the other a student and teacher. But more of these, and the Mission itself hereafter. We are at present engaged in establishing stations for the Services of the Church, and are not a little encouraged at the prospect of planting in this soil also the van of our Holy Church.
(July 22d.--To his Sister.)
Expect only a short letter, for I have much to do. It is a stormy morning. Our tent, however, holds well. The trench dug round about it leads off all the water, and we are left within perfectly dry. Our little house was to have been finished,--I mean the shell up, ready for use,--by the 15th of this month; but it has been delayed many days longer; yet we hope to enter it by the middle of this week. Until three or four days since, we had no bedding or buffalo robes. We had two tents loaned to us, but we pitched only one, so we put the other at night on the ground, and slept on it. Tell our excellent neighbor, Mrs. Myers, that both the overcoat and gown, which she gave to me, have been of the greatest service to me at this time. The most of my clothing was boxed up at Nashotah, and sent by another route from that which we traveled, so that I could make no use of it at this time, when it would have been so serviceable; but the above coat was strapped to the top of one of my trunks, and the gown was in it, so I felt thankful to her for several nights of greater comfort than I should otherwise have had. For the bed was rather hard under the best of circumstances; but, after two or three nights, I could sleep as soundly as I have ever, done in the best of chambers, and now it is nothing. This is Monday morning. On Saturday Mr. Merrick accompanied me to Cottage Grove, a point that we had not yet visited. Our road lay through an uninhabited country, which yet is the condition of most of Minnesota. Only here and there is a settler, and occasionally a settlement. This, though harder for us, is better for the Church. I mean to say, dearest Kate, that the earlier the Church enters a new country, the better it will be for the Church, after a few years. But I purposed telling you about our visit to Cottage Grove. This is a settlement of about twenty farmers, within a circuit of about five miles. We had an introduction to one of the settlers, but could not learn from him that there was so much as a single Church family in the settlement. There was no school-house consequently, in the event of an appointment, we should be under the necessity of holding Divine Service in a private house, and this would be rather a favor to us than the contrary. Finding that some one of the denominations had made an appointment for the next day, we made ours by invitation for the Sunday after next at 3 P.M., intending in the morning of that day to celebrate service at Point Douglass, which is eight or ten miles to the south, at the junction of the St. Croix and Mississippi Rivers. We hope, under GOD, to establish the Church at the Grove and other like places, although several years may elapse before we can see churches arise, and communicants surrounding their altars. There is not a church or the first sign of the Church at that point. What a triumph if the Church can be brought to thrive there! With GOD rests what shall be done, yet we must employ our unceasing efforts to bring down the blessing. We had now walked about twenty miles to the Grove. It was also nearly two o'clock. What should be done? The next day was Sunday. Finding that we could not accomplish anything more here at present, we made inquiries after an English family that we learned was somewhere hereabouts, and found them to be living within five miles, and accordingly at once directed our steps thitherwards. Our road now lay over a prairie. The sun was very warm and we were tired, but on we traveled, thirsty enough to drink up rivers, for since morning we had drunk nothing but warm brook water or rain water. At length we reached a house, and calling for water, the man brought us a nice beverage of molasses, ginger and water, excusing himself by saying that the well was out of water, and that which he and the family used was warm. We drank, you may be sure, freely and safely of this. We were now within half a mile of the Englishman's house, about the only English family as yet in Minnesota. We now quickly found our way to the log-cabin of Mr. Jackson, and the result of our visit was, that we remained under his roof the rest of the day and night, and in the morning at 10:30 o'clock held Divine Service, and preached to his family only. No appointment was made for others. Here was 4 quiet missionary visit, a seeking out in the wilderness the lost sheep of CHRIST'S flock. This old man (sixty years of age) for three years--the period that had elapsed since he left England, --had not had the opportunity of the Church's services. He was d communicant, also his wife and daughter (married). The son-in-law had only been baptized in the Church, appeared to be attached to the Church, and engaged in the services understandingly. There was also a son (eighteen years of age) and a grandchild in the house, making six members of CHRIST'S flock under this one roof. The old man was now gathering a home for his children in America. Already his little farm looked flourishing, and the more so, when he stated to me that when he reached St. Paul he had but twenty cents left in his pocket. This will account for great plainness of diet as well as furniture about his house. For instance, his table consisted of a loose board one and a half feet wide by four and a half feet in length, laid on two wooden pins, driven into one of the logs of the side of the house. There was only one chair in the entire cabin. There were, however, some roughly constructed stools or benches. Soup (tell dearest Lucy, not chicken) was furnished us at our Sunday dinner in pint tin cups, with iron spoons. But everything was perfectly cleanly, and I may say neat. The service was perfectly delightful to me, as much so as it could possibly have been to these plain churchmen. It was pleasant to find each member of the family looking out all the places in the Prayer Book before service, and also marking in their Bibles the precise chapters appointed to be read, in order that they might follow them in the service when they should be read by the clergyman. After dinner we concluded to return to St. Paul, for two reasons. One was owing to my knee which had been paining me for several days, by reason of a swelling upon the cap of it, and now resembles the gathering of a boil (for I have had some severe ones of late). I judged that, should I remain another night, I might not be able to walk back at all; so we started forth at 2 o'clock, and when the joint of my knee grew warm by traveling, its pain and stiffness lessened, and we accomplished our journey of twenty miles by 8:30 o'clock P. M. We found our one Divinity student alone in the tent, just preparing to go to bed, not expecting our return. Mr. Wilcoxson had held two services at St. Paul, and had gone to the Falls of St. Anthony, eight miles distant, to hold an evening service, and consequently would not return until Monday morning. Mr. Holcomb now went to work and prepared tea for us, boiling the water in a tin vessel over a fire out of doors near the tent. We had two stakes driven into the ground with a crotch at the top of each, which holds up a cross stick, and this supports a kettle. The other reason we would not tarry longer with the Englishman was the great inconvenience to which seemingly we were putting them. For instance, up stairs (up a loft, reached by a ladder) was one bed, to which we were introduced, whereas below,, all the family slept on beds or blankets laid on the floor. This was too bad, and yet we could not prevail on them to let us have the blanket instead of the bed. It was really a nice one, very clean, and actually curtained about with a mosquito netting. Although the old man pressed us to remain till the morning, we thought it best to start, and I am glad to certify you, my dearest Kate, that my knee has grown marvellously better since the walk, whereas I expected to have been laid up for a week at least. In about a fortnight I contemplate a journey to the Falls of St. Croix, where there is a lady, by name Mrs. Perkins, who says she is a relative of mine. These Falls are distant fifty miles by land, and eighty by water. As we travel on foot the first will be our route.
(July 1st, St. Paul.--To the Rev. Mr. Schetky.)
I have not been able to write to you until to-day, and now I am thankful to say we are all well, having reached this on Wednesday of last week. Please say to the Bishop that finding Mr. Gear and the clergyman at Galena both absent, we determined to go on without delay, and accordingly took boat on Friday from that place, and stopped at Prairie La Crosse on Saturday in order to pass a quiet Lord's day. We found good hope for the Church at a settlement, where we were told there had never been but one religious service; and that was some three years since, by a Methodist. He even then gave them but a half meeting, for upon the arrival of a boat, he put off with a short conclusion. But as the boats seldom come up the river, this may be some excuse even upon a Sunday (which it was); and, further, the settlers may all themselves have run off and left him alone. This prairie is on the Wisconsin side. We had a delightful service in the morning of the Sunday, on a high bluff, four hundred feet high, two and a half miles to the rear of the river. Our first service for the settlement could not be held until 3 p. M., but on the next day, by request, we held another service at 4 p. M., at which time we baptized one child, and administered the Holy Communion to four Germans. But I have not much time to write you at present. We have been agreeably disappointed with St. Paul. It has a fine situation, and the prospects of the Church here are exceedingly encouraging. There are several communicants here, and a church will doubtless be built by the winter. The Rev. Mr. Gear deserves unbounded praise for his self-sacrificing labors here. One fact is well worth recording. The Church has been the first upon the ground, except the Romanists among the half-breeds. This has been the case likewise at the Falls of St. Anthony. I hope to learn the same of Stillwater. These are the only large settlements of the Territory. We are now sending out our appointments, and hope soon to have a chain of services arranged in all directions. I regret that you should have sent the knapsack, for upon arriving here Brother M. found my own in his trunk. Shall we return it, or keep it until you join us? It will do good service, for we expect to be under the necessity of walking to all our different stations. We have borrowed two small tents at Fort Snelling, and expect to camp out on the land of the Rev. Mr. Patterson, which joins on hard by the town, until we build a small shantee, I trust that I have brethren that will endure. And I look to others from the Seminary, as well as from Nashotah, which will further our work, and encourage our hearts. I must now close, begging you to be most careful about my lands, for to these I look to pay Brother Davis. I assume the debt of Nashotah to him, and I have only this resource to liquidate it. It should be doubly sufficient to meet his payment, but sell the land at $7.50, if nothing more can be had. Be careful to take receipts having the particulars of the lands all carefully noted. And let the payment be in gold, which must be paid (with interest) to Brother Davis at Green Bay, at any time that the cash can be had. Do, my dear fellow, attend to this with all the care possible, for I wish to be relieved of all the perplexity of money matters. All my private resources hereafter, as well as heretofore, must be for the Church, as well as my entire self, soul, mind, and body, more fully, I trust, than ever before. Do my business well. In haste and love.
