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Who Became a Bishop

     At the end of 1863 I find the following note in my diary: "I am a Sophomore in Hobart, measure five feet five and one-half inches in height, weigh one hundred and thirty-five pounds and enjoy the best of health. I was obliged to spend nearly all my spare time the past year in earning my board. I have seventeen dollars and sixty-five cents with the best of prospects.
     I spent the Christmas vacation at my Uncle's in Rutland, Vermont, and those were very happy days. Cousins Emily and Lucy with myself were invited to all the parties and festivities. I both needed and enjoyed to the full the rest and recreation. On New Year's day with two old schoolmates we made twenty-two New Year's calls and attended a dance in the evening--the best in my life.
     After returning to college, I found that living a mile away, the care of a horse and cow, sawing and carrying all the wood used, care of a garden, orchard and meadow, took up so much of my time that I was hardly able to keep up with my class, and that I had no time whatever for side reading. I tried to get back to my old place at the Sanitarium, but that was filled by another. I then determined to board myself in my room at college. I kept this up during the rest of the college year. My fare was exceedingly simple. For a month it was one-half pint of milk and one-third of a loaf of bread for breakfast; for dinner beefsteak roasted on a stick before the fire in the stove and

The Farmer Boy

Boston crackers. Supper same as breakfast. A month or more later it was corn mush and potatoes for breakfast; dinner, potatoes and dried herring or dried halibut; supper, corn mush and a little molasses on the last plate full. Cost, five cents a day. Two months after that I wrote home that the last two weeks I had lived on corn mush one day and flour mush the next, with a little raw, salt pork. For weeks at a time I lived on thirty-three cents a week. In June I wrote home that I had eaten nothing for a month but corn meal mush and molasses. Lack of money was the chief cause of these economies, but another was a strong desire to visit my home the next summer, which I had not seen in over three years. At this time I had not the means in sight and I was saving every cent I could. I had picked up a kind of stenography from an old man who came about the college and presently I had a class of fellow-students learning it from me at $1.50 apiece. Not having to earn my board enabled me to do far better in my studies, so that I came near getting into the honor grade on my examinations. I even joined half a dozen classmates in reading a Greek tragedy outside the course which we recited once a week to our enthusiastic Greek professor, Albert S. Wheeler. Besides this, I read much in Greek, Latin and English literature and Roman history outside the regular course. Still the close application to my studies and the very slim and monotonous diet began to affect my stomach

Who Became a Bishop

so that a physician told me that I must take more exercise and be more in the open air.
     0n the 24th of June, President Jackson, who knew I was boarding myself and probably knew of my poor fare, came to me and said that he was satisfied that I would eventually study for the ministry and if I could so decide now, I could have a scholarship of $120 a year. With that he thought I could get on more comfortably. I told him I thought it needed good men in the law and in politics as well as in the ministry. I could not yet give up the aspirations and ambition of my childhood. From that time, however, I could not altogether banish the idea of the ministry from my mind.



T the end of my Sophomore year, July 15, 1864, I started for my longed-for visit home. I had been away three years and a half, and had half starved myself to save the money needed for the journey. On every Sunday during all those years I had never failed to write home. My people at home had sent me occasionally some postage stamps, but were not able to do more. My brother Daniel's labor was practically supporting a family of four and paying for their new

The Farmer Boy

home. On my way home I stopped two days at Detroit to visit with a college friend, P. B. Lightner, and at Ann Arbor with an old school friend, Edwin D. Kelley. I had a long talk with Kelley on religion which, he wrote me afterwards, resulted in his becoming a Christian. Some years after he died a missionary in Burmah. During the summer vacation I helped brother Daniel through his harvesting and stacking, then worked the rest of the time for brother Henry building a tobacco shed and gathering tobacco. Early in September I returned to college with a large box of food prepared by my mother and sister.
     During the Christmas vacation I stayed in my room at college with my classmate, Fred C. Rogers, read up on Thackeray and his works, and wrote an essay for the Cobb prize on Thackeray. Much of my spare time during the next term I spent in reading up on Milton's Paradise Lost and writing an essay on it for the White essay prize. I fill out the record of the rest of my junior year with a few quotations from my diary:
     March 6th. I was treated to an oyster supper by Dr. Stebbins. My food for some weeks has been a sort of hard-tack made of flour wet up with water and a little lard and baked on the top of my stove with a basin turned over it for an oven. This food, I fear, is having an injurious effect on my health, and I must change my diet. I have just received thirty dollars from my scholarship. This sum has got to board and

Who Became a Bishop

clothe me, pay my college bills, buy books and everything else I have until the middle of July, over three months.

