Public Exercises 561
would appeal to the literary excellence habitually witnessed in these
halls ?2
Following the custom of the day the Societies beginning with the
address of Meredith, published at their own expense the addresses of
the speakers they invited to address them on commencement
occasions. Usually on the day the address was delivered the Society
that had invited the speaker would have a called meeting, and appoint
a committee to thank him for his able and eloquent speech and to ask
for a copy for publication. Though varying slightly in diction the
letters of the committees and the replies to them were, for Wake
Forest and all other schools, such as followed the speech of Z. B.
Vance at his first appearance at a Wake Forest Commencement in
June, 1872: This is the correspondence in that instance:
Wake Forest, June 26, 1872.
Dear Sir: We are authorized by the Philomathesian Society to officially thank
you for the elegant and forcible, searching address delivered before the Societies of
this Institution today, and to beg of you a copy for publication.
Believing a wide circulation of it would do great good, by instilling into the
minds of the people, especially the youth of the country, healthy political principles,
we respectfully insist on a compliance with our request. Very respectfully Your Ob't
and Obliged Serv'ts, M. D. Burney, A. W. Moye, S. P. McDaniel, Committee. To
Hon. Z. B. Vance, Charlotte, N. C.
Charlotte, July 15th, 1872.
Gentlemen of the Committee: Your favor of the 26th ult. received. I
must perforce comply with so urgent a request, so flatteringly con-
veyed; stipulating only for the time and leisure to somewhat revise a
very hasty composition.
Thanking you, and through you the Society for your complimentary
letter, I am, with high regard and best wishes, Very Truly Yours, Z. B.
Vance. M. D. Burney, A. W. Moye, S. P. McDaniel.
To publish these addresses, usually about 1,000 copies, was often
very costly, especially if the address was long, the expense
―――――――
2 The published address, for which see below. Brooks, in his diary also speaks of
the subject of the address.
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