Project Canterbury

The See-Principle and the Cathedral Church
Practically Considered with Reference to the Diocese of Wisconsin

Milwaukee: Printed by the Milwaukee News, 1878.

To the Rectors of the Several Parishes of Milwaukee,


The Churchmen of the city of Milwaukee have been greatly concerned by the late severe illness of the Bishop of the Diocese, and from the reports that have reached us we fear his indisposition may be prolonged. Our solicitude has been increased by the very general impression that one cause of our Bishop's ill health has been the heavy pressure of care and anxiety connected with the church in Milwaukee, and particularly with the so called All Saints Cathedral.

Before the election of Bishop Armitage, this Diocese had considered favorably what is known as the "See System" in ecclesiastical administration; and some years afterward the Cathedral was announced as an essential feature of that System. To the present time, however, we understand that no authoritative declaration of the canonical status of the Cathedral has ever been made: that the Bishop's relation to it has never been defined; and that the relation of its clergy and congregation to the other parishes of the city remains indefinite. Causes of doubt and even of alarm to the undersigned have, from time to time, arisen in connection with it; so that at the present time we feel confident in the assertion that it certainly does not attract the sympathy of the Parishes of the city. It should have been intended to promote unity, and we believe it has been the occasion of discord, it was to be a rallying point for all our churches round their Bishop, and we feel that it has become a barrier between him and them. It was to be a strength to him, and it seems to us to have imposed fresh burdens on him, while we believe it alienates the helpful sympathies to which our Bishop has a right.

As churchmen and as Christians we cannot but deplore this state of things; and in view of the condition of our Bishop's health, it is imperative that if a remedy can be found, it should be sought at [3/4] once. As the deputies of the Parishes in Milwaukee to the Diocesan Council, it seems to be peculiarly our part to move in the matter; and to you as the Rectors of the several parishes, as adepts in canon law, and as students of ecclesiastical history, we deem it appropriate to apply for information on the subject.

We desire, therefore, to learn the true status of the so-called Cathedral in Milwaukee; whether it is in accordance with the See System; and whether anything can be canonically or otherwise done or undone to relieve the Bishop and to realize the hopes which once existed in the city and the Diocese of establishing a harmonious and efficient organization of the church in this city.

We are well aware that in order to arrive at what is right, it may be needful to examine and expose things that are wrong, if such shall be found. If the parishes have been in fault, let us correct our fault; and if there have been faults or errors elsewhere, let them be pointed out that they may be removed. When our Bishop suffers there is no place for false delicacy or for polite reserve. We beg to say that as the subject in hand is of interest to the whole Diocese, and as action by the Council of the Diocese may be sought, we shall ask your permission to make such use of any answer with which you may favor us, as we may deem to be desirable.

Awaiting your reply we remain, Rev. and dear Sirs,

Your Servants in the Church,

Deputies for St. Paul's Church.

Deputies for St. James' Church.

Deputies for St. John's Church.


To Messrs. J.A. Helfenstein, E.H. Brodhead, Dan'l L. Wells, B.K. Miller, of St. Paul's Church; Messrs. Jas. Kneeland, H.H. Camp, Chas. Webster, D.C. Millett, of St. James' Church; Messrs Wm. Bayley, C.A. Place, D.C. Reed, J.C.U. Niederman, of St. John's Church.

DEAR BRETHREN: Permit, us in acknowledging your esteemed favor, to express to you the satisfaction with which we regard the unity and unanimity of your action in addressing us jointly as your Pastors and Rectors. The affectionate respect and confidence which exist among the clergy and laity of the parishes of Milwaukee could hardly have received a more appropriate expression, or one which from its terms would he more gratifying to ourselves. If it be true that there are causes of confusion among us which retard the progress of the Church's work and lay a needless burden on the Bishop, it seems eminently proper that the chosen deputies of our congregations should take counsel with their clergy, to the end that hindrances may be removed, and the desired relief afforded. It is not to he denied that such confusions do exist; and that, in consequence of these confusions, we find a laity to whose churchly loyalty, ready liberality, and loving dutifulness, we bear grateful testimony, held off and repelled from the united, organized, and effectual work for the Church which they themselves have earnestly de[5/6]sired, and which the Diocese has certainly expected from a frank and sincere adoption of the See Principle. Years of such confusions have produced a spirit of discouragement and a loss of energy, enthusiasm and usefulness. The See, which was to be a centre of churchly energy and power, has never yet become a See in any sense whatever. It is to-day a burden on the Diocese; using for the local Missions of Milwaukee (which these three parishes are abundantly able and willing to support) resources which, iii our opinion, ought to go only to our missionaries in the country; and our one very modest charitable institution, the Church Home, being in such an attitude towards the churchmen who founded it that it is now obliged to appeal for aid to all the Parishes and Missions of the Diocese. That, in the midst of such confusions, the Bishop is deprived of the help and strength which he certainly needs, and which, as we believe, are ready at hand for his acceptance, is a matter of course. That his burden is greater than he ought to bear, or can bear, we are quite convinced. But we are united in the firm conviction that no remedy will be permanently effectual which does not go to the root of the evil, and in our united and deliberate judgment the evil is this:

That the See-Principle which was to unite the churches of Milwaukee in one body, with the Bishop at their head, has never once been put in operation, but, after three delusive and abortive experiments, has been finally abandoned by all but the churchmen of Milwaukee; and,

[7] That, under the name of a Cathedral, a single Parish has been substituted for the See, the Bishop being burdened, with its virtual Rectorship; and, the parishes being reduced, as far as possible, to the position of tributaries to the youngest of their number.

The only remedy we are prepared to propose or to support, is a frank return to the See-Principle as first proposed, and, such a readjustment of the Cathedral as may be necessary under existing circumstances and consistent with a sincere adoption and application of the See-Principle. To the renunciation of that principle, and the unfortunate experiments which have been made in its name, we refer all or nearly all of the disastrous confusions which have for years injured the church in Milwaukee, and which, through no fault in him, have sorely crippled and overburdened the Bishop. In answer to your letter, therefore, we shall endeavor,

1st. To give the history of the See Principle and the Cathedral Church in the Diocese of Wisconsin;

2d. To give some account of the See System of the Primitive Church, and of the Cathedral System which supplanted it in the latter part of the Middle Ages; and

3d. To make certain practical suggestions looking to the relief of the Bishop, through an application of right principles to our existing circumstances.


1. In the First Annual Address of Bishop Armitage to the Diocesan Convention of 1807, the idea of the See Principle was thus introduced (Journal, p. 63):

It was not the least attraction to your Diocese to know that the "See-Principle," in regard to Episcopal work, was expected to be put in operation. By common consent, Milwaukee was to be made the See of the Diocese of Wisconsin, and my residence was virtually fixed in this city by the offers and resolutions which followed my election in your last Convention. Accordingly, in our earliest consultations, the Bishop assigned to me the organization of Church work in this city, with reference to its Diocesan relations. Much of my time has been given, and must still be given, to the effort to strengthen the Church in this centre.

After remarks on the condition and prospects of the parishes in Milwaukee, the Bishop continued. (Journal, pp. 64, 65):

Now the union of these parishes must be the constant aim, both for their own sake, and for that of the Diocese. The growth of institutions among them sustained by all in common, and their co-operation in personal service of one kind and another, must be the means. As the first step, the Milwaukee Church Union was formed, February 18th, an organisation of the men of the various parishes, so simple as to admit of being gradually shaped by experience. A general meeting of the churchmen and women of the city is held monthly, after due preparation for it, by an Executive Committee, at which information and discussion on matters of common interest, make two hours profitable for much good. Each kind of work, as it is taken up, is entrusted to a Standing Committee, elected every six months, which reports progress at each monthly meeting. I mention this to show that the churchmen of Milwaukee contemplate active exertions to make the See a reality, as far as it rests on them. [It ought to be observed that, from that day to this, the churchmen of Milwaukee have stood, and still stand, ready, on the same conditions, to realize "the principle of the See," and "to make, the See a reality," "as far as it rests on them."] The first enterprise of the Union has been the establishment of a Depository of Church Books, Tracts, etc.

