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Title: Lives of Distinguished North Carolinians - with illustrations and speeches
Author: Various
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Lives of Distinguished North Carolinians - with illustrations and speeches" ***

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       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: WILLIAM R. DAVIE.]







  W. J. PEELE,



  Let us pass not through the earth so fair,
  Leaving no witness the truth to bear
  That we've lived and loved and labored here.


















                               { WELDON N. EDWARDS.
    Speech on the Missouri Compromise.

    Historical Address at the University.

  WILLIAM GASTON                   BY W. H. BATTLE.
    Address at the University.

    Speech on Slavery and the Union.

  DAVID L. SWAIN                    BY Z. B. VANCE.
    Address: "Early Times in Raleigh."

    Opinion in "Ex parte Bradley."

    Account of a Political Discussion.


    Argument in State _vs._ Will.

    The Character of the British;
    An Evening at Seville.


  STEPHEN D. RAMSEUR                  BY W. R. COX.

  BRYAN GRIMES                     BY H. A. LONDON.
    Surrender at Appomattox.

  DANIEL H. HILL                    BY A. C. AVERY.
    Address: "The Old South."


  DAVIE           Frontispiece

  MACON          facing p.  81

  MURPHY         facing p. 111

  GASTON         facing p. 150

  BADGER         facing p. 181

  SWAIN          facing p. 229

  RUFFIN         facing p. 284

  BRAGG          facing p. 306

  GRAHAM         facing p. 333

  MOORE          facing p. 378

  PETTIGREW      facing p. 413

  PENDER         facing p. 436

  RAMSEUR        facing p. 456

  GRIMES         facing p. 495

  HILL           facing p. 524


The publication, in a permanent form, of the most valuable sketches
and speeches which have been produced in our State will aid
materially in laying the foundation for a distinctive literature. In
the beginning, character only is essential; art is a development,
and will assume its comely form in due season if it springs from
virtue. The undeserving are the fearful and the unbelieving, and
these are they who are morbidly anxious to graft borrowed ideals of
literary culture upon the native stock.

The people are entitled to the sources of history (the knowledge of
which, in this State, is confined to a very few), because from among
the people must always arise the man who breaks the monopoly which
sequesters the facts of public interest for private interpretation.

Failure in some writers to give the sources of information and of
ideas, and to give credit or quote where these are already well
expressed, has caused much confusion in the historical data of
this State. This practice is fatal to any considerable literary
reputation and an unwitting confession of incapacity.

The educational value of these sketches and speeches, and of such as
may be published at a later period, is probably what will chiefly
recommend this undertaking to the consideration of the public. A
good course of home reading about worthy men close enough to the
reader to stimulate his interest can hardly be overvalued, and it
is the best substitute for the training of the schools as well as a
powerful assistant in such training.

It will be remarked that some of the best sketches of our
distinguished dead have been written to be spoken; but they are none
the less effectual among North Carolinians, who have generally been
hearers rather than readers: those, therefore, who have desired
their attention have cultivated oratory. The style of the effective
writer, however, is more condensed than that of the orator--freer
from passion and local prejudice and fitter to paint for posterity
pictures of the past.

To the ladies of the memorial associations of North Carolina, and to
those who have generously responded to the honor of their calls, our
people are indebted for the collection, in the form of addresses,
and the consequent preservation of some valuable historical matter.
This is especially true of the Ladies' Memorial Association of
Raleigh, as the sketches of Grimes, Ramseur, Pender, and Hill, here
published, will attest.

No less deserving are those who of their own accord, or at the
request of others, have prepared sketches of such as have done deeds
worthy of remembrance. Born of some patriotic North Carolina woman,
a man will arise who will use the stubborn facts so preserved to
bruise the serpent-head of false history.

It will not be understood, of course, that an attempt is made
in this volume to publish the lives of all distinguished North
Carolinians--there are others, perhaps, as worthy as any which here
appear; and should this book be approved and sufficiently sustained
by reading people, another volume may be added at some future time.

My main object will be attained if interest in those who have done
something worthy of remembrance is stimulated.

Much of what is called biography and history is a tiresome chronicle
of the successive advancement in office of some who have advanced
little in better things. Service, not office, is the inspired test
of greatness. He who would be greatest among you must be the servant
of all.

In this materialistic age it is nothing strange that some North
Carolina writers have praised such as have done well mainly for
themselves; and while I do not remember that, in the collection here
published, place and station are set forth as an end rather than a
means to good, yet here, as elsewhere and everywhere, the thoughtful
reader will be on his guard against any squint in favor of false

As Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses by the art of counterfeiting
the symbols of Heaven's appointment, a devilish power, so this age
suffers much from spurious greatness, persistently advertised, as
bearing the image and superscription of virtue.

Human limitation is such that a character is sometimes worthy of
study which only effectually illustrates one great virtue growing
among defects; and human nature, unless morbid, instead of being
contaminated, will be encouraged that weakness can deserve fame. The
defects which criticism may discover in any character here portrayed
may be used, under intelligent guidance, to gain the sympathy of the
young rather than mar their ideals--which must be composite pictures
of the virtues of many, or else imaged on the soul by contemplation
of the life and work of One who was the Servant of all.

  W. J. P.


This book is written of North Carolinians by North Carolinians. Many
of the writers are no less distinguished than their subjects, and
these together give it local color, distinctiveness, and personality
which ought to make it interesting to ourselves and valuable to
those who seek to know us through intrinsic evidence.

Wherever practicable the subjects are allowed also to speak for
themselves. "Biography is the only true history," says Carlyle. The
history of North Carolina has not yet been written, and never will
be, until each pioneer investigator confines himself to a short
period--say a decade. Then, eventually, perhaps, some genius for
generalization and condensation will arise and in a single life-time
combine the whole into one work. Meanwhile this generation may bind
up and preserve the material.

There is not sufficient political homogeneity among North
Carolinians at this time to enable us to endorse with unanimity the
true theory of our history for the past seventy years--especially in
our relation to the General Government.

This generation, too, is inundated with cheap and often insidiously
false sectional literature from the North.

Such literature is gradually glozing over and reconciling our people
to the sinister changes which are being subtly wrought in American

The innovators can now persuade the misinformed and careless that
just criticism of themselves and their cupidity, and just defense
of the principles and motives which actuated us in the late war
between the States, is rank treason against the United States

To publish what our sages and warriors have taught and fought for
rises, therefore, to the dignity of a duty, as tending to correct
erroneous impressions common among us and still more common among
others, and as giving a particular account rendered by many
witnesses, of men and times to be remembered by posterity, rightly
or wrongly, forever.

This introduction is intended to present also a bird's-eye view of
the field in which were cast the lives and labors of the subjects
of this book. Incidentally, too, I indicate a theory of Southern
history which, if not obvious enough upon its bare statement, or
from the facts here briefly set forth, will one day be demonstrated
to the satisfaction of the seeker after truth. It involves an
analysis of the character, influence, and interests of the North
acting on the South.

The inoculation of New England semi-foreign views of the Federal
Constitution (for half New England is foreign born) goes on apace.
With conceit, born of provincialism, these people have magnified
their Mayflower scrap of local history into national importance;
they have dinned it with such Codrus-like persistency into our ears
that the average North Carolinian knows their story better than he
does that of the settlement of Roanoke Island. We read their books,
papers, and periodicals, though many reflect upon us, and nearly all
are unfair to us; but they do not read ours. It would be a surprise
to the publishers if one hundred copies of this book should be sold
north of Mason and Dixon's line--a line which still exists against
our literature, our ideas, and our construction of fundamental law.
Most probably not one of their monthlies would publish what I am now

The most un-American section of the Union is New England. Bounded on
the west and north by British Canada and on the east by the Atlantic
ocean (which may be said now to belong also to Great Britain), it
is the hotbed of British ideas of government and society; and, in
the event of a third war with the "mother country" (as it still
affectionately terms the nation whose government has always been the
enemy of our liberty, growth, and progress) it may be a hotbed for a
hundred times more traitors than it had in the War of 1812. Like our
great cities, this section is a danger-spot in the Union.

Many of its political and social leaders vie with those of New
York in rushing over to England and Germany to get the foreign
construction of our Federal Constitution, and foreign consent to
proposed financial legislation by Congress, and foreign sanction of
the orders, social preferences and privileges, and marriages of our
"corner"-made aristocracy.

These leaders, too, are less and less the owners of the wealth they
handle, and are becoming more and more the mere agents of English
capitalists and the dupes and tools of foreign marriage-brokers.
About three thousand million dollars of British capital is said
to be invested in a section of the Union. This copartnership of
foreign and domestic wealth gives to Great Britain a voice in our
government--a representation in Congress from whole groups of
States. How many Northeastern Senators and Representatives have
differed in late years from British views of what our financial
policy should be? Foreign and domestic monopolists and bondholders
have the same interests, the same social sympathies and affinities,
a common cause, the same victims and enemies, the same want of
confidence in popular government; therefore, what doth hinder them
from forming a treasonable alliance, offensive and defensive,
against the people? They have already formed it: the money-kings
in all nations, in control of all kings and governments, have an
understanding with one another, and, by concentration, they can
easily crush any movement, for amelioration, among the people of any
one nation at a time. There is a brotherhood, too, of incorporated
rate, fare, and tax collectors as well as of bondholders. United
they stand.

The Hamiltonian theory of government has been in adoption, and the
Hamiltonian school of politicians has been in control of the Union
for nearly forty years, and they may now be judged by their fruits:
they have given us a more corruptly administered government than
that our fathers rebelled against in 1775; and they are fulfilling
with startling fidelity and rapidity all the prophecies which Henry,
Jefferson, Macon, and Randolph made about them.

It is a knowledge of these things which has organized a great
rebellion in the United States, especially among those who live
outside the great cities and homes of monopoly--a rebellion
which has begun to control political parties, and which, in the
last general election, mustered nearly six and a half million
voters--voters who were hurled, for once, against the great
international brotherhood of plunderers by legislation. Some,
however, who were in it are not of it; these, when they comprehend
it, will become offended and walk no more with it. A new declaration
of independence is being formulated to voice its spirit, and it
awaits its Jefferson, if, indeed, as some believe, he has not
already come in the person of Bryan, a Western man descended from
Southern ancestors, and seeming to have at heart the interests of
all sections.

It is a significant fact, in this connection, that from two-thirds
to three-fourths of the foreign voters in the Union marched
under the allied leadership of foreign and domestic monopoly and
ill-gotten wealth. Two-thirds, at least, of the native-born white
voters were in this great rebellion, and the life and soul of it.
The negro voted almost solidly with the foreigners and with his new
masters, for he will have masters of some kind yet for many years.
I note the status and attitude of the negro seriously (and let him
that readeth understand), for if this ever-deepening conflict comes
to bullets, those who now tell the old Federal soldier to vote as
he shot, will tell the negro to shoot as he voted; and he will
so shoot. The negro vote, under the easy control of a sectional
faction of political manipulators, is as dangerous a menace to our
institutions as our foreign population indoctrinated with European
medievalism--kingcraft and priestcraft.

Much, if not most, of our foreign immigration now comes from cities,
and pours itself into the already corrupted life of our own great
cities. ("Syrian Orontes pours its filth into The Tiber."--_Juv._)
It does not buy land, it sells votes; it specifically performs the
political contracts of its priests; it buys and sells political
jobs; it officers ward politics. It is one of the arms--and the
negro is the other--by which greed and monopoly, the twin devils
which dance attendance upon national decline, are consolidating our

No great city has ever been fit for self-government and civil
liberty. From Babylon to Nineveh, from Nineveh to Carthage, from
Carthage to Rome, from Rome to Venice, and from Venice to New
York and Chicago (neither of which can elect an honest board of
aldermen), it is the same old story of avarice which finally
overreaches itself. This is the sin which, when finished, brings
forth the death of nations.

In vain did Virgil and Horace sing their deathless melodies of
country homes to a people whose blood was already poisoned with the
lust for gain and fevered with the excitement of artificial life.

The South, the rural South, in spite of many shortcomings, is the
great conservator of our institutions. It is the distinctively
American section of the Union, jealous of all foreign domination or
interference, and stands firm in the patriot's faith that we as a
nation can work out our own salvation without the aid of European
capital or distinctively European ideas of finance, government or

Though contaminated by modern machine politics, and much hampered by
the race question, the South still clings to local self-government
and to the dignity of Statehood as the only sure foundation for
civil liberty and perpetual Union. Long taxed unfairly, by the
subtle operation of the Federal tariff and internal revenue and
currency laws, out of money which has long enriched another section,
in the shape of pensions, internal improvements, and "protection
to home industries," the South is still the section most loyal to
constitutional government, having infinitely more genuine affection
for it than the pension-pampered patriotism of such as make
merchandise out of "saving the Union."

These considerations are sufficient to inspire in us an effort to
write our own histories, expound to our children the principles of
fundamental law, and teach them the safeguards of our institutions.
The collection and arrangement of the following sketches, with a few
crude suggestions of my own, is what I have contributed towards this

Except in so far as "history is philosophy teaching by examples,"
I take little pleasure in it, and should be at no pains to
preserve or popularize it. But seeing, as I think I see, the
drift and tendencies of these times, and believing that a correct
and widespread understanding of the lessons of recent events is
the first postulate in determining the remedy for existing and
prospective evils, I take an abiding interest in every earnest
endeavor to marshal the facts and discover the theories which will
explain them--for facts without theories are dead. The field of
investigation is white unto harvest, but the laborers for love are
few--the hirelings are many.

In order to illustrate the necessity of our reading and writing our
own histories, I will undertake to show the main cause of the war
between the States, indicating as I go along some of the errors
called history, which are circulated and taught to the prejudice of
the South.

Northern historians make the negro and the interest of their people
in his welfare the underlying cause of the agitation which resulted
in the war between the States. Some of them would have us believe
that the Federal soldiers, a generation ago, fired with the love
of liberty and humanity, came South on a great missionary tour to
strike the fetters from the limbs of four million slaves. About
fifty per cent. of these missionaries were foreigners, or foreign
born, having but crude ideas of the nature of our government; many
thousands of them could not even speak our language; some were
Hessians, imported from foreign tyrannies expressly for the purpose
of war. Many tens of thousands came for money, and hundreds of
thousands were compelled to come by law. Not ten per cent. came to
free the negro. Those acquainted with the esteem in which he is held
at the North have never been deceived by this _missionary_ theory
of his emancipation. Listen to the words of De Tocqueville, written
about 1835. This Frenchman certainly cannot be accused of having
been biased against the Northern States. He says: "Whosoever has
inhabited the United States must have perceived, that in those parts
of the Union in which the negroes are no longer slaves, they have in
nowise drawn nearer to the whites. On the contrary, the prejudice of
the race appears to be stronger in the States which have abolished
slavery than in those where it still exists; and nowhere is it so
intolerant as in those States where servitude has never been known.
* * * *

"The electoral franchise has been conferred upon the negroes in
almost all the States in which slavery has been abolished; but, if
they come forward to vote, their lives are in danger. If oppressed,
they may bring an action at law, but they will find none but whites
amongst their judges; and, although they may legally serve as
jurors, prejudice repulses them from that office. The same schools
do not receive the child of the black and of the European. In the
theatres gold cannot procure a seat for the servile race beside
their former masters; in the hospitals they lie apart; and, although
they are allowed to invoke the same Divinity as the whites, it must
be at a different altar and in their own churches, with their own
clergy. The gates of Heaven are not closed against these unhappy
beings; but their inferiority is continued to the very confines of
the other world; when the negro is defunct his bones are cast aside,
and the distinction of condition prevails even in the equality of
death. The negro is free, but he can share neither the rights, nor
the pleasures, nor the labor, nor the afflictions, nor the tomb of
him whose equal he has been declared to be; and he cannot meet him
upon fair terms in life or in death."--_Democracy in America_, page

The negro's freedom was accidental and merely incidental to the
main purpose of the war. When the alternative was secession or
war, the sentiment of the most rabid abolitionists was voiced by
Horace Greeley, who was willing that the "erring sisters depart in
peace." Many abolitionists were sincere, though fanatical, and they
had too often invoked the doctrine of secession, for the North, to
consistently object when the South invoked it. Abraham Lincoln (a
shrewd, practical Western countryman, put into his high office to
hold the agricultural West against the agricultural South) put the
war exclusively upon the ground of saving the Union. He would save
the Union, he said, whether it enslaved the negro or freed him. In
his inaugural address, March, 1861, he said: "I have no purpose,
directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery
in the States where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right
to do so, and I have no inclination to do so." Eight days before,
Sumner, the abolition leader, had said in Congress: "I take this
occasion to declare most explicitly that I do not think Congress has
any right to interfere with slavery in a State." Neither Lincoln nor
Sumner, if they are to be credited with any sincerity, had stumbled
upon the policy of freeing the negro; and, if they had, it would
have been very impolitic to have then disclosed it, for all the
border States would then have joined the South.

The negro was freed as a means to an end. The emancipation
proclamation was a "war measure," and, as such, a master-stroke,
for it took two hundred and fifty thousand laborers out of the
South and put muskets into the hands of nearly two hundred thousand
colored troops. This was the difference between success and failure,
and was the turning point in the war, as was admitted by Lincoln
in his message to Congress, in which he said: * * * * "and for a
long time it had been hoped that the rebellion could be suppressed
without resorting to it [the policy of emancipation] as a military
measure." The negro incidentally caused the defeat of the South; and
he was also incidentally a cause of the war, but not the causing
cause--_that lies deeper, and must be rightly understood at the
peril of the nation_.

The war was about taxation--the usual cause of revolution. A century
ago it was taxation without representation; a generation ago it
was unequal, discriminating, sectional, and class taxation. Out
of this still grows the political strife whose quadrennial flood
rises higher and higher at each election: income taxes successfully
resisted by the rich; rate, fare, and tariff taxes unsuccessfully
resisted by the poor--these are the fruitful causes of war--fought
with ballots first, and finally, if no remedy can be found, with

The truth must be told even if it diminishes the glory of those
who "saved the Union"--and made money by it. The blood of the last
generation was not shed in vain, if we, with the advantages we
enjoy, learn and teach the lessons which all posterity will demand
of us--both for the sake of those who perished and of those who may
perish if we suffer them to believe a lie. Forewarned is forearmed.

Under our Federal revenue laws, those who have produced the export
crops (in quantities sufficient to invite the exploits of political
manufacturing and trade combinations) have long paid far more than
their share of the expenses of government. They were not allowed
to buy in the open market, where they sold their crops, but in the
restricted "home market," at prices not fixed by open competition.
But the said combinations bought these crops in a free market and
sold their own products in a protected market. So they got more
benefit than the government: first, in being relieved from Federal
taxes, which the producers of the export crops paid; second, in
incidental, then in avowed, protection; third, in the system of
internal improvements which they were obliged to invent to dispose
of the surplus revenues raised as an incident to giving them
"protection"; and these "improvements" usually improved one section
and impoverished the other.

So, early in the game, we find one _class_, the political
combinations of manufacturers, growing rich, and another class,
the ill-combined agriculturalists, growing correspondingly poor.
Prior to 1860, even more than now, relatively, cotton was the great
export crop of America, and was also the principal money crop of a
section; so the tax suffered on account of it was sectional. Being
also manufactured in a section, the benefits enjoyed on account
of it were sectional. So we have the _sections_, as well as the
classes, antagonistic, and made so by the operation of a Federal
revenue law--one section growing richer and the other growing
correspondingly poorer in the sight of all men.

Political parties aligned according to "geographical
discriminations" (against which Washington warned but did not
provide), arose and cursed each other, from 1816--the date of the
first distinctively protective tariff (which, as increased in 1828
and 1830, provoked South Carolina's first acts of secession)--to
1861, the date of the Morrill tariff, with sixty per cent.
protection in it, which, passed March 2d, and flaunted in the
face of the seven already seceded States, rendered reconciliation
impossible. The Confederate Constitution declaring in its very
first article against even incidental protection, conveyed no hint
to the wilfully blind revenue-hunters that the most oppressed of
the agricultural States had formed their combination to resist the
plunder of Federal tariff, as well as other sectional aggressions.

Lincoln's policy of reenforcing Federal forts in the South (the
immediate cause of the war) was bottomed on a purpose to collect
this odious tax (the tariff of 1861), a policy which Alexander
H. Stephens says was not determined upon until the "seven war
Governors" (from the seven most protected States) offered to
furnish the troops requisite to subdue the States then seceded. The
border States had decided for the Union before Lincoln's acts of
aggression; and he, therefore, though erroneously, supposed that
they all would either aid him or remain neutral until he could
"strengthen the Government" by the conquest of the cotton States.

By means of the tariff the cotton crop had been made the scapegoat
upon which, in relief of wealth and monopoly, was piled the huge
iniquity of Federal taxes; but more than that, and worse than that,
the tariff was the engine by which the political combination of
spinners and shippers forced down the price of that crop.

As far back as 1791, Hamilton and those in charge of the revenue
department of the General Government (a certain school of
politicians has always had a Judas-like fondness for carrying the
bag), finding the express powers under the Constitution too weak
for the purposes of exploit, began to lay the foundation for a new
government by implied powers under court construction; by means
of which they and "their successors in office" have slowly but
steadily amended the Constitution, consolidated our Federation, and
undermined the rights of the States. While they were experimenting
to discover which States it was most advantageous to form into a
copartnership with the General Government, they invented an unequal
and discriminating tax on carriages, which fell heaviest on New
Jersey, where they were principally manufactured. Seeing the burden
of half a dozen States fall on one, North Carolina and some others
denounced it as infamous and unconstitutional.

After a few more such experiments, in which it was learned
effectually that the purely agricultural States could not be
seduced into taking advantage of their sisters, the manipulators
of the Treasury induced the General Government to coquet with the
States which were more or less under the control of the political
combinations of merchants, manufacturers, bankers, and speculators;
and with more success.

A copartnership was perfected between the General Government
and the protected States by the tariff of 1816; and the mutual
considerations passed were first named "incidental benefit" for one
party to the contract and "liberal construction" of implied powers
for the other. Angry protests and sectional incriminations and
recriminations followed, and awakened Jefferson, like "an alarm-bell
at night," out of the sleep of old age. The "peculiar institution"
of one section gave the other a terrible advantage, which it was
quick to see and to seize; and it was used remorselessly. Greed,
suddenly joining philanthropy, religion, and fanaticism, organized
and led a crusade against _African_ slavery. The agitation about
the negro, as a counter-irritant to distract attention from the
injustice of Federal revenue laws, was more than a success: for
the shallow politicians of both sections forgot the real issue;
but the beneficiaries never lost sight of it. I will use a homely
illustration: A and B are doing business on opposite sides of a
street; B begins to undersell A; A becomes angry, but cannot afford
to tell his customers the cause; he hears that B once cheated a
negro out of a mule; he makes that charge; they fight; the court
record of the trial shows that the fight was about the negro and the
mule; but there is not a business man on the street who does not
know that the record speaks a lie.

The first speech in this book opens with old Nat. Macon lecturing
(in 1820) a Representative from Pennsylvania, the most protected
State, for expressing a desire to see the Union dissolved rather
than that slavery should be extended beyond the Mississippi.

Slavery, itself, while for several generations usually beneficial
to the negro, was, doubtless, in many respects injurious to his
masters. It made us provincial, of necessity, sensitive and
intolerant of criticism, easily susceptible of misrepresentation,
and cut us off from the sympathy of some who else had been our
friends. It cramped thought, invention, progress, poetry, and
literature. It enabled monopoly to divide and conquer the tillers
of the soil. It tended to create caste and it _degraded manual
labor_--as necessary as death after sin and decreed in the same
Divine judgment. Skilled manual labor gutted the Confederacy by
driving war-ships up its rivers: and the felt want of it, in late
years, has established a great industrial institution at our State
capital, the mother of many others, and destined to revolutionize
education among us.

"Protection" and discrimination in the operation of the Federal
revenue laws, though still potent for evil, will probably never
again be the principal, causing cause of another revolution
unto blood; because from three to ten per cent. of our Southern
population will henceforward be directly benefited by such laws, and
their interests will soften the sectional aspect of the tax. But the
unequal and sectional operation of the currency laws, alienating the
West as well as the South; the heaping up of nearly all the wealth
of the country into one section, and most of it in a few great
cities of that section; the plunder of agriculture by legislation
and by the unchecked conspiracy of capital; the monopoly of the
carrying trade by the wealth of the cities; the growing distrust
between the urban and rural populations; the sullen and fickle
temper of our foreign elements--the nucleus, perhaps, of a future
Prætorian Guard; the mutterings against the now "vested right" of
protected labor to be fed or assisted by the government--and capital
hides behind such labor; machine politics and party spirit; the
prostitution of the electoral system by the national nominating mob
system, which treats sovereign States as the provinces of a party;
the fine Italian hand of a certain religio-political corporation
in getting offices and holding the balance of power between the
factions contending for public plunder; the growing intimacy of
sectional wealth with foreign governments and aristocracies--these
are the dangers which together threaten a perpetual Union of the
States and the liberties of the people.

Before 1860, Macaulay prophesied that our government would go to
pieces over a presidential election. In the face of these dangers,
it is well for us to consider and carefully teach our children the
causes which have worked our injury in the past, in order that we
and they may be the better able to recognize and grapple them when
they reappear, under changed names or in the shape of new laws.

But a tariff tax as a causing cause of the late war shall not
rest upon the foregoing testimony alone. "Let the South go,"
exclaimed Abraham Lincoln, in 1861, "where then shall we get our
revenues?" This man was noted for hitting the bull's-eye, and Divine
Inspiration had forestalled him with the prophecy that the love of
revenue was the root of all evil.

Thomas H. Benton is a witness who will be heard. In a speech in the
Senate, in 1828, he shows how the tariff (which, except for about
twelve years, had been mainly levied for revenue) had plundered the
South. He said: "I feel for the sad changes which have taken place
in the South during the last fifty years. Before the Revolution it
was the seat of wealth as well as hospitality. Money, and all it
commanded, abounded there. But how is it now? All this is reversed.
Wealth has fled from the South, and settled in the regions north
of the Potomac; and this in the face of the fact that the South,
in four staples alone, has exported produce since the Revolution
to the value of eight hundred millions of dollars; and the North
has exported comparatively nothing. Such an export would indicate
unparalleled wealth, but what is the fact? In the place of wealth
a universal pressure for money is felt--not enough for current
expenses--the price of property all down--the country drooping and
languishing--towns and cities decaying--and the frugal habits of
the people pushed to the verge of universal self-denial for the
preservation of their family estates. Such a result is a strange and
wonderful phenomenon. It calls upon statesmen to inquire into the

"Under Federal legislation the exports of the South have been the
basis of the Federal revenue. * * * * Virginia, the two Carolinas,
and Georgia may be said to defray three-fourths of the annual
expense of supporting the Federal Government; and of this great
sum, annually furnished by them, nothing, or next to nothing, is
returned to them in the shape of government expenditure. That
expenditure flows in an opposite direction--it flows northwardly,
in one uniform, uninterrupted, and perennial stream. This is the
reason why wealth disappears from the South and rises up in the
North. Federal legislation does all this. It does it by the simple
process of eternally taking from the South and returning nothing to
it. If it returned to the South the whole or even a good part of
what it exacted the four States south of the Potomac might stand the
action of the system, but the South must be exhausted of its money
and its property by a course of legislation which is forever taking
away and never returning anything. Every new tariff increases the
force of this action. No tariff has ever yet included Virginia, the
two Carolinas, and Georgia, except to increase the burdens imposed
by them."--Benton's _Thirty Years View_, Vol. I, p. 98, quoted by
Raphael Semmes in his _Memoirs of Service Afloat_.

In 1860 we find the South still furnished many millions more than
two-thirds of the export crops, besides fifty millions to the North.
In Colonial and Revolutionary times the South was the richest
section, and so acknowledged to be in the Constitutional Convention
of 1787.

No wonder that the South always insisted that the Federation was
a limited partnership; and no wonder that her rapacious partners
insisted on a government of unlimited powers, when they employed
such powers for unequal taxation, sectional expenditures, and
unlimited "protection." Those who have clamored most persistently
for a "strong government" have never scrupled to sap its strength
for purposes of private emolument. Those who have panted most for
a consolidated republic have now fully disclosed their purpose of
sequestering its assets. They have not consolidated the patriotism
of the republic, but they have drawn a line of division from the
Atlantic to the Great Lakes--a division of interests, division
of sentiment, division of population, division of history, and
a division of churches. Who can measure the hypocrisy of those
writers and politicians who teach the people that the way to make
the government strong is to give to one section "implied powers"
to plunder the other? Having gotten their wealth by the craft of
booming nationalism and centralization, they now perceive that in
order to keep it they must hold themselves ready to "hedge" with the
doctrine of States' rights and reserved powers. So, while college
professors are confusing the mind of youth about "the two opposing
theories of government," the facts of opposing interests are jarring
the foundations of society and wrenching the fetters which bind the
States in a "more perfect Union."

Robert Toombs said, in a speech before the Georgia Legislature, in
November, 1860: "The instant the Government was organized, at the
very first Congress, the Northern States evinced a general desire
and purpose to use it for their own benefit, and to pervert its
powers for sectional advantage, and they have steadily pursued that
policy to this day. They demanded a monopoly of the business of
ship-building, and got a prohibition against the sale of foreign
ships to citizens of the United States, which exists to this day.
They demanded a monopoly of the coasting trade, in order to get
higher freights than they could get in open competition with the
carriers of the world. Congress gave it to them, and they yet hold
this monopoly. * * * These same shipping interests, with cormorant
rapacity, have steadily burrowed their way through your legislative
halls, until they have saddled the agricultural classes with a large
portion of the legitimate expenses of their own business. We pay a
million dollars per annum for the lights which guide them in and
out of your ports. We have built, and keep up, at the cost of at
least another million a year, hospitals for their sick and disabled
seamen, when they wear them out and cast them ashore. We pay half a
million to support and bring home those they cast away in foreign
lands. They demand, and have received, millions of the public
money to increase the safety of harbors and lessen the danger of
navigating our rivers; all of which expenses legitimately fall upon
their business, and should come out of their own pockets, instead of
a common treasury.

