The Endowment, 1870-1873 101
Although the amount realized in funds for the endowment was
small the campaign had compensating features. It made for the unity
of the denomination. The statewide canvass had brought to the
Baptists of the State a sense of solidarity, from which both the
College and the denomination as a whole were to profit in the years to
come. It brought also to them a sense of the need and importance of
education such as they had never had before. Beginning with the
general convention in Raleigh in February and extending through the
numerous regional conventions, education of all grades from public
elementary schools to the university was discussed and the people
taught its great importance, and emphasis was laid on the sad lack of
it among the people of the State generally, and in particular among the
members of the Baptist churches, at that time roughly estimated to
number 100,000, of whom one-half were said to be unable to read and
"At Fayetteville, we resolved in Convention assembled to endow the College.
Eloquent speeches were made. The wind-work was begun, no collection was made.
The melon was not ripe. The next May the same thing was repeated at the Chowan
Association. We had a Central Committee, two agents, an army of canvassers.
Beautiful speeches-no collections. Some even proposed to defer collections until
money became plentiful; still a small sum was contributed and many pledges were
given. It has become fashionable to make pledges and hide them in such a labyrinth
of ifs that Daedalus himself never could have found them. Now Wake Forest
College has survived all these things."
27 The sad state of education of all grades in the State and the deep concern of the
Baptists about it, which can by no manner of reason be called hypocritical as this
interest was designated twenty years later and called a cloak for fighting the
University, may be seen from the following editorial article of J. H. Mills in the
Biblical Recorder of October 2, 1872: "EDUCATION. We are distressed for the
youth of our land. The noble University lies prostrate and desolate. One dozen large
and costly school buildings are the homes of owls and bats, and three of them have
been recently sold. Education stands in stagnation, and our statesmen seem to
survey the domination of ignorance with solid (stolid) indifference. . . . The
Peabody schools have broken up the other schools and then died themselves,
leaving the people less inclined to pay tuition than ever before. Gov. Graham, our
representative on the Peabody Board, has been pleading in vain for a change of
policy in the management of a fund which ought to be a national blessing. Our
public school system, whatever it may do hereafter, has so far been inefficient, and
public schools have often stood in the way of private schools, without supplying
their places. ... We have visited the different parts of our State and have been
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