Bishop Bedell



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About calling Dr. Goodwin to the presidency of Kenyon




letter, McIlvaine, Bedell, Kenyon College


Newtown L.I. July 17 1862

My dear Bishop,

It will not be necessary to have a meeting of Trustees at present, as they considered your nomination sufficiently formal, and acted in such manner that I am at liberty to send a direct call to the Dr. I was waiting for an answer to [some] inquiries addressed to Bp. Millian; which I had intended to submit to you. But now, since the initiative has been taken, & you have gone so far, I will not delay, provide Bp. Williams letter is satisfactory. Should any doubt of weight arise in my mind, I will still wait to consult you further, otherwise I will act, considering your last letters sufficient authority.

The Board requested me to make one or two inquiries at Hartford before going to Phil[adelphia]. I was at Hartford last Friday. The only member of the Faculty on the hill was Prof. [Brakusby] - Prof. of Mathematics.

With him I had a long confidential & very [?] conversation. In reply to my first question, he said, “Our only regret is that we have lost him. It was the greatest loss our Institution has ever sustained.” The substance of information was, Dr. Goodwin, a man of very logical mind, strong, acute, highly [finished] education; a student of French & German also. Not an off hand popular speaker, unable to build up an Institution by platform efforts, & unwilling to undertake that sort of labor, but anxious to devote himself to a President’s true work, the building up of the educational & moral interests of the Institution by labor within itself. An excellent teacher, not very popular at first but constantly gaining in popularity with his pupils, as his actual work impresses itself upon them. So general in his ability as to be able to instruct in any department of the College except Chemistry. His discipline strict & exact, but [?], punctilious, perhaps a little in excess. Discreet in his mode of associating the Faculty with his government; leaving them to control their own departments, acting only as Executive. In his particular province the moral & religious control, allowing no interference; perhaps offending some of the Faculty by exclusive management of this matter.

In Faculty meeting not presuming, always gentlemanly. His manners to his students a little cold, but not repulsive, and winning at last by his worth, attaining their entire confidence a low churchman, but earnestly desiring to make his influence felt for the good of our Church.

The difficulty which arose at Trinity College was this. A Boston influence (Ch. Advent) desired to have a Chaplain appt for the students, & to introduce more service & [prayer] which the Pres. thought looked towards the establishment of a new school in Theology (in other words the ultra high Church [?]). This he strenuously opposed, at the same [time] certain promises as to funds to be raised for the College provided he would assume the Presidency remained unfulfilled. Consequently having the [Pennsylvania] offer he left.

Prof. [Brakusby] thought that he was not quite satisfied at Penn[sylvania], because he could do little for his own church.

In conclusion the Prof. he said that I must take his news [?] grand [salis] for he had always been a warm friend of Dr. Goodwin & had supported him throughout. Still he thoguht that he had spoken candidly.

Dr. Goodwin [?] at Hartford $1800 & a house. At Phil[adelphia] he supposed that the salary was $2500.

I thought it due to the Trustees & yourself although the testimony was so [?] to address a few questions confidentially to Bishop Williams, who I was informed had been in some [thing] opposed to Dr. Goodwin’s policy. The answer to these has not arrived. If favorable - as before said - & now having your authority, I will at once communicate with Dr. Goodwin.

The point of difficulty - as I warned the Trustees - will be the salary. They offer him only $1500 & a house. If I could offer $1800 which he [?] at Harford, or $2000 which Jus. Andrews [recommends], I should go forward with some hope.

The action of the Trustees it was agreed should for the present remain a private matter. So far I have heard no whisper of it, and trust that until he has decided it will not be spoken of.

Unfortunately, Dr. Goodwin is now in Maine. I had intended to see him personally, but it will now be exceedingly inconvenient, if not impossible for me to go. But if necessary in order to his acceptance, I shall contrive a meeting.

I will let you know, if I write to him. And then by all means dear Bishop send him a few lines to let him understand your entire concurrence.

Oblige me by keeping this letter for acrylic, as I cannot make a copy. Should we succeed I shall be glad to see how nearly Prof. [Brakusby’s] account tallies with the original.

Affec. yours,

G. J. Bedell

To Charles Petit McIlvaine



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