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.


July 13th, 1864

January 3, 2008

Preside at the speaking for the White Rhetorical at 10:30. The prize was given to Robie, though all were highly praised.

I met the Committee on Honors at the Bishop’s at four.

The Sigs had a poem and oration before their Society to-night. I could not attend, being very busy.

July 12th, 1864

January 3, 2008

Busy early getting ready for the meeting of the Board at ten. It lasted till one, and met again at five. We had a meeting of the Committee on Honors at nine and again at four.

The reading of the prize essays took place at the Medical College at three.

July 9th, 1864

January 3, 2008

Sent off the White Essays, three in number. Was present at Dr. Metcalf’s examination in Latin. Call on Mr. Douglas about College matters, and agree on our report on income. Get Mr. Douglas, the Bishop, and Dr. Bissell to agree to the Alumni Dinner, and go and persuade Mr. Stafford to get up the dinner at $1.25 a head for eighty people, sure.

May 31st, 1864

December 14, 2007

Dr. Rankine came to talk over the matter of the adjudging of the prizes at the junior exhibition.

April 26th, 1864

December 12, 2007

The Board of Trustees met at four. We had a long discussion on Mr. Neely’s request of leave of absence from May 15th to September 15th, with substitution of Rev. Mr. Bush in his place. I think all the members of the Board would have readily agreed to it; but Mr. Douglas, with whom, and with the Bishop, lies the power of nomination to the Chaplaincy, opposed both the absence and the substitution. Finally he agreed to leave of absence till Commencement, but would on no account agree to Bush’s taking Neely’s place. We had to yield. I was sorry, and wished for a different result, and spoke for it.

The junior exhibition took place at Linden Hall at half past seven. Twelve speakers. They spoke well and showed the effect of Prof. Russell’s training, short as it had been – only three weeks, particularly in their easy and self-possessed carriage and bearing, and a certain gentlemanly manner and a noticeable correctness and good taste. Wells got the first and Richardson the second prize. The Judges were Doctors Rankine, Hull and Guion. The audience would have given the first prize to Crouchen.

February 18th, 1864

December 6, 2007

Announced to the seniors the decision of the Trustees in regard to class day, and to the juniors the decision to hire Linden Hall for their exhibition.  I also announced that I would give a prize this year- without making it a precedent- or settling at present whether it should be one or two.

December 18th, 1863

November 28, 2007

Sophomore exhibition took place; Leffingwell, Brainard and Dr. R. Stone, judges. Ives got first prize, Coolbaugh second. College dismissed at Evening Prayer.

December 9th, 1863

November 28, 2007

Get prizes for sophomore exhibition. See Judge Smith and arrange for form of demand of payment by Mr. Ayrault’s executors of the $20,000.

November 19th, 1863

November 27, 2007

Make appointments for prize exhibition. Fourteen speakers in the sophomore class. Think we shall have a good exhibition.

November 4th, 1863

November 27, 2007

Go to Syracuse and see Prof. White and the other executors about the Prize Fund. Saw Professor and Hamilton White. Visit entirely satisfactory.

July 15th, 1863

November 15, 2007

Prize speaking at ten. At half past three go to hear Parke before the Alumni. In the evening go to concert at Linden Hall- Seventh Regiment Band; very fine.

July 16th, 1862

October 5, 2007

Meeting of Board at 8:10.
Presided at the White Rhetorical. Eight speakers competed – the prize adjudged to Conger. Committee, Prof. A.D. White, Rev. Dr. Payne and Rev. W. Ayrault.
Neely was today elected Chaplain. Went to Linden Hall at eight, where Dr. A.C. Coxe made an address before the Christian Brotherhood of Hobart College. Dr. Coxe spoke very brilliantly and effectively on the office of the Church as educator, and what the Puritans themselves owed to the English Universities. Two or three Romanists and Dr. Wiley, Dutch Reformed, got up and went out in the midst of the discourse, offended, no doubt, at things said. But the audience in general were charmed with it. It was considered a chief feature of the Commencement Week. I was quite proud of my friend – he did so well. He said afterwards that on chief source of solicitude to him was a fear of disgracing me as his friend, through whom he had been invited to speak.

