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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 XXI

ON my return to Minnesota I was deeply gratified to find that my work had been so faithfully cared for by my clergy during my illness. I wish that time would permit me to speak of each of these dear brothers and to tell the story of their labors.

The Rev. Edward Livermore, descended from generations of gifted men, came to the diocese in 1860, and was for many years the only missionary in the southwestern part of the state. Mr. Livermore, a High Churchman, and one of the most loyal men who ever gladdened a bishop's heart, received the following tribute:--

On one of my visitations to a certain parish a woman came to me, with face beaming with satisfaction, and exclaimed, "Bishop, I am so glad that you sent us that dear evangelical preacher, for if you had sent us a High Churchman it would have ruined our work."

The Rev. David Buel Knickerbacker, afterward Bishop of Indiana, was a leader in the missionary field. He was an untiring worker and a devoted parish priest, whose willing feet led him to homes of sickness and sorrow, and to seek the neglected and the stranger.

The Rev. Dr. Paterson was the devoted and scholarly rector of St. Paul's Church, St. Paul; the Rev. Dr. van Ingen, the eloquent rector of Christ's Church, St. Paul; and the Rev. S. Y. McMasters, an encyclopaedia of science and history.

The Rev. Edward R. Welles of Red Wing represented the Holy Herbert in the diocese; and the Rev. Charles Woodward, rather than abandon his mission, walked nine miles and back five days in the week to teach school in St. Paul.

One of the most original of my clergy was the Rev. Benjamin Evans, at one time a city missionary in New York. At one of his stations he alluded in his sermon to the miracles of our Lord. A sceptic arose and said:--

"We do not believe in miracles, and if you believe in them, will you explain that story about the quails which fell six feet thick about the camp of Israel? We think it a lie."

"My friend," said Mr. Evans, calmly, "there are people who are listening to my sermon; if I stop to talk to you they will lose it. Next Sunday I will preach a sermon on quails if you will be present."

The next Sunday the school-house was crowded with an eager congregation. Mr. Evans began his sermon by saying:--

"Do not think, my friends, that you will solve all the difficulties of the Bible by opening a commentary. I once saw in a commentary that these quail might have been locusts. Moses knew the difference between a grasshopper and a bird. The psalmist says, ' They fed on feathered fowl,' and so they did. Is the gentleman here who interrupted me last Sunday? "The man arose and Mr. Evans asked, "Can you tell me how many of the children of Israel were going from Egypt to Canaan?"

"No," was the answer.

"Can you tell me the time of the year that this happened?"


"Can you tell me the character of the country?"


"Can you tell me whether the quail is a migratory bird?"


To each of twelve questions the sceptic answered, No. Then sadly turning to the congregation Mr. Evans continued:--

"Brethren, here is one of your neighbors who proposes to trample the Bible under his feet in the suspicion that he has found in it a lie. You will bear me witness that he cannot answer any one of the questions necessary to understand the story of the quails. Is there any one present who has lived in New England? "

"I came from New Hampshire," replied a man.

"Did you," asked Mr. Evans, "ever see immense flocks of pigeons fly over the country against a strong wind?"

"Very often," was the answer, "and they fly so low that I have knocked them down with a club."

"True," exclaimed Mr. Evans. "Now the children of Israel had no guns, and that strong wind caused the quail to fly so low that it was a simple matter to supply the camp with food."

The doubter took his seat effectively silenced. I once had an appointment at a border town, and being overtaken by a storm I stopped at a log house to warm myself. The owner after greeting me said:--

"Bishop, I hear you are going to preach at ------ to-night. I reckon you'll have a lively time, for an infidel who has been giving lectures there says he is going to tackle you."

My sermon that night was on the love of God in Christ Jesus, and the blessedness of His service; the text, "Whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother." At the close of the service a man came forward, and standing in front of me, said:--

"Bishop, I want to know if your Church believes in hell?"

I looked at him quietly and answered:--

"If you want to know what I believe on this subject I will tell you a story which covers my faith. A devout old negro slave had a young niece who seemed bound to go the wrong way. One evening the child came bounding into the cabin from some scoffer's gathering, and exclaimed:--

"Aunty, Ise done gwine to b'leve in hell no more. If dere done be any hell, Ise like ter know whar dey gits de brimstone fur it! "

The old Aunty turned her eyes sorrowfully upon the girl and answered, with tears running down her cheeks:--

"Oh, honey darlin', look dat yer doesn't go dere; you done find dey all takes dere own brimstone wid 'em."

