The Civil War in North Carolina

Reminiscences and Memoirs of North Carolina and Eminent North Carolinians

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        The table may be relied upon, as it has been the subject of much labor and research. Their lives and offices have been briefly alluded to, figures and dates given, leaving to other hands the pious duty of commenting in detail on their character and services.

        Abner Nash was born in Prince Edward County, Virginia. At an early age he went to New Berne, where he studied and practiced law with great success.

        He was an able and active friend to the rights of the people, and a member of provincial congress in 1774.

        In the dispatch of Governor Martin, dated March 10th, 1775, he informs his government that the seditious leaders of the people have too effectually prevented the King's speech from operating to the extent he wished. Instead of yielding they talk of resorting to violence.

        Enclosed is an advertisement of the committee at New Berne, which he calls "atrocious falsehoods," and the composition of a Mr. Nash, one of the subscribers, who is an eminent lawyer, but the most unprincipled character of the county.

        In another dispatch dated at Fort Johnston, June 30th, 1775, he writes:

        "Since I had the honor of representing to your lordship the state of this country, various circumstances have occurred of which I think it my duty to give the best account my information enables me to lay before you.

        "On Tuesday, May 23d, 1775, a set of people calling themselves a committee, met at New Berne. A motly crew, without any previous notice of their purpose, appeared, coming towards my house; I supposed they were the committee of whose meeting I had heard. I directed my secretary to signify my resolution not to see them. He soon came back, however, with a message that they were the inhabitants of the town of New Berne, who had come to wait upon me, and requested to speak to me.

        "I directed them to be shown in, and I immediately went down to them.

        "Mr. Abner Nash, an attorney and oracle of the committee, (of whom I have had occasion to mention to your lordship before as principal promoter of sedition,) came forward out of the crowd and said he had been chosen by the people of New Berne, then present, to represent that their purpose in waiting on me was in consequence of a general alarm of the people of that place at my dismounting some pieces of cannon which occasionally had been made use of on rejoicing days; that the Governor of Virginia had lately deprived the people of that colony of arms and ammunition. The inhabitants therefore requested and hoped that I would order the cannon to be remounted and restored to their former condition.

        "Unprepared, my lord, for such a visit, and filled with indignation at the absurdity and impertinence of the cause assigned by Mr. Nash, I am satisfied that it was a mere pretense to insult me. I replied that the guns I had dismounted belonged to the king, and I was only responsible to His Majesty for any disposition I made of them, &c."

        But the next day, so precarious had his position became, that Governor Martin sent his family to New York, and he himself went in much haste on board of His Majesty's sloop of war, the Cruiser, Captain Parry, commander, never to exercise again the functions of Governor of North Carolina.

        In the same dispatch, Governor Martin says "he had received an account on April 20th, between the king's troops and the people near Boston, which reached him a little more than two months after the event."

        In this dispatch, Governor Martin enclosed the resolves of the committee of Mecklenburg in the Cape Fear Mercury, a copy of which he says was sent by express to the congress at Philadelphia. This official dispatch would settle a question, about which there never should have been any cavil, question, or doubt.

        These extracts from official sources prove the course which Mr. Nash pursued in perilous times. He was more of a statesman, however, than a soldier, yet he did the cause of his country as much service as if he were in the field. He played a leading part in that great
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