Project Canterbury

Mahlon Norris Gilbert: Bishop Coadjutor of Minnesota 1886-1900.

By Francis Leseure Palmer
with an Introduction by Daniel Sylvester Tuttle, Presiding Bishop of the American Church.

Milwaukee: The Young Churchman, 1912.
London: Mowbray, 1912.

Chapter XV. Growth and Progress

THROUGH those years of Dr. Gilbert's episcopate the Church in Minnesota had made notable progress. There had been large numerical growth, but better than mere bigness was the loyal and energetic spirit which pervaded the Diocese. Bishop Gilbert would be the last to take to himself the honor for this advance. In his Council addresses he speaks repeatedly with high appreciation of the wonderful work of Bishop Whipple, and of the unselfish Christlike devotion of the rank and file of the Minnesota clergy. He never forgot the hardships or the achievements of those in rural parishes or in the Indian field. But it is plain from the records of the time, and from the recollections of those who worked under Bishop Gilbert, that much of the progress of those years, much of their good spirit and active loyalty, was due to the generous, unassuming, energetic leadership of Bishop Gilbert. Men might differ from him in opinion, but they knew his unselfish, large-minded nature; they recognized his perfect sincerity, his entire consecration to the work.

With remarkable tact, with wonderful self-effacement, he adapted himself to the plans and methods of his Diocesan. The two men were quite different in personality; Bishop Whipple was keener as a judge of men, but Bishop Gilbert had the same art of winning men, and holding their affection; Bishop Whipple was greater as an orator, but Bishop Gilbert, in his own magnetic way was wonderfully persuasive as a speaker, and would have gained still more in power, had life been spared; Bishop Whipple laid remarkable foundations, and Bishop Gilbert, with wise judgment, with utter self-forgetfulness, helped forward the work. The younger clergy naturally saw more of the younger Bishop, and became devoted to him; in some cases, they were unfair to Bishop Whipple, not appreciating the past, but such a spirit received no encouragement from Bishop Gilbert. He once said to Bishop Millspaugh, "I have always tried to be thoroughly loyal to my Diocesan, and he has never given me to understand, by any criticism, that I have been otherwise."

On the contrary, the relations of the two Bishops were most harmonious and beautiful. The Chancellor of the Diocese, who was most closely associated with them both in conferences involving matters of supreme importance for the Church, says of them, "I have never known two men associated in any business or organization who worked together in such perfect harmony as Bishop Whipple and Bishop Gilbert."

Prom the beginning, the elder Bishop committed to the younger a large part of the administration of the Diocese. In the first seven years Bishop Whipple was present at only four of the annual Councils; once he was in England at the Lambeth Conference, once in France in poor health, and once confined by severe illness at his home in Faribault. It was Bishop Gilbert's rule to refer all possible matters to the counsel of the Diocesan, but for a large part of the time the younger Bishop was alone in the diocese and in full charge of the work. As he won the confidence of the men of Minnesota, he became the leader and founder of certain movements and institutions which deserve record here.

The Minnesota Church Club rightly claims Bishop Gilbert as its founder. In the tribute composed by the Council of the Club soon after his death, there is this statement:

Bishop Gilbert was quick to discern the possibilities embodied in the Church Club idea, and upon his suggestion our diocesan club was early organized and ranks among the oldest in the United States. He was deeply interested in its development, gave it the benefit of his counsel, the inspiration of his words and presence, and took a pardonable pride in its achievements. As he rejoiced in its success as a breaker down of the barriers of parochialism and as a unifier of the clergy and laity of the diocese in a common work, so also he was pleased at its instrumentality in obliterating diocesan boundaries, and in making our ecclesiastical neighbors welcome to Minnesota. [The Minnesota Church Record. March, 1900, p. 40.]

The Rev. Dr. John Wright, rector of St. Paul's Church in St. Paul gives some particulars, not elsewhere recorded. He said, in a conversation with the writer, "Soon after my coming to Minnesota, Bishop Gilbert spoke to me of organizing a Church Club, 'such as they have in the East.' I said, 'It is premature; we are not like the East, and it would not succeed.' But he persisted that it would be a good plan, and later the matter was brought up at the Clericus, and a committee, consisting of Bishop Gilbert, Dean Graham, and myself, was appointed, and together we planned its organization." [Dr. Tanner's History of the Diocese speaks of Dr. Wright as the founder, but the latter's own account gives that honor to the Bishop.]