July 15th, 1862

October 5, 2007

Met committee on honors at Bishop DeLancey’s. Preside at the reading of the White Prize Essays at the Medical College at four. Sutphen took the first and Lawson the second prize. At seven, meet committee on nomination of professors at Bishop DeLancey’s. Preside at eight in the Medical College at the reading of the Cobb Prize Essay – awarded to B.W. Woodward. No second prize was awarded. There were two competitors, but the second piece was not regarded as coming up to the standard which ought to be maintained. This Cobb Prize was founded in the name of my wife and her brother, to commemorate their mother, and this was the first award. At nine I returned to the Bishop’s to continue our committee meeting on nominating professors. Agree to nominate Dr. Towler, Prendergast Professor of Natural Philosophy; but did not find ourselves in a position to recommend anyone for the Chair of Rhetoric.

December 20th, 1861

September 20, 2007

Busy with College affairs. Faculty meeting to consider cases of Lawson and Jackson who absented themselves from examination and were fined $5 each. Have Lawson to tea, and a long talk with him after tea about his plans – thinks about staying out. Spoke of my smile of approval when he finished his oration at Junior Exhibition as the most precious reward he had ever received.

December 17th, 1861

September 20, 2007

At four o’clock, Evening Prayers in Chapel. I presided over Matriculation and then made an address on manliness. Bishop DeLancey read Collects and pronounced the benediction- Sophomore exhibition in the evening. Eleven speakers- H. Purdy got the first prize and A.H. Vielé the second. Judges, Rev. Dr. Wood, Mr. Rankine and Prof. Greene, M.D. The exhibition was a fair one and passed off well.

November 19th, 1861

September 20, 2007

Trustee meeting at eleven. Rankine and Ver Planck appeared and took their seats. Mr. Smith was present and I delivered up my statement to him. He says he will put it into legal shape tomorrow. At half past five Dr. Wilson and I met the Bishop to settle about subjects for the White Essays. We selected them.

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.

June 25, 1861

July 12, 2007

Up early and busy getting ready for meeting of the Board.  Prayers at half past eight in Chapel.  Board met at ten, but no quorum till twelve.  Meanwhile we talked over matters.  We then went through the usual routine of business. There being no quorum of the Committee on Honors we had no action in this direction. I made a verbal report about the endowment and finally read Mr. Swift’s letter to me proposing to secure $3,000.  No action was taken.  Mr. Chedell, Mr. Smith and Mr. Tuttle dined with us at half past two.  At four presided at the reading of the Prize Essays – Palmer’s and Gibson’s at the Medical College.  Did not get more than two hours sleep – awakened by freshmen returning from a supper at twenty minutes to three.

June 22, 1861

July 12, 2007

Send off White Essays to Syracuse to the judges – Dr. Beach, Rev. J.M. Clarke and Rev. W. T. Gibson.  Hear Ogden read his Commencement piece.  Hear Dr. Towler’s examination in astronomy.  Prepare the conclusion of my sermon – the address to the graduating class.  Went to the DeZeng’s to see Mrs. Seward.

January 22, 1861

April 2, 2007

I heard my recitation rather hastily in order to prepare for the meeting of the Board of Trustees at the Medical College at ten o’clock.

