On the expiration of his term (March 3, 1843) another revolution in politics occurred and Mr. Haywood was elected his successor.
In 1844, he was nominated by the Whig party as a candidate for Governor of the State. His opponent was Michael Hoke of Lincoln County. They were both natives of the same county; both in the prime of manhood, both of fine address, of large political experience, and both stood high in the forum and at the bar, as also in the affections of their party. The campaign was actively carried on, with unsurpassed ability--Mr. Graham was elected. His administration was so acceptable, that he was re-elected by an increased majority over Louis D. Henry. During his two terms, the State made large and important progress in all her substantial interests.
In 1848 he delivered an address, before the Literary Societies at the University, remembered as a solid and practical production.
In 1852, he addressed the New York Historical Society on the British invasion of North Carolina, in 1780-81, which was an able and accurate exposition of the services and suffering of North Carolina, in that perilous ordeal. In 1860 he delivered an address, at Greensboro, on the life of General Nathaniel Greene and the Revolutionary events of the State, in aid of the erection of a monument at that place, to General Greene.
In 1866 he delivered a discourse in memory of the life and character of Hon. George E. Badger, which was an able and faithful portrait of that distinguished advocate and statesman. He also delivered an address upon the life of Hon. Thomas Ruffin. In 1875 he addressed the citizens of Charlotte, on the "Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence" of May 20, 1775; an exhaustive, unanswerable argument, proving to the candid reader, beyond all cavil or question, the authenticity of that memorable and patriotic document, and that no historical event is better established. Upon these, chiefly rests his fame as a writer and as an author. It is to be regretted that he did not leave a more extended record of his researches and knowledge as a historian. No one was more familiar with every event connected with the history of the country than was Governor Graham. He was at the time of his death, the President of the North Carolina Historical Society.
After his term as Governor had expired, he was tendered by the President, the Mission to Russia, or to Spain; but as he had no desire to leave the country, these were declined.
On the accession of Mr. Fillmore to the Presidency (1850) he was tendered a seat in his Cabinet, which he accepted. His first report, as Secretary of the Navy, is dated November 20, 1850, and received the admiration and sanction of the country. He projected and carried out the expedition to Japan under Commodore Perry. Its success has marked an epoch in the history of the age. It opened to commerce a trade, before closed to the world, and established friendly relations of an enduring character with that extensive empire.
Another expedition was sent out in 1851, under Governor Graham's administration of the Navy Department--the exploration of the valley of the Amazon, by Herndon and Gibbon.
The labors of Governor Graham as Secretary of the Navy, were closed by his nomination, in June 1852, as Vice President, on the ticket with General Winfield Scott as President; but the election was in favor of General Franklin Pierce. Governor Graham was again a member of the Senate in the Legislature of 1854. The question, known as Free Suffrage, was the great question of the session. Governor Graham was opposed to the manner of the change by legislative enactment, and advocated a convention.
The close of Mr. Buchanan's administration brought signs ominous to the tranquility of the country. The clouds had been gathering, dark and heavy and were ready to burst. The election
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