J. L. B.
In a letter received from the Rev. Mr. Schetky, he refers to the charge here given, touching the repayment of the loan to the Rev. Solomon Davis, and thus describes his fulfilment of it:
'In one of his letters he refers to a loan from the Rev. Solomon Davis. This he sent for, by me, in Christmas week, 1849, and the amount, in gold (I think $1200), I wore in a belt on my person by day and night until I returned from my embassage on Epiphany, 1850. None knew of the object for which I took that mid-winter journey.
(July 7th. To Miss Edwards.)
Nearly three weeks have elapsed since we have been living m a tent, waiting for the partial completion of a very little house--may I call it? Whilst, my dear friend, I would not choose the rough West for my home, for any cause short of the momentous obligations resting upon me by my ordination vows, yet what powerful reasons have we sometimes from without! At this extreme point are three nuns, that have arrived since we have. Were these intending to remain here, what a sacrifice would we call it! How great a one if they were Sisters of Charity of the Church, coming out to do good by teaching and visiting the sick! How would the sacrifice be talked of in almost all time to come! But these Romish nuns are only on their way to the Red River, a journey of nearly six hundred miles from this, by the route that must now be traveled. This will occupy almost one month in performing it. And all this time they must be camping out in the wildest region wheresoever night overtakes them. And by day they must travel in carts, made entirely of wood, with wide and low wheels, drawn each by one ox. One of the Fur companies has just come down to this place to trade, having with them one hundred and thirty carts, such as the above. They are so made for the better fording of the streams of this country. Should not such quid heroism as this in the delicate female, inspire our own souls to imitate such virtue? Here they are in this extreme West (waiting until the company starts), living in a little house by the side of the Roman Catholic log church, keeping their hours with all the regularity of a community of religious persons. They are not ashamed to wash the windows of their rude structure, neither do they hesitate to instruct the half-breed in the strongest points of their faith. When will this spirit animate the Church? Where is the Christian woman to make the self-sacrifice required, under a Catholic Bishop? And where is this Bishop? But why despond? Why lament for that which it would seem cannot be? The Church has thrown aside those helps, wisely or unwisely. If wisely, where are England's poor? Where have they been for the last two centuries? Groveling in the confusion of heresy and schism. Where are the orphans of the Church, both in this country and in England? Where hath the Church her Asylums? Ah! all are handed over to the world and are become State affairs. The world will teach charity to the Church, when the Church hath bartered it away for a worldly spirit. She hath had this worldly spirit and been nigh to ruin. Let us pray GOD that she may recover. The very many famous sons that have gone over to Rome, is evidence that she is striving to recover. The great test now is, can she recover and still be Catholic, or, in recovering, must she become Romish? Monstrous that so many zealous spirits should have gone back to that which we believe to be darkness! Consider now if they were only with us, helping on the good and the great work that fires our very souls with rapture; if these were now only with us, helping us in the recovery of the ancient and Catholic principles of the Church, where would we not already-have been? Pardon me this harangue! There is nothing here to live for but the Church. If we cannot have the Church, alas! what a vain service are we toiling to render;--yea, have the Church in her fulness. Already our bell (one that we brought with us) tolls out the hours of prayer from a second old oak, of the second Mission. The vast frontier of Minnesota is blessed with the weekly Eucharist. When I am certain of the men with me, it shall be daily. All this is cheering to my heart, and will it not be to the hearts of your dear sisters and estimable mother also? I know that we have your prayers, labors and sympathies.
(August 21st.--To his Uncle.)
Doubtless you have heard through our family of our safe arrival at St. Paul, as well as other incidents in connection with our mission. I have also sent you word that I intended writing to you shortly. And this has been deferred thus long, dear Uncle, in order to inform you of our visit to the Falls of St. Croix, where I had heard I had relatives.
These Falls were distant upwards of fifty miles from our Mission House. Having sent an appointment before us for Divine service on Sunday last, we accordingly started from this Mission on Friday, in order to reach the Falls in good season on Saturday. We travel entirely on foot, except when an opportunity without cost offers otherwise. We have no horse, and could not support one at present, even if he were given to us. It is, however, with the greatest cheerfulness that we make our journeys through all parts as pedestrians. Our custom is to go out into new parts, as our Blessed LORD sent the Seventy--two by two. Accordingly one of the brethren started with me at 7 A. M. on Friday, each having his knapsack upon his back. This is our mode of travel, and is agreeable to that which true soldiers of the Cross should be ready to adopt.
At 2 P. M. we reached Stillwater, on the St. Croix, twenty miles distant from St. Paul, having made a stoppage on the shores of one of our many beautiful lakes, in order to eat a lunch which we had put into our knapsacks. This consisted of bread and butter, crackers and buffalo tongue. At Stillwater we took dinner, and at three started out again for Marine Mills, which were further than we had expected, for now we were entering country that we had not yet traveled. Accordingly we put up for the night at Arcolia Mills, on the St. Croix, where we were very comfortably quartered.
The next morning we rose refreshed, for a journey of twenty-five miles, through a wild and rough country. At the Marine Mills we stopped to pay our respects to the principal man of the place, a Mr. Walker, who treated us with great politeness. After leaving an appointment for Evening Service for the following Monday night, we again went on our way and entered the woods, and for a distance of fifteen miles saw no habitation of red or white man. Nothing but a dense thicket or, forest everywhere met our eye, without the least improvement. The bear and wolf live within these, without danger of disturbance from any one. The track that we followed was so entirely overgrown with bushes and grass, that we were completely drenched with water of a recent rain that was remaining on them, so much so that upon arriving at the River of St. Croix, which we struck a half mile below the Falls, we could pour the water in a stream from our boots.
We reached this point at four o'clock, having taken a lunch, as yesterday, at a running brook that we met about noon. I must here state to you, dear Uncle, the intense suffering which we endured for fifteen miles through these woods, from the stings of the mosquitoes. I never imagined that they could possibly be so tormenting. For miles I walked with a bush in each hand, brushing continually one and the other side of my head, and even this was ineffectual to prevent their alighting on the face somewhere. We could not stop, for this would be only adding "fuel to the flame," so we were literally goaded on to making a quick passage through a wilderness of no possible interest. These flies of exquisite sting, as at the East, are confined to certain sections of the country. Where we live, and through the most part of the Territory we have as yet traveled, they have not been so annoying as I was led to expect before coming into the country.
At the river, half a mile below the town, we were greatly delighted with the perpendicular rocks (the trap rock) rising directly out of the river to the height of 50 to 200 feet. We here went in to bathe, and upon the wild rocks made our toilet as clergymen, before going into the little town.
Judge Perkins was the proprietor of the Mills, and accordingly we proceeded directly to his house. This was a very beautiful dwelling, built in a cottage form, and having about it the air of Eastern gentility and comfort. The style was that recently introduced into the villages of the Atlantic States. It was the wife of Judge Perkins that was said to be a connection of mine. On reaching the house I was immediately greeted by an elderly gentleman, to whom I introduced myself, and to my delight, he answered that his name also was Mr. Breck.
