Agency of Wingate 281
To return to Wingate; in the spring of 1854 we hear of him in
Sampson County, where he was encouraged to think he would secure
three or four thousand dollars. He found the county "chequered over
with Baptist dwellings and Baptist churches; Clinton, "a pleasant-
looking village," already building a Baptist church. The people were
spirited and liberal. It was like Wingate to study the sources of their
liberality, and he found it in the pine forest, of which he speaks with a
tenderness like that of Francis of Assisi. I gave here a passage from
his letter:
How they do bleed the poor pines to pay for it. They show their white faces
around you on every side a great way up, and at night as you ride alone they look
for all the world like a great army of spectres ready to pounce upon you at every
step and bear you away. Some of them from appearance have yielded their last
supply and now stand like old martyrs awaiting the axe of the woodman. Unfeeling
masters thus to exhaust the liberal tree until she can give no more, and then repay
her by a burning. No wonder that the pines here sigh through all their leaves to
every breeze that whispers by, for the time is not far distant when these sturdy
monarchs of the forest, that have so long watched and adorned the soil that gave
them birth, changing not amid summer's heat nor winter's cold, will have been borne
down by the unwearied worker at their feet and not one vestige of their former glory
will remain. And well may you weep, melancholy tree, for your days are numbered.
Whatever may be thought of this unfeeling treatment of the pine, the College, I have
no doubt, will gain by it in the end. It would not surprise me if first and last three or
four thousand were raised within the limits of this
county.18
After finishing his campaign in the Union Association of that time,
which embraced the churches now in the Eastern Association,
Wingate again went to the Chowan Association territory and attended
the meetings of that body which met at Bethel in Perquimans County,
May 18-21, 1854, and again wrote the "Report on Wake Forest
College." From this report we learn of his work in the Union
Association, and that in two months he had raised more than $7,000
there, and of this $5,000 in one county. He says
―――――――
18
Ibid., April 7, 1854. Reference to Wingate's work in this section is found also
in an editorial in the Biblical Recorder of March 3, 1854. At this time the general
interest in the endowment was shown by a series of articles in the Biblical
Recorder, March 24-May 18, by "Simeon" of the Chowan section.
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