March 22nd, 1858

October 31, 2006

I write a letter in which I accept the office which has been brought to me.  I also write to Bishop DeLancey.  A day of great moment, in which I determine to go away from Hartford and from the College of the Holy Trinity where I have been for almost twenty-five years,– to go from the dearest home, — to separate myself from my most dear friends.  But duty calls and to obey is needful.


March 20th, 1858

October 31, 2006

My mind is calm.  I feel the pressure of deciding about this matter.  Now is the time to act.  It is necessary for me to accept this office.  It is no exile.  God in His divine providence has put this great work upon me.  I do not dare to refuse this gift.

March 18th, 1858

October 30, 2006

Talked much with Dr. Goodwin. He confessed that he could not see what I owed to Geneva. I was deeply moved. I consulted Bishop Brownell, Mr. Belknap and others. They did not hinder me, although they regretted my going.
Letter from Bishop DeLancey in which he answered my questions and satisfied me. While I was at Geneva Dr. Wilson spoke of the hindrances to Hobart College “which they ought to seek out from him set in charge, whoever he may be”. I inquired of what kind they were; but he refused to inform me. Then I asked Dr. Hale and Mr. W. B. Douglas what those hindrances were. They spoke with much gravity and earnestness. Dr. Hale said to me, “He, himself, is the only impediment”. I received the same reply from Bishop DeLancey of whom I asked the same question when he afterwards returned to Geneva. I asked Dr. Wilson what the impediments were. He asserted them to be the Training School of Bishop DeLancey, — that this stood in the way of collecting funds for the College. But Bishop DeLancey denies this.

March 17, 1858

October 28, 2006

I went home by way of New York for the sake of seeing Bishop DeLancey; but he was not in, and I was not able to fulfill my promise.  However, I wrote a letter and left it for him.

March 16th, 1858

October 26, 2006

In Chapel. Dr. Metcalf read service. Order and decorum ruled. The responses were not strong. There was a chancel and a suitable altar.
From thence went to meet Dr. Hale. Mr. Douglas came with him to see me. We talked long and much. They answered me satisfactorily. With Dr. Hale I saw the College, library, &c. Then met Dr. Reed with Drs. Hale and Metcalf and Mr. Douglas. Lunched with Dr. Metcalf at Mrs. DeLancey’s and left for Hartford. Returned with a mind thankfully touched by all I saw in Geneva — both persons and things belonging to the College. Dr. Hale showed especial refinement and mental cultivation, and likewise Mr. Douglas. From the first I have perceived that the work was a reasonable one for me, because I could find no just reason for not accepting it. All my past life seems to me to be a preparation for work of such a nature. It is clearly an easy and natural development. It may give a field for greater usefulness and authority, with greater cares and dangers. Payne talked long with me about Geneva. He declared that I ought to support this work.

March 15th, 1858

October 25, 2006

Reached Geneva. To my keen disappointment I found Bishop DeLancey absent. Mrs. DeLancey had sent me a telegram before my departure, but I did not receive it. I met Dr. Hale immediately. Dr. Wilson and Dr. Metcalf came in soon, and we talked everything over. Dr. Metcalf and Prof. Towler met me in the evening. About nine o’clock the College campus was bright. Dr. Metcalf exclaimed, “It is wonderful”. Dr. Towler went out to inquire the reason, and soon Dr. Metcalf followed. He came back immediately and said, “The College building is illuminated for you:. We therefore walked past the building. The students greeted the “new president” with much hand-clapping. They also lighted bonfires.
Talked much with Drs. Metcalf and Towler about the College. I asked many questions, all of which they answered in the most satisfactory manner.

March 13th, 1858

October 25, 2006

After Morning Prayers Dr. Goodwin and Prof. Pynchon inquired seriously about Geneva and Hobart College. I answered that I had heard nothing; but I remained talking with Pynchon of these things for some time. Found letters from Bishop DeLancey, Dr. Hale (late president), and W. B. Douglas from the trustees, informing me that I was unanimously elected president of Hobart College by the trustees, and asking me to send back an acceptance at once. Talked with Dr. Goodwin and Prof. Pynchon and afterwards with Prof. Eliot. I determined to set out immediately for Geneva for the sake of finding out everything about the College on the spot. Dr. Goodwin advised to the contrary. To him that was saying Yes. It would be going into the lion’s den. He thought that to go would seem a step to indicate that I might wish to accept this office. But to me it appears best to go. I also talked with Bishop Brownell, who said he would not give advice.

March 10, 1858

October 25, 2006

Washburn offered Bishop Williams the prayer which I had written, and by the advice of others had amended, for the use of the Society for the Increase of the Ministry. Bishop Williams approves it. A move is now on foot to make it generally know. May it be useful to many, and for long, to the glory of God and the salvation of men, for Jesus Christ’s sake, Amen.

