July 10th, 1866

February 22, 2008

Trustees met at ten. We went very quietly through the usual routine of business. I read my two memorials, one to the Society for Promoting Religion and Learning in the State of New York; the other to Trinity Church. Both quite long. The Board met again at three. I was Chairman, and presided. We all attended Chapel at five, when Dr. J.M. Clarke, of Syracuse, preached a sermon commemorative of Rev. Dr. Hale, late President of Hobart College. The opening was very beautiful, and it was all in excellent feeling.

Class Day exercises at Linden Hall in the evening. Brush was the orator; Meek, the poet, and G.H. Watson made the Paddle speech. E.R. Brown, of the junior class, received it. Brown abounded with dry wit and spoke exceedingly well.

About midnight came the burial of the Free College, with fantastic dresses and rites, instead of the burial of a book. Sophomores and freshmen were in it together.


October 8th, 1863

November 21, 2007

Attend examination of those suspended- now returned. Attend meeting of the Board, first at College Library and then at Mr. Burrall’s to get a quorum- Special meeting to give a deed of part of Swift farm, sold. I wrote resolutions on death of Dr. Hale.

April 22, 1861

July 10, 2007

 Newburyport, Mass.

Went to see Dr. Hale.  Had a long and pleasant talk with him about Geneva and the College.  He went with me to call on Dr. Horton, who promised at least $1000 towards a scholarship.

June 29, 1859

December 11, 2006

Thursday. 8 A.M. Service at Trinity Church – a public thanksgiving to Almighty God on account of the return of Bishop DeLancey, recently from Europe. I read the Te Deum. The Bishop spoke words of congratulation.

The Trustees then returned to the library in order to accept a marble bust placed in the library to serve always to the honor of Rev. Dr. Hale (the former President of this College), and in his memory. This bust was given by the Alpha Delta Phi Society to the College. Prof. Wheeler made the speech of presentation, — elegant and suitable. I answered extemporaneously for the Trustees.



A portion of Dr. Jackson’s address at the Presentation of Dr. Hale’s bust, by the Alpha Delta Phi.


The Rev. Dr, Jackson, on behalf of the Trustees, spoke in substance as follows, addressing Prof. Wheeler:

“I am requested to say, on behalf of the Trustees of this Institution, that they receive with sincere pleasure this token at once of your loyalty to Hobart College, and of your grateful appreciation of the distinguished services of its late President. They will take care that it be preserved amongst the sacred treasures of this Institution of Learning, that all future generations may learn to recognize the form and features of one who will always remember with reverence and gratitude within these classic Halls [capitalization, sic]. We know, indeed, that marble and brass are frail and perishable – that the only imperishable likeness is that of the mind itself – forma mentis aeterna est – that likeness, stamped on the minds of his loving pupils by him whose character you have just now portrayed with a hand at once so delicate and so faithful, will remain there forever. Nay, it will reproduce itself in more or fewer of its lineaments in other minds, and so, send out a widening circle of beneficent influences, whose remotest pulsation no human eye can reach far enough to see. Hobart College will ever cherish this marble so cunningly wrought, because it will serve to remind her children, of every generation, of one of their earliest and greatest benefactors.

We are reminded, sir, by this whole occasion, as well as by your special references, that this gift which we have accepted at your hands is the offering of a secret society. And, we here find ourselves in some sort drawn into a public recognition of one of the secret Fraternities of this Institution. We do not regret it. Your, sir, have brought the character of the body which you represent on this occasion distinctly to our notice; and, so doing, you have enunciated much that is both true and important. Secret societies are powers in college. Their existence and their influence for good or for evil are facts which cannot be overlooked or ignored. Doubtless they involve a mixture of both. And the wisest course to peruse in relation to them is to deal with them in a manner at once frank and friendly – to recognize their power for good – to endeavor, so far as we can, both by authority and discipline acting on individuals, and by the force of a sound public opinion in College acting on the members at large, those tendencies to evil which unhappily exist in such associations. I gladly recognize, as a fact attested by experience, that the young men who compose these societies have in general a high sense of character and are keenly stung by the reproach of misconduct in any of its members. It should then be our aim to cultivate in them a strong sentiment or admiration for all that is generous and elevated in character, and by friendly relations with them draw them to uphold rather than obstruct the government, and stimulate them to rescue for evil influences rather than to corrupt their members. I know that our efforts in this direction will not be in vain. Sometimes, unhappily, they are found in antagonism, and prove themselves obstructive to order and discipline. But I feel confident that if they meet with frank and impartial dealing at the hands of the government they will rarely fail to give it their active moral support. Prejudice or passion my blind them for a time, but they will presently do justice to the wise and well-considered action of those in authority.


The Rev. Dr. Hale, in his reply, also spoke of secret societies. He said that he had often found them very useful.



Dr. Hale spoke also, happily. The whole scene was impressive and delightful to all.

At the same hour the White Rhetorical prize speaking was going on. Vail carried off the prize.

At four p.m., Hon. J.D. Doolittle, U.S. Senator, gave an oration before the alumni on the Succession of Empires and a Universal Republic. Finally delivered. At 7:30, Hon. John Cochrane gave a address before the Sigma Phi’s on the Liberal Arts, and William Starke recited a poem in the Presbyterian Church. At the same hour O.S. Ackly gave an address in Linden Hall before the Hermean Society. Hindered by negotiations I do not advance.


Difficulty in the Hermean Society.