The committee invited several leading laymen to meet them at the West Hotel, January 15, 1891. At this conference, Bishop Gilbert presided, and it was decided to organize. A committee of laymen, of which Mr. Hector Baxter was chairman, soon drafted a constitution and by-laws, and the first banquet was held in Minneapolis, on February 4. At first the Minnesota Church Club did not admit clergymen to membership, but, a year later, they were allowed to join the club, though not to hold office, an arrangement which has worked admirably.

The Swedish work in Minnesota owes much to Bishop Gilbert. In his Council address of 1896, Bishop Whipple, after quoting the report of the Lambeth Conference recommending "more friendly relations between the Scandinavian and Anglican churches," makes this statement:

It was in the spirit of this declaration . . . that our Swedish work has been inaugurated. In its inception it was the work of the Coadjutor Bishop, and he has had at every step of this movement my loving approval. This work has been under the immediate care of the Rev. Mr. Tofteen, of whom a distinguished member of another communion said, "he is truly a man of God," and I must here say that we owe a deep debt to Rev. H. P. Nichols for his devotion and help in this work.

The story of the movement is too long to tell here. The Church of Sweden, as is well-known, has much in common with the Church of England. It is an established church, with Bishops, vestments, and liturgy. In the early days many Swedes, coming to America, brought letters commending them to the Episcopal Church, as closely akin to the Church of Sweden.

The Swedish Lutheran Church in the United States has given up many of the usages of the Mother Church; it has no Bishops, but is organized on a modified Presbyterian basis. In different Swedish settlements in America a number of congregations have withdrawn from the Swedish Lutheran Synod, and have sought membership in the Episcopal Church, as most closely resembling the mother Church of Sweden.

The first graduate of Nashotah House was the well-known Swede, the Rev. G-ustaf Unonius, rector of St. Asngarius' Church in Chicago. In 1851 Mr. Unonius came to St. Paul by special invitation and organized a Swedish work, which did not prove permanent. Again, in 1874, in Faribault and the vicinity, a Norwegian work was begun with Bishop Whipple's hearty approval, but this movement also was transient.

In 1891 there seemed to be an opening for permanent work among the Swedes. Services were held in the Swedish tongue, and two churches, which had of their own accord seceded from the Lutheran Synod, applied for admission to the Episcopal Church and were in 1893 received by Bishop Gilbert. In his address to the Council he says:

In this Swedish work, permission has been given to use the liturgy and vestments of the state Church of Sweden, and in cases of persons confirmed by and under the authority of the Swedish Church, re-confirmation is not required. A larger liberty is allowed than a strict and literal interpretation of existing canons justifies, but the whole situation is exceptional and any other course would have prevented development. We have not acted in this matter simply upon our own responsibility, but under the advice and approbation of some of the wisest and most conservative leaders of the Church.

The work thus begun received Bishop Gilbert's special oversight and sympathy. Dr. Tanner says, "There was no work in the Diocese for which he cared more and prayed more. Whatever may be the success of this movement, his name will always be associated with the effort to unite the members of the Church of Sweden in Minnesota with our own Church." [History of the Diocese of Minnesota, p. 483.]

Another institution which Bishop Gilbert encouraged by his presence and his influence was the Sunday School Institute. This was founded in 1887 before the modern revival of interest in Sunday school methods, and has done pioneer work in helping to improve the curriculum and the spirit of Minnesota Sunday schools. Whenever possible, Bishop Gilbert attended their sessions and was a most helpful speaker in their conferences.

It was said of Bishop Whipple that much of his success as a Bishop came from his being a father to his clergy. It became a tradition of the Diocese that the Bishop was what the Prayer Book expects him to be --a true "father-in-God." Bishop Gilbert naturally and ably maintained this tradition. Dr. Ten Broeck once said, "We who have known Bishop Whipple and Bishop Gilbert need no further argument for Apostolic Succession."

One or two letters will help to show his kindly spirit. To a young clergyman who thought himself ill-treated by the Board of Missions and was planning to take work in another diocese, Bishop Gilbert wrote as follows:

My dear S--

The first letter I answer among the large number awaiting me on my return from a trip is yours.

I thank you from my heart for your expression of love. I cannot begin to tell you how my heart goes out to you in affection. I cannot bring myself to consider the possibility of your leaving me and the Diocese. Everything will be made right, I can assure you of that. . . .

The Board would not for a moment impose any arbitrary rule. I can see now that the present rule might be so considered. Will you not bear with them, and give them an opportunity to modify it? Do, I beg of you, and tell the Bishop to whom you have written, that you will stay with us. You will never regret it. You have such a bright future before you in this Diocese. Some day you will be on the Missionary Board yourself. Then you can understand how difficult it is always to arrange matters satisfactorily at once.