Some of the dearest memories of my episcopate are connected with the Rev. George L. Chase, one of the gentlest and wisest men I have ever known. He was a student of my own theological teacher, the Rev. Dr. W. D. Wilson, and came to me from the diocese of western New York an invalid; but he was one of the earnest souls who say, "Woe is me if I preach not the gospel of Christ." He was an artist, a scholar, a man of affairs, and added to all other graces he had a passionate love for men who sin and suffer. He was loyal to the Church. As he had authority to preach the gospel he believed that it was his privilege to preach it wherever men would hear. Many a missionary journey have we had together, holding wayside services under every manner of roof.

One bright winter day, before the advent of railways, we left St. Anthony's Falls for a fifty-mile drive to the Mille Lacs lumber camps. The temperature was thirty degrees below zero, but our Arctic garments defied cold. How well I remember the creaking of the sledge runners, the music of the bells, the rime on bush and forest tree and, as the sun went down, the "sun-dogs." As we drove up to the camp there was a chorus of welcomes to "Parson George," and scrutinizing glances at his bishop to see if he were a "tenderfoot" or to the manor born.

The enormous log house of the camp contained a long front room flanked by a tier of bunks on either side, filled with hay. In the centre of the room stood a huge monster in the shape of an iron stove, always kept at a red heat, and around which hung the drying wardrobes of the men. In the rear there was another large room with a kitchen at one end, presided over by the most honored man in the camp, the cook, with his assistant "cookee."

Soon after our arrival supper was called, and such a supper! Great pans of baked beans, haunches of venison, beef and pork, every variety of vegetable and the best of tea and coffee. The lumbermen in those days lived most sumptuously.

After the table was cleared and the men had seated themselves, I made a few explanations of the service, saying that it was the asking of God our Father for the things needed; that the hymns were God's praises; and that the reading of the Bible was the hearing of His message. As the hymn was given out there was a hushed stillness; the words "Jesus Lover of my Soul" seemed to awaken memories of a far-off home or some village church, for here and there could be heard and seen the trembling of a voice, and the hasty brushing away of a tear. The heart was so deeply moved after looking into the bronzed faces of those sons of Anak, that out of its own fulness, the love of Jesus Christ was poured. They were deeply moved, and after the benediction there was neither noise nor laughter as they went to their bunks.

As a rule the men were reverent in behavior. On one occasion, however, a young man tried to excite a laugh during the service, upon which the chief lumberman seized the offender by the collar with the words: "Were you brought up in a Christian land? I'll teach you how to behave to a minister!" and putting him out into the freezing night he added, "Stay there, till you can act like a Christian."

When we asked the hour for rising, one of the men answered:--

"The boss is a kind man, and is so afraid that the boys will be hungry that he gets us up in the night to feed us."

Long before daylight breakfast was ready, the horses fed, and before sunrise men and teams were far away.

I wish I could describe the four-horse teams,--a sight to make Rosa Bonheur glad,--the stalwart axemen, who with quick, deep strokes fell the giants of the forest; the shout," Look out for the widow-makers," as the tree falls, leaving broken limbs (the widow-makers) suspended from the next tree; the rolling of the fragrant logs on the sledges, and the banking on the stream.

During the visitation we held two services on Sunday in the lumber camps and one every evening. A delegation waited on me after one of the services and said:--

"We hear you have been to the land where they say our Saviour lived. If there really is such a place, will you tell us about it?"

I promised to give them a lecture on Palestine the following Sunday, and when the evening came, the camp was packed with eager listeners, many of whom had walked over five miles in the snow to hear of the place trodden by the blessed feet of the Saviour.

One reason why men do not heed the gospel is because they do not hear the gospel preached. Men who sin and suffer care little for philosophy, but they will hang on the words of one who tells of Jesus Christ as if he were a messenger bringing pardon. I would not sit in judgment on the sermons of the clergy. I have heard many poor sermons, and I do not recall one which would not have helped me, had I treasured the grain of God's truth which it contained. But it is true that in religion, as in all other things, men will listen to one who believes implicitly in his message. You cannot make others believe until you believe yourself. I am afraid that when we preach to men who have not learned repentance and faith, about the highest Christian mysteries, we come near "casting pearls before swine." The first and deepest foundation is faith in Jesus Christ; and when men have this, all His lessons are easy. The early Church had special teaching for its catechumens.

Another of my beloved clergy was the Rev. Edward C. Bill. While a student at Annandale College he heard me deliver a missionary address and became deeply interested in missionary work. He came to Faribault and entered Seabury Divinity School. After the burning of Seabury Hall I took him to my home, and for two years he was a member of my family. He possessed a most brilliant mind, although afflicted with deafness and partial blindness. If he were given the leading arguments of an author, he would fill in the outlines as if he had made a study of the work. After some years of service in the Cathedral he became Professor of Liturgies in Sea-bury Divinity School, and endowed a professorship.

