The Civil War in North Carolina

Reminiscences and Memoirs of North Carolina and Eminent North Carolinians

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and patriotic spirit brooked no repose. He saw his country in danger, and with the North Carolina troops was engaged in the battle of Camden, August 16, 1780.

        The disordered state of the finances of the state demanded attention, and Governor Caswell was elected comptroller general, which duties he discharged with great ability until 1785, when he was again elected governor of the state, an unusual circumstance which proves the great acceptability of his services, and the grateful appreciation of them by the state.

        The following address on this occasion may be interesting, as showing how such ceremonials were conducted in the good old times of yore.

        From the journals of the assembly of the State of North Carolina:

"The address of the Speaker of the House
of Commons, William Blount, on the qualification
of Governor Caswell, May 13, 1785.


        SIR: The general assembly of the State of North Carolina, at their last session, proceeded to the choice of a chief magistrate to preside over the executive department of the government of this state, when you were elected by a large majority of both houses; and it gives me great pleasure that it falls to me as Speaker of the House of Commons, in the name of the representatives of the freemen of the state, and in the presence of these honorable gentlemen, to call upon you to qualify, in pursuance of this, their highest mark of public regard, which can by them, be shown to the most worthy citizen.

        (The governor now qualifies.)

        "To you, sir, as the first chief magistrate of this state, we commit and deliver the Bill of Rights and the Constitution; the one asserting the civil and political rights of the freemen of this country, the other giving existence to your office and the present happy form of government. That the same under your guardianship may be sustained, supported, maintained and preserved inviolate, and as an emblem of that power and authority with which you are invested, we present you this sword, and do announce and proclaim you, Richard Caswell, Esq., Governor, Captain-General and Commander-in-Chief in and over the State of North Carolina, in which all good and liege people are to take notice, and govern themselves accordingly.

"Speaker of the House of Commons.

"KINSTON, May 13, 1785."

        With the exception of Caswell, Benjamin Williams, (Governor in 1799 and in 1807,) and Governors Reid and Vance, no instance occurs in our history of the same person being twice elected to this elevated position.

        Governor Caswell was elected a member of the Convention to meet in Philadelphia in May, 1787, to form the Constitution of the United States. This he declined.

        His last public service was as Senator from Dobbs County (since divided into Greene and Lenoir,) in the legislature, which met at Fayetteville, 1789, of which he was elected speaker.

        While presiding in the senate he was struck, November 5th, with paralysis, and he died on the 10th, of that year.

        Mr. Gaston informs us that once whilst on a visit to Boston, he called on the illustrious and venerable John Adams. In an interesting conversation with him as to the revolutionary worthies of North Carolina, Mr. Adams asked: "Where is the family of Richard Caswell? for he was, sir, a model man and true patriot. We always looked to Caswell for North Carolina." His character is one of which his country may well be proud. Not brilliant, but solid; useful rather than showy; deliberate in counsel and decided in action. Mr. Macon declared him one of "the most powerful men that ever lived in this or any other country." In his career he closely resembled the father of his country; if Virginia be proud of her Washington, North Carolina may be of her Caswell.

        Governor Caswell's will is on record in Lenoir county, and is dated July 2, 1787. He left one son and one daughter. Of his son
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