"Even the fishermen of Massachusetts and New England demand and
receive from the public treasury about half a million dollars per
annum as a pure bounty in their business of catching codfish. The
North, at the very first Congress, demanded and received bounties,
under the name of protection, for every trade, craft and calling
which its people pursue, and there is not an artisan in brass,
or iron, or wood, or weaver or spinner in wool or cotton, or
calico-maker, or iron-master, or a coal-owner, in all the Northern
or Middle States, who has not received what he calls the protection
of his government on his industry to the extent of from fifteen to
two hundred per cent. from the year 1791 to this day. They will
not strike a blow or stretch a muscle without bounties from the
government. No wonder they cry aloud for the glorious Union. They
have the same reason for praising it that the craftsmen of Ephesus
had for shouting 'Great is Diana of the Ephesians!' By it they get
their wealth, by it they levy tribute on honest labor."

The future historian will devote a long chapter to show how the
slavery agitation "ebbed and flowed with the sinking and the
swelling" in the voices of protest from the much-plundered South;
voices which were keyed to the pitch of secession and revolution
against the tariff of 1828, and which again, in 1861, shouted in
warlike defiance until they were hushed in blood. That chapter will
point also in shame to the dark record which shows that on March 2,
1861, after seven States had seceded and their Representatives in
Congress had withdrawn, and while four other States were preparing
to secede if found necessary, greed thrust its "lewd snout" into the
purity of that chastening hour when many thousand patriots still
prayed that the awful catastrophe might be averted, and got by force
a tariff with sixty per cent. protection in it! Hear the effect of
that measure from the lips of a North Carolinian, General Clingman,
who was lingering in the Senate in the hope of reconciliation: "But,
Mr. President, there is another difficulty in the way, and we might
as well talk of this frankly. I know it is present to the minds of
Senators on the other side, and they must see the difficulty. The
honorable Senator from Rhode Island (Mr. Simmons) particularly, who
engineered the tariff bill through, of course sees the difficulty.
* * * The revenues under that tariff bill cannot be collected
anywhere, I think, if the declarations which gentlemen make are to
be acted out. If they are to hold that all the Confederate States
are in the Union, and that you are to have no custom-houses, on the
line between them and the other States, what will be the result?
Goods will come into New Orleans, Charleston, Mobile, and other
places; they will come in paying a low tariff, and merchants from
Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, and Ohio, if they choose to go down
there and buy goods, will take them home and pay no duties. No man
from the Northwest will go to New York and pay a duty of fifty per
cent. on goods that he can get at a fifteen or twenty per cent.
duty at New Orleans. That will be the course of trade, of course.
Senators must see that you cannot have two tariffs, one high and
one low, in operation in the country at once, with any effect
produced by the high tariff. If you go to a man and say: 'You may
pay me a high price or a low price for an article,' you will never
get the high price. When, therefore, you attempt to carry out the
new tariff, which contains rates, I think, of fifty per cent., and
some of one hundred per cent., and some even above one hundred per
cent., you cannot collect those rates at Boston and New York and
Philadelphia, while the men who want to consume the goods can get
them by paying a duty of one-third as much. That is impossible. I
presume the Senator from Rhode Island, and those who acted with him,
did not intend the tariff, which has lately passed, to be a mere
farce, a mere thing on paper, not to be acted out. Of course they
mean to get duties under it some way or other. If you do not mean to
have your line of custom-houses along the border of the Confederate
States you must expect to stop importations there."--_Speeches
and Writings of T. L. Clingman_, pp. 61, 62: extract from speech
delivered in United States Senate, March 19, 1861.

Yes, and it was the armed attempt to "stop importations there" that
brought on the war!

Why it was that the bombardment, on April 12, 1861, of a Federal
_fort_ about to be reenforced "fired the Northern heart" more
than the bombardment, on January 9, 1861, of a Federal _war-ship_
attempting to carry reinforcements to that fort, the Northern
historians, like the Pharisees, "cannot tell." And they never tell
that between the two bombardments sectional monopoly had brooded,
and on March 2d hatched a cockatrice egg of sectional advantage;
that its beneficiaries had had opportunity to touch noses with the
"seven war Governors" and that the inspiration of such a touch
accounts for the zeal with which they urged the President to war,
when twenty-one States were trying to effect peace; that between the
15th and the 28th of March these Governors had a secret conference
with the President in Washington, in which they pledged their States
to support him in "collecting the revenues of the Government"; and
that, thus assured, he had, to the astonishment of the South and
most of his own constituents, suddenly sent the invading expedition
to reenforce Fort Sumter! Did this same influence persuade Lincoln
to refuse to allow the Supreme Court or even Congress to pass upon
the much-mooted constitutional question of the right to secede?
Of course it was familiar learning to him that all the States,
especially the Northeastern, had from time to time asserted, acted
on, or acquiesced in this right. Did the tariff Governors induce
this man, reputed to be tender-hearted, to decide, on his own
responsibility, a question of law which forced the issue of blood at
a cost of a million lives, and a sinister change in the character
and conduct of our government? Did they seduce him into fitting
out an armament to collect the revenues at Charleston, and, at
the same time, leave open for construction and equivocation his
doubtful and inconsistent expressions about enforcing the Federal
laws and Supreme Court decisions giving protection to Southern
property in slaves? Why was it that, in this awful crisis, he
refused to call Congress together until he had precipitated war by
his invasion and his call for volunteers, unless it was because his
extra-constitutional advisers feared to trust a body which passed
a conciliatory resolution even after battles had been fought and
blood had been shed? Why was it that by the very terms of his war
proclamation he put off the assembling of Congress for two months
and nineteen days after he had declared war, unless it was because
he was willing to forestall its action, and preferred to rely on
the conspiring war Governors and their protected constituents to
sustain him, rather than on his constitutional advisers and the
Representatives of the people? Monopoly could not then trust the
Supreme Court, for the Dred Scott decision showed that it might
again adhere to the original view of the Constitution; and its best
members were zealous to effect compromise and peace. That Lincoln
and his Cabinet were against the policy of coercion, until somebody
influenced them, has been confessed by at least one of its members.

A valuable side-light on the mainsprings of Lincoln's policy is
furnished by Dr. R. L. Dabney. He says that while Virginia, through
her convention, sitting in April, 1861, was making a last effort
to save the Union, Seward sent a confidential messenger, Allen B.
McGruder, to Richmond, to urge that a representative be sent to
Washington in all haste. McGruder stated that he was authorized
by Seward to say that Fort Sumter would be evacuated on Friday of
the ensuing week and that the _Pawnee_ would sail on the following
Monday for Charleston to effect the evacuation. Colonel Baldwin,
an original Union man, was fixed upon as the best representative
of the peace sentiment. "He and McGruder," continues Dabney, "set
out on the night following and arrived in Washington early the next
morning. Immediately after breakfast they drove to Mr. Seward's,
when the latter took charge of Mr. Baldwin, and the two went
directly to the White House, where they arrived about nine o'clock.
They found Mr. Lincoln engaged, but, upon Mr. Seward's whispering
in his ear, he excused himself and conducted Mr. Seward and Colonel
Baldwin into a sleeping apartment and locked the door.

"After the usual formalities, Colonel Baldwin presented his
credentials. After Lincoln had read the credentials, Colonel Baldwin
proceeded to state to him what was the opinion of the great body
of Virginians, both in the convention and out of it. This opinion
was as follows, to wit: 'That although opposed to a Presidential
election upon a sectional free-soil platform, which they deplored
as most dangerous and unwise, Virginia did not approve of making
that, evil as it was, a _casus belli_, or a ground for disrupting
the Union. That much as Virginia disapproved of it, if Mr. Lincoln
would only adhere faithfully to the Constitution and the laws,
she would support him just as faithfully as though he was the man
of her choice, and would wield her whole moral force to keep the
border States in the Union, and to bring back the seven seceded
States; but that, while much difference of opinion existed on the
question whether the right of secession was a constitutional one,
all Virginians were unanimous in believing that no right existed in
the Federal Government to coerce a state by force of arms.' To this
Mr. Lincoln replied: 'You are too late, sir; _too late_!' Colonel
Baldwin understood this as a clear intimation that the policy of
coercion had just been determined upon, and, as he discovered,
"_within four days_." Impressed with the deep solemnity of the
occasion, Colonel Baldwin made a final appeal, asking, among other
things, that all questions at issue should be left for adjudication
by the constitutional tribunals. Lincoln asked a few questions, the
last of which was, "What will become of my tariff?" He put this
question with such force of emphasis as clearly indicated that this
consideration should decide the whole matter.

The peace ambassadors sent to Washington by the Virginia convention
immediately upon Baldwin's return found the same difficulty. "They
saw Mr. Lincoln. The tariff was still the burden of his complaint.
They left the next day; and the same train which carried them to
Virginia carried Lincoln's proclamation also for the seventy-five
thousand troops." See _North Carolina in the War Between the
States_, by Sloan, pp. 27, 28, 29, 30, quoting R. L. Dabney, in the
_Southern Historical Papers_.

There was a subtle influence at Washington strong enough to veer
Lincoln round from Seward, whose constituents dreaded war, to Thad.
Stevens, who represented in Congress the Pennsylvania iron interest,
and, in his character and person, the worst element of the worst
politics that America ever saw.

Lincoln had no warrant in the Constitution for calling out the
militia against the seceded States. "The Congress shall have power
to declare war" (Article I, section 8, clause 11); and "The Congress
shall have power to raise and support armies" (Article I, section 8,
clause 12); and if, in violation of standard definition and contrary
to the fact, it be said that what he inaugurated was not war, but
was only an armed effort to put down insurrection, the Constitution,
Article I, section 8, clause 15, replies: "The Congress shall have
power to provide for the calling out of the militia to execute the
laws of the Union, suppress insurrections and repel invasions." So
the only warrant the President had was an old act of Congress,
passed February 28, 1795, shortly after the Whiskey Insurrection.
This act provided: "That whenever the laws of the United States
shall be opposed in any State by combinations too powerful to be
suppressed by the ordinary course of judicial proceedings or the
power vested in the marshals by this act, it shall be lawful for
the President of the United States to call forth the militia of
such State or of any other State or States, as may be necessary to
suppress such combinations and cause the laws to be duly executed."
No pretense of authority was given when a State or a combination
of States opposed the United States. His construction forestalled
Congress and robbed it of its exclusive right and power to "declare
war," and made him the sole arbiter to dictate the nation's weal or

As a matter of fact, this law, thus misconstrued, was obsolete, and
so marked in the reprint of the United States Statutes at Large,
in 1845, authorized by Congress. Lincoln, then, "by and with the
advice and consent" of interested persons, utterly ignoring the
two coordinate branches of government, unearthed for the purpose
of inaugurating a most frightful war an old statute, unused from
the time of its passage, and standing on the authoritative Revised
Statutes marked "obsolete" for sixteen years--so received by the
lawyers, and unchallenged by Congress or any member thereof.

It is no wonder that Congress, when it did assemble, in July, 1861,
and found war a fact accomplished and armies already threatening
Washington, should have made haste to validate the President's
high-handed measures and strengthen his precarious position by
an act of which section three is as follows: "That all the acts,
proclamations, and orders, of the President of the United States,
after the 4th of March, 1861, respecting the army and navy of the
United States, and the calling out, or relating to the militia or
volunteers from the States, are hereby approved and in all respects
legalized and made valid to the same intent and with the same
effect as if they had been issued and done under previous express
authority and direction of the Congress of the United States." The
marginal note of the printed laws points this act specially to the
proclamation of April 15, 1861, calling out the militia.

In suppressing the Whiskey Insurrection Washington acted under
the "previous express authority of Congress," then lately given,
"cautiously in his delicate duty," while Hamilton "was pressing for
the collection of the revenue," says history. The act under which
the militia was then called out, passed in 1792, required a Federal
judge to certify the fact of the insurrection, and Washington
took care to arm himself with the certificate of a Supreme Court
Justice. The act under which _Lincoln_ proceeded, an epitome of the
former, shows on its face that it was also, when in force, in aid
exclusively of court proceedings, and operative only when a Federal
judge should call upon the President to assist the United States
Marshals, who were purely court officers. Any other construction
gives the President "the power to suppress insurrections," and the
"power to declare war"; and, when war is declared the Constitution
places him in command of the army and militia: so nothing would be
left for Congress but to vote supplies and validate his acts, as it
did Lincoln's usurpations!

Though the militia had often been needed, and sometimes called out
for troubles, domestic and foreign, no President of the United
States, until Lincoln, had ever issued such a call unless expressly
authorized by Congress, in special acts of limited duration, which
have usually specified the number of troops wanted and the term
of service required. It is no wonder then that an act, treated as
a dead letter since the suppression of the Whiskey Insurrection,
should have been marked "obsolete" by the government publisher, with
the sanction of Congress.

Unless Madison's refusal to recommend a policy of coercion against
the New England States, successfully resisting the drafts for
the defense of the nation in the War of 1812, be regarded as a
precedent, Lincoln had but one, directly in point, and that was
furnished by President Jackson in the case of South Carolina's
nullification of Federal law in 1832. Jackson's zeal for the Union
could not be doubted; and, in spite of his military training and
arbitrary temper, he found a remedy which saved the Union without

On December 10, 1832, after South Carolina had nullified the tariff
act, proceeded to provide a separate government, notified the
President, and begun to arm and organize its militia for defense,
Jackson issued a proclamation in which he besought, and threatened,
and promised. Failing by such means to induce the tariff-plundered
planters of the plucky little State to recede from their position,
on the assembling of Congress he recommended the removal of the
cause of the trouble, expressing his belief that such action would
shortly put an end to resistance. Nullification still continuing,
Jackson (a month later) wrote his famous message, in which he called
attention to the magnitude of the opposition, and recommended to
Congress to provide by law: "That in case of an attempt otherwise
[than by process from the ordinary judicial tribunals of the
United States] to take property [from the custody of the law] by
a force too great to be overcome by the officers of the customs,
it should be lawful to protect the possessions of the officers
by the employment of the land and naval forces and militia under
provisions similar to those authorized by the eleventh section of
the Act of January 9, 1809." After recommending the revival of
other expired acts to facilitate and protect the collection of the
revenues and execution of Federal law, he said further: "Provisions
less than these--consisting, as they do, for the most part, rather
of a revival of the policy of former acts called for by the [then]
existing emergency, than of the introduction of any unusual or
rigorous enactments--would not cause the laws of the Union to be
properly respected or enforced. It is believed that these would
prove adequate unless the military forces of the State of South
Carolina, authorized by the late act of the Legislature, should
be actually embodied and called out in aid of their proceedings,
and of the provisions of the ordinance generally. Even in that
case, however, it is believed that no more will be necessary than
a few modifications of its terms to adapt the Act of 1795 to the
present emergency, as by that act the provisions of the Act of 1792
were accommodated to the crisis then existing; and, by conferring
authority upon the President, to give it operation during the
session of Congress, and without the ceremony of a proclamation,
whenever it shall be officially made known to him by the authority
of any State, or by the courts of the United States, that, within
the limits of such State, the laws of the United States will
be openly opposed and their execution obstructed by the actual
employment of military force, or by any unlawful means, whatever,
too great to be otherwise overcome."

Pursuant to these recommendations, Congress passed, March 2, 1833,
the "force bill," or "bloody bill," as it was called; and the
section which made it infamous in the unprotected States was as
follows: "Sec. 5. And be it further enacted, that whenever the
President of the United States shall be officially informed by the
authorities of any State, or by a judge of any Circuit or District
Court of the United States in the State, that within the limits of
such State any law or laws of the United States, or the execution
thereof, or of any process from the courts of the United States is
obstructed by the employment of military force, or by any other
unlawful means too great to be overcome by the ordinary course
of judicial proceedings or by the power vested in the marshals
by existing laws, it shall be lawful for him, the President of
the United States, forthwith to issue his proclamation declaring
such fact or information, and requiring all such military or other
force forthwith to disperse; and if, at any time after issuing such
proclamation, any such opposition or obstruction shall be made in
the manner or by the means aforesaid, the President shall be and
hereby is authorized promptly to employ such means to suppress the
same, and to cause said laws or process to be duly executed, as are
authorized and provided in the cases therein mentioned by the Act
of the 28th of February, 1795, entitled: 'An act to provide for
calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the Union, suppress
insurrections, repel invasions, and repeal the act now in force
for that purpose'; and also, by the Act of the 3d of March, 1807,
entitled: 'An act authorizing the employment of the land and naval
forces of the United States in cases of insurrection.'" Section 1 of
the force bill authorized the President to call out the army, navy,
and militia to aid in collecting the _customs_--a power which the
Act of 1795 could not be construed to give. It was also provided in
the act that the operation of said sections 5 and 1 should "continue
until the next session of Congress, and no longer." Thus careful was
Congress to limit the duration of the great powers delegated to the
President, as it had usually done in other instances in which it
had authorized the employment of military force. The Act of March
3, 1807, referred to in the force bill, simply gave the President
authority to use the land and naval forces of the United States to
assist in the execution of the laws whenever it should be lawful for
him to call out the militia for the same purpose. The Act of 1795,
referred to by Jackson, which he did not pretend he had a right
to use against the nullifiers of the tariff act, unless it should
be revived by Congress, and which he proposed should be revived,
modified, and adapted to meet the emergency confronting him, in
the same way Congress had formerly adapted and modified the Act of
1792 by the Act of 1795, to meet the emergency of the latter year,
was the very act Lincoln used to cover his assumption of power to
make war on the South without the authority of Congress! He had
this precedent before him, in which the warrior Jackson, swift in
defense of the nation's honor against her foreign foes, was slow
to dye his hands in his brothers' blood. He had before him the act
in which Congress had revived the provisions of the Act of 1795,
and expressly limited the duration of that revival to the time
intervening before its next session; and he was lawyer enough to
know, though not learned in his profession, that the substantial
reenactment and enlargement of the old act, and its repeal, or
limitation to a definite period, was, after the expiration of that
period, a practical repeal of both--especially when it may be seen
that the one was to take the place the other took in its day. See
_Tynen_ vs. _The United States_, 11 Wallace U. S. Reports, page 88;
_Pana_ vs. _Bowles_, 107 U. S. Reports, page 529, and cases cited
therein; _Norris_ vs. _Crocker_, 13 Howard, page 429.

Jackson, in spite of his camp association and military methods, was
the embodiment of caution and conservatism, when compared to Lincoln
and his "kitchen cabinet" of revenue-hunting Governors, who were
as swift to declare war against their own people, under a forced
construction of an old, unused, obsolete, special act, as those who
now speculate in their names and fame are eager to seek treaties of
partnership with our hereditary foreign foe.

They shall never, unchallenged, teach our children that Abraham
Lincoln's usurpations were lawful, justified by necessity, or
commended by God; lest "necessity, the plea of tyrants," or "divine
right," the plea of kings and priests, or "implied powers," the
plea of those who are powerful only to oppress the people and to
collect and spend their revenues, should constitute the excuse for
destroying the remaining safeguards of our liberties.

Those accustomed to analyze motive and conduct will note with
attention that the Act of August 6, 1861, intended to legalize
the call for troops, was passed after the "force bill" had been
reenacted and amplified by the Acts of July 13, 29, and 31,
1861--after the President had been expressly authorized by these
acts and another to accept the service of volunteers and to use the
army, navy, and militia to make war upon _States and combinations of
States_, as well as upon the inhabitants of districts therein--after
Congress had in these acts twice gone out of its way to refer to the
old Act of 1795 as still in force, and once expressly treated it
as giving the authority, which had been assumed, to begin the war;
and the legalizing act itself was covered under a caption which was
calculated to excite as little attention as possible. The caption
reads: "An act to increase the pay of privates in the regular army
and in the volunteers, and for other purposes."

The Act of 1795, when in force, gave the President no authority to
determine when a state of insurrection existed, even in a Federal
district; Congress proved that it realized this defect of power by
hastening (July 13 and 29, 1861) to supply it to Lincoln--in respect
to States as well as districts--a double confession of the weakness
of his position.

The Act of 1795 afforded no assistance to collect customs, for the
Whiskey Insurrectionists, against whom it was passed, resisted
only the internal revenue taxes; Congress practically acknowledged
this limitation, by Act of July 13, 1861, expressly and separately
authorizing the President to use the army, navy, and militia to
"collect the customs" of the United States.

"Even our enemies themselves being judges," there were doubts
everywhere, and these doubts were everywhere resolved in favor of
absolute authority and against the received construction of law and
the Constitution.

An executive who usurps powers ought to be placed on a moral plane
as much lower than that of a treasurer who embezzles public funds as
the love of liberty in the minds of the virtuous is higher than the
love of money.

Those who would derive Lincoln's assumed power to declare war from
the clause of the Constitution which requires that the "President
shall see that the laws are faithfully executed" betray the flimsy
foundation upon which they would erect the throne of an autocrat.
The faithful execution of the laws is to be secured in a lawful
manner, under such powers as the Constitution gives or Congress
may lawfully give to the President. If he is the sole judge of the
extent of the powers conferred and the appropriateness of the means
of execution, he does not need any other clause to make him the
field-overseer of both the other departments of government; and
this the Supreme Court has decided he is not. _Tyndall_ vs. _The
United States_, 12 Peters, p. 524. Lincoln did not rely upon this
clause, but upon the Act of 1795, the language of which he quoted in
his call for the militia of the States; and Congress, by the fifth
section of the Act of July 13, 1861, showed very plainly that it
recognized that he had professed to act under the Statute of 1795.

The frightful experiences of the civil war and the serpent-brood of
evils which have since followed in its trail are plenary proof that
the fathers were wise in not lodging the war power in the hands of
any one man.

A summary of Lincoln's conduct, while there was yet peace in the
land, brings out in startling relief the facts: that he dared at the
behest of pampered privilege greedy for revenue, and partisan rancor
thirsting for blood, without precedent, or the support of either
of the other branches of the government, to place his own private
interpretation upon a statute, in effect repealed, and thereby to
make war on six millions of his fellow-citizens, whom he refused
a right of opinion sustained by abundant authority and precedent
and by some of his own acts and utterances. The idol of the "higher
law" fanatics, the chief of whom he placed in his cabinet--nominated
on a platform which denounced the Supreme Court decision in the
Dred Scott case as "a dangerous political heresy, revolutionary
in its tendency and subversive of the peace and harmony of the
country"--elected by States, many of which defied Federal authority
attempting to execute the fugitive slave law, and none of which
supported such authority, except New Jersey and California--and
having never publicly or privately condemned the nullification of
their constitutional obligations (Article IV, section 2, clause 3)
by the States of Vermont, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts,
Michigan, Maine, Wisconsin, Kansas, Ohio, and Pennsylvania--he still
proclaimed that his only motive in taking up the sword was to assert
the paramount authority of Federal law!

His political campaign of 1864 was fought upon a platform which
pledged its supporters to "bring to punishment due their crimes
the rebels and traitors arrayed against the Government"; and be
it remembered by all posterity that at the end of that campaign,
almost at the close of a successful war, and in spite of military
interference at the polls, one million eight hundred and eight
thousand seven hundred and twenty-five citizens of his own section
voted to condemn him, and endorsed a platform which declared that
"under pretense of a military necessity for a war power higher than
the Constitution, the Constitution itself has been disregarded
in every part" by him, and that "justice, humanity, liberty, and
the public welfare demand that immediate efforts be made for a
cessation of hostilities, with a view to an ultimate convention of
all the States; * * * that peace may be restored on the basis of
the Federal Union of all the States," * * * that the aim of their
party was "to preserve the Federal Union and the rights of all the
States unimpaired," and that they considered "the administrative
usurpations of extraordinary and dangerous powers not granted by
the Constitution * * * as calculated to prevent a restoration of
the Union; that the shameful disregard of the administration of its
duty to our fellow-citizens, * * * prisoners of war, deserves the
severest reprobation."

As at the beginning, so at the end of the war, a vast majority of
our nation was opposed to Lincoln's policy of coercion and blood;
for his total vote, with the army and navy to back him, was only
about four hundred thousand in excess of McClellan's, and this would
have been far more than offset by the Southern vote.

The immediate cause of Lincoln's death was a sentence in his
speech of April 11, 1865: "If universal amnesty is granted
to the insurgents I cannot see how I can avoid exacting, in
return, universal suffrage, or, at least, suffrage on a basis of
intelligence and military service." "That means nigger citizenship,"
said his slayer to a witness. "Now, by God, I'll put him
through!"--_Life of Lincoln_, by Herndon and Weik, Vol. III, p. 579.

It was a singular decree of Providence that, according to his own
forebodings, Lincoln should have perished by the hand of violence,
and that too on the fatal 15th of April, the anniversary of his
proclamation for the seventy-five thousand volunteers to begin the
dance of death. "He that killeth with the sword must be killed with
the sword."

Let us be as thankful as we can that we are still one nation, that
African slavery has ceased, and that the safeguards of liberty may
be still sufficient if we are vigilant, unselfish, and brave.

The world has long respected the courage of the South; when the
whole truth shall be well told it will equally respect her cause.
One obvious effect of the civil war, clearly foreseen and foretold
by Southern statesmen, was to Europeanize American institutions.
This was a fearful price to pay even for keeping the sections under
one government.

Let us hope that the present war with Spain may destroy the
stock-in-trade of the speculator in past patriotism.

       *       *       *       *       *

An unoccupied field of investigation for a future historian is the
part which Great Britain played in dissension, disunion, and war
between the States, the sections, and the political parties. Her
purpose has been accomplished. She has annihilated our foreign
ocean-carrying trade--once threatening her own supremacy--and has
thereby made us a third-rate naval power, for seamen, rather than
ships, make a navy.

"Will your people divide?" General Clingman was frequently asked
while in England in 1860. Never once was he asked if slavery would
be abolished. The form of the question, in a land where abolition
took its rise, struck him forcibly. Hear its explanation: "In this
connection I remember a statement made to me by the late American
Minister at Paris, Mr. Mason. He spoke of having had a conversation
with one whose name I do not feel at liberty to mention, but whose
influence on the opinion of continental Europe is considerable,
who declared to him that if the Union of our States continued at
no distant day we should control the world; and, therefore, as an
European, he felt it to be his duty to press anti-slavery views as
the only chance to divide us. I have many reasons to know that the
monarchies of Europe, threatened with downfall from revolutionary
movements, seek, through such channels as they control, to make
similar impressions."--_Speeches and Writings of T. L. Clingman_,
pp. 482, 483: extract from speech in United States Senate, delivered
January 16, 1860.

To prove that democracy is a failure is among the chief aims of
European monarchs.

Lloyd Garrison seems to have been a sincere fanatic, but all the
better may have served British policy. Listen to a group of facts
about him, appearing at random in a friendly encyclopedia: "In 1833"
[the year the stars fell] "he visited Great Britain, and on his
return organized 'The American Anti-slavery Society.' He visited
England again in 1846, 1848, and 1867, in which last year he was
publicly breakfasted in St. James' Hall."

An extract from the _London Telegraph_ of 1856 contains food
for thought: "The aggressive spirit of the people of the United
States requires an humbling, and it is for us to perform the task.
England's mission is to complete the great work commenced by her
in 1834, when she liberated her slaves. There are now over three
million human beings in cruel bondage in the United States. If,
therefore, the United States Government deny, and is resolved
to question the right of Great Britain to her Central American
possessions, we, the people of the British empire, are resolved to
strike off the shackles from the feet of her three million slaves."

The _London News_, also of about the same time, encouraging its
people against the possibility of rupture between England and this
country, said: "However strong is the unprincipled appeal at present
made to the anti-British feeling of the Northern States, that
feeling is counterbalanced by another which has grown up within the
last quarter of a century. _The abolitionists would be with us to a
man. The best of them are so now._"

In 1798 the federalistic school of tax-gatherers, under the guidance
of their founders, Rufus King and Hamilton, once actually lifted
their eyes from the plunder of their own countrymen long enough to
adopt an aggressive foreign policy, but it was a conspiracy with
England, called the "Mirandy Plot," by which they sought to despoil
our late allies in our war for independence, the French people, of
their territory beyond the Mississippi, the honest and honorable
purchase of which by Jefferson, a few years later, this school
denounced as unconstitutional and void.

Better than any American statesman, General Clingman seems to have
understood the motives and interests of Great Britain in fomenting
the slavery agitation and the estrangement of the sections. Hear
him, in his address to the people of the Eighth Congressional
District of North Carolina, March 16, 1856: "The United States
is the great republic of the earth, and the example of our free
institutions was shaking the foundations of the monarchical and
aristocratic governments of Europe. This was especially the case
as respects the political system of Great Britain, owing to our
common language, literature, and extended commercial intercourse.
The aristocracy there hold the mass of the people in subjection, and
under a condition so oppressive that large numbers of white men of
their own race are liable to perish miserably by famine in years of
scarcity. A knowledge of the successful working of our institutions
was increasing the discontent of the common people, and, fearing
the loss of its sway, the aristocracy, which controls the entire
power of the government, began a crusade for the abolition of
slavery in the United States. They expected, in the first place, by
affected sympathy for the negroes here, to divert the minds of the
people at home, to some extent, from the consideration of their own
sufferings, and to create the impression that other laborers were
much worse off than their own. And should they succeed in breaking
up our system they would exultingly point to it as an evidence
against the durability of free institutions.

"With a view, therefore, to effect these objects, more than twenty
years ago the British press, and book-makers generally were
stimulated to embark in a systematic war against negro slavery in
the United States. Abolition lecturers were sent over and money
furnished to establish papers and circulate pamphlets to inflame
the minds of the citizens of the Northern States.

"Looking far ahead, they sought to incorporate their doctrines into
the school-books and publications best calculated to influence the
minds of the young and ignorant. Their views were most readily
received in Massachusetts, where British influence has, for the last
half century, been greatest. From this State these doctrines were
gradually diffused to a great extent throughout the North."

At the time that the British politicians were taking so much
interest in the slavery question of America, and deprecating with
many crocodile tears our treatment of the negroes they had sold
us, the _Edinburgh Review_ of January, 1856, charges the British
Government with collecting rents and taxes from its subjects in
India by means of the thumb-screw and other tortures as devilish
as ingenuity could devise. See _Speeches and Writings of T. L.