This extract shows at a glance, (a) the object which [8/9] the Bishop had in view; (b) the means by which he desired to attain it, and (c) the cause of its failure.

(a.) Bishop Armitage unequivocally recognized "the See-Principle," and his object was "to make the See (of Milwaukee) a reality." Now the See Principle is a very simple thing, including only two indispensable features: 1st, that the Bishop shall have a settled home (Sedes) in a city which is therefore called his See; and 2d, that the Church in the See shall be so organized under the Bishop as to secure a maximum of unity in purpose and in operation.

(b.) If Bishop Armitage had founded the Church in Milwaukee the organization of the See would at first have required nothing more than the organization of a Congregation, under such arrangements, and with such provisions, as might have seemed to be necessary. But the Church in Milwaukee had been founded long before Bishop Armitage's Episcopate began. Under the Canons of the Church parishes had been established. These parishes were corporations, temporal and spiritual, with chartered rights of which they could not be deprived. The Rectors of these parishes had cure of souls over the whole city, with exclusive parochial jurisdiction, so that no minister could canonically officiate, and no new parish could be canonically erected without their consent. Evidently, therefore, if the second element of the See-Principle were to be applied in Milwaukee, there was but one way in which it could be done. "The union of these parishes," proposed by the Bishop, and that alone, could make the See a re[9/10]ality. If the Rectors of the city, together with a fixed number of laymen, freely chosen by each parish, had been legally organized, under canonical sanction, as the Chapter of the See of Milwaukee with the Bishop at their head, so that under his direction, the general, charitable, educational, and missionary operations of the Church in this city and its vicinity, being supported by general contributions, should also be directed by the general judgment, the See-Principle would at once have been realized.

(c.) Unfortunately, however, though the union of the parishes, as the means by which to make the See a reality, was distinctly enunciated by Bishop Armitage, nothing was done to carry out that idea. On the contrary, it seems to have been supplanted from the first by the feeble substitute of a voluntary society of "churchmen and women" called the Milwaukee Church Union, holding monthly meetings for discussion, and starting, as their "first (and last) enterprise" a Book Depository which speedily went the way of the insolvent debtor. Never did a large, statesmanlike, and Catholic purpose more egregiously miscarry through a failure to apply its own dearly enunciated principles; and we venture to predict that if any one shall ever hereafter succeed in making the See of Milwaukee a reality, he will accomplish that desirable end by returning to Bishop Armitage's original See-Principle through the union of the parishes, and by avoiding all such substitutes as the Milwaukee Church Union. No mere voluntary union of any individual persons whatever, in any association what[10/11]ever, even with the Bishop at its head, will ever make a See or exemplify the See-Principle.

2. In the same address from which we have quoted, Bishop Armitage brought forward certain views concerning an Associate Mission on the east side of the Milwaukee River, which cannot here be overlooked. The Bishop said (Journal, pp. 63, 64):

The need of a second parish for the three wards on this east side of the river was so evident, that early in May, I accepted the conveyance of the building of Trinity Church and re-opened it under the name of All Saints Church, with the hope of gathering a congregation which will soon be able to move to a proper site. For the present there is no parochial organization, nor am I in haste to form one. I hope to have one or more clergymen with me in this work before long, and shall not allow it to interfere with my duties to the Diocese; but I beg your consideration of the fact, that if, by God's blessing, it helps to strengthen the Church in this city, it likewise work for the Diocese. I know not where, in the whole State, there is a better field for an Associate Mission than in the midst of the more than twenty-five thousand souls for whom St. Paul's is our only provision.

In this extract one cannot but observe that incipient dislike or at least distrust of parochial organization which has since then grown, in certain quarters, into an intense and unreasonable hatred. That Bishop Armitage ever shared in that unreasonable hatred, it is not necessary to suppose. That he ever contemplated a "despotic reform" by any revolutionary abolition of our present parochial system there is no sufficient reason to believe. But that he was keenly sensible of its manifest defects, that he was casting about for a remedy, that in the absence of such a remedy he thoroughly distrusted the system and was unwilling to use it in any enterprise of his [11/12] own, is abundantly well understood. [It is well known that St. Paul's and St. James' were both placed at Bishop Armitage's disposition, each of these parishes making a handsome pecuniary offer, over and above all Diocesan assessments, in case the Bishop would make his headquarters at their Church. These offers the Bishop summarily declined, saying that "he would have nothing to do with any parish." The chief attraction to Trinity Church (which had then but a handful of people) seems to have been that it had no parochial organization.] Disciples, however, are wont to be more positive than their masters, and ere long the parochial system of our Church (even before the decease of the lamented Armitage, and much more since that sad event), was assailed in no equivocal terms. Parishes were said to be merely necessary evils which must for the present be endured. In the city it was confidently predicted that the success of the Cathedral would "swamp these fossilized old parishes;" and, to this day, "the hideous Vestry System" continues to be an unfailing subject of hysterical invective in a newspaper published by a member of the "Cathedral Staff." In the Church, as elsewhere, like begets its like; contempt provokes resentment; supercilious threatenings compel antagonisms; and thus, whatever may be its merits, the mere idea of any See System or Cathedral System, has been heavily handicapped by the almost universal suspicion and aversion with which the churchmen of our parishes have been obliged to regard it. Unity is not promoted by contemptuous hostility; nor will it be, till men can gather grapes from thorns or figs from thistles. If the See System, or the Cathedral System, is to be adopted in our Church, it must adapt itself to the [12/13] Church and its existing order. If it attempts to revolutionize the Church, the Church, no doubt, will suffer, but the revolutionary scheme will perish; and it ought to perish.

3. Another point in the last quotation made from Bishop Armitage's first address seems to demand attention, viz: his assumption that he himself ought to be the head of the then proposed Associate Mission on the east side of the Milwaukee River. This we believe to have been a serious error, the error, doubtless, of a noble, earnest, energetic, self-forgetful character, but a capital error nevertheless.

We hold it to be a principle, sound in theory and always vindicated in practice, that a Bishop belongs to his Diocese as a whole, and to no particular thing in it otherwise than as Bishop. He is elected by the Diocese to the charge of a Diocese, and he is ordained by the Church to the office and work of a Bishop. He is not called, and he is not ordained, to be the Rector of any particular parish, or the head of any particular mission, nor to a charge in any particular congregation, (as the Presbyter and Deacon are required to be); and to whatever extent he permits himself to be permanently identified with any such subordinate work, or responsible for it, just to that extent does he burden himself with cares and fetter himself with obligations which do not belong to his own office; and to the same extent he must renounce the possibility of an entire devotion to the office and work to which his Diocese has elected him and the Church has ordained him. The general of [13/14] an army who should attempt, in a campaign, to be the active colonel of one of his regiments, would be either a bad general or a bad colonel, probably both; and the position of a Bishop in his Diocese is very much like that of the general in an army. Surely there is something to be learned from the example of the Apostles. Wherever they preached the gospel, and established a Church, they immediately "ordained elders," to whom, under apostolic supervision, the after-work was committed. The Apostles did not tie themselves to particular Churches; nor did the Bishops of the primitive Church, in their sphere, depart from the example of the Apostles. We venture to affirm that there is not one Canon of the primitive Church and not one fact in its authentic history, which shows that any Bishop was ever the head of anything less than his whole Diocese. Monasteries, alms-houses, orphanages, and the like, had their several organisations; congregations had their entitled pastors; but the Bishop was the head of none in particular. It might be more correct to say that the Bishop was the head of each in particular because he was equally the head of all, and peculiarly bound to none. It is true, indeed, that Augustine of Hippo turned his See-House into a "monasterium clericorum," that is, into a clerical monastery, or monastic clergy-house, in which he was the head or Abbot; but it is also true that Augustine, the great, the illustrious, the sublime Doctor of the Church in every age, is said to have been the last Bishop of Hippo! The See died with the Bishop. [14/15] Is it not just possible that it may have died of the Clergy House?

