Project Canterbury

Lights and Shadows of a Long Episcopate
Being Reminiscences and Recollections
of the Right Reverend
Henry Benjamin Whipple, D.D., LL.D.
Bishop of Minnesota

New York: The Macmillan Company, 1899.

Chapter XVII

ON July 16, 1862, I laid the corner-stone of the Bishop's Church at Faribault. At the suggestion of my beloved brother, the Rt. Rev. A. C. Coxe, I named it "The Cathedral Church of Our Merciful Saviour." It was my hope that we might build up schools around the Cathedral, making it a common centre. I felt that our first building should be a House of Prayer in honor of the Triune God. On July 17 I laid the corner-stone of Seabury Divinity Hall. The bluffs upon which the schools were to stand were covered by forest, the tipi of the Sioux scattered here and there. I recall the expression of amusement on the faces of my listeners, when, in my address upon that occasion, I drew a picture of the day when those wilds would be covered with institutions of learning. On the site of the beautiful Shumway Memorial Chapel I witnessed a scalp dance in 1860.

I knew that in my day our schools, missions, and works of charity would require all our means, and I did not think we could found an English Cathedral in a western diocese. I desired a Bishop's Church to be forever free, the simple ritual of which would be a model for a missionary diocese. This was the first Cathedral of the American Church erected in the United States.

An agreement was made with the parish of the Good Shepherd in Faribault, that it should aid to the extent of its ability in building the Cathedral, and that when completed, it should be under the sole control of the bishop; that the parish rector should be nominated by hirn, and become the Dean of the Cathedral; that the morning services and those on all Church Festivals should be the bishop's services which the teachers and students of the schools should attend. The evening and week-day services were for the parish alone, the schools attending the services in their own chapels.

The Cathedral was consecrated in 1867 by the venerable Bishop Kemper, and the sermon was preached by the Rt. Rev. John Whitehouse.

When I went to Faribault the mission had only a rude wooden chapel, two small frame cottages for Professor Manney and Dr. Breck, and a little one-story building, used as a Divinity School.

The Church owes a debt of gratitude to Mrs. Manney and Mrs. Whipple for their interest in the students in those early days.

The Bishop Seabury Mission was organized in 1860. Some of my dearest friends doubted our success in the undertaking and declined to become trustees. The Rev. E. R. Welles, the Rev. D. B. Knickerbacker, the Rev. E. G. Gear, the Rev. S. Y. McMasters, the Rev. James Dobbin, the Rev. S. W. Manney, the Rev. T. B. Welles, the Rev. J. L. Breck, the Rev. J. S. Redney of the clergy, and H. T. Welles, E. T. Wilder, Isaac Atwater, and Harvey Officer of the laity, and the trustees elected at a later period never failed to hold up my hands. They believed that it was God's work, and they knew how to labor and to wait.

In 1866, feeling the necessity of a school for the education of the daughters of the clergy, notwithstanding the burdens which we were carrying, I determined to begin a school in my own home. I built an addition to my house, and on All Saint's Day St. Mary's Hall was opened. Miss Sarah P. Darlington of Philadelphia, daughter of Dr. Darlington, the celebrated botanist, had come to Faribault for her health, and as a work of love was teaching in the Parish School. She was deeply interested in our undertaking and consented to become the principal of the school. Miss Darlington was one of the most remarkable women I have ever known; a scholar possessing rare wisdom and deep piety, she was peculiarly fitted to mould the minds of the young.

We were also blessed in securing as chaplain the Rev. Dr. Leonard J. Mills, who had been an assistant of Bishop Kerfoot in St. James's College which was a lineal descendant of the School of the sainted Muhlenberg at Flushing. He was with us only six months before entering into rest, but it was long enough to give us the traditions of these celebrated schools.

Miss Darlington, after a few years of noble work, was also called home.

Time will not permit me to tell the story of the loyal women who have been my helpers in this blessed work. I can gratefully say that there is not in the Church a school more worthy of love than St. Mary's Hall, which is now under the care of Miss Caroline W. Rells and her efficient corps of professors and teachers. J,

In the year 1864 I visited England as the guest of Robert B. Minturn. Bishop de Lancey gave me letters to the Most Rev. Dr. Longley, Archbishop of Canterbury, who had been the head master at Harrow, and to the Rt. Rev. Dr. Tait, Bishop of London, who had succeeded Dr. Arnold at Rugby.

The substance of advice given me concerning the organization of schools was: "Do not attempt to found schools unless you believe that God has called you to do this work. If He calls you, He will help you. Remember that your school has as real a life as an individual; its character is the sum of all its traditions."