I have lost H. Do not double my grief by going away yourself now. . . .

As ever, affectionately, MAHLON N. GILBERT.

The letter proved effectual. The young priest remained in the Diocese, and in due time attained not only to membership in the Board of Missions but also to the highest honors among the clergy.

On learning that the Rev. Charles Lewis Slattery had accepted a call to be Dean of the Cathedral of our Merciful Saviour, in succession to Dean William H. Q-ardam, Bishop Gilbert wrote the following letter:

May 2, 1896.

MY DEAR MR. SLATTERY:--I send you a line to tell you how gladly I welcome you to the Diocese of Minnesota. I rejoice to know that you have accepted the call to the Cathedral in Faribault. There is no more important point in the Diocese, and none where a greater work can be done, if the rector has the ability and judgment and perseverance which are required. These qualities I am sure you possess. You can depend upon my cordial and sympathetic cooperation in your work there. . . .

Believe me, Most truly yours,

An earlier letter, written when Mr. Gilbert was rector of Christ Church, to a candidate from his own parish just entering Seabury Divinity School, contains good counsel.

One word, my dear friend, whatever you do, do not get into the usual divinity student way of thinking that preaching is of little account. Make the most of yourself in that way. Practise on the delivery of a sermon.

Then, too, strive to perfect yourself in reading the service. You know how sadly lacking many of our clergy are in that particular.

To a parish whose incumbent was about to be transferred elsewhere, Bishop Gilbert wrote as follows:

18 Summit Court
St. Paul, Minn.
June 22, 1892.

To the Parishioners of the Church of the Holy Communion, Redwood Falls. MY DEAR BRETHREN:--

Providence is about leading your rector to another field. We must not question it, although it will bring disappointment to every heart. My prayers will be with you that you may take up and carry forward the work bravely and cheerfully. It is God's work, and you are workers together with Him.

I will cooperate with you in every way to secure a rector who will be a faithful and acceptable pastor. I ask that you will do all in your power to provide for his support.

Praying the Great Head of the Church to have you in His gracious keeping.

I am most truly your friend and Bishop,


In such a spirit, wise, kindly, and sincere, Bishop Gilbert watched over the clergy and the parishes.

In 1888, when already the pressure of the work began to prove too great, he asked the Council for a general missionary. Soon after, the Rev. Dr. Appleby was appointed, first under this title, and afterwards as Archdeacon. His energetic and fruitful labors continued for nine years, till after the division of the Diocese.

In his Council address of 1892, Bishop Whipple said:

My noble-hearted assistant is breaking from overwork. No man can bear for a long time the strain of such unending toil. If you would save him to the Diocese and the Church, you must relieve him now. The only possible relief is in the division of the Diocese.

As a part of the plan of division, Bishop Whipple further suggested once more the possibility of adopting the Provincial System in Minnesota, and added, "If my own support stands in the way of division, I will gladly resign."

Such a solution of the problem as would involve the retirement of Bishop Whipple was not for a moment considered, but it was difficult to arrange for division. For three years the subject was under discussion, but not till 1895 was action taken.

In October, 1895, the General Convention met in Minneapolis, at Gethsemane Church, a marked event in the history of the Diocese. For the first time many of the Bishops and deputies visited the State of which they had heard so much, and saw the venerable Bishop Whipple and his able Assistant in the midst of their great work. By special train they went to Faribault and saw the large schools and the Cathedral. After this, having gained some knowledge at first hand of the extent of the work and the needs of the Diocese, the General Convention set apart northern Minnesota as a separate Missionary Jurisdiction.

Relief was thus in sight for Bishop Gilbert, but unfortunately the Convention did not proceed to elect a Bishop for the new field, but instead placed it under the charge of Bishop Gilbert. It was his task to organize the new Jurisdiction, and to continue as before his visitations in that large territory. He presided at the Primary Convocation held in December 1895, and also at the Second Convocation held in November, 1896. His episcopal oversight of northern Minnesota came to an end on February 2, 1897. On that day, the Feast of the Purification, the Rev. Dr. James Dow Morrison was consecrated Bishop of Duluth.

Our narrative must now revert to the General Convention of 1895. Another act of that Convention was the change of title of an Assistant Bishop to Coadjutor. The new name met, of course, with some opposition, but after debate it was adopted as a better title, and has since prevailed in the American Church. From this time on, accordingly, Dr. Gilbert's official style was "The Bishop Coadjutor of Minnesota."