And here, dear uncle, far away in the extreme Northwest, the name of Breck has gone before me. This was a providential meeting. This old gentleman was none other than your own cousin, Mr. James Breck, of Rochester, now on a visit to his daughter Mrs. Perkins. He had been here but a few days, and was expecting my visit with no ordinary curiosity. I was now introduced to his son-in-law, who is a pleasant and sensible looking gentleman. He is of the Perkins family of Boston, who were very rich,--the same family into which Bishop Doane married. Mrs. Perkins soon came in, along with a sister who had accompanied the old gentleman from Rochester, and I was delighted at finding them looking so amiable and Breck-like. They were throughout Breck, so much so that I thought I could not but have taken them for our blood, had I met them anywhere, even as strangers. These were quarter cousins to me, but at this distant point they seemed like much nearer relatives. The old gentleman and daughter return to the East next week. He has a son who has been in the West at the Falls of St. Croix for nearly two years, along with Judge Perkins, who has been here three years. This son is named Francis, and will remain in the country. Mr. Breck says he has been at your house on the Schuylkill, and also at my father's house at Bustleton. He has two sons that are lawyers, both graduates of an Eastern college. His youngest son is named George, after my father, and fond of his books, and pious (sixteen years of age, and a communicant), and is expected to enter the Ministry. I have extended an invitation to him to enter the Mission House at St. Paul. Mr. Breck has sons named Robert, Samuel, William, and I think John. But, dear uncle, you know all about these genealogies, and instead of my telling you I beg you to tell me, and to send me the line of descent, as you now have it. James Breck reminds me much of both yourself and father. He is full of genealogy, and knew all the circumstances of every member in time past and present time, as they say "like a book." They are all to be at St. Paul next week, when I hope to see them again.
(October 8th.--To Miss Sarah Edwards.)
Did you indeed think my letter to your sister of July 27th to be very sad? I was not aware that it was so, or that the momentary impression on my mind while writing was given to it. I remember I felt sorrowful at the thought that the Church made not use of every instrument that she had, for the advancement of the glorious Gospel of CHRIST. When I saw, day after day, those things done by the Sisters of the Romish Church, and was at the same time writing to one of the sisters of the Church, who in the Romish Church would be an Abbess or Prioress, and ought to be such an one in our own,--when I saw these things, under such circumstances, I could not but write sadly, and weep in my heart for the Daughter of Zion, that had become bereft of her children. This will account to you for my sadness, but your sister's letter, in reply, was full of sweetness and bold encouragement for the yet hoped-for restitution of one of the greatest instruments of making the Church what she ought to be to the world, and what she cannot fully be, until this restoration takes place. I know of those in the Church that would join in the real life (without romance) of such a Sisterhood, and I feel strengthened in my own work, believing in its practicability and necessity, the more since visiting the East and becoming acquainted with a number of Christian women, many, indeed, who are yearning through the love of Christ, I hope, after the life of which I have been speaking. But I am the more persuaded of the practicability and great capability of such a life doing the Church's work, as the Parochial system by itself cannot (I am now-alluding to Brotherhoods], from the encouragement I find in my associates here, and the promise of greater in each successive year. The brethren thus far labor most earnestly, and are much interested in the work that we have in hand. They have joined the Mission understandingly, that is, they have come to it as to a Religious House or Brotherhood, such as Nashotah in its integrity was meant to be. They seek no change for the Mission in its great principles of life and action. We wish to establish a system that will be complete in itself for the extension of the Church, without other machinery, such as the General Missionary Society. Let it do what it can, and let every other effort do what each can in divers ways; but for those for whom this system is fitted, let it be an instrument in itself for the work unto which it is sent.
We wish to raise up parishes at proper distances in every part of our land. Already we number twelve points at which we officiate, and when we shall have gone over the country intervening between this and the Sauk Rapids, a distance of eighty miles,--upon which journey we start on Wednesday next,--then shall we have traversed and fixed stations for Divine Service in every part where the white man has as yet settled. We desire to make these stations self-supporting before they pass from our hands into those of another. Thus, the first matter of interest in the Church that we propose to them, is the erection of a little House of Prayer. Then we have something positive upon which to work; and this, by the introduction of the weekly offertory, will lead them to the support of the ministrations of the Sanctuary; and from this we expect to hand them over to the Bishop, to whom they will become responsible for the support of the clergyman who shall then settle in their midst, and be alone the pastor of the flock. This was the case at Nashotah, but imperfectly so, for through want of clergy we had to part with the stations before they became self-supporting, and hence the General Missionary Society or other resources had to lend them assistance.
I am not sad at the prospect here, either in the House or in the field. And when I look unto the future, and see young brethren in different stages of preparation, who shall then (GOD willing) be co-laborers with me in this peculiar work, my heart exults with joy indeed. I trust the students of the General Seminary will be steadfast to their purpose. I shall learn about them soon, now that they have re-assembled. I hope, indeed, in the future, to find laborers in sufficient numbers for this and other Associated Missions on the frontier.
I must now close, and have left but little space to answer some of your questions. I was much pleased with your remarks on the symbols of Christian Worship. I believe them to be most true. We must avoid the two extremes of symbol-worship without spirituality, and mere spiritualism. Notwithstanding all her troubles within the past fifteen years, the Church shines brighter and brighter unto the perfect day. I feel more and more persuaded that trials, sufferings and grievous afflictions are the best of earthly blessings for the Church, and her individual members.
(October 17th.)--I wrote, my dearest Mother, to cousin last week, and stated my intention to send you a letter at the time of my return from the North. I got back yesterday, after a journey on foot of 170 miles. Brother Wilcoxson accompanied me. He stood the journey remarkably well. One day only we walked forty miles. We generally take our journeys quietly, that is, we seldom go over thirty miles a day. We have returned in good health and spirits. We traveled through a beautiful country, but yet for the most part, uninhabited. There are, however, a few settlements up the Mississippi above the Falls of St. Anthony. At Sauk Rapids, eighty miles up the river, we found there had never yet been a religious service. I felt thankful that the Church could be the very first to proclaim the Truths of the everlasting Gospel. By this you perceive, dearest Mother, that we have at last penetrated to the Frontier. We found Churchmen at this distant point, and we hope to see the Church established there after the lapse of a few years.
We purpose visiting this portion of the Territory once in sis weeks through the winter season. They have no religious worship except what we give them. The same is the case at the Falls of St. Croix and at Prairie La Crosse; also at one or two other points, which will take in the entire of Minnesota thus far settled by the white man.
But, dearest Mother, you would perhaps desire me to write something besides missionary news. You have seen enough of this of late in the Banner. Well, I will turn the subject. Our little house is now plastered. You will be pleased to learn this much, I know. But oh! what a time I have had of it nearly all day. The plasterers left the house in a dreadfully dirty condition, and it fell to my lot to scrub all the woodwork, first with a cloth, then with a knife scraping, then a cloth again. I went very systematically to work, had a large boiler full of water, hanging on crotchets, heating over a fire. And when I came to the floors, I remembered good old Betty at the farm where I was born, for her skill at this kind of work made a strong impression on my youthful mind. But I never looked far enough into the future, to see myself two thousand miles away, engaged in the same operation. Tell sister Kate, I can't make a minute pudding, but I can make a house look clean and very nice. This is my department; nevertheless, dear Mother, I have no particular taste for even this, but I do it cheerfully, through duty. I must confess I thought more than once, how hard cousin and Kate would have worked, could they have been here, and then I should simply have directed them what to do. But a frontier missionary must help himself a little, and sometimes a great deal.
Do you not think the Church has been very kind to us? Indeed I have some very warm friends, and may I ever prove worthy of them. My co-laborers are full of zeal and industry. They refuse not, nay gladly undertake anything to further the missionary cause. Brother Merrick has been off full two weeks, on duty, visiting different places at long distances apart. And Brother Wilcoxson has been off again to-day eighteen miles, notwithstanding he only returned with me yesterday from so long a journey. On Friday or Saturday I go thirty miles to the Marine Mills, &c. I must tell you and dearest Father that we have just received some nice corn husk mattresses from St. Louis. Will not these be comfortable for the winter? I intend sleeping on one to-night for the first time. Up to the present we have been lying upon bed-quilts, &c., which we now want, or will shortly, on top of us. Father Gear (for so we term the good old clergyman) lent us a bearskin, all white, and I have been sleeping upon this. And now, my very dear Mother, I am glad to hear frequently from home, for all the letters speak of yourself and dearest Father. I shall certainly expect a visit from you some of these days. Will you not come this far to see a son that loves his Mother most ardently? Again I am in the midst of "labors more abundant," and when I can leave these to see dear Father, yourself, and all the loved ones, I cannot tell, but it may be in less time than heretofore.
