The work of gaining public support began with a printed Address to the Members and Friends of the Methodist Episcopal Church, dated 1825. Pious in tone and lacking specifics, the broadside addressed the audience on the needs for Christian education, for Childhood and Youth are the proper seasons to commence useful knowledge and lay the foundation of a religious and holy life. An additional argument rested on clerical reasons: Another great and noble object is contemplated in the establishment of this College or Seminary, and that is to afford young men, who give evidence of their being called by the Lord Jesus Christ to preach the Gospel, and that they possess the gifts and graces of the Holy Spirit, an opportunity to obtain important qualifications for the Ministry. The important qualifications, undefined, were not to be in theology but in humane letters.
The response of the public to this address and appeals for support was positive. In 1825, forty-six individuals pledged a total of $5,162 for a college only generally projected. Finally, thirty-seven of those donors paid $3, 752 (usually in several installments). The gifts were usually in large amounts: Twenty-six donors gave sums ranging between one hundred and three hundred dollars; the other eleven gave less.
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