rights were menaced by lawless power on the one hand, and "a wild species of justice" on the other, his efforts were unremitting in the support of justice and order. He, with others, addressed the following note to Judge Bond, then holding the United States Circuit Court at Raleigh:
"RALEIGH, September 30, 1871.
"Hon. H. L. BOND, Judge of U. S. Circuit Court.
"SIR: We have the honor, in the interest of the peace of the people of North Carolina, to address you this note.
"The fact that a secret, unlawful organization, called 'the Ku Klux or Invisible Empire,' exists in certain parts of the State has been manifested in the recent trials before the court in which you preside. We condemn without reservation all such organizations. We denounce them as dangerous to all good government, and we regard it as the eminent duty of all good citizens to suppress them. No right-minded man in North Carolina can palliate or deny the crimes committed by these organizations; but we think if the further prosecution of the persons charged with these offenses were continued until November term, it would enable us to enlist all law-loving citizens of the State to make an energetic and effectual effort for the restoration of good order. We assure you that we believe before the November term of the Circuit Court that this unlawful organization will be effectually suppressed.
"In presenting these considerations to your honor, we declare that it is our duty and purpose to exert all the influence we possess and all the means in our power to absolutely suppress the organization, and to secure a lasting and permanent peace to the State. The laws of the country must and shall be vindicated. We are satisfied, and give the assurance, that the people of North Carolina will unite in averting and forever obliterating an evil which can bring nothing but calamity to the State. In the name of a just and honorable people, and by all the considerations which appeal to good men, we solemnly protest that these violations of law and public justice must and shall cease.
"We have the honor to be, etc.,
"THOMAS BRAGG, GEO. V. STRONG, DANIEL G. FOWLE, JAS. H. BATCHELOR, B. F. MOORE, WM. M. SHIPP, M. W. RANSOM, WILL. H. BATTLE, R. H. BATTLE, jr., and D. M. BARRINGER."
In a reply, dated October 2, 1871, Judge Bond stated that he was unable to comply with this modest and reasonable request.
The last public service of Governor Bragg was his connection as counsel for the managers in the impeachment of Governor Holden, which has already been referred to. (Page 441.)
From the hour of the arrest of private citizens in Alamance and Caswell Counties to the conviction of Holden, the mind of Governor Bragg was never free from deep anxiety, and from the grave responsibilities resting on him as the leading and great tribune, guarding the rights and liberties of the people. So heavy and severe were his labors that when he left the impeachment chamber he went an invalid to his sick room, a broken-down, afflicted man. The silver cord of his life had been broken; the health-giving influences of mineral springs and medicine had lost all their power. His life had now come to its end. Surrounded by his afflicted and disconsolate family, in full possession of his vigorous intellect, and in a calm reliance on the rewards promised to an honest, useful and well-spent life, Gov. Thomas Bragg departed this life at Raleigh, January 21, 1872.
"Call no man good till he dies," said the illustrious ancient; and now that death has closed the scenes of his long, useful and eventful life, we can, without fear of reversal, pronounce Governor Bragg worthy of the esteem and reverence with which his memory is cherished by a grateful community. He was a good as well as a great man.
A correspondent, in one of the papers of the day, has recorded that he witnessed "the last of earth" with this distinguished man. He says: "Holding his hand with affection, I saw the last evidences of life slowly pass away from him. Never shall I forget the calmness and composure with which, a few moments before he died, he uttered these words: "I have no doubt that I have my sins to answer for; all men must so account. I have endeavored to lead an exemplary life; I have never seen the time that I felt I could be persuaded, through favor, affection, reward, or the hope of reward, to do otherwise than my conscience would dictate to me, as right and proper. The future has been, and is now, a deep, dark mystery."
Governor Bragg needs no eulogy. The people hold his memory in respectful reverence.
He married in Petersburg, Va., and left a large family.
"Green be the turf above thee,
Friend of my better days!
None knew thee but to love thee;
None named thee but to praise."
--Halleck on the death of Drake.
Index - Contents