A letter to Mrs. A. Dimock and her husband, October 21st, is filled with thanks for their liberality to the Nashotah Mission, and they are urged to continue their gifts to the same through the Rev. Azel D. Cole, the newly elected head of the House. The work in Minnesota as set forth in several letters written during the Summer, is fully dwelt upon.
(November 2d, Prairie La Crosse.--To Miss Edwards.)
I am now visiting Prairie La Crosse, which is two hundred miles down the river from St. Paul. This was our first station and became in a manner a pet (station) with us, by reason of our first introduction, through it, to Minnesota. This is the only place that we visit otherwise than on foot. There is no land route to it, and therefore we come down by the steamboats The captains are very kind in only charging us half price, and the people here make up, for the most part, the remainder of our expenses. The time consumed in coming is very little. For instance, yesterday (Friday) at 3 o'clock in the afternoon, I went on board, and reached this place at noon to-day (Saturday), and on the boat we can read or write very comfortably. Between this and our next station up the river, a distance of 170 miles, there is no settlement. After that we come into what is properly known as Minnesota. The west side of the Mississippi is still in the possession of the red man. We hope some day to see the cross-steepled churches telling from every town the Profession of the Faith of CHRIST, to the multitudes that travel this river. I have written the Doctor, of course for the members of the "Seabury Society," an account of the recent laying of the corner-stone of the second church in Minnesota, at St. Anthony, a large and thriving settlement about the Falls of the same name. I will not repeat here, what I have said there, upon this subject, as well as church buildings in general.
You inquire if there are any Church people at St. Paul. I am happy in answering you in the affirmative, and there is scarcely one out of twelve stations where we officiate regularly, that we have not found some, and I am happy in believing that a few of these are earnest-minded and devoted members of the Church. Even far up the Mississippi, at the Sauk Rapids, the most northerly white settlement, where there had never been heard the first sound of the Gospel before we went there, we found Church people. Indeed, could you have witnessed, the attention, earnest behaviour, and unanimous responses (receiving help by directions from us verbally, and otherwise, throughout the service) of this first Christian congregation, at this point of the Upper Mississippi, you would have felt abundantly rewarded for all that you have ever done for the cause of Domestic Missions. There you would have seen the wife of a communicant of the Church, a quarter-breed, singing along with others, the praises of the LORD, most sweetly; and in the evening, after services were through, a few--inspired, as it were, by the occasion--met in the private quarters of the principal man of the settlement, and there again sang and even chanted the anthems of the Church. And there you would have seen the piano too, at which she had been in the habit of playing. Think of this, so many hundred miles above St. Louis! We returned from this station full of hope for the Church; and, with a tread as light as our hearts were full of joy, we walked the first day forty miles towards our home. The Rev. Mr. Wilcoxson was with me. He is a truly admirable man, and will, I think, endure.
But I must tell you one incident more, in which I am sure you will sympathize with me. Our hearts leaped with joy, when we found we were the first on the ground to call men to repentance in the name of the LORD. Accordingly, after fixing upon a place for the service (we reached the settlement on Saturday at noon), we went forth to invite the settlers to the services of the next day. This took us into the adjoining neighborhood, and there stood solitary, and in a manner most striking, a huge weather-beaten rock. Although we had just come in from a journey of eighty miles on foot, yet we thought not that we were tired, for our hearts were full, and the strings of our tongues loosed. Instead of the rapturous shouting which I thought of proposing at first, this old rock, that had apparently been standing there since the days of the Flood, turned our thoughts into a better channel. It was no sooner proposed, than we ascended it, and there (altogether impromptu) had the following service: "Upon this Rock I will build my Church" &c. Then, in the Name of the LORD, the Apostles' Creed followed; and, now kneeling down, we offered up the final prayers in the Office of Institution, and, rising, repeated the Gloria in Thus was the first service to GOD performed at this place--a fitting introduction to the worship of the next day. We shall now endeavor to secure to the Church this rock, or rather the ground embracing it, to be devoted to some Church purpose in time to come. A thrifty and young oak that was growing out of the roots of the rock, as it were, and now in part overshadowing it, was emblematic of the Church and her foundation stone. Pardon me if you think us to be too ardent. This in the East, where there is so much that is unmeaning and artificial, would be perhaps out of taste, indeed unthought of there, but here we are going forth, as in early days, the heralds of the Cross, and be assured there is sufficient here of reality, to check any excess of feeling.
Our little house is now nicely finished, and at home at least we shall be comfortable. How I should delight to look in upon you all, and enjoy one evening's cheerful conversation! When my next visit will be, I know not; and when it shall be, whither upon my return I shall turn my feet I cannot say, but the Bishop, in a letter just received from him, states that he hopes the Mission here will lead to a similar effort in Oregon. Could he intend this to be a hint for me, to think of the time when Minnesota would be occupied by parochial clergy, and duty call me to the Frontier elsewhere?
You have learned so much about us through the papers, that I scarcely know where to begin giving you any information respecting our little Mission. When I tell you that we have founded stations, and have not yet broken a single appointment, you will know we have the best of health, and every encouragement to continue in our labors. But it must not be expected that very great success will immediately attend us. Our work is one of time, but, I trust, with the Divine Blessing, of certain success. Indeed, the first fruits are most cheering to our hearts. Already have we entered the Church at St. Paul, and are delighted at the prospect of a large and flourishing congregation at that place. We hope to have a reinforcement from Nashotah next summer of two of her graduates, who will join us with the prospect of becoming parish clergymen of St. Paul and St. Anthony, so soon as they can be supported by the people of those places, and in the meantime to live and labor along with us in the Associate Mission. The little church at St. Anthony is progressing nicely, and will be the first place for public worship within that fast-growing and very important settlement. We must indeed thank our friends for these blessings for these people. Unless a little aid had been extended to them, they would not have been able to build so soon. Think of the fact that in June last, we could not learn of a single Churchman living there, or of any one interested in the Church. The next spring we hope to lay two or three additional corner-stones in other places. Some people in St. Paul have, without our knowledge, begun a subscription for a church at Sank Rapids, a settlement eighty miles up the Mississippi. This was begun most probably through their appreciation of our poor endeavors to serve the people at that remote point. The Church was the first, I think I told you in my last, to proclaim the glad tidings of salvation in that place. At several of our stations the people are beginning, I trust, to be devoutly interested in the Church.
Our great necessity lies in the want of church buildings, no matter how small or plain they may be, only so they are church-like, in which we may gather strength and form a body that will be permanent, and grow with the country. This will secure the planting of the Church in a degree far surer, and more rapidly and extensively, than the mode heretofore adopted by the Church, viz., the sending out men to preach in school-houses, &c., where all sorts of men (and doctrines) hold forth. We have been greatly blessed of GOD in helping us to plant this Mission, and in giving us favor in the eyes of His people.
We have now set apart the one-half portion of our receipts between five different objects, viz.: First, the education of Divinity Students for the supply of parishes in this Northwest; secondly, the aiding stations to erect churches; thirdly, the purchase of land (at $1.25 an acre) for the future endowment of the Episcopate of Minnesota; fourthly, the purchase of land to be set apart as parish glebes; and fifthly, the making a fund for permanent Mission buildings, here or elsewhere on the frontier. These we consider to be five of the most important objects in laying the foundations of the Church in a new Territory. Our entire object is to lay the foundation, looking to others hereafter to enter into our labors, and to build up the superstructure.
I have been speaking wholly of the outward walls of our beloved Zion. The interior temple is not, we trust, -without its just proportions likewise. Some of the people are preparing for Holy Baptism, Confirmation, and the Holy Eucharist. Several children have already been admitted into covenant relationship with GOD through CHRIST. And we are devoting much time to the religious instruction of the lambs of the flock throughout the whole Mission. But more hereafter in relation to the spiritual House of the LORD. Man himself was first formed of clay before the spirit was breathed into him. And so must it ever be. The first two or three years must be occupied in building up a hedge round about the vineyard. St. Paul only preached. The initiatory Sacrament, even, was left to others. I could not understand this once, but now it is all made plain to me. Oh! where is the unity of the body of CHRIST? These are days far more fearful than those of persecution. But I will not trouble you with these things at present......
