Literary Work 553
had been formally annexed the Philomathesians, in September, 1845,
voted after debate that Mexico would be justifiable in declaring war
on the United States. It was probably because their love for Henry
Clay was still strong. Several of their queries seemed designed to give
occasion for praise of Clay; in May, 1842, after making bold to debate
the question, "Should Henry Clay be our next President?" through two
meetings, the Philomathesians voted in his favor 17 to 7. After the
Mexican War had begun and was in progress, all the voting was the
other way in both Societies on such questions as to whether Mexico
should pay the cost of the war, and whether Congress should supply
the President with funds to prosecute the war. In the next decade,
however, the question whether the Mexican War was justifiable was
usually decided in favor of the negative.43
Though the Societies found much interest in all national affairs, the
two questions of absorbing interest were slavery and secession. Even
after excluding party questions in 1852, the Euzelians were able to
keep them off their program for only four or five years. Scores of
times in either Society some phase of the slavery question was
discussed. "Is slavery morally and politically wrong?" was the
question the Euzelians set out to answer in November, 1835. Should
slaves be educated? Will they probably be freed? Ought slavery to be
abolished? Would slaves be happier if emancipated? Is slavery
consistent with free government? Which is more dangerous to the
South, the abolition of slavery or a dissolution of the Union? Is the
negro race constitutionally or only circumstantially inferior to the
white?44 Only once was the decision of the debate adverse to the
Southern viewpoint; on August 6, 1858, the Euzelians debated the
query, "Will African slavery be perpetual in the United States?" and
decided it in the negative by a vote of 12 to 8. The affirmative was
supported by two of the ablest debaters of the Society, F. H.
43 Eu. Records, August 9, 1858.
44 Eu. Records, November 21, 1835; September 10, 1811; May 19, 1814;
November 6, 1847; July 7, 1849; September 29, 1855; August 6, 1858; October 20,
1860; Phi. Records, March 12, 1842; March 30, 1843; November 23, 1845; August
31, 1845; April 3, 1847; September 7, 1850; April 1, 1854.
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