4. In the Convention Address of 1868 Bishop Armitage again declared that he considered himself "to be executing the will of the Bishop and the Diocese, in working on the 'See-Principle,'" which still, he said, seemed to him "more than ever the sensible and business-like mode of administration;" but, as before, the same Address reports the beginning of an enterprise in which the fundamental idea of the See-Principle was overturned in every particular of its constitution.

St. John's Home, "for the sick, the aged, and the orphans of our communion." was to be "under the united auspices of the organized churchmen and churchwomen of the city." Here, assuredly, when funds were to be contributed, and real estate was to be held, and charitable work was to be done on the See Principle, we should expect the Bishop, the clergy, and the parishes of the Sec to have their due place. Unfortunately, however, for St. John's Home, the framers of the charter under which it was incorporated, seem to have proceeded upon the principle that the constituent elements to be represented in a See Institution are men, women and rectors, without any Bishop at all! The Board of Trustees was to consist of laymen, assisted by another board of women, and the clergy of the city were to be a third board to direct the worship of the inmates of the Home. For the Bishop, as Bishop, there way no place at all; the parishes, as such, had no voice in the election of the [15/16] members of the Board of Trustees; and the clergy were, in terms, excluded from the Board of Managers, and thus from any direct voice in the management of the Home. Elections were to be by contributors of money, however little; and so tins institution of the See was left to be controlled not by the people of the See, but by any faction that might choose to manipulate an election. The See is a sign of unity and a source of unity; but such an anomaly as this Constitution, could bring and did bring, nothing but discord; and when St. John's Home came to be published as a "noble Cathedral Charity," (that is an All Saints' charity,) and when the "Priest in charge" of All Saints' parish came to be advertised week after week in the Sunday papers, as "Chaplain" of St. John's Home, the See Principle, as applied in that institution, had resolved itself into this: That the See of Milwaukee is All Saints' Parish; that the other parishes are its humble and unrecognised tributaries; and that the "Priest in charge" of that parish, though he is not even a Rector, may, without their consent, be made the substitute and representative of all the Rectors in the city! It would be difficult to conceive a more complete contradiction of the See Principle to be attained through "the union of the Parishes."

5. In 1869, Bishop Armitage again reaffirmed the See-Principle, which he then, for the first time, connected with the idea of a Cathedral or Bishop's Church. (Journal, P. 30:)

[17] "Two years in All Saints' Church, the congregation of which has been forced reluctantly to organize as a parish, have furnished valuable experience towards a Bishop's Church, or Cathedral, when the time shall come for that. Of city mission work, and of a Sisterhood devoted thereto, of church schools, and of a Diocesan office, I hardly dare call attention to the beginning we have; but any one of them only lacks hearty co-operation, and means of support, to make it what we would own with pride. As clergy and people learn to appreciate the Church's mission and work, apart from parish organizations, and the possibility of its being carried on by and under the Bishop, not only without interference with parishes, but even for their help and benefit, more and more will be done, not only in Milwaukee, but in other cities, on the principle of the See--the plan which seems new, because it is a return to the old; which will make its way, not only because of primitive precedent and authority, but because it is commended by practical common sense."

The Bishop's experiment of assuming the personal charge of All Saints' Congregation had ended, as such experiments of Bishops in this country have generally ended, in discomfiture. The parochial organization was found to be necessary, after all; and very soon Dr. H. W. Beers became Rector of the Parish. But, all the more because of failure and defeat, the Bishop still dreamed of establishing the "principle of the See;" not as before, by a "union of the parishes," but "apart from parish organizations," through a "Bishop's Church or Cathedral, to be carried on "by and under the Bishop" himself. In other words, while continuing to use the phrase, he now in effect, abandoned the See Principle, which had never been applied, and proposed at some future time to repeat in a "Cathedral" the experiment of personal responsibility for a parochial enterprise which had just failed in his connection with All Saints' Congregation. When the Bishop speaks of such a plan as [17/18] one "that seems new because it is so old," the epigram is unfortunate; for no such plan of working the See-Principle ever before had a practical existence, old or new; and such a plan could only result in the overburdening and crippling of the Episcopate, and in the obliteration of the See Idea. Such, undoubtedly, has been the effect of the experiment in Milwaukee,--one overburdened Bishop after another separated from the strength and sympathies which would be all his own in a united See,--a city in which the church is further from the realization of organized unity than it was ten years ago,--a Diocese which is hardly profited, at all by the material and spiritual resources of its chief city:--such are the results thus far of this third enunciation of the See-Principle, coupled with a third repudiation of its meaning and conditions. What have we in return for all this waste of health and strength and unity? Why, simply this: that a single parish which has the best church property and the finest position for building up a strong congregation in the city of Milwaukee, which is now eleven years old, and which for seven of these eleven years has had twenty times more labor from the Bishop, and been twenty times a greater burden to the Bishop than any parish in the Diocese, still continues to be just as great a burden to him and requires the same work from him, at the same tremendous cost and waste of strength. Is such an experience to count for nothing in our plans for the future? After three distinct enunciations, followed by three elaborate re[18/19]pudiations, of the "See-Principle," would it not be well to do one of these two things: Either to put the See Principle itself into operation; or to abandon the costly and disastrous experiments which have been made in its name?

6. Before entering more minutely into the Cathedral question, it may be as well to trace the history of events until the Cathedral assumed its present status.

In his Annual Address of 1871, Bishop Armitage speaks with touching brevity of the "complete relief from anxiety about the little flock" of All Saints' which Dr. Beers' Rectorship had afforded to him.

The address of 1872 exhibits the record of a systematic working of the Diocese in all its parts, and sets forth large and business-like plans for its future administration, which shows the effect of the "complete relief" he had received. After a careful reading of Bishop Armitage's o\vu record of his episcopal Labors, no one can fail to be impressed with the fact that the Convention year 1871-72, in which his undivided care was given to his diocese, represents more of results actually achieved, and more of hopeful promise since then realized than all the rest put together.

In 1873 he had again bent his back to the burden, and assumed the personal charge of All Saints' Parish. Dr. Beers, the address tells us, had not been successful in the Rectorship of All Saints. It was therefore assumed that the Parish was a failure, and [19/20] that the Bishop must come to the rescue as its responsible head; the Vestry virtually surrendering their parochial functions and privileges into the hands of the Bishop, who was "to provide them with services." Thus, at one stroke, the Bishop became practically the Rector of a City Parish, simply that; and at the same time the laity were eliminated from their ordinary functions in parochial administration. In short, the Bishop assumed the joint duties, labors, and responsibilities of Rector and Vestry of All Saints' Parish. He entered bravely and enthusiastically on his arduous enterprise. The Rectory was occupied as a Clergy House in which one Presbyter and six deacons became the Bishop's parochial staff. Great plans were formed for the future, all to be worked out by the Bishop-Rector of All Saints, and his parochial assistants, "apart from (other) parochial organizations." "The Principle of the See" was heard of no more, and "to make the See a reality" by "the union of the Parishes" was, from that time forth, remitted to the land of idle dreams. Not a united See, but a single Congregation substituted for the See, forthwith became, and has remained, the contradiction in terms of Bishop Armitage's own original plan, which has never yet been tried.

