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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 XXXVII

WE had ideal weather and a smooth sea for the beautiful trip from Oban to Iona, where we were met at the island by the Rt. Rev. J. R. A. Chinnery Haldane, Bishop of Argyll and the Isles, one of the fathers of the Cowley Mission, and a grandson of the Duke of Argyll, to whom the island belongs and to whose interest in its historical remains is due their preservation. The wild and picturesque island must be of peculiar interest to Christian hearts as having been the abode of St. Columba, the apostle of Scotland, whose mission resulted in the spread of Christianity throughout Scotland and the neighboring islands, and who died the year that Augustine landed in Kent. It was a true prophecy of St. Columba, that this island, the scene of his labors, would become the burying place of kings, and be visited by pilgrims from many lands; for here kings were interred as late as 1040 A.D., the last one, I believe, having been Duncan of Macbeth fame.

Of some three hundred or more crosses which stood on the island before the Reformation, only two or three remain. The mention of these crosses recalls the Tennyson Memorial at Freshwater, on the Isle of Wight, which was unveiled by the Dean of Westminster in August of 1897, upon which occasion I was asked to be present and to preach the sermon on the following Sunday in the parish church of the poet. The beautiful Iona cross of Cornish granite stands on the summit of the rugged downs which Tennyson loved, a beacon to sailors, and a memorial of the love of the poet's friends in England and America. After a short and impressive service by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord and Lady Tennyson gave Mrs. Whipple and me a charming welcome at Farringford, which breathes in its peaceful atmosphere the presence of that great soul who there lived and worked and, passing on, left to the world a precious heritage. Dean Bradley, who was one of the personal friends of the poet, entertained us by reminiscences of his life and sayings.

The following letter from Lord Tennyson voices the spirit of his father "who being dead speaketh":--


My dear Bishop: These new evidences of friendship between England and America are indeed glorious. The Anglo-Saxon League is within the sphere of practical politics, and when that is consummated there will be in existence the greatest factor yet known toward Christianity, peace and prosperity of the world.

The Queen has just appointed me Governor of South Australia--a territory more than twice the size of France and Germany put together. Think of me sometimes there. I have accepted the office as a work of patriotism because I think I can help in Federation of Australia. It is a great wrench, and I hate leaving my father's beautiful homes--but duty clearly calls.

In kindest remembrance,
Yours ever,

We were fortunate in having the perfection of Scottish weather in the Highlands, made up of eqxial parts of sunshine, shower, and silver mist. While at In-veraray I had hoped to take a salmon from the laughing waters as a tonic for my autumn work. My fisherman's heart leaped at the thought of my favorite recreation when Lord George Campbell kindly gave me the privilege of the salmon fishing. But the weather was unusually cold for the season, and when I learned that for several days five rods had taken only one small grilse, I resisted the temptation, having no desire to injure my apostolic character as a fisherman.

My first acquaintance with the Duke of Argyll, who is beloved and honored by scholars everywhere, was through his daughter, Lady Mary Glyn. His "Reign of Law," interestingly alluded to in the following letter, is one of the most helpful books to bewildered men that has appeared in this Century.

INVERARAY, Nov. 23rd, 1890.

Dear Bishop: My daughter, Mary Glyn, has sent me a most kind message from you, for which I desire to thank you. I was very sorry indeed not to meet you when you were in London,--all the more, as I was for a few minutes in the same room with you at the reception given by our excellent and charming friend, Mrs. Phelps, on the 4th of July. But the crowd was so great that I was unable to see you.

It is always a great gratification to me when I hear that any of my books have been of use to people in the New World, and any testimony to that effect from you is doubly valuable.

The "difficulties "which beset belief take different forms at different times in the world's history; and it was not without personal knowledge that I addressed myself to the idea of blind "Law" being the supreme agency in the universe, because I knew that this conception was firmly seated in many most highly educated and intellectual natures, to such an extent that Prayer was considered an absurdity. . . .

