Transcript of Journal Letter dated July 22, 1850


July 22, 1850  

To the Readers of the Journal,  

Did I possess some magic wand, with which I might unite the past and vividly set forth its dimly shadowed scenes, with what pleasure would I seise (sic) it & how quickly would I cause a Panorama of all that has transpired at Holyoke for the last five months, to pass before the eyes of each of you. Methinks upon witnessing such an exhibition, you would need no explanation of the interruption in this Journal, but would watch with intense interest the tossings of our barque, and sympathise with us in the Providence that laid aside both our Captain and first Mate. - And I think too, that you might be almost ready to say "they sink" and again, that they will be dashed upon the rocks upon one side, or grounded upon the sand bar upon the other - and impulse and anxiety might prompt you to stretch forth your hand "to steady the ark." But when you remembered that the unseen Pilot stood at the helm, your faith would increase, and you would rest upon that sweet promise, that "He hideth the blind in a way they know not of. He maketh darkness light, and crooked places straight, this will He do and not forsake them". In drawing this picture of the past, with nothing to depend upon but treacherous memory that did not harvest and garner those iitem that give interest to a Journal, I fear that many things that you would consider important may escape notice entirely.  

The young lady alluded to in the Journal as suffering from Erysipelas was again Thought near to the grave, and then by the merciful hand of our Over-ruling Father restored to health and her accustomed place.

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About seven weeks before the close of the Spring term, dear Miss Whitman's feeble health entirely failed. Her whole system was completely prostrated by general debility and she was confined to her room and to her bed. But this was not all. We had been watching with anxious eye over the gradual but certain decline of Miss Hasen's (sic) health for several weeks. It was the absolute conviction of all that she ought not to remain another day and still it seemed impossible to spare her. But the matter was urged by the Physicians, and duty seemed plain. Accordingly, trying as it was to her and to us, one week after Miss Whitman's illness, she left for Vermont to spend the remaining six weeks in recruiting and accumulating strength for the next term. As Miss Whitman's nervous system was very much deranged, it was considered by her physician absolutely necessary to her recovery that she should be entirely relieved from all care, and decidedly imprudent to carry any questions relating to school business to her for decision. At Miss Whitman's request, Misses Chapin and Johnson took hers and Miss Hasen's seats and the responsibility of managing the school. on account of the circumstances in which we were placed, Miss W. thought it best to defer the Spring examinations until August, and accordingly the new studies we arranged to commence the next term. But Miss Whitman gained by very little, and at the close of the term had left her room but very few times.  

A very amusing incident occurred the night before the close of the term. Our midnight repose was interrupted by the alarm that a thief or some one was in the house. The circumstances were so startling, that no time was lost in summoning Mr. Hawks, when he, accompanied by two of the teachers, with cautious steps commenced a careful search of the premises, expecting every mo-

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ment to overhaul the villain in the act of purloining some of our valuables. But after thorough examination all that was discovered were new facts that tended to add mystery to mystery - and convinced us that the rogue had eluded our search - but the developments of the following day identified the supposed rascal with none other than our good Dr. Brooks, who had been called in the night, and who, by way of experiment, undertook to find his way to a light in the third story, without a guide to avoid ringing the bell to the disturbance of Miss Whitman. The sequel was he got lost, and wandered about for some time as still as he could, to the perturbation of those who were sleeping so securely with their doors open, unused to boots in our quiet halls at that time of night. Miss Scott promised to keep house in vacation. Miss Chapin staid (sic) with her the first week and Miss Johnson returned the last week. At the commencement of the vacation, Miss Whitman was carried to Northampton to Rev. Mr. Swift's. The Trustees held a meeting at the Seminary during vacation, the object of it being to decide for the future. They voted to excuse Miss Whitman from her post, until her health would permit her to resume her duties, that we should go on alone this summer, and appointed a committee to find some one to take Miss W's place the coming year. Miss Hasen returned at the commencement of the term, but was again obliged to leave in a very short time, on account of her health. - A little before she left, Miss Whitman was attacked with lung fever. Miss C.(?) Allen one of our good and experienced young ladies went over to take care of her. Her fever left her with a cough, but the physicians thought her lungs were not permanently diseased, but that there was a predisposition to such a state which will require a great deal of care of herself after for some time. After her fever left her she gained

