Samuel Wait and the Convention 37
who knew but little about the State or its people, it was an able and
For the present purpose I must be content to give only so much of
the paper as will indicate how powerfully it must have brought home
to the Baptists of the State the need of an educated ministry.
We, the Baptists of this State, have been practicing a system in almost all
respects calculated to limit our resources, to paralyze our energies, and to impede
our advancement in the progress of literary and evangelical improvement.
As we have had in operation no measures for the instruction of persons called to
the ministry, those whose talents and attainments had been such as to induce a relish
and a desire for the advantages of study, have been led to neighboring states, in
order to secure the facilities they sought. And as our churches have generally
wanted the means, and in very many cases the inclination, to afford their ministers a
just and adequate compensation, those whose services were most valuable, have
been withdrawn to other sections of the country, where they were offered that
support which was denied them at home. The natural and necessary tendency of
those things has been, not merely to prevent the ingress of valuable men from
abroad, but also, to drain the State of the best talent of native growth, and to leave
behind only those, whose qualifications were not of sufficient value to command the
attention of churches in sister states. We do not mean to assert that the operation of
these causes has been such as to leave no exceptions; but we mean that, like other
efficient causes, their effect has been constant and uniform. And it is confidently
believed, that to the agency of these causes is to be attributed that depressed state of
the ministry in North Carolina which has made it almost a by-word and term of
reproach throughout the country....
And it is to be borne in mind, that the causes which have hitherto operated, and
engendered so much detriment, if not arrested will still continue to operate, and to
propagate their pernicious consequences, in an increased ratio. In proportion as the
neighboring states, by their present enlightened policy, multiply the facilities for
improving candidates for the ministry, and increase the demand among their
8 "The Baptists in North Carolina," N. C. Baptist Historical Papers, II, 228.