I have to thank you for having kindly sent to me a copy of your address dated June 22d which I have read with the greatest interest and pleasure. I wish your spirit of liberality and common sense, as well as of Christian love, reigned in all hearts and heads as it reigns in yours! . . .

We have lately lost the late Bishop of St. Albans, and a terrible loss he is to his family. I heard him speak very warmly of you when he met you in London.

I am, Dear Bishop Whipple,

Yours very sincerely,


While staying at Cromer with my friend Mrs. Locker-Lampson, the widow of Frederick Locker the poet, whom I loved, I recall a pleasant visit to Lady Catherine Buxton, the names of whose family are so intertwined with missions. Lady Buxton, who is the daughter of the great emancipator Gurney, and niece of Elizabeth Frye, with whom she spent her girlhood and whose name is cherished wherever the cause of suffering humanity is dear, has preserved the traditions of her family in her personal devotion to the brown and black races.

An interesting incident occurred at Cromer in connection with a missionary address which I made in the parish church, in which I mentioned the fact that the chaplain of Sir Martin Frobisher, Admiral in the English Navy, held the first recorded service in America in the Bay of Newfoundland. The following morning the wife and daughter of the only lineal descendant of Sir Martin Frobisher came to tell me that by chance they had found themselves in Cromer for a few days, and having been present at my morning address learned the interesting fact connected with their ancestor, for the first time. They were living on the property given to Sir Martin Frobisher by Queen Elizabeth on his return to England from the above-mentioned visit to America in 1583.

I must here pay a tribute to my old friend, Sir Curtis Lampson, who was one of the most remarkable Americans I have ever known, and who was a tower of strength in the dark days of our Civil War. He was vice-president and manager of the Hudson Bay Fur Company, and we were first drawn together from a common interest in the North American Indians. It was for his valuable service connected with the laying of the Atlantic cable that the Queen conferred a baronetcy upon him.

Two incidents will give an idea of the man's character. After the failure of the first Atlantic cable, its friends proposed a dinner at which there should be presented facts showing the feasibility of laying a new cable. A friend came to see Sir Curtis Lampson and said:--"I met------of the Confederate Navy to-day, and invited him to be present at our dinner."

"I am sorry," was the quiet reply, "for it deprives me of the privilege of being present."

"But," said his friend, "you are the only man that can make the financial statement. I will see ------ and withdraw my invitation on the ground of the large number which have already been issued."

"No," answered Sir Curtis, "tell him the truth, that Curtis Lampson, an American citizen, has not set foot on his native soil for twenty-eight years, but he has not forgotten his love of country so far as to sit at table with a man educated by his country, who violates the oath of allegiance by entering the service of the Confederate states, and is in London to promote their interests, which means the ruin of my country."

He warned Lord John Russell, who was his friend, that if England built piratical cruisers for the South she would pay for all the damages which these cruisers inflicted on the commerce of the United States. At that period the United States had very few friends in England, and our bonds were sold at a less price than the Confederates'. An acquaintance of Sir Curtis Lampson, on his departure for India, sold a large number of United States bonds, and, investing the money in Confederate bonds, asked my friend to deposit them in his vault. On his return after the Civil War he went to Sir Curtis, and said:--

"I know, of course, that I have ruined myself by my foolish investment."

Sir Curtis left the room, and in a few minutes returned with a package which he held out, saying, "I did not mean to have you ruined, and after you sailed I took the responsibility and sold your Confederates, and bought United States bonds, which you will find here."

On an early visit to England I met Dr. Sir Henry Ackland, Fellow of the Royal Society, and Physician to the Prince of Wales. He was one of the most interesting men in Oxford, and I was under many obligations to him for his rare hospitality. The winter following our first meeting he visited me at Men-tone. I remember in one of our conversations he stated some of the objections which a class of scientific men were making against revealed religion, and asked me how I would answer them. I said:--

"I am not a scientific man, but I will ask you a question. Do you not, in your investigations, frequently come to places where you are obliged to bridge a gulf by an hypothesis?"

