202 History of Wake Forest College
there is no evidence that any board so misused its powers. Its worst
enemy was the Legislature itself, which retained the power to advise
or authorize loans, and which freely drew on the income of the Fund
to pay deficits that developed in the State's revenues, or losses it
sustained in its banking ventures, in this way having borrowed
$97,997 by the close of the year 1845.2 But the board could also make
small loans on its own initiative, for it was from this board, consisting
of Governor Edward B. Dudley, of Onslow, and his appointees, that
the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees of Wake Forest
College borrowed the two thousand dollars early in 1840. When a
larger loan was desired the Trustees made appeal direct to the
Legislature.
Doubtless, in the present day, many would see a violation of the
principle of separation of church and state in this application of the
trustees of a denominational college for aid from the State, but there is
no evidence that any member of the Board at that time or any other
Baptist in the State entertained any such view. And yet the support of
religion in any way by the State was even more abhorrent to the
Baptists of 1840 than to us. From the first the Baptists had been, if not
the originators of the principle of separation of church and state, its
most consistent supporters. The early Baptist confessions of faith, had
declared that while magistrates should be supported they should not
"meddle in matters of religion." The provincial Baptists of North
Carolina had chafed under the gall of the various vestry acts,
especially those enacted during the administrations of Governor
Dobbs and Governor Tryon, by which taxes had been exacted of them
to pay for the support of ministers whose services they did not attend
nor approve, and for buying glebes and building parsonages and
churches. The Trustees of the College of 1840 were almost a century
nearer than we to the period when Governor Tryon was endeavoring
to force the Establishment on our unwilling people, and knew better
than we how large a part this had had in provoking the rupture
between the province
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2
Boyd, History of North Carolina, Vol. 2, p. 239.
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