About this time a Congregational place of worship adjoining the property of All Saints' was sold for the small sum of $35,000, and Bishop Armitage, with admirable promptness, bought it in, $10,500 of the purchase money being raised and paid; and this Church edifice, so acquired, he at once occupied, [20/21] with his Congregation, under the style and title of the Cathedral Church of All Saints. Of course while all this was going on, the true work of the Diocese was suffering. The Bishop's address speaks of his "failures of visitation." He admits that his "broken year" had been "unfavorable to some parts of our work, and especially to some stations where the Bishop's visit would have been a help." "By itself," he says with his characteristically frank and ingenuous simplicity, "By itself, the year has not been one of the best." "By and by" he had no fears that it would prove to have been as good a year as others; but by itself, he did not rate it very high; and "the sweet by and by" of his hopes he did not live to see. Six short months later he was called away.

7. When Bishop Armitage reported to the Council of 1873 his purchase of All Saints' Church, a committee was appointed to whom that part of the Bishop's address was referred, and on motion of that committee, the following resolution was adopted by a rising vote:

Resolved, That this Council acknowledge with devout thankfulness the merciful goodness of Almighty God, in giving to the Church in this Diocese a Cathedral Church.

It is singularly suggestive of a certain exuberance of feeling that the Council should thus solemnly and in such questionable English, thank Almighty God for something he had not done! The Church in this Diocese had not then (and has not yet) received a [21/22] Cathedral Church from any person in the universe. Bishop Armitage, the virtual Rector of All Saints, together with the Reverend Mr. Spaulding, one of his parochial assistants, and J. F. Birchard, one of his parishioners, had acquired a property which was then and since occupied as a matter of right by All Saints' Congregation. The Diocese through its Trustees of Diocesan Funds and Property, had never acquired (and has not yet acquired) a title to the property, and has to-day no right of control over it. The title, as Bishop Armitage then said, vested in the "three joint tenants" above named, and we believe it now vests in the two survivors of those three. Until the ownership of this property shall have been conveyed to the Trustees who are alone authorized by the Diocese to hold its property, it belongs to the joint tenants and not to the Diocese; and even if this very proper step had been taken in 1873, it would still have been premature to thank Almighty God for "giving the Church in the Diocese a Church" on which seventy per cent, of the purchase price had never been given by anybody. As to the name, "Cathedral," it was created by the mere breath of the Bishop, and could (or can) at any time he just as easily annihilated or transferred elsewhere. When resolutions of thanks are voted to Almighty God, their terms ought at least to be strictly in accordance with the facts; and if the veritable facts of this case had been foreseen and clearly formulated at that time, it may be reasonably doubted whether any resolution of thanks to Almighty God would have been adopted [22/23] by the Council of a Diocese which Dr. Adams had taught to believe in the "Principle of the See." Is it conceivable that the Council would have thanked God for these things:

(1) That the Bishop of Wisconsin was henceforth to serve gratuitously as Rector of All Saints' Parish in the City of Milwaukee.

(2) That All Saints' Parish was to contribute nothing to the Diocese in return for the Bishop's labor, which was thus monopolized by one Congregation, and withdrawn from the Parishes and Missions by whom the Bishop is supported.

(3) That the See Principle was to be abandoned, and one single Parish abnormally exalted, as "the Bishop's own," so that other Parishes in the city and elsewhere should be something less to him than "his own."

(4) That the Church acquired by the Bishop for All Saints' Parish, without expense to its people, had been dignified by him as a Cathedral church.

(5) That the Assistant Ministers he might from time to time employ as Rector of All Saints' Parish should be likewise dignified as par excellence "the Bishop's Staff," with an implied relation to him that is not enjoyed by his other clergy.

(6) That for the support of the Staff means should be diverted from the missionaries of the Diocese and the missionary spirit of the city parishes otherwise discouraged.

(7) That on the ground of convenience Diocesan offices were to be accumulated by members of the [23/24] Bishop's Staff, beyond all proportion to their number so that centralisation of power and influence (not even in the city, hut in a single congregation of the city,) should be permanently organized.

It is safe to say that no vote of thanks to Almighty God for these things would have been adopted by the Council had they been expressed or understood in 1878.

8. The only other important action taken by the Council in connection with the Cathedral was the adoption of the following resolution, (Journal, P. 34):

Resolved, That a committee of six, three clergymen and three laymen, with power to add to their number if necessary, be appointed, by the Bishop, to confer with him during the ensuing year as to the organization of the Cathedral, its proper work, its relation to Parishes, to the Diocese, and to the Council, and its due subordination to its Episcopal head; and to report to the next, Council what action, if any, may be necessary on the part of the Council, to make the Cathedral the Church of the Diocese; and that such committee have a special meeting or meetings, at which all clergymen and laymen shall be invited to be present and make suggestions or present views upon the subject of reference.

The Committee raised under this resolution "made a verbal report" to the Council of 1874, "and asked that they be continued." This being accordingly done at their request, they reported to the Council of 1875 that they had "had one meeting since the last Council, and had been able to agree upon no systematic plan;" and, at their own request, the Committee were discharged. From that time to the present no action on the subject has been taken by the Diocese.

9. On the 7th of December, 1873, Bishop Armitage [24/25] passed from the Church that works, and wars, and makes mistakes, into the Church that is a rest--a man whose record of his own Episcopate reveals him as a gallant, brave, self-abnegating soul, to whom the cost, or toil, or sacrifice, involved in any thing was counted but the small dust in the balance as against the least thought of a duty to be done or good to be accomplished. The failure to apply the See Principle, followed by its final abandonment, was, in no true sense, a failure of his. Before he was elected, and at the time of his election, the Diocese of Wisconsin had formally and explicitly declared for the See-Principle in resolutions some of which were brilliantly and beautifully expressed. But it sometimes happens that brilliant and beautiful resolutions coexist with very vague practical ideas in the minds even of their eloquent and learned, framers and expositors. Such certainty appears to have been the case in this instance; for, as we have seen, the only Committee ever raised by the Convention to consider any one single practical question connected with it, studied the subject for two years, and then, after a single meeting, abandoned it in despair. When such was the case in the leaders, how should help be expected from the rest? The fact is that when Bishop Armitage set out to realize the See-Principle, he had no example abroad, and no practical help at home. The subject was a new one in this country. All over the land we knew that the Primitive Church was organized on the See-Principle, and we all concluded that we must work on the See-Principle likewise. [25/26] We knew that in the mediaeval Church and in our Mother Church of England there were glorious Cathedrals, and dignified Cathedral Chapters, so we resolved to have them--or something we could call by the same names--here in America. But how to adapt the See-Principle to our actual system of territorial Bishoprics, and how to find a function for Cathedrals and Cathedral Chapters where the chartered rights of parishes had been already created and enjoyed under the Canons of the Church and the laws of the land--these were questions that nobody had answered then, and nobody has answered yet. They were questions that had hardly been discussed--nay hardly asked; and whoever led the way in practically solving them was bound, by the condition of the problem, to make many an experiment that could be useful only as he learned by their inevitable failure. It was a cruel, thankless task; and it would be a cruel and ungrateful thing to trace the several experiments and their successive ill results, if it were not that the experience so acquired is just the dear-bought legacy of a devoted life. Not to learn by it would be ungrateful to the noble heart that spent itself so manfully in earning it; and not to use it now would simply be to let another noble-hearted Bishop wear his life out in the same hard, thankless task of learning, by a series of successive failures, how a thing cannot be done!

