The Civil War in North Carolina

Reminiscences and Memoirs of North Carolina and Eminent North Carolinians

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for the restoration of peace and unity. The former we can say, the latter we cannot say. We are thankful for the restoration of peace, but we are not thankful for the unity described in the resolution, re-establishing the authority of the Nattional Government over all the land. We acquiesce in that result, we will accommodate our selves to it and will do our duty as citizens of the common government, but we cannot say that we are thankful. We labored and prayed for a very different termination, and if it had seemed good to our Heavenly Father would have been very thankful for the war to result otherwise than it has resulted. I am willing to say that I am thankful for the restoration of peace to the country, and unity to the Church. His language 'in consideration of the return of peace to the country and unity to the Church,' was adopted by a vote of sixteen to seven, the Southern Bishops being excused from voting. Thus by his promptitude, by the frankness with which he met the immediate issues, by his calm determination to allow no censure to be cast upon those with whom he had been associated, he secured a speedy adjustment of all possible differences and promoted no little the spirit of toleration and kindness."

        The Diocesan Convention of North Carolina, which was appointed to be held at Raleigh on the second Wednesday in May, 1865, did not assemble in that city until the 13th of September, having been postponed by the Bishop until that time.

        Every delegate to that Convention, will remember that period of doubt and anxiety when the proposition to renew friendly relations with the Northern portion of the Church was submitted. Some were strongly averse to taking any action in the matter and were opposed to the Bishop's attending the Convention at Philadelphia. We were a conquered people, at the mercy of an exultant and arrogant foe, and the indignities which had been heaped upon us in matters political warranted the assumption that they would be continued even in our spiritual affairs. We were soured by defeat and its ruinous results and were in no mood to court the favor of those whose shouts of triumph were still sounding in our ears. Besides, we feared that the amiability of the Bishop's nature, his conservative temperament, the strong ties of affection existing between himself and his associates in the Episcopate and his anxiety to renew fraternal relations with Northern brethren might exercise a controlling influence over him at the sacrifice of his better judgment. The result showed that we had been unjust in thought towards our Northern brethren, and also how greatly we had underestimated the grandeur of our Bishop's character. His bearing was worthy of himself and of the high position he held as the peer of those in whose presence he stood. Rather than have surrendered a principle or compromised his self-respect he would have gone to the stake without hesitation.

        Bishop Atkinson was a man of large brain, a just man, fair minded and liberal, a lover of books and a thinker, and notwithstanding the cares and responsibilities of his office found time to keep up with the best literature of the day, and frequently in the lecture-room delighted large audiences from the rich stores of his varied learning. But it was as an expounder of divine truth, as a ruler in the Church that he was most distinguished. He was conservative by nature, not timid and yet not aggressive. His prudence and his wisdom were manifest to all. When these are combined as they were in him, with a sincere and unselfish piety, they are irresistible. The flourishing condition of the Diocese over which he presided for more than a quarter of a century, shows how faithfully and well he did his work. Few men were more honored and beloved than he, not only by his own flock but by all classes and conditions, "for this Duncan had borne his faculties so meek, had been so clear in his great office" that all peoples did do him reverence.

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