According to some New England testimony, the work of the British
emissaries who had been sent out to divide the Union was uphill
at first. Hear the words of Representative Isaac Hill, from New
Hampshire, speaking in Congress in 1836: "I have said the people of
the North were more united in their opposition to the plans of the
advocates of anti-slavery than on any other subject. This opposition
is confined to no political party. It pervades every class of
the community. They deprecate all interference with the subject
of slavery because they believe such interference may involve
the existence and welfare of the Union itself, and because they
understand the obligations which the non-slaveholding States owe to
the slaveholding States by the compact of confederation. It is the
strong desire to perpetuate the Union; it is the determination which
every patriotic and virtuous citizen has made in no event to abandon
the 'ark of our safety' that now impels the united North to take
its stand against the agitators of the anti-slavery project. So
effectually has the strong public sentiment put down that agitation
in New England that it is now kept alive only by the power of money
which the agitators have collected and apply in the hiring of agents
and in the issue from presses that are kept in their employ.

"The anti-slavery movement which brings in petitions from various
parts of the country, asking Congress to abolish slavery in the
District of Columbia, originates with a few persons who have been in
the habit of making charitable religious institutions subservient
to political purposes, and who have even controlled some of those
charitable associations.

"Many of the clergymen who have been the instruments of the
agitators have been such from no bad motive. Some of them,
discovering the purpose of the agitators, discovering that their
labors were calculated to make the condition of the slave worse,
and to create animosity between the people of the North and the
South, have paused in their course and desisted from the further
application of a mistaken philanthropy."

Even if it be admitted that, as early as the year 1836, the
strongest elements in New England were united against the South,
it is by no means true that they were then unanimous in selecting
slavery as the most advantageous ground of battle. A cry of distress
arose from Great Britain at the way some of the distributors of
her secret service money were being treated; a paragraph from an
English newspaper, the _Leeds Mercury_, read on the floor of the
House of Representatives by Mr. King, of Georgia, in corroboration
of what Mr. Hill had said, will serve as an illustration: "Letters
of the most distressing nature have been received from Mr. George
Thompson, the zealous and devoted missionary of slave emancipation,
who has gone from this country to the United States, and who writes
from Boston. He says that 'the North (that is, New England, where
slavery does not exist) has universally sympathized with the South
in opposition to the abolitionists; that the North has let fall the
mask; that the merchants and mechanics, priests and politicians
have alike stood forth the defenders of Southern despots and the
furious denouncers of Northern philanthropy'; that all parties of
politics, especially the supporters of the two rival candidates for
the Presidential office (Van Buren and Webster) vie with each other
in denouncing the abolitionists; and that even religious men shun
them, except when the abolitionists can fairly gain a hearing from
them. With regard to himself he speaks as follows: 'Rewards are
offered for my abduction and assassination; and, in every direction,
I meet with those who believe they would be doing God and their
country service by depriving me of life. I have appeared in public,
and some of my escapes from the hands of my foes have been truly
providential. On Friday last I narrowly escaped losing my life in
Concord, New Hampshire.' 'Boston, September 11.--This morning a
short gallows was found standing opposite the door of my house, 23
Bay street, in this city, now occupied by Garrison. Two halters hung
from the beam, with the words above them: By Order of Judge Lynch!'"

Responding to this, the New Hampshire Representative (Hill) said:
"The present agitation in the North is kept up by the application of
money; it is a state of things altogether forced. Agents are hired,
disguised in the character of ministers of the gospel, to preach
abolition of slavery where slavery does not exist; and presses
are kept in constant employment to scatter abolition publications
through the country."

Yes, and this constant "application" of money finally overcame the
Yankee. The love of it has been the root of much evil with him.
Then, too, eventually, his politicians and manufacturers found that
the best use they could make of the negro was to hold him betwixt
them and the fire of Southern indignation, kindled by their cupidity.

To show the dangerous reciprocity of feeling between old and New
England long before it was intensified as it now is by the community
of interest in untold millions of investments, the words uttered
by John Quincy Adams, the sixth President of the United States,
fall with the weight of state's evidence: "That their object (_i.
e._ that of the New England States) was, and had been for several
years, a dissolution of the Union and the establishment of a
separate confederation, he knew from unequivocal evidence, although
not provable in a court of law; and that in case of a civil war
the aid of Great Britain to effect that purpose would as assuredly
be resorted to as it would be indispensably necessary to their
design."--_Adams' letter in reply to Harrison Gray Otis and others_,
December 28, 1828, quoted by Raphael Semmes in his _Memoirs of
Service Afloat_, p. 43. This attachment to British interests was so
pronounced in 1812 that the New England States refused to furnish
their quota of troops to help conduct our defense; and, while the
nation was locked in deadly conflict with the ruthless invader,
these States actually held a convention at Hartford looking to
secession. The Governor of Massachusetts proclaimed a public fast
day for deploring a war against a nation which had long been "the
bulwark of the religion we profess"; its Supreme Court decided
that neither the President nor Congress could control its State
troops in time of war, and the Legislature declared the war to be
unholy, and urged its people to do what they could to thwart it.
These States forced a treaty of peace in which Great Britain was
not even required to cease the outrages on account of which the
war was undertaken--outrages which might have been begun again but
for Jackson's victory with the Southern soldiers at New Orleans.
Jefferson, in a letter to Lafayette, says: "During that war four
of the Eastern States were only attached to the Union like so many
inanimate bodies to living men."

That will be the saddest chapter of American history which
faithfully compares the treasonable obstruction of these States to
this war with their Cain-like swiftness to shed their brothers'
blood because of an alleged difference of opinion on a question
of constitutional law. It will be remembered, in this connection,
that these States had their troops mobilized and waiting for the
President's call before Fort Sumter was fired on. In four days after
the call the troops of Massachusetts (the most protected State save
one) had invaded the State of Maryland and were shooting down the
astonished and outraged citizens of Baltimore.

The next saddest chapter of our national history will show that
the section which has been greediest to gain power from the States
and revenues from the people has been the readiest to use these
powers and revenues against those from whom they were stolen, and
the most reluctant to use them to defend the nation against foreign
aggressions. "It is a principle of human nature," remarks Tacitus,
"to hate those we have injured more than those who have injured us."

And who, now, but the beneficiaries of implied powers (which they
fought a civil war to preserve and maintain in all their latitude),
under real or affected dread of a foreign war, are zealous for
the late proposed bondholders' treaty with England? As though
that nation could afford to kill or even injure the goose which
lays the golden egg in the shape of four hundred million dollars
annual interest on British investments in this country! The sole
purpose of this treaty is that this egg shall be _golden_ and not
_bimetallic_; and instead of preventing, it may be the cause of war,
as soon as the people resume control of their government and feel
the effects of an arbitration judgment on the financial question.
I pause to remark, in this connection, that many well-meaning
people who petitioned the Senate for the confirmation of this treaty
had not read it with sufficient care to observe that it delegated
to a commission, composed partly of foreigners and to a majority
of the Senate, powers which have heretofore been only exercised
by two-thirds of the Senate, as the Constitution provides. And
this apparently slight though subtle change in the conduct of our
government was sought to be inaugurated in the name of peace!

What a Southern statesman exclaimed, arguing against the adoption of
the Federal Constitution, in 1787, may be appositely repeated here:
"But the character of the partners (meaning the Northern States)
causes me more alarm than the terms of the partnership." England's
partnership with Australia, South Africa, and India has spread such
a pall of universal indebtedness over the fairest portions of the
globe that we may well hesitate before we make more permanent the
stipulations in the "bond" of her blighting friendship.

Undoubtedly the seeds of the War of 1812 were sown by the treaty
of 1794, negotiated by John Jay, who took "a mild and conciliatory
part in the Revolutionary war," and by Lord Grenville, the son of
the author of the Stamp Act. The "Jay treaty," as it was called,
provided for the shameful curtailment of the American ocean-carrying
trade, and for the free navigation of the Mississippi for Great
Britain. And if the proposed arbitration treaty is not finally
rejected by the Senate, the prominence given to the present British
Minister at McKinley's inauguration, accidental though it may have
been, will serve as a fine prototype of British influence in the
administration of our government.

"Woe to the nation that trusts England's friendship," exclaimed the
thoughtful Pettigrew, after studying her national character on the
narrow island where it grew. What he says, given under the sketch
of him in this book, is a valuable side-light upon the suggestion
that her influence more than any other (except original sin)
has changed the half of our nation nearest to her into a race of
"dollar-hunters and breeders of dollar-hunters." The way to make
England our ally is to show her that we are able to take care of
ourselves. Her government fears nothing so much as the democratic
spirit of America, and would fain bind that down by treaty; but
when it serves her purposes, Old England, like New England, finds
a "higher law" than a contract. Unity of interest and of purpose
unites peoples--compacts often unite governments in a conspiracy to

In dwelling specially upon the main cause of our civil war, because
of attempts to ignore it, I do not mean to encourage the student
to neglect the other causes: the control by the Confederacy of the
lower Mississippi--the ocean outlet of its headwater States; the
fear of protected labor that the slaves would learn to manufacture,
and reduce wages; the jealousy and friction in the newly-settled
West, caused by the actual contact of the two systems of labor
(for slavery was a practical and serious question there); the
belief that slavery was at the bottom of the forty-four years of
sectional political wrangling, and that this must cease or the
Union be dissolved; the honest and the prejudiced opposition to the
institution itself; the zeal and ambition of machine politicians, in
both sections, anxious to get in "on the ground floor" of personal
advantage--these together, acted on by the main cause, and reacting
on each other, constitute the causes of the war.

And it must not be forgotten, too, that Calhoun, for the South,
accepted the slavery issue as the gage of battle, though he knew
for what purpose it was manufactured. Unity of the South against
Northern aggression was what he was fighting for; and, having
failed to present a solid front against the tariff because Clay's
ambition and Louisiana's influence disintegrated his forces in the
Southwest, he was the more easily betrayed into adopting a temporary
expedient--the policy of shifting the issue from its high ground.
In this way, too, he got "hay and stubble" in his foundation, and
gave the enemies of civil liberty among the whites a chance to pose
as the friends of civil liberty among the blacks.

       *       *       *       *       *

Standing among the statutes at large, with but a page between,
is the proclamation of Thomas Jefferson, thundering against the
aggressions of Great Britain, and the proclamation of John Adams,
breathing out threatenings and slaughter against his own countrymen
for resisting the plunder of an unjust revenue tax. These two
proclamations, looming up in the horizon of American history
like the Mountains of Blessing and Cursing, are the embodiment
of the two spirits which are contending for the mastery of this
nation--the one the source of our independence gained by a foreign
war and the territory on this side of the Mississippi, and of our
independence maintained by a foreign war and the territory beyond
the Mississippi--the other the source of our national debt in
its monstrous cumulation, of Federal extravagance, of sectional
expenditures of public funds, of class legislation for protected
industries, of unequal taxes, and of a frightful civil war,
unlawfully begun to collect them.

"To do justice" is the only way to "insure domestic tranquillity."
A government is "strong" only when its foundations are laid deep in
the affections and best interests of the people who support it and
for whose benefit it was created. God's government is strong and
will last forever because it is based upon the eternal principle of
mutual affinity.

       *       *       *       *       *

Through the long mystery of prehistoric ages the spirit of God's
love brooded over the desolation of a void and formless world;
continents laden with life were born out of the womb of the
great deep--Life which still lives in the love of its Infinite
Author--and the great deep which still with measured pulse is
beating out the changes of our times and booming in our ears the
faith that we, too, are somewhere in the sweep of Nature's mighty
moving heart. So, statesmen and philosophers, deeply pondering in
love of country over the dreary waste of failures and disasters
lying thick along the track of History and Experience, have wrought
out for us wise laws and constitutions, have rescued from the
"bottomless deep of theory and possibility" the institutions under
which we live, but the virtue to interpret and maintain them is not
transmitted nor transmissible--that we must gain, as they did, from

       *       *       *       *       *

Sloping in a long, gradual sweep of undulating hills and valleys,
overspread with the silver network of her myriad streams, from
her lofty green-bannered battlements, erected by God, down to her
shifting shore, where Hatteras lies in wait for her enemies by sea,
North Carolina spreads out the peaceful lap of her bounteous land
for her children and for all who cherish her.

Born before the Union, which is but an offspring of the States, and
surviving disunion, the child of sectional advantage, unbroken by
the shock of radical changes in the Constitutions of the State and
nation, North Carolina stands among the firmest of the forty-five
pillars of the national superstructure, will sustain it as long as
it answers the purposes of its creation, and, if greed or necessity
or the will of Heaven should destroy it, will stand above its wreck,
the sure foundation and protection of her people's liberties and the
sure support of a more perfect Union of the States which have been
purified in the crucible of disaster.

  W. J. PEELE.




William Richardson Davie was born at Egremont, near Whitehaven,
Cumberland county, in the north of England, on June 20, 1756. He was
brought over to this country by his father, Archibald Davie, who,
upon the peace of 1763, made a visit to America, and was left in the
care of his maternal uncle, Rev. William Richardson, a Presbyterian
clergyman residing in the Waxhaw settlement on the Catawba river,
in South Carolina. Having no children, Mr. Richardson adopted his
nephew and namesake, who became heir to his estate. At the usual age
young Davie was sent to the "Queen's Museum," the well-known academy
and high school in Charlotte. From thence he entered at Nassau Hall,
Princeton College, New Jersey, of which the famous Dr. Witherspoon
was then President. In the summer of 1776, with the consent of
the President, a party of students, among whom Davie was one, was
raised and served as volunteers in the patriot army. In the fall of
that year he returned to college, and, passing his examinations,
took his college degree of Bachelor of Arts with the first honors
of the institution. His uncle died before his return home. Davie
selected the profession of law and began his studies at Salisbury.
In 1777 he joined a detachment of twelve hundred men under General
Jones, ordered to be raised for the defense of Charleston, then
threatened with another attack, but on reaching Camden it was found
that the design was abandoned by the enemy, and the detachment
returned home after a service of three months. In 1779 a troop
of cavalry was raised in the Salisbury district. Of this William
Barnett, of Mecklenburg, was chosen captain and Davie lieutenant.
His commission, signed by Governor Caswell, is dated 5 April, 1779.
With two hundred horse he was immediately sent into the back country
to suppress a Tory rising, but it was quelled before their arrival.
Soon afterward the troop joined the Southern Army and was attached
to Pulaski's Legion.

Captain Barnett having resigned, Davie was promoted to captain, and
shortly thereafter was made major. On June 20th of that year Davie
took part in the battle of Stono, near Charleston. In this battle
the North Carolina brigade was commanded by General Jethro Sumner.
In a cavalry charge on that day Davie was wounded and fell from his
horse, but retained hold of the bridle. The cavalry, dispirited by
his fall, were in full retreat when a private in another company,
whose horse had been shot under him and was carrying off his saddle,
saw Major Davie standing by his horse unable to mount him, his thigh
being disabled by his wound. Though the enemy were in a few yards,
this man deliberately placed him on his horse and led him from the
field. His deliverer then disappeared and resumed his place in the
ranks, and Davie could find no trace of him. The wound was a severe
one and kept Davie long in the hospital at Charleston, rendering him
incapable of further service that year. At the siege of Ninety-Six,
two years later, when Davie was present as Commissary-General of
the Southern Army, on the morning of the attack a stranger came to
his tent and introduced himself as the man who had saved his life
at Stono. He promised to visit him again, but when the troops were
recalled from the fruitless attempt to storm the fort the body of
the gallant unknown was found among the dead. On his return from
the Charleston hospital in September, 1779, Davie being unfit for
service, applied for and received his County Court license and was
sent by the Governor to attend the courts on the Holston river,
then in North Carolina, that he might ascertain public sentiment
in that section. In the spring of 1780 he received his Superior
Court license. About the same time he obtained authority from the
Legislature of North Carolina to raise a troop of cavalry and two
companies of mounted infantry. The authority was all that the State
could give, its funds being too low to provide the means. Major
Davie, with a patriotism worthy of perpetual remembrance, disposed
of the estate inherited from his uncle and thus raised the funds to
equip his command.

The surrender of Charleston, 12th May, 1780, and the surprise and
butchery of Buford's men by Colonel Tarleton on the 29th of the same
month, completed the subjugation of South Carolina. Colonel Moore,
with eleven hundred Tories, having collected at Ramsour's Mills, in
the edge of the present town of Lincolnton, Colonel Francis Locke
with three hundred militia of Burke, Lincoln, and Rowan, crossed
the Catawba at Beattie's Ford, while General Rutherford, acting in
concert with him with seven hundred troops, among whom was Davie
and his command, crossed at Tuckaseege Ford. The two divisions were
to meet in the night near the enemy and attack at break of day.
Rutherford's march being circuitous, was delayed, but Colonel Locke,
notwithstanding the disparity of force, attacked alone and won a
complete victory. Rutherford arrived about an hour after the action
and dispatched Major Davie in pursuit of the fugitives. Shortly
after Major Davie was ordered to take post near the South Carolina
line, opposite Hanging Rock, to prevent the enemy from foraging and
to check the depredations of the Tories who infested that section.
He was reenforced by some South Carolinians under Major Crawford,
by thirty-five Catawba Indians under their chief, New River, and
by part of the Mecklenburg militia. With part of his dragoons and
some volunteers he left camp 20th July, 1780, to intercept a convoy
of provisions and clothing destined for the enemy at Hanging Rock,
eighteen miles distant. Marching all night, he turned the enemy's
flank and fell into the Camden road five miles below Hanging Rock.
Here he awaited the convoy, which appeared in the afternoon, and it
was surprised and completely captured, with all the stores.

About the last of July, Colonel Sumter, with the South Carolina
refugees, and Colonel Irwin, with the North Carolina troops,
advanced to the attack of Rocky Mount, while Major Davie was to
make a diversion to engage the attention of the enemy at Hanging
Rock. His detachment consisted of eighty mounted men. In sight of
the enemy's camp, he fell upon three companies of their mounted
infantry returning from an excursion. Taken by surprise, they
were literally cut to pieces almost before they were aware of his
presence. Sixty valuable horses, with their furniture, and one
hundred rifles and muskets, were carried off by Davie in safety
without the loss of a man. On August 5th an attack was ordered upon
Hanging Rock by Colonel Sumter, who commanded in person the eight
hundred troops engaged in the expedition. Of these five hundred
were North Carolinians, commanded by Colonel Irwin and Major Davie.
The troops halted at midnight within two miles of the enemy's camp,
which they attacked next morning at daylight. The British regulars
were commanded by Major Carden, while among the auxiliaries were
several Tory regiments. One was composed of Tories from the upper
Yadkin, commanded by Colonel Bryan (whom Davie afterwards defended
when tried for treason at Salisbury), and another, mostly of South
Carolinians, was led by Colonel John Hamilton, of Halifax, who for
many years after the war was British Consul at Norfolk. The attack
at first was completely successful, but from lack of discipline
many of the troops plundered the camps and became intoxicated. A
part of the British troops remaining intact, formed a hollow square
and necessitated a retreat, which, however, was made in good order,
Davie's corps covering the rear. The wounded were safely convoyed
by him to Charlotte, where, by his foresight, a hospital had been
established. It is worthy of note that on this march to the attack
at Hanging Rock, by Davie's side rode, as guides conversant with the
roads and of undoubted courage and patriotism, two country lads,
brothers, respectively aged thirteen and fifteen years. The younger
of the two was destined to see many another field of carnage, and
his name has filled long and well the sounding trump of fame--Andrew
Jackson. Long years after, in the retirement of the Hermitage, he
said that Davie was the best soldier he had ever known and that his
best lessons in the art of war had been learned from him.

On Davie's return from Charlotte he hastened to the general
rendezvous of Gates' army at Rugely's Mills. On August 16th, while
proceeding to join General Gates at Camden, and ten miles from the
battle-field, Major Davie met the defeated army with the General
leading the retreat. He ordered Davie to fall back on Charlotte, but
he replied that his men had formed the acquaintance of Tarleton's
Legion and did not fear to meet them again. He continued his
course towards the battle-ground, meeting the flying fragments of
the routed army. He secured several wagons loaded with clothing
and medicine, which had been abandoned. With characteristic
thoughtfulness he immediately sent an officer to notify Colonel
Sumter of the great disaster which had befallen our arms. He reached
Sumter that evening, who at once began his retreat along the west
bank of the Catawba, towards the up-country. Not taking sufficient
precaution, however, Sumter was surprised on the 18th by Tarleton
at Fishing Creek, and his entire command of eight hundred men was
captured or put to flight with the loss of all his artillery, arms,
and baggage. Colonel Sumter himself, who was asleep under a wagon
when the attack was made, barely escaped, and the next day reached
Davie's camp at Charlotte alone, riding on horseback, without saddle
or bridle. The tidings carried consternation into the fragments of
Gates' army which had rallied there, and in a few moments Davie and
his command were the only force left in front of the enemy. Instead
of retiring, he boldly advanced to the Waxhaws, and found that the
enemy had fallen back to Camden.

On the 5th of September, 1780, Davie was appointed by Governor
Nash Colonel Commandant of Cavalry in the Western District of
North Carolina, with instructions to raise a regiment. When he
had collected only about seventy men, with that force and two
small companies of riflemen, commanded by Major George Davidson,
he took post at Providence, twenty-five miles from the British
camp. Cornwallis, after resting at Camden till the first week in
September, had advanced to the Waxhaws, forty miles below Charlotte,
while the fragments of the American army were slowly gathering at
Hillsborough, two hundred miles distant. South Carolina was wholly
subjugated, and North Carolina had not recovered from the shock
of Gates' defeat. Under these circumstances, Colonel Davie, with
unprecedented boldness, with a command not exceeding one hundred
and fifty men all told, on the 20th of September, turning the right
flank of the British army by a circuitous march, fell upon three or
four hundred of the enemy at Wahab's plantation. The attack was made
at daylight. The surprise was complete.

The enemy left fifteen or twenty dead on the field and had some
forty wounded. Davie got off safely with the captured horses and had
only one man wounded. The enemy at once caused the farm buildings
which belonged to Captain Wahab, then a volunteer with Davie, to
be laid in ashes. Davie brought off ninety-six horses and their
furniture and one hundred and twenty stand of arms, and arrived
in camp the same afternoon, having marched sixty miles in less
than twenty-four hours, including the time employed in seeking and
beating the enemy. That evening Generals Sumner and Davidson arrived
at his camp with their force of one thousand badly equipped militia.

On the 24th of September the American patrols gave notice that the
force of the enemy was in motion on the Steele Creek road, leading
to Charlotte. Generals Sumner and Davidson retreated by Phifer's on
the nearest road to Salisbury. Colonel Davie, with one hundred and
fifty mounted men and some volunteers under Major Joseph Graham,
was left alone in front of the British army, and he was ordered to
observe the enemy and skirmish with his advance. On the afternoon
and night of the 25th he took a number of prisoners, and at midnight
took up his position at Charlotte, seven miles from the spot where
Earl Cornwallis had encamped. Early on the 26th his patrols were
driven in by the enemy's light troops, and in a few moments the
Legion and light infantry were seen advancing, followed by the whole
army. Charlotte was then a village of about twenty houses, built
on two streets which crossed each other at right angles. At their
intersection stood the court-house. Colonel Davie dismounted one
company and stationed it under the court-house, where they were
protected by a stone wall. The other two companies were advanced
about eighty yards and posted behind some houses and gardens. The
Legion formed at a distance of three hundred yards with a front
to fill the street. On sounding the charge the enemy's cavalry
advanced at full gallop, but at sixty yards from the court-house the
Americans opened fire and drove them back with great precipitation.
A second and third charge had the same result, but being outflanked
by the Legion infantry, Davie withdrew his companies in good
order, they successively covering each other, and retreated on the
Salisbury road. The enemy followed with great caution and respect
for some distance, when they at length ventured to charge the small
rear guard. In this charge Lieutenant Locks and four privates were
killed and Major Graham and five privates wounded. The coolness and
skill of Davie in this ever-memorable combat, in which, with a mere
handful of men, he held the whole British army for hours at bay and
drove back repeatedly its best troops and finally brought off his
command unbroken and in good order, stamp him as a soldier of no
ordinary capacity. He was at this time twenty-four years of age.
Governor Graham says of him: "He was prudent, vigilant, intrepid,
and skillful in his movements against the enemy, and with a charming
presence, a ready eloquence, and an undaunted spirit, he was among
the young men of the day as was Harry Percy to the chivalry of
England." He also terms him "one of the most accomplished and
elegant gentlemen of the Revolutionary race." Besides his abilities
as a leader he was an expert swordsman. It is said in _Garden's
Anecdotes of the Revolutionary War_, that he had slain more men in
personal encounters in battle than any man in the army.

The next day, after the brilliant affair at Charlotte, Colonel
Davie joined the army at Salisbury, where, recruits having come
in and Colonel Taylor from Granville having joined him, his force
consisted of three hundred mounted infantry and a few dragoons.
Generals Sumner and Davidson continued their retreat across the
Yadkin, while Davie returned towards Charlotte, where he so vexed
the British by cutting off the foraging parties and beating up
their advanced posts that Cornwallis began to feel great distress
for want of forage and supplies. (_Tarleton's Campaigns_, p. 184).
The British officer declared he had "found a rebel in every bush
outside his encampment." On October 7th occurred the disastrous
defeat of Ferguson at King's Mountain, and on the night of October
14th, Cornwallis began his retreat to South Carolina, followed by
Davie, who harassed his rear and captured part of his baggage.
On the 19th the British crossed the Catawba at Land's Ford and
completely evacuated the State of North Carolina. When General
Greene took command of the Southern Army in December, 1780, he and
Colonel Davie met for the first time. The commissary department
became vacant by the resignation of Colonel Thomas Polk. The
subsistence of the army had become very difficult, and Colonel
Polk declared that it had become impossible. General Greene having
formed a high estimate of Colonel Davie's abilities, earnestly, and
in most flattering terms, solicited him to relinquish his hopes of
brilliant service in the field and accept the vacant office. At
the call of patriotism he abandoned the tempting career which lay
before him and assumed the not less important but more unpleasant
and arduous duties of a station which offered no distinctions.
General Greene had himself set the example, having relinquished a
brilliant career in the field to assume for years the duties of
Quartermaster-General of the army. Colonel Davie assumed the duties
of his new post in January, 1781, and continued with the army for
the next five months. Hardly any combination of circumstances could
exist presenting greater difficulties to the commissary of an
army than those under which he began. With a depreciated, almost
worthless, currency and an exhausted country, his only resource was
to receive from the willing and extort from the reluctant such means
of subsistence as they possessed, a service requiring promptness
and vigor among the disaffected and skill and discretion among
the friendly. These duties were well performed, and, while they
make no display on the page of history, their efficient discharge
was more really useful to the cause and contributed more to the
success of the army than the most brilliant services of the most
brilliant officer in the field. In that capacity he was present in
the memorable battle at Guilford Court House. Though he had, of
course, no command, he was a watchful observer of all the movements
of the fight and distinguished himself by his efforts to rally
the broken ranks and bring them again into the field. After Judge
Schenck's vivid description of this battle it would be a twice-told
tale to recount its incidents. It may be well to recall, however,
that Eaton's Brigade was composed of men from Warren, Franklin,
Nash, Halifax, and Northampton counties, while Butler's men were
from the present counties of Wake, Durham, Orange, Alamance, Vance,
Granville, Person, and Caswell. No race of people has changed less
by infiltration of foreign immigration. It is in warp and woof the
same it was a hundred years ago. Those who know them well, know that
they are "the blue hen's own chickens," and it is not to be believed
(if all other proof was wanting) that men of that stock ever left
any fair field of fight in a body save in honor.

It was here that Colonel Davie, seeing the veteran First Maryland
permit the enemy to approach to close quarters while it remained
apparently inert and impassive, exclaimed with great emotion, "Great
God! is it possible Colonel Gunby will surrender himself and his
whole regiment to the British?" He had scarce spoken when, the
command having been given, their fire, like a sheet of flame, swept
off the enemy's first line. This was followed up by a bayonet charge
from Gunby. The hostile lines became so intermingled and the moment
so critical that Cornwallis, to save himself, caused his cannon
to open upon the mass of struggling men and swept off friend and
foe alike. This he did against the remonstrance of General O'Hara,
who was lying wounded on the ground, and whose men were thus being
destroyed at short range by the cannon of their own army.

Colonel Davie continued with the army and was present at Hobkirk's
Hill on April 25th, and also at the evacuation of Camden and the
siege of Ninety-Six. While the army lay before Ninety-Six, General
Greene found it necessary to send him as a confidential messenger
to the Legislature of North Carolina to represent to that body the
wants of his army, and that his almost sole reliance for assistance
was on them. Colonel Davie's knowledge of the members and his tact
were such that he procured a most generous contribution from
the General Assembly of men and supplies. The exigencies of the
service and the equipment of the new levies required him to remain
in North Carolina, and in July, 1781, he entered on his duties as
Commissary-General of this State, which post he filled till the end
of the war. The finances of the State were in a desperate condition,
and the country was well-nigh exhausted by the requisitions of
both hostile and friendly armies, and, besides, supplies had to be
dispatched to our troops operating in South Carolina. No duties
could be more arduous or more admirably performed than those which
fell to Colonel Davie's lot at this stage of the war. Transportation
was lacking even for the supplies which could be obtained. The
future seemed uncertain as to everything. No post could more sorely
have tried the patience of any man. It argues great versatility
of talents that the brilliant cavalry officer should execute with
patience the duties of such a station, and it required a rare
self-denial to lay aside the opportunities of distinction for the
humdrum exactions of his wearying post. To add to other troubles, he
had to deal, during the year 1781, with three different Governors
of entirely different views and dispositions. Governor Nash had
resigned in disgust at the proceedings of the Legislature; Governor
Burke had been taken prisoner, and Governor Martin completed the
year. So feeble at times was the support of the government that
some of the most pressing supplies were procured by Davie on his
own credit. Complex and numerous as were his accounts, when he laid
down his office he invited the severest legislative scrutiny, but no
objection to them could be found.