"Certainly," he replied, "all scientific men know that."

"Then," I continued, "if the poorest charwoman in England, who believes in a personal God revealed in the gospel as our Heavenly Father, has an hypothesis which lifts her over the difficulties that beset her, why is it not the best hypothesis for the greatest scholar?"

"That is capital," he responded. "I shall develop this line of argument in a lecture'."

Some months later he sent me a beautiful essay setting forth the thought that the key to all mysteries was the existence of a personal God, and that belief in Him was a necessity of thought.

NICE, January 28th, 1870.

My dear Bishop: I cannot tell you the pleasure which my visit to Mentone gave me, and the instructive words which you were so good to express to me left an impression of pleasxire such as cannot be effaced. I must add your great kindness and that of Mrs. Davis quite shamed me. I think you forgave me for bringing the two boys--it was so great a treat for them, and they were (being very intelligent) so pleased to be taken and to be allowed to see you that I could not avoid it.

Mr. Lee called at my hotel yesterday, and alas! the concierge was not sharp enough to say that I was all day always next door with my daughter, only going to the Hotel to sleep. At midnight I got his card and went early this morning to his Hotel, but he was out. I am sorry. I leave for England in a couple of hours. My daughter was, I need not say, amazed at the splendor of her bouquet, as was I. For in our cloudy climate such a sight was never seen. She sincerely hopes you may some day be able to see her if you come to Nice. She is young, but would get much pleasure and advantage too in your conversation.

Will you, if you think of it, show her the copy of the letter of the Widow Chief.

I am, my dear Bishop, most faithfully and respectfully yrs,


The following letter shows the faith of a great mind:--

OXFORD, April 30th, 1899.

My dearest and kindest friend, Bishop of Minnesota: I have read this morning the report on the education of the negroes which you gave me. What problems of mankind are ever before you, physical, spiritual, and social! I have a feeling that these are all at their highest in the United States. I often feel that had I not been sent with the Prince of Wales in 1860 to Canada and the States, a great part of such education on "Man as he is," would not have been given me. . . .

However important all Public Health administration may be, it is certain that the Life of the Gospel is the Way and the Truth for man, wherever he be and howsoever he came.

The clever manner in which you spoke to me of the true relation of the Supreme Being as father to man, and of man to the Father and Creator of all things visible and invisible, states the whole relation, in a few words, of Science, so-called, to Spiritual truth and our Blessed Lord.

I have read and reread your address on All Saints Day. I am right glad that you have set forth the range of profound religious thought such as is in this address, and such as you touched on so impressively when you were good enough to speak to me in my room. I am most thankful that you are about to publish a record of your life-work. It will be invaluable in many ways throughout the whole Church Catholic, and at a time of such unhappy discussions and angry differences as have been carried on in the public papers by members of the Church, Clerical and Lay, during the past year.

I have sent you a parcel containing three small volumes in a certain way of more than local interest. One by my eldest brother on Knowledge, Duty, Faith.

The second, a memoir of one whom you will remember. The third, an old sketch of the organization of the Oxford Museum for Scientific Education, chiefly on account of some remarkable letters from Ruskin. But as to the Museum as it now is, I shall hope to send you by and by a remarkable fact in relation to Keble College and the Bishop of Rochester, its first warden. I am so glad that you and the Bishop of Rochester know and love each other.

O, I wish I could see you again.

May I send my most grateful respects and remembrances to Lady Ashburton for Auld Lang Syne.

With my duty and respects to Mrs. Whipple, I am, My dear Bishop of Minnesota,

Gratefully and affectionately yours,


While a guest of that most charming of hosts, Sir Henry Holland, I recall a breakfast of especial interest when Lord Houghton, Ranke the historian, Lord Salisbury, George Lewes, and several other interesting men were present. It was my misfortune that some of the guests were so much interested in my work in the New "West, that they would ply me with questions when I preferred to listen to the men of world-wide reputation. I was asked by Lewes what I thought of Maurice's last book. I said that Maurice's love for humanity and belief in the Fatherhood of God as revealed in Jesus Christ was worthy of the highest approval, but that I was obliged to confess that I could not follow some of his nebulous philosophy. It seemed to amuse Mr. Lewes greatly, and he exclaimed:--"That is good. I am delighted, and I shall tell Maurice when I breakfast with him to-morrow."