10. As Bishop Armitage accepted the problem propounded to him by the Diocese, so Bishop Welles accepted the condition of things bequeathed to him [26/27] by Bishop Armitage. Never was a man more loyal to the man who went before. Nothing has been changed. The Bishop is still virtual Rector of All Saints' Parish. The idea of the See-Principle by a union of the Parishes with the Bishop at their head has never been revived. The See idea seems to be gone. The desire for union has almost disappeared, because the hope of it has almost passed away. Congregationalism--that bane of our system which nothing but the See-Principle can rectify--has necessarily been intensified; and the Bishop-Rector of All Saints' has no connection with the other Parishes of the city, except that he confirms in their churches once or twice a year. And all this time the Bishop silently pays debts that lie did not make, wearily does work that is not his own--work that he never undertook in his acceptance of the Diocese,--and meekly suffers more than man knows, from a state of things that he had neither hand nor voice in creating. This is all wrong, every bit of it; and if there is Christian heart and Anglo-Saxon brain in the city of Milwaukee and the Diocese of Wisconsin, every bit of it can be, as it ought to be, put right. Only, without the Diocese, the city, is powerless. The Bishop, we believe, will die rather than lay down the load that he received from his predecessor. If it is to be either lifted or lightened the relief must be afforded without his asking, and the Diocese alone has the power to lift it or to lighten it. The Clergy, Parishes and people of the city will be ready, we are sure, to do their part loyally and faithfully, even if [27/28] not so hopefully as they might have done some years ago.


Permit us now to say something about the history of the See System of the Primitive Church, and the much later and very different Cathedral System, which, in the Middle Ages, gradually supplanted and at last destroyed the See System and every valuable thing connected with it. Nothing could be more strikingly illustrative of the crudity of thought, and the absence of historical knowledge of the subject which prevails, than that the See System which was universal in the Church for at least nine centuries, should be, as it is, confounded with the Cathedral System, which only began to take shape about the tenth century; whose growth was simply the gradual absorption by a single corporation, of all the corporate rights, dignities and franchises of the people of the See and Diocese; and which, at length, ended in the ousting of the Bishop himself, by the same Corporation, from any and all official rights or functions in the Church and Corporation which had acquired its abnormal powers in his name and by virtue of his authority. Let us take a brief glance at the history of these two antagonistic things which have been so strangely confounded.

1. In the densely populated regions which formed the Eastern Provinces of the Roman Empire, there were many cities, that is to say populous places, in [28/29] which the imperial power had created or permitted a civil government, more or less nearly modeled after the pattern of Rome itself; and the district or territory lying in the vicinity of every such city was entirely subject to the jurisdiction of the magistrates of the city. It was the policy of the Church, following the example of the Apostles, to establish itself "in every city." Thus every city soon became the See of a Bishop; and, as was perfectly natural, the government of the Church followed the type of the municipal government. The Bishop was acknowledged as the Chief Magistrate of the Church in his See; the Presbyters and Deacons were his Senate; and the members of the Church, clerical and lay, were his "Populus Romanus." Like the city itself, the Church in the city, however many or however few might be its congregations or its places of worship, was regarded as a unit. The work of the Church was a common work under the direction of the Bishop, with the advice of his Synod; the alms houses, orphanages and other charitable institutions belonged to the whole See; and the offerings of the people formed a common fund from which the Bishop and other clergy were maintained. Missions and Congregations established in the paroikia or outside territory of the city, were regarded as mere agencies of the See; having no representation in the Synod; and their clergy being expressly prohibited from officiating in the city Churches. In short, the organic unity of the See was absolute and perfect, [29/30] while the paroikia (or Diocese, as we should call it) was a mere dependency.

2. In the less densely populated regions of Europe, cities were less numerous, and the territories connected with them were much larger. Hence the number of Bishops in the Western Church always was and still remains much less than it was in Asia and Africa; while the extent of their Dioceses was, and is, much greater. It followed of necessity that in European Christendom the See never possessed the exclusive power which was conceded to it in the East; and that the Churches of the Diocese lying beyond the See were always recognized as having a right of representation in the Diocesan Synod, which was therefore called the Synod of the Diocese and not the Synod of the See. Nevertheless, the Churches of the city, generally speaking, had a certain unity which was peculiarly their own, at least so long as they continued to be supported from a common fund of which they had the joint administration; and the institutions of piety and learning which tended to gather around the Bishop made the See a most important factor in the Diocesan System. It would be folly to pretend that during the centuries of commotion which saw the ruin of the Roman Empire, followed by the growth of feudalism in the West, and the triumphs of Islam in the East, any particular system was invariably maintained in any part or province of Christendom. The fact is that there were innumerable variations of detail, and endless changes in the methods of administration everywhere. [30/31] But in general terms it is true that in the East the See absorbed the functions of the Diocese, and that in the West, where the Diocese and not the See was the recognized unit, the functions of Diocesan life and the energies of missionary effort gathered around the Bishop in the Institutions of his See. By the operation of two simple causes both the See and the Diocese were at length, throughout all Europe, divested of their entire corporate rights, privileges, and franchises, and the Diocesan Synod was supplanted by a novel institution which was never known nor heard of in the first nine centuries of Christian history. These two causes were the separation of endowments, and the consequent creation of Cathedral Churches.

3. In the primitive Church there were no Cathedrals; and in the Oriental Church there are none to this day. They are exclusively of European institution and of late development. The word Cathedra, from which Cathedral is derived, originally meant simply the raised seat which was always placed for the Bishop wherever he was present in the offices of the Church. The Bishop's Cathedra, like the Bishop's chair in our own chancels, was not confined to any particular Church edifice; for, until the creation of territorial parishes, all Churches were equally the Bishop's, and in many ancient Sees, all the larger Churches have apsidal chancels in which the Bishop's Cathedra is found with lower thrones arranged for the presbyters on either side. Even in the catacombs at Rome the Bishop's chair, cut in the tufa stone, [31/32] bears its testimony that the Bishop's seat of office was confined to no one place of worship, but was set up anywhere amidst the persecuted congregation of the faithful. The Bishop's Church and spiritual household were the people of his See without regard to accidental congregational arrangements; and his seat of office might be set up anywhere within his See.

4. Hence presently, we find the word Cathedra, and its Latin equivalent, Sedes, used to designate not the Bishop's Seat but his See; our own English word See, derived from Sedes, showing how thoroughly the lesser thing was forgotten in the greater. And hence, throughout the first nine centuries of Christian history the term Ecclesia Cathedralis, or Cathedral Church, was used to mean, not a particular edifice to which the Bishop held some exceptional relation, but the Ecclesiastical See from which he took his title, and of which he was the common spiritual head.

5. It was natural, nevertheless, that, on great occasions, and, for the sake of accommodation to the people, the Bishops should prefer to use the largest Church in their respective Sees; just as Trinity Church, Boston, was used for the opening and closing services of the General Convention of 1877, or as Trinity Church, New York, is generally used on great occasions in that Diocese. No harm could result from such a custom, even if it grew into established usage, so long as the clergy and people of the other Churches retained equal rights and franchises with the clergy [32/33] and people of the Churches so used; and it was not until the lesser Churches were set off all by themselves with separate endowments, that these greater Churches grew during and after the tenth Century into abnormal importance. It is impossible to tell just how this came about in every instance; but of the fact itself and of its universal results there is no doubt possible.