The war being over, Colonel Davie resumed the practice of his
profession in February, 1783. About the same time he married Miss
Sarah Jones, the daughter of General Allen Jones, of Northampton,
a niece of Willie Jones, and settled in the town of Halifax,
which place he made his future residence. It was at that time
practically the capital of the State. The sessions of the General
Assembly had been frequently held at that place, and it was there
that most of the executive business of the State was transacted.
He was a brilliant advocate and possessed a natural aptitude
for the practice of law. The State at that time was divided into
seven judicial districts: Halifax, New Bern, Wilmington, Edenton,
Hillsboro, Salisbury, and Morganton. To these, in 1787, Fayetteville
was added. The Superior Courts were held only at these places, and
not as now at a court-house in each county. Colonel Davie took the
circuit and attended in turn all the Superior Courts of the State,
except that held at Morganton. He soon commanded a leading practice
in all these courts. At some places and at some terms the dockets
show that he appeared without exception on one side or the other of
every civil case. His practice was very lucrative and he quickly
accumulated a large estate. An examination of our published Reports
shows numerous cases of importance in which he was counsel. Probably
the most important were _Hamilton_ vs. _Eaton_, 1 N. C., 84, which
held the State Confiscation Act repealed by the United States treaty
of peace with England, and _Bayard_ vs. _Singleton_, 1 N. C., 42,
the first case in America which asserted the power and duty of the
courts to declare an act of the Legislature unconstitutional. It
also held the confiscation acts against the late Tories invalid.
Iredell, Johnston, and Davie appeared for the successful plaintiff
and Moore and Nash for the defendant.

With the chivalry of his nature, it was most natural that when the
Tory, Colonel Bryan, with whom he had so often crossed swords,
was arraigned and tried at Salisbury, in 1782, for treason,
Colonel Davie was one of the counsel who conducted his defense.
In this he displayed a courage of the forum no less brilliant and
commendable than his conduct in the field. Indeed Davie, though
the youngest, became in fact the principal counsel. Excitement
ran so high that no lesser favorite than "the hero of Charlotte"
could command attention. Bryan was convicted with several others,
and was sentenced to be hanged the 14th of April, 1782, but was
pardoned and exchanged. Judge Murphy, who had the opportunity of
judging, and whose opinion is of high value, says: "Davie took
Lord Bolingbroke for his model, and applied himself with so much
diligence to the study of his master that literary men could easily
recognize his lofty and flowing style. He was a tall, elegant man
in his person; graceful and commanding in his manners. His voice was
mellow and adapted to the expression of every passion. His style
was magnificent and flowing. He had a greatness of manner in public
speaking which suited his style and gave his speeches an imposing
effect. He was a laborious student and arranged his discourses
with care, and, when the subject suited his genius, poured forth a
torrent of eloquence that astonished and delighted his audience.
They looked upon him with delight, listened to his long, harmonious
periods, caught his emotions, and indulged that ecstasy of feeling
which fine speaking and powerful eloquence can alone produce. He is
certainly to be ranked among the first orators whom the American
nation has produced." It is said of him, with probably small
exaggeration, that during fifteen years while he was at the bar
there was not a capital trial in North Carolina in which he was not
retained for the defense. Eminent as he was, it was not for the lack
of worthy competitors. James Iredell and Alfred Moore, successively
Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States, François
Xavier Martin, afterwards Chief Justice of Louisiana, and Judge
John Haywood, afterwards of Tennessee, were his contemporaries.
His brief-books, some of which are still in existence, are models
of neatness and show a most careful summary of the evidence and
citation of authority in each case. Among his law students were
Governor and United Stales Senator David Stone, Mr. Justice Daniel,
of our Supreme Court, and many others who became distinguished men.
Judge Daniel said that he was the best lawyer and most accomplished
man he had ever known. It is stated of him, in comparison with his
great legal rival, John Haywood, that while the latter carefully
prepared every point, Davie would seize the strong points of the
case and throw his whole strength upon them. In this he seems to
have retained the experience and instincts of his soldier-life. As
a characteristic of his elegant tastes and attention to details it
is said that an examination of his correspondence shows that his
letters were invariably written upon gilt-edge paper.

When the Convention which formed our present Federal Constitution
was called to meet at Philadelphia in May, 1787, he was elected
one of the delegates. The delegates were the then Governor, Richard
Caswell, ex-Governor Alexander Martin, Richard Dobbs Spaight, who,
like Davie, was subsequently Governor, William Blount, afterwards
United States Senator, and Hugh Williamson, afterwards a member
of Congress and an historian. Governor Caswell did not attend.
Colonel Davie was the junior member of the delegation, being
then, notwithstanding his distinguished career as a soldier and
his high standing at the bar, not yet thirty-one years of age.
Still his eloquence and influence made a decided impression upon
the Convention. The Constitution all through is the result of
compromise; but the critical question was the equal representation
of each State in the Senate. Upon this it seemed likely the
Convention would be dissolved. The large States were firm for
proportional representation. With the smaller States an equal
voice in the Senate was a _sine qua non_. On that question North
Carolina voted with the other large States against the demands of
the smaller States, and this made the vote a tie, as Georgia, on
purpose, evenly divided her vote. The friends of the Constitution,
fearing a disruption, referred the question to a committee composed
of one from each State. Davie was the member of the committee from
North Carolina. When the committee made its report, Davie, acting
for North Carolina, gave her vote with the smaller States, and thus,
by one majority, was equal representation in the Senate secured.
Without it the Convention would doubtless have adjourned after a
useless session. The Constitution, without that wise concession,
could not have been adopted, and if adopted by the Convention, its
ratification by the smaller States could not have been expected.
This act was certainly against the wishes of his own State, then
the third, in point of population, in the Confederation, ranking
next after Virginia and Massachusetts and ahead of New York. It was
also apparently against the interests of his State, but the act was
that of a statesman, and should be recalled to his lasting honor. It
was a critical moment, for a narrow-minded man in his place, timid
of responsibility and fearful of his own popularity at home, would
have prevented or postponed for many years the American Union. He
remained in Philadelphia till the deliberations of the Convention
were virtually over and the adoption of the Constitution had become
certain. Then, in obedience to his duty to his clients, as the fall
circuit was about to begin, he left for home. Hence it is that his
name does not appear among those appended to that instrument. The
Constitution being the work of many hands and containing so many
alterations and amendments, would naturally have been rough and
ill-joined, containing a variety of styles. It is worthy of note
that the Convention considerately referred it to a committee of
one--Gouverneur Morris--an accomplished scholar, to make changes "of
form, not of substance." Under his hand it was polished and put in
shape, and hence the uniform flow and regularity of its language.

But the work was not yet done. The Constitution was yet to be
ratified by the conventions of the several States. When the North
Carolina Convention met at Hillsborough, July 21, 1788, a formidable
opposition was arrayed against its adoption, headed by Willie Jones,
David Caldwell, Judge Spencer, and others. The friends of adoption
were led by James Iredell, a remarkably able man, and Colonel Davie,
aided by Spaight, Maclaine, Steele, and others. The adoption of
the Constitution was at that time defeated. After its subsequent
adoption by North Carolina, President Washington tendered the
appointment of United States District Judge to Davie, who declined
it. Colonel Stokes was appointed, but, soon dying, John Sitgreaves
was appointed, probably through Davie's influence. He had married
his wife's sister.

By his wife he had acquired a valuable plantation near Halifax,
which he took pleasure in cultivating, and he evinced a deep
interest in introducing there a better system of farming. His
enterprise and public spirit procured the organization of a company
for the proposed drainage of Lake Scuppernong.

A friend of education, in 1786 he obtained from the General
Assembly the charter of Warrenton Academy, and had himself, with
Willie Jones, Thomas Person, Benjamin Hawkins, and other prominent
men named as the board of trustees. He was chosen repeatedly,
except when his private business constrained him to decline an
election, to represent the borough of Halifax in the House of
Commons. He served thus in the years 1786, 1787, 1789, 1791, 1793,
1794, 1796, and 1798. He was the real founder of the University of
North Carolina, and is so styled in the journal of 1810 of that
institution, and well deserved to be so called. Judge Murphy bears
this testimony: "I was present in the House of Commons when Davie
addressed that body (in 1789) for a loan of money to erect the
buildings of the University, and, although more than thirty years
have elapsed, I have the most vivid recollection of the greatness
of his manner and the power of his eloquence upon that occasion. In
the House of Commons he had no rival, and on all questions before
that body his eloquence was irresistible." He procured the act of
incorporation to be passed in 1789, and other aid, and was always a
fostering friend.

The opposition to all the measures in favor of the University
was great. The cry of "economy" and the fear expressed that the
institution was one step towards the founding of an aristocracy
made it difficult to carry any measure through. Gifted with less
tact, with less eloquence or with less popularity, Davie must have
failed. The institution is no less a monument also to his public
spirit, boldness, and foresight. He was a member of the first
board of trustees. The selection of a site for the University, the
superintendence of the erection of the buildings, the choice of
professors, the arrangement of a course of studies, the adoption of
regulations, the maintenance of discipline engaged his personal and
active attention. Truly he might have exclaimed "_Exegi monumentum
aere perennius_." The course of studies adopted at Davie's instance
in 1795 was the "optional" system which now generally obtains. In
this he anticipated the course of other colleges full fifty years.
When Dr. David Caldwell was elected President this was set aside
and the old iron-bound curriculum was adopted and remained in force
eighty years.

On December 9, 1787, in the town of Tarboro, the Free Masons of this
State organized the Grand Lodge of North Carolina. At that meeting
many of the most distinguished men of the State attended, Colonel
Davie among them. Governor Johnston was elected the first Grand
Master of North Carolina, and Governor Caswell the second. Davie
was elected Grand Master in December, 1792, and was successively
reelected for seven years. In that capacity he laid the cornerstone
of the University, October 12, 1793 (the old East Building), and on
April 14, 1798, he laid the cornerstone of the South Building at the
same place.

The project of a digest of the laws was brought forward by him, and
the appointment of Judge Iredell, the accomplished jurist, to do
the work, was made at his suggestion. The cession of the territory
which now forms the State of Tennessee was effected mainly by his
influence. In 1791 he was appointed by the Legislature one of the
three commissioners to establish the unsettled part of the boundary
between this State and South Carolina. He was again elected for the
same purpose in 1796, and again in 1803. None of these commissions,
however, were successful.

In 1794 he was commissioned by Governor Spaight to be Major-General
of the Third State Division, in view of the likelihood of war
with France. Congress, by the Act of June 24, 1797, directed an
embodiment of troops from the several States. The number to be
raised by this State under the act was seven thousand two hundred
and sixty-eight, and in September of that year Davie was appointed
by Governor Ashe Major-General to command this detachment. As
matters became more serious, Congress, in May, 1798, authorized a
provisional army of the United States of ten thousand men, and in
this he was appointed a brigadier-general by President Adams, July
17, 1798, and was confirmed by the Senate on July 19th. Of this army
Washington was made commander-in-chief, and he, in effect, committed
to General Davie the selection of the officers for that part of
the troops which should be raised in this State. In the same year
General Davie prepared a system of cavalry tactics which was adopted
by the Legislature and ordered to be printed. A copy of this is now
in our State Library.

General Davie came out of the war with the first military reputation
in the State, and these successive appointments, so many years
after, prove that North Carolina still turned to him as her greatest

Just at this time, singularly enough, when in the receipt of high
honors, State and national, his election for the borough of Halifax
was first endangered. The circumstance is thus stated in a private
letter from that town, written in August, 1798: "The 'true whigs,'
as they styled themselves, dined together under the oaks and toasted
Mr. Jefferson. The other party, who were called 'aristocrats,' ate
and drank in the house on entirely different principles. General
Davie dined in the house with the 'aristocrats.' The 'true whigs'
took offense at this and resolved to oppose his election, and it was
only with much address that they were kept quiet." The writer adds:
"If any person had had the impudence to dispute the election General
Davie would certainly not have been returned. The rabble, which in
all places is the majority, would have voted against him."

He took his seat when the Legislature met. By that body, under
the then constitutional mode, he was, on joint ballot, elected
Governor of the State on December 4th, 1798, over Benjamin Williams
(afterwards Governor), and was inaugurated December 7th. Nothing
of special note took place during his tenure of office. President
Adams appointed an embassy to treat with the French Directory,
consisting of Mr. Murray, then our Minister to Holland, Chief
Justice Ellsworth, and Patrick Henry. The latter having declined on
the ground of age and ill health, Governor Davie was appointed in
his stead, June 1, 1799. On September 10th he resigned the office
of Governor, and on the 22nd, left Halifax to join Mr. Ellsworth
at Trenton. At his departure the people of Halifax and vicinity
presented him with a complimentary address, which was written by a
political adversary and signed by large numbers of the same party.

On November 3, 1799, Messrs. Ellsworth and Davie embarked in the
frigate _United States_, from Newport, Rhode Island. Aware of the
changes constantly taking place in the French government, they
touched at Lisbon on the 27th of November. They left on the 21st
of December, but being driven out of their course by a storm, they
put into Corunna the 11th of January, 1800, which they left by land
on the 27th, and on February 9th, at Burgos, in Spain, they met a
courier from Talleyrand, the French Minister, inviting them, on
the part of Bonaparte, who had become First Consul, to proceed to
Paris, which place they reached on March 2d. These dates will show
the vast difference which less than a century has made in the modes
of traveling and the transmission of intelligence. On April 8th the
Commissioners were received with marked politeness by the First
Consul. Napoleon having left for Italy on the famous campaign of
Marengo, the negotiations dragged till his return. On September 30,
1800, the treaty between the United States and France was signed by
our Commissioners and by Joseph Bonaparte, Roederer, and Fleurieu,
on the part of France. The conclusion of the treaty was celebrated
with _éclat_ at Morfontaine (the country-seat of Joseph Bonaparte),
the First Consul and a brilliant staff attending. One who was then
in Paris writes: "A man of his (Davie's) imposing appearance and
dignified deportment could not fail to attract especial attention
and remark wherever he went. I could not but remark that Bonaparte,
in addressing the American legation at his levees, seemed for the
time to forget that Governor Davie was _second_ in the commission,
his attention being more particularly directed to him." In the
brilliant circles of the nascent empire of Napoleon he was
distinguished by his elegance and his popular manners. His sojourn
in Paris was very agreeable to him. He was an accomplished linguist
and spoke French and Spanish fluently.

In the fall of that year Governor Davie returned directly home.
It is significant that the very day after the treaty was signed,
France, by the treaty of St. Ildefonso, reacquired Louisiana from
Spain, which it so soon after sold to the United States.

On his return home Davie was solicited to become a candidate for
Congress in 1801, but his private affairs, by reason of his long
absence, required his attention, and he declined. Willis Alston,
then a member of the same political party, was elected. In June
of that year President Jefferson appointed Governor Davie head
of a commission, with General Wilkinson and Benjamin Hawkins, to
negotiate with the Creeks and other Indians for further cession of
lands. This he declined for the same reason that he had refused
an election to Congress. In 1802 he was appointed by President
Jefferson a commissioner on the part of the United States in the
treaty to be made between North Carolina and the Tuscaroras, most of
whom had moved from this State, but had retained a valuable landed
interest in Bertie county. He met the agents of the State and the
chiefs of the Indians at Raleigh, and the treaty was signed December
4th, 1802, by virtue of which King Blount and the remainder of the
tribe removed to New York in June, 1803. In the spring of 1803,
Alston having gone over to the opposite political party, General
Davie was again solicited by his friends to become a candidate for
Congress. He accepted the nomination, but declined to make any
canvass. He was charged with being an aristocrat and with being
opposed to Mr. Jefferson, whose prestige was then all-powerful. He
was defeated at the polls.

He had lost his wife not long after his return from France. This,
together with his political defeat, determined him to withdraw
altogether from public life. In November, 1805, he removed to an
estate he possessed at Tivoli, near Landsford, in South Carolina,
just across the line from Mecklenburg county in this State. Here he
lived in dignified ease and leisure.

Many men, after the bufferings of a stormy or a busy life, have in
like manner felt the need of rest before going hence. It was thus
that the Emperor Charles V., at Juste, and Wolsey, who had "sounded
all the depths and shoals of honor," at Leicester Abbey, had sought
to put a space of contemplation between the active duties of life
and the grave. Davie's country, however, did not forget him. During
the second war with Great Britain, President Madison appointed him
a major-general in the United States army, and he was confirmed by
the Senate, March 2d, 1813. But "time steals fire from the mind
as vigor from the limbs." Though not an old man, General Davie's
early campaigns had told upon him. The sword which twenty-five
years before had almost leapt of itself from the scabbard was
now constrained to hang idly by his side, and he declined the
appointment. General Harrison (afterwards President) was appointed
in his stead and fought the battle of the Thames, October 5, 1813
in which Tecumseh was slain. The next year he in turn resigned and
General Andrew Jackson was appointed to succeed him, and the battle
of New Orleans followed on January 8, 1815.

General Davie's seat at Tivoli, on the Catawba, was the resort of
many of the Revolutionary characters. In their journeys by private
conveyance to Virginia or the North, the custom was to arrange to
spend a day or two there with him, where he kept open house for his
friends, and, sitting under an immense oak, from which there was a
view of miles of the Catawba, they fought over the war together or
discussed the workings of the new government and the Constitution
they had established. This was all the more interesting, as much of
his campaigning had taken place on and around this very spot. In
this connection it is interesting to state that after his retirement
to Tivoli he was much sought after in drawing wills. He drew some
of the most famous wills in that State--indeed, it is said, all of
them in that part in which he resided, not one of which, except
his own, was ever assailed. In this respect he had the fortune of
Sugden (Lord Saint Leonard's), Governor Tilden, and many other
famous lawyers. The contest over Governor Davie's will has just been
settled by a decision of the Supreme Court of the United States,
filed the 28th of March of this year (1892), in the case of _Bedon_
vs. _Davie_, 144 U. S., 142, a very interesting case.

His correspondence and other materials for history must have been
very large and very valuable. It was from his papers that the copy
of the Mecklenburg Declaration of May 20th, 1775, was procured,
which is known as the "Davie Copy." Unfortunately all his family
papers and all the historical material which had been carefully
preserved by him for publication at some future time were destroyed
during Sherman's raid. The banks of the Catawba were said to have
been strewn with them, and nothing of the collection now remains.

In retirement he displayed his accustomed public spirit by
introducing improved methods of farming, and mainly at his instance
a State Agricultural Society in South Carolina was formed, of which
he was the first president. By his practice at the bar he had
accumulated a large estate, which he dispensed with liberality and

When the end came he met it with the firmness of a soldier. His sun
of life went down in a cloudless sky. He passed away the 18th of
November, 1820, in his sixty-fifth year.

    "The hero lies still, while the dew-drooping willows,
      Like fond weeping mourners, lean over his grave.
    The lightnings may flash and the loud cannon rattle,
      He heeds not, he hears not, he's free from all pain;
    He sleeps his last sleep, he has fought his last battle,
      No sound can awake him to glory again!"

He was buried at Waxhaw Church, Lancaster county, South Carolina,
just across the Catawba river from his Tivoli plantation. The
following modest and truthful inscription in his tomb is said to be
from the pen of his friend, Governor Gaston, of South Carolina:


  [1] A mistake.

The foregoing is the main body and more strictly biographical
part of an address delivered by Judge Clark, July 4th, 1892, at
the celebration of the battle of Guilford Court House, on the

Davie's life has been written more at length by Prof. Fordyce M.
Hubbard and published in _Sparks' American Biography_; but I have
used Judge Clark's sketch, and have slightly abbreviated it to suit
the scope of my purpose.

I am reminded by Colonel Benehan Cameron, a member of the North
Carolina Publishing Society, that the lovers of fine horses will be
glad to have it noted here that General Davie was once the owner of
the celebrated "Sir Archie"--the sire of American thoroughbreds--the
Godolphin of the American turf. Like all great commanders, Davie was
a fine judge of a horse; he readily paid five thousand dollars for
"Sir Archie" as a colt, and only parted from him in deference to
his friends, who urged him that such a price was very extravagant.
Davie's judgment, however, was abundantly vindicated; for, many
years afterwards, the commissioner of the court found that the horse
had been worth to the estate of William Amis, his subsequent owner,
the round sum of eighty thousand dollars.

Some idea may be gathered of the interest of the turfmen in this
great horse--the great-grandsire of "Lexington"--from the fact that
they are still disputing about the places of his birth and death.

The truth of the matter is, says Colonel Cameron, who takes interest
in this controversy, he was born at Carter Hall, in Virginia, died
in North Carolina, and was buried on the "Mowfield" plantation of
Colonel Amis in Northampton county. The place of his burial is still
pointed out by old people, for human nature is loath to allow the
memory of great excellence to perish, even though exemplified in a
dumb beast. It is said that some years ago his bones were taken up
and carried to a museum in Philadelphia.

[Illustration: NATHANIEL MACON.]



Philosophic in his temperament and wise in his conduct, governed
in all his actions by reason and judgment, and deeply imbued with
Bible images, this virtuous and patriotic man (whom Mr. Jefferson
called "the last of the Romans") had long fixed the term of his
political existence at the age which the Psalmist assigns for the
limit of manly life: "The days of our years are threescore years
and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet
is their strength labor and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and
we fly away." He touched that age in 1828; and, true to all his
purposes, he was true to his resolve in this, and executed it with
the quietude and indifference of an ordinary transaction. He was in
the middle of a third senatorial term, and in the full possession
of all his faculties of mind and body; but his time for retirement
had come--the time fixed by himself; but fixed upon conviction and
for well considered reasons, and as inexorable to him as if fixed by
fate. To the friends who urged him to remain to the end of his term,
and who insisted that his mind was as good as ever, he would answer
that it was good enough yet to let him know that he ought to quit
office before his mind quit him, and that he did not mean to risk
the fate of the Archbishop of Grenada. He resigned his senatorial
honors as he had worn them--meekly, unostentatiously, in a letter of
thanks and gratitude to the General Assembly of his State, and gave
to repose at home that interval of thought and quietude which every
wise man would wish to place between the turmoil of strife and the
stillness of eternity. He had nine years of this tranquil enjoyment,
and died without pain or suffering, June 29, 1837--characteristic
in death as in life. It was eight o'clock in the morning when he
felt that the supreme hour had come, had himself full-dressed with
his habitual neatness, walked in the room and lay upon the bed, by
turns conversing kindly with those who were about him, and showing
by his conduct that he was ready and waiting, but hurrying nothing.
It was the death of Socrates, all but the hemlock, and in that full
faith of which the Grecian sage had only a glimmering. He directed
his own grave on a point of sterile ridge (where nobody would wish
to plough), and covered with a pile of rough flint-stone (which
nobody would wish to build with), deeming this sterility and the
uselessness of this rock the best security for that undisturbed
repose of the bones which is still desirable to those who are
indifferent to monuments.

In almost all strongly marked characters there is usually some
incident or sign, in early life, which shows that character and
reveals to the close observer the type of the future man. So it
was with Mr. Macon. His firmness, his patriotism, his self-denial,
his devotion to duty, and disregard of office and emolument; his
modesty, integrity, self-control, and subjection of conduct to the
convictions of reason and the dictates of virtue, all so steadily
exemplified in a long life, were all shown from the early age of
eighteen, in the miniature representation of individual action,
and only confirmed in the subsequent public exhibitions of a long,
beautiful, and exalted career.

He was of that age, and a student at Princeton College, at the time
of the Declaration of American Independence. A small volunteer
corps was then on the Delaware. He quit his books, joined it,
served a term, returned to Princeton, and resumed his studies. In
the year 1778 the Southern States had become a battle-field, big
with their own fate, and possibly involving the issue of the war.
British fleets and armies appeared there, strongly supported by
the friends of the British cause; and the conquest of the South
was fully counted upon. Help was needed in these States; and Mr.
Macon, quitting college, returned to his native county in North
Carolina, joined a militia company as a private, and marched to
South Carolina--then the theatre of the enemy's operations. He
had his share in all the hardships and disasters of that trying
time; was at the fall of Fort Moultrie, surrender of Charleston,
defeat at Camden, and in the rapid winter retreat across the upper
part of North Carolina. He was in the camp on the left bank of
the Yadkin when the sudden flooding of that river, in the brief
interval between the crossing of the Americans and the coming up of
the British, arrested the pursuit of Cornwallis and enabled Greene
to allow some rest to his wearied and exhausted men. In this camp,
destitute of everything and with gloomy prospects ahead, a summons
came to Mr. Macon from the Governor of North Carolina, requiring
him to attend a meeting of the General Assembly, of which he had
been elected a member, without his knowledge, by the people of his
county. He refused to go, and the incident being talked of through
the camp, came to the knowledge of the general. Greene was a _man_
himself and able to know a _man_. He felt at once that, if this
report was true, this young soldier was no common character, and
determined to verify the fact. He sent for the young man, inquired
of him, heard the truth, and then asked for the reason of this
unexpected conduct--this preference for a suffering camp over a
comfortable seat in the General Assembly. Mr. Macon answered him,
in his quaint and sententious way, that he had seen the _faces_ of
the British many times, but had never seen their _backs_, and meant
to stay in the army till he did. Greene instantly saw the material
the young man was made of and the handle by which he was to be
worked. That material was patriotism, that handle a sense of duty;
and laying hold of this handle, he quickly worked the young soldier
into a different conclusion from the one that he had arrived at. He
told him he could do more good as a member of the General Assembly
than as a soldier; that in the army he was but one man, and in
the General Assembly he might obtain many, with the supplies they
needed, by showing the destitution and suffering which he had seen
in the camp; and that it was his duty to go. This view of duty and
usefulness was decisive. Mr. Macon obeyed the Governor's summons,
and by his representations contributed to obtain the supplier which
enabled Greene to turn back and face Cornwallis--fight him, cripple
him, drive him further back than he had advanced (for Wilmington is
south of Camden), disable him from remaining in the South (of which,
up to the battle of Guilford, he believed himself to be master),
and sending him to Yorktown, where he was captured and the war ended.

The philosophy of history has not yet laid hold of the battle of
Guilford, its consequences and effects. That battle made the capture
of Yorktown. The events are told in every history: their connection
and dependence in none. It broke up the plan of Cornwallis in the
South, and changed the plan of Washington in the North. Cornwallis
was to subdue the Southern States, and was doing it until Greene
turned upon him at Guilford. Washington was occupied with Sir Henry
Clinton, then in New York with twelve thousand British troops.
He had formed the heroic design to capture Clinton and his army
(the French fleet cooperating) in that city, and thereby putting
an end to the war. All his preparations were going on for that
grand consummation when he got news of the battle of Guilford, the
retreat of Cornwallis to Wilmington, his inability to keep the
field in the South, and his return northward through the lower
part of Virginia. He saw his advantage--an easier prey--and the
same result, if successful. Cornwallis or Clinton, either of them
captured, would put an end to the war. Washington changed his plan,
deceived Clinton, moved rapidly upon the weaker general, captured
him and his seven thousand men, and ended the Revolutionary war. The
battle of Guilford put that capture into Washington's hands; and
thus Guilford and Yorktown became connected; and the philosophy of
history shows their dependence, and that the lesser event was father
to the greater. The State of North Carolina gave General Greene
twenty-five thousand acres of western land for that day's work, now
worth a million of dollars; but the day itself has not yet obtained
its proper place in American history.

The military life of Mr. Macon finished with his departure from
the camp on the Yadkin, and his civil public life commenced on his
arrival at the General Assembly, to which he had been summoned--that
civil public life in which he was continued above forty years
by free elections--Representative in Congress under Washington,
Adams, Jefferson, and Madison, and long the Speaker of the House;
Senator in Congress under Madison, Monroe, and John Quincy Adams;
and often elected President of the Senate, and until voluntarily
declining; twice refusing to be Postmaster-General under Jefferson;
never taking any office but that to which he was elected; and
resigning his last senatorial term when it was only half run. But a
characteristic trait remains to be told of his military life--one
that has neither precedent nor imitation (the example of Washington
being out of the line of comparison): he refused to receive pay or
to accept promotion, and served three years as a private through
mere devotion to his country. And all the long length of his life
was conformable to this patriotic and disinterested beginning:
and thus the patriotic principles of the future Senator were all
revealed in early life and in the obscurity of an unknown situation.
Conformably to this beginning, he refused to take anything under
the modern acts of Congress for the benefit of the surviving
officers and soldiers of the Revolution, and voted against them
all, saying they had suffered alike (citizens and military), and
all been rewarded together in the establishment of independence;
that the debt to the army had been settled by pay, by pensions to
the wounded, by half-pay and land to the officers: that no military
claim could be founded on depreciated continental paper money, from
which the civil functionaries who performed service, and farmers
who furnished supplies, suffered as much as any. On this principle
he voted against the bill for Lafayette, against all the modern
Revolutionary pensions and land bounty acts, and refused to take
anything under them (for many were applicable to himself).

His political principles were deep-rooted, innate, subject to no
change and to no machinery of party. He was democratic in the
broad sense of the word, as signifying a capacity in the people
for self-government; and in its party sense, as in favor of a
plain and economical administration of the Federal Government, and
against latitudinarian constructions of the Constitution. He was a
party man, not in the hackneyed sense of the word, but only where
principle was concerned; and was independent of party in all his
social relations, and in all the proceedings which he disapproved.
Of this he gave a strong instance in the case of General Hamilton,
whom he deemed honorable and patriotic; and utterly refused to be
concerned in a movement proposed to affect him personally, though
politically opposed to him. He venerated Washington, admired the
varied abilities and high qualities of Hamilton, and esteemed
and respected the eminent Federal gentlemen of his time. He had
affectionate regard for Madison and Monroe; but Mr. Jefferson was
to him the full and perfect exemplification of the republican
statesman. His almost fifty years of personal and political
friendship and association with Mr. Randolph is historical, and
indissolubly connects their names and memories in the recollection
of their friends, and in history, if it does them justice. He was
the early friend of General Jackson, and intimate with him when he
was a Senator in Congress under the administration of the elder Mr.
Adams; and was able to tell Congress and the world who he was when
he began to astonish Europe and America by his victories. He was
the kind observer of the conduct of young men, encouraging them by
judicious commendation when he saw them making efforts to become
useful and respectable, and never noting their faults. He was just
in all things, and in that most difficult of all things, judging
political opponents, to whom he would do no wrong, not merely in
word or act, but in thought. He spoke frequently in Congress, always
to the point, and briefly and wisely; and was one of those speakers
whom Mr. Jefferson described Dr. Franklin to have been--a speaker of
no pretension and great performance, who spoke more good sense while
he was getting up out of his chair, and getting back into it, than
many others did in long discourses; and he suffered no reporter to
dress up a speech for him.

