November 19th, 1866

March 4, 2008

Mr. Charles Collins of Angelica, who graduated here in 1834, called. I found him very well informed. He had a good deal to say about the pronounciation of Latin and Greek. I introduced him to Prof. Wheeler.


July 12th, 1866

February 22, 2008

Commencement Day.

Was serenaded at half past three by the Sigs.  Up at five and in town to make various arrangements. Committee meeting at quarter to eight with Mr. Douglas and Bishop Coxe. The Board met a little after eight. We finished routine matter, and then came an earnest discussion about the Chaplain’s expressed wish. It was now after I had spoken, and Mr. Douglas, that Bishop Coxe expressed his views earnestly, supporting my view. The ringing of the Chapel bell for Prayers cut short the discussion, and it was referred to a committee for further consideration. Prayers had begun before we got in, and Mr. Williams read them alone – reading two lessons. We then formed in procession, the Bishop and Dr. Shelton walking together, and Dr. Hull going with me at the extreme rear. The procession was long, and appeared well. We reached the Hall at half past ten. There were fifteen speakers. The salutatory was fine, and the valedictory was super-excellent. Rogers covered himself with honor. It was the finest valedictory I ever listened to.

It was altogether the best commencement I ever was present at. We got through about half past one. As soon as the exercises were over I met with the Committee on Faculty Reports, especially the Chaplain. The discussion continued till after three, when we had a cold collation at the American Hotel. Ninety persons sat down.  I introduced the speaking with some remarks, and called out successively Dr. Haight, A.D. White, W.H. Bogart and Bishop Coxe. The speaking was quite brilliant. Bogart surpassed himself, which is saying much.

After this I attended a meeting of the Board at Mr. Burrall’s to elect officers, &c. We continued from six to half past seven. Levée from eight to quarter past eleven- a great crowd. The students’ reception at the Hall passed off pleasantly. I thought of going in for a few minutes, but felt rather weary for it – when it was not at all necessary.

There were but few clergyman present at this Commencement. However, a large number of the younger Alumni came.

July 11th, 1866

February 22, 2008

Preside at the speaking for White Rhetorical prize at Linden Hall. Seven speakers, all seniors but Blackwell.  Miller, Cowman, Knapp, Brush, Nicholas, Rice. Rice got the prize. Blackwell’s declamation was clearly the best. The Committee were Doctors Haight, Reed and Hull. Dr. Haight would have given the prize to Nicholas; and I think I should.

Met the committee of the Board on Faculty reports, and talked with them in the College Library.

Mr. Williams sent in his report as Chaplain, and said he would “wish hereafter to officiate alone in the service, except on rare occasions”. And the Committee reported to the Board, which met at half past five that Mr. Williams’ wish was in accordance with the statutes; from which I earnestly dissented, and said that it was expressly put in the statutes, at my suggestion, that the President may take part in the Chapel services, as well as direct how the Chaplain shall perform them; and that the language is explicit and unqualified – “May take part in the service”. It therefore depends on himself whether he will do so or not. It is at his option. Mr. Douglas urged the opposite view, and the matter was referred back to the Committee. Bishop Coxe took my view calmly, but earnestly at a later stage. He had not arrived in town when the matter first came up.

Prof. White made me an address before the Alumni in the evening on architecture.

Sat up late completing my lists of names, order of procession, &c. Wrote a prayer for Commencement.

April 9th, 1866

February 15, 2008

Go to Syracuse to attend Rev. Dr. Gregory’s funeral. He was the first student ever graduated at our College –  in 1826, and has led a most pure, beautiful and useful life. The Bishop and about twenty clergy were present. The Bishop made a brief address extempore, and Dr. Clarke gave a written address, giving an account of his life and labors – very admirable for simplicity and good taste.

April 7th, 1866

February 15, 2008

The Bishop attended our morning Chapel service, and at the close announced that he would give early in June a course of lectures on English Literature to the students of the College.

We heard to-day of Rev. Dr. Gregory’s death. He died at Syracuse. He was the first student that ever graduated at Hobart College – a most excellent and worthy man and greatly useful in his day. I must try and go to his funeral.

Yesterday we read in the Messenger that Dr. Payne was elected President of Trinity College. I sat down last night and wrote him a letter of congratulations. To-day I learn that the statement is not true. How provoking!

Eight years to-day since I came to live in Geneva.

June 27, 1861

July 12, 2007

Commencement Day.

Trustees met at quarter past eight. Passed degrees of A.B. and A.M. in course; elect Mr. Pierrepont and Mr. Hull trustees, &c. Procession formed at twenty minutes to ten. Exercises began at quarter past ten. Hall crowded; not a great number of Alumni present. The speaking was not above the average. The music (Poppenberg’s Band) excellent. the seven recusant Sigs were not on the programme and did not join their class when the Valedictory was spoken. Exercises over at half past one. Dinner at the Franklin House at half past three. Ninety-two dined. Speeches by the President, Rev. J.M. Clarke, S.R. Woolworth (Secretary to the Regents) J.W. Fowler and General Stewart. Levée at President’s in the evening. Very full, and reception at Linden Hall. Everything passed off well except the schism in the senior class.

June 26, 1861

July 12, 2007

Meet and interrogate freshmen about supper last night. Attend the White Rhetorical at Linden Hall-fifteen speakers- speaking extraordinary-quite beyond average throughout. Begun about half past nine and ended about half past one. No music. Judges, Judge Foote, Rev. Dr. Wood, Rev. Mr. S. H. Coxe, Rev. A. D. Goodrich and E. A. Graham, Esq. Rev. H. A. Neely delivered an address before the Alumni at four. Subject, “Disloyalty to God cause of our national troubles”. Very good, very short, prepared on short notice. In the evening F.M. Finch read a spirited poem “On the war” and Hon. J. W. Fowler then gave an address on “American oratory, – its versatility,” which was one of the most splendid specimens of eloquence I ever listened to.

