Bishop William Quarter Diary Part VI: January 1846 to March 19, 1846

January 11th

On this day, Sunday, the bishop held an ordination in the Cathedral & conferred tonsure, minor orders & subdeaconship [sic] on Mr. Patrick James McLaughlin.

January 13th

Today the same gentleman was ordained deacon & on the 15th raised to the dignity of the priesthood.

January 22nd

[handwriting seems to change again]

On this afternoon (Wednesday) Mr. Burch (?) of Lake St. came and presented the Bishop with an anonimous [sic] letter which he had received thro[ugh]  the post office. Threatening to burn down the university, in less than six weeks, unless the men that worked there, when O’Donnell was contractor were paid their wages. Burch is the agent of the company that insures the university. And as the men are paid pretty generously (?) the malicious intent of the writer cannot be well accounted for. #23

#23 + McGovern does not include the January 22nd entry on the threat to burn down the university in six weeks. Clearly, Bishop Quarter had gone ahead with the building of the university without having raised enough funds for the material and wages. The threat to burn down what was completed was not carried out.

February 1846

February 15th

Sexagesima Sunday, this year – A meeting called for after Vespers in the basement of the Cathedral of persons who had previously taken the total abstinence pledge.  The constitution previously drawn up by the Bishop was submitted and a society was organized and officers elected. The name of the society is “the Chicago Catholic Benevolent Temperance Society.” #24

February 18th

Rev. Mr. Carroll of Alton in Chicago on a visit to the Bishop. Business connected with his church.

February 19th

A violent snow storm from the N[orth] E[ast]. The whole month stormy.

#24 + In their 1840 Pastoral Letter, the American bishops addressed the issue of temperance. They wrote: “Endeavoring to imitate their prudence, if we do not emulate their austerity, we neither feel ourselves warranted to require, nor called upon to recommend to all our flocks, a total abstinence from a beverage which the sacred Scriptures do not prohibit, and of which the most holy persons have occasionally partaken. . . Hence we would desire to see established amongst us, those pious confraternities, which at all times have done so much good to true religion and to pure morals, by mutual encouragement to partake of the sacraments, which are the channels of grace established by our blessed Savior, to convey to our souls this precious treasure, by which we may be enriched and strengthened to every good work, to sobriety, to temperance, to justice, to benevolence, to charity, to patience, to chastity, to the fulfillment of the law, to the observance of the counsels, to the adornment of the doctrine of God our Savior in all things” Nolan, Pastoral Letters, I, 136-137. The Chicago Catholic Benevolent Temperance Society was one of many such organizations in Catholic dioceses throughout the United States of America to promote temperance.

[p. 36] March 1846

March 10th

The frame of the building being erected for “St. Patricks Church” on the west side of the river of Chicago raised today.  The building was undertaken at the earnest desire of Rev. Walter J. Quarter, who undertook to collect & pay for it. #25

The 2nd anniversary of the Bishops consecration. The seminarians invited by the bishop in the evening to attend in the college hall where a beautiful piece of poetry in honor of the occasion was read by Mr. Ja[mes] A. Kean. The piece was his own composition. The reading was followed by a reply from the bishop and the seminarians performed some excellent pieces of music. The seminarians at present are Rev. John Herbert (subdeacon), Misters Lawrence Hoey, John Bradley, James Kean, James Rogan, Hugh Brady, George Hamilton, James Gallagher, Henry Coyle, Thomas Aughony, & Tim Sullivan.

#25 + St. Patrick was built by Augustine Deodat Taylor for the cost of $750. The frame church opened for services on Easter Sunday, April 12, 1846. See: Koenig, History of Parishes, I, 751.

March 17th

Pontifical High Mass in the Cathedral at 10 o’clock. Rev. W. J. Quarter preached the Panegric (sic) of St. Patrick. Rev. Mr. Kinsella acted as deacon & Rev. Mr. McLaughlin subdeacon.  First column raised under the university this afternoon about 4 p.m.

[note in the margin by this date]

Received abusive letter from Bagley (?) one of the contractors employed in finishing the cathedral, because he was not satisfied with the amount of his contract, thought he should have more. #26

March 18th

The steamer Champion is to leave Chicago for St. Joseph’s this evening at 8 o’clock.

#26 + McGovern makes no mention of the letter from Bagley. Both the building of the Cathedral and the University had created financial and construction problems for the bishop.