He was above the pursuit of wealth, but also above dependence and
idleness; and, like an old Roman of the elder Cato's time, worked
in the fields at the head of his slaves in the intervals of public
duty, and did not cease this labor until advancing age rendered
him unable to stand the hot sun of summer--the only season of the
year when senatorial duties left him at liberty to follow the
plough or handle the hoe. I think it was the summer of 1817--that
was the last time (he told me) he tried it, and found the sun too
hot for him--then sixty years of age, a Senator, and the refuser
of all office. How often I think of him when I see at Washington
robustious men going through a scene of supplication, tribulation,
and degradation, to obtain office, which the salvation of the soul
does not impose upon the vilest sinner. His fields, his flocks and
his herds yielded an ample supply of domestic productions. A small
crop of tobacco--three hogsheads when the season was good, two when
bad--purchased the exotics which comfort and necessity required and
which the farm did not produce. He was not rich, but rich enough
to dispense hospitality and charity, to receive all guests in his
house, from the President to the day-laborer--no other title being
necessary to enter his house but that of an honest man; rich enough
to bring up his family (two daughters) as accomplished ladies,
and marry them to accomplished gentlemen--one to William Martin,
Esq., and the other to William Eaton, Esq., of Roanoke, my early
schoolfellow and friend for more than half a century; and, above
all, he was rich enough to pay as he went and never to owe a dollar
to any man.

He was steadfast in his friendships and would stake himself for
a friend, but would violate no point of public duty to please
or oblige him. Of this his relations with Mr. Randolph gave a
signal instance. He drew a knife to defend him in the theatre at
Philadelphia, when menaced by some naval and military officers for
words spoken in debate and deemed offensive to their professions;
yet, when Speaker of the House of Representatives, he displaced Mr.
Randolph from the head of the Committee of Ways and Means because
the chairman of that committee should be on terms of political
friendship with the administration--which Mr. Randolph had then
ceased to be with Mr. Jefferson's. He was above executive office,
even the highest the President could give; but not above the lowest
the people could give, taking that of justice of the peace in his
county, and refusing that of Postmaster-General at Washington. He
was opposed to nepotism, and to all quartering of his connections
on the government; and in the course of his forty-years' service,
with the absolute friendship of many administrations and the
perfect respect of all, he never had office or contract for any of
his blood. He refused to be a candidate for the Vice-Presidency,
but took the place of Elector on the Van Buren ticket in 1836. He
was against paper money and the paper system, and was accustomed
to present the strong argument against both, in the simple phrase
that this was a hard-money government, made by hard-money men, who
had seen the evil of paper money and meant to save their posterity
from it. He was opposed to security-ships, and held that no man
ought to be entangled in the affairs of another, and that the
interested parties alone--those who expected to find their profit
in the transaction--should bear the bad consequences, as well as
enjoy the good ones, of their own dealings. He never called any one
"friend" without being so, and never expressed faith in the honor
and integrity of a man without acting up to the declaration when
the occasion required it. Thus, in constituting his friend, Weldon
N. Edwards, Esq., his testamentary and sole executor, with large
discretionary powers, he left all to his honor, and forbade him to
account to any court or power for the manner in which he should
execute that trust. This prohibition was so characteristic, and so
honorable to both parties, and has been so well justified by the
event, that I give it in his own words, as copied from his will,

"I subjoin the following, in my own handwriting, as a codicil to
this my last will and testament, and direct that it be a part
thereof--that is to say, having full faith in the honor and
integrity of my executor above named, he shall not be held to
account to any court or power whatever for the discharge of the
trust confided by me to him in and by the foregoing will."

And the event has proved that his judgment, as always, committed
no mistake when it bestowed that confidence. He had his
peculiarities--idiosyncrasies, if any one pleases--but they were
born with him, suited to him, constituting a part of his character,
and necessary to its completeness. He never subscribed to charities,
but gave, and freely, according to his means--the left hand not
knowing what the right hand did. He never subscribed for new books,
giving as a reason to the soliciting agent that nobody purchased
his tobacco until it was inspected, and he could buy no book until
he had examined it. He would not attend the Congress Presidential
Caucus of 1824, although it was sure to nominate his own choice (Mr.
Crawford); and, when a reason was wanted, he gave it in the brief
answer that he attended one once and they cheated him, and he had
said that he would never attend another. He always wore the same
dress--that is to say, a suit of the same material, cut, and color
superfine navy blue--the whole suit from the same piece, and in the
fashion of the time of the Revolution; and always replaced by a new
one before it showed age. He was neat in his person, always wore
fine linen, a fine cambric stock, a fine fur hat with a brim to it,
fair top-boots--the boot outside the pantaloons, on the principle
that leather was stronger than cloth. He would wear no man's honors,
and when complimented on the report on the Panama mission, which,
as Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Relations, he had presented
to the Senate, he would answer, "Yes, it is a good report; Tazewell
wrote it." Left to himself, he was ready to take the last place
and the lowest seat anywhere; but, in his representative capacity
he would suffer no derogation of a constitutional or of a popular
right. Thus, when Speaker of the House, and a place behind the
President's Secretaries had been assigned him in some ceremony, he
disregarded the programme, and, as the elect of the elect of all the
people, took his place next after those whom the national vote had
elected. And in 1803, on the question to change the form of voting
for President and Vice-President, and the vote wanting one of the
constitutional number of two-thirds, he resisted the rule of the
House which restricted the Speaker's vote to a tie, or to a vote
which would make a tie--claimed his constitutional right to vote
as a member, obtained it, gave the vote, made the two-thirds, and
carried the amendment.

And, what may well be deemed idiosyncratic in these days, he was
punctual in the performance of all his minor duties to the Senate,
attending its sittings to the moment, attending all the committees
to which he was appointed, attending all the funerals of the members
and officers of the Houses, always in time at every place where duty
required him; and refusing double mileage for one traveling when
elected from the House of Representatives to the Senate or summoned
to an extra session. He was an habitual reader and student of the
Bible, a pious and religious man, and of the "_Baptist persuasion_,"
as he was accustomed to express it.

I have a pleasure in recalling the recollections of this wise, just
and good man, and in writing them down, not without profit, I hope,
to rising generations, and at least as extending the knowledge of
the kind of men to whom we are indebted for our independence and for
the form of government which they established for us. Mr. Macon was
the real Cincinnatus of America, the pride and ornament of my native
State, my hereditary friend through four generations, my mentor in
the first seven years of my senatorial, and the last seven of his
senatorial life; and a feeling of gratitude and of filial affection
mingles itself with this discharge of historical duty to his memory.

       *       *       *       *       *

Mr. Benton called his sketch, which appears in his _Thirty-years'
View_, "Retiring of Mr. Macon." It is well done, and interesting
also because it is what one great man said of another. Yet I confess
with some mortification that I have never seen it in print in North
Carolina except in Benton's book.

To the foregoing admirable sketch by Benton I subjoin the following
copious extracts from the _Memoir of Nathaniel Macon_ by Weldon N.
Edwards, published in July, 1862:

     Nathaniel Macon was born on the 17th of December, 1758, in the
     county of Bute, of the then province of North Carolina, in
     the part of it now Warren, within a few miles of the present
     village of Warrenton, of poor and respectable parents. His
     great-grandfather was a Huguenot and came over from France to
     escape the persecutions consequent upon the revocation of the
     Edict of Nantes, in 1685. His father, Gideon H. Macon, was born
     in Virginia, whence he came to North Carolina. His mother was
     a native of North Carolina and a daughter of Edward Jones, of
     Shocco. He lost his father in early boyhood, and was left, with
     many brothers and sisters, in the care of his widowed mother,
     with such moderate means of support as to require the utmost
     care and industry to get on even tolerably in the world. He
     assisted in all the domestic offices and labors common with
     boys at that day. He acquired the rudiments of education in the
     neighborhood, at what was called an "old-field school." The
     application, progress, and good habits of the boy gave such
     promise of the future man that it was resolved to make every
     effort to give him a thorough education, and he was accordingly
     sent to Princeton College, New Jersey. His own inclinations
     eagerly seconded the hopeful purpose of his friends. While
     there, he prosecuted his studies with fond diligence, and sought
     all the avenues to useful knowledge with unflagging zeal. Nor
     did he relax his efforts in this respect after his return home,
     devoting to such books as were within his reach all the time he
     could spare from the ordinary duties of life; but he met with
     great difficulties, owing to the scarcity of books and his own
     poverty. In the latter part of his life he was often heard to
     say that his eyesight failed him sooner than it otherwise would
     have done, in consequence of his reading so much by firelight in
     his youth and early manhood, being then too poor to buy candles,
     his small patrimony having been exhausted during his minority in
     his support and education.

     His love for North Carolina was sincere and thorough. In all
     that concerned her character, her institutions, her welfare,
     he felt an ever-wakeful solicitude. Although he received his
     collegiate education in a distant State, he ever after gave a
     decided preference to the seminaries of his own loved North
     Carolina. When his son-in-law, William Eaton, Sr., in the
     year 1823 was about to send two of his sons to Cambridge, he
     dissuaded him from it and advised him to send them to the
     University of North Carolina, because, among other reasons, they
     would there make acquaintances of many of the future men of the
     State, and contract friendships that would be of service to them
     in the part they were destined to act in the great drama of life.

     He studied law, but never applied for a license to practice.
     There is now in possession of his grandson, William Eaton,
     Jr. (who shared his confidences and affections, and is a
     worthy representative of his principles and virtues), an old
     London-bound edition of Blackstone's Commentaries, which was
     used by him, and which is highly valued as a family relic. Like
     all persons of taste, he admired the classic elegance of this
     celebrated work, but regarded its author as too subservient to
     power, and wanting in manliness and independence. He considered
     Sir Edward Coke a much better friend to English liberty. * * * *
     * * * * *

     Stability and consistency were strong points in Mr. Macon's
     character, formed upon his uncompromising adherence to principle
     and unswerving fidelity to duty. In his conversation he was
     easy and unaffected, in his manners and dress a decided model
     of republican simplicity, pretentious in nothing; all who
     approached him felt conscious of receiving the civility and
     respect demanded by the nicest sense of propriety. To these
     characteristics did he owe much of that firm hold upon the
     confidence and esteem of his countrymen which sustained him in
     the severe trials always to be met in the great battle of life.
     His was an enduring popularity; it never waned; it existed in
     as much vigor and freshness at the close of his life as at any
     former period; it lived after him, and it is the source of the
     highest gratification to his numerous friends and admirers that
     he is still often quoted as the bright exemplar of "the honest
     man and the wise and virtuous statesman." * * * * * * * * *

     Though so long honored, and so many years the depositary of
     public honors and public trusts, Mr. Macon's was the rare
     merit of never having solicited any one to vote for him, or
     even intimated a wish that he should; and though no one shared
     more fully the confidence of a large circle of influential
     friends, his is the praise of never having solicited the
     slightest interest for his own preferment. Public honors
     sought him; he prized them only as the reward of faithful and
     virtuous performance, and regarded place as the means merely
     of bringing him in nearer contact with public duty. He made
     no popular harangues, seeking to avoid temptation of being
     betrayed into promises which he could not or would not fulfill,
     or into protestations which his heart would not sanction. He
     was never found rambling through his Congressional District,
     seeking to engineer himself into popular favor by means which
     self-respect and a just sense of the rights of others forbade.
     His rule was to attend punctually, once a year, if health
     permitted, the first court held in each county in his district
     after his return from Congress. There he met his constituents,
     there he received their greetings and heard their complaints;
     there, without simulation, gave a full account of his
     stewardship. In his intercourse with them he was easy, frank,
     and communicative, never withholding his opinion upon matters
     of public concernment, and always inviting them to the exercise
     of the utmost freedom of thought and of speech as the highest
     privilege of freemen and the surest guard of liberty. He never
     attended what, in his own characteristic language, he called "a
     man-dinner," regarding all such political pageants as having too
     much deceptious exterior, and as being too little calculated
     to better the popular heart or enlighten the popular mind. And
     when, upon his retirement from Congress, a large portion of his
     old constituents tendered him the compliment of a public dinner,
     he declined it in a brief note, saying that "he had never been
     at such a show, and that he had already received the most
     gratifying proofs of their good-will and esteem."

     To shun all ostentatious display and the emptiness of pride was,
     with him, a _principle_; and to do good to his fellow-men, and
     to society, a rule of action which he scrupulously observed,
     always abstaining, in the employment of his faculties, and
     in the use of the abundant goods with which frugal industry
     had blessed him, from the gratification of any passion, the
     indulgence of which prudence forbade to others less favored
     by fortune--thus teaching, by both precept and example, the
     necessity of temperance, frugality and industry, as the surest
     and best foundation for contentment and plenty.

     Of generous and unsuspicious nature, he never looked with
     uncharitableness on the actions of his fellow-men, but, with the
     strength and armor of a well-balanced mind, gave to them the
     calmest consideration and assigned to each its appropriate place
     in the scale of good and evil. Of philosophic mind, subdued
     temper, and great self-command, he met the incidents and
     accidents of life, not with stoic indifference, but with quiet
     submission--yielding nothing to passion, less to despondency,
     and looking to passing events as to a school for instruction,
     and deducing from them useful lessons to guide him in the
     pathway of life.

     Of him it may be emphatically said, that he thought for himself,
     but reposing, with confidence, on his discriminating sense of
     justice and integrity of purpose, he gave to all subjects the
     fullest deliberation, and never jumped to conclusions in advance
     of his judgment. But when he had formed an opinion he adhered to
     it with a fearless and virtuous inflexibility which yielded to
     no importunity or persuasion. This, with some, subjected him to
     the charge of obstinacy.

           "Virtue itself 'scapes not calumnious strokes."

* * * * * * * * * * *

     He was chary of promises, but always punctual and exact in
     performance; would give his bond or note to no man, contract no
     debts, would buy nothing without paying for it. "Pay as you go"
     was a law to him which he inflexibly observed. He mastered all
     his wants and kept them in strict subjection to reason. He would
     lend money to a friend, but never take interest. He classed
     labor among the virtues, never called for help in anything he
     could do himself, labored often in his fields at the head of his
     slaves, during the intervals allowed from public duties, and
     topped all his own tobacco, when at home at the proper season,
     till the infirmities of age rendered him unable to stand the
     heat of the sun. He was fond of the chase and indulged in his
     favorite amusement, the pursuit of the fox and the deer, as long
     as he lived.

     He spoke often in Congress--seldom long. His speeches were
     always to the point, strong, practical, sententious, often
     furnishing materials for the rhetorical displays of others. A
     most distinguished member once characterized his speeches as
     "dishes of the best material served up in the best manner."
     Unless prevented by bad health, he was always in his seat, voted
     on every question, was punctual in attendance upon committees,
     and ever ready at the call of duty.

     He was fond of reading, but his favorite study was man. "He made
     choice of human nature for the object of his thoughts." To this
     predilection did he owe that consummate knowledge of the human
     character, and those practical lessons of wisdom (of so much
     consequence in the conduct of life) which gave him rank among
     the "wisest and best."

     There is no surer test of merit than is found in the favorable
     opinions of the wise and the good, formed in the unrestricted
     freedom of social intercourse, when the seal of reserve is
     unloosed, and neither the pride of ostentation nor the dread
     of criticism or censure invites to concealment. Impressed with
     this truth, with a view to impart deeper interest to this
     sketch, by stamping the seal of verity upon the high and noble
     traits it portrays, recourse is had to the correspondence of
     eminent and distinguished statesmen, to whom all the avenues of
     knowledge were opened by close intimacy and long association in
     public life. Thomas Jefferson, whose monument is to be found in
     the Declaration of Independence, and in the enduring popular
     veneration which he so largely shared, but a few weeks after
     his first inauguration as President of the United States, in
     1801, thus writes to Mr. Macon: "And in all cases when an office
     becomes vacant in your State, as the distance would occasion a
     great delay, were you to wait to be regularly consulted, I shall
     be much obliged to you to recommend the best characters. There
     is nothing I am so anxious about as making the best possible
     appointments, and no case in which the best men are more liable
     to mislead us by yielding to the solicitations of applicants.
     For this reason your own spontaneous recommendation would be
     desirable." Thus did Mr. Jefferson stake an important portion of
     his administrative duties upon his high estimate of Mr. Macon's
     integrity and wisdom. Again, in another letter to Mr. Macon, the
     24th of March, 1826, Mr. Jefferson says: "My grandson, Thomas
     Jefferson Randolph, the bearer of this letter, on a journey to
     the North, will pass two or three days, perhaps, in Washington.
     I cannot permit him to do this without presenting him to a
     friend of so long standing, whom I consider as the strictest
     of our models of genuine republicanism. Let him be able to
     say, when you are gone, but not forgotten, that he had seen
     Nathaniel Macon, upon whose tomb will be written, '_Ultimus
     Romanorum!_' I only ask you to give him a hearty shake of the
     hand, on my account, as well as his own, assuring you he merits
     it as a citizen, to which I will add my unceasing affection to
     yourself." * * * * * * *

     Of Mr. Macon's claims to distinction, and to take rank on the
     roll of fame among the first of those who embellish the pages
     of American history, that sagacious statesman, John Randolph of
     Roanoke, whose perception of character was rarely at fault, in
     a letter to Mr. Macon, 14th December, 1828, thus speaks: "Your
     kind letter of the 10th is just now received. Many, many thanks
     for it. I am truly concerned at the causes which justly occasion
     you uneasiness; yet, when I reflect, I know of no man in the
     United States whom I would so soon be as yourself. There is no
     one who stands so fair in the public estimation; and, with the
     single exception of General Washington, there is not one of your
     times who will stand so fair with posterity as yourself. There
     are various sorts of reputations in the world. Some are obtained
     by cringing and puffing, some are actually begged for and given
     as an alms to importunity, some are carried by sheer impudence.
     No one has had a better opportunity of observing this than
     yourself; and there is no keener observer."

     Upon such testimonials as these, from such high and pure
     sources, the reputation of this just and virtuous man may safely
     repose. They bespeak a name and a fame which dignify humanity,
     and invest his memory with a usefulness scarcely less to be
     prized than his services while living.

     This sketch would be imperfect did it not notice the suggestive
     fact that in his latter years Mr. Macon had painful misgivings
     for the future of his country. 'Tis true he did not parade his
     opinions before the public gaze, preferring rather to encourage,
     not to alarm, the popular mind; but often when his thoughts
     were turned on what he deemed the political distempers and
     proclivities of the times, did he say to a friend in his own
     pregnant language: "I am afraid of all my labors have been for
     nothing"--obviously referring to his hardships in the tented
     field and his arduous and well-directed labors in the councils
     of his country, having devoted to these patriotic offices the
     greater part of a long life, commencing before manhood and
     ending with its close. At one period he reposed with entire
     confidence on the conviction that popular rights and public
     liberty were effectually secured by the Constitution of the
     United States, but this hopeful reliance failed him as early
     as 1824. In a debate, at that period, in the Senate of the
     United States, on the bill for a subscription to the Delaware
     and Chesapeake Canal, Mr. Macon said: "I rise with a full heart
     to take my last farewell of an old friend that I have always
     admired and loved--the Constitution of the United States. * * *
     In times of old, whenever any question touching the Constitution
     was brought forward, it was discussed day after day; that time
     is now passed. * * * Do a little now and a little then, and by
     and by you will render the government as powerful and unlimited
     as the British government was. We go on deciding these things
     without looking at the Constitution; and I suppose we will,
     in a few years, do as was done in England. We shall appoint a
     committee to hunt for precedents. My heart is full when I think
     of all this; and what is to become of us I cannot say. * * * My
     fears may be groundless; they may be nothing but the suggestions
     of a worn-out old man; but they are sincere, and I am alarmed
     for the safety of this government."

     In vain did he then, as often before, raise his warning voice
     against the dangers of inroads upon the Constitution. And now
     that the direst calamities are upon us, resulting from its
     utter overthrow and its base prostitution by wicked men to the
     worst and most wicked purposes--how loudly do they proclaim the
     unerring sagacity of his gifted and far-reaching mind!

       *       *       *       *       *

In person Macon was above the middle size, of florid but fair
complexion, keen blue eyes, animated but kindly countenance, not
very good-looking, but possessed of a symmetrical form and strength
of body. His manners were simple and unostentatious, but not without
sufficient dignity and firmness.

He was married early in life to Miss Hannah Plummer, of Warren, his
own county.

A good story is told of the way he won her. He proposed in her
presence to his rival that they should settle their claim to her
hand by a game of cards. This was agreed to and Macon lost. He
then raised up his hands, and with eyes fixed on the object of his
affection, exclaimed: "Hannah, notwithstanding I have lost you
fairly, love is superior to honesty: I cannot give you up." He won,
and was married to her October 9th, 1783.

He was elected to the House of Representatives in 1791, and served
continuously until 1815, when he was elected to the Senate. He was
also a trustee of the University and a justice of the peace, both of
which offices he gave up in 1828, at the time he resigned his seat
in the Senate.

He was not a party man, but believed in true democracy. He
complained often that some of the most vital parts of the
Constitution had been construed or enacted away before he left
Congress. He was a strict constructionist.

He presided over the Constitutional Convention of 1835, and took
part in its deliberations upon the more important questions. With
Gaston, he favored religious toleration, and made a speech against
the clause in the old Constitution prohibiting all but those of the
Protestant religion from holding any office of trust or profit in
North Carolina.

He was averse to having his picture taken. This peculiarity grew
on him, until in very old age he is said to have threatened a
persistent picture-maker with libel if, as he had suggested, he
should take his (Macon's) picture without his knowledge. Hardly
a growth so strong and rugged without some gnarls and knots. The
picture of him given in this book is from a portrait by Randall, and
is pronounced a good likeness by Mr. J. A. Egerton (an old neighbor)
and others who knew him intimately.

He paid his physician attending him in his last illness before he
died, and directed the details of his burial.

The _Life of Macon_ was written in 1840 by Edward R. Cotten; but
in his book of two hundred and seventy-two pages, Cotten says
comparatively little of Macon, and devotes most of his space to his
own views on many subjects, Macon's opinions and acts sometimes
furnishing the text. If the book was not entitled _Life of Macon_
it would be more interesting. As indicating what a Warren county
gentleman of much leisure and considerable reading, of good
associates and ordinary capacity, was thinking about in 1840, the
book ought to be preserved.

In order to give an idea of Macon's directness and simplicity, I
offer an abbreviated report of one of his speeches made in the
Senate, taken almost at random from the _Abridgment of the Debates
of Congress_. The time was January 20, 1820. The question was
the admission of Missouri, as well as Maine, into the Union. The
protected States urged an amendment restricting slavery in Missouri
before it should be admitted as a State, which amendment Mr. Macon
opposed with his usual sound sense. The speech is imperfectly
reported, but contains the germ of almost all that could have been
said on the subject from his standpoint.



Mr. Macon, of North Carolina, said that he agreed in opinion with
the gentleman who had declared this to be the greatest question ever
debated in the Senate, and that it ought to be discussed in the
calmest manner, without attempting to excite passion or prejudice.
It was, however, to be regretted that while some of those who
supported the motion were quite calm and cool they used a good many
hard words, which had no tendency to continue the good humor which
they recommended. He would endeavor to follow their advice, but
must be pardoned for not following their example in the use of hard
words. If, however, one should escape him, it would be contrary
to his intention, and an act of indiscretion, not of design or
premeditation. He hoped to examine the subject with great meekness
and humility.

The debate had brought forcibly to his recollection the anxiety
of the best patriots of the nation, when the present Constitution
was examined by the State conventions which adopted it. The public
mind was then greatly excited, and men in whom the people properly
placed the utmost confidence were divided. There was then no whisper
about disunion, for every one considered the Union as absolutely
necessary for the good of all. But to-day we have been told by the
honorable gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. Lowrie) that he would
prefer disunion rather than that slaves should be carried west of
the Mississippi. Age, Mr. Macon said, may have rendered him timid,
or education may have prevailed on him to attach greater blessings
to the Union and the Constitution than they deserve. If this be
the case, and it be an error, it was one he had no desire to be
free from even after what he had heard in this debate. Get clear
of this Union and it will be found vastly more difficult to unite
again and form another. There were no parties in the country at
the time it was formed, not even upon this question. The men who
carried the nation through the Revolution were alive, and members of
the Convention. Washington was at their head. Have we a Washington
now? No. Is there one in the nation to fill his place? No. His
like, if ever, has been rarely seen; nor can we, rationally, expect
another in our day. Let us not speak of disunion as an easy thing.
If ever it shall come, it will bring evils enough for the best men
to encounter, and all good men, in every nation, lovers of freedom,
will lament it. This Constitution is now as much an experiment as
it was in the year 1789. It went into operation about the time the
French Revolution commenced. The wars which grew out of that, and
the difficulties and perplexities which we had to encounter, in
consequence of the improper acts of belligerents, kept the people
constantly attached to the government. It has stood well the trial
of trouble and of war, and answered, in those times, the purposes
for which it was formed and adopted; but now it is to be tried, in
time of universal peace, whether a government within a government
can sustain itself and preserve the liberty of the citizen. When we
hear the exclamation "Disunion, rather than slaves be carried over
the Mississippi," it ought not to be forgotten that the union of the
people and the Confederation carried us through the Revolutionary
war (a war of which no man can wish to see the like again in this
country); but, as soon as peace came, the Confederation was found
to be entirely unfit for it; so unfit that it was given up for
the present Constitution. Destroy this Union, and what may be the
condition of the country, no man, not the most sagacious, can
even imagine. It will surely be much worse than it was before the
Constitution was adopted; and that must be well remembered.

The proposed amendment is calculated to produce geographical
parties, or why admonish us to discuss it with moderation and good
temper? No man who has witnessed the effect of parties nearly
geographical can wish to see them revived. Their acts formerly
produced uneasiness, to say the least of them, to good men of every
party. General Washington has warned us against them; but he is
now dead, and his advice may soon be forgotten; form geographical
parties and it will be discarded. Instead of forming sectional
parties it would be more patriotic to do them away. But party and
patriotism are not always the same. Town meetings and resolutions
to inflame one part of the nation against another can never benefit
the people, though they may gratify an individual. Leave the people
to form their own opinions, without the aid of inflammatory speeches
at town meetings, and they will always form them correctly. No town
meeting was necessary to inform or inflame the public mind against
the law giving members of Congress a salary instead of a daily
allowance. The people formed their own opinions, disapproved it,
and it was repealed. So they will always act if left to themselves.
Let not parties formed at home for State purposes be brought into
Congress to disturb and distract the Union. The general government
hitherto has been productive enough of parties to satisfy those
who most delight in them; so that they are not likely to be long
wanted in it. Enough, and more than enough, has been produced by the
difficulty of deciding what is and what is not within the limits of
the Constitution. And, at this moment, we have difficulties enough
to scuffle with without adding the present question. The dispute
between the Bank of the United States and the State banks, the want
of money by the government, the increase of taxes in the midst of
increasing debts, and the dispute with Spain might serve for this

All the States now have equal rights and all are content. Deprive
one of the least right which it now enjoys in common with the
others, and it will no longer be content. So, if the Government had
an unlimited power to put whatever conditions it pleased on the
admission of a new State into the Union, a State admitted with a
condition unknown to the others would not be content, no matter what
might be the character of the condition, even though it was not to
steal or commit murder. The difference in the terms of admission
would not be acceptable. All the new States have the same rights
that the old have, and why make Missouri an exception? She has not
done a single act to deserve it, and why depart, in her case, from
the great American principle that the people of each State can
govern themselves? No reason has been assigned for the attempt at
the departure, nor can one be assigned which would not apply as
strongly to Louisiana. In every free country that ever existed the
first violations of the principles of government were indirect and
not well understood, or supported with great zeal by only a part of
the people.

All the country west of the Mississippi was acquired by the same
treaty, and on the same terms, and the people in every part have
the same rights; but, if the amendment be adopted, Missouri will
not have the same rights which Louisiana now enjoys. She has been
admitted into the Union as a full sister, but her twin-sister,
Missouri, under the proposed amendment, is to be admitted as a
sister of the half-blood, or rather as a stepdaughter, under an
unjust stepmother--for what? Because she, as well as Louisiana,
performed well her part during the late war, and because she has
never given the general government any trouble. The operation
of the amendment is unjust as it relates to the people who have
moved there from other States. They carried with them the property
which was common in the States they left, secured to them by the
Constitution and laws of the United States as well as by the treaty.
There they purchased public lands and settled with their slaves,
without a single objection to their owning and carrying them; but
now, unfortunately for them, after they have been to the trouble
and expense of building houses and clearing plantations in the new
country it has been discovered that they had no right to carry their
slaves with them and that they must now move and make room for those
who are considered a better people. The country was bought with the
money of all, slaveholders as well as those who are not; and every
one knew when he bought land and moved with his property he had a
perfect right to do so. And no one till last session ever said to
the contrary or moved the restriction about slaves. The object now
avowed is to pen up the slaves and their owners, and not permit
them to cross the Mississippi to better their condition, where
there is room enough for all and good range for man and beast. (And
man is as much improved by moving and range as the beast of the
field.) But what is still more unaccountable, a part of the land
granted to the soldiers for their services in the late war was
laid off in Missouri expressly for the soldiers who had enlisted
in the Southern States, and would prefer living where they might
have slaves. These too are now to leave the country of their choice
and the land obtained by fighting the battles of the nation. Is
this just in a government of law, supported only by opinion? for
it is not pretended that it is a government of force. In the most
alarming state of our affairs at home--and some of them have an
ugly appearance--public opinion alone has corrected and changed
that which seemed to threaten disorder and ill-will into order and
good-will, except once, when the military was called out in 1791.
Let this be compared to the case of individuals and it will not be
found to be more favorable to the amendment than the real case just
stated. A and B buy a tract of land large enough for both and for
their children, and settle it, build houses and open plantations.
When they have got it in good way to live comfortably, after ten
or fifteen years, A thinks there is not too much for him and his
children, and that they can, a long time hence, settle and cultivate
the whole land. He then for the first time tells B that he has some
property he does not like, and that he must get clear of it or move.
B states the bargain. A answers that it is true he understood it so
until of late, but that move he must or get clear of his property;
for that property should not be in his way. The kind or quality of
property cannot affect the question.