It has been a joy to me that I was permitted to share in the love and friendship of Archbishop Longley. During my visits to England he made me as welcome as his own son, and I owe him much for wise and paternal counsel.

At the opening of St. Mary's Hall he sent me the following letter:--

ADDINGTON PARK, January 28th, 1866.

My dear Brother: I have to thank you for two instances of your kind remembrance which have lately reached me--your annual address to your clergy and the address to the children at the opening of St. Mary's Hall. With the outpouring of your heart in this letter I was especially charmed. It breathes such a spirit of fatherly love and affection towards these youthful members of your church as must, I should hope, under the blessing of God upon the words spoken, have touched the souls of those little ones of Christ.

May you see rich and abundant fruit from this your labor of love; and may all those present that day to listen to your wise and seasonable counsel have grace and strength so to profit by it that they may be your crown of rejoicing in That Day!

I would fain send them my blessing across the Atlantic; and may the peace of God which passeth all understanding ever keep their minds in the knowledge of Gk>d and their hearts in the love of Christ!

The case of your poor Indians is very affecting, and the deep interest you take in their welfare must make many passing events very painful to you. I fear they are sometimes tempted to commit outrages which it is difficult to justify, while there may be most aggravating circumstances goading them on to such extremities.

I should rejoice to hear that you had been instrumental in reconciling the conflicting interests of the different parties.

The Ritualistic Controversy is still rife with us, and the advocates of High Ritualism have felt themselves much encouraged by the language of your presiding bishop (Hopkins) in the little volume he has just published. I am in hopes the fever is beginning to abate. . . . Believe me, my dear Brother,

Yours affectionately in Christ,

Through all these years we have had an invariable rule that while our pupils have been taught the lessons of our Mother the Church, we have allowed no word to be spoken which could wound any disciple of Jesus Christ, for many of our pupils have been from other religious bodies.

Our boys' school was named in memory of my devoted friend Dr. George C. Shattuck, the founder of St. Paul's School, Concord, New Hampshire, to whose generosity we owe its beginning. Shortly after my consecration Dr. Shattuck said to me:--

"I own a tract of land in Illinois. I have promised to give four thousand dollars to St. James's College, Maryland, withm ten years. I wiU give you this tract of land, and as you sell it you can use one-half the proceeds to pay my subscription and the other half for your educational work." I was most fortunate in making sales. Mr. Felix Brunot, of blessed memory, desired to purchase eighty acres, and said to me:--

"Bishop, the land belongs to the Church; I will give you three months to get the best offer which you can get for this eighty acres, and then I will give you an additional ten dollars for every acre, and the extra amount you can use for the Indians."

This was characteristic of one of the most devoted friends of missions. One day a man called upon me and said he would like to buy a piece of Illinois land. I asked him if he did not own a coal mine which could only be worked by sinking a shaft, and if by owning my land he could not tunnel from the side and draw his coal out by mules. He answered:--


"And does not Mr.------own a coal mine on the other side of my land, situated in quite the same way?"

"Yes," was the smiling answer.

"Then have I not the same right to take advantage of the peculiar position of my land that I would have if it were a corner lot in a city? "

"Of course you have," was the frank reply.

He agreed to pay me twelve dollars and a half an acre more than the land was then worth, and the bargain was closed.

I paid over to St. James's College eight thousand dollars, and Dr. Shattuck procured a release and directed me to use the remainder for my schools. The amount which I received was nearly thirty thousand dollars, which enabled me to erect buildings for my boys' school.

The boys' school and the Divinity School occupied one building which was burned on Thanksgiving Day in 1873. This compelled us to build two new halls which cost sixty thousand dollars. We had received twelve thousand dollars insurance, and we had a subscription of over twenty thousand dollars.

Up to that time all our buildings had been built by day labor, and when our money failed we stopped work. The diocesan work required all my time, and the trustees to relieve me made contracts for the new buildings, believing that the funds would be secured as needed. Then came a financial panic, and some of our subscriptions were unpaid. We knew that if we stopped the work we were liable for damages and to go on meant a heavy debt. All banks had suspended, but I went to one of the Faribault bankers and said:--

"You have watched our work for twelve years and can judge whether we shall fail or succeed. By God's help we shall not fail. We need ten thousand dollars and you must loan it to us."