March 19th

A snow storm this night. Next day the ground covered with snow. Rev. Mr. Brickwedde arrived from Quincy on the 16thand left Chicago for Quincy again on the 19th.  He was absent in Europe since last June. Collected some paintings & vestments & 100 dollars in money for the diocese.

[p. 37] Notes and remarks giving more detailed particulars – pages 11 & 12 regarding the new cathedral.

            The brick walls roofed with 4 posts standing up where is now the steeple. The inside not plastered. A temporary altar against the end wall. No vestry. The sanctuary enclosed with rough boards. The children seated on either side of the altar on benches, where are now the vestry rooms. The basement not plastered. No columns. No steps. No doors except temporary ones made of rough boards. Mass said for the Germans at 8 1/2 a.m. The last mass at 10 ½ a.m. All the Catholics assembling in same church. Debt on the building nearly $3,000. That amount borrowed by Rev. Mr. De St. Palais from different individuals and some of that money [illegible word] paying at 10 & 12 per cent. The bishop had to assume much debt and pay it.

            On the lot adjoining the church was due the whole of the price of its purchase not much [illegible word] of $1000. The bishop had to pay that amount also. On the loan (?) was due nearly $4000, the bishop had to pay that sum. Shortly after the bishop arrived he called a meeting of the congregation, and spoke to them about the debt and needing (sic) of finishing the Church, but deeming it impossible to raise sufficient funds to pay the debt & finish the church. He thought it better to apply whatever would be collected to the finishing of the church & was [or might be “not”] satisfied to pay the debt himself.  A good spirit [p. 38] was manifested at that meeting, and all promised to do their best in collecting. The city was divided into districts and collectors appointed. The next meeting went off harmoniously. 

About this time three men were appointed, as a committee, to wait on the bishop from what was called a Catholic book society. The object of their calling on the bishop was professedly to have his approval of the society if it met his approbation, but in reality to have it continue under the sanction of his name whether it met his approval or not. The two principal persons were, A.D. Talley (?), painter, and Brown, chair maker. When the bishop had read the constitutions of the society, he found in it many articles objectionable. He proposed to take the constitution and amend it, & appoint the pastor of the church president of the society. To this proposition the members would not agree, and dissolved the society, and divided the books among themselves.  The unfortunate men above named, together with others, who even probably as bad, but did not appear, finding that they would not be permitted to act as they pleased, and guide themselves, resolved opposing everything undertaken for the benefit of religion by the bishop. That this was their resolution their after acts sufficiently proved altho (sic) did not make this profession so as to be thus heard by the bishop. [p. 39] As the bishop was about to visit the diocese, he resolved before he set out to consecrate a burial ground for the Catholics. Ten acres of land had been purchased previous to his arrival for a burial ground. The bishop was of [the] opinion that five acres would be amply sufficient for the wants of the Catholics for graves, and that the rest might be reserved for the purposes of erecting religious institutions thereon. Accordingly he consecrated but five acres, and then set out on the visitation 15th of June (one month and a few days after his arrival in the diocese). When it was announced on the following Sunday that a portion only of the land purchased for a burial ground, was consecrated, the individuals named above went to work to stir up the worst feelings of the Catholics against the bishop.  Misrepresented his actions and even his intentions, and on his return in July called a public meeting, but printed placards, of the Catholics to take into consideration the affair of the graveyard.  The placards were printed and poster up by A. M. Talley and his [illegible word].  The meeting was published to be held at one of the public buildings of the city, but when it was understood that the bishop would be there, and at his request the meeting was held in the old church. The bishop spoke then for himself, explained his views, motives and intentions, and no person spoke in reply. All agreed to go out on the following day & select lots in the [p. 40] in the (sic) consecrated ground. They did so and even Talley selected a lot, altho (sic) he said afterwards he would not keep it, but [illegible word] hold onto a lot he had already selected in the other land, not consecrated and where he had one or two children interred. The pious Catholics raised the remains of their friends and transferred them to the consecrated ground in obedience to their bishop.

The bishop thought the matter had then ended, but soon found that the evil spirit was still at work, and employed the unfortunate Talley as his instrument, [handwriting seems to change after this]to oppose as far as his limited influence with everything undertaken by the bishop for the advancement of the holy cause of religion.  Being deeply mortified in not being able to carry on the book society according to his own [illegible word] notions and of taking advantage of the meetings of those that they themselves appointed officers, without the sanction of the pastor, to discuss matters foreign from religion. He resolved to seize upon an opportunity apparently favorable for his wicked purposes, to stir up the bad (?) passions of the Catholics in opposition to their bishop.  He cared not [illegible word] much about the burial ground, as about the loss of the opportunity of diclaiming (sic) or rather raving his mad, and it is to be feared, irreligious motives, at certain meetings of the members & officers of the aforesaid book society.