A wise legislature will always consider the character, condition
and feelings of those to be legislated for. In a government and
people like ours this is indispensable. The question now under
debate demands this consideration. To a part of the United States,
and that part which supports the amendment, it cannot be important
except as it is made so by the circumstances of the time. In all
questions like the present, in the United States, the strong may
yield without disgrace even in their own opinion; the weak cannot.
Hence the propriety of not attempting to impose this new condition
on the people of Missouri. Their numbers are few compared to those
of the whole United States. Let the United States then abandon this
new scheme, let their magnanimity and not their power be felt by
the people of Missouri. The attempt to govern too much has produced
every civil war that ever has been, and probably every one that ever
may be. All governments, no matter what their form, want more power
and more authority, and all the governed want less government. Great
Britain lost the United States by attempting to govern too much and
to introduce new principles of governing. The United States would
not submit to the attempt, and earnestly endeavored to persuade
Great Britain to abandon it, but in vain. The United States would
not yield, and the result is known to the world. The battle is not
always to the strong nor the race to the swift. What reason have
we to expect that we can persuade Missouri to yield to our opinion
that did not apply as strongly to Great Britain? They are as near
akin to us as we were to Great Britain. They are "flesh of our flesh
and bone of our bone." But as to kin, when they fall out they do
not make up sooner than other people. Great Britain attempted to
govern us on a new principle, and we are attempting to establish a
new principle for the people of Missouri on becoming a State. Great
Britain attempted to collect a threepenny tax on the tea consumed
in the then colonies, which were not represented in Parliament;
and we to regulate what shall be property when Missouri becomes a
State, when she has no vote in Congress. The great English principle
of no tax without representation was violated in one case, and the
great American principle, that people are able to govern themselves,
will be violated if the amendment be adopted. Every free nation has
had some principle in its government to which more importance was
attached than to any other. The English principle was not to be
taxed without the consent of the people given in Parliament; the
American principle is the right of the people to form their State
governments in their own way, provided they be not inconsistent with
the Constitution of the United States. If the power in Congress to
pass the restriction was expressly delegated, and so clear that no
one could doubt it, in the present circumstances of the country,
it would still not be wise or prudent to do so; especially against
the consent of those who live in the territory. Their consent would
be more important to the nation than a restriction which would not
make one slave less, unless indeed they might be starved in the old

Let me not be understood as wishing or intending to create any alarm
as to the intentions of the people of Missouri. I know nothing of
them. But in examining the question, we ought not to forget our own
history nor the character of those who settle on our frontiers. Your
easy chimney-corner people, the timid and fearful, never move to
them. They stay where there is no danger from an Indian or any wild
beast. They have no desire to engage the panther or the bear. It is
the bravest of the brave and the boldest of the bold who venture
there. They go not to return.

The settling of Kentucky and Tennessee during the war of the
Revolution proves in the most satisfactory manner what they can do
and will undergo, and that they will not return. The few people who
first settled there had to contend, without aid from the States,
against all the Indians bordering on the United States except the
Chickasaw and Choctaw nations, and maintained their stations. The
northern tribes, unaided by the southern, attacked the United States
since the adoption of the Constitution and defeated two armies, and
it required a third to conquer them. The frontier people in the
Revolutionary war, as well as in the late, astonished everybody by
their great exploits. Vermont, though claimed in the Revolutionary
war by New Hampshire and New York, was not inferior to any of the
States in her exertions to support independence.

The gentleman from Pennsylvania will pardon me for stating that
that State had had some experience of its government managing a
few people who would not yield obedience to its authority, though
settled within its limits. They were obliged to compromise. I mean
the Wyoming settlers. Again, since this government was in operation,
a few people settled on the Indian lands: they were ordered to move
from them, but did not obey: the military was sent to burn their
cabins. The commanding officer told them his business, and very
humanely advised them to move what property they had out of them.
This they did, and their cabins were burnt. They waited till the
troops marched, and very soon after built new cabins on the same
places and to the same chimneys.

These facts are stated to show that a contest with a people who
believe themselves right and one with a government are very
different things. It would have been very gratifying to me to have
been informed by some one of the gentlemen who support the amendment
what is intended to be done if it be adopted, and the people of
Missouri will not yield, but go on and form a State government
(having the requisite number of inhabitants agreeably to the
ordinance), as Tennessee did, and then apply for admission into the
Union. Will she be admitted, as Tennessee was, on an equal footing
with the original States, or will the application be rejected as the
British government did the petitions of the old Congress?

If you do not admit her, and she will not return to the territorial
government, will you declare the people rebels, as Great Britain did
us, and then order them to be conquered for contending for the same
rights that every State in the Union now enjoys? Will you for this,
order the father to march against son and brother against brother?
God forbid! It would be a terrible sight to behold these near
relations plunging the bayonet into each other for no other reason
than because the people of Missouri wish to be on equal footing with
the people of Louisiana. When Territories they were equal. Those who
remember the Revolution will not desire to see another civil war in
our land. They know too well the wretched scenes it will produce. If
you should declare them rebels and conquer them, will that attach
them to the Union? No one can expect this. Then do not attempt to
do that for them which was never done for others, and that which no
State would consent for Congress to do for it. If the United States
are to make conquests, do not let the first be at home. Nothing is
to be got by American conquering American. Nor ought we to forget
that we are not legislating for ourselves, and that the American
character is not yielding when rights are concerned. But why depart
from the old way, which has kept us in quiet, peace and harmony,
every one living under his own vine and fig-tree and none to make
him afraid? Why leave the road of experience, which has satisfied
all and made all happy, to take this new way, of which we have no
experience? This way leads to universal emancipation, of which we
have no experience. The Eastern and Middle States furnish none.
For years before these States emancipated their slaves they had
but few, and of them a part were sold to the South. We have no
more experience or book-learning on this subject than the French
Convention had which turned the slaves of Santo Domingo loose. Nor
can we foresee the consequences which may result from this new
motion clearer than the Convention did in their decree.

A clause in the Declaration of Independence has been read declaring
that "all men are created equal." Follow that sentiment, and does
it not lead to universal emancipation? If it will justify putting
an end to slavery in Missouri, will it not justify it in the
old States? Suppose the plan followed and all the slaves turned
loose, and the Union to continue, is it certain that the present
Constitution would last long? The rich would in such circumstances
want titles and hereditary distinctions, the negro food and raiment,
and they would be as much or more degraded than in their present
condition. The rich might hire these wretched people, and with them
attempt to change the government by trampling on the rights of those
who have only property enough to live comfortably. Opinions have
greatly changed in some of the States in a few years. The time has
been when those now called slaveholding States were thought to be
the firm and steadfast friends of the people and of liberty. Then
they were opposing an administration and a majority in Congress
supported by a sedition law; then there was not a word heard, at
least from one side, about those who actually did most toward
changing the administration and the majority in Congress, and they
were from slaveholding States. And now it would be curious to know
how many members of Congress actually hold seats in consequence of
their exertions at the time alluded to. Past services are always
forgotten when new principles are to be introduced.

It is a fact that the people who move from the non-slaveholding to
slaveholding States, when they became slaveholders, by purchase or
marriage, expect more labor from them than those do who are brought
up among them.

To the gentleman from Rhode Island (Mr. Burrill) I tender my hearty
thanks for his liberal and true statement of the treatment of
slaves in the Southern States. His observations leave but little
for me to add, which is this, that the slaves gained as much by
independence as the free. The old ones are better taken care of than
any poor in the world, and treated with decent respect by their
white acquaintances. I sincerely wish that he and the gentleman
from Pennsylvania (Mr. Roberts) would go home with me, or some
other Southern member, and witness the meeting between slaves and
owner and see the glad faces and hearty shaking of hands. This
is well described in General Moultrie's _Memoirs of the American
Revolution_, in which he gives the account of his reception by
his slaves the first time he went home after he was exchanged. He
was made prisoner at the surrender of Charleston. Could he (Mr.
Macon) have procured the book in the city he intended to have
read it to show the attachment of the slave to his owner. A fact
shall be stated. An excellent friend of mine--he too, like the
other characters which have been mentioned in the debate, was a
Virginian--had business in England which made it necessary that he
should go to that country himself or send a trusty agent. He could
not go conveniently, so he sent one of his slaves, who remained
there near a year. Upon his return he was asked by his owner how
he liked the country, and if he would have liked to stay there? He
replied that to oblige him he would have stayed; the country was
the finest he ever saw; the land was worked as nice as a square in
a garden; they had the finest horses and carriages, and houses, and
everything; but that the white servants abused his country. What
did they say? They said we owed them (the English) a heap of money,
and would not pay; to which he added, their chief food was mutton;
he saw very little bacon there. The owner can make more free in
conversation with his slave and be more easy in his company than
the rich man, where there is no slave, with the white hireling who
drives his carriage. He has no expectation that the slave will, for
the free and easy conversation, expect to call him fellow-citizen or
act improperly.

Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Virginia have been mentioned by
Senators in this debate, and it has frequently been said that the
two first had emancipated their slaves; from which an inference
seems to be drawn that the other might have done so: emancipation to
these gentlemen seems to be quite an easy task. It is so when there
are but very few slaves; and would be more easy did not the color
everywhere place the blacks in a degraded state. Where they enjoy
the most freedom they are there degraded. The respectable whites do
not permit them to associate with them or to be of their company
when they have parties. But if it be so easy a task, how happens it
that Virginia, which before the Revolution endeavored to put an end
to the African slave-trade, has not attempted to emancipate? It will
not be pretended that the great men of other States were superior or
greater lovers of liberty than her Randolph, the first President of
the first Congress, her Washington, her Henry, her Jefferson, or her
Nelson. None of these ever made the attempt, and their voices ought
to convince every one that it is not an easy task in that State. And
is it not wonderful, that if the Declaration of Independence gave
authority to emancipate, the patriots who made it never proposed
any plan to carry it into execution? This motion, whatever is
pretended by its friends, must lead to it. And is it not equally
wonderful that if the Constitution gives the authority, this is the
first attempt ever made, under either, by the Federal Government
to exercise it? For if under either the power is given, it will
apply as well to States as to Territories. If either intended to
give it, is it not still more wonderful that it is not given in
direct terms? The gentleman would not then be put to the trouble of
searching the Articles of Confederation, the Constitution and the
laws for a sentence or a word to form a few doubts. If the words of
the Declaration of Independence be taken as part of the Constitution
(and that they are no part of it is as true as that they are no
part of any other book), what will be the condition of the Southern
country when this shall be carried into execution? Take the most
favorable view which can be supposed, that no convulsion ensue,
that nothing like massacre or war of extermination take place as in
Santo Domingo, but that whites and blacks do not marry and produce
mulatto States, will not the whites be compelled to move and leave
their lands and houses and abandon the country to the blacks? And
are you willing to have black members of Congress? But if the scenes
of Santo Domingo should be re-acted, would not the tomahawk and the
scalping-knife be mercy?

[Illustration: ARCHIBALD D. MURPHY.]



Archibald D. Murphy was, in the generation immediately preceding
our own, one of the most eminent characters in North Carolina. In
many of the attributes of a statesman and philosopher he excelled
all his contemporaries in the State, and, in every department
of exertion to which his mind was applied, he had few equals or
seconds. As an advocate at the bar, a judge on the bench, a reporter
of the decisions of the highest court of justice, a legislator of
comprehensive intelligence, enterprise and patriotism, a literary
man of classic taste, attainments and style in composition, his
fame is a source of just pride to his friends and his country. But
for the paucity of our information, and the pressure of time and
circumstances in the preparation of this sketch, it would be a labor
of love to review his earlier years and trace the development and
progress of his career in youth. Neither materials nor leisure for
this topic, however, are now at our command.

His father, Colonel Archibald Murphy, was a conspicuous citizen of
the county of Caswell, and bore a part in the military service in
the war of the Revolution, for which the citizens of that county,
and especially of his vicinity, were greatly distinguished. The
residence of his father was about two miles from Red House, in the
congregation of Rev. Mr. McAden, a Presbyterian minister, whose son,
the late Dr. John McAden, married the daughter of Colonel Murphy,
by whom he left descendants who still survive. At this place, some
seven miles from Milton, Archibald DeBow Murphy, the subject of
our memoir, was born, we believe, in the year 1777. Of the other
children of his parents there were two brothers and four sisters.
His education, preparatory to admission into the infant University
of the State at Chapel Hill, was received in the school of the Rev.
Dr. David Caldwell, of Guilford county. Of the opportunities for
education during his youth, Mr. Murphy himself informs us that
before the University went into operation, in 1795, there were not
more than three schools in the State in which the rudiments of a
classical education could be acquired, and that the most prominent
and useful of these was that of Dr. Caldwell; that the deficiency
of books for literary instruction, except in the libraries of a few
lawyers in the commercial towns, was still greater, and by way of
illustration he relates that after completing his course of studies
under Dr. Caldwell he spent nearly two years without finding any
books to read except some old works on theological subjects, and
that then chance threw in his way Voltaire's history of Charles XII.
of Sweden, an odd volume of _Roderick Random_ and an abridgment
of _Don Quixote_. These constituted his whole stock of literary
furniture when he entered college in 1796. When we remember that
he afterwards became capable of writing like Goldsmith, and with
an ease and rapidity that Goldsmith could not have equaled, we
can but recall these reminiscences of earlier times and encourage
the diligent student by his example. With a mind delighted by a
consciousness of advancement in knowledge, and spirit of emulation,
he profited greatly by three years of study in the University, and
graduated with the highest distinction in 1799.

Such was the reputation acquired by him in this period that he
was at once appointed Professor of Ancient Languages in his _alma
mater_--a situation in which he continued the three succeeding
years, and in which he matured that scholarship and taste for
liberal studies which so much distinguished him among his
professional brethren and the educated gentlemen of the State.
His admission to the bar took place in 1802, after a course of
professional reading so limited that the first judge to whom he
applied (the signatures of two being then necessary for a license)
refused to examine him; and (as he was accustomed to amuse his
friends by relating) his success, only a few months later, in
gaining admission to the practice in all the courts at once, was
owing to the good fortune of bearing a letter from a friend, at the
succeeding term of the Court of Conference, to one of the judges,
a gentleman of proverbial benevolence and kindness, who conducted
the examination, or interview, in his own chamber, and procured the
signatures of his brethren without so much having been requested
or expected--so little strictness was observed towards the few
applicants then entering the profession.

But if he was allowed admission _ex gratia_, and without the
requisite amount of learning, he was not long in supplying the
deficiency. The powers of mind and eagerness in quest of knowledge
which had been exhibited in his scholastic studies enabled him
to make rapid progress in the law. His professional studies were
directed by William Duffy, Esq., an eminent lawyer, then residing
in Hillsborough, to whom he was ever afterwards affectionately
attached, and to whose memory he paid a grateful tribute among
his sketches of public and professional men of North Carolina, in
an oration before the Literary Societies of the University in his
latter years. Mr. Murphy advanced rapidly to the first rank of the
advocates of his day, and notwithstanding his turning aside, to the
indulgence of his tastes for general literature, his enlightened
labors and bright career in legislation, his promotion and service
on the bench for two years, his decayed health and irregular
attendance on the courts in his latter days, he maintained his
position in the public estimation, even to the end of his life. When
it is remembered that among his competitors at one time or another,
for more than a quarter of a century, were Archibald Henderson,
Cameron, Norwood, Nash, Seawell, Yancey, Ruffin, Badger, Hawks,
Mangum, and Morehead, it must be admitted that he was at a bar where
the remark of Pinkney that "it was not a place where a false and
fraudulent reputation for talents can be maintained," was fully
justified. His practice for many years was not exceeded by that of
any gentleman in the State, and his success corresponded with its
extent. Both his examination of witnesses and argument of causes
before juries on the circuit could not be excelled in skillfulness.
He had a Quaker-like plainness of aspect, a scrupulous cleanness
and neatness in an equally plain attire, an habitual politeness and
a subdued simplicity of manner which at once won his way to the
hearts of juries, while no Greek dialectician had a more ready and
refined ingenuity or was more fertile in every resource of forensic
gladiatorship. His manner of speaking was never declamatory or in
any sense boisterous, but in the style of earnest and emphatic
conversation, so simple and apparently undesigning that he seemed
to the jury to be but interpreting their thoughts rather than
enunciating his own, yet with a correctness and often elegance of
diction which no severity of criticism could improve. A pattern of
politeness in all his intercourse, public and private, he could
torture an unwilling or corrupt witness into a full exposure of his
falsehood, and often had him impaled before he was aware of his
design; no advocate had at his command more effective raillery, wit,
and ridicule to mingle with his arguments.

Many of his speeches in the _nisi prius_ courts are still
recollected by the profession and the people of middle age in the
Fourth Circuit, and are spoken of with great admiration. One of the
last of these in which, though he was then broken down by misfortune
and enfeebled by disease, the fires of his genius and eloquence
shone out in the lustre of his palmiest days, was made in the case
of _Burrow_ vs. _Worth_, in the Superior Court of Randolph in 1830
or 1831. It was an action for malicious prosecution against Dr.
David Worth, a prominent physician, charging him with having falsely
and maliciously caused the plaintiff, Burrow, to be presented for
the murder of one Carter, of whose wife it was pretended he was
the _paramour_. The plaintiff sought to show that not only was the
accusation against him false, but that Worth was himself accessory
to the murder which he alleged had been committed by the wife of
Carter, by poison, which he (Worth) had furnished to her for that
purpose, and he supported his complaint with a well-combined scheme
of perjury and fraud which it required no ordinary skill and courage
to baffle. His chief witness was a married woman who was found to
be a member of a church, whose general character was vouched by her
acquaintances to be good, and who deposed to a conversation between
Worth and the wife of Carter, in which it was agreed that for a
base motive he would provide her with arsenic with which she was to
poison her husband. It was further shown, and this was true, that
Worth had attended the deceased as a physician at the time of the
alleged conspiracy against his life, so that the opportunity, at
least, was not wanting. Such was the aspect worn by the case when
this witness was tendered to Mr. Murphy, the defendant's counsel,
for cross-examination. By a series of questions as to the time,
place and circumstances, the furniture in the room in which the
conversation was located, the relative positions of the parties
and the witness, their previous acquaintanceship, the course of
the dialogue between them, _et cetera_, he involved her in such a
maze of inconsistencies, contradictions, and improbabilities as
to expose the whole story as a base fabrication. The privilege of
cross-examination is often abused, though there is a consistency in
truth and incongruity in falsehood which, even in the case of the
least resolute witnesses, rarely allows such abuse to do much harm.
All perceived, in the case in question, that it was one of the great
tests of truth which cannot safely be dispensed with in judicial
proceedings. The evidence, as usually happens in such cases, was
quite voluminous; we have but delineated its most prominent feature.
Having for his client a personal friend, threatened to be victimized
by a foul conspiracy for daring to perform one of the highest duties
of a citizen, in bringing at least a supposed murderer to justice,
Mr. Murphy in his defense, inspired by the theme, is said to have
delivered a speech which has never been surpassed in the forensic
displays of the State. Analysis, denunciation, wit, ridicule,
pathos, invective were in turn poured forth with such telling
effect that not only was the defendant triumphantly acquitted, but
it would have been dangerous for the plaintiff had the question
of his life or death been in the hands of the jury. The audience
alternately convulsed with laughter, bathed in tears, or burning
with indignation, were enraptured with his eloquence, and could not
be restrained from demonstrations of applause.

Mr. Murphy delighted in the equity practice of his profession, and
was accustomed to speak of this branch of our jurisprudence as
the application of the rules of moral philosophy to the practical
affairs of men. More of the pleadings in equity causes within the
sphere and time of his practice will be found in his handwriting
than in that of any other solicitor, and, with two or three
exceptions, among those named above, he was by far the most adept
as an equity pleader. He wrote with facility and accuracy, even
amid the crowd of courts and confusion of clients, and his neat and
peculiar chirography, to those a little accustomed to it, was as
legible as print.

In the year 1818 he was elected by the General Assembly a judge of
the Superior Courts, and rode the circuits in that capacity for
two years, when he resigned and returned to the practice of his
profession. Under a clause in the criminal law establishing the
present Supreme Court system, passed that session, which authorized
the Governor by special commission to detail a judge of the Superior
Court to sit in stead of a judge of the Supreme Court, in causes
where any one of their number had been of counsel or had an interest
in the result, he was commissioned by the Governor for this service,
and presided in the Supreme Court in several causes, in place of
Judge Henderson, who had been recently elected from the bar. This
provision of the law, being afterwards thought to be in conflict
with that clause of the Constitution which requires the judges
of the Supreme Court to be elected by the General Assembly, was
repealed. In his office as a judge he well sustained his reputation
for learning and ability, which had been so well established at the
bar, and attracted the admiration of the profession and the people
by the courtesy, patience, dignity and justice which characterized
his administration of the laws. Before taking leave of his career
as a lawyer it is proper to mention his tribute to his profession
in three volumes of reports of the Supreme Court of the State,
embracing the decisions of cases of interest from 1804 to 1819.

From 1812 to 1818, inclusive, Mr. Murphy was continually a Senator
from the county of Orange in the General Assembly, and on this new
theatre shone more conspicuously than he had done in his profession.
He inaugurated a new era in the public policy of the State, and for
many years exerted a greater influence in her counsels than any
other citizen. Judging from the public documents which he has left
behind him in advocacy of this policy, no man ever brought into
our legislative halls a more ardent spirit of patriotism, a more
thorough survey and comprehension of her situation and wants, or
proposed bolder or more intelligent measures for her relief. Whether
these measures failed from error in their conception or timidity in
his contemporaries to meet and boldly sustain them, the historian
must pronounce that his reports and other writings in regard to them
are the noblest monuments of philosophic statesmanship to be found
in our public archives since the days of the Revolution. From 1815
to 1823, either as chairman of a committee in the Legislature or of
the Board of Internal Improvement, he annually prepared a report
on the public policy of the State in relation to her improvement
in the means of transportation, and in 1819 he published a memoir
on improvements contemplated and the resources and finances of the
State, dedicated to his friend John Branch, then her Governor;
any one of which papers would have done honor to DeWitt Clinton
or Calhoun, the champions of internal improvement in the State
and Federal governments, respectively, during that period. Fully
appreciating the condition of the world resulting from the general
peace consequent on the battle of Waterloo and the overthrow of the
first Napoleon (since which time there has been a greater advance
in all the useful arts and diffusion of the comforts of life among
mankind than in any five preceding centuries), he applied all the
energies of his intrepid and well-furnished mind to the task of
devising how his native State should most profit in this universal
calm, confer the greatest good on the greatest number of her people,
and resume her proper rank in the Union of which she was a member.
His solution of this important problem he seems to have summed up
in three propositions, namely: first by improving her means of
transportation, in deepening her inlets from the ocean, opening
her rivers for navigation, connecting these rivers by canals, and
constructing turnpike or macadamized roads, so as to concentrate
all her trade at two or three points within her own limits; second,
by building up commercial cities of her own at these points, with
a view to commercial independence of other States, to the better
regulation and control of her currency and exchanges, and to
cherish and stimulate a just State pride; third, by a system of
education commensurate with the State's necessities, embracing
primary schools, academies for instruction in the higher branches,
the University by greatly enlarging its accommodations and course
of instruction, and an asylum for the deaf and dumb. On this last
subject of education he made a report to the General Assembly in
1817, comprehending these several topics, from which, since our
limits will not permit us to recur to it again, we make one or two
brief extracts as exhibitions of his style, his public spirit and
his noble benevolence. The University then was, from causes which he
details, in a state of extreme depression. He says: "When the pride
of the State is awakening and an honorable ambition is cherished for
her glory, an appeal is made to the patriotism and generous feelings
of the Legislature in favor of an institution which in all civilized
nations has been regarded as the nursery of moral greatness and the
palladium of civil liberty. That people who cultivate the sciences
and the arts with most success acquire a most enviable superiority
over others. Learned men by their discussions and works give a
lasting splendor to national character; and such is the enthusiasm
of man that there is not an individual, however humble in life
his lot may be, who does not feel proud to belong to a country
honored with great men and magnificent institutions. It is due to
North Carolina, it is due to the great men who first proposed the
foundation of the University, to foster it with parental fondness,
and to give to it an importance commensurate with the high destinies
of the State." We may here remark that although much improvement
has been made in the interim, yet even after the lapse of forty-odd
years the outline of a system of studies in the University, which
he therein proposed, has not been filled up. Of the necessity of
public instruction for poor children he says: "Such has always been,
and probably always will be, the allotment of human life, that the
poor will form a large portion of every community; and it is the
duty of those who manage the affairs of a State to extend relief to
the unfortunate part of our species in every way in their power.
Providence, in the impartial distribution of its favors, whilst it
has denied to the poor many of the comforts of life, has generally
bestowed upon them the blessing of intelligent children. Poverty is
the school of genius; it is a school in which the active powers of
man are developed and disciplined, and in which that moral courage
is acquired which enables him to toil with difficulties, privations
and want. From this school generally come forth those men who act
the principal parts upon the theatre of life; men who impress a
character upon the age in which they live. But it is a school which
if left to itself runs wild; vice in all its depraved forms grows up
in it. The State should take this school under her special charge,
and nurturing the genius which there grows in rich luxuriance, give
to it an honorable and profitable direction. Poor children are the
peculiar property of the State, and by proper cultivation they will
constitute a fund of intellectual and moral worth which will greatly
subserve the public interest."

His greatest and most persevering exertions, however, were devoted
to the subject of internal improvement. His reports and memoir on
that and kindred topics were examined with high commendation in the
year 1822, in an article in the North American Review, then under
the editorial charge of the Hon. Edward Everett. It must be borne
in mind that in that day the modern resource of the railroad for
transportation at long distances had entered the contemplation of
no one in Europe or America; sluices, canals and turnpike roads
were the only improvements deemed to be practical. To effect these
in the most approved methods, Mr. Hamilton Fulton, an engineer of
much reputation, was brought into the service of the State from
Europe, at a salary of twelve hundred pounds sterling ($6,000) per
annum, who made surveys of all the harbors and rivers, and of many
routes for roads in all sections of the State. The main features of
the plan of Mr. Murphy, and to which he obtained the approbation
of Mr. Fulton, after the improvement of inlets at Nag's Head (if
practicable), Ocracoke, Beaufort, Swansborough, and Wilmington,
consisted in opening for batteau navigation the rivers Roanoke, Tar,
Neuse, Cape Fear, Yadkin, Catawba, Broad, and sundry tributaries,
and by canals to join the Roanoke and Tar or Pamlico, and Neuse, so
as to ship the productions of the country watered by each of them
from Beaufort; and to unite by similar means the Cape Fear with
Lumber River, and at a more northerly point with the Yadkin, and
the Yadkin with the Catawba, so as to bring to the mouth of the
Cape Fear the commerce of our whole watershed trending from the
Blue Ridge, except that of Broad River (which was to be opened into
South Carolina), and thus making commercial marts of Fayetteville
and Wilmington. Places and sections more remote from these waters
were to be supplied by roads. The boldness and comprehensiveness of
this plan, providing, as it proposed to do, for the whole State,
with the only facilities then known to science, must be seen by
all. Whether it was practicable, and if so, at what cost, was a
question for engineers. It was in all probability practicable at a
cost not exceeding the amount which up to this time the State has
invested in railroads, and if accomplished it would evidently have
been a great advance beyond the cart and wagon, then the only means
of transportation in use. Its very comprehensiveness, however, was
probably the reason of its failure. To conciliate favor, inadequate
appropriations for various parts of it in all sections of the
State were made at once, and work was commenced under incompetent
supervision, which resulted in failure. After a few years' trial
the whole was abandoned, and the engineer, whose salary had at no
time been less than twice that of the Governor of the State, was
discharged. Its miscarriage is the less to be regretted since the
iron rail and steam car, then undeveloped in the womb of time, would
have superseded, if not supplanted, the most perfect works which it
contemplated, so far as regards inland transportation at least. But
the fame of its author as a patriot, statesman and sage should not
be dimmed by mistakes or failures in the details of its execution
or the advances made in the science of engineering in a subsequent
age. The expenditures upon it from the State treasury, including
the salaries of the principal engineer and assistants, did not
exceed $50,000, and this was repaid tenfold in the topographical
and statistical information which it elicited and caused to be
published, and in the loyal and true North Carolina patriotism
aroused by Mr. Murphy's discussions of the subject in the hearts
of her people. We have recurred to this matter of expenditure
with some care, for the reason that before the subject of internal
improvement became popular in the State, it was the custom of its
opponents to hold up Mr. Murphy's scheme of improvements as a kind
of South Sea Bubble, from which the treasury had been well-nigh
rendered bankrupt.

