The Civil War in North Carolina

Reminiscences and Memoirs of North Carolina and Eminent North Carolinians

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feel the hour now has come when the spirit of strife must be banished, and the mild, gentler and holier spirit of patriotism reign in its stead! Come then, Mr. President, let us go to the altar and make sacrifices for our beloved country. We now propose, with other friends, the name of one who was in the field just long enough to prove himself a gallant soldier, and who was long enough in the councils of the nation to demonstrate that he is a statesman of the strong mind and honest heart; who has exhibited in the career of legislation, that he knew the rights of the South, while he respected those of the North, as well as of the East and the West; whose principles of democracy are as solid and enduring as the granite hills of his own New Hampshire native land--General Franklin Pierce.

        "Come, friends and brothers, let us strike hands now; now for harmony and conciliation, and save our cherished principles and our beloved country."

        This speech was cheered with the wildest enthusiasm. Several states, as Vermont and New Jersey, changed their votes to Pierce. The delegations from New York, Pennsylvania, Indiana and other states, retired for consultation, but soon returned and joined their voices in the general pean of joy. Dispatches and congratulations on the event were received from Douglas, Houston, and others. The president of the convention then announced the vote (two hundred and eighty-three) for Franklin Pierce.

        It was acknowledged that the address of Mr. Dobbin had done much to secure this result. He was selected as one of electors with Burton Craige, L. O'B. Branch, Thomas Bragg, and others, and made a gallant campaign for the ticket and cast the vote of the state for Pierce and King.

        At this time (1852), the legislature had to elect a senator in congress. The democratic party in caucus, with much unanimity, nominated Mr. Dobbin. The parties (democrat and whig) were nearly equally divided. The selfish ambition of one or two aspirants prevented an election; although on several ballots Mr. Dobbin received within one or two of enough votes to elect him. All of us who were members of that legislature can remember the intense excitement of the time. The opposition was able, active, and not over scrupulous. They could not elect; but by aid of one or two meddling marplots of the other side they could prevent the election of the democratic candidate. Amid all this excitement Mr. Dobbin appeared the only calm and considerate person among us. After some forty ballotings, he requested that a caucus should be called, and with unaffected sincerity and glowing eloquence he requested his name to be withdrawn and some other person voted for. He saw with sorrow the party distracted by jealousies, and a fearful chasm of disorder had been opened, engulphing its unity, if not its very existence. He withdrew his name; but it was in vain. If he could not be elected no other person should be, and the state had only one senator for a long time.

        On the accession of General Pierce, without any effort of friends or himself, and unexpected to all, for he had recommended another, he was tendered the position of Secretary of the Navy. The manner of his successful discharge of these important duties, his pure and unspotted integrity, gave more strength to this branch of the public service than it has ever received before or since. His decided and frank course, his gentle and knightly courtesy, his frank and open demeanour won the hearts of those in the service, and he left the department without an enemy in or out of the navy.

        He possessed in a high degree the faculty of "reading men," and the talent of discerning merit. He granted with promptness any reasonable request, while he could refuse with delicacy and tact, any improper application. Whilst his health was always delicate, yet he attended laboriously every duty of this important position. It is a singular fact, already alluded to, that our state has rarely been honored
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