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slowly and was at length able to sit up some, ride out, and occasionally to advise in the decision of some important questions. When things came up that could not be carried to Miss Whitman, the precious memory of dear Miss Lyon's example almost invariably afforded a precedent to act upon. Sometimes the dealings of our Lord with us seemed dark and mysterious and hearts would begin to faint, when some precious promise like "I will never leave nor forsake thee" would step in to receive them, and we would be brought to believe that often "Behind a frowning providence, He hides a smiling face". And then as we looked around upon our dear pupils, and saw so many precious ones, who were, by their faithfulness, their love, and sympathy dropping so many cordials into our hearts deep well, and had evidence that they were staying up our hands by their prayers, the unbidden tear would often start and our hearts overflow with gratitude to Him who had sent us so many (comforting crossed out) cooperating spirits, while we would seek with renewed earnestness to be directed to the wisest and best means of promoting their spiritual and temporal, their present and eternal good. But while it was was true that by far the larger proportion of the school were firm in principle and faithful in practise, it was also true that from the commencement of the year, there had been a few who had tried us exceedingly in little things. Before Miss Whitman left, it was decided that they must leave. But their appearance of contrition, their fair promises, sympathy to their parents, and the hope that we might yet be enabled to do them good, turned aside the discipline that would justly have dismissed them from the school at this time. After Miss W. left, it seemed to us that they had scanned (?) the feebleness of our strength and were taking advantage of the trying circumstances that had left us without our earthly guide to do as they pleased. They had drawn around them a certain class of the more volatile young ladies, and we were often grieved at the influence they were exerting upon them. They combined many popular and fascinating traits with their defective characters, which made their influence more powerful and consequently the more to be dreaded. Six weeks before the close of the term, they were left to commit some marked improprieties, which when reported to Miss W. she at once decided that they could remain no longer. According-

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ly Misses Chapin & Johnson wrote to their parents and informed the three young ladies privately that their conduct had made them candidates for discipline. Instead of keeping the matter to themselves as was expected they published it through the school giving the affair such an aspect that several of the young ladies were led to think that their treatment was unjust, and to sympathize with them as sufferers. As their fathers did not come as soon as expected, they were obliged to remain a week. They manifested such a spirit of insubordination under discipline, and as they were causing other young ladies to become involved with them, they placed us under the painful necessity of restricting them to their rooms, and prohibiting any from calling upon them. This produced some excitement among those who were and had become too much like them, to be desirable members of the school. You can easily imagine the days and nights of care and anxiety of that week. But our good Mr. Hawks stood by us with unfaltering faith, and we felt assured that he who was suffering these strange scenes to be enacted, knew the result before he permitted them. - After they left the whole matter was carefully investigated, and it was found that eight more had so involved themselves that it was necessary that they should leave, and that took almost without exception all those who had before troubled us in little things. We now have a quiet, orderly school and things move on smoothly & pleasantly. In the midst of our excitement, God sent good Dr. Poor to preach to us, which turned the thoughts of the heart, & the words of the lips to a more interesting and profitable topic. - In about two weeks after our storm had passed and the clouds had all dispersed from our sky, new things looked bright & beautiful again. Miss Whitman came to spend a few short time with us. She is very feeble, & her cough continues when she is fatigued. She staid (sic) a little more than a week, but was not able as she hoped to see the young ladies in Seminary Hall. She has not seen them since seven weeks before the close of the second term. She is now in Bellows Falls Vt., with her uncle, where she expects to remain several weeks, & thence [paper torn] to her brother's in Cambridge, who expects to be married by [paper torn] time. We have had a very interesting course of lectures [paper torn] Natural Philosophy this summer by Prof. Snell. We

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have three weeks reviews & are already upon the third week. It is yet uncertain whether Miss Hasen comes to Anniversary. We are expecting as far as fine examination, good singing, calisthenics, &c are concerned, that our Anniversary will equal those that have passed, but Anniversary with neither Miss Lyon or Miss Whitman will doubtless seem very very strange to us, but our trust is we hope in God, that "He will temper the wind to the shorn lamb". Dr. Beeman of Troy is to deliver the Anniversary Address.  

In reviewing the year that is now almost closed, we cannot but exclaim "How mysterious are thy ways, and thy judgments past finding out" yet we have much, very much to make us grateful. About 50 of those who came into our family unreconciled to God have as we hope through grace been made heirs of salvation. All of the graduating class, 33 in number, have a hope that they are numbered among Christ's little ones.  


Transcribed from the original by Elaine Trehub, March 15, 1993