(December 29th, 1850, Osceola, Wisconsin.--To his Sister Catharine.)
I am now on my return route of the first half of a very long journey. You will begin to think, with me, that my life is made up of travel. Indeed, I feel that I am living almost wholly amongst the people. Seldom am I at home (in the Mission House) three days at any one time, and while there I have constant visiting to do amongst the families of St. Paul. Do not imagine that I am laboring alone. Indeed I take right good care to give my brethren enough to do. I tell you of my journeys chiefly, for in these you would perhaps be most interested, and I can enter more fully into particulars. Well, dear Sister, I am truly in the midst of lumbermen. Water-powers and sawmills are the main occupation of this country, especially up the St. Croix River. For instance, I left St. Paul on Friday before Christmas, and my first station for Divine Service was at the mouth of Willow River, where there is a saw-mill, and there I was entertained in the lumbermen's boarding-house, where there is not a single female. All the work is done by men. I had Divine Service in their dining-room, and was greatly pleased with the interest that was shown throughout the Service. In the afternoon I officiated in the court-house of the lower town. How I longed for one of those delightful nightcaps on that Sunday night,--womenfolks know best how to make up beds after all. The night was cold and the room much exposed as well as the bed, but my host procured a large buffalo robe for me, and I got through the night without freezing, though I slept very indifferently. Tell dear Lucy that I found great comfort in burying my head in that famous neck (something) that she knitted for me. It is admired much, especially by the ladies, the old ladies particularly. I was glad to get up long before daylight, and yet I am not complaining, for I know they did for me the very best they possibly could do. A lady at Stillwater, on my way up the St. Croix, loaned me a couple of heavy blankets, which I have now about my shoulders, for the fire in the dining-room of another boarding-house has gone out, and I am not ready to retire just yet. I wish to mail this upon my return to St. Paul.
I had the happiness to spend Christmas with our relatives at the Falls, where I had service in the morning in the dining-room of another boarding-house. These are the boarding establishments of the mills, and the dining-room is the most convenient place for public worship. In the morning of Christmas you might have seen four or five of us hauling a young pine tree across the ice, and rudely decorating, with cross and other like things, the rustic temporary Sanctuary of the LORD. I left the cross there this morning (Sunday after Christmas) after-Divine Service was over. They are Church people who keep the boarding-house.
By the way, dear Sister, I visited a poor man this morning that had just had both feet amputated. He had been living a sort of wild life in a wretched cabin, and his feet had become frozen beyond recovery. He was an Englishman, and was baptized in the Church. I visited him twice, and each time had prayers with him. I gave him a Prayer-Book to comfort him in his lonely hours, for he has no relatives in this country, and is almost friendless. The only women in the house he has been removed to are Indian squaws. I was here presented with two pair of moccasins, and the skin of a young otter, nicely dressed and ornamented by the Indians for the Red Man's tobacco-pouch and pipe-bag. I intend sending this last to you, my dear Sister, thinking it would please your taste in these things, for I remember well your earnest eloquence at Staten Island against tobacco. This wallet, therefore, you may recover from such a destiny.
I am glad to inform you of my having baptized our cousin, Mrs. Perkins, along with her three children, on the night of Christmas-day, before a large congregation assembled in their own beautiful cottage. There was a piano at my side, but no sister Lucy to play on it. Cousin Margaret is a very fine woman and one that understands the Church well, and will help us much in teaching others. Already the physician of the place and his wife are reading about the Church. They have been Presbyterians, but the Church is the only voice to these people in this remote place. I trust that many will follow the example here set them by our cousin.
The Christmas services have been unusually well attended, and the people more serious-minded and attentive than was thought possible amongst a people so long time neglected. On Saturday I went over the river to visit the fur settlers to be found there, and was greatly amused at the answer of a woman to my question, whether there were any families living beyond them? "Oh yes!" she said, "there is one." And where is that? I asked. "It is Mr. and Mrs. Greely, up sixty miles," Now this woman was the only white female, excepting Mrs. G. at Perhagomon, who is a communicant of the Church.
(January 12th, Mission House, St. Paul.--To his Sister.)
I got home nicely from that most laborious journey, and am in good health, as all my brethren are, although I should observe that Brother Wilcoxson is at the Falls of St. Croix, over fifty miles from this. We have had, for the most part, a charming winter. The coldest weather has been 36° below zero, but much of the time very moderate compared with this. I must now inform you somewhat about other matters.
Would you not know somewhat about Brother Craig, who is one of our household? Well, you would be delighted to see and know him. He is perfectly attached to me, and tries to find out all my wants and meet them before I can ask or attempt to do anything myself. To-day he had a nice dinner ready for me, expecting my return from a journey of twenty miles, when I would be weary and hungry. But I came not by two hours as soon as he thought I should; and all that time he was keeping that little dinner hot for me. Brother Craig is our Catechist. He is much my senior in years, and a man of very small stature, but of considerable consequence nevertheless. He is English, and a communicant of the Church. I asked him the other day if he would go with me if I were to go to another part of the North-west to live. He answered, with great earnestness, that he would go anywhere with me. He is the chief man of the establishment in all temporal matters. He is cleanly, careful and exact, to a proverb. You would be amused, as indeed I am, on going to bed, to find the covering all laid open, for me to get into more easily, and my night-shirt put conveniently for me. If he finds I am going to sew a button upon any of my clothing, or mend a moccasin, he is quickly before me and will in no manner permit me to do it. And all these little things he does out of his earnest heart, to help me. He is not intending the ministry. We found him engaged in teaching a small school at one of our stations, which he resigned, and joined us. He is strictly a lay-brother. He, however, has charge of the Sunday-school children at St. Paul, with which he is very happy. He has no friends in this country, and came here under bad advice from one whom he supposed to be his friend. Were you to go down into our cellar, you would there find everything most exact,--everything most neat and regular in the kitchen, the stove, the floor, the dishes, all sweet and clean. Would you have thought we should have found such a man to our purpose out in this wild land? But so it is. All good appears to be furnished to our hand in one shape or another.
(Monday, January 27.)--The mail leaves on Wednesdays. I could not finish this letter on Saturday, and yesterday was a busy day. I was, however, at St. Paul in Christ Church, and had delightful services. There are some pleasant people here. Indeed I should be sorry to part with them now, for already I feel attached to them. With several I am as one of them.
They love the Church, and they love this little Mission. In the afternoon I baptized six of the Sunday-school children, and it was a most solemn service. I think the impression made will be a lasting one. On Sunday night next, at another station, a mother and six children are to be baptized. And on Wednesday of this week, I commence a class of candidates for adult baptism and confirmation--in this place. They will use the "Disciplines" appointed for each, and meet me once in three weeks in the Church. I hope we may have a large class ready for the Bishop by May or June. On Sunday night, that is last night, I officiated at Fort Snelling, an officer of the Fort coming down for me and taking me up in a sleigh upon the river. The chaplain, Father Gear, was absent at Fort Gaines, which is 125 miles further up the river. This morning I visited the families at the Fort, and you may be sure we have friends there. All are Church people. They have, as I have informed you before, frequently sent us little presents, and many of them subscribed towards the Church at St. Paul. You would, dear Sister, be delighted with the scenery of this noble river, either in Winter or Summer.
(February 10th.--To the Seabury Society.)
It affords me peculiar pleasure, dear Miss Edwards, to acknowledge the receipt of your favor of the 7th ult. by the last week's mail. Purposing to start on the morrow or the day after on a journey of one hundred and twenty-five miles up the Mississippi River, forty miles further than we have yet traveled, it is quite necessary I should write the Seabury Society by your own hands before I leave. Your offering has indeed surprised us by reason of its amount,--a circumstance, indeed, in which you may rejoice certainly equally with ourselves, for it tells of silent, quiet work done for CHRIST, and in turn His blessing bestowed for your sakes. May GOD indeed bless you each, laboring so faithfully and so long in the retired part of His holy vineyard which you have chosen to you to be your place. May JESUS give you a seat near Him in His holy Kingdom. O the blessedness of that kingdom, where there is no confusion, no doubt, no rending of CHRIST'S Body! May the good LORD make us His children in heaven, forgiving us those things whereof our consciences are afraid in these bodies.