It is a pleasant memory that years after this, when preaching in St. Paul's Church, Rome, upon the infinite love and hopefulness of our Heavenly Father as revealed in Jesus Christ, I noticed a man in the congregation who seemed deeply impressed, and frequently wiped the tears from his cheeks. As he looked up I recognized Lord Houghton.

The following day, at a lunch given to me by Mr. W. W. Story, I found among other distinguished guests, Lord Houghton. He told me how deeply he had been moved by my sermon, and exclaimed with emotion, "It was a sweet and blessed truth!" He followed me into the ante-room, upon my departure, and asked for my blessing, which I gave with a full heart. It was our last meeting.

Sir Henry Holland's marvellous experience and keen memory made his reminiscences a delight to his friends. He published some of them for private circulation and kindly sent me a copy. By his study fire I have listened by the hour to his rare stories, many of them of the sparkling wit of Sydney Smith, his father-in-law. He was the soul of punctuality, and when he invited his friends to a nine o'clock breakfast he would say, "Nine means nine" and at the stroke of the hour he sat down to the table whether his guests had arrived or not. His conversations were a panorama of history.

As we were looking over his books he would take down one after another of the rare volumes, giving a brief statement as to how it came into his possession as: "This was Canning's Virgil; he gave it to me on his death-bed." Or, "I was consulting physician to Sir Walter Scott, and he gave me this copy of his works." And so on, until we were surrounded by old friends.

He turned to my daughter who was with me, one evening, and asked: "Nellie, are you fond of dancing? Then let me tell you of an episode which happened when I was a member of Queen Caroline's suite. A ball was given in the Queen's honor by the King of Italy, Murat. He was her partner, and I was in the adjoining set. A message was suddenly brought to the King, upon which he excused himself to the Queen, saying that it was a matter of state business. He did not return to the ball, and the next morning we learned that the message which had come to him informed him that Napoleon had escaped from Elba.

"One day," he continued, "I was dining at Holland House and an urgent message to visit a sick man miles away was brought to me. I drove as quickly as I could to a dingy part of the town, and in the third story of a very shabby house I found an emaciated Frenchman lying very ill, and kneeling by his side a beautiful woman bathed in tears. The Frenchman, Nellie, was Louis Napoleon, and the weeping woman was his mother, Queen Hortense."

Sir Henry Holland had visited almost every part of the world. He was a warm friend of America, and during the Civil War was a great assistance to the Commission which President Lincoln sent to England to show the English people the true character of the struggle for national existence.

The Rev. Henry Caswell of Filedean, at whose hospitable home I spent a delightful week, came to America and was ordained by Bishop Chase of Ohio. Mr. Caswell, feeling it a wrong to a sister Church that England did not allow any one to officiate who had been ordained by bishops of the American Church, believed that if he were to receive ordination by an American bishop that it would lead to a recognition by Parliament of American Orders. And so it proved, for on his return to England his Orders were recognized by the Government, and he received a living.

While in America he had an interview with Joseph Smith, the prophet and founder of the Mormons at Nauvoo, to whom he showed a Hebrew manuscript written on vellum, asking him if he could read it. In the presence of the elders Smith put the sacred stone which he called Urim and Thummim into a hat and after some thought proceeded to translate the manuscript, reading from left to right. Mr. Caswell remarked quietly:--"This manuscript is read by scholars from right to left, and they say that it is written in Hebrew."

The prophet was enraged, and the excitement became so general that Mr. Caswell was advised to leave Nauvoo by the steamer then at the dock.

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