Time would fail me to tell of the splendid work done by men like the Rev. Timothy Wilcoxen, the Rev. J. S. Chamberlain, the Rev. George Du Bois and a host of others.

While my diocesan work had been well cared for during my absence, I found that Indian affairs had gone from bad to worse. The Rev. Enmegahbowh was residing temporarily at Mille Lacs. The legislature had demanded the removal of all Indians from Minnesota; and the authorities at Washington had prepared a treaty by which the Chippewas were to relinquish their lands and remove to a country north of Leech Lake, and a special agent was sent to negotiate the treaty. The man was without the slightest knowledge of Indian character. He came to see me and begged me to help him make the treaty. After examining the paper I said:--

"The Indians will not sign this treaty; they are not fools. This is the poorest strip of land in Minnesota, and is unfit for cultivation.' You propose to take their arable land, their best hunting-ground, their rice fields, and their fisheries, and give them a country where they cannot live without the support of the Government."

The agent was angry and replied:--

"If you will not help me, I will negotiate it without your help."

"You can try it," I replied, "but you will certainly fail."

He called all the Indians together at Crow Wing, and made this speech to them:--

"My friends, your Great Father has heard how much you have been wronged, and he determined to send an honest man to treat with you. He looked in the North, the South, the East, and the West, and when he saw me he said, ' There is an honest man; I will send him to my red children.' My red brothers, the winds of fifty-five winters have blown over my head and have silvered it with gray. In all that time I have never done wrong to a single human being. As the representative of the Great Father and as your friend, I advise you to sign this treaty at once."

As quickly as a flash of lightning, old Sha-bosh-kung, the head chief of the Mille Lacs band, sprang to his feet, and said:--

"My father, look at me! The winds of fifty-five winters have blown over my head and have silvered it with gray. But--they haven t blown my brains away! "

He sat down, and all the Indians shouted, "Ho! Ho! Ho! "That ended the council.

Shaboshkung has always been noted for his wit. A party of surveyors were lost in the Mille Lacs forest, and after wandering about for two days, reached Shaboshkung's village. They asked the chief for food. Shaboshkung told his wife to prepare dinner, and when it was ready he sat down with his family, leaving the hungry surveyors standing outside. After they had finished Shaboshkung told his wife to prepare another meal, and he then invited the white men to sit down, saying:--

"Perhaps you wonder why I did not ask you to eat with me. When I was in Washington the Great Father told me that if I wanted to be happy in this world and go to the good place when I die, I must keep my eyes open and see what the white man does, and then follow his example. I did this, and saw that the rich white man never asked the poor man to eat at his table; and if of another color, he would not receive him as a guest. To-day I am the rich man; you are poor and of another color. My friends, I want to be happy in this world, and I want to go to the good place when I die, so I have followed the Great Father's advice."

I have spoken of the Indian's quickness at repartee. An Indian agent, who was a militia colonel, desired to impress the Indians with the magnitude of his dignity. He dressed himself in full uniform, with his sword by his side, and rising in the council told them that one reason why the Great Father had had so much trouble with his red children was that he had sent civilians to them.

"You are warriors," he said, "and when the Great Father saw me, he said, ' I will send this man who is a great warrior to my red children, who are warriors, and they will hear his words.'"

An old chief arose, and surveying the speaker from head to foot, said calmly:--

"Since I was a small boy I have heard that white men had great warriors. I have always wanted to see one. I have looked upon one, and now I am ready to die."

Sha-ko-pee, one of the leaders in the massacre of 1862, was a prisoner in Fort Snelling under the sentence of death. He said to Dr. Daniels, who was visiting him:--

"What will the white men do to me?"

"I think you will be hanged," the doctor answered.

With a quiet smile, Shakopee replied: "I am not afraid to die. When I go into the spirit world I will look the Great Spirit in the face and I will tell Him what the whites did to my people before we went to war. He will do right. I am not afraid."

Colonel Meacham, when talking with Captain Jack, the head chief of the Modocs, after the massacre of General Canby, spoke of the treachery of the Indians and their acts of cruelty. Captain Jack replied:--

"I have done many bad things, but not so bad as your men have done. Forty-seven Modocs were killed when we came in under a flag of truce. The wigwam of an old bedridden woman was set on fire, and the woman burned to death. There would have been no war if white men had kept their word."

A clergyman who was visiting Captain Jack in prison, after describing heaven as a place where the streets were paved with gold and the houses built of precious stone, said:--

"And if you repent of your wickedness in fighting good white men, the Great Spirit will permit you to go to this place."