While immersed in endeavors to press forward those projects of
improvement, and at the same time assiduously laboring in his
profession, either as a judge on the bench or a lawyer at the
bar, Mr. Murphy conceived the purpose of writing the history of
his native State. He had studied her interests by every light of
political economy and every record of the past within his reach, was
personally acquainted with nearly every citizen of intelligence,
and his talents, public spirit and engaging manners had rendered
him a favorite among the surviving officers and soldiers of the
Revolution. This latter circumstance had made him acquainted
with the traditions of that period, and the great injustice by
omission and commission which the State had suffered at the hands
of the writers of history. He seems to have undertaken this task
with the same motives of zealous patriotism which had inspired
his legislative action. In a letter to General Joseph Graham, of
Lincoln, dated July 20, 1821, he says:

"Your letter to Colonel Conner first suggested to me the plan of a
work which I will execute if I live. It is a work on the history,
soil, climate, legislation, civil institutions, literature, etc.,
of this State. Soon after reading your letter I turned my attention
to the subject in the few hours which I could snatch from business,
and was surprised to find what abundant materials could, with care
and diligence, be collected--materials which if well disposed would
furnish matter for one of the most interesting works that has been
published in this country. We want such a work. We neither know
ourselves nor are we known to others. Such a work, well executed,
would add very much to our standing in the Union, and make our State
respectable in our own eyes. Amidst the cares and anxieties which
surround me, I cannot cherish a hope that I could do more than
merely guide the labors of some man who would take up the work after
me and prosecute it to perfection. I love North Carolina, and love
her more because so much injustice has been done to her. We want
pride. We want independence. We want magnanimity. Knowing nothing of
ourselves, we have nothing in our history to which we can turn with
conscious pride. We know nothing of our State and care nothing about
it. We want some great stimulus to put us all in motion, and induce
us to waive little jealousies, and combine in one general march to
one great purpose."

His habits of labor, his readiness as a writer, and addiction to
literary exercise as a pleasure, the philosophical cast of his
mind, and above all, his sentiment of devotion to North Carolina,
eminently fitted him for this enterprise; and he seems to have
entered upon it with his characteristic industry and zeal. He
gathered materials for the work from a great variety of sources,
public and private, within and without the State. At his instance
the Legislature, through the intervention of Mr. Gallatin, then the
Minister of the United States in Great Britain, caused the office
of the Board of Trade and Plantations and the State Paper Office
in London to be explored, and an index of the documents therein,
pertaining to our colonial history, to be furnished; literary men
in other States, including Mr. Madison and Mr. Jefferson, readily
seconded his efforts by supplying information sought of them; the
families of deceased public men in the State, including those of
Governor Burke, Governor Samuel Johnston, and Mr. Hooper, opened
all their papers to his inspection; and many officers of the
Revolution, then living, among whom were Colonel William Polk,
General Lenoir, Major Donoho, of Caswell, General Graham, and divers
others, undertook to contribute to him their personal reminiscences
of the war. The memoranda of the gentleman last named, prepared in
accordance with a request of Mr. Murphy, were given to the public
in the pages of our _University Magazine_ in the year 1856. Upon
application of Mr. Murphy, by memorial, the General Assembly at
the session of 1826 granted him authority to raise by lottery a
sufficient sum for the publication of his contemplated history,
the plan of which he set forth in detail. We regret that we have
not at hand a copy of this memorial to lay before our readers the
outline of the work as then prepared. It was more voluminous, and
embraced a greater variety of topics than would have been preferred
by the generality of readers, but its very magnitude showed the
comprehension of his genius and the intrepidity of his mind. Beyond
one or two chapters on the Indian tribes of the State, he appears to
have done but little towards its composition, though his collection
of materials, directing attention to the subject, and rescuing
from oblivion much that was passing away, rendered the undertaking
itself a great public benefit. Decayed health and a ruined fortune
arrested him in mid-career, put a stop to his favorite enterprise,
and clouded with poverty and adversity the evening of his days.

Among his public employments may be classed his mission to Tennessee
as the representative of the University in 1822. The chief
endowments of the University from the State consisted in escheats,
or the estates of persons dying without heirs or next of kin,
which passed to the State by a prerogative of sovereignty. In her
deed of cession to the United States of her Tennessee territory,
North Carolina had reserved the right to satisfy the claims of her
citizens for military service in the army of the Revolution, by
grants of land in the ceded territory, and where her soldiers had
died leaving no heirs, or none who appeared and made claim within
a limited period, their titles were considered as escheats, and
vested by law in the Board of Trustees, and warrants were issued by
the authorities of North Carolina, in the names of such soldiers
for the benefit of the institution. The State of Tennessee took
exception to these proceedings of North Carolina, alleging that
they were in conflict with the provisions of the deed of cession,
and, since her admission into the Union, with her sovereign rights
as an independent State. The controversy became a serious one, and
Mr. Murphy was sent to confer with the Legislature of Tennessee
respecting it, in the year 1822. He was received with the courtesy
due to his high character and the important interest he represented,
and was heard upon the subject at the bar of the Legislature on two
successive days. An adjustment of the dispute succeeded, by which
a portion of the claims of the University were yielded for the
benefit of a similar institution at Nashville, and the residue were
confirmed. From the sales of the lands thus acquired have arisen
a large portion of the investment in bank stocks, on which this
institution is at present maintained.

As a literary character Mr. Murphy deserves to be classed among the
first men of the State; and among those who, like himself, devoted
their time laboriously to professional and public employments, he
has had few superiors in literature in the nation. In the Latin,
Greek, and French languages he attained such proficiency that till
the close of his life he read the standard authors with pleasure
and for amusement, and with the best of the English classics few
were more familiar. To this, though self-taught, he added no
inconsiderable attainments in science. As an epistolary writer he
had no equal among his contemporaries, and in all his compositions
there was an ease, simplicity, and at the same time an elegance of
expression which showed him to be master of his native tongue. When
it is known that a large part of his life was passed in taverns,
on the circuit, where he was immersed in business--and when not
so immersed, such was his proverbial urbanity and kindliness of
nature that his rooms were the resort of all seeking advice and
consultation, as well as of his circle of friends in every county,
attracted by the charms of his conversation--his acquirements are
a marvel to those less studious or less imbued with a true love
of letters. His oration before the two Literary Societies of the
University, in 1827, is a fair exponent of his style of writing, and
also indicates his favorite studies, the subjects of his admiration,
his enthusiastic American sentiment, his characteristic benevolence
and kindness towards young men, and that unaffected modesty which
was so remarkable a virtue in his character. Yet it is tinged with
a vein of sadness, as if life for him was approaching its twilight
and he was walking among the graves of the dead, some of them his
comrades, whom he was soon to follow. Notwithstanding it was the
first in the series of these discourses before the Societies, it
has never been surpassed in appropriateness and interest by those
of any of his successors, though among them have been many of the
most distinguished scholars in the State. Its commendation by Chief
Justice Marshall, in a letter to the author, published with the
second edition, stamps its portraits of public characters with his
approbation and renders it historical.

To the possession of genius in an eminent degree he united some of
its infirmities. A sanguine temper, a daring confidence in results,
a reliance on the apparent prosperity of the times, involved him
in pecuniary obligations, many of them, perhaps, of a speculative
character, which eventuated in disaster and swept away his estate.
A little later came an attack of chronic rheumatism, from which
he suffered much, and was often incapacitated for business during
the last half-dozen years of his life. But during this season of
adversity he struggled with a brave heart against the storms of
fate. With a pallid cheek and disabled limbs he made his appearance
in the courts, where, as we have seen, his gifted mind occasionally
shone out in all its meridian splendor; and when this was not
practicable, the hours of pain and misfortune were beguiled, if not
solaced, by the pursuit of those noble studies which had been the
delight of his leisure in the days of his prosperity.

He died in Hillsborough, then his place of residence, on February 3,
1832, and is interred in the graveyard of the town, a few feet from
the door of the Presbyterian church, and nearly in front of it. No
monument marks his resting-place. His sons, Dr. V. Moreau Murphy, of
Macon, Mississippi, and Lieutenant P. U. Murphy, of the navy of the
United States, are his only surviving children.

       *       *       *       *       *

The work and worth and greatness of Murphy have never been duly
appreciated even in his own State; and yet, when our history is
written, if greatness is measured by the public benefit it confers,
perhaps Macon, Murphy, and Vance will stand together as the three
greatest men the State has yet produced.

In common-sense statecraft, in the choice and application of
principles to existing conditions, and in the prophetic knowledge
of the fruit they would bring forth after their kind, Macon was
greatest. In scholarship and breadth of culture, combined with
originality to conceive the most far-reaching policies of public
welfare, Murphy was greatest. In the knowledge of men, in his
boundless wealth of human sympathy, as the advocate and champion
of the people's rights, Vance was greatest. But Graham had a far
greater knowledge and grasp of the details of public business than
any of them; and Badger, in his ability to rapidly acquire and
assimilate law and learning, easily outstripped them all.

The sensibilities of Murphy were too refined for what is called
success in practical politics. His love and enthusiasm for the
public weal were so great that he forgot himself--but let us never
forget him.

If Murphy had lived to write, as he intended, the history of North
Carolina, he would have made all the world know and acknowledge that
some of her people began the Revolution against British tyranny four
years before the battle of Lexington. Perhaps he would have made it
too plain for cavil that more than a year before Jefferson penned
his immortal document, the spirit that resisted Tryon had formed
a government at Charlotte independent of British rule, and that,
in the strongest probability, the authors of that government had
prepared the way for it by a declaration of independence.

Leavened by that spirit, the people of the whole State, through
their convention at Halifax, on May 12, 1776, proposed, and on May
22 adopted, a resolution providing for "declaring independence" in
concurrence with the "other colonies"--the first step taken in that
direction by any of the colonies.

Perhaps his clear voice could have been heard above the conflicting
jargon about the Regulators' War. The threadbare statement that
the spirit of these people was so thoroughly crushed by Tryon's
dress-parade campaign that they all took sides with the British in
the Revolutionary war might have been thrashed a little thinner.
Perhaps he would have found at King's Mountain some of the fifteen
hundred families who fled west after the battle of Alamance.

Mrs. E. E. Moffitt of this city (a granddaughter of Judge Murphy's
sister, Mrs. John Daniel) is my authority for the statement that
Peter S. Ney--whom some believe to have been none other than the
great Marshal Ney--was Murphy's amanuensis. It was a singular fate
which drew these two peculiar men of genius together.

There is grim humor in his pathetic attempt to enkindle a love
of history and education in this State by appealing to the love
of gain. His other scheme, internal improvements, was equally
chimerical; not because it lacked intrinsic merit, but because the
times and people had changed. He had not calculated on the soporific
effect of indirect taxes upon the unpreferred States. It was too
early for any but a prophet to fully see that the States had dug the
graves of their ultimate autonomy by adopting a Constitution which
forbade them "to emit bills of credit"--a power of which they never
stood in dire need until the General Government had monopolized all
control of banking and currency.

No State, since the Union was formed, has, without Federal aid,
direct or indirect, made any material progress in developing its



The Literary Societies of this institution have resolved that an
address be delivered before them annually by some one of their
members. This resolution, if carried into effect in the spirit in
which it has been adopted, will be creditable to the Societies
and favorable to the general literature of the State. It is now
more than thirty years since these Societies were established,
and all the _alumni_ of this University have been members of one
or the other of them. Upon these _alumni_, and upon others who
shall go forth from this University, our hopes must chiefly rest
for improvement in our literary character; and their zeal for such
improvement cannot fail to be excited by being annually called
together, and one of them selected to deliver a public discourse
upon the progress and state of our literature, or some subject
connected therewith. The Societies have conferred on me an unmerited
honor by appointing me to deliver the first of these discourses. I
accepted the appointment with pride, as it was an evidence of their
esteem; yet with humility, from a conviction of my inability to meet
public expectation--an inability of which I am conscious at all
times, but particularly so after a painful and tedious illness.

Little that is interesting in the history of literature can be
expected in the infancy of a colony planted on a continent three
thousand miles distant from the mother-country, in the midst of
a wilderness and surrounded by savages. Under such circumstances
civilization declines, and manners and language degenerate. When
the first patent was granted to Sir Walter Raleigh, in 1584, the
English language had received considerable improvement. Spenser
had published his _Faerie Queene_, Shakespeare his _Plays_, Sir
Philip Sidney his _Arcadia_, Knolles his _General History of the
Turks_, and our theology had been enriched by the eloquent writings
of Hooker. This improvement was not confined to the learned; it
had already extended itself to the common people, particularly in
the towns and villages, and the language of the first colonists no
doubt partook of this improvement. But these colonists were all
adventurers; they joined in Sir Walter Raleigh's expedition only
for the purpose of making fortunes, and their chief hope was that
they would quickly find gold in abundance and return home to enjoy
their wealth. This delusive hope continued for many years to beguile
adventurers; who, not finding the treasure they came in quest
of, became idle and profligate, and abandoned a country in which
they had met with nothing but disappointment. Sir Walter Raleigh,
after expending a large part of his estate in attempts to settle a
colony, assigned to Thomas Smith, of London, and his associates, the
privilege of trading to Virginia and of continuing the colony. Under
the advice of Raleigh he directed his efforts to the waters of the
Chesapeake, and there caused to be planted a colony which became
permanent, and from which Virginia and Carolina were peopled. A new
charter was granted to Thomas Smith and his associates in 1606, and
enlarged in 1609. Their company continued with many vicissitudes
of fortune until the year 1626, when it was dissolved. The history
of the colony to the time of this dissolution was written by John
Smith and also by Stith. They were contemporary with Lord Clarendon,
who wrote the _History of the Great Rebellion_ in England. Their
style and manner of writing, and the public papers published by the
President and Council of the Colony, during this period, evidence
great improvement in our language. The chaos in which it lay in
the early part of the reign of Elizabeth gradually gave way to the
order and method which good sense introduced into every pursuit;
the pedantry and conceits which disfigured our literature in the
reign of James I. yielded to the influence of good taste. Sir
Walter Raleigh published his _History of the World_, Lord Bacon his
historical and philosophical works and moral essays, and our poetry
was adorned by the writings of Milton, Dryden, Butler, and Otway.
Shortly afterwards came Sir William Temple, Archbishop Tillotson
and others, who gave facility and grace to composition. These were
new beauties and pleased the nation more as they gave to style the
charm of polished conversation.

Whilst the literary taste of the nation was thus improving,
religious intolerance drove from England a great number of Quakers,
Presbyterians and other sectarians, who sought refuge in the
Virginia colony. They there soon met with the same persecution which
had driven them from their native country. They were compelled to
leave the colony; and Providence directing their course through the
wilderness, they settled near Pasquotank and Perquimans, and formed
the germ of the Carolina colony. Many of them were Quakers, and
their descendants continue to occupy that district of country to
this day.

In the year 1663, Charles II. granted the soil and seigniory of
Carolina to eight Lords Proprietors, who, to encourage emigration,
held out favorable terms. They promised to adventurers gratuities
in land according to the number of their respective families, and
the most perfect freedom in the exercise of religion. A civil
government was established purely representative; a circumstance
to which may be attributed, in a great degree, the republican
feelings and opinions which soon characterized the colony, and
which led to the plan of civil polity under which we now live. When
the Lords Proprietors discovered that the colony was likely to
become numerous and powerful they endeavored to restrain the civil
and religious liberty which they had promised to emigrants: they
established a new form of government, declaring their object to be
"to make the government of the colony agree as nearly as possible
with the monarchy of which it was a part, and to avoid erecting a
numerous democracy." This plan of government was the joint work of
Lord Ashley and the celebrated John Locke; and its chief aim was
to appoint orders of nobility, establish a powerful aristocracy
and check the progress of republican opinions and manners. A more
ridiculous plan for the government of the colony could not have been
devised. The people were accustomed to equality and self-government;
a rank of nobility was odious to them, and they disregarded laws
which they had not been consulted in making. The prosperity of
the colony declined, public morals relaxed, the laws lost their
energy, a general spirit of discontent grew up and ripened into
rebellion; the Governors became corrupt, and the people idle and
vicious. The attempt to give effect to the new plan of government
entirely failed, and the Lords Proprietors abolished it as unsuited
to the condition of the colony. Two factions then arose; one that
wished to establish a high-toned prerogative government; the other
consisted of High-churchmen, who gained the ascendency, and by
their violence brought the government into contempt. Their object
was to deprive all dissenters of the right of suffrage, to curtail
their civil rights, and render their situation so oppressive as
to compel them to leave the colony. A party of French Huguenots
had emigrated to the colony to enjoy that liberty of conscience
and of worship which was denied to them in their native country.
These people, entitled by their sufferings no less than by their
Protestantism to the friendship and hospitality of the colonists,
were treated with a cruelty that disgraced the High-church party.
Being aliens, they were incapable of holding lands until they were
naturalized; and this party having the ascendency in the Assembly,
not only refused to naturalize them, but declared their marriages
by ministers not ordained by Episcopal Bishops illegal and their
children illegitimate. The progress of this violent, persecuting
spirit was checked by the wise and conciliating measures adopted by
Governor Archdale. He assumed the government of the colony in 1695;
he was a Quaker, and possessed in an eminent degree the philanthropy
and command of temper for which this sect has been distinguished. He
was one of the Proprietors of the province, and by the mere force
of his character overawed the turbulent and restored good order.
To this excellent man our ancestors are indebted for that tolerant
provision in their militia law which we still retain as part of our
code, for granting exemption to men who were restrained by religious
principles from bearing arms.

The religious intolerance of the High-church party was exerted
with new energy after the departure of Governor Archdale from the
province. This party passed laws, which the Lords Proprietors
ratified, to establish the Church of England and to disable
dissenters from being members of the Assembly. This was in direct
violation of the chartered rights of the colonists. The dissenters
remonstrated to the House of Lords; and Queen Anne, upon the
advice of that body, caused these laws to be repealed. But the
High-church party, steady to their purpose, varied their mode of
attack; the spirit of intolerance grew with the growth of the
province; emigrations from the Virginia colony and the patronage
of the Lords Proprietors gave to this party a decided majority in
the Assembly; they levied a tax on each precinct for the support
of a minister, and built churches. Protestant dissenters were only
permitted to worship in public, and there to be subject to the
rules and restrictions contained in the several acts of Parliament.
Quakers were permitted to affirm instead of swearing; but they could
not hold an office of profit or trust, serve as jurors, or give
evidence by affirmation in any criminal case. This contest between
the High-church party and the dissenters produced an hostility of
feeling which time has softened, but which the lapse of more than
a century has been insufficient to allay. This contest, however,
promoted freedom of thought and inquiry among the people; it
sharpened their understandings, and in a great degree supplied the
place of books for instruction. At that time there were few books in
the colony: the library of a common man consisted of a Bible and a
spelling-book; the lawyers had a few books on law, and the ministers
a few on theological subjects, and sometimes a few of the Greek and
Roman classics: for they, particularly the Presbyterian ministers,
were generally school-masters--and from them the poor young men of
the colony, who wished to preach the gospel or plead law, received
their humble education. The turbulent spirit of the colonists, their
leaning towards republicanism and sectarianism, had induced the
Lords Proprietors to forbid the establishment of printing presses in
the colony; and Sir William Berkeley, who had the superintendence
of this colony in 1661, gave thanks to heaven that there was not a
printing office in any of the Southern provinces.

What improvement in literature could be expected among a people who
were thus distracted by faction, destitute of books, and denied
the use of the press? Notwithstanding all these discouragements
and disadvantages, however, the literature of the colony evidently
advanced. The public papers of that period are written in a
conspicuous, nervous style, corresponding in force of expression,
purity of language and perspicuity of arrangement, with similar
writings in the reigns of Charles II., King William, and Queen Anne.
The intelligence of the common people and the ability and learning
of the men who managed the affairs of the colony in that period are
matters of surprise and astonishment to any one acquainted with the
disadvantages under which the colony labored. The Assembly and the
courts of justice sat in private houses; the acts passed by the
Assembly were not printed; they were read aloud to the people at
the first court after they were passed; they were in force for only
two years, and every biennial Assembly was under the necessity of
reenacting all that were thought useful. There was no printing press
in the colony before the year 1746, at which time the condition of
the statute-book required a revisal, and the public interest called
aloud for the printing of it. The learning and literature of the
colony were confined to the lawyers and ministers of the gospel,
most of whom were educated in England; and it was owing to this
circumstance chiefly that the literature of the colony advanced so
steadily with that of the mother-country.

The legislation of the colony began to assume form and system in
the reign of Queen Anne; and in the year after her death, 1715, the
Assembly passed sixty-six acts, most of which had been frequently
reenacted before. Many of those acts remain in force to this day,
and are monuments of the political wisdom and legal learning of that
time. In style and composition they are equal to any part of our
statute-book; they are the first statutes of the colony that have
come down to our time.

In the year 1729 the Lords Proprietors, with the exception of Lord
Granville, surrendered to the Crown their right to the soil and
seigniory of North Carolina; and from that time the population and
prosperity of the colony rapidly increased. But in a few years
the great contest commenced between the prerogative of the Crown
and the liberty of the colonial subject, which contest eventually
terminated in the American Revolution. This contest gradually
introduced into North Carolina, and into all the British colonies
which took part in it, a style in composition which distinguishes
this period from all others in English or American literature: a
style founded upon and expressive of exalted feeling. Education
embellished it and gave to it new beauties; but its force and
impressive character were perceptible in the writings and speeches
of ordinary men. What age or nation ever produced compositions
superior to the addresses of the Continental Congress? When or
where shall we find a parallel to the correspondence of General
Washington and the general officers of the American army? The style
of these addresses and of the correspondence is the style of high
thought and of lofty, yet chastened feeling, and reminds the reader
of the finest specimens of composition in Tacitus, and of the
correspondence of Cicero and his friends after the death of Pompey.

There is something in the style and sentiment of the writings
of this period which gives to them a magic charm, and seems to
consecrate the subjects on which it is employed--a something
connected with the finest perceptions of our nature. The reader is
every moment conscious of it, yet knows not how to explain it. The
high moral feeling and virtuous sympathy which characterized the
American Revolution have given to it a hallowedness of character.
It is fortunate for us that Chief Justice Marshall has written the
history of this Revolution. Whatever may be the defects of this
work, the history of our Revolution will never be so well written
again: no work on that subject so well calculated to produce an
useful effect upon its readers will ever appear. Marshall was a
soldier of the Revolution, and possessed the finest genius; he was
the personal friend of the Commander-in-chief; partook of all the
feelings of the officers of the army; and he has transfused into
his work that exalted sentiment which animated his compatriots in
arms. This sentiment is strongly portrayed in the writings of the
Marquis de Chastellux and Count Rochambeau, two French general
officers in the American service, and in the correspondence of
the Commander-in-chief and the American general officers. But it
can never be embodied into an historical work by a man who did not
feel it in all its force in the American camp. Literary elegance
disappears before such moral beauty. There is no historical work
in any language that can be read with so much advantage, such
moral effect, by American youth, as Marshall's _Life of George
Washington_. They should read it with diligence, and read it often.
They will never rise from the perusal of it without feeling fresh
incentives both to public and private virtue.

The progress of the style which marked the period of the American
Revolution may be traced in North Carolina from the administration
of Governor Dobbs. It had become the common style of the leading
men of the colony before the meeting of the Continental Congress in
1774. The correspondence and public papers of Samuel Johnston and
Joseph Hewes, of Edenton; of William Hooper and Archibald Maclaine,
of Wilmington; of Richard Caswell, of Kinston; of Thomas Burke, of
Hillsborough; of Francis and Abner Nash of New Bern, upon the great
subjects which then engrossed the public attention, do honor to the
literature of North Carolina at that time. They wrote upon matters
of business--business which concerned the welfare of the nation;
they wrote as they felt; and their compositions, coming warm from
the heart, are free from affectation or pedantry, and equally free
from that prolixity which is the vice of modern composition.

When these men disappeared, our literature, in a great degree,
disappeared with them. The war had exhausted the resources of
the State and ruined the fortunes of many individuals; we had no
schools for the education of our youth; few of our citizens were
able to send their sons to the Northern colleges or to Europe to be
educated. Two individuals, who received their education during the
war, were destined to keep alive the remnant of our literature and
prepare the public mind for the establishment of this University.
These were William R. Davie and Alfred Moore. Each of them had
endeared himself to his country by taking an active part in the
latter scenes of the war; and when public order was restored and
the courts of justice were opened they appeared at the bar, where
they quickly rose to eminence, and for many years shone like meteors
in North Carolina. They adorned the courts in which they practiced,
gave energy to the laws, and dignity to the administration of
justice. Their genius was different and so was their eloquence.
Davie took Lord Bolingbroke for his model, and Moore, Dean Swift;
and each applied himself with so much diligence to the study of his
model that literary men could easily recognize in the eloquence
of Davie the lofty, flowing style of Bolingbroke; and in that of
Moore, the plainness and precision of Swift --they roused the
ambition of parents and their sons; they excited emulation among
ingenuous youth; they depicted in glowing colors the necessity of
establishing a public school or university in which the young men
of the State could be educated. The General Assembly resolved to
found an university. I was present in the House of Commons when
Davie addressed that body upon the bill granting a loan of money
to the trustees for erecting the buildings of this University; and
although more than thirty years have since elapsed, I have the most
vivid recollections of the greatness of his manner and the power
of his eloquence upon that occasion. In the House of Commons he
had no rival, and upon all great questions which came before that
body his eloquence was irresistible. The genius and intellectual
habits of Moore fitted him for the bar rather than a deliberative
assembly. Public opinion was divided upon the question whether he or
Davie excelled at the bar. Moore was a small man, neat in his dress
and graceful in his manners; his voice was clear and sonorous, his
perceptions quick, and his judgment almost intuitive; his style was
chaste and his manner of speaking animated. Having adopted Swift for
his model, his language was always plain. The clearness and energy
of his mind enabled him, almost without an effort, to disentangle
the most intricate subject and expose it in all its parts to the
simplest understanding. He spoke with ease and with force, enlivened
his discourses with flashes of wit, and where the subject required
it, with all the bitterness of sarcasm. His speeches were short
and impressive: when he sat down every one thought he had said
everything that he ought to have said. Davie was in his person tall
and elegant, graceful and commanding in his manners; his voice was
mellow and adapted to the expression of every passion; his mind was
comprehensive, yet slow in its operations, when compared with his
great rival. His style was magnificent and flowing, and he had a
greatness of manner in public speaking which suited his style and
gave to his speeches an imposing effect. He was a laborious student,
arranged his discourses with care, and, where the subject suited
his genius, poured forth a torrent of eloquence that astonished and
enraptured his audience. They looked upon him with delight, listened
to his long, harmonious periods, caught his emotions, and indulged
that ecstasy of feeling which fine speaking and powerful eloquence
alone can produce. He is certainly to be ranked among the first
orators, and his rival, Moore, among the first advocates, which the
American nation has produced.

Whilst these two men were in the zenith of their glory, another
man arose at the bar in North Carolina who surpassed them both in
profoundness of legal learning, and, on many occasions, successfully
contended with them for the palm of forensic eloquence. This was
the late John Haywood. He had few advantages from nature; his
person was indifferent, his voice harsh, his manners uncouth, his
education limited. He was a stranger to the graces, and had few of
the accomplishments of an orator. But he had a powerful and intrepid
mind, which he cultivated by the most laborious study. The fame of
Davie and Moore inspired his ambition, and he was tortured by a
desire of entering the lists with these champions of the bar. He
was conscious of his defects, and sought to gain the ascendency
by superior legal learning. He came to the bar with confidence of
high intellectual powers and profound knowledge of the law; and in
a little time acquired a reputation that placed him at the head of
his profession in this State and gave him rank among the ablest
common-law lawyers in the Union.

Contemporary with Haywood were several gentlemen of the bar now
living and several who are dead who have sustained the character of
their profession for legal learning and general literature. Among
the latter were William Duffy and Archibald Henderson. Duffy was
the child of misfortune. Thrown upon the world without friends and
without fortune, accident introduced him, in his early youth, to
the acquaintance of John Haywood, Esq., the venerable Treasurer of
this State, who, in the exercise of that benevolence for which his
whole life has been conspicuous, gave him employment and enabled
him to prosecute his studies and prepare himself for the bar. Duffy
had an opportunity of witnessing the splendid displays of Davie and
Moore and he profited by their example. He devoted a large portion
of his time to polite literature, and acquired a more elegant style
in composition than any of his contemporaries in North Carolina. He
had a slight impediment in his speech, but by laborious perseverance
he succeeded in regulating the tones and modulations of his voice
in such a way that his impediment seemed to be an ornament to his
delivery. He was one of the few men of our country who could read
well; he studied the art of reading, and his friends will long
remember the pleasure they have received from hearing him read. In
his addresses at the bar he was always impressive, particularly
upon topics connected with virtuous and benevolent feeling. He had
a vigorous mind and feelings attuned to the finest emotions. I
remember him with fond affection. He was my friend, my preceptor,
my patron. He instructed me in the science of the law, in the art
of managing causes at the bar, and in the still more difficult art
of reading books to advantage. I wish it were in my power to render
to his memory a more permanent honor than this passing tribute of
respect and gratitude!