     March 8th. This is my mother's birthday. I have this morning resolved, God helping,
     1. To improve my time better.
     2. To rise earlier and retire earlier.
     3. To take better care of my health by taking more exercise, and eating better food.
     4. To listen to no obscene talk.
     5. To be more devout in chapel.
     6. To pray in private twice instead of once a day.

     March 15th. Received a box of good eatables from a Mrs. S. S. Gould of Seneca Falls, whom I never saw, but who heard of my struggles from a friend.
     April 1st. Received a barrel of eatables from home, nearly one thousand miles away.
     April 13th. I am twenty-three years old to-day and came near not thinking of it. I am the oldest man in our class, but in feelings am as young as any.
     April 24th. Tried to get some writing or some other work to do this short vacation, but without success. There is nothing that so embitters my feelings as to be rejected by everybody when trying to get employment to keep from starving..
     July 8th. Went to Rochester to get a book agency to work by the month, but did not succeed, as their agents all work on commission. I would work on commission, but I had not a cent of money in the world

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to begin with. Think I shall try to borrow some money to start on, though it will be the last debt I have ever had. Three years ago my present circumstances would have given me the "blues," but now I feel that it will all be right some way.
     July 12th. This has been a great day for me. My essay on "Paradise Lost" took the first White prize, a twenty-five dollar gold medal, and my essay on Thackeray took the first Cobb prize, a twenty dollar gold medal. As no other student has ever taken both these prizes (much less a junior away from seniors). I received many congratulations. Both committees to decide praised my essays.
     On July 14th, 1 began canvassing for subscriptions for the "Life of Abraham Lincoln," written by J. G. Holland. I kept steadily at it for seven weeks, securing two hundred and sixty-three subsciptions. My commission amounted to three hundred dollars, but I did not get the books to deliver until the next winter. I had to go partly on borrowed money until that time.
     About the tenth of September I was invited to Mr. Sheldon's house to meet for the first time my benefactress, Mrs. J. B. Varnum, with her husband and daughter. After tea, Mr. and Mrs. Varnum came out to the gate with me, giving me much kindly advice and, on bidding me goodbye, Mrs. Varnum slipped fifty dollars into my hand. With thirty dollars of that I paid back the money I had borrowed. I then took table board at the Sanitarium, which they kindly gave me at two

Who Became a Bishop

dollars a week. From this time on I was able to live more comfortably. All went smoothly through the fall term and I easily passed the examinations. The Christmas vacation I spent in my room at college, while all the others went to their homes. The following from a letter to my sister pictures my life there:
     "My college mates are all gone and I sit down in my room to contemplate the companions with whom I am to make Christmas merry. There is my English dictionary, a large and sedate looking fellow. By his side are Aristotle's Politics, Smith's Political Economy, Locke's Essay on Civil Government, Gibbons' Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Hallam's Middle Ages, Motley's Dutch Republic, Hume's England and De Tocqueville's Democracy in America. This, you will think, is a dismal picture, yet why should it be? Is it not a privilege to listen to and understand the subtle reasoning of Aristotle, who has been a teacher of great men for two thousand years; to follow Locke in his sublime theories of government? Can a man be alone with such companions? Or again to read and contemplate the histories of great nations until you become so familiar with them that whole nations seem to be your companions? On your right sits beautiful and refined Greece and on your left old Rome with her stern visage of war. Sitting with such companions, can you say that you are alone? These are noble thoughts, to be sure, but are they satisfying? These images are indeed companions of the intellect, but not of the heart. Step aside Greece, with all your learning and treachery, and give place to a loving sister! Begone, stem Rome and let an honest brother

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take your place! Let this great world, past and present, with which I was sitting a minute ago as a companion of nations be contracted into a home circle; let companions of the intellect be changed for companions of the heart, and I will show you where happiness dwells!
     The books enumerated above I was studying as a foundation for the study of law and politics. At the end of my diary for 1865 I find a list of fifty-three works I read that year outside my regular college course; books on logic and rhetoric, political economy and general literature. It was a habit of mine after we had read a portion or sample of any classical work in the original then to read all the rest of that author's works in translations; a thing I would advise any classical student to do. Otherwise one can get no adequate idea and benefit of classical literature.
     Toward the end of Christmas vacation the books I had taken subscriptions for in the summer began to arrive and I spent several weeks delivering them about the country in a sleigh. The weather was very cold, below zero much of the time, and I had no overcoat, so I suffered much with the cold. When I was through, however, I had money enough to pay the wholesale price of the books, pay up my debts and put one hundred dollars in the bank.
     It was the custom in Hobart College for the Senior class on Washington's birthday to give a public exhibition in the Opera House, which consisted of reading

