The Civil War in North Carolina

Reminiscences and Memoirs of North Carolina and Eminent North Carolinians

Bookmark and Share

to sanction the proceedings of their delegates."

        So that independence was resolved upon by the delegation on the 19th of May; reiterated by "a more formal Declaration on the 20th, which was read by Colonel Polk, to the people, and then, (why not on the 31st?) a full copy of the whole proceedings (plural) was made out and attested" for Congress. The Delegation had met on Thursday, the "more formal Declaration" was made and a county committee appointed on Friday, and time was still left for the "full copy of the whole proceedings" to be made out, the attestation being placed thereto upon Saturday, in these words:

"Signed by order of the Committee,
Clerk of the Committee."

        This Saturday was the 21st of May, and I believe that a sleepy (?) devil mistook the 2 for a 3, and thus has enabled Ephraim so long to vex Manasseh with the "31st May."

        The resolutions thus quietly drawn off and attested "the day after the feast," were published in full, on June 13, 1775, in Timothy's Carolina Gazette, and in The South Carolina Gazette, and Country Journal of June, 1775, No. 498, printed at Charlestown by Charles Crouch, on the Bay, corner of Elliott street," and also in "New York Journal and General Advertiser" of June 29, 1775. They appeared, partially, in the Massachusetts Spy of the next month. Besides these, publication was made in the Cape Fear Mercury of June 30, 1775, either of this full copy of the "whole proceedings," or else the simple Declaration itself.

        Here the presumption of a negative is very strong, viz: that each Gazette was not furnished with a manuscript from the committee. In its absence they accepted as correct the 13th of June edition of the "attested" copy. As understood by the delegation, and by the committee, there is not a word of compromise in either paper. The committee's document was a substantial copy of all that concerned the colonies, generally to be found in the several papers, passed upon and adopted in the two preceding days by the convention. Governor Martin, if it was the latter which he saw, evidently understood it as "DECLARING the entire dissolution of the laws, government, and constitution of this country." He properly appreciated the 18th Resolution, as at once a modestly expressed justification, and a defiance."

        Nothing could have more disgusted the subject of this sketch than the suggestion that he had given a certificate to the effect that the Davie copy of the Declaration itself might not be correct.

        General William R. Davie was about the most prominent man in the State at that day, and was still residing at Halifax. With the Declaration, Alexander sent him a statement of the transactions attending its adoption, which may be found in the speech at Hopewell, alluded to above. Of this statement, he conscientiously wrote: "It may be worthy of notice here to observe that the foregoing statement, though fundamentally correct, yet may not literally correspond with the original record of the transactions (plural) of said delegation and court of inquiry, as all those records and papers were burned, with the house, in April 6th, 1800. But previous to that time (1800) a full copy of said records, at the request of Dr. Hugh Williamson, then of New York, but formerly a representative in Congress from this State, was forwarded to him by Colonel William Polk, in order that those early transactions might fill their proper place in a history of this State, then being written by said Doctor Williamson of New York."

        But on this certificate he has placed his construction beyond cavil. He gave it September 3, 1800. Within a year, he met Judge Duncan Cameron at the Salisbury Court and told him that he had sent to General Davie a copy of the Declaration "which he knew to be correct, and
Page 267 of 471
Index - Contents
Featured Books & CD-ROMS