June 12, 2009

This photo was taken by J. G. Vail.Abner Jackson


June 30th, 1867

March 13, 2008

I cannot but think with solemn feeling that this is my last Sunday but one in Hobart College, where I have gone in and out with chief responsibility, for over  ??? years… It is a day of solemn and sad thoughts – only one day more (one Sunday more) in that Chapel. After that, if I ever see it again, it will be only as a visitor! May God in His mercy forgive the sins of wandering thoughts, coldness and in devotion which I may have committed, and all others known or unknown, which I have committed in that holy place.

June 12th, 1867

March 13, 2008

Board of Trustees met at four. After some preliminary business of routine, I asked Bishop Coxe to take the Chair and I explained at some length the considerations which had led me to offer my resignation – my long and intimate connection with Trinity College (twenty-four years in all, four as a student, over twenty as an officer) my relations to the Alumni and friends of the College, and hence a peculiar ability to serve it.

The secretary read my resignation. Dr. Shelton, after a long pause, began to speak of my Presidency as having united all voices in and out of College in its praise, so I thought it best to retire, and I took quite a long walk. When I came back, I found the Trustees were on the organization of the College.

They finally appointed a committee of seven, with power to choose a president, and to make any changes in the College deemed advisable. They were evidently bent on radical measures – to make the College a unit. They accepted my resignation very kindly, and said all sorts of good things of me (as I was told by Bishop Coxe) during my absence.

The committee of seven- Bishop Coxe, Doctors Shelton and Schuyler, James C. Smith, and Mr. Douglas (Dr. Dix and Mr. Swift belong to this Committee) met at the close of our meeting, and met again in my study in the evening.

June 9th, 1867

March 13, 2008

Finish writing my resignation of the Presidency of Hobart College.

June 3rd, 1867

March 13, 2008

Mr. C— was emphatic in his regrets about my going away, and energetic in his disapproval of Mr. Douglas’ course.

May 17th, 1867

March 13, 2008

Am present at Prof. Russell’s concluding exercises with the sophomores. He wished me to see how they were profited by the instruction.

May 11th, 1867

March 13, 2008

Dr. Metcalf talked at length with me about the Presidency, and persons who might answer for it.

May 4th, 1867

March 13, 2008

Write to Bishop Williams, saying that after much consideration, I find it hard to say either yes or no, but that I see no reason to believe that I will fail to accept if they elect. This is an important act- fruitful in consequences. It severs me from Geneva in any event; for if now anything should happen to prevent my election, I would certainly feel bound in honor to resign my present position, and quit Geneva at the close of the present college year.  Having after long deliberation decided in favor of Trinity College against Hobart, I could not now consent to remain President of the latter. I should find some other sphere of labor. So that the determination to write the letter which has gone to-day, certainly carries me from Geneva. I cannot suffer myself to dwell on the thoughts which this prospect forces on me. Geneva must ever remain to me one of the dearest spots on earth.

Tell Dr. Rankine of my purpose. He deplores it; says he never was more hopeful of the College; that its internal condition was never so satisfactory; that public opinion in town and abroad was never so strong in its favor.

May 3rd, 1867

March 13, 2008

Dr. Metcalf talked a long time about the College, deploring my resignation, and considering who could possibly be my successor. After Prayers, when talking of the matter, he had been rude and harsh, so he came up to apologize.

May 2nd, 1867

March 13, 2008

Make out the order of studies for the term. This, the third term of the year, opened with full Morning Service at 10:30, about one-third of the students being present.

April 23rd, 1867

March 12, 2008

Busy about filling forms for reports of standing, directing envelopes, 7c. Preside at the junior exhibition in the evening. Halsey spoke the most effectively. The burlesque was rather scurrilous. They made Prex figure largely. One of the best speakers was suspended, and did not appear. At Evening Prayers I made a few remarks to the students in dismissing them, and commended them to God’s blessing.

April 22nd, 1867

March 12, 2008

Easter Monday. Read Ante- Communion for the day.

Got into Lockwood’s examination of Freshmen. Preside at Dr. Towler’s examination of sophomores in analytical geometry, Dr. Towler not having yet returned from New York. He sent me the examination papers.

April 21st, 1867

March 12, 2008


Service at half past six in the Chapel. The order was that which Bishop Coxe used at St. John’s, Hartford, and which is indicated in his Notes on the Services. There were calla lilies on the Altar.

I made an address on, “Christ is risen,” and the power of the Resurrection, and Christ the Victor over Hades. At quarter to eleven we had full service, sermon and Holy Communion; text, “I am the Resurrection and the Life.” At 7:30 P.M. read and preached in the Chapel a third time, on, “Never man spake like this man,” I also read service for Dr. Bissell at the children’s service at four. I never did so great a day’s speaking and reading; yet I do not feel tired now – at ten o’clock. Went with —- to distribute the calla lilies from the Chapel.

