The Civil War in North Carolina

Reminiscences and Memoirs of North Carolina and Eminent North Carolinians

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        This decided conduct on the part of the people, as was to be expected, infuriated Tryon; and he fulminates in his dispatches to the Earl of Hillsboro his threats of vengeance. He enclosed a copy of the pledge extorted from his Stamp-master, which is filed in the Rolls Office, and which, for future historians, I copy and here record.

        From Rolls Office, London; extract from Governor Tryon's dispatch; dated 26th December, 1765; a pledge extorted from William Houston by John Ashe and others.

        "I do hereby promise that I never will receive any stamp paper which may arrive from Europe in consequence of any act lately passed in the Parliament of Great Britain, nor officiate in any manner as Stamp-master in the distribution of stamps within the Province of North Carolina, either directly or indirectly.

        "I do hereby notify all the inhabitants of His Majesty's Province of North Carolina that notwithstanding my having received information of my being appointed to said office of Stamp-master, I will not apply hereafter for any stamp paper, or to distribute the same, until such time as it shall be agreeable to the inhabitants of this Province.

        "Hereby declaring that I do execute these presents of my own free will and accord, without any equivocation or mental reservation whatever."

        "In witness hereof I have hereunto set my hand this 16th November, 1765.


                         There are deeds which should not pass away;
                         And names that must not wither, tho the earth
                         Forgets her empire with a just decay.
                         The enslavers and enslaved, their death and birth.

        Among the records I find a letter from Houston to Tryon, in which he states, "I am hated, abhorred and detested, and have no friend," that he thinks John Moses DeRosset would not refuse a copy of his bond lodged in his hands, dated at Socrate, 21st April, 1766.

        Such was the enthusiasm and spirit of the aroused people, that fears for the personal safety of Governor Tryon were excited, and required all the efforts and popularity of Ashe to allay them.

        I find among the public records in London, never before published, the following letter:

"February 19, 1766.


        "SIR: The inhabitants, dissatisfied with the particular restrictions laid upon the trade of this River only, have determined to march to Brunswick, in hopes of obtaining, in a peaceful manner, a redress of their grievances from the Commanding Officers of His Majesty's ships, and have compelled us to conduct them. We, therefore, think it our duty to acquaint Your Excellency that we are fully determined to protect from insult your person and property, and that if it will be agreeable to your Excellency, a guard of gentlemen shall be immediately detached for that purpose.

        "We have the honor to be, with the greatest respect, sir,

"Your Excellency's most
"Obedient, humble servants,




        This shows the well balanced temper of Ashe and his associates. He had raised a tempest, fierce and furious, in the cause of right and opposed to illegality and oppression. But he was a sufficiently potent Prospero to allay its excess.

        The position of the Governor was humiliating and galling to his pride. As a soldier he had been trained to arms. His temper was imperious, daring and desperate, as he afterwards evinced at Alamance. But he saw that he was no match before the people with the popular and fearless Ashe.

        His political sagacity induced him to change his course, for he knew well when to brag and bully and when to flatter and fawn. "He began," says Davis, "to court the people and flatter them with shows and sports." "In February, of that same year, 1766, there was a muster of militia in Wilmington. The Governor prepared, at considerable expense a fine repast for the people. But when the feast was ready the people rushed to the spot poured the liquor in the street, and threw the
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