Think me not too serious at the very commencement of this letter. Were you placed at this extreme distance from the Body of CHRIST, viewing its strivings and counter-strivings, your souls would almost faint within you; but this is the Church Militant with ourselves, as well as with you. Perhaps you have almost envied us our repose in this far-away retirement. But can any member be so far distant as not to sympathize with every other suffering member? Nay, be assured we feel every pang here, as acutely as you can where it may be inflicted. Nay, more so, for here our only comfort is the two or three together, whilst you are in the midst of a multitude of believers. Were it not for the association of brethren, our hearts would long since have sunk within us. We understand, without any lengthened argument, why it was, in olden time, that a Bishop was always sent in the advance of Christianity, not alone, but accompanied by perhaps forty persons,--priests and other faithful. Herein lay their strength to fight the battle of the LORD. And herein also lies whatever of strength we may also have. It is the LORD with the two or three. It is the Presence of CHRIST to us, and oh! if we could close our eyes in from the confusion not of the world, but of the Church, in herself,--but this may not be our part in the world. "I came not to send peace, but a sword" are words that must ever be kept in mind when trials meet us here below.
But how have I wandered? I began writing to congratulate you on the blessed work in which you have been engaged, and wherein you have been so greatly prospered. Instead of which I have the rather been making sad reflections. I will do so no more. The personal acquaintance which GOD permitted me to make with you and your beloved Pastors the last Winter, has never been, and can never be, forgotten by me. It would have afforded me pleasure, in the light even of discharging a debt of gratitude, to have communicated more frequently with you, than I have done; but it would have looked like boasting in the day of very small things. Besides, the papers have already been too full of words laudatory of our weak endeavors.
We have now been above six months in the field of labor assigned to us, and have traveled into all its parts, establishing stations or posts on all the outer walls of our Zion, which should be as ensigns to the nations gathering together here from all lands. This is Frontier work, such as must be done by some one, if the great object is to be accomplished, which the Church of CHRIST must ever propose to herself. During the first six months (within the Mission proper) we traveled 3056 miles on foot, besides 1583 miles in land carriage or by water, making 4639 miles in all. The same proportionate traveling is still done by us, dividing our entire time and ourselves up in the service of fifteen different stations, at all which, except two, we have the most regular appointments. You will rejoice with us, and thank GOD too, I know, when I say to you, our will and health have been so good, as never to cause us to break one of the very many that we have made.
It will gratify you to know that we have been well received everywhere, and that our services are well attended. The hospitality of these people is oftener beyond their actual accommodations than otherwise. Once only have I had to remain, of a week-day night, in the school-house where I had Evening Service, not knowing where to go. I then wrapped myself up in my Mackinaw blanket and laid me down to sleep on the floor, where I remained the night through entirely alone, and the house (log), too, solitary from all others. But this was unknown to the people and remains so.
Speaking of the blanket, this article of Indian apparel, along with the moccasin, constitute our most comfortable clothing. Indeed, our feet would have perished long before this, were it not for this easy mode of travel through the constant snows of this country, it being, as well, the only protection against the cold, which is indeed the case with the moccasin. The blanket is worn in a very graceful manner, after the fashion of the Mexican cloak. The winter has been excessively cold at times, even to 34° below zero, but the most part has been very pleasant. The snow is on the ground for five months together, and sometimes longer, and the atmosphere being very dry we are enabled to travel without exposing ourselves to wind and water.
We have located on a bluff to the rear of St. Paul, where we have purchased five acres of land adjoining the city plot, for which we had to pay three hundred dollars, but which by the rise of real estate is said to be worth a thousand now. [In 1881 this land was said to be worth $65,000, and still rising.] There is not such another position for beauty, access and retirement to be found in these parts. We shall purchase land elsewhere for the Church, which may be had at $1.25 per acre, the government price. We have had one acre broken up for a garden, which will produce all we shall require in the vegetable line for some time to come. We are six in number, dwelling in much peace and brotherly love within very narrow limits, having, however, added a wing 12 feet square (with an attic) to the original body of the house, which you may remember was 12 feet by 17 feet in dimensions. Although we are perhaps 275 feet above the river, yet by digging we have reached water for a well at 10 feet. We are situated in the midst of a beautiful little grove, and can be seen, as it were, just enough to be hidden from almost every part of St. Paul, which is about one mile in length but with scattered dwellings. Nothing, perhaps, can be finer than the sunrise as it comes over the opposite bluffs, with the town intermediate, itself situated high, but yet below our site.
The Church at St. Paul will be ready for consecration upon the arrival of the Bishop. And the same may be the case at St. Anthony. We hope to lay the corner-stones at that time at other stations. But do not expect, dear Miss Edwards, much apparent fruit upon the first Episcopal visitation. The Bishop ought to have been one of us to have constituted a perfect Mission. We are therefore laboring under many disadvantages. Again this is frontier work. We have, it is true, baptized some adults, and a number of children and infants; but, after all, this is frontier work. It is simply breaking tip the virgin soil. It is scarcely sowing the seed. St. Paul, the great Apostle to the Gentiles, only said, I have planted, Apollos watered, and GOD would afterwards give the increase. He says he baptized not, implying the very elements of the work to be done by him. I must now stop. The mail man is going, and my time is up. Thank you each and all for your continued favors to me and to this infant Mission.
(GOOD FRIDAY, April 20th.--To Miss Edwards.)
I trust the blessed doctrine of "the Communion of Saints" that leads my mind to be with you this day will shield me from all reproof for not being found, throughout it, at the foot of the Cross. The sympathy that my nature doth require is my only apology, and this will, I am well assured, be abundantly met by yourself and the members of the Seabury Society, whom you represent. The Church of our Blessed Redeemer hath extended herself by this Mission farther into the wilderness than she hath hitherto done. The little Church erected at St. Paul, m appearance so humble and quiet, and yet proclaiming to all who ascend this great river, by her cross-topped spire, that CHRIST'S disciples are in advance of them, and have planted their ever-loved badge of faith. This sweet sanctuary has daily, throughout this holy season, called together a few true followers of the lowly JESUS to confess to Him their sins in penitential prayers, and to render thanksgiving to Him out of the piety of their hearts. You will believe this, when I tell you, that these very services have been the result of personal request on the part of the two or three, amongst even these people of a land rightly styled a wilderness. We are as yet but eight communicants (outside our own house) at this station, but on Easter Day I hope to have the joy of adding two adults to the fold of CHRIST by holy Baptism; and when the Bishop shall visit us, we hope to present a little class for confirmation. He is expected in the month of July. When he shall have come, we shall have been one year upon the ground, and then our report will inform the Church of her strength in this young and interesting Territory. But you must bear in mind that we are, even now, only breaking up the fallow ground, unfit almost for any seed; and that, after a time, will Apollos water, and then in due time will GOD give the increase, so that any great harvest is not presently to be expected.
But I wish to inform you of our first service in the second little Church of this Mission, viz.: at St. Anthony, bearing the name of the Holy Trinity. This took place on the Tuesday before Easter, in the evening, at which time the Rev. Mr. Gear, of Fort Snelling, delivered an appropriate discourse, to a crowded audience that had assembled together. The church is yet unfinished, and but a section of what promises to be in time a large and beautiful building. It is the first house for public worship erected at this growing town. And you will be further pleased to know that, aside from the Romanists who have been for a long time up this river amongst the Canadian French and half-breeds, we are the only ones that worship in a second Sanctuary within Minnesota. The Romanists have but one priest within the circuit of our Mission. The Baptist sect has three preachers; the Methodist four; and the Presbyterian five. You will perhaps remember that, when we entered the Territory, we could not learn of a Churchman living at St. Anthony. Therefore, the work done there, and the further fact that some are now deeply engaged, not only in the success of the outward building, but in the spiritual fabric of the Temple of the HOLY GHOST within them, should not only encourage our hearts, but strengthen your own and theirs also, that have lent a helping hand in the beginning of this good work. The church occupies one of the finest sites or locations in the town. This is another demonstration of the right method for beginning the Missions of the Church, viz., by the speedy erection of a sanctuary for public worship. Should the thousand dollars proposed to be made up for us by a writer in the Banner, who pledges one-tenth, be sent us, then we may confidently expect that this sum would animate the people of our Stations to undertake the erection of at least three more churches. Although our houses are built of wood, and are of very limited proportions, yet they are churchlike, and very convenient for the present population. They can be enlarged according to a system, and when they shall have decayed, the people will be strong enough to help themselves to a more durable building.