Captain Jack listened politely, and then asked, "Do you think you will go to that place?"

"Yes," was the answer, "if I should die to-day, I should be there before night."

"If you will take my place," was the response, "and be hanged to-morrow, I will give you forty ponies."

The offer was not accepted.

The following extract from one of Enmegahbowh's letters shows how keenly the Indians feel their wrongs.

The first treaty my people made was the most imposing gathering I have ever witnessed. The chief of each band wore the colors of his rank. His suit of clothing was made of the best dressed skins and furs gorgeously decorated. His firm and independent step and his demeanor indicated his strength and purity. Do I say his strength and purity? I say it knowingly from my own experience. His growth was from the purest seed--an offspring which had not been contaminated by the white man's manufactured drug. He drank the purest water, he ate the purest food, he breathed the purest air, as when the first man breathed it in the new created world. He drank no devil's spittle to burn, away his brains; he was a happy human being. There was a great crowd of warriors at that treaty, each wearing his eagle plumes which told of his bravery in battle and of the enemies he had slain. After the treaty, the great war chief, Hole-in-the-Day said:--

"A fatal treaty! Kuh quab ne sah gab nig! Kub quah ne sab gab nig! Woe, woe be to my people! Woe, woe be to my people!"

Why did he say this? Our fathers had predicted that the day would come when a great and beautiful bird would appear, and sing a most captivating song to our people; that the songs could not be resisted. I think it was at this treaty that some of our people first saw silver and gold dollars. I knew a girl who took her gold dollar to a trader and bought three yards of calico; she came home much pleased and said, "Mother, see what that little gold piece bought." "My daughter, that was a great deal, go back with my two gold dollars and get me calico."

A great crowd of mixed bloods came to the treaty. Every man, woman, and child who had a drop of Indian blood in his veins was there. They loved the Indians and were proud of their Indian blood. Their speakers said, "Grandfathers, fathers, uncles, and nephews, we are glad to come to your Council.

We ask to have a share in our payment, and we make an oath as long as you shall receive annual payments we shall never come again to the treaty ground." How many years was the solemn oath kept? Just one year; for the next payment all the mixed bloods were there. The next time that our dear mixed bloods expressed their love for us was at the payment where they asked their grandfathers, fathers, uncles, and nephews to give each mixed blood one hundred and sixty acres of land and promised solemnly that never would they or their children ask for land again. I cannot tell all, but here is one family with not only sons and daughters, but great-grandsons and great-granddaughters. In 1842 they each received one hundred and sixty acres of land, and their share of land is, in 1842, two thousand three hundred and twenty acres of land, and in 1898, five thousand one hundred and twenty acres of land. Bishop, take a long pause before you speak. Rather! Rather!! too much! Yes, I say positively, too much!

Yes, you have drawn us into a helpless position. You try to please us with pleasant smiles. It is not a smile; it is a grimace, and you sing the interesting song, "Hail Columbia," and all we can do is to cry, HELP! Plenty of big promises given, but alas! we cannot eat and be satisfied with promises. My old friend, Chief Pa-ka-nuh-waush said: "My friend, I am afraid to move East or West. I am standing by a precipice, to move in any direction I fall to be no more."

It would weary my readers to go on with the sad story. The picture drawn by Enmegahbowh of a payment at Sandy Lake, where he was a teacher, is almost too heartrending to be described, but it is one of the footlights. He says:--

The Indians from all the Mississippi lands, Mille Lacs, Gull Lake, Leech Lake, and Pokeguma were present. The old Sandy Point was covered with wigwams. The first day they received their beautiful well-colored flour hard with lumps, and pork heavily perfumed. The old chief brought me some of both and said, "Is this fit to eat? "I said, « No, it is not fit to eat." But the Indians were hungry and they ate it. About ten o'clock at night, the first gun was fired. You well know, Bishop, that the Indians fire a gun when a death occurs. An hour after another gun was fired, and then another and another, until it seemed death was in every home. That night twenty children died, and the next day as many more, and so for five days and five nights the deaths went on. Oh, it was dreadful! Weeping and wailing everywhere! I and my companion were dumb. All the time women were coming to ask if this disease were contagious. As the deaths increased, wigwams were deserted, and the inmates fled to the forest. They buried their dead in haste, often without clothing. The chiefs prophecy was true: "A fatal treaty! Woe, woe be to my people."

Bishop, when these dear victims strewed along the pathless wilderness shall hear the great trumpet sound and shall point to those who caused their death, it will be dreadful! My friend, Chief Pakanuhwaush, has just come in. I asked him how many died at the payment of Sandy Lake. He said, over three hundred. These are tales of woe which some day shall be made known. The Great Spirit knows them all.

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