The Civil War in North Carolina

Reminiscences and Memoirs of North Carolina and Eminent North Carolinians

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years old. He entered the law-office of Wm. Duffy, of Fayetteville, and came to the bar in 1805. He was elected a member of the Legislature in 1806 and re-elected in 1808 and 1809, but on being, during the latter year, elected Solicitor of this Judicial Circuit, he resigned his seat in the Legislature. In August of the next year he was elected a member of the 12th Congress when only twenty-four years old, but did not take his seat until the fall of that year, at the 1st Session of the 12th Congress, (1811 and '13.)

        The advent of Mr. King in Congress was at a period of unexampled excitement. The powers of England and France seemed to rival each other by orders and decrees in their efforts to destroy American commerce. Every attempt that reason could suggest to have them repeal these unlawful acts were in vain. The nation demanded at the hands of Congress decided and vigorous action, even to the hazard of war Mr. King unhesitatingly arrayed himself on the side of the bold and patriotic spirits of the House, who were determined to repel aggression by force and maintain the rights and honor of the nation.

        The Berlin, Milan and Ramboulét decrees were repealed by France, and indemnity subsequently granted; but England persisted in carrying out her nefarious "Orders in Council." No alternative was left but an appeal to arms, the ultima ratio of nations. In June 1812, war with England was declared by the United States, Mr. King voting and advocating this measure.

        He was re-elected to the 13th Congress, (1813-15) and continued to support with all his influence every measure that would enable the government to prosecute the war to a successful termination. The war being closed in 1816, Mr. King resigned his seat in Congress to take the position of Secretary of Legation, to Hon. William Pinkney, appointed Minister to Naples and Russia. Mr. King spent two years in Europe studying the institutions of the various governments and the condition of their people. On his return home he moved (1818-'19) to Dallas, in the then Territory of Alabama, and was a member of the Convention which formed a Constitution for the State, and from that State (with John W. Walker as a colleague) he was elected a Senator in Congress. He was continued in this exalted position by repeated elections till 1844, when he was appointed Minister to France; where he remained until the summer of 1846, when he returned. In 1848, on the resignation of Hon. Arthur P. Bagby as Senator, who was appointed Minister to Russia, Mr. King was appointed by the Governor of Alabama his successor in the Senate, and in the next year he was elected for the full term, by the Legislature.

        In 1850, on the death of General Taylor, Mr. Fillmore succeeded him as President. By a unanimous vote of the Senate, Mr. King was elected to the Presidency of that illustrious body.

        In 1852 he was placed by the Democratic Convention on their ticket as Vice-President with General Pierce as President. But his long and successful career was now brought to a close. His failing health had compelled him to seek the mild climate of Cuba, and he there took the oath as Vice-President before the American Consul. He returned to his home at Cahawba, Alabama, where he died on April 17, 1853.

        Mr. King never married. His long political career was marked by acts of noble generosity and patriotism; no stain ever effected his character. He was a fit type of the Chevaliers of old, who were "without fear and without reproach."

        James Martin, senior, who resided in this County, was a native of New Jersey, and
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