548 History of Wake Forest College
a half million dollars on a State House. In January, 1843, however,
the same Society decided by a vote of 4 to 8 that the State should not
survey and construct a turnpike from Raleigh to the "Buncombe
County Courthouse." Another attitude towards internal improvements
on the part of the State is shown in the repeated affirmative decisions
in both Societies that the State should aid in the construction of the
central railroad from Goldsboro to Charlotte.34
Questions of State policy which were moral rather than economic
were also the subject of frequent discussion. Very often the question
was debated of the prohibition by legislative enactment of the
manufacture and sale of ardent spirits except for medicine.35 The
decisions were usually in the affirmative by close votes. Until
prohibited by the Constitution of 1868, imprisonment for debt was a
possibility in North Carolina, and one of the College's benefactors,
Rev. Amos J. Battle, surrendered his body to the Wake County sheriff
when he could find no money to pay the debt he had incurred in
building a Baptist church in Raleigh. It seems to have been regarded
as a proper measure if the decision of the Philomathesian Society
which debated the question in September, 1836, is indicative of public
opinion. Duelling was another question which was agitating the
people of the State in those years. Even after the Legislature had
passed its drastic law of 1802 against it, it still had its defenders and
also other victims later than Richard Dobbs Spaight, killed by John
Stanly in that year. In the eighteen-thirties and forties it was still
considered a debatable question, and in March, 1838, the Euzelian
Society voted with those who had maintained in debate that it should
be tolerated. It is interesting also to observe from the Society records
that the matter of a legal rate of interest was being considered in
North Carolina in the years 1839-55336
Our Societies were also interested in the question of proper
34 Eu. Records, May 26, 1849; November 24, 18}9; Phi. Records, July 27, 1850.
35 Phi. Records, October 10, 1836; Eu. Records, March 10, 1838.
36 Eu. Records, May 8, 1839; October 10, 1855.
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