Thus has been filled up a very busy day, with many joys and some drawbacks. The worst feeling is that Lent is over and that I have profited so little by its holy discipline and its extraordinary service. I look back over it with very sincere regret. May God in mercy forgive my shortcomings and strengthen me by His grace to live in future more in accordance with His holy will.

April 20th, 1867

March 12, 2008

Mrs. DeLancey spoke with deep feeling of the warm regard which Bishop DeLancey had for me; how he regarded me as a companion, and confided in me. She could not endure that I should even entertain the thought of leaving the College and Geneva. She even spoke with tears of the possibility of my removal. She seemed to think that Mr. Douglas was responsible in good part, for my being willing to think of a removal.

April 19th, 1867

March 12, 2008

Good Friday.

The day of Christ’s sacred death. I am present at service in the College Chapel, also Drs. Wilson and Metcalf. In the evening I preach a sermon on the preparation for the Holy Communion.

Write a letter to Dr. Hallam informing him that I shall come to New London on the 27th. inst.

April 18th, 1867

March 12, 2008

Junior examinations almost the whole morning in Logic and Psychology. In the evening I read service for Dr. Bissell, who preached concerning the institution of the Lord’s Supper.

April 17th, 1867

March 12, 2008

Wednesday. Ante-Communion, with sermon instead of morning prayers. I preach concerning the perfidy of Judas Iscariot.

I give the whole day to the senior examination in Moral Philosophy and Political Economy. Go into the junior examination in Greek. From two to three hear excuses for absences, and have the Register open.

I received a letter from the Bishop of Connecticut which informed me that all things pertaining to the office of president of Trinity College had advanced according to the decision; likewise asking that I would come there on my way to New London.

April 16th, 1867

March 12, 2008

After morning prayers seniors in Schlegal. My last recitation of this kind has terminated. At 11:30 I read service (Ante-Communion) and preach a sermon concerning the events and deeds of this day. Examine the seniors in Schlegal. I frequently think of the matter of Trinity College. May God direct me. May His will be done always in me.

College is most quiet since last Friday, — punishment being expected, and now imposed – six having been suspended.

April 8th, 1867

March 12, 2008

Somewhat weary in mind. May the greatest God grant me peace. A letter this morning from Bishop Williams, who will not give me up. He affirms that it is necessary for me to accept the office of president of Trinity College, Hartford. To all my questions concerning the affairs of that College he replies in a manner which pleases me. On account of this I was anxious the whole day. God direct me in the way of duty. I would do all things to the glory of God. Nine years to-day are finished from that day in which my office of president of Hobart College began. The greatest thanks to the best God for His tenderness towards me – His servant. Grant to me wisdom in this office in the future. I thrust in Him alone.

April 7th, 1867

March 12, 2008

Nine years are completed to-day from the day on which I came to live in Geneva, because April 7th, 1858 was Wednesday. The exact time seemed to me very long that day on which I traveled from Hartford to Geneva. The greatest thanks to God for His many kindnesses to me through all these years. He has directed my paths in the way of peace. May His name be blessed forever and ever.  May this be my sentiment in the future, “If Thy presence go not with me, carry us not up hence.” Ex. 33:15. The wisest rule that you may give for administering college affairs is: Grant that I may do all things to Thy glory, through Jesus Christ, Amen.

March 25th, 1867

March 11, 2008

Feast of the Annunciation. Ante-Communion. I preached concerning the Catholic faith, on The Word made Flesh. The students listened willingly.

Heard a debate at 10:30—Bridge and Neely. I struggle almost in vain to write a sermon concerning the Christian Church – a dissertation which I had agreed to deliver before the Society for the Promotion of Religion and Learning in New York.  Gave an hour after dinner to the official reports of the professors. Prof. Pynchon sent me a message that he would write me in a few days concerning college matters. Hence this Hartford matter will go on. I hoped it might be that this might rest in peace, but the fates decree otherwise. Talked with —- about Hartford and Trinity College matters, and the attempt to draw me there.

March 24th, 1867

March 11, 2008

Read service, preached and administered the Holy Communion alone.

February 22nd, 1867

March 7, 2008

Washington’s Birthday, and a holiday in College. Exercises in Linden Hall in the evening. The Performances were creditable. Last night two milliner’s signs were carried off, and Miss Bridge’s gate – by students, no doubt.

February 17th, 1867

March 7, 2008

Early Communion at nine. The Alpha Delt’s were almost the only students present.

