The Civil War in North Carolina

Reminiscences and Memoirs of North Carolina and Eminent North Carolinians

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"July 2d, 1865.


        "DEAR SIR: Will you please do me the favor to borrow for me the following law books? I am not able to buy them: Blackstone, 2d volume only; Greenleaf on Evidence; Adams on Equity; Chitty's Pleadings, 1st volume.

        "I desire to refresh my law studies. I am getting on bravely in French.

"Tout a vous,

"Z. B. VANCE."

        We have already described the interview of Governor Swain, at which Governors Brown, Corwin and Letcher were present, and how cheerful Gov. V. bore his condition.

        I could but remark how polite and considerate the officers and the employees of the prison were to him. By his genial manners he had won their hearts. If he had been a candidate for any position in their gift, he would have received their unanimous vote.

        He was release by the efforts of Governor Corwin and others, and allowed to return to his family on parole not to go beyond certain limits.

        In November, 1870, the Legislature so sympathized with his sufferings and so appreciated his services, that he was elected Senator; but having been disfranchised he was refused by the Senate, and in January, 1872, he resigned, and General Matt. W. Ransom was elected. From 1865 to 1867 North Carolina had no members in either branch of Congress.

        Gov. V. received a pardon from the President, (Andrew Johnson,) settled at Charlotte, and entered into the practice of the law, in partnership with that excellent gentleman and accomplished jurist, C. Dowd, Esq. In entering this firm, Gov. Vance told his partner that "in every firm there was one working man and one gentleman, and that it must be understood that he had to be the gentleman, as he was too lazy to be the other." Admirably both filled the assigned role. But the law was not the natural element of Gov. V.

        In 1876, after a canvas of unexampled exertion and ability on both sides, he was elected governor by a majority of more than 3,000 votes over Judge Settle, now a judge in Florida.

        He resigned on being elected by the Legislature Senator in Congress from 4th March, 1879, to 3d March, 1885, succeeding Hon. A. S. Merrimon. His recent speech (19th May, 1879,) on restoration of the Union, was a model of eloquence, wit and statesmanship.

        Governor Vance married on 2d August, 1858, at Morganton, Harriet Newell, the orphan daughter of the late Rev. Thomas Espy, of the Presbyterian church. She recently died, (at Raleigh, 3d November, 1878,) leaving several children.*

        * He has again married to Mrs. Marten, of Kentucky, nee Steele.

        We have now finished to this date, some slight memories of the career of our Governor Vance.*

        * Much of this sketch is derived from authentic documents, private letters and personal recollections. An anonymous article from the papers of the day, inserted, about 1868, afforded much aid, and which was freely copied.

They might well have been more elaborate and extended did our space and plan allow. We have tried to do justice to his merits, and--

                         -- Nothing extenuate,
                         Or set down aught in malice.

        Enough has been said to prove the high reputation of Governor Vance as a philanthropist and a statesman. As a popular orator he has no superior, aud but few equals. His "infinite jests and most excellent fancy," to which he adds, at times, the most touching pathos and brilliant eloquence carry the minds and hearts of his audience, and makes him irresistible and triumphant before the people. In his public addresses, as in the social circle, he often illustrates his positions by anecdote so pointed and piquant that the popular mind retains with pleasure the argument, when a graver mode would be forgotten.

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