56 History of Wake Forest College
Your committee are aware that apprehensions are entertained that if these bills be
passed into laws a class of individuals in their corporate capacity may have
conferred upon them privileges, if not incompatible with our Constitution and the
Bill of Rights, yet inconsistent with the freedom and genius of our institutions.
These bills having no object but to found and establish institutions to promote
learning and disseminate knowledge, it would seem to us that no just apprehension
could well be entertained.
It appears, from the legislation of the State heretofore, that the principles of these
bills have been clearly sanctioned, if not transcended. An act was passed in the year
1796, entitled an act to secure property to religious societies or congregations of
every denomination, which act authorized any religious society to select trustees
who were empowered and vested with full and ample authority to purchase and hold
in trust for such religious society any lands, houses, or tenements, and to receive
donations of any nature or kind whatsoever for the use and benefit of such society.
And by an act passed in the year 1809, amendatory of the act of 1796, the trustees
were enabled to sue and be sued, plead and be impleaded. These acts were mani-
festly passed to enable the several religious societies of this State to advance and
promote religion. The aim and intent of these bills are to diffuse the blessings of an
education and a knowledge of the mechanical arts.
In the year 1831, an act was passed to incorporate the Ravenscroft Academy in
the town of Fayetteville, which embraces principles analogous to these bills. Your
committee conceive that, if this act remains upon your statute book and these bills
are forbidden to be passed, upon that contingency, there would then be established
by law a set of men entitled to exclusive privileges and emoluments, which is
forbidden by the Bill of Rights.
Your committee are aware that the State can not at this time, without imposing an
exceedingly onerous burden on the people, comply with the 41st Section of our
Constitution, which imperatively requires that a school or schools shall be
established by the Legislature for the convenient instruction of youth, with such
salaries to the masters paid by the public as may enable them to instruct at low
prices. To effect this noble purpose, the instruction of the youth of our State,
associations of individuals, whether of the different denominations of Christians or
not, have asked of us the common privilege of incorporation, which has been so
freely bestowed by the Legislature on associations of individuals for inferior
objects.
The Committee beg leave to submit another remark: that as all
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