The College Buildings 115
During the next two years, 1837, and 1838, the records of the Board
give little information of the financial condition of the Institute, for, as
Professor Mills
the balance was on the wrong side and
correct bookkeeping under such circumstances was no pleasant work.
During the year 1837 came the great financial panic of Van Buren's
administration; specie went into hiding and there was none to be had
to pay postage or federal taxes or custom duties, the result being that
the national government found itself unable to pay officers and
employees. Banks failed all over the country, all but three even in
New York City going to the wall.36 The Institute found it difficult to
continue to exist at all since the number of its students and the fees
they paid were greatly reduced, while those who had made pledges
had very little with which to pay them. As early as 1832 "a gold piece
of money was a curiosity" to people generally, though not to the
people of North Carolina, owing to the fact that our gold mines were
then among the most productive in the Union. A legislative committee
on currency and banks had reported in 1833 that the State was almost
"destitute of a circulating medium," as the banks were closing up their
business, while in the State there was estimated to be not more than a
million dollars in currency to pay twice that amount of debts due to
the banks. The Legislature, however, had by an enactment in 1829
provided that the payments to the banks should be distributed over a
series of years ending January 1,
This will explain why the panic did not begin to be felt in our State
in all its severity until the year 1838. The above facts also will enable
us to have a more adequate appreciation of the great achievement of
the agents of the Wake Forest Board of
of $3,343.21. To discharge the debts in part we have in balances due from students
for 1834, '35, and '36,
and a firm trust in the goodness of Divine
Providence to crown with ultimate success our efforts to pay the balance
Wake Forest Student, II, 28.
Larned, History of Ready Reference.
Dr. T. M. Pittman, "A Decade of North Carolina History."
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