The Loan from the State 203
of North Carolina and the Mother Country. They knew, too that the
constitution of the State adopted in 1776 under which they were then
living, provided in article 34, "That there shall be no establishment of
any one religious church or denomination in this State in preference to
any other, neither shall any person, on any pretense whatsoever, be
compelled to attend any place of worship contrary to his own faith or
judgment, or be obliged to pay for the purchase of any glebe, or the
building of any house of worship, or for the maintenance of any
minister or ministry contrary to what he believes right, or has
voluntary and personally engaged in to perform, but all persons shall
be at liberty to exercise their own mode of worship." They knew too
that Baptist influence had contributed to keep North Carolina from
ratifying the Federal Constitution until it was certain that it would
contain an amendment prohibiting Congress from making any law
establishing a religion or preventing the free exercise thereof.
For all these things the Trustees who asked the Legislature for a
loan in 1840 would have contended as vigorously as did their fathers,
or as we should today. And yet it had never occurred to them that they
were in any way violating the traditional Baptist principle when they,
a year before, had sought and gained from the Legislature a charter
giving their college exemption from taxation on authorized property
holdings for two hundred thousand dollars. And although according to
their own profession this property was intended to be used primarily
for the purpose of training a Baptist ministry they had no scruples in
asking the Legislature to provide by law that the people of the State
should contribute year by year to their enterprise the amount of the
annual tax on the property. Nor, had this thought occurred to them,
would they have had any right to consolation in the reflection that the
State was granting the same privileges to other denominational
institutions with like objectives. There were then as now in the State
many who were not members of any of the denominations so favored
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