It was also during the General Convention that a fine Gothic church of stone was consecrated in St. Paul for Bishop Gilbert's special use. It was built as a memorial to the Rev. Dr. Theodore A. Eaton, for forty-two years rector of St. Clement's Church in New York City. His widow had written Bishop Gilbert of her desire to erect such a memorial in Minnesota. The church was often called the "Pro-Cathedral," but Bishop Gilbert's own statement was as follows:

I have placed the church here after consultation with many in the Diocese, because I feel that we lack strength and importance in the great centers of the state, and because I have at length concluded that it is desirable that a bishop should have a church for the special performance of his official duties--a church which he can call his own. This is not, however, a cathedral. Make no mistake in that respect. The cathedral is in Faribault, and must so remain as long as the precious life of our revered Bishop Whipple is spared to us and the Diocese."

The consecration service was on October 6, 1895, with a notable congregation. Bishop Potter of New York preached the sermon, and in one account is said to have consecrated the building. This act, however, was appropriately performed by Bishop Gilbert himself, as his own journal shows. The name chosen for the new church was fittingly that of St. Clement's. Bishop Gilbert reserved for himself the title and privileges of rector, and appointed as his vicar the Rev. Ernest Dray, who served the parish long and well.

While Bishop Gilbert was growing steadily in the affection and confidence of the Diocese, his strong influence was felt more and more in the city and state. He was now St. Paul's foremost citizen. This came not by virtue of his office, but by his rare ability to represent the people. On patriotic days, or at any civic gathering, no one could so well put into words the common feeling as Bishop Gilbert. Schooled in patriotism, he knew how both to express the highest loyalty and to stir the truest sentiment of the heart.

On one occasion, returning to St. Paul from a journey, he was surprised to see upon "the Flats" along the river a large, new building, evidently erected at great expense, which he was told was to accommodate a coming wrestling match. A little inquiry showed that it was really designed for a prize-fight between two famous pugilists. Bishop Gilbert went promptly to see the Governor of the state, and then wrote a short open letter to the citizens of St. Paul, asking them if they knew the real purpose of the building. This was all he did, or had to do. Public indignation was at once aroused; a mass meeting was held, with Archbishop Ireland as one of the speakers, and the prize-fight was never held.

On Saturday, September 1, 1894, came the terrible forest fires which utterly destroyed the town of Hinckley and other villages of Minnesota. The harrowing news soon reached St. Paul, and every report added to the magnitude and horror of the disaster. On Monday, in St. Paul, a General Relief Committee was organized to help relieve the sufferings of the homeless survivors, and to bury the dead. At the request of this committee, Bishop Gilbert went at once to Pine City to confer with the Relief Committee there, and plan for the best cooperation in the work. The next day he returned, and reported that "out of a population of sixteen hundred at Hinckley and three adjoining towns the dead numbered four hundred, the homeless twelve hundred, of which eight hundred were destitute."" These figures were not an over-estimate. The "death list" numbered 413, and there were over 1,500 persons who received for a time assistance or support. Gifts of money and supplies of various kinds were sent from far and wide, and any act that could assuage pain or supply material need was done with sympathetic kindness.

"After the fire," writes the Rev. William Wilkinson, "it was felt that there should be one great public service, in memory of those who had departed from the life that now is, and gone into that which is on the other side of death. Pine City, being the town nearest the scene of disaster, and most easily accessible at that time by rail, was the place selected for the purpose. . . . To this service, which had been made known all over the land through the public press, had come from all parts of the state and many other states, as pilgrims to a shrine, throngs of people."

The day was Sunday, September 9th, and the service was planned for the afternoon in a public park, but on account of renewed rumors of approaching flames, the service was postponed till evening in a public hall. The scene there stirred every heart. Many were present with marks of fearful scars; some were still bandaged; nearly everyone had lost relatives or friends. Several pastors joined in the service. The Presbyterian minister read a selection from scripture, and Bishop Gilbert offered an earnest prayer. A list of names of many that had perished in the flames was read amid breathless silence. A Roman Catholic priest and a Methodist pastor also spoke with deep feeling. Appropriate music was rendered by solo singers of marked ability, bringing comfort to all. The closing address was by Bishop Gilbert. As reported in the Pioneer Press of St. Paul, he spoke in part as follows:

