178 History of Wake Forest College
a free school, to which any Baptist might send his son and have him
lodged, boarded, bedded, lighted, and warmed, and given instruction,
without money and without price. The Trustees also came in for much
reprobation because they had ceased to provide free entertainment for
man and beast to as many as might choose to visit Wake Forest. To us
it may seem ridiculous that people should have such views, but we
must not forget that we have many today who when they have given
fifty cents to a denominational budget think they are fully qualified to
direct every department of the denominational work. And it is clear
that many who had given even a small amount to the College were
expecting to get thereby free education for their sons. We are told that
they came to their expectations by misinterpreting remarks made in
public speeches by those who were seeking money for the institution,
from which speeches they had not yet learned to make obvious
deductions. Another set of critics were certain that too much was
being paid for instruction at Wake Forest, with professors receiving
$800 a year and tutors $300. Some, on the other hand, said that life
was too simple at Wake Forest: The students were badly fed, in fact,
often on the point of starvation. On more than one occasion such
stories gained wide currency, causing anxious parents to make written
inquiry of President Wait. There were others to criticise the discipline,
declaring that the students, even the youngest of them, were allowed
to do as they pleased, with no kind of supervision of their work and
The fullest and sharpest reply to these critics is found in the
"Circular" mentioned above. Doubtless Thomas Meredith was
spokesman. The following excerpts will show the nature of the
In reply to this allegation it will doubtless be sufficient to state,
that the Board certainly never considered themselves bound to do what
9 All these complaints are mentioned and answered in one or the other of the
papers I have mentioned above. See article No. 10 on Wake Forest Institute,
Biblical Recorder, April 7, 1838; the "Circular," Biblical Recorder, January 5,
1839; letter of Samuel Wait, Biblical Recorder, February 24, 1839.
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