Were you able to look in upon us here, you would think that you were in another world; that is, the simple beginnings of the Gospel are so strangely contrasted with the time-honored names of Churchmen and churches in the East. The expectation of seeing Mr. Unonius amongst us shortly on a visit, is gladdening our hearts, for we hope it will portend blessed results for the Mission after a time. I have invited Kinute Pethison to accompany him, and believing that your interest in that adopted child of mine has not become extinct, I venture to transcribe a few passages from his letter: "I am yet at the same place where I was when you left, and am working my way up by degrees, slow but sure. Honesty is my first rule; secondly, attention to duty as much as possible; and by keeping these, I think that I will be able to make my way through the world. I belong to the choir of Mr. Akerly's church (sing tenor), and am also librarian of the Sunday School, which keeps me pretty busy. I have attended church three times every Sunday since I came to town, and have never yet been into any of the dissenting houses of worship. I went out home last Christmas to spend the holidays. At the same time I also visited Nashotah. I may yet see the day when I could by some action or deed do something for yourself and the Church, which would be a small recompense for all that has been done for me, and all the kindness shown to me when I first came to this country, being then quite a stranger. May the GOD that ruleth over all, assist you in your arduous undertaking, is the prayer of your true friend and former pupil." I trust no apology is needed for these long extracts, by reason of the interest you once took in this noble Christian youth.
I am glad to inform you that one of the present graduates of Nashotah (of June next) is the substitute of Kinute on the Trinity Sunday-School Benefice. I wish it were in my power to send you news that would in some degree repay the ladies of the Society for the much that they have already done for us, but the principle upon which they work, is so true, that I doubt not they are animated to good works by motives much higher than the utmost prosperity could produce.
(May 4th.)--I fully appreciate the sympathy expressed for us in the cold exposure of the present winter. We have indeed been traveling much on foot at all times and in all kinds of weather, but we have been protected amid all with great mercy, and we feel thankful that our health has been continued to us unimpaired. We have gone through all our customary journeys, without curtailing any of them by reason of distances or storms. We trust our labors will redound to the glory of GOD. Earnestness, we know, will always fix the attention of worldly men. They know the cost of toil and trouble, and believe there must be some worth commensurate with the price paid. But we are unworthy, at least I am, to labor for CHRIST and His Holy Church. I am so full of all manner of impatience (and presumption, I fear,) that much fruit, in the House especially, must be denied me. It is more and more amazing to me, that the mercy of GOD has been spared to me so long. I feel assured that it must all be ascribed to the constant increase of acceptable prayer that is ever offering up to the Throne of Grace in my behalf.
I rejoice to learn that you are now preparing to carry out the great object that has been so long so very near your own and your sister's hearts The purity of your motives will be blessed of GOD to the advancement of His honor and glory, and, without doubt, to the endless felicity of many souls. No greater good can be done by you for the poor in CHRIST of your own town, thereby conferring upon them the inestimable benefit of serving GOD in His own sanctuary. I shall look to the end with deep interest, and shall indeed pray that the request of your lips may be granted you.
It will be pleasing for you to learn that the pious devotion of three sisters (strangers to me) has put into my hands the sum of four hundred dollars, a small legacy left them by a brother, to purchase therewith some memento of him. They religiously judge that a little church in the far West, will be to them the most pleasing as well as most lasting memorial. We had been a long time exceedingly anxious about one of our Stations, where no suitable place presented itself for stated Sunday services. And this was the third most important town in Minnesota. We had in hand a small sum accumulating slowly for the erection of a small parish church. But the people appeared lifeless, by reason of causes operating prior to our coming amongst them, and we had almost despaired of effecting anything. But this offering to the LORD inspired our hearts with new hopes, and we are grateful to GOD that the people have also become awakened to some degree of earnestness themselves. So much so, that upon my visiting them and stating what we were prepared to do, the proprietor of the village at once presented to us one of the most beautiful sites, a lot fifty feet front by one hundred and fifty feet deep, for the church. The lot, in value two hundred dollars, faces the Lake St. Croix in the most attractive manner. The people also appointed a building committee of three gentlemen, who have circulated a subscription paper. We hope the money in hand, together with the subscription, will authorize us in building a church, in nave 20 feet by 30 feet, walls 12 feet high, roof high and open, chancel 12 feet square, with a small vestry-room. There is to be a Gothic archway over the west door, and, as soon as practicable, a bell-tower from the ground at one corner. The church, like the first two that we have erected, is to be built of planks, placed upright and battened, and then painted sandstone color. Will it not be delightful that every settler approaching this Lake town, should be heard exclaiming at once, "See that beautiful little church!" And how will the hearts of Churchmen dance with joy! The corner-stone is to be laid on the Ascension Day.
I will here state that, on Easter Day, we baptized two adults in Christ Church, St. Paul, and on the Sunday following, at another station, two more, along with ten children; and on the next, one infant. I must now omit further reference to your most pleasing letters (as well as to our work), hoping before long to recur to the abundant matter in them that demands my attention. I am now at St. Louis, writing from the room of my former pupil, the Rev. Mr. Leach, the present assistant to the Bishop in Christ Church, of this city. Mr. Leach has been up to St. Paul to see us, and I have returned on business with him. On our way down the river we stopped at Palmyra, and passed Sunday at the Mission.
(July 9th, St. Paul.--To his Mother.)
I am just starting out from St. Paul for the Falls of St. Croix, where our deeply-afflicted cousin, Mrs. Perkins, still lives. The steamboat will take me around to Stillwater, where I must take to foot up the western shore of the St. Croix River, and as a protection against the mosquitoes, which are especially annoying in those heavy woods, I have provided myself with a green netting, which goes over my head and ties with a drawing string about my shoulders. You will please delegate cousin, dearest Mother, to answer my letters to you, and whensoever you send me your maternal love and prayers, I shall regard the letter fully answered. I think in one of my last I stated our intention to have the Fourth of July celebrated by a picnic at the Mission House. The original intention was simply a pleasant gathering of the Sunday-school children, hoping thereby to interest them in the Mission. We next thought the parents would like to be present, and accordingly we invited them to a social gathering for the day. But how to discriminate one body from another in this new country, and where we are just forming the body of the faithful, we could not tell, so at length it assumed a more enlarged complexion, and took in many of the citizens who have little or no connection with the Church. This required more form than was first anticipated. Consequently, I appointed a committee of three young men to attend to the arrangements for the day. Also the church choir that had consented to conduct the music for the day, was put in charge of a special committee, so that everything assumed the form of an extended picnic. Father Gear came down from the Fort the night before, in order to be present with us, and enjoy the day.
The morning of the Fourth was truly charming. Had we the whole year to choose from, we could not have selected so fine a day. The Mission House has just been enlarged and the paint was all nicely dry. The plain white cross at the gable end of the roof looked Christian-like and humble. The gilt and ornamented one, given to me in St. Louis by the Rev. Mr. Leach, one of my children at Nashotah, rose from another point, in the most unassuming manner possible. A little spire points upward from every other peak, for you must know, dear Mother, that our Mission House, built in the early pointed style, has six gables. The grounds were sweet in appearance. A carriage way enters the Mission grounds through an oak grove, that completely hides all from view. After ascending the hill from below, a double gate unfolds to the vehicle, which passes within the picket fence or enclosure, amongst the trees, to the House, where there is a raised oval ground, around which the carriage passes when going out.
The young men chartered a four-horse omnibus for the day, which was employed in bringing the ladies to the Mission. Each horse's head was mounted with the national colors. Every one appeared happy, and admired the beauty of the Mission grounds, which a year before were a perfect thicket of underbrush and everything wild. Now they were cleared away, a grove opened, nice walks made, far ahead of good old Nashotah, and the garden looked truly beautiful. There are the peas, oyster plant, celery, onions, carrots, parsnips, lettuce, cucumbers, beans, beets, tomatoes, melons, &c., all growing with a luxuriance that would astonish dear Father, and upon the very ground that in the Spring was one mass of roots, while now scarcely one is to be seen. Our lay-brother Craig has been unceasing in his exertions, and so has brother Wilcoxson. The latter is building with his own hands, when not occupied in missionary work, a double bathhouse, which is fed by a stream of water, that is conducted into the top by wooden troughs, running from gable end to gable end, and then falling in a water shoot; affording us the delightful sound of a waterfall. Thus we can have, at the least expense, both the shower and plunge baths. We have nearly six acres adjoining the city plot, and water courses in nearly every part, and yet we are upon very high and dry ground.
