78 History of Wake Forest College
shortly after the report of the Manual Labor Society, mentioned
above, was issued.
After the purchase of the farm the promoters of the Institute brought
before the people of the State the many excellencies of manual labor
schools. Meredith in the Interpreter of May, 1833, filled a page with
extracts from the literature of the subject, all going to show how
necessary to the health of students manual labor was. He also quotes
statements from the heads of Maine Wesleyan Seminary, Oneida
Institute, Cumberland College, and Pennsylvania Manual Labor
Institute, that at these institutions students were earning their board by
their labor. On January 19, 1833, Reverend John Armstrong delivered
in Raleigh a lecture on Manual Labor Schools. In it he repeated in
oratorical style the argument of the report of the Manual Labor
Society,36 though it is evident that his main purpose is to commend
Wake Forest Institute. It is believed, said he, that by this system an
education may be placed within the reach of every poor man's son in
the State. At a manual labor school such as that proposed a knowledge
of practical farming can be gained along with literary instruction. In
this the needs of an agricultural State like ours can be met just where
our University, like colleges generally, fail; for they prepare youth
only for the professions and for literary and scientific pursuits. Again
the manual labor school gives the bodily exercise indispensable for
physical vigor, the lack of which in so many educated men cause
diseases "which embitter their whole existence and eventuate in early
dissolution." "Now in manual labor institutions the time devoted to
idle exercise in other literary establishments is employed in
productive amusement, and by this simple arrangement, a scientific
knowledge of farming is imparted and a healthful body and a vigorous
mind are cultivated and preserved." Such a system of education will
also keep down the baser passions of youth such as envy and selfish
ambition, and the dissipation which is so common among the youth
This lecture was printed in full in the Raleigh Register for February 1,
1833. It is given by Coon. N. C. Schools.... p. 750 ff. A synopsis of
the report of the Manual Labor Society is found in Monroe, Cyc. of Ed.
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