Administration of Samuel Wait I 383
Realizing the significance of this Wait made appeals for patronage that are truly
heart-rending. On January 23, 1844, writing from a sick bed where he had been
detained after a few weeks of the agency on which he started with such fine hopes
in the fall of 1843, he says
At present, the churches appear to be very inactive. A kind of death-like stupor
seems to have come over the land. It is much to be feared that a wordly spirit
extensively prevails. But, dear brethren, this is in fact, a most important period in
our history. We have gained much in years that are gone by; but, it is quite possible
that by slumbering at our posts we may lose all or nearly all we have gained.
Our College has hitherto sustained itself quite as well as could have been
expected. Owing, however, to the great scarcity of money, our number of students
has been considerably reduced. The faculty have been unwearied in their efforts to
keep up the institution, and this, too, by labors and personal sacrifices not generally
known to their
brethren.7
We had last session [the fall term of 1843] between forty and fifty students. The
session has now just commenced, but nearly forty have arrived. Now this number,
my brethren, could easily be enlarged. If you will only look around you for students,
and make a little effort, the work will soon be done. With a suitable effort our
number could easily be doubled. Permit me now to ask, if we ought not to do all
within our power to sustain our own institution? Is not this a duty? Suppose that the
apathy that now seems to prevail should continue, and our operations at the College,
for want of a little more patronage, be discontinued. Have you thought of the
consequences which, in that event, would be inevitable? Should the business of the
College be suspended, the effect if such an event upon the pecuniary prospects of
the Trustees would be most disastrous. Nor should we, in all probability, be able to
begin again with as good prospects as are now before us, till after the lapse of many
years. And, possibly, NEVER. Able and experienced officers are now on the ground,
and the business of instruction will be well sustained, while I may be out for a
season on an agency for the College.
But let these Instructors give up in despair, let the classes be dis-
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7
At the previous Commencement Professor White had made a proposition to
surrender $300 of his small salary if the Trustees would procure a Professor of
Ancient Languages; his proposition was accepted.
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