The bishop and his clergy heeded him not. Paid not attention to his calumnies [p. 41] and altho (sic) they would hear of his stopping, and haranguing some [illegible word], digging up some [illegible word], and of his speaking upon those occasions most disparagingly of the bishop. For the bishop and the graveyard were his constant themes. The subject, it would seem, of his dreams at night, and of his conversations by day. Yet the bishop & his clergy pursued the even tenor of their way, and altho (sic) his words might have had the effect of preventing some from contributing towards the church that was in process of finishing, and altho (sic) he might have dried up many a source of charity, yet Almighty God was pleased to enable the bishop to prosecute to completion the religious work he had undertaken and altho (sic) his means were limited yet a kind providence furnished abundance for all wants. Oh! How good is God! The jaws of hell cannot prevail against his Church!

Calumnies of Appelles
Botticelli

At a subsequent meeting of the Catholics called by the Bishop devise the best made (sic) [means] of raising subscriptions to pay for finishing the Church. A.D. Talley, Horace Taylor (father in law of Talley) and Brown tried to make some confusion, and by their untimely remarks caused the bishop to bring the meeting hastily to a close without effecting any thing (sic) beneficial towards the object in view. All further public meetings were discontinued thereafter fearing confusion & disorder.

On the 14th of April following year [1845] the bishop left for New York with the intention of making collections towards building [p. 42] a new college and seminary for the diocese.  When he had left Talley wrote to the Archbishop of Baltimore, complaining of the Bishop of Chicago. Talley [illegible word] that the Archbishop was an American by birth thought it would serve his purpose to state the he himself was an American also, and accordingly signed himself an American Catholic. The Archb[ishop] unfortunately answered that letter. Altho (sic) for the purpose of giving the writer [illegible word] counsel no doubt. Yet any sort of a reply was welcome, as he had it in his power to boast of being answered by the Arbhb[ishop]. The letter written by Talley full of abuse & misrepresentation was handed to the Bishop of Chicago by the Archb[ishop] and is still kept among his papers.

It is not necessary to remark here as it is already stated in the foregoing pages that the Rev. Misters De St. Palais & Fisher (sic) the clergymen of the B[ishop] of Vincennes, and [illegible word] in Chicago before the bishop’s arrival, returned to their own diocese in August of 1844. The Rev. Jer[emial] Kinsella & Rev. Mr. Ostlangenberg (German) were the only priests left in the city of Chicago by the bishop when he was absent in N.Y. Shortly after the b[ishop’s] departure for N.Y. the Rev. Mr. Ostlangenberg became discontent. And as the course of his dissatisfaction was not known. It is not necessary, nor would it be proper, to stay as a missionary out here.  Suffice it to say he had no apparent cause. At all event he has left the diocese, and repaired first to [p. 43] St. Louis, where he met no kind reception from the b[ishop], who would not sanction his course, and next to Milwaukee, where he remained for some time.  But was finally obliged to return to his own Diocese of Chicago. His departure however had the effect of causing some to believe, and especially those of his own country, that he left under a [illegible word] of injury. The whole weight of church building, praying [illegible word], [illegible word] doing to the spiritual wants of the people, preaching, collecting, teaching seminarians devolved on the shoulders of the only priest left, Rev. Mr. Kinsella. It is not necessary to state, it can be imagined, all he had to suffer mentally, as well as phisically (sic) in such a state of things until the brother of the bishop, Rev. Walter J. Quarter, returned from the East, whither he had travelled (sic) with the b[ishop] & lightened him of much of his burden. He being already a priest of long experience, and not unacquainted with the troubles of a new place. [He] looked upon these things which usually happen, despised them, and carried out his [illegible word] with determination and courage. When the b[ishop] returned from the East in August the new Cathedral was nearly finished. It was announced that the consecration would take place the first Sunday of October.  It was expected that the B[ishops] of Milwaukee & Detroit would be present, both disappointed, and accordingly the B[ishop] of Chicago had to perform the whole ceremony of consecration himself. He commenced at 6 a.m., an hour [p. 44] at which few of those who wished to witness the ceremony attended.

Discontent with this world gives such a painful longing to quit it that, if the heart finds comfort, it is solely from the thought that God wishes it to remain here in banishment.

– Saint Teresa of Avila


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