Who Became a Bishop

Washington's farewell address, an original oration and a poem. I had been elected poet for the occasion and spent ten days and nights writing a poem of four-hundred and seventy-six lines. The subject was the Battle of Gettysburg and the close of the Civil War. It was received with much applause and many congratulations.
     Although much out of college during the winter delivering books and on account of some illness, I managed to keep along in my studies and passed the final examinations. My standing was about seventh from the head of the class. My spare time on Sundays, after attending chapel twice during my Senior year, I spent in reading aloud to a blind man, Mr. Franklin, at the Sanitarium. After getting the money from the sale of the books, I began securing a patent for a stove invented by my father many years before and which had been used in our family at home for twenty-five years. In this I succeeded, though it took most of my spare money. During the last term of college as the studies were light, I studied very hard on the first book of Blackstone's "Commentaries on English Law."
     On March 13 and 14, 1866, I find the following entry in my diary: "O, how the bright and extravagant hopes of my boyhood come up before me as I contemplate my weakness, unable as I now see I am from lack of genius and opportunity to accomplish the great things to which my early ambition aspired--youth

The Farmer Boy

vanishing like a dream as one approaches the age of real work! O, that I had not such a boundless and burning ambition! I now set it down as my great aim in life, first to gain Heaven, and second to gain as much earthly fame as I can by doing the greatest possible good my abilities and opportunities will enable me to do to my fellow men. This fame, though not the loudest or most dazzling which I might perhaps acquire, will be of the best kind. It will not, it seems to me, contravene my first purpose in gaining Heaven. The particular means by which I now hope to gain these ends are by following the legal profession and perhaps engaging in politics. I am led to adopt this course by a careful study of my own tastes and powers and by the advice of those who best understand my natural and acquired abilities. I shall change it, however, if circumstances seem to warrant it. If these plans are consistent with the infinitely wise purpose of God, I pray Him to assist me in following them and resisting the temptations which will necessarily arise in such a course. If good things result from my feeble efforts, His be all the glory thereof. But if all this seems not best to Him, may He give me strength and grace to bear my failures with Christian fortitude so that my spirit be not soured and distempered by disappointment."
     I think I can say without boasting that I have kept fairly well the second resolution. I can say truthfully that I never sought preferment and never accepted

Who Became a Bishop

it unless I thought it opened a larger field for usefulness. I never asked for my Master of Arts degree and did not receive it for fifteen years. I never sought a call to a parish or the episcopate. I never sought a university degree and did not receive my D. D. and L.L.D. until after I was elected bishop. It is doubtful if I deserved either of them.
     My commencement oration was on the subject of ambition under the title of "Justice to Caesar," in which I poured out my soul in justifying a laudable ambition. I was not cheered as I came onto the stage, as many of my classmates were, for I had few acquaintances in the town. I ended my oration with these words: "Despise not the powers which God has given us, but boldly use them for our own improvement and the good of our race. Choose in life that sphere of action in which our abilities enable us to excel and in it be ambitious to become the first and best. There let us toil on, determined while we live to stand foremost in the ranks of men,

"'And when we die to leave our name
A light, a landmark, on the cliffs of fame.'"

     When I closed I was surprised and nearly overcome by the deafening applause and the shower of bouquets which were thrown upon the stage. Some of our ablest professors left the audience and came behind the stage to congratulate me.
     The following from a letter to my sister expresses my feelings on leaving college and Geneva: "To-

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morrow I pack my trunk, soon to bid adieu to this fair town forever. I shall not look back upon it as a place where I have passed four years of unbroken happiness, but as a place where I have passed four years of faithful study, where I have endured some hardships, have had comparatively few pleasures except such as come from the satisfaction of duty performed, have achieved some successes, have made few friendships, but those of the truest and deepest kind. Though I drop a tear on leaving Geneva, yet my feelings for the most part are those rather of gratitude than regret. Grateful I am that a kind Providence has given me health, friends, pecuniary aid, energy and perseverance to accomplish my purpose here, the prospect of achieving which has at times seemed so dubious; grateful that I have not wasted my time in foolish sports, or in frivolous society. I have chiefly to regret that in my efforts to lead a true Christian life and be an example to my schoolmates, I have often fallen far short of the standard. I believe, however, my failures in this respect have generally resulted from ignorance, not vice.



