536 History
of Wake Forest College
this period, it is evident that the dissertations must have been little
more than mechanical products. It seems a great pity that these young
men should not have had the advantage of an able instructor.
The students of that day published little in the newspapers, or
elsewhere. Almost the only occasion on which they prepared anything
for the press was on the death of some active or former member of
their Societies. Uniformly on learning of such death, often in a called
meeting, they would appoint a committee to prepare resolutions,
ordering that they both be spread on the minutes and sent to the
Biblical Recorder and sometimes to other papers for publications. For
the most part these resolutions were laboriously written and in stilted
style, much as such productions are written till this day.
Although the Societies gave reasonable attention to writing and
dissertations their principal literary concern was their debates. In fact,
all their other activities may be said to have been subsidiary. The
debate was the most important part of the program when one meeting
a week sufficed for all the literary Exercises and attention to business
affairs; and after two meetings a week were introduced, the Friday
night meeting was given over to the debate except on the occasions
when new members were to be initiated, and all other business was
relegated to the meeting on Saturday morning.
The debates were carefully provided for in such a way that every
member of the Society should have a part in his turn. To manage the
debate the Societies appointed certain members, called disputants, to
have charge of it. In the Euzelian Society these were appointed one
week beforehand, except for the year 1851-52, when they were
appointed two weeks ahead; the Philomathesians however appointed
disputants two weeks before the debate. In the Philomathesian Society
the number of these disputants was four, two on each side of the
question; in the Euzelian after a few
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