90 History of Wake Forest College
meet the manual labor requirements of the Institute and the increased
opposition to the
At the November meeting in 1838 the Board of Trustees ordered
the suspension of the manual labor system, "for the present." In the
Biblical Recorder of January 5, 1839, is published a circular on the
College over the names of Thomas Meredith, Samuel Wait, and
Alfred Dockery, Committee. In it is a statement with reference to the
suspension of the manual labor feature, in which the reasons given for
the action were (1) that the system had proved unprofitable financially
to students and Institute alike, (2) that it was growing unpopular with
students and patrons. "It at length became plain that the labor must be
dispensed with, or that the school must be sustained without students-
which reduced them precisely to the alternative either of giving up
labor or abandoning the institution." Hence, though the Committee
recognized the right of those who had contributed to the Institute to
protest, it was hoped that all would acquiesce gracefully in the action
of the Board.
Thus the manual labor feature came to an end at Wake Forest. It
had been good in its day but Wake Forest had grown much in the five
years and now had a wider outlook on a broader field of usefulness
and was aspiring to the rank and dignity of a college.
In leaving the manual labor feature, I must not fail to state, as Dr.
W. B. Royall reminds me, that it had left a permanent and beneficial
impress upon the life and character of the College. Wake Forest
College still retains the democratic spirit of its early days;
snobbishness has no place on the campus; it is still thought honorable
here to work one's way through; and at the
Student, II, 57. It is probable that, as Dr. Wait says, the manual labor plan still
had many supporters to the last. A strong argument is made for it in the Biblical
Recorder of April 7, 1838, by a writer who signs the name "A Baptist." He is
sometimes rather bitter. "Tis true," says he, "those disposed to form the `beau
monde' may find a powerful argument against it in the tendency to soil their
slippers, deface their collars, etc., or destroy the silky softness of their hands."
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