6. It is a very common thing in these days for enthusiastic expositors of the Free Church idea to draw beautiful pictures of the system of the Primitive Church as supporting the clergy, day by day, from the daily offerings of the people, and always finding the people to be as punctual as Elijah's ravens. It is all very pretty, to be sure; but unfortunately it is not entirely true. In worldly matters, such as money contributions, we may reasonably suppose the people of the Primitive Church to have been very much like our own people in the nineteenth century, and the authorities of the Church in those days took good care that the support of the clergy should not be made permanently dependent, day by day, on the momentary pleasure or displeasure of the people. Hence, from the earliest times, not only were the offerings at the Altar divided among the Bishop and the other clergy, but funds (pragmata) and lands (agroi) and all sorts of Church property (prophasis ecclesiastike) were acquired and accumulated into a permanent endowment. This endowment at a very early time became the chief support of the Church. It was held by [33/34] the Bishop for the Church, and was expended by him "with the consent of the Presbyters and Deacons," so that one chief function of the Synod of the See was the administration of the common fund or endowment. Sometimes, however, Churches were built by pious Christians, and endowed with property sufficient to support their own ministers; and it is easy to see that the clergy of such Churches, having no right to take part in the principal business of the Synod, would soon cease to attend its ordinary meetings; and in process of time their right to sit as members of the Synod on any occasion whatever, was either forgotten by themselves or denied by the Synod. At all events, it ceased in the end to be either recognized or demanded, A very slight knowledge of human nature will suggest many causes which would lead other Congregations to desire a separate endowment, and would make the Bishop and Synod glad to set them off with some fixed portion of the common fund; then they, too, would naturally drop out of the Synod; and this process continued in the Western Church through centuries, by and by left the Bishop with the clergy of one Chief Church in sole possession of the remainder of the common endowment, and the clergy of that single Church in possession of all the functions of the Synod of the See.

[The organisation of the Augustinian Missionary Bishoprics among the Anglo-Saxons took place while the process described was in course of operation; and, with variations which were natural in the circumstances, illustrates the same tendencies, and reached the same results. There was at first only one Bishop in each of the Kingdoms of the Heptarchy, except in Kent, where there were two; and each of them established himself at a fixed place where he erected a Church, and gathered a body of Missionaries. This Church and the body connected with it, were indifferently called Episcopium, i.e., the Bishop's Church, or the Bishop's Corps. Near the Episcopium there was usually a Monastery, which was at first an institution of sacred learning and general education. Thus Mellitus, in the seventh century, founded the Episcopium of St. Paul, (now St. Paul's Cathedral) at London, and the Monastery of St. Peter, (now Westminster Abbey) on the Island of Thorney, not far from the Episcopium. As the work of conversion went on the number of Bishops was increased; so that, at the time of the Conquest, there were nineteen or twenty. Within that period, also, the labors of the Missionary bodies of the Episcopia had resulted in the establishment of a parochial clergy, each ministering in his own Church with definite cure of souls; so that, in England as in the Continental Churches, there remained at the Episcopium only the Bishop and Chapter, to whom distinct possessions were respectively assigned. From the time of the Conquest the Concilium Capituli, or Chapter-Council had the same powers in English Cathedrals as on the Continent.]

[35] 7. That Church then became par excellence, the Bishop's Church, or Cathedral; and, from their custom of assembling all together, daily, at the reading of the Capitulum, or Little Chapter, the body of clergy attached to a Cathedral came to be known as the Cathedral Chapter. Thus the rise of Cathedrals with their Chapters marks the decadence of the See-Principle, and the total disappearance of the Diocesan Synod. Henceforth the Chapter alone elected the Bishop, as they nominally do to this day; and the Chapter alone were his advisers, the assessors of his judgments, and the executors of his official will. In other words, all that the Synod of the Diocese had been, the Chapter became. Outside of the Chapter, hardly a vestige of the ancient Diocesan Synod remained; and when the grand Cathedrals of [35/36] the Middle Ages were erected, they were glorious sepulchral monuments of the departed liberties and franchises of the Dioceses where they stood! [It is not to be supposed that the ordinary clergy and laity of the Middle Ages were at all contented with this state of things. At first, it is true that the piety of the people made them lavish in their gifts for the erection of Cathedrals; but when they came to understand that Cathedral Establishments had no relation to the people at large, and were wholly apart from them, except in the function of absorbing wealth, power and dignity, the first enthusiasm died away. To this cause it is due that hardly a single great Cathedral Church in all Europe was ever finished; and thus the noble fabrics which command our admiration, all unfinished as they are, are likewise, through their very incompleteness, monuments of the failure of the institution which they represent.]

8. Then, by and by, the funds of the Cathedral were divided more or less equitably between the Bishop and the several members of the Cathedral Chapter; the rights and duties of the several dignitaries were denned in settled statutes; custom and statute together monopolized in these dignitaries every actual or conceivable right that could belong to any one in the Cathedral Church; until at length not a single right or privilege remained to the Bishop himself, in his own Cathedral, except the right to ordain, and at other times to sit during Divine Service in a particular chair! To-day nearly every English Bishop must have permission from the Dean if he would preach--in Worcester and perhaps elsewhere he must ask permission even to ordain--in his own (?) Cathedral.

9. The original dignities of the Cathedral doubtless represented the realities of earnest work. They had no spiritual charge or cure of souls, however, out[36/37]side of their own number; that charge having been committed to the Congregations and Parishes, as they were severally set off. The Dean was Pastor of the members of the Chapter and their families, when they had such; and it was his duty to see that every other member of the Chapter was diligent in his office. The Precentor had charge of the ritual, and especially the music of the Church. The Chancellor was the Cathedral preacher, professor of divinity and examiner of candidates for ordination. The Treasurer fulfilled the ordinary duties of that office, and had charge of the library, charters and other documents, and of the Consecrated Vessels and Vestments of the Church. But when Universities and other schools came to be established elsewhere, the more important functions of the Cathedral Dignitaries soon came to an end. The dignities and the emoluments alone remained with no other duty attached to their enjoyment than the keeping up of Daily Services in the Cathedral Church. Thus a place in a Cathedral Chapter when well bestowed, came to be the recognized reward of duty that had been done, and of services that were over. An English Cathedral Chapter has now no cure of souls beyond its own precincts, and nothing to do within them but to keep up Daily Services. It no longer retains any Diocesan function except that of electing from time to time as Bishop of the Diocese some clergyman, whether they like him or not, who has been appointed by the Prime Minister [37/38] of the crown. [It in curious to observe that the Cathedral Chapters which first supplanted the Diocesan Synod, and afterwards ousted the Bishop, ended by becoming the mere recording clerks of a layman.] And thus it comes to pass that while we in America are running to and fro, asking how on earth we are to get Cathedrals, sensible English Churchmen and statesmen are asking on their side of the water, how on earth they are to make any reasonable use of theirs!


1. From what has been said it may be readily inferred that to commit one's self to "the See-Principle," by no means implies that one is committed to the actual See-System which prevailed at any particular past time, or in any particular foreign province of the Church. Our country brethren, for example, would hardly thank us for a See System like that of the ancient Churches of the East, which would exclude them from our Diocesan Council and forbid them to officiate in Milwaukee Churches! Nor is it possible for us now to establish here even the more equitable system of Diocesan Sees which prevailed in the provinces of the ancient Churches of Europe where the ecclesiastical institutions of the Diocese were generally attached to a Monastery of the See. Our Diocesan Institutions have already been located elsewhere. Our boys' school is at Racine College; our girls' schools are at Kemper Hall, Kenosha, and Bordulac, Oconomowoc; and our school for candidates for orders is Nashotah, Mission. To remove [38/39] these Institutions to Milwaukee would be somewhat too absurd for even the most enthusiastic theorists, and as for Monasteries, we want none of them. In short, if the See-Principle is to he applied in Milwaukee, it must he applied to circumstances as they are, and to objects that are practical and practicable; and it must have entire respect to every existing right, privilege and franchise in the city and beyond it.