August 16, 1860

December 20, 2006

Gibson offered the memorial for the College on behalf of the Alumni, as agreed at the Commencement dinner; and Martindale, the lawyer from Rochester, offered the resolution I had prepared, and made a short speech followed by Governor Seymour and Governor Hunt and Rev. C.H. Platt. S. spoke like a politician, H. earnestly and handsomely, but P.  bore the palm.

June 28, 1860

December 19, 2006


Trustees met at quarter to nine.  Brought up the matter of degrees for the graduating class.  At ten, procession formed.  Commencement exercises in Linden Hall.  Such a crowd as I never saw before; no going out or in; men almost wholly excluded from the room and confined to the stage.  We had at a table on the stage, reporters from the New York Times, Herald, Geneva Courier and the various country papers.  This shows a growing interest in the College.  Dodworth’s band discoursed superb music, twenty-six pieces.  The speaking was fine, some of it very superior.  Poor MacDonald could not speak his valedictory for a sore throat.  Worthington read it for him exceedingly well.  The distributing of prizes was an impressive scene and conferring the diplomas; and the singing of “Old Hundred” to the music of the band, was sublime.  It seemed as if nearly every voice in that vast room joined in it, and the audience was solemnized by it so that while I pronounced the benediction there was the deepest stillness.

            There was an Alumni meeting after the exercises and at half past three we sat down about a hundred strong to a dinner prepared by Suydam, in Military Hall, over Linden.  The dinner was good.  Toasts and speeches followed – by Dr. A. Schuyler, W. H. Bogart, Rev. Dr. Van Rensselaer, Mr. Ayrault, Mr. Swift, Mr. Douglas, Mr. Neely, Mr. Gribson and others.  I spoke on endowments and others of the above followed, and there was a great animation and spirit and everything passed off well.  Huson presided as President of the Alumni.

            In the evening there was a crowded levee at our house.  There was a reception by the class in Linden Hall largely attended by the young people, dancing to music by Dodworth’s band.  This band has been a great attraction to this Commencement, and was the main reason for the great crowd.

July 2nd, 1858

November 9, 2006

I was waked at 4:30 A. M. by the singing of the class graduated yesterday. I was called out to speak.  They sang “Auld Lang Syne”, “Home, Sweet Home” &c.  Afterwards I said a few words to them.

July 1, 1858

November 8, 2006

Commencement Day. Cool and clear. The graduating class came to me at eight o’clock for the purpose of agreeing on the way of receiving the degrees conferred. The customary procession was formed at 9:30 and led by music. We went to Linden Hall. I wore a black gown and Oxford cap. I assigned seats on the stage to the Trustees, Bishop DeLancey, the clergy and best men of all sorts. The Master’s oration was not heard – the speaker not being present, because he was not able to prepare an oration; so he wrote me. His name is Edward H. Jewett. Before conferring the degrees, the White Rhetorical and Greek prizes were presented; the former to Harvey Baldwin by Dr. Littlejohn, and the latter to John T. Wheeler. I awarded the Greek prize with words of deserved commendation.
Next in order was the dinner in Fremont Hall. After dinner took place the presentation of a solid silver vase to Rev. Dr. Hale, for twenty-two years President of Hobart College, and without salary. Rev. Dr. Van Rennselaer, on the part of the alumni and friends of the College, presented it to Dr. Hale with suitable words; and Malcolm Douglas[sic], (son-in-law of Dr. Hale) answered for the Doctor, or rather read an address written to those present by him, Dr. Van Rensselaer afterwards carried the vase to Dr. Hale in his hand.
Dr. Huson, (President of the Alumni, and who presided at the dinner), then read a Preamble and Resolutions voted by the said Society which greatly praised Dr. Hale for his services to Hobart College in the past. These ceremonies finished, the extemporaneous speeches went on,
1. I, first, for Hobart College,
2. General Stewart, Geneva.
3. Hon. H. B. Staunton, Seneca Falls,
4. Dr. Littlejohn,
5. Rev. Dr. Cressy, Auburn,
6. Rev. Mr. Neely, Rochester,
7. Rev. H. Winslow, Geneva,
8. Bishop DeLancey.
After the speaking the greater number went out on the lake on an excursion.
Four, at least, of those who were assembled at the dinner followed me with congratulatory words and proclaimed publicly their strongest belief in me for the future. Dr. Littlejohn bore most able testimony to me, so likewise Dr. Neely, Mr. Winslow, and Bishop DeLancey. God grant that I may be able to fulfill that hope. I went home tired enough; but to God be the praise that all things went off happily.
One, not ready, was sent away. O miserable one, among a class advancing to graduation!
The degree of B. A. was not conferred at the right time on George Herbert Patterson, because when his name was called he did not present himself with the class. This puzzled me. I wondered whether I ought to confer a degree as if upon one absent. When therefore I rose in the midst of the dinner to confer the degree I said, “To advance Hobart College it is necessary for each one to perform his whole duty. I did not complete a part of my duty to-day; but now in this gracious presence I ask of the Trustees and Alumni and friends of the College the privilege of conferring the omitted degree”. Turning then, I raised up the gown and cap lying near, and put them on. This done, I pronounced the words of the Bachelor’s Degree, which were received with enthusiastic applause.
I was in perturbation of mind the whole day; not thinking what people thought of me, but in what way everything should be done, according to the plan in my mind.
The excursion on the lake was cut short by the fall of a young man from the deck of the steamboat into the lake. They were not able to recover the body. This unfortunate event cast a gloom over the otherwise festal and happy day.