Administration of Washington Manly Wingate 431
the institution was beginning to feel its strength as it was finishing its
twentieth year and it was rejoicing as a strong man to run its race; an
enthusiasm pervaded all present at the Commencement, the visitors
and Trustees, and the brilliant young graduates in whom all took pride
and some of whose orations were of surprising eloquence; the
Campus was finally inclosed (though the inclosing plank fence did
not embrace so much as the present stone fence) and the planting of
shrubbery and other means of beautifying it were in contemplation;
the friends of the College were much encouraged and freely predicted
that the day was coming when even Brown University or Rochester
would not excel it in practical advantages.9
For Wingate's place as agent the Trustees first thought of Rev. John
Mitchell, a graduate in the class of 1852 and at that time a student of
the Furman Theological Institution; failing to secure him they chose
Thomas H. Pritchard of the graduating class, of whose work an
account has been given in another chapter.10
Though the number of new students at the opening in 1854-55, was
somewhat larger than usual there was no marked increase in the total
for either term; that for the year was 116, the total for the next year,
127, 1855-56, was the largest since the year 1836; thereafter the
numbers steadily declined being 99 in 1856-57, 96 in 1857-58, 95 in
1858-59, 76 in 1859-60, 67 in 1860-61, and about 30 in 1861-62. Of
these the academical students numbered 63 in 1854-55, 45 in 1856-
57, 28 in 1857-58, 27 in 1858-59, 16 in 1859-60, after which it was
advertised that no preparatory students would be received.11
The question naturally arises why there should have been a normal
increase of students in the two years, 1854-55 and 1855-56, then a
serious decrease which got worse rather than better
9 Account of Commencement by "Milton" (N. J. Palmer) in Biblical Recorder,
June 15, 1854.
10 Proceedings, p. 97 ff.
11 Except for the years 1855-56, 1860-61, 1861-62, these numbers are taken from
the catalogues of the College. Since no catalogues are available for those years the
figures are taken from the registration book, "Blank Book A."
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