2. Milwaukee is the Bishop's personal residence, but it is not yet his official See; nor has he any more direct connection with its Parishes than he has with the Parish at Baraboo. And jet, when we reflect that in Milwaukee we have one-fourth of the communicants of the Diocese, and more than half its wealth, it certainly does seem as if the missionary interests of the Diocese might be promoted if the Bishop were in some closer relation to this source of sympathy and power. And when we reflect further that in the midst of a continually growing population, numbering now over 100,000 souls, there is no general organisation of the Parishes for Missions in the city and vicinity, there certainly does seem to be a shameful lack in this particular. And, when we go on to consider that the only general charity of the Church in this city was so absurdly organized in the first instance that it led to untold discords, and has now been taken away from the people to become a personal charge to the Bishop himself, surely it seems time to frame some sort of system which shall enable the Churchmen of [39/40] the city, with the Bishop at their head, to manage and direct the charities which they are expected to support and which they ought to multiply. No such organization is, or ever will he possible, that does not respect the canonical and legal rights of the parishes; and hence, if any such organization is to be reached, it must he reached as Bishop Armitage said at first, "by a union of these Parishes for common purposes, and for such alone." Let canonical provision be made for a Chapter of the See of Milwaukee to consist of every Rector, and a fixed number of laymen from every Parish in the city, with the Bishop at their head; let the support and direction of the mission work in the city and its vicinity be committed to that Chapter, so constituted; let the management of St. John's Home, and of every other charity owned and supported in common by the Churches of Milwaukee, be directed by the same Chapter and its agencies; give ample guarantees that the Bishop shall not be over-ridden in anything that touches his Episcopal authority; give equal assurance that the parishes shall not be molested in their parochial rights. Let these things be done, and unless the people have been utterly discouraged by past disappointments and present confusions, Milwaukee will begin to grow into a harmonious, united See. But let it be well understood from the first that there must be no pre-eminence of any one Parish over any other--neither of St. Paul's, because it is the mother Church; nor of St. John's, because of its Rector's [40/41] long seniority; nor of St. James', because of its commanding situation; nor of All Saints', because its Congregation worships in a Cathedral. The Churchmen of Milwaukee will call no man master, and will acknowledge no Church as the mistress of the rest. They will gladly give--or such at least is our experience--thousands for love, but not one cent for tribute to an equal.

3. If be said that the Bishop's Staff of assistant ministers, as at present constituted, have been doing all this sort of work, it may be answered in all truth that they have done nothing of the sort. The part is never greater than the whole. We do not undervalue what they have done, but we believe that ten times as much would have been accomplished if Bishop Armitage had been able to work out the principle of the See in the first years of his episcopate, by some such union of parishes as we have described. As it is, the Staff has been diminished year by year from seven to three, and, by their action, missionary activity has certainly not been promoted in the parishes. It has seemed to be assumed that parishes were not to meddle with the work of missions in the city and vicinity outside their own walls. Certainly they have never been invited nor encouraged so to do. Quite the contrary; for when St. James, almost entirely at its own cost, had established a chapel at West Bend of which its Rector was in charge, and when the parish was on the point of employing an assistant to do that and other missionary work, one of the Cathedral Staff was intruded into that mission, which [41/42] he now holds and for which he draws a stipend from the Board of Domestic Missions. Such an experience--and there have been others not unlike it--was hardly likely to stimulate the missionary zeal either of St. James or of the other parishes.

4. How the Bishop's Staff of assistant ministers have been supported during Bishop Welles' episcopate is an open secret in Milwaukee; and if the parishes of the city had had anything to say upon the subject, it would not be creditable to the parishes. But they have had nothing to do with the parochial affairs of All Saints' Parish. Still, to confine ourselves to one point, when the churchmen of Milwaukee are able and willing to support the good works which God has prepared for them to walk in, is it not a pity that one member of the Staff of All Saints should be obliged to draw one salary of $200 as Secretary of the Diocesan Council and another very extraordinary salary of $250 as Secretary of our Board of Missions (eight or ten per cent, of their gross income!); while, out of $800 annually received from the Domestic Board, $500 are divided between the two remaining members of the Staff? Nine hundred and fifty dollars taken from the Diocese, from Diocesan Missions, and from general Church charity for missions in one of the most prosperous cities in the land! This surely is a strange and mortifying reversal of the idea of the See helping the Diocese! Wholly unnecessary and wholly objectionable as it is, can it be wondered that the churchmen of Milwaukee seeing how means are diverted from our Diocesan missions [42/43] while the missionary life of the city parishes is paralysed, should ask the object of this double waste, and, hearing no reply, should say that, till a different state of things shall be inaugurated, so that confidence can be restored, they will withhold their contributions altogether? Let confidence be restored that missionary work done by these parishes is not to be regarded as an offence, and there will be activity enough ere long. Let confidence be restored that mission money from whatever source contributed, will be given to the missionaries of the Diocese, and there will be no lack of liberality to Diocesan Missions. Let a true union of the parishes for harmonious mission work in the city and vicinity be but begun, and nine hundred and fifty dollars will not require to be withdrawn from our missionaries in the country to be spent in the City of Milwaukee.

5. That the realization of the See-Principle by the union of our parishes would in every way be a great help to the Bishop in his work must be abundantly clear, even to those who do not know the exorbitant pecuniary burden he has been bearing; and it would relieve yet more the moral burden, which is vastly heavier. But this can never be accomplished unless the Bishop should stand in exactly the same relation to all the parishes without distinction. The parishes are ready enough to gather round their Bishop, but they are not ready to become the tributaries (if a single parish, even if the Bishop is its Rector. If they were, it is still true that the charge of any parish is a burden which ought not to be imposed upon [43/44] the Bishop. Thus, then, at last, we come to the Cathedral.

