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excluding controverted party questions. The drift of sentiment may be
seen in the following query, debated by the Philomathesians on May
25, 1860, "Did the Harper's Ferry Invasion have a beneficial effect
upon the South?" which was decided in the affirmative by a two to
one vote, the benefit doubtless being supposed to be the unification of
Southern opinion in regard to the attitude of the North.
Towards the close of this period the Euzelians returning to political
questions debated, once in February, 1860, the query, "Would a
dissolution of the union be beneficial to the South?" deciding it on the
negative by a vote of nothing to twenty-five. A year later with the
alarm of the John Brown raid hardly abated they decided after debate
that our country is in more danger from internal friction than foreign
foes, the vote being 15 to 1.
After the die was already cast and the fatal conflict was in progress
the few students who remained at the College doubtless were
influenced by current public opinion in proposing queries such as
these: "Should North Carolina have seceded?" and "Did South
Carolina act prematurely in seceding from the United States without
proposing a concerted action with her sister States?"
The last question debated by the Philomathesians in May, 1861,
when the last full session of the college before the War ended, was:
"Was the United States justifiable in fighting the war with Mexico?"
which was decided in the negative by a vote of 4 to 8; the last in the
other Society was: "Should government compel parents to send their
children to school?" which was decided in the affirmative by a vote of
7 to 4. A year later, on May 22, 1862, the few students who had
remained at the College had their final debates before the College
disbanded for the War. The Philomathesians used the query, "Do
savage nations possess a full right to the soil?" "Which, after a
discussion of considerable interest" was decided in the negative by a
vote of two to one. The disputants were H. M. Cates and W. R.
Gwaltney of the affirmative and W. C. Nowell, and J. H. Yarboro for