556 History of Wake Forest College
this division of the two largest Protestant denominations in the
country was fraught with dangers politically and might lead to strife
and division was not unforeseen at the time. In September of the same
year, the question was before the Euzelians for debate with the query,
"Is it probable that the ecclesiastical division of the North from the
South will ever cause a political division of the States?" The negative,
supported by W. T. Walters, later on the faculty of the College, F. B.
Ryan, later an able minister and physician, and J. T. Cauthen of York
District, South Carolina, won by a vote of 13 to 3, probably because
of the skill of the negative debaters. A year later, perhaps, after the
embittered attacks of the Northern religious journals on their Southern
brethren were becoming more pronounced, the decision might have
After this the annexation of Texas and the success of the Mexican
War, somewhat relieved the general tension, though the records reveal
that questions of sectional strife were at all times present with the
young men at the College. On February 28, 1851, the Euzelians
debated the bald question, "Has a state the right to secede?748 On the
affirmative was one of the ablest debaters in the history of the
Society, Robert Hayne Burn of Cheraw, South Carolina, but he lost to
the strong negative debaters, J. F. Oliver of Duplin, Bedford Brown of
Person, and W. J. Palmer of Caswell, by a vote of 10 to 19. The
Philomathesians debated the same question "with interest and
animation" on May 30, 1851, with a like result, the vote being 5 to 15.
After these, adverse decisions, however, the right to secede seems to
have been taken for granted, and the questions debated were on the
expediency of secession. For some years these debates were confined
to the Philomathesian Society since the Euzelians were
Bishop, James O. Andrew, D.D., who had married a wife who owned slaves,
brought on the crisis.
48 One of the strongest and most active advocates of remaining in the Union when
the question of secession was before the people of the State, was Rufus Yancey
McAden, a graduate of the class of 1853. Ashe, History of North Carolina, II, 569.