560 History of Wake Forest College
1836-THOMAS MEREDITH
Since the Euzelians had failed to get Gaston in 1835, the
Philomathesians offered them the choice of speaker for the Com-
mencement in November, 1836, provided they could secure Gaston.
The Euzelians, however, were discouraged, and proposed that no
further speaker be asked to address the Societies until 1838. To this
proposal the Philomathesians did not agree, and failing to secure
Judge John D. Toomer of Fayetteville, invited Rev. Thomas Meredith
to make the address. He did not disappoint them, but on November
25, 1836, addressed the Societies on things that tend to discourage
and encourage students, "a few practical thoughts, designed to
facilitate the pursuits in which they were engaged." His speech was in
that terse, vigorous language for which Meredith was famous, and
closed with a summary of what he had said. In speaking on the
necessity of relaxation from mental pursuits, he commanded the
manual labor feature of the Institute in these words:
It has been often observed by those who have philosophised on the subject, that
to preserve a healthy and pleasant action in the system an equilibrium should be
maintained between the exercise of the mind and that of the body. That is, that in all
cases where the mind is exercised severely, there should be a corresponding severity
in the exercise of the body. If this be true-and that it is I can see no reason to doubt;
then it follows that the very hardships which are experienced in our manual labor
schools are to be enumerated among their greatest advantages; and not only so, but
as advantages peculiar to seminaries of this character alone. Where, allow me to
inquire, can you find the severe, the manly, the invigorating exercise in all the walks
of science and of literature, which is provided for in seminaries of the kind of which
I now treat? And what, I must be permitted to ask further, is there to be found in the
gentle amusements to be witnessed on college greens, and in academic groves,
which can compare with the manly, refreshing, renovating exercise to be found in
these fields? Were I required to give proof that there is truth in this suggestion, I
would appeal to the ruddy complexions, and the athletic forms of those whom I
address. And might I not add, I
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