116 History of Wake Forest College
or in their homes, always being ready and eager to say a word for the
In the early days of his mission the reception given to Mr. Purefoy
would have caused a less resolute man to abandon it altogether. While
a few were kind, the greater number were almost scornful. One who
professed to be a friend told him that he would not stay in New York
a week. Another, a leading minister, told him the best thing he could
do was to take his hat and go
The merchants with whom he
had been dealing not only gave nothing but represented that trade was
poor and money scarce.6 The New York business men were also
much disturbed by "the inflationary currency bill" which had been
passed by Congress on April 14, and their confidence had not been
restored even by the veto of President Grant a few days later. Some of
the business men of whom Purefoy expected much seemed to be
maddened by the solicitation of aid by a person from North Carolina,
a state which "had repudiated its bonds."
In the prosecution of his mission Purefoy met with other dis-
couragements, of which account will be given below. Though in spite
of all these things he doggedly held to his work, he abandoned any
hope of getting more than the ten thousand dollars which he had fixed
for his goal and he repeatedly advised the friends of the College in
North Carolina that if they would have it adequately endowed they
must do it themselves, and should even then be pressing the campaign
Biblical Recorder, June 15, 1874.
6 Purefoy learned later that money was a "drug" on the New York market and
could not be lent at four per cent. Biblical Recorder, June 24, 1974.
7 Biblical Recorder, June 10, 1874. From letter of Purefoy: "There are liberal
persons here of whom I expected large donations, who told me that they had `no
money to give to North Carolina enterprises until she paid her bonds.' I tried to
show them that Wake Forest College has no connection with the bonds, that we are
simply a college, attending to our own business, instructing our young men in
literary pursuits. But I was answered: `You are all responsible, and as a State, you
are dishonest; you do not pay your debts'." Purefoy thought that a committee of
honest men should be appointed to study the bond question and try to make some
proper adjustment.
Biblical Recorder, May 13, 1874: "I say to the brethren of North Carolina, you
must not depend for help from abroad to endow the College. Some help may
Previous Page Next Page