The money was furnished and the building completed, and we were thirty thousand dollars in debt to our village banks. After the panic was over, at a meeting of the trustees, Hon. E. T. Wilder said:--

"Gentlemen, we created that debt to save a great work. We ought not to cripple the bishop in his work by asking him to raise this money, and I propose that we assume it ourselves."

It was paid by the trustees and friends; and I mention it here as an evidence of their loving confidence and to give credit where it is due.

Over one hundred and fifty thousand dollars had been given to the schools by my diocese.

My dear friend, Mrs. Augusta Shumway, whom I knew in Chicago, offered to build a chapel for Shattuck, and it was partly finished when the Chicago fire destroyed a large part of her property. But she said to me a short time after:--

"Bishop, I promised God to build the chapel in memory of my daughter. I owe but one debt, and that is to God. I have collected enough of insurance money to complete the building, and here it is."

It was a noble instance of woman's faith. Mrs. Shumway also bequeathed the means to build a beautiful hall for Shattuck in memory of her husband, and a hall for Seabury Divinity School in memory of her father, William Johnston, and a partial endowment for both schools.

When Congress authorized the detail of officers of the army to schools of a certain grade, I at once applied for a detail for Shattuck, which was granted. A border man, seeing the army officer on his arrival, said to a bystander:--

"There is one of Uncle Sam's boys; what is he doing here?"

"Oh," was the answer, "the bishop has got him to drill his theologues so that when there's a fight about religion he will be ready."

Military drill has a marked effect in developing a boy's character. The first lesson of life and its last is obey.

Perfect freedom only comes through perfect obedience. Not many years ago flogging was considered a salutary medicine for a disobedient boy; but now our boys say "flogging is played out." Military discipline creates an esprit de corps. It gives frequent inspection and teaches obedience. With it there must be wise pastoral care and a presentation of Christian truth which will kindle in young hearts love to God and man.

We have been most fortunate in securing as military instructors officers of the United States Army of the highest character. Colonel Robert M. Scott, Lieutenant Dames, Captain Lancaster, and our present efficient officer, Lieutenant Abbott.

I owed a debt of gratitude to General Grant and General Sherman, who always secured me a competent officer, in some cases overruling the decision of the Secretary of War.

The Inspector General of the United States Army paid a tribute to Shattuck, and to its beloved Commandant, Lieutenant A. T. Abbott, U. S. Army, when he stated officially last year (1898):--

"This Institution is one of the best of the schools where army officers have served: more than one hundred of its alumni are in the service of the United States as commissioned officers, ranking from Second Lieutenant to Colonel, while many others have accepted service in the capacity of non-commissioned officers and privates. They were all thoroughly drilled and disciplined at Shattuck School, under the painstaking supervision and personal direction of Lieutenant Abbott, and have proved themselves an important and predominating factor in establishing and maintaining a healthy esprit de corps in their military organizations.

"Lieutenant Abbott's zeal and ability have been highly commended by the officers of the Inspector General's Department in the annual inspections. The value of his services to the Government in thus training these officers and men cannot be overestimated."

There is no trust more sacred than that of the teacher who represents the home, the nation, and the church. To such, one greater than Pharaoh's daughter says:--

"Take this child, . . . and I will give thee wages." The wages are eternal life.

Shattuck and St. Mary's Hall both have valuable collections of shells, minerals, Indian relics, and an interesting cabinet of curiosities from the Sandwich Islands, given by Queen Emma to my brother, the Rev. George B. Whipple, when a missionary in Hawaii. My friend, the late Anthony Drexel, gave a valuable library to St. Mary's Hall. Among many other precious gifts is a communion service in silver and gold, presented to St. Mary's by my dear friend, Robert B. Minturn, who also gave a reproduction of the altar piece which Michael Angelo made for the church in which he was baptized. One of our fine telescopes was given by my beloved friend William H. Aspinwall.

These things are mentioned to show how we have been blessed at every step of the way.

Shortly after our boys' school was started a convention of friends of education met in Faribault, and I was asked to give my opinion on the subject under discussion, religion in public schools. I said that under our Constitution the State has no right to teach in our public schools the doctrines of any church. The State has, however, a right to protect itself. No nation has ever survived the loss of its religion. It might have been a poor religion, full of superstition, but when all faith has been given up and the horizon of human life limited to this world with no eternal standard of righteousness, then society has perished. Voltaire said when the French Revolution was impending, "If there is no God, we must invent one, or we are lost." I hold that it is not sectarian to teach the children of the State that there is a God. It is not sectarian to teach the children of the State reverence for God's eternal law. It is not sectarian to teach the children of the State the eternal truths which lie behind all creeds and which teach the relations which bind man to man, and man to God.

