354 History of Wake Forest College
expanding College with its increasing number of students, now more
than three hundred, with its enlarged faculty, and the ever greater and
more numerous matters of administration requiring oversight. Such
things had been talked for several years, and they culminated in May,
1905.1
Though during the meetings of the Board at Commencement
no formal action was taken, other work than that of president was
indicated for Dr. Taylor, the clear implication of which was that the
Trustees were ready to
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1
Here I may add a personal word: I was in rather intimate relations with
President Taylor in the years 1900-1905. In the summer of 1900 extensive changes
had been made in the old College Building, which provided an office for the
President on the first floor, and numerous classrooms, one of which convenient to
the President's office was assigned to me. I was thus brought frequently into his
company. In addition, I found no difficulty in making Dr. Taylor hear anything I
said to him. Gradually he came to talk with me of some administrative matters, and
to indicate to me certain things he would like to see done in various departments of
the College, but done without pressure from the President. Thus, in that day before
the College had a dean, I came to be a kind of a liaison agent for the President, and I
came to know him very intimately. And I can say this. During these years President
Taylor's physical powers and health were unimpaired except for increasing deafness
and the consequential increasing nervousness. From early years he had been a
victim of severe catarrh of the nose and throat, which was doubtless the cause of his
deafness. Against this he continued to fight. In other respects he was a sound man,
and could do as much work in 1905 as he ever could do. He retained unimpaired his
mental vigor and clearness of thought. If any one should doubt that, let him read his
last report to the Board of Trustees, that of May, 1905. He was still the wise Taylor
of the previous years, as able as ever to see and advise the things that made for the
welfare of the College to which he had devoted the prime of his life. He knew that
there were some influential friends of the College who were saying that he ought to
retire and that they had been saying it for years. I am not sure that in some of this
talk he did not find an element of forgetfulness of his great services to the College,
possibly an element of ingratitude. And I know that it pained him. He refused to
think that his ability to serve the College was seriously impaired, and this criticism
only made him the more determined to continue in it "with Palinure's unaltered
mood," not from any selfish motive, but because he wanted to carry on what he had
begun. I can say further that no one could have been more appreciative of the labors
of others for the College than President Taylor. His judgment of men was good, and
so his praise of ability and faithfulness both in his reports to the Board and in
conversation was discriminate rather than lavish. In the interest of truth I must here
register the conviction that in the cautious and somewhat indirect methods the
Trustees pursued in securing President Taylor's resignation they were unfortunate.
They hardly knew how to deal with a lion, but if oral communication with him had
been easy, a committee might have talked the matter over with him and have
reached the same end with more good will.
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