February 9th, 1867

March 7, 2008

Finished directing catalogues to the Clergy of New York Diocese. Go to Syracuse and call on Judge Comstock and talk over the Law of Trusts with him, as it exists in this country. He said that Mr. Douglas’ idea that the founder could interpret statutes in case of disagreement, was no law of America, and could not be maintained here. He said that the statutes justified me in doing what I had done.

January 28th, 1867

March 6, 2008

Called to see Mr. James F. DePeyster and talked over the Society for Promotion of Religion and Learning, and the College, with him.

January 26th, 1867

March 6, 2008

Called on Governor Hunt. He has been lying ill here- sinking under disease, for several months. He said, as he took leave of me, evidently feeling it to be his last, “I have strong faith, and I see bright visions in the future.” I was deeply impressed with his final interview. I always felt strongly drawn to Mr. Hunt, and he always produced on me the impression that he was a truly good man, and very right-minded in Church affairs.

January 22nd, 1867

March 6, 2008

The Bishop took part in Morning Prayers and addressed the students on honesty, honor and truth. He spoke to the younger members especially.

Our Board of Trustees met at the Medical College at ten. We went through the usual routine business for the Medical College, and voted M.D. to eighteen students in course. The Chaplaincy business came up and occupied a good deal of time. Bishop Coxe opened the matter by referring to his correspondence with Mr. Douglas on the subject, and then stated his own views, both of the proper interpretation of the statutes for the Chaplaincy, and the relation required, by the nature of the case, to subsist between the President of the College and the Chaplain. He concurred in entirety and with great force of reason, in the view taken by the President, and in the action which he had taken accordance with those views. He thought the President had been exceedingly moderate in the exercise of a right clearly conferred on him by the statutes, as he (Bishop Coxe) understood them. He said if Mr. Douglas persisted in taking the view he had put forth on this subject, he saw no alternative but that we should refund and so release ourselves from an obligation which we not fulfill consistently with what the interests of the College would require. Mr. Douglas remarked that in that case he would devote the amount to Christian education on some other field “where it would be wanted.”

Mr. Douglas, when asked to state his views, read a paper containing what he had written to Bishop Coxe on the subject. Pretty long. Dr. Shelton expressed himself quite freely in concurrence with the Bishop. Mr. Ayrault also spoke in favor of Bishop Coxe’s view. No one sustained Mr. Douglas’ view. Finally it was resolved that the President be requested to put his own views of the proper relations between the President and the Chaplain, in writing, and submit them to the Board at its July meeting.

Mr. Douglas had expressed the opinion that with our present number of students, it did not matter about appointing a Chaplain – that things were going on well enough as they were. He said Mr. Swift had written to him, saying that he agreed with him that no appointment of Chaplain should be made until the relations between Chaplain and President were clearly defined.

Bishop Coxe, as Chairman of the Committee on Endowments, reported earlier in the day that the People’s College had providentially been thrown on his hands, and that he would require twenty thousand dollars to put it in working order, and that this must take precedence of the effort for the College. It was agreed that Bishop Coxe, as he proposed to do, should call attention to the wants of the College at the same time that he obtained money for the school.

But it thus becomes clear that our effort for the College must be deferred for a time – perhaps a year. And if at the end of that period I should engage in raising funds for the College, two or three years must elapse before I could ask leave of absence without detriment to its interests. I therefore determined to ask the Board for permission to be absent from College for about six weeks at the beginning of the next College year, in order to pay a visit to Europe immediately after commencement, which was very kindly granted – Dr. Shelton moving the resolution, and Mr. Douglas seconding it. I had always purposed, if God should spare my life, to go abroad at the end of ten years’ service to the College, and now I have been nearly nine years here, and at the ten years, as it now seems, it would not be convenient in view of the interests of the College, for me to go abroad.

            In the evening I attended the Commencement of Medical College at Linden Hall, and conferred the degrees. Dr. Towler gave the address on Life – quite spicy. The whole thing passed off quite well.

January 21st, 1867

March 6, 2008

Meet Bishop Coxe and Dr. Shelton, who have come to a meeting of our Board to-morrow night. I took Bishop Coxe to the Miss Bridges’ to tea, and to talk over his school plans with them.  He wishes them to take in hand a great school Havana for girls, in Charles Cook’s People’s College, which E.W. Cook, the chief heir to that property, has agreed to give Bishop Coxe for that end. I asked his reasons for introducing the occasional prayers before the General Thanksgiving. He said the ancient usage of New York, and the fitness of things – the case being a disputed one. Bishop Hobart always followed this practice. 

January 19th, 1867

March 6, 2008

Wells (senior) came in to inquire about a book. We talked over confidentially, the Chaplaincy business, I asked him if he had any reason to think that the Chaplain was so over-shadowed by the President that his character as Chaplain and spiritual head of the College, was not clearly determined and recognized by the students. He said there was not the least ground for thinking so, and he had never heard such a thing suggested.