The Endowment, 1870-1873 99
challenges our admiration, although possibly more money would have
been secured by a more direct and expeditious plan. It has taken two-
thirds of a century for us to realize that Wingate's efforts to have the
canvass, through educational conventions, and addresses in
associations and churches, to awaken the people of the State to an
interest in general education, have probably been worth more to the
Baptists of North Carolina as well as to all the State than success in
raising the whole hundred thousand dollars would have been. Again,
one must admire his patience, his refusal to be discouraged, his hope
for the completion of the work even after the panic of 1873, his trust
in God.
One other characteristic of Wingate that even the responsibility and
stress of this campaign could not repress was his keen sense of humor
and his poetic love of nature, animate and inanimate, men and boys
and girls, and landscapes and valleys and mountains. Most often
indeed he cannot keep his pen from writing the word, "Endowment."
And having written it he must continue: "Endowment, it is in the
thoughts of so many of our people; it is in the sermons of so many of
our preachers; it is the staple of conversation, the burden of prayers,
the watchword of hope." But let him have an hour of rest and he
would write of things of another nature, on which he fed his great
soul, as the following extract from a letter from Piedmont Springs will
But now by the kind invitation of Major Morehead and his lady, I take a seat in
their carriage and go bounding [from Leaksville] over rocks and hills to Piedmont
Springs. It is thirty-six miles by several roads, as numerous guides inform us. The
road we take is the best and nearest; but some one we pass in the little store suggests
that another road is better. This is corrected by a third and a fourth. We find,
however, that by the best and nearest road the chain was stretched from hill to hill
and the valleys thrown in. Another curious feature of the way was noted. From the
best information we could obtain, we would sometimes gain four miles in driving
two, and then, as an offset, would lose three in driving one. As we approached the
Springs darkness coming on, and now, as it turned out, within two miles of the
place-we asked of the way and the distance, the party did not tell how far, and could
not tell where the Springs were. The lights
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