I stand before you to-night to give voice to the sympathy which swells up from responsive hearts over the land. This little community, before obscure and scarcely discovered on the map, has for the last week been the nerve center for all the world. Messages of love and sympathy have come throbbing under leagues of ocean. . . . God must have had some sublime object in bringing about this awful disaster did we only read His purpose beneath the intensest of suffering. Let it not be said that God has thus spoken out of the whirlwind and we have not heard. I know we cannot unravel all the mysteries of God. We are often like babes who can only cry out with pain and cannot understand the cause, but then like children we can learn the lesson taught us. Our eyes fill with tears when we recall the awful agony through which many of you passed, when the besom of destruction swept over you and the black cloud of death was illumined only by the lurid flames, but I would have you think not of this, but of those lost friends regained in a better land.

These calamities are all a part of God's plans. The great Civil War of thirty years ago is an illustration of this, where sacrifice and suffering wrought freedom and a united land. So it has often been in your lives where there has been seeming loss. What is the gain?

First, we are taught that God is greater than all material things. . . . Second, our hearts are brought together. You have heard of the great strikes that agitated the country a few weeks ago, arraying man against man, threatening anarchy and social disruption. Like the finger of God this calamity has come and swept away all distinction of rank and class. God used the sympathy evoked by this disaster to cement again the bonds of fraternity which were being rent asunder. I stood last Monday in the Chamber of Commerce at St. Paul and saw tears moisten the cheeks of the men who rule the finances of a great city as they responded to the appeals made in behalf of a stricken people. They did not know these woodmen; they did not know these men of toil; but their hearts were touched by the sufferings of our common humanity.

Again, we must not lose the lesson of personal heroism. When we have met these men, as we often do upon the train, they did not look like heroes, but plain men, scarcely worthy our notice. When the trial came and an awful death threatened hundreds of human lives, they stood up in their divine heroism and taught us a lesson that beneath the humble garb is often concealed a noble manhood, and when we have turned to dust, the world will still honor the names of Powers, Best, Sullivan, Root, Campbell, and Blair. [These were railway employees, engineers, conductors, etc., who rescued hundreds by running their trains through the burning forests, taking on board refugees from Hinckley and elsewhere.] Such heroism will cover a multitude of sins, and I doubt not God will blot out some of their faults, for they doubtless had faults, and remember that they nobly did their duty in the time of trial.

The trial seems hard, but what matter if it makes you better? Look up, and let the sacrifice of friends and loved ones make you nobler and purer. Last of all, when the grass has grown green over their graves, and your hearts' wounds are somewhat healed, let us not forget that God came down in a chariot of fire one day, as He did for Elijah of old, to take our better selves up to Him.

This address at Pine City made a profound impression, and brought comfort and hope to thousands. Like many of the addresses or sermons quoted in this volume, it is taken from an imperfect report, but it shows the Bishop's ability to understand others' feelings and reach their hearts.

Outside of diocesan routine, Bishop Gilbert was now so much in demand as a speaker that it is impossible to give even a list of his many sermons and addresses on special occasions. A few of the more important are here grouped:

On the first day of January, 1890, he preached the sermon at the consecration of the Rev. Anson R. Graves as the Missionary Bishop of The Platte. His theme was "The Open Door, or the Church's Opportunities," the text being from Rev. iii. 8.

In 1893 he preached the sermon at the consecration of the Rev. Dr. William Morris Barker as Bishop of Western Colorado. His text was Deut. xxxiii. 23. Both these sermons were printed in pamphlet form, and some quotations are given elsewhere in this volume.

Bishop Gilbert also assisted in the consecration of six other American Bishops, as follows:

1887--Elisha S. Thomas, Bishop of Kansas.
1889--Cyrus F. Knight, Bishop of Milwaukee.
1889--Charles C. Grafton, Bishop of Fond du Lac.
1895--John Hazen White, Bishop of Indiana.
1897--James Dow Morrison, Bishop of Duluth.
1899--Samuel Cook Edsall, Bishop of North Dakota.

In November, 1891, Bishop Gilbert went to Winnipeg, Manitoba, in company with Bishop Walker and Archdeacon Appleby, to represent the American Church at the consecration of the Rev. Dr. W. D. Reeve as Bishop of Mackenzie River. While in Winnipeg, Bishop Gilbert was the guest of the Bishop of Rupert's Land, the venerable Dr. Machray. Besides assisting in the consecration, Bishop Gilbert attended a reception given to the visiting Bishops by the Lieutenant-Gov-ernor at the Government House. It was his first experience of English hospitality, and a good preparation for his visits to England. A second visit to Winnipeg was made in September, 1896, Bishop Gilbert being chairman of a delegation of the American Church sent to attend the General Synod of Canada.