6. Like most of the clergy, we have always been in some sense or other what is called Cathedral men--one of our number decidedly and unequivocally so. We were so when, like others, we believed in the substantial identity of the Cathedral system of western Christendom in the later Middle Ages with the See System of the universal Primitive Church; we remain so still, now that a more extensive study has made it clear that they were not only different, but that the one supplanted and destroyed the other; and we remain so because, amid all the changes and chances of ecclesiastical institutions we believe in the divinely appointed order, and in the inherent rights of the episcopate. When a man is solemnly sworn to certain duties, there ought to be some place in which he has a right to perform those duties. In the Primitive Church the Bishop had a right, as we have seen, to set up his Cathedra in any Church of his See, and there to perform any functions of his office. It may be said that he ought to have the same right now. To our present Bishop we should be perfectly willing to grant it; though, in the circumstances of our Church there are serious objections to be urged against an unlimited adoption of that plan. But the fact is that, except for the purpose of visitation and confirmation, the Bishops of the American Church have no rights in a parish Church unless by sufferance of the Rector. Therefore, unless the right to use some particular Church, [44/45] at his own discretion, for Episcopal purposes, be secured to the Bishop in a canonical way, he is sworn to the performance of duties which it is in the power of his own Presbyters to hinder him from decently performing! Furthermore, we believe that in his official functions the Bishop ought to have a right to order the services according to his own judgment; and this right he does not possess in any ordinary Parish Church. There, the ordering of services is the exclusive right of the Rector, as in our opinion it ought to be. It appears, therefore, to be only reasonable that there should be some one Church in which the Bishop should have an acknowledged right to perform the functions of his office with such arrangements as he may, under the rubrics, see fit to appoint. Such a Church would be properly called his Cathedral, and the title to it ought, if possible, to be vested in the Trustees of the Diocese, so that the right of the Bishop to its use might be paramount over the right of any congregation that might occupy it for parochial purposes. If, however, the title is vested in the parish which so occupies the Cathedral (as is generally the case in Canadian Dioceses) the rights of the Bishop ought in our opinion to be clearly defined in a legal contract with the Parish, and such contract ought to be canonically ratified by the Diocese. In short, the Cathedral may be either Diocesan property in which a parochial congregation is permitted to worship; or it may be a Parish Church which the Bishop and the Diocese have acquired a legal and canonical right to use as a Cathedral for [45/46] Episcopal and Diocesan purposes; but that the title to a Cathedral Church should be vested in a self-constituted Committee which is not controlled by the Diocese, and which has absolutely no canonical existence, is, to say the least, a very singular arrangement which ought to be speedily terminated. It is not for us to suggest how this existing anomaly is to be removed. It is one of its peculiarities that no one can constrain the ''joint tenants" to convey the title to the Trustees of the Diocese, unless on terms of their own choosing; and even if they were willing to do so on the best terms possible, the Council might hesitate to receive a property burdened with a debt for which the Diocese would thereupon become responsible, and the interest on which must be punctually paid. On the other hand, we know nothing of the pecuniary ability of All Saints' Parish, which would lead us to suppose that it could be expected to assume the debt or to pay the interest on it even if the whole amount hitherto paid by others were to be made a free gift to All Saints'. It appears, then, that in consequence of the peculiar and irregular scheme of the "joint tenants" this branch of the subject is surrounded with difficulties which it may not be easy to remove unless some third plan can be devised to meet the case. But however the question of title may be settled, the Church will not be in any sense a true Cathedral until the Bishop and the Diocese shall have acquired a paramount, permanent and in-feasible right, legal and canonical, to the use of the [46/47] edifice for all Diocesan and Episcopal purposes. When that right has been obtained and secured for all time, then, and not till then, will the Diocese of Wisconsin have a true Cathedral Church, in which the Bishop's dignity and independence will be perfectly secured; and that is the only purpose for which a Cathedral Church seems to be either necessary or desirable.

7. For reasons already given, and for other reasons that might be indefinitely multiplied, the Bishop ought not to be burdened with the personal care of any Congregation, even of that which ordinarily worships in the Cathedral. That Congregation ought to have its own parochial organization, and administer its own parochial affairs under the Canons of the Church precisely like its sister Parishes. Unless the Parish owns the Cathedral Church, neither it nor its clergy ought to have any right, privilege, dignity or pre-eminence over other clergymen or other Parishes; in our judgment, it ought never to hold any relation to the Bishop different from his other Parishes; and, saving the due rights of the Bishop to the use of the Church at his own discretion, it ought to have the same rights in the Cathedral Church that other Congregations have in Parish Churches. Let these arrangements be made in All Saints' Church, and the results will be as follows:

1st. The Diocese having acquired a real and permanent right in the property, will for the first time have a Cathedral Church.

[48] 2d. Every right that the Bishop desires to have in his Cathedral can be secured to him by Canon, or by contract, or by both.

3d. The Clergy and Parish worshipping in the Cathedral will be deprived of no right or privilege which belongs to any other parish.

4th. The Bishop will be relieved of one-half of the heavy burden under which he is staggering.

5th. All reasonable causes of discontent will be removed; and

6th. The realization of the See-Principle by an equitable union of the Parishes will again be possible; so that the strength and resources of the See will be available for the Bishop in the work of the Diocese at large.

8. These things, it seems to us, would right everybody, and would wrong nobody. The Churches in the city could be organized and equipped for their own proper work, but they would have not one particle of power in the Diocese, except the equal voice and vote in Council which belongs to all. The Bishop would have every right and dignity belonging to his office and enjoy the privileges of his own Cathedral, while he would be equally the Pastor-of all his people. The clergy and laity of the Congregation worshipping in the Cathedral would still derive large and gratuitous benefits from the Diocese, while they would have every right enjoyed by other Parishes, and would simply be removed from a position which is dangerous and invidious. The Bishop could not but receive immedi[48/49]ate and great relief; and as the years rolled on his Diocesan Missionary work would be assisted more and more from the resources of a See where even-handed equity had brought the blessing of security, and confidence, and peace. If the relief so sorely needed by the Bishop cannot be obtained in this way, then we know not whence it is to come; and unless these things or their equivalent are done, and done in good faith, it seems as though the present state of things must run its course to the inevitable end.


We have thus plainly and clearly, but, we trust also, calmly and temperately, given our views and their reasons on the subject in hand. We are quite sure that we have "set down naught in malice," but withheld innumerable weighty facts and exasperating details, which might have been brought forward. Our desire has been to help and heal--not to hurt nor hinder. Bad as the state of things is, we believe it would be utterly unjust to throw the blame of it on individuals. On our Bishop not one fraction of it rests, nor can rest. He received the legacy of an experiment which he did not inaugurate. He has bravely, meekly, patiently borne a grievous load, and paid for the privilege of bearing it. That is all. He has made no new complications. Except St. John's Home, everything remains as it was when lie began to wear that crown of thorns--the mitre of a Bishop.

[50] It would be hardly less unjust to lay the whole blame on the assistant Ministers who have formed the "Bishop's Staff." They have been in a false position from the first, and no doubt have suffered, more or less, from the misunderstandings which their isolation has compelled. Much of the work that they have done is good and meritorious work, and worthy of all praise, both for its own sake and for the devoted spirit of self-sacrifice in which it has been done. Perhaps without a certain one-sided enthusiasm their good work would not have been done at all. To appreciate their labors we have no need to adopt their views nor to approve their methods; and however we may deny the former or dislike the latter, it would be a gratuitous injustice to charge them with all or half the evils of the state of things for which a remedy is sought.

Assuredly, no reasonable man can blame the Congregation of All Saints' for anything. "The little flock" that was clear to Bishop Armitage, has done nothing worthy of rebuke; and just as little has St. Paul's, St. James', or St. John's, for they have simply minded their own business. The fact is, that starting out to realize the See-Principle by a union of the Parishes, the Church in Milwaukee stumbled on a Cathedral System apart from and exclusive of Parochial Organizations. Hence a general muddle all around; and it is the part of sensible men and Christian Churchmen not to set about distributing the blame of what has happened, but to get back as [50/51] speedily as possible to our own first principles and strive to disentangle our confusions.

We sincerely trust that something may be done as speedily as possible to that end. But we are by no means so confident as we should like to be that such a reformation can be earned through our Council. In certain quarters "the Cathedral" as it is has been adopted with passionate earnestness as a symbol of partisan supremacy, and as the vindication of personal influence and power. When party passion, petty ambition and the pride of personal consistency are thus aroused on either side of any question, the even-handed equity which we desire is an offence per se--hated for its own sake. Yet if our aims and views are right and righteous, they will certainly prevail at one time or another, either at once to the great good of the Church and the immediate relief of the Bishop, or hereafter when there will be more waste to be made up and more wear that cannot be repaired. The laity, it seems to us, have a prime interest in this matter, and we would advise you to advance your propositions in the Diocesan Council calmly, temperately, quietly; refusing to be drawn into any controversial wrangle or partisan dispute which ought to have no place in this subject. Then, if your measures shall prevail, the Churches of Milwaukee and the Diocese at large will have abundant cause to thank God and take courage. If they fail, let the responsibility be laid where it belongs. In either case the records of the Diocese will testify that you have done your duty.

[52] With the earnest hope that the Bishop may return with better health, to a less cruelly exacting task, in a See equipped and organized to stand by him and help him in whatever labors rightly fall upon him in his apostolic office as the Bishop of a Diocese, we remain, dear Brethren,

Your Fellow-Servants in the Church.


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