The Civil War in North Carolina

Reminiscences and Memoirs of North Carolina and Eminent North Carolinians

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duties, deciding according to the justice of each case, and his own convictions of right although frequently to the prejudice of his own own party.

        His speech on the Oregon question; the three million bill; Mexican war; public lands; the tariff, and other questions, established for him the reputation of a sagacious and honest statesman. After his term expired he declined a re-election to congress, intending to devote himself to his profession, in which he now stood in the foremost rank. But the people did not allow him to retire from their service; he was returned from the county in 1848, 1850 and 1852, to the legislature. He was chosen the speaker of the house in 1848 and 1850. His course, so patriotic and yet so modest, commanded the respect and regard of all. His efforts in behalf of the Insane Asylum, on the memorial of that "white winged messenger of peace," Miss Dix, is the monument of his patrotism and his philanthrophy. The memorial was referred to a select committee, on motion of John W. Ellis, and a bill was reported by him appropriating one hundred thousand dollars. In the mean time, Mr. Ellis, on being elected judge, resigned. the laboring oar was then allotted to Hon. Kenneth Rayner, who, in a speech of great power and of impassioned eloquence, advocated the measure; but it was lost by a vote of 66 to 44, and the measure seemed to be irretrievably lost.

        Miss Dix felt deeply the failure of a measure so dear to her heart and to humanity; she called on Mr. Dobbin, who had not been present at the discussion, his lovely wife having only a day or so previously died; Miss Dix reminded him of his wife's earnest request to support this bill. The appeal did not fall unheeded. The next day the bill was reconsidered. Mr. Dobbin, in the language of the Raleigh Register, "delivered one of the most touching and beautiful efforts ever heard in the legislature." The bill passed almost unanimously.

        The stranger, wandering in our midst, as he gazes in pride on "the cloud capt turrets" of this splendid edifice, erected at our capital, may well pause and breath a benediction and thanks to the names of Dorathea Dix, Kenneth Rayner and James C. Dobbin.

        Mr. Dobbin's next public service was as a delegate to the convention at Baltimore to nominate candidates for president and vice-president. He was elected the chairman of the North Carolina delegation. After a protracted and animated canvass, it was found impossible to nominate Buchanan, Marcy, Cass, or Douglas, or any one acceptable to the contending factions. It was apprehended that the convention would adjourn in confusion, and without any nomination. At this crisis Mr. Dobbin arose, and in a modest, unobstrusive manner, and with matchless eloquence,

                         "--Like the sweet South,
                         Breathing on a bank of violets,
                         Stealing and giving odor,"

        spoke as follows:

        "Mr. President: Pardon me for obtruding one word before North Carolina casts her vote. We came to pander to no factions artifices here, to enlist under no man's banner at the hazard of principle; to embark in no crusade to prostrate any aspirant for the sake of sectional or personal triumph. We came here to select one of the army of noble spirits in our ranks to be our leader and champion in the glorious struggle for the great principles of democracy.

        "Again, and again, have we tendered the banner to the North. Save our happy Union, guard well the rights of the states, say we, and you can have the honor of the standard bearer. Zealously and sincerely have we presented the name of Buchanan, the nobe son of the Key Stone state, around whom the affections of our hearts have so long clustered. We have turned to the Empire State, New York, and sought to honor one of her distinguished sons. We now feel that in the midst of discord and destruction, the olive branch, if tendered once more, cannot be refused. We
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