The Civil War in North Carolina

Reminiscences and Memoirs of North Carolina and Eminent North Carolinians

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                         For Time at last sets all things even,
                         And if we do but watch the hour,
                         There never yet was human power,
                         That could evade if unforgiven,
                         The patient search, the vigil, long,
                         Of him who treasures up a wrong.

        I copied from the Rolls Office when in England, a dispatch from the Royal Governor of North Carolina, (Martin) dated Hillshoro, 30th August, 1772, never before published. The Governor describes his journey to the western part of North Carolina, through the Moravian settlements, which he pronounces "models of industry," to Salisbury. He passed through the region of the late disturbances. He records: "My eyes have been opened in regard to these commotions. These people have been provoked by the insolence and cruel advantages taken of their ignorance by mercenary, tricking attorneys, clerks, and other little officers, who have practiced upon them every sort of rapine and extortion. The resentment of the Government was craftily worked up against the oppressed; protection denied to them, when they expected to find it, and drove them to desperation, which ended in bloodshed. My indignation is not only disarmed, but converted into pity."

        Thus by the highest cotemporaneous authority are the acts and principles of the Regulators fully justified. These acts were but connecting links in the chain of events which led to the Revolution. Soon followed the events on the Cape Fear in 1772-'73 and '74, then the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence of 20th May, 1775, then the actual conflict of arms at Moore's Creek in February, 1776. All acts done in North Carolina, with few exceptions, before any similar events had occurred elsewhere in this country. How bright are such glorious records and how proud are we of the memories of the people who present them to coming posterity!

                         They never fail who die
                         In a great cause: --
                         -- Though years
                         Elapse, and others share as dark a doom,
                         They but augment the deep and sweeping thoughts
                         Which overpower all others, and conduct
                         The world at last to freedom."--


        This county was long the residence of Thomas Ruffin. [Born 1787--Died 1870.]

        On entering the Supreme Court room of North Carolina, now more than fifty years ago, we observed on the bench of this exalted tribunal the commanding person of Thomas Ruffin, for twenty years one of the Justices of that Court, and for many years its Chief Justice. During this long period he was called upon to decide questions involving the life and interest of individuals, and complicated and intricate points of constitutional, common and statute law. The able opinions delivered by him have established his reputation as one of the first jurists of his age in this or any other country. His opinions are models of learning and logic, and are quoted as authority not only in our own courts but in those of other countries. Recently one of the Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States, on reading one of Judge Ruffin's opinions, pronounced him "one of the ablest common law-jurists in America."

        In his ministration of the law he was by some considered stringent and at times severe, but he was always conscientious and inflexibly just.

        He was not demonstrative in his feelings, but was cautious in his words and acts, select and sincere in his friendships, and steadfast in his attachments.

        In his finances he was prudent even to rigid economy. This he adopted as a principle, not believing in wastefulness or extravagance. His house was open to his friends and was well known as the abode of unstinted hospitality. He was exact and precise in his engagements, and punctual in performance.

        In person he was spare, uniform and neat in
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