How I should delight to have you see our second Nashotah t You would rejoice at the blessing that has attended our efforts, I know. We are truly thankful, I trust, to Him who has guided our feet hither, and yet how long I may be here, I know not. The Frontier work is appointed to me. The people sent in roast pig, turkey, &c., and pies and cakes without number, to the satisfaction of all appetites. But the account is written by some one (I know not whom) in the Democrat, and I send you the same to read.
The Bishop is expected next week. His first act is to consecrate the little Church at St. Paul. We have laid out work enough for him, to occupy him to the very close of August. How I wish you could see this dear little Church. It is now all paid for, except sixty-five dollars. It has cost about sixteen hundred dollars. The stained glass window is in, and looks beautiful. It was given to the Church. A lady is now giving a marble font. The people are already learning to love the Church, and I feel very strongly attached to them. They love the Mission also. When the Bishop comes, the people will pay us visits in successive tea-gatherings up at the Mission. Tuesday, after the consecration, the wardens and vestrymen are to come up, and thus make the acquaintance of the good Bishop. Again, a few ladies have proposed coming up, at another time, with their husbands and families, to enjoy a social party. Then the Church choir is to come, and then the Sunday-school children. Thus will we endeavor to produce that relationship between the sheep and the Chief Shepherd that ought to exist. But more hereafter. This has been written on board the steamboat.
(September, 1851, Mission House, St. Paul.--To his Brother.)
Your truly acceptable letter of the 16th ult. was received on the 27th, and in looking over my parcel of unanswered letters, I find another from your pen received the 7th of June. These two letters have dons me much good. They breathe a peculiarly fraternal spirit, and treat upon subjects of deep moment to the Church of GOD. Give my love to your estimable and dear wife, and tell her I am not insensible to her deep interest in myself and this humble Mission. To each of your dear children give much love and many kisses. Tell the children I hope some day to see them again, but I fear they will (excepting that child of innocence, dear Mary) forget their Uncle Lloyd, before he can leave his post for another furlough. [They all went before him into Paradise.--C. B.]
I regard this Mission much more strongly as my position for life, than I ever did the one in Wisconsin. It appeared to me while at Nashotah that another field would call me away sooner or later, and yet my attachment there was so strong, that I never thought it possible I could ever find another people in whom I should feel so deep and personal an interest. But in this I was mistaken. It now appears to me as though I had actually been here from the beginning of my Ministry. I feel endeared to these people in a very strong degree, and they exhibit a corresponding interest in this Mission and my Associates. Our estimable cousin Mrs. Perkins, who lost her amiable husband by drowning last Winter, has now left the Falls of St. Croix for Rochester, New York. You will be delighted to hear that I had already baptized herself and her three very promising children at Christmas, and that now the Bishop of the Northwest has confirmed her, and she has been admitted to the Holy Eucharist. Although she resided fifty miles from St. Paul, yet having so near and dear a relative in the wild Frontier, made me very happy. She has become a truly devoted Christian lady, respected and beloved by all who know her, and destined, I hope, to do much good in her life.
As respects our labors in Minnesota, you will be made to rejoice at the fact of our baptisms within the first year, which have been fifty in all, young and old. On next Sunday I expect to baptize three adults and some children in Christ Church, St. Paul. We have traveled on foot, the three of us, over 5000 miles, and in other ways over 3000. The Bishop in visiting our Mission occupied seven weeks, and during this time visited fourteen of our stations, traveling over seven hundred miles, in order to do this. He consecrated Christ Church, St. Paul, and confirmed thirteen persons, all married except three. This is not the day for much fruit. The seed, however, is being sown, and is taking root. The next year we may hope for many more confirmations. The Bishop also opened our parish school for us, situated on the Mission grounds at this place. There were twenty children the first day. More have entered since then. We hope to have another school on a lot by the side of the Church, in this young city, to be taught by a lady from Dr. Muhlenberg's parish in New York. She may come out with Brother Merrick. The Church cost about $1700, and was entirely paid for when consecrated. The congregation is growing rapidly, so that already the Church is well filled, and with some devout worshippers. The six communicants of last year are now twenty-six in this place alone. It will be a beautiful sight indeed to see fifty or sixty children under the Church's training as day scholars the year round, and so early, too, in the history of this country.
Christ Church owns three acres as a cemetery, joining hard by the city plot, beautifully and advantageously located,--the gift of the Rev. Mr. Paterson, of Princeton, New Jersey. Then the Mission with her neat and attractive (Early Pointed) buildings upon a (five and a half acre) lot lying near the town, on an eminence called here a "bluff," crowns the whole very admirably. It is the most prominent and yet retired spot in the country round. Will not sister Jeannie open her eyes with wonder when I tell you that scarcely a day passes without visitors. There is no such attractive spot in this region of country. Citizens and strangers are constantly coming up to view the grounds and garden, which our industry has beautifully planned. A fountain bursts out of the top of the bluff in the garden, and this water is led into the roof of a bath-house at the lower part of the grounds,--the work of good Brother Wilcoxson. He is a perfect genius with tools and poultry;--in this latter respect, almost equal to a certain brother of mine.
We are expecting to procure about ten acres of land for the Mission around the Mission House, but real estate has risen wonderfully this year. Our property is five or six times its first value or cost. The State House has been located very near to us, as well as other public buildings. Among these last is the Romish College, a brick building, forty-four feet by eighty-four feet, three stories, now in process of erection. The second story is intended for public worship at the present time. They will build a church perhaps, another year. The French and half-breeds are numerous here,--all Roman Catholics, with very few exceptions. The Irish have lately found out St. Paul, and number perhaps forty families. As respects these Romish clergy, we hear no more about them than if they were a thousand miles away. They have no influence except over their own people. If the Church can have her schools, the Romanists will work but little on the rising generation. Only through their schools can they work upon the American people. I know not of a single Protestant family in St. Paul over whom they have the least influence. It is true, they have but just come. The Church, too, has been here but a short time, and yet the number of families already in St. Paul, that are, more or less, in one way or another, under the Church's influence, is truly wonderful. I am usually engaged in visiting family after family, every afternoon and evening that I am in St. Paul, and yet I never see the end of my visits--new families, and new duties with the former ones are so constantly occurring.
The Sunday-school has forty to fifty children connected with it, and some excellent teachers. These propose good works. They wish to divide St. Paul out into districts in order to see after children of strangers coming into the place. They also invite parents to the Church. Our catechist, one of our Household, a man of some years, is the teacher in the Mission day-school; and an admirable teacher for children he is.....
We are now in hopes of finding, in a highly-respectable Norwegian of this place, a catechist, at least for his countrymen. A Dane, a brother of the clergyman who was trained in Divinity at Nashotah during my residence there, by name Sorenson, is with us in our House, helping us, but not studying. We are looking for two Chippeway Indian youths shortly, also a Norwegian youth, but these are to be worked into the Church's Household rather than into her Ministry.
But I must return to the people. The ladies are intending now to sew for the Church. I am to meet them in the church this week, but the general society is to meet only once a quarter. It will be divided up into committees of seven each, who will be, for the quarter, so many district societies. They are to sew for the Church Missionary Society that has been organized for Minnesota lately, whilst the Bishop was still with us. I enclose to you the printed circular, which will explain itself. We desire to begin with the growth of the country. We are supported by voluntary alms from abroad; we therefore propose church building to be the present and perhaps fixed object of this society. The first year's offerings have amounted to about six hundred dollars for church building and Church purposes within the Territory; and during the visitation of the Bishop, the alms for this society (in expectation of its organization) received at seven Stations, have amounted to $79.68. Is not this encouraging? We hope to awaken a united and earnest spirit on the subject of missions within this missionary field, and we prefer to choose an object wholly external to ourselves, as church building or the like, for, then we can talk the people into a sense of their duty. But this country is very young yet, and well that it is so. We have enough to do, and too much, to do it well, as it ought to be done.