Charlotte, in execution of his work, deems it a duty to notice the articles prepared by that gentleman on the subject of the Mecklenburg Manuscripts.
These articles have attracted very general attention, as they present this subject in a new and very strong light. Some of his salient points are, in effect, as follows:
The "20th of May" is found to
have been "confirmed by an oath." That should be the end of controversy as to
that date, when considered with the additional fact that no participant or
eye-witness of that impressive occasion, ever named a different day for "the
throwing up of hats." No one doubts that every witness who certified to it on
honor, was prepared unhesitatingly to swear to it. On the other hand, the
Charleston printer's date of the "Mecklenburg Resolves" as subsequently found in
their digested form, has never had a single witness to testify in its favor. It
is a nullius filius, brought to the attention of the people of
Mecklenburg for the first time in 1837--"an Ishmael with whom Isaac can make no
division of the inheritance." He calls for the 21st May, "a day after the
feast," when the committee, for this special work, from the preceding
manuscripts, and without the further
The printed Mecklenburg
Resolves, as intended by the parties who had enacted and witnessed the
promulgation of the several papers from which they are digested, as construed by
The 21st May would have been Sunday by our calendar, but Mr. Graham has presented an array of incontestable facts showing that it was not Sunday with the ancient Mecklenburgers, but that the 31st, instead, did fall on Sunday by their calendar.
ALSO, THAT THERE WERE THREE MSS. IN MECKLENBURG IN MAY, 1775 (ALL DECLARING INDEPENDENCE, SPECIAL OR GENERAL, OF GREAT BRITAIN, BUT NOT OF CONGRESS, THAT NEITHER ALLUDED, IN SO MANY WORDS, TO A PRECEDING PAPER OF THE SAME KIND, AND NEITHER OF THEM WAS DATED MAY 31ST.
While the several papers of the 20th of May, were the only documents in this connection ever talked of at home among the people, that which was least heard of there, was for reasons given--ex uno omnes disces--the only one which the officers sent out for publication. The issue is squarely stated that either the date of the actors, (the 20th), or else that of the printer (the 31st) is an error; and such facts, as he remarks, have hitherto been overlooked, by both sides, in the heat of debate. His work as to the dates and number of papers will fill the only gap that seems to have been left open by the many able advocates of the original declaration. Several of the articles have appeared in the Charlotte Home and Democrat, and in the Farmer and Mechanic of Raleigh. The latter pertinently observes:
Others had suggested that the difference between the O. S. and N. S. might disprove the evidence of the eye-witnesses, or demonstrate the fallacy of their memories as to the document and the day, but he is the first to establish the facts, and they corroborate 'the signers' in every particular. He shows that Mr. Bancroft has been as much misunderstood on the question of dates, as on that of the absolute character of the Declaration of Independence.
General Thomas Polk, with whose biography this article on the Declaration of 20th May, 1775, was commenced, read the resolves, from
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