At the time that Bishop Kemper was made Missionary Bishop, loving hearts planned to found Kemper College at St. Louis. The Rev. Henry Caswell and others secured the donation of valuable books from England; but Kemper College failed, and a new Church College at Palmyra became heir to these rare books. The college failed during the Civil War, and hearing that the library was to be sold, I secured it, and it was the beginning of our present Seabury Library.

Among other interesting books was one given by John Henry Newman, in which he had written, "This book was bought for me at Leipsic, by Pusey."

A valuable set of books is the copy of Tichendorf's facsimile of the New Testament discovered in the Convent on Mt. Sinai, which was the gift of the Emperor of Russia through my esteemed friend Hiram Sibley, President of the Western Union Telegraph Company. When Mr. Sibley was invited by the Emperor to visit Russia to confer about the overland telegraph, he asked me what he could bring me, and I told him of my desire to secure a copy of this valuable manuscript. He applied for it to the Minister of Public Instruction, who declined the request on the ground that he could not give the work to an American college. The following day the Emperor sent it as a personal gift to Mr. Sibley, who gave it to me.

A few years before the death of Bishop Whitting-ham, I visited him on my way to Washington, and he said to me:--

"I hear that you have erected for your theological school a library building. I am deeply interested in your school. For many years I have offered to give my library to the diocese of Maryland on the condition that they would provide a suitable library building. No steps have been taken to secure this, and I am going to give the library to you for Seabury."

It was the most valuable theological library in the American Church, and I felt that it ought to belong to Maryland as a memorial to her great bishop. I called upon the Rev. Dr. Leeds and told him of the bishop's offer, and urged him to see that a library building was at once provided. This was done, and Maryland has the great treasure of the best diocesan library in the United States.

The Chapel of Seabury, built in memory of her brother by my friend Miss Mary Coles of Philadelphia, is beautiful and doubly dear because the gift of one of the early helpers in our missionary work. Miss Coles is the daughter of Governor Coles, who prevented Illinois from becoming a slave state.

My heart is full as I recall the friends who in times of greatest perplexity helped me,--among them Kobert M. Mason, who gave me the love of his great heart. My first meeting with Mr. Mason was in Paris in 1866. Mrs. Mason was then on the borderland where the light of heaven rested on her brow; and it was my privilege to visit her often during my stay and to administer to her the Holy Communion.

On the death of Mrs. Mason, after Mr. Mason had returned to America, he came to Faribault to pay me a visit. He looked over all my plans and visited my schools, then in their infancy, and his words of commendation and his assistance were a tower of strength to me. I owe no deeper debt of gratitude than to the memory of this beloved friend, and to his daughters who have always given me their generous help.


My dear Bishop: My whole journey has been one of great pleasure and instruction;--it has opened a new vision to me of the great and beautiful Western country, which one must see to realize.

No instance of my travels has given me so much unmixed gratification as my visit to your charming family circle. I shall always recur to it with lively remembrances of all I saw and heard.

You may well feel encouraged about your schools,--both girls' and boys'. It is a great work to implant in young minds foundations for future advancement and usefulness--especially in the great and growing West, where population is coming in so fast, a population upon which the future of the country so much depends.

Universal education is essential to the liberties of a free country,--it is what distinguishes our nation above all others and gives it the great moral influence it possesses.

God will bless your work commenced with so much faith and prosecuted with so much energy and zeal.

I am astonished to see what you have done,--the good which is coming from it, aye, has come, is so apparent that there cannot be a doubt you are in the right path. That happy gathering of young girls, being instructed under such influence, impresses me deeply.

I only fear for you, my dear Bishop, that your labors will prove too great for your strength. That Cathedral must be finished, I want to see it done, and I will come to the consecration; it is a fine structure, correctly designed and executed.

You must try to come to see me at Newport. Yours ever,

With warm regards,

Stuart Brown of Messrs. Brown Brothers, Bankers, sent me a thousand dollars to buy the first cattle for the Indians. Mr. and Mrs. H. D. Aldrich and the latter's venerated mother, Mrs. Wyman, never faltered in their faith in our work; and William B. Douglas and his sister Mrs. Merritt have again and again made me their almoner.

Dr. Isaac Lea of Philadelphia, his daughter Fanny, and his son Mr. Carey Lea, now in Paradise, were my helpers in all good work, while the names of Mr. and Mrs. George "W. Corliss, Samuel D. Babcock, H. H. Houston, J. Pierpont Morgan, and others are written on my heart.

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