March 8th, 1858

October 23, 2006

President Goodwin had a letter from Payne asking him to write to Bishop DeLancey.  I likewise received a letter from Bishop DeLancey asking me to inform him whether it was true that I could not be drawn away from Trinity College.  If this should be the case then it was not necessary to propose to me that I should be made president of Hobart College.  I have replied that in that case I should not thus have written to Trinity College, – i.e. that I was not able to accept the proposed condition.  If he, with the trustees of Hobart College, thought so great an office was suitable, I should soon decide what it seemed best to do, looking to the glory of God and His Church.

March 4th, 1858.

October 23, 2006

Received a note from Coxe which informed me that Bishop DeLancey had written asking whether Coxe thought me capable, and suitable for election to the presidency of Hobart Free College. — I await the outcome with a tranquil mind.

March 1, 1858

October 23, 2006

Received a letter from Payne (Dr. Payne of Schenectady) who informed me that I might be elected president of Hobart Free College; and he enclosed one from Prof. Metcalf which gives an account of the same.

            I re-wrote the prayer for the Society for the Increase of the Ministry.

February 27th, 1858

October 19, 2006

In the evening wrote the prayer to be used by the Society for the Increase of the Ministry. Found the work difficult.

May 15th, 1857

October 18, 2006

P— talks to me about a professorship at S—. There are some good points about such a position. It is a dryer climate than Hartford, and would be better for my throat. I should have an adequate salary which I have not here. But there is little probability of anything from that quarter, and it is not well to waste a thought on it.

ABNER JACKSON, D. D., LL. D., President of Hobart College from 1858 to 1867.

These journal extracts were compiled by his daughter, Mrs. Philip Norborne Nicholas, and begin with the following introduction.

I have often been asked to look through the volumes of my father’s journal in order to verify a date, or prove some statement or trace the history of some
phase of college life. But rarely has my work been successful. Either I did not
examine the right years, or I searched for what had chanced to go without
mention, or my eye failed to notice, in English or in Latin, an abbreviated entry.

Finally the thought came to me that it would be well to do the work
systematically – to take out from the Geneva journals all facts relating directly or indirectly to the College, and form of them a manuscript volume which might ave value for private college use as a book of reference.

This work is now done. The journals begin with 1858 and continue half
through 1867. One year – 1865, is not to be found; it is quite possible that it
never came into my hands.

I find it very hard to adhere to my resolution to limit this compilation to
matters collegiate. A few entries about diocesan affairs have indeed been
admitted, but the “daily round” of an active, vigorous, sympathetic and most
kindly life has had to be excluded.

It has not been an easy task to decipher the extremely fine handwriting in
old and faded ink, the entries made hastily at the close of every busy day, and he long passages (amounting in all to two or three years), which were wholly in Latin. I am greatly indebted to Miss M. S. Smart of the DeLancey School for girls, for much assistance in the matter of translation.

Now that these extracts are put together and I can better judge of the
effect as a whole, I see, and regret, that they can represent but one side of a
many-sided life; they say nothing of the drives and walks and rows; they do not how the unwearied chess-player or the fine marksman or the skilful bowler; they do not point out the friend of animals; they tell us little of the keen observation of nature and intense appreciation of its beauties, little of marked social gifts and relations of amity with all the town – high and low, rich and poor alike; neither do they describe the laborious Sundays wholly devoted to the service of Christ in neighboring towns or at home. I am sorry that these characteristics and diversions and labors must be so slightly indicated; but, on he other hand, I am deeply thankful that I have had the opportunity to make and reserve this record.

It is our intention to publish one journal entry at a time, probably at the rate of one or two per week.

April 13, 1857

October 17, 2006

Easter-Monday. I do not feel sensibly fatigued from yesterday’s work in West Hartford, though I know well I need the rest of Sunday. For eleven years past I have not known this rest. All days have been to me work-days alike, and I cannot but feel the drain of such continuous intellectual toil, especially as I had extra work besides my parochial duties. Five years were given to editing the Calendar, and in College I had two or three professorships on my hands. I was professor of Moral and Intellectual Philosophy, Lecturer on Chemistry, &c. I lectured on Chemistry, Mineralogy, and Geology for ten years, besides teaching Mathematics, Latin, Rhetoric, Logic, Political Economy, &c. during the same period. I had also, during a considerable portion of this time, wearing domestic anxieties by reason of long-continued illness in my family. Taken all together the last ten or twelve years have been of a very exhausting character; and reason, if not feeling, teaches me that I ought to seek rest more than I have done.