EFORE graduating I had engaged to become principal of the Ury House School for Boys near Philadelphia for five hundred dollars a year with

Who Became a Bishop

board and keep. The summer vacation I spent with an aged aunt at Fairfax, Vermont, studying Kent's "Commentary on American Law." I studied eight hours a day, taking fifty pages in advance and fifty pages in review each day and making a written abstract or analysis of the review.
     Early in September I went to teach the school near Philadelphia, visiting my uncle's family in Rutland, Vermont, on the way. I found the school was kept in an old family mansion near the post office of Fox Chase about nine miles north of Philadelphia. A long avenue of large pine trees led from the house to the country road and all the surroundings along the Pennypacker Creek were picturesque and beautiful. There were about thirty boys in the school. The older ones, many of whom were preparing for college, were under my care. Mrs. Crawford, the owner of the school, was a middle aged widow, whose husband had lost his property in New Orleans during the Civil War. This beautiful country home of one hundred acres was in her name and all she had left except six sons, whom she had to educate. She began her school on their account and took in other boys until it developed into Ury House School. She was a refined English lady and the boys in the school were from the best families in and around Philadelphia. I had a most delightful year and saved nearly all my wages. Out of school hours I was a boy with the boys and joined in all their sports.

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     In October the patent on my father's stove was issued, the securing of which had cost me about a hundred dollars. During the year I was planning how I could get up patterns to show to the manufacturers. My father was aged and in poor health, so he could not attend to that part of the undertaking.
     On the fourth of November I. find the following entry in my diary: "I find that the great desire of my early youth, political fame, is fast vanishing away--not because I fear I could not attain eminence in that field, for I think I could if I devoted my entire energies to it. Somehow I care not for the things I once longed for, nor has their place been filled by new objects of desire. My enthusiasm for the practice of law has declined with the desire for political distinction. It is still my highest wish to do the greatest possible good to my fellow men and to work out my own salvation. Why not, then, study for the ministry? I can hardly tell why, but sometimes it seems as though my work is to be a peculiar one. I diligently improve the present in gaining general knowledge and leaving the future to God, believing that He will guide me by circumstances into the path I am to pursue and will give me strength' as I need in my journey through it. With this prayer in my heart I work, watch and wait." At this time I was reading an hour each day in Blackstone and an hour in general literature besides teaching the school.
     "February 9, 1867. Am not very happy these days--deep thoughts and misgivings about the future."

Who Became a Bishop

     "March 24. While in church to-day I thought more seriously about studying for the ministry than ever before.
     "April 19. Finished the third and fourth volumes of Kent's Commentaries on American Law."'
     "May 25. I have been devoting all my spare time lately to Spanish and finished to-day 'Ollendorf's Method.' Shall begin translating' Don Quixote' next week. To-day Mrs. Crawford offered to raise my salary another three hundred dollars if I would stay by the school another year."
     On the twenty-first of June the school closed for the year and I received fine presents both from Mrs. Crawford and the boys of the school. On the whole, the year was a happy and profitable one to me. Besides finishing the study of Blackstone and Kent in law, and becoming well grounded in the Spanish language, I read about forty works of general literature. I spent many evenings socially with the refined people of the neighborhood.
     Immediately after the close of the school I started for my home in Illinois. I spent the next three months in getting up patterns for the stove my father and I had patented and making the first stove for exhibition. To do this I walked three miles and a half each morning to the shop, worked all day with the patternmaker and walked home at night. About the first of October I took the stove to Chicago, Albany, Troy and Philadelphia, exhibiting it to the large manufacturers. All

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were pleased with the working excellencies and unique principles, but objected to its round form as being likely to injure its sale. I made a new drawing to improve the appearance, but as a new set of patterns would cost about five hundred dollars and the money I had saved teaching was about gone, I had to give up for the present the stove enterprise. It was now the middle of January and I was obliged to do something to replenish my treasury. For this purpose I undertook selling rubber stamps, a new thing then. I traveled all over eastern Pennsylvania and in four months cleared six hundred dollars above expenses. I had the asthma badly at first, which left me with a cough which I feared would run into consumption. I finally recovered, though it left a weak spot in my right lung. In the latter part of May I again visited the stove manufacturers in Philadelphia, showing them a new model I had made, but they all discouraged me, saying that I could not go on without a large capital. I could see now that all my efforts to introduce the stove would be a failure unless I devoted ten or a dozen years of my life to it and I did not care enough for a fortune, however large, to do that. The time had come when I must return to the study of law or recast my life plans. All one night in my boarding house in Philadelphia I walked the floor and after many tears over the dying hopes of my youth, decided to look toward the ministry of the Church. Still, to satisfy my father and leave no stone unturned toward making the stove a success, I

Who Became a Bishop

revisited Albany, Troy and Chicago, showing my new model. I received no encouragement unless I would devote my own time and ingenuity to bringing the stove to perfection in outward appearance. As that might take years and deprive me of any other career, I would not do it. Besides, my father, who was old and feeble, was not likely to live long enough to reap any advantage from it when it should succeed. I returned home with a heavy heart to report to my father the failure after a year of earnest effort. The time had not been altogether lost as I had learned much of the world and business methods.
     The following letter to Mrs. Varnum explains the change in my life plans:

"MARENGO, ILL., Aug. 31, 1868.