Certain persons having failed to carry out the election of a poet for Commencement in the Philopeuthian Society, considering that they have been unfairly used, applied for admission to the Hermean Society. One or two of those who sought admission into the Hermean Society had not been members of the Philopeuthian. It being perceived that they would, by their vote, strengthen the minority, and enable them to carry the election of the Orator for Commencement, (a sharply contested point), their admission was refused. Then the minority, having the president of the Society on their side, got notions of a special meeting for March 17th at eleven o’clock p.m. (!) and had the notices posted on the doors of the north and south buildings ten minutes before five p.m.; but it would seem as if they were immediately torn down, as no one of the majority ever saw them; and it was indeed admitted on both sides that they did not remain up. But no one could tell who took them down. It was admitted by the party calling the meeting that the other party, (majority) should know of the meeting. Accordingly no member of the majority was present. At this meeting certain persons were elected and inducted. At the regular meeting, March 19th, 1859, these persons, (six in number, I think) appeared. The majority objected that certain persons, not members, were present; which, according to a by-law, blocked up the meeting by those present. Accordingly nothing further was done except to adjourn. The Society continued blocked to the end of the term. Finally they agreed to what the Faculty recommended last term when the matter was brought before them by the majority, viz; to refer the whole matter to referees, whose decision should be final. They accordingly, by mutual consent, who decided as follows. (Wheeler and Van Deusen appeared for the majority, and Pringle and Gibson for the minority. The Committee met first on the 3rd of May and heard statements and arguments, and again on the 4th, and had their final meeting May 10th).


Report of Committee of Arbitration. Hermean Society.

Hobart College, May 10th, 1859.

The Committee of arbitration, considering of the four senior members of the Faculty, viz; Drs. Jackson, Wilson, Metcalf and Towler, to which was refereed the controversy between different parties in the Hermean Society, after due deliberation on the points at issue, decides as follows, viz; That the persons whose membership is in dispute are not members of the Society, because the Society being competent to decide on the legality of the meeting of March 17, at which certain persons were alleged to have been elected and initiated, and having decided that the meeting was illegal, their decision is final.

Three members of the Committee decide that the meeting of March 17th was illegal in itself for want of due and proper notice.

One member of the Committee deems it inexpedient for him to pronounce on the legality of that meeting without further investigation, but he considers it wrong and improper on moral grounds.

On behalf of the Committee,

A. Jackson,



April 7, 1859

December 7, 2006

Same.  One year is completed to-day from the day when I came to Geneva to make my home here.  “Alas! swiftly flying years!”  I lodged as a guest at Dr. Hale’s with the moon in the sky looking down upon the lake.  A whole year to-day from the beginning in the College Chapel, where I was inducted into the office of president of Hobart College.  Happy year, which has glided away without commotion or tumult!  Great thanks be to God.  To Him be all glory and praise.  May he guide me in all future time.

March 26, 1859

December 5, 2006

Dr. Hale met me for the purpose of deliberating about planting of the trees on the campus. We agreed between us to plant the trees according to some system, i.e. two rows around the whole campus, with intervals of fourteen feet between them; likewise trees grouped in certain places; two rows also in front from the president’s house to that of Mr. Douglas.

March 24, 1859

December 5, 2006

I meet Dr. Hale, (who had returned from Newburyport Wednesday), about the places for planting the trees around the College.

            We find through letters from Dr. Alexander of Edinboro that we have made a mistake about the proper color of the hood;  for all hoods suitable for Doctors of Theology are always made of scarlet.  Indeed, they believed that a Doctor should not be clothed in another color.  Since, therefore, this color is a fixed sign of this degree in the Universities of Cambridge, Oxford, Durham, and both at Dublin and Queen’s Colleges in Ireland, the black silk was changed by us to red.  The violet-edged hood chosen by us remains with a margin all of black.  Dr. Alexander reports Bishop Andrews as saying that red was par excellence the Doctor’s color.

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.

April 8th, 1858

November 5, 2006

Summer term begins to-day. The Trustees of Hobart College met. Bishop DeLancey met me this morning and advised me not to be present at Morning Prayers, but at Evening Prayers, when I should be commended to the Faculty and students of the College by the Trustees publicly and with full authority. To this I readily assented. A little before five the Trustees went from the house of Dr. Hale, to the Chapel, Bishop DeLancey being with me, everyone rising at our entrance and standing until each was seated in his place — Bishop DeLancey at the right side of the altar, I at the left in the chancel, and the remainder of the Trustees in extra seats placed outside the chancel. The service was read by Dr. Metcalf. Prayers being finished, Bishop DeLancey rose and spoke in an able manner. First to the professors he introduced me as president, then to the students. On the other hand he urged upon me faithful care of these youths. He also read a short communication written by Dr. Hale (who did not venture to speak, by reason of physical infirmity), and addressed to the students, which bade them farewell in a manner full of kindness and good feeling, and also in a most friendly way commended them to me. The Bishop’s address being finished, I arose and in the Bishop’s order addressed the professors, the students, and Dr. Hale.
I hope that by the grace of God it may result to the good of the College. Bishop DeLancey’s suggestions were very kindly received. All the professors were present except Prof. Hamilton and Prof Wilson! Just as if he were not in the town! for a reason unknown to me, but which I think this:– I am less welcome to him because, so they say, he himself wished to be president and did not care for me. I, however, always treat him fairly and justly. More than that I cannot do.

April 7th, 1858

November 2, 2006

Reached Geneva in the afternoon.  Met Dr. Hale, Dr. Metcalf and Dr. Towler who were expecting me.  Dr. Hale took me to his house and there received me most kindly.  I had a room which looked on the lake and to the south.

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 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.