The Civil War in North Carolina

Reminiscences and Memoirs of North Carolina and Eminent North Carolinians

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issue process, hear and determine all matters of controversy, according to said adopted laws; and to preserve peace, union, and harmony in said county; and to use every exertion to spread the love of country and fire of freedom throughout America, until a more general and organized government be established in this province."

        No publication of these (5) bold resolves was ordered, and the committee went into office, not to glorify themselves, or their county, as the first in the race, but to discharge a specified duty. How well they did that, may be seen in the Resolves which they proceeded, it seems, to prepare for publication "to spread the love of country and fire of freedom." They bear date in print May 31, but has the newspaper publication correctly copied the two figures from the manuscript? They begin with this significant clause: "This day the Committee of this County met and passed the following resolves, etc." A county committee was a body duly acknowledged, authorized, and provided for, by the last Congress, which had met in the Province, the Fall preceding. The manner of forming such committees was not prescribed, nor the number of constituent members. Once formed, it was a lawful body, and might communicate with other lawful bodies throughout the country. It was natural, therefore, that its resolves should be published by the newspapers in preference to the original Declaration of the convention of delegates which formed it, and the evidence of participants is that Captain Jack bore a copy of all the proceedings with him to Philadelphia--probably as digested by Brevard.

        The Convention's Resolves had declared the county independent, not of Congress, but of Great Britain. The committee's resolves--evidently recommendatory--went much farther, and declared all the colonies independent--"all commissions, civil and military, heretofore granted by the Crown to be exercised in the colonies, are null and void." The convention had expressed themselves to the people in a paper of five resolves adopted just after the heated debate of the night before. To these the "more formal declaration" added a sixth, authorizing a dispatch to Congress. The comtee set forth in a duly attested paper of "XX" Resolves all that had been done on the 19th and 20th by way of Declarations, "a long string of grievances," the military order on ordnance supplies, and even the principal argument that had then secured unanimity of action. Resolve XVIII, showed "a decent respect for the opinions" of those, elsewhere, who still "abhorred the idea of independence," (as did the prudent Washington, until the month of May, 1776, and preferred "dependence on Great Britain, properly limited, than on any nation on earth, or than on no nation," as the sage of Monticello expressed himself to John Randolph, August 25, 1775.) By its authors it was well understood to be at once a defiance of the Crown, and a justification before the world.

        After the utter rout of the caviliers, who questioned the fact of any declaration of independence at all emanating from this county, a recent spirit of criticism has arisen which tells us that this committee certainly deserved well of their country, but that their consolidated resolves of May 31st, are "glory enough for Mecklenburg." The doubting Thomases, who could not be convinced, until they had found the proceedings of a meeting, several days after the feast, which, therefore, made so little impression, that it was soon entirely forgotten, are hardly fair judges.

        On July 5, 1824, Dr. M. W. Alexander in a public address at Hopewell church, in which he gave a detailed statement from the secretary of the proceedings, on May 19 and 20, 1775, used this language: "These are transactions with which you, together with the citizens of this and the adjoining counties, have long been familiar--these have been the frequent topics of conversation amongst us for nearly fifty years--these were the proceedings, of our relatives, of
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