John DeLancey called to say his father had returned from Buffalo with so severe a cold he could not come out, and if we could not make a quorum without him we must come to his room. We waited a good while for a quorum, talking over matters informally. Finally when the cars from the west came Mr. Ayrault of Canandaigua joined us; but though we had Mr. Fellows from out of town, we still wanted one for a quorum: so we adjourned to Bishop DeLancey’s bedroom and there transacted business. We did not do much except the regular routine of business for the Medical Department. We passed a formal vote to accept Mrs. Prendergast’s Declaration about her professorship, pure and simple, and inform her of our proceedings. A petition was received from the senior class desiring that the competition for the White Rhetorical be restricted to the senior class – it being now open to juniors also. The Board were of the unanimous opinion that they have no power to alter the statutes deliberately agreed to by Mr. White and requested me so to inform the class. I presided at the Medical Commencement in the evening and conferred the degrees- nine regular and one honorary.

December 13, 1860

April 2, 2007

Found to-day that Dr. Metcalf was greatly put out by Wheeler’s taking the Greek prize into his own hand. But there was no intention to give offense either on my part or his.

June 30 1860

December 19, 2006

Waked soon after four by the sounds of an approaching serenade.  The senior class had a supper at twelve o’clock last night, and sat up till morning, and then, as is their custom, went around to serenade the Faculty.  Here they sang, “Home, Sweet Home,” and gave three times three cheers for the Rev. Dr. Jackson, President, wishing all prosperity to the College, under his administration. 

            At half past seven, took cars to Syracuse to see Mr. White about the Rhetorical Prize – his agent having implied that it was not on a sure basis.  Stopped in Auburn to see Mr.  Chedell, to whom Mr. White referred me two weeks ago, when too ill to see me.  Mr. Chedell could tell me nothing.  Mr. Hill met me in Syracuse, saying Mr. White was not well enough to see me.  However, just as I was about to leave, he drove me around to see Mr. White, and I had a clear understanding with him about the prize.

June 27, 1860

December 19, 2006

Attend meeting of Trustees at nine.  At ten preside at the speaking for the White Rhetorical for two hours and a half.  At four go to hear Mr. Ayrault’s address on Growth, in Linden Hall.  A good vigorous thing.  Go to the concert for a while in the evening.  Dodworth’s band, tremendous crowd, superb music, a great crowd of strangers in town.

June 26, 1860

December 19, 2006

Trustees met at ten. At four, preside over reading of White Prize essays. In the evening go to Scotch Presbyterian Church to hear Dr. Morgan’s address before the Brotherhood – a brilliant thing, admirably delivered, to a small audience.

At the meeting of the Board everything passed off pleasantly. There were no parties there and no sinister objects appear. The business men of the Board seem thoroughly to understand its financial affairs, income, expenditure, investments, securities, &c; and in all other matters relative to the organization, discipline of the college, appointments of officers, &c. they seemed to place the greatest confidence in me and are willing to carry out my views. It is very pleasant to see such confidence, for I cannot live in an atmosphere of distrust.

June 5, 1860

December 19, 2006

Dr. Wilson and I went to Bishop DeLancey’s to meet him as a committee to choose the committee for the White Essays.  He agreed on Rev. J. M. Clark, Rev. G.H. Hills and Charles Stebbins, Esq.

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,



June 28, 1859

December 11, 2006

Last Morning Prayers, after which College is dismissed, except for the public exercises. Trustees meet in library morning and afternoon. At four the White Prize essays are read in Medical College. First prize given to C.D. Vail; second to B.F. Lee. I presided. In the evening Rev. C.H. Platt gave an oration in Linden Hall before the Philopeuthian Society. Eloquent and fine.

December 21st, 1858

November 21, 2006

After Evening Prayers I read aloud the promise to be obedient to the College. Then all who were prepared to give their names to the Head of the College were bidden to write their names in the Matriculation-book. After the signing, I made them a twenty-minute address about the meaning of this ceremony, and the way in which their Alma Mater therefore relies on them to do their duty. The whole oration was received by the students with applause, which I do not like, nor would I permit it to be done again.
Sophomore prize exhibition at Linden Hall in the evening. Twelve students from this class distinguished themselves in speaking. All spoke well: but T. Merriman received the first prize, and R. M. Duff the second. The class had a dinner afterwards, but without wine or anything to drink except water.

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.