Literary Work 547
the right or wrong of slavery. With the Philomathesians, in April,
1838, the question took the form, "Is slavery compatible with the
Bible?" In March, 1854, the query read, "Is slavery an evil per se?"
With the Euzelians in September, 1843, and afterwards, the form was,
"Is slavery a moral evil?" Always, Paley or Wayland to the contrary
notwithstanding, they decided that slavery was not morally wrong.
Some even at that time were raising the question whether the
profession of soldier was consistent with Christianity, and the
Euzelian Society, responsive to the current interest had it up for
debate in November, 1861, after the Civil War had been in progress
several months. The most usual religious questions which the young
men debated was the right of atheists and Roman Catholics to vote
and hold office in this country. Usually the decision was they should
not.31 Once, October 23, 1848, the Euzelians debated the momentous
question, "Is it probable that the Roman Catholic Religion will prevail
in the United States?" They found sufficient arguments for believing
that it would not prevail.
The interest felt by citizens of the State generally in their own
affairs was reflected by the discussions in the Societies. One of the
first questions debated by the Euzelians was, "Would it be policy in
North Carolina to establish a penitentiary?”32 This question was often
debated in both Societies until nearly the close of this period,33 and
was usually decided in the affirmative, although the State waited until
the days of Reconstruction to build its penitentiary. In July, 1838, the
Philomathesians thought the question, "Was it policy in the
Legislature of North Carolina to appropriate money for the erection of
such a Capitol as is now being erected?" of sufficient interest to merit
discussion, and decided it in the affirmative, although the negative
doubtless made much use of the argument that it was sheer
extravagance to spend
31 Eu. Records, August 27, 1836; August 26, 1848; Phi. Records, August 14,
1841; November 11, 1845.
32 Eu. Records, September 3, 1835.
33 Phi. Records, November 9, 1860.