292 History of Wake Forest College
torial article in the Biblical Recorder of January 31, 1856. The editor,
Elder J. J. James, could speak with authority because he was also a
member of the Board of Trustees.
He said that the scholarships so far from increasing the income of
the College had really diminished it, and that on this account the
Trustees had more difficulty in meeting the expenses of the College
than ever, and that too, at a time when increased cost of living made
higher salaries for the members of the faculty imperative.
A year and a half later, at the Commencement of 1857, the
Treasurer's accounts showed that the invested funds of the endowment
including both scholarships and subscriptions was only $16,214.55,
the income from which must have been not much more than a
thousand dollars a year. At the same time there was due on notes for
individual scholarships $19,564.40 and on Associational scholarships
$3,387.50. Of course, these amounts were considerably less in
January, 1856, when the editorial was written and Mitchell was
beginning his agency.
In this situation sentiment was growing for the discontinuance of
the sale of scholarships and for raising an unencumbered endowment.
This was strongly urged in the editorial mentioned in the above
paragraph. Though the scholarships might ultimately be an advantage
to the College they were then felt to be a drawback on its receipts.
What the College needed, said James, and must have, was an
endowment of money given outright with no other condition than that
only the interest on it be used and the principal be kept in perpetuo.
The Trustees were convinced that this was the only valuable
endowment, the only safeguard of the College, and its need was
imperative. With the increased number of students expenses had
increased, along with the general cost of living. And now was the
time, for the farmers of the country were never more prosperous; in
the grain growing sections the crops had been good and all produce
was selling at "enormous rates."
It was under such conditions that Mitchell started on the work of his
agency. Though he sold a few scholarships his main purpose was to
secure subscriptions for endowment. He first gave his attention to the
eastern section of the State; early in April he went
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