The Civil War in North Carolina

Reminiscences and Memoirs of North Carolina and Eminent North Carolinians

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license to practice law. Soon afterwards he settled at Asheboro', Randolph County, and commenced the practice of his profession. Owing to extreme diffidence and the total absence of anything like oratorical display, others not more, (and perhaps less,) learned, took the lead of him in practice. Notwithstanding his great need of professional gains, at this period, he has been often heard to remark, that he would rather lose a fee than make a speech. After lingering at the bar for several years, with few clients, he determined as a means of overcoming this diffidence, to become a candidate for the Legislature, hoping the canvass might give him more assurance. He was elected (1830,) ahead of his competitors. The next year, (1831,) he was again a candidate and reelected. At this session, he distinguished himself by the introduction of resolutions denouncing nullification, which, after an able but stormy debate, in which he participated, passed the House by a large majority. After this term in the Legislature he seems to have withdrawn from politics and devoted himself to his profession, as we find him busy at the courts in his circuit, and surrounded by clients. This attention to his profession brought such success and pecuniary ease, as that he was again induced by his friends, to become a candidate for the Legislature in 1840, on the Harrison ticket, and was elected to the Senate by an overwhelming majority.

        At the session of 1840, the leading legislative measure was the putting in operation of a system of Public Schools. He was made Chairman of the Joint Committee on Education and, as such, drew up and reported a bill which passed both Houses, all the prominent provisions of which remained unchanged until the system of Public Schools was broken up by the civil war.

        He was always an admirer of Henry Clay; and, in 1841, he opposed the Hon. A. Rencher for Congress, Mr. Worth charging that certain political acts of his opponent indicated, on his part, a meditated defection from the support of Mr. Clay. Mr. Worth was defeated.

        He again applied himself diligently to the practice of his profession, with success, until in 1845, when a convention of delegates from the Counties composing his Congressional district nominated him for Congress. He accepted the nomination and entered the field, but was defeated by his competitor, Gen. Alfred Dockery.

        After this he devoted himself assidiously to to the practice of his profession until 1858, when he was elected to the State Senate from Randolph and Alamance Counties. In the Session of 1858-59, he introduced resolutions raising a Joint Select Committee to investigate the management of the N. C. Railroad, of which Committee he was made Chairman. His report upon this subject, and the debates which grew out of it, were, by far, the most important topics before that Legislature; and a controversy, through the newspapers, resulted between Mr. Worth and Mr. C. F. Fisher, the the President of the Road, the severity of which was only surpassed by the ability displayed. It is believed that good to the State was the result of this investigation and controversy, and it cannot be unjust to his lamented competitor, to say that Mr. Worth, throughout the contest, more than met the expectation of his friends.

        Mr. Worth was re-elected to the Senate in 1860-61. This period is made memorable by the secession of the Southern States from the Union. Having always disbelieved in the doctrine of secession, Mr. Worth was among the foremost and the most active in resisting a disruption of the Union, and in endeavoring to prevent his own State from throwing herself into the vortex of revolution. In the Legislature, he voted against submitting the question
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