Another Canadian journey was made to Toronto in the summer of 1895. He had been invited to address a large Congress of Religion and Education on "The Outlook for Church Unity," and had prepared a carefully written essay. He was introduced as "the rising star of American Episcopacy," and in the newspaper reports is described as "a middle-aged man of good presence and address." His speech (on July 22) was received with frequent applause and general approval. One account thus comments: "His peroration was a most eloquent one, and his whole address throughout was characterized by a broad-mindedness and comprehensive treatment which earned the sincere admiration of those who listened to it."

Christian Unity was a cause dear to Bishop Gilbert's heart, and he accepted every opportunity that he could to advance it. On one occasion he spoke before the Congregational Club of Minnesota in the first Congregational Church in Minneapolis, and more than once he spoke in the People's Church in St. Paul. On April 15, 1895, he made an address in that church "in the interest of better observance of Sunday." In 1896 a series of five lectures on "Unity, and the Lambeth Declaration," was given under the auspices of the Church Club of Minnesota. These lectures were given during Lent in both St. Paul and Minneapolis, and drew large audiences. The opening lecture was by Bishop Gilbert on the subject, "Organic Unity." Toward the close he said:

What a glorious day will be ushered in, when from adoring worshippers everywhere underneath the bending sky shall ascend heavenward, like the voice of many waters, the harmonious diapason of lips and hearts speaking to God in the oneness of a common language of worship! How will it draw myriad hearts closer together, and cause them to realize the fellowship of the whole household of Faith!

Let us now recapitulate the reasons advanced for my hopeful outlook into the future, as I have briefly placed them before you:

1. Dissatisfaction with absolutism.
2. Dissatisfaction with individualism.
3. The practical spirit of the age demanding conservation and concretion of energy.
4. The growing recognition of the truth that mere opinions and theories, confessions and articles, are not the essentials of Faith and salvation.
5. The recognition of the historic method in the treatment of Church Union.
6. The constant and ever-growing agitation of the question.
7. The increase in the use of liturgical methods in public worship. . . .

In that ideal Church which is sometime to be made real, we shall find that oneness for which the Saviour prayed, that oneness which is like to that above."

In evidence of the growing regard for Bishop Gilbert in the Church at large may be cited his Eastern visit of the autumn of 1894. At the annual Convention of the Brotherhood of St. Andrew in Washington, he made an address, of which one sentence is worthy of lasting remembrance: "Men of St. Andrew's, when your hearts burn at these meetings, see that they burn to warm some one else." Two days were spent in New York at a special meeting of the House of Bishops, and four days in Hartford at the Missionary Council. There he presided at one session and addressed the Council. In addition upon this journey he spoke seventeen times, in various cities. On one day in Philadelphia, he made five addresses in different churches.

Bishop Gilbert's associations outside of the Church are of interest. In 1883 he became an annual member of the Minnesota Historical Society, a venerable organization of honorable record. In 1888 he was made a life member. His only historical paper read to the society was, "The Beginnings of the Episcopal Church in Minnesota, and the Early Missions of Park Place, St. Paul." This was published in Volume IX. of the Society Collections.

In 1884 he affiliated with Ancient Landmark Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons in St. Paul, and continued in active membership till his death.

The Society of the Sons of the Revolution in the State of Minnesota admitted Bishop Gilbert into membership, December 2, 1893, by virtue of the military service of his ancestor, Ambrose Ward. He became President of this society, and was active in their meetings and patriotic services. He was also an honored member of the Society of Colonial Wars.

At the celebration of Lincoln's Birthday, February 12, 1895, the Loyal Legion had invited Archbishop Ireland of the Eoman Catholic Church to make the address. On learning that his Grace was suddenly prevented from coming, the society turned to Bishop Gilbert and asked him to act as substitute. He kindly consented to be present, but, on rising to speak, protested his inability to fill the vacancy. The subject, however, was one dear to his heart and the success of his speech may be inferred from the letter written him by Col. George O. Eddy on the following day:

MINNEAPOLIS, Feb. 13, 1896.

MY DEAR BISHOP:--I cannot resist the desire to say to you, what lacked opportunity to say last evening, that your splendid speech delighted us all beyond expression. I have never known the "right thing" said in the "right way," more pointedly and brilliantly. We are all more than ever proud of you. Faithfully yours,


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