"My dear Mrs. Varnum:
     "At the time I wrote you last I was engaged in selling a rubber hand press. I worked at that business four months, saving one hundred dollars more than I earned in the previous year teaching. I then renewed my previous efforts to introduce the stove. In that I succeeded indifferently. I have had some offers which others have considered good, but they were such as would oblige me to make the stove business my vocation in life. That I would not do, if I were sure of making a fortune at it. I was unable to sell it as you proposed in your letter. In order to put it in a shape to sell the entire right I should have to spend two or three years more on it and considerable capital. By that time it would probably be too late to do my parents any good, judging from their present state of health.

The Farmer Boy

     It became, therefore, a mere personal question with myself, and I was unable to see in wealth a sufficient reward for a life of such toil. Hence, I have decided to drop the stove and choose a profession more suited to my tastes and desires--one whose reward, if I prove an acceptable worker, will be not of the earth earthy, but of life eternal.
     "I have for some time looked upon the Christian ministry as the only great work in which one could engage with a conscience void of all offence and with the feeling that every hour of toil was spent in his great Master's vineyard. I know that I am all unworthy of such a glorious work, but I trust that my Saviour will give me strength and a right spirit to prosecute it successfully and acceptably.
     "I hardly know how you, who have ever taken so kindly an interest in my welfare, will look upon my decision, but you were too far away to consult. Judging, however, from the general nature of your advice and admonitions, both oral and written, I hardly think you will disapprove.
     "I leave here the last of this week to make my friends in Rutland, Vermont, a visit and thence proceed to the General Theological Seminary in New York City. I hope to enter a year in advance, so it will take but two years before I can be ordained deacon. I have been working this summer on the studies they pursue the first year and shall have to study very hard all the fall.
     "The health of my parents, as I intimated above, is very poor indeed. My Father coughs very badly and has failed much in the past year. My Mother is failing all the time, but not so rapidly as Father. I

Who Became a Bishop

greatly fear that when I leave them this fall, I shall never see them again. This will make my parting with them a very sad one.
     "I long very much to hear of the continued success of your travels and of improvement in your health and happiness. I have just been rereading your last letter which has recalled with painful vividness the hope I used to entertain of some day visiting those places whose very name cause my heart to beat with enthusiasm. But the, in one sense, humble calling I have chosen will hardly afford me the means or opportunity to do so. It causes me, I assure you, no small degree of pain to think that this, like many other fond hopes, is proving but an idle dream--not only not to be realized, but not even to be dreamed again. But I thank my God that there is a brighter hope--that after all the disappointments of this life I shall, if I am faithful, receive mine own with usury at the last great day.
     "Please give my kindest regards to Miss Varnum and Miss Coburn and
          Believe me as ever
                Your affectionate young friend,




URING the summer at home I studied Greek Testament in the forenoons and worked in the field with my brother Daniel in the afternoons. In Oc-

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tober I entered the General Theological Seminary, New York City, passing examinations for the middle class, or second year, except in Hebrew, which I had not studied. I decided, however, to enter the junior year instead of making up Hebrew. In November I was offered the Professorship of Mathematics in St. Stephen's College at a salary of one thousand dollars a year, with the opportunity of continuing my Theological studies under Rev. Dr. Fairbairn, the President of the College. I took counsel with Rev. Dr. Seabury, Sr., who said if I intended to devote my life to educational work, I better accept the offer, but if I preferred the work of a parish priest, I better keep on in the Seminary. As the latter was my intention, I decided to decline the professorship. Still the offer was quite an honor and a temptation. On the twelfth of December the Faculty of the Seminary offered of their own accord to advance me and a classmate, A. D. Miller, to the middle class, which was accordingly done.
     I spent the Christmas vacation very happily in my Uncle's family at Rutland, Vermont. During the rest of the year I worked very hard in the Seminary making up the Hebrew and the other studies passed over in junior year. The first of May I took charge of the Sunday school of five hundred children at All Saints' Church, New York, and did lay reading for the rector at two hundred and fifty dollars a year. While there I made the acquaintance of Miss Mary Louise Van Wagenen, who had charge of the infant class of sixty

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