Henderson survived Duffy many years, and obtained the first standing
at the bar of this State. He was devoted to his profession, and,
upon the whole, was the most perfect model of a lawyer that our bar
has produced. It was late in life before he turned his attention
to polite literature, and he never acquired a good style in
composition. Yet his style and manner of speaking at the bar were
extremely impressive. I shall here speak of him as I did in a sketch
of his character published shortly after his death. In him the
faculties of a fine mind were blended with exalted moral feelings.
Although he was at all times accessible, he seemed to live and
move in an atmosphere of dignity. He exacted nothing by his manner,
yet all approached him with reverence and left him with respect.
The little quarrels and contests of men were beneath him; his was
the region of high sentiment, and there he occupied a standing that
was preeminent. The Constitution and jurisprudence of his country
were his favorite studies. Profound reflection had generalized his
ideas and given to his political and legal learning a scientific
cast. No man better understood the theory of our government; no
man more admired it, and no man gave more practical proofs of his
admiration. The sublime idea that he lived under a government
of laws was forever uppermost in his mind, and seemed to give a
coloring to all his actions. As he acknowledged no dominion but
that of the laws, he bowed with reverence to their authority, and
taught obedience no less by his example than his precept. To the
humble officer of justice he was respectful; the vices of private
character were overlooked when the individual stood before him
clothed with judicial authority. In the County Courts, where the
justices of the peace administer the law, he was no less respectful
in his deportment than in the highest tribunal of the State. He
considered obedience to the laws to be the first duty of a citizen,
and it seemed to be the great object of his professional life to
inculcate a sense of this duty and give to the administration of
the laws an impressive character. He was conscious of his high
standing, and never committed himself nor put his reputation at
risk. He always came to the trial of his causes well prepared; and
if the state of his health or his want of preparation were likely
to jeopardize his reputation in the management of his client's
cause he would decline the trial until a more favorable time. The
courts in which he practiced, and his brother lawyers, understood
the delicacy of his feelings upon this point so well that they
extended to him the indulgence he required, and a knowledge of this
part of his character gave confidence to his clients and attracted
crowds of people to hear his speeches. When he rose at the bar no
one expected to hear common-place matter; no one looked for a cold,
vapid, or phlegmatic harangue. His great excellence as a speaker
consisted in an earnestness and dignity of manner and strong powers
of reasoning. He seized one or two strong points, and these he
illustrated and enforced. His exordium was short and appropriate;
he quickly marched up to the great point in controversy, making no
manœuvre as if he were afraid to approach it, or was desirous of
attacking it by surprise. The confidence he exhibited of success he
gradually imparted to his hearers; he grew more warm and earnest as
he advanced in his argument, and seizing the critical moment for
enforcing conviction, he brought forth his main argument, pressed
it home and sat down. As he advanced in life he seemed more and
more anxious that the laws should be interpreted and administered
by the rules of common sense. He lost his reverence for artificial
rules; he said the laws were made for the people, and they should be
interpreted and administered by rules which the people understood,
whenever it was practicable; that common sense belonged to the
people in a higher degree than to learned men, and that to interpret
laws by rules which were at variance with the rules of common sense
necessarily lessened the respect of the people for the laws, and
induced them to believe that courts and lawyers contrived mysteries
in the science merely for the purpose of supporting the profession
of lawyers. He said the rules of pedantry did not suit this country
nor this age; that common sense had acquired dominion in politics
and religion, and was gaining it in the law; that judges and lawyers
should have the independence and magnanimity to strip off the veil
of mystery from every branch of the science, and simplify and make
it intelligible, as far as possible, to the understanding of the
common people.

In all free States eloquence has preceded poetry, history, and
philosophy. By opening the road to wealth and fame it subserves the
purposes of avarice and ambition; society is led captive by its
charms, and sometimes bound in fetters by its powers. In this State
the bar and the General Assembly have been thus far the theatres
for its display. Oratory is the branch of literature which we have
cultivated with most success, and in which we have not been far
behind any of our sister States.

Not long after Davie left the House of Commons there appeared in
that body another man whose genius we have all admired and whose
misfortune we all deplore. I hope I may be permitted to speak of
him, although he be still living. Providence has withdrawn him from
public view, and he has been followed by the regrets and tears
of his countrymen. I speak of John Stanly, Esq. For more than
twenty years he has been the ornament of the bar and of the House
of Commons. Small in stature, neat in dress, graceful in manner,
with a voice well modulated, and a mind intrepid, disciplined and
rich in knowledge, he became the most accomplished orator of the
State. His style of eloquence was more varied than that of any of
his predecessors. Such were the versatility of his genius and the
extent of his acquirements that he could at pleasure adopt the
lofty, flowing style of Davie, or the plain, simple, energetic style
of Moore. He could rouse the noble passions, or amuse by his wit
and pleasantry. He excelled in appropriate pauses, emphasis and
gesticulation. No speaker was ever more fortunate in accommodating
his manner to his subject; and on all important subjects he had a
greatness of manner which small men seldom acquire. He resembled
Moore in the quickness of his perceptions and the intuition of his
judgment. His talents and knowledge were always at command, and he
could bring them to bear with force and effect as occasion required,
without any preparation. His mind was so well disciplined and so
happily toned that it was always ready for action. He possessed the
rare talent of conversing well; his conversation was the perpetual
flow of sober thought or pleasant humor, and was heightened in its
effect by his happy style and gracefulness of manner. He was among
the few orators of this or any country, whose style and manner in
conversation equaled his style and manner in public speaking.

Few of the men whom I have named had the advantage of a liberal
education; they rose to eminence by the force of genius and a
diligent application to their studies. The number of our literary
men has been small, when compared with our population; but this
is not a matter of surprise when we look to the condition of the
State since the close of the Revolutionary war. When the war
ended the people were in poverty, society in disorder, morals and
manners almost prostrate. Order was to be restored to society and
energy to the laws before industry could repair the fortunes of
the people; schools were to be established for the education of
youth and congregations formed for preaching the gospel before the
public morals could be amended. Time was required to effect these
objects; and the most important of them, the education of youth, was
the longest neglected. Before this University went into operation,
in 1795, there were not more than three schools in the State in
which the rudiments of a classical education could be acquired. The
most prominent and useful of these schools was kept by Dr. David
Caldwell, of Guilford county. He instituted it shortly after the
close of the war and continued it for more than thirty years. The
usefulness of Dr. Caldwell to the literature of North Carolina
will never be sufficiently appreciated; but the opportunities of
instruction in his school were very limited. There was no library
attached to it; his students were supplied with a few of the
Greek and Latin classics, _Euclid's Elements of Mathematics_, and
_Martin's Natural Philosophy_. Moral philosophy was taught from
a syllabus of lectures delivered by Dr. Witherspoon at Princeton
College. The students had no books on history or miscellaneous
literature. There were indeed very few in the State, except in the
libraries of lawyers who lived in the commercial towns. I well
remember that after completing my course of studies under Dr.
Caldwell, I spent nearly two years without finding any books to
read except some old works on theological subjects. At length, I
accidentally met with Voltaire's history of Charles XII. of Sweden,
an odd volume of Smollett's _Roderick Random_, and an abridgment
of _Don Quixote_. These books gave me a taste for reading, which I
had no opportunity of gratifying until I became a student in this
University in the year 1796. Few of Dr. Caldwell's students had
better opportunities for getting books than myself; and with these
slender opportunities of instruction, it is not surprising that so
few became eminent in the liberal professions. At this day, when
libraries are established in all our towns, when every professional
man and every respectable gentleman has a collection of books, it
is difficult to conceive the inconveniences under which young men
labored thirty or forty years ago.

But has the number of our distinguished men increased as the
facilities of instruction have increased? They certainly have
not. Of the number of young men who have been educated at this
University, how few have risen to eminence in any branch of
literature! Their number bears no proportion to the increased
means of instruction which they have had. To what causes is this
to be attributed? The causes are numerous, but we will notice
only a few of the most operative. In the first place the plan of
education in all our schools, particularly in our preparatory
schools, is radically defective; too much time is spent upon syntax
and etymology; the time of the student is wasted, and his genius
frittered away upon words instead of being developed and polished
by the spirit of the writer. Instead of directing the study of the
Greek and Latin classics to the development of his faculties and the
improvement of his taste, his time is taken up in nice attention
to words, arrangement of clauses and construction of periods. With
his mind thus injured, he enters upon the study of the physical and
moral sciences, and long accustomed to frivolous investigation, he
never rises to the dignity of those sciences nor understands the
methods by which their truths are illustrated. In the next place,
too many studies are crowded upon the student at once; studies
which have no analogy or connection. In the third place, the time
allotted for completing a course of scientific study is too short;
the student's mind flags under the severe labors imposed upon
it. The elasticity of the mind ought never to be weakened; if it
be, the student thenceforward hobbles through his course, and is
often broken down before he gets to the end of it. In the fourth
place, too many studies are pursued, and none are pursued well;
the student acquires a smattering of languages and sciences, and
understands none of them. This encyclopedical kind of learning is
destructive of the powers of the mind, and unfits it for deep and
severe investigation. In the last place, the multitude of books
is a serious injury to most students. They despair of reading
many of them, and content themselves with reading reviews of the
most celebrated. At length the valuable books are placed away
carefully in a library, and newspapers, pamphlets and other fugitive
productions take up all their time for reading. There is nothing
in this course which teaches youth how to think and investigate.
The great object of education is to give to the mind activity and
energy: this object can never be attained by a course of studies
which distracts its attention and impairs its elasticity.

The evils which I have mentioned are not confined to the schools of
North Carolina; they exist in nearly all the schools of the Union.
Massachusetts has taken the lead in correcting them and introducing
methods of instruction founded upon the philosophy of the mind.
The state of science and literature among her people shows the
happy effect of these changes. The Trustees of this University have
resolved to make similar changes, to remodel the plan of studies,
and introduce new methods of instruction. But whatever changes may
be made in our plan of education, young men, who are desirous of
being either useful or eminent in active life, should recollect this
truth, that the education received at a college or university is
intended only as a preparation of the mind for receiving the rich
stores of science and general knowledge which subsequent industry
is to acquire. He who depends upon this preparation alone will be
like a farmer who ploughs his land and sows no grain. The period
of useful study commences when a young man finishes his collegiate
course. At that time his faculties have acquired some maturity
from age and some discipline from exercise; and if he enter with
diligence upon the study of a branch of science, and confines his
attention to that branch, he soon becomes astonished at his progress
and at the increase of his intellectual powers. Let him avoid
reading or even looking into a variety of books. Nine-tenths of them
are worse than useless; the reading of them produces a positive
injury to the mind; they not only distract his attention, but blunt
his faculties. Let him read only works of men of genius--read but
few books, and read them often. Take two young men of equal minds
and similar genius; put into the hands of one Shakespeare's _Plays_,
Milton's _Paradise Lost_, _Don Quixote_ and _Gil Blas_; and into the
hands of the other all the hundred volumes of dullness which fill
our libraries; and at the end of twelve months mark the difference
between them. The first will be like the high-spirited steed that is
ready for the course; the other will be encumbered with a load of
useless ideas, his faculties weakened, and the bright tints of his
genius obscured.

The next great object, after the improvement of the intellectual
faculties, is the forming of a moral character. This is by far the
most difficult part of education: it depends upon the doctrines
of morals and the philosophy of the passions and feelings. Little
success has heretofore attended it, either in the schools of Europe
or this country. The moral character of youth has been generally
formed by their parents, by friends who gained their confidence,
or by their pursuits in active life. The morality thus taught is
purely practical; it has reference to no abstract truths; it looks
only to the passions and feelings of our nature under the variety
of circumstances in which we may be placed in society, and the
duties which thence result. The science of ethics taught in our
schools is a cold, speculative science; and our youth are misled by
substituting this for practical morality. It is to be regretted that
we have no work on moral philosophy which treats of ethics purely
as a practical science; and it is remarkable that, notwithstanding
the great improvement that has been made within the last century
in metaphysical and physical science, and the liberal turn of
philosophical inquiry which has been introduced, the science of
ethics remains stationary. The question, "What is the foundation of
moral obligation?" is not more satisfactorily answered now than it
was two centuries ago. And until the principles of ethics shall be
disentangled from the speculative doctrines of theology, interwoven
by the schoolmen and monks in the sixteenth and seventeenth
centuries, and those principles be traced to the constitution and
condition of man, having for their object the development of his
social rights and duties, we shall have to regret that the most
sublime of all the sciences remains imperfect. It seems to be
reserved for the philosophers of Scotland to trace those principles
and make this development; and we wait with impatience for the
promised work of Dugald Stewart on this subject. But any system of
morals which we may study as a science will never have much effect
in forming our moral character. We must look to our constitutional
temperament, to our passions and feelings as influenced by external
circumstances; and for rules of conduct we must look to the sermons
and parables of Christ: they are worth more than all the books which
have been written on morals; they explain and at the same time apply
that pure morality which is founded upon virtuous feeling.

_Young Gentlemen of the Dialectic and Philanthropic Societies_:

As you have conferred on me the honor of delivering this first
public address under your joint resolution, I hope you will
permit me before I sit down to say a few words upon a subject
connected with the usefulness of your Societies and the interests
of the University. I speak to you in the spirit of fellowship,
and a long acquaintance with your Societies enables me to speak
with confidence. I well know the influence which your Societies
can exercise in maintaining the good order of this Institution,
in sustaining the authority of the faculty, in suppressing vice
and promoting a gentlemanly deportment among the students. Every
respectable student of proper age is a member of one or the other
of your Societies, and feels more mortification at incurring its
censure than that of the faculty. This feeling is the fulcrum on
which the power of the Societies ought to be exerted. Let me entreat
you then, more particularly as you propose hereafter to occupy a
higher ground than you have heretofore done, to exert that power in
sustaining the discipline of the University, in encouraging industry
and good manners, and in suppressing vice. The united efforts of
the two Societies can do more in effecting these objects than the
authority of the Trustees or faculty. A high responsibility rests
upon you; your honor and the welfare of the University demand its
faithful discharge.

In a short time you will complete your course of studies at this
place and bid adieu to these halls, to act your parts upon the
great theatre of active life. Your friends and your country have
much to hope, much to expect from you. Devote yourselves with
diligence to your studies. When you shall have finished your course
here, remember that your education is just commencing; I mean that
education which is to fit you for acting a distinguished part
upon the theatre of your country. The pursuits and the honors of
literature lie in the same road with those of ambition; and he
who aspires to fame or distinction must rest his hopes upon the
improvement of his intellect. Julius Caesar was one of the most
accomplished scholars of Rome, and Napoleon Bonaparte of France.
In our own country we lately have seen one of our most eminent
scholars raised to the chief magistracy of the nation, and the
greatest orator of the age made his prime minister. I speak not here
of politics: literature has no factions; good taste no parties.
Remember, my young friends, that most of the men who thus far have
shed a lustre upon our country had not one-half the opportunities
of education which you have enjoyed. They had to rely upon their
genius and industry. Genius delights to toil with difficulties:
they discipline its powers and animate its courage; it contemns
the honors which can be obtained without labor, and prizes only
those which are purchased by noble exertion. Wish not, therefore,
for a life of ease; but go forth with stout hearts and determined
resolution. As yet you little know what labor and perseverance can
effect, nor the exalted pleasures which honorable exertion gives to
an ingenious mind. May God take charge of you; lead you in the ways
of uprightness and honor; make you all useful men, and ornaments to
your country!


  RICHMOND, October 6, 1827.

DEAR SIR:--Your oration, delivered in Person Hall, Chapel Hill,
reached this place during a visit I had made to our mountain
country. It was taken out of the post-office and placed on a
general table, among a number of papers and pamphlets received
during my absence, and was not perceived till to-day. I mention
this circumstance as an apology for having permitted so much time
to elapse without making any acknowledgments for the gratification
derived from its perusal.

I take a great deal of interest in your portraits of the eminent
men of North Carolina, who have now passed away from the theatre
of action. It was my happiness to be acquainted with those of whom
you speak as being known to yourself, and I feel the justness of
the eulogies you have bestowed upon them. I never heard Mr. Davie
nor Mr. Moore at the bar, but the impressions they both made upon
me in private circles were extremely favorable, and I think you
have given to the character of each its true coloring. Neither have
I ever heard Mr. Stanly, but I have known him also in private,
and it was not possible to be in his company without noticing and
being struck with his general talent, and most especially his
vivacity, his wit, and his promptness. He appeared to be eminently
endowed with a ready elocution, and almost intuitive perception
of the subjects of discussion. With Mr. Haywood and Mr. Henderson
I was well acquainted, and have heard them often at the bar. They
were unquestionably among the ablest lawyers of their day. I saw
not much of Mr. Duffy as a professional man, but thought him a
pleasing, agreeable gentleman. You omitted one name which ranks, I
think, among the considerable men of your State. It is that of the
late Judge Iredell. I was well acquainted with him too, and always
thought him a man of real talent.

In the rapid sketch you have taken of the colonial government,
some circumstances excite a good deal of surprise. The persecuting
spirit of the High-church party was still more vindictive than I
had supposed, and the principle of limiting your laws to two years
was, I believe, peculiar to Carolina. The scarcity of books, too,
which seems to have prevailed ever since the Revolution, is a
very remarkable fact. Although I concur perfectly in the opinion
you express that much more advantage is to be derived from the
frequent and attentive perusal of a few valuable books, than from
indiscriminate and multifarious reading--that cramming injures
digestion--yet, some books are necessary, not only for ornament, but
for use.

Allow me to thank you for the pleasure I have received from the
perusal of your oration, for I must suppose that I am indebted
to yourself for this mark of polite attention, and to express my
particular acknowledgments for the flattering notice you have taken
of the _Life of George Washington_. That work was hurried into the
world with too much precipitation, but I have lately given it a
careful examination and correction. Should another edition appear it
will be less fatiguing and more worthy of the character which the
biographer of Washington ought to sustain.

With very great respect and esteem, I am, sir,

  Your obedient servant,


  Haw River, North Carolina.

[Illustration: WILLIAM GASTON.]



William Gaston, late one of the Judges of the Supreme Court of
North Carolina, was born in the town of New Bern on the 19th day of
September, A. D. 1778. His paternal ancestors were distinguished
French Huguenots, who were driven from their country by the
revocation of the famous edict of Nantes, and retired to Ballymore,
in Ireland, where they settled, and where Alexander Gaston, the
father of the Judge, was born. Alexander, having chosen the
profession of medicine and obtained his diploma at the medical
college of Edinburgh, entered the British navy as a surgeon. After
remaining a few years in this service, he resigned his commission
and came to New Bern in this State, where he settled and commenced
the regular practice of his profession. In the year 1775 he married
Margaret Sharpe, an English lady of the Roman Catholic faith, by
whom he had two sons and a daughter, of whom the Judge was the
second son. The elder brother died young; and before the subject of
this sketch was three years of age he lost his father in a manner
deeply tragical. He was shot by a band of Tories, who, in the year
1781, surprised the town of New Bern, and singled out the doctor,
who was an ardent and active Whig, as an especial object of their
vengeance. It is said that the fatal instrument of death was fired
over the head of the agonized wife, while she was imploring, as only
a woman can implore, the life of her husband. The Judge was then
doubtless too young to appreciate all the horrors of the scene,
but that it made a deep impression upon him in subsequent life we
are well assured. Many years afterwards, while he was a member of
Congress, upon being charged, in an exciting party debate, with
a want of proper American feeling, he indignantly repelled the
imputation by the eloquent exclamation, "I was baptized an American
in the blood of a murdered father."That same incident was alluded
to with thrilling effect in the convention called to amend the
Constitution in 1835 by the distinguished and venerable president
of that body. The death of his father threw upon his mother the
entire care and responsibility of rearing and educating her infant
children. Her situation was peculiarly beset with difficulties.
The death of two brothers, with whom she had come to this country,
followed by the loss of her husband, left her without any other
relatives in America than her two children. But happily for them,
she was a woman of great energy of character, of singular prudence,
and of devoted piety. It immediately became a leading object of
her life to train up her son to usefulness and honor. We may be
well assured from its results, that her course of discipline was
eminently judicious. Indeed, the Judge has been heard to declare
that whatever success and distinction he had attained in life he
owed to her counsels and her admirable management, and that but
for her he might have been a vagabond. He was first sent to school
in his native town, and while there he was represented as having
been "very quick, and apt to learn; of an affectionate temper,
and yet volatile and irritable. His mother used every means to
correct his infirmities of disposition, and to give an aim to
his pursuits--sometimes employing kindness, or mild but solemn
admonition, and occasionally still stricter discipline." She kept
him under her own immediate supervision and control until the fall
of the year 1791, when she sent him to the Roman Catholic college
at Georgetown. After remaining at this institution about eighteen
months, his failing health compelled him to return home. Soon
afterwards his health was reestablished, and he resumed his studies
under the tuition of the Rev. Thomas P. Irving, who then had charge
of the academy at New Bern. Here he was prepared for admission into
the junior class of Princeton College, which he entered in the fall
of 1794; and in 1796 was graduated, at the early age of eighteen,
with the first honors of the institution.

After completing his collegiate course he selected the law as his
profession, and immediately commenced his studies in the office of
François Xavier Martin, then a practicing lawyer in this State,
but now a Judge of the Supreme Court of the State of Louisiana.
The same diligent attention to the studies of his profession,
which had distinguished his career in college, enabled him to
obtain admittance to the bar in the year 1798. In that same year
the late Chief Justice Taylor, who had married his sister, was
elevated to the bench and gave all his business to his young friend
and relative, which put him at once into full practice. This
sudden accumulation of business, which would have operated to the
disadvantage of a mind less active and cultivated, served only to
call forth all his energies, by the necessity it occasioned of a
thorough preparation to meet the great responsibility thrown upon
him. He very soon acquired distinction in his profession, which
steadily increased until he attained, by universal acknowledgment,
the proud eminence of being at the head of the bar of this State--a
pre-eminence which he never lost until he was raised by his admiring
countrymen to a still more exalted station. But while he was
thus pursuing, with rare success, the profits and honors of his
profession, he never for a moment lost sight of the interests of his
country. The very next year after he reached the age of manhood he
was elected a member of the State Senate from his native county of
Craven; and in 1808 he was elected a member of the House of Commons,
and was chosen to preside over its deliberations. The same year
he was nominated by the Federal party, to which he was attached,
as Presidential Elector for the district in which he resided. The
reputation which he had acquired at the bar and in the legislative
halls of the State for integrity, patriotism and distinguished
ability procured his election in 1813, and again in 1815, to the
House of Representatives in the Congress of the United States. Of
the elevated stand which he took in that body it is needless for
me here to speak. It is a part of the history of the country, that
amidst the brilliant constellation of statesmen then seen in the
councils of the American nation--a constellation illustrated by
the genius and eloquence of a Lowndes, a Randolph, a Calhoun, a
Webster, and a Clay, the star of Gaston was far from being the least
brilliant. The admirer of parliamentary oratory will find in his
speeches upon the Loan Bill and the previous question some of the
finest displays of reasoning and eloquence which our country has

In 1817, Judge Gaston voluntarily retired from Congress, and never
returned to the national councils. The residue of his days he
devoted to the duties of domestic and professional life, and to the
service of his native State. He was frequently chosen, sometimes by
the freemen of the county of Craven, and sometimes by those of the
town of New Bern, to represent them in the General Assembly. Of the
value of his services in this more limited, but still very important
sphere of usefulness, it is difficult to speak in adequate terms
without the appearance of exaggeration. I have not the materials,
if I had the time and opportunity, for stating in detail all the
measures which he accomplished, or assisted in accomplishing, for
the good of the State. I can point only to a few monuments in the
course of our legislative history, to show that the hand of a
master-workman has been there. In the year 1808 he drew up the "Act
regulating the descent of inheritances," which, with scarcely any
alteration or addition, remains the law on that subject to this
day. In 1818 he was mainly instrumental in the establishment of our
present Supreme Court system; and in 1828 all his varied powers of
eloquence and argumentation were exerted to their utmost to prevent
the success of a measure in relation to the banks, which would have
spread ruin and dismay throughout the length and breadth of our
State. His last appearance in the Legislature was as a member of the
House of Commons in 1831 when he made a splendid effort, but all in
vain, in favor of rebuilding the capitol, which had been destroyed
by fire the preceding summer.

In the summer of 1833 a vacancy upon the bench of the Supreme Court
occurred by the death of Chief Justice Henderson. From various
causes, of which I know too little to attempt an explanation, the
Supreme Court had at that time by no means so strong a hold upon
the confidence of the people as it has since obtained. It was very
desirable, therefore, on the part of the friends of the system to
fill the vacancy by a man of commanding talents and great influence,
in order to give it strength. All eyes were at once turned towards
Judge Gaston. But there were supposed to be two very serious
obstacles to his acceptance of the office. It was known that his
practice at the bar was extensive and very lucrative, and it was
also known that a prudent regard to his private affairs would
dictate that his professional income should not be exchanged for a
judge's salary. It was also believed by many that the thirty-second
article of our State Constitution forbade his accepting the office,
in that clause which declared that "no person who shall deny the
truth of the Protestant religion shall be capable of holding any
office or place of trust or profit, in the civil department, within
this State." The friends of the Judge nevertheless urged him to
become a candidate for the office. After a full and fair explanation
of the latter and most important objection, he became satisfied
that it was not tenable; and as to the former, that his duty to his
country required him to make the sacrifice. His name was accordingly
brought before the Legislature in the winter of 1833, and he was
elected by a large majority on the first ballot. At the ensuing term
of the Court he took his seat upon the bench, and from that time
until the very day of his death he continued to discharge the duties
of his office with an ability and devotion seldom equaled and never
surpassed. When a Convention of the people of the State was called
in 1835, to amend the Constitution, he took a seat in it as one of
the members from the county of Craven. Of the manner in which he
performed the peculiarly delicate and important duties of assisting
to revise and amend our fundamental law, I know it is needless for
me to speak in this presence. The distinguished President of this
Institution, who was then Governor of the State and a member of the
Convention, can tell the extent of his labors and the value of his
services in that body. Suffice it for me to say that he was placed
on almost every important committee; that he took a leading part
in every important debate; that he, in a great measure, guided and
directed the whole business of the Convention. And when its labors
were at last brought to a successful conclusion, it was from his
hand that the amendments to the Constitution received the form and
dress in which they now appear. Excepting his judicial duties,
this was the last public service in which he was engaged. It is
true that when our Senators in Congress resigned in 1840, the Whig
party, which had then the ascendency in the Legislature, tendered
him the nomination for one of the vacancies; but he declined it,
preferring to remain on the bench, where he thought he could do the
State better service. Nor need we regret his determination; for
though none could have represented the State in the Senate with more
dignity, fidelity, and ability, yet his profound legal attainments,
his extensive and varied information, his severe and patient habits
of thought, and a style of composition at once dignified and
elegant, so admirably fitted him for the high tribunal on which he
was placed that we could not have wished to see him transferred to
any other station, however exalted. But it is needless for me to
enlarge upon his judicial fitness and ability. The Chief Justice
of the Court, the associate of his labors and his duties, himself
one of the ablest judges and most profound lawyers of his day,
has emphatically pronounced from the judgment-seat that he was
a "great judge." In confirmation of this sentence, if it needed
confirmation, I would refer to all his reported judicial opinions;
and particularly to the opinion of the Court as delivered by him in
the case of the _State_ vs. _Will_, 1 Dev. and Bat. Rep., 121; and
his dissenting opinion in the _State_ vs. _Miller_, _ibid._, 500;
the latter of which has been pronounced by a very competent judge
one of the finest judicial arguments to be found in this country.

I have said that Judge Gaston continued in the faithful discharge
of his official duties until the very day of his death. This is
literally true. On Tuesday, the 23d of January past, not quite a
fortnight ago, he took his seat in the Court as usual, though he had
felt for several days a sensation of chilliness and a difficulty
of breathing. He remained on the bench until about two o'clock
P. M., giving strict attention to a case then under discussion,
when he was attacked with faintness and other symptoms of violent
sickness. He was taken to his room and a physician called in, who
very soon relieved him. He revived, became cheerful and engaged in
an interesting conversation with some of his friends who had called
to see him. In the course of the evening he told several anecdotes,
at which they laughed heartily. "He then related" (says a published
account) "the particulars of a convivial party at Washington City,
many years ago, and spoke of one who, on that occasion, avowed
himself a freethinker in religion. 'From that day,' said Judge
Gaston, 'I always looked on that man with distrust. I do not say
that a freethinker may not be an honorable man; that he may not,
from high motives, scorn to do a mean act; but I dare not trust
him. A belief in an All-ruling Divinity, who shapes our ends, whose
eye is upon us, and who will reward us according to our deeds, is
necessary. We must believe and feel that there is a God--All wise
and Almighty." As he was pronouncing the last word, he rose to give
it greater emphasis. The moment after there was a sudden rush of
blood to the brain, when he immediately fell back and expired.

In reviewing the life of this eminent man, which has been thus
hastily and imperfectly sketched, we see that though left an orphan
in earliest infancy in a country where he had no kindred, save a
widowed mother and an infant sister, though professing a religious
faith almost proscribed, and attached to a political party always
in the minority, he yet rose to the highest summit of professional
distinction, acquired, during a brief career in the Legislature of
his State, a preponderating influence in its councils, was among
the foremost of the great in the national assembly, was selected
by almost general acclamation to preside in the highest judicial
tribunal known to our law, and, more than all, won and maintained
to the day of his death, the confidence, the admiration, and the
affection of his countrymen. It is interesting, and it must be
profitable to all, particularly to you, young gentlemen, who are
just entering upon the career of life, to inquire what were the
qualities and what the talents which enabled their possessor, under
such circumstances, to achieve such great results. In the very
outset of his life, we discover one trait to which much, if not all,
of his success was owing--his love and veneration for his mother.

An early attention to all his duties, and a desire to excel in
everything useful, was another distinctive trait in the character
of Judge Gaston. We discover this in the rapid progress made in
his studies and the distinction which he acquired at college. I
am aware that college honors are often decried, at least by those
who never obtained them, and that it has been frequently said
that they afford no presage of excellence in after-life. I beg
leave to dissent from that opinion. Judge Gaston himself thought
far otherwise. Long after he had left the walls of his _alma
mater_, when his mind was enlarged by observation and corrected by
experience, he expressed himself in an address to the young men
who then occupied the seats now filled by you in the following
glowing words: "True it is that it sometimes, though very rarely,
happens that those who have been idle during their academical course
have by extraordinary exertions retrieved their early neglect and
in the end outstripped others who started in the race far ahead.
These are exceptions--they furnish cause to humble arrogance, check
presumption, banish despair and encourage reformation. But as surely
as a virtuous life usually precedes a happy death so surely will it
be found that within the college precincts is laid the groundwork of
that pre-eminence afterwards acquired in the strife of men; and that
college distinctions are not only good testimony of the fidelity
with which college duties have been performed, but the best presages
and pledges of excellence on a more extended and elevated field of

A faithful and fearless discharge of whatever he found to do in
the path of duty was another prominent trait in the character of
the Judge. He never asked what interest or policy might dictate,
but what truth and justice required; and the latter he resolutely
performed, "uncaring consequences." I might mention many instances
of his braving popular prejudices, and incurring for a time popular
odium, in doing what an enlightened conscience told him he ought to
do. A memorable instance is presented in his appearing as counsel
for Lord Granville in the famous suits which he instituted in this
State after the Revolutionary war. A course, which all would now
acknowledge to be right, then very sensibly affected his popularity
for many years. He was at that time a young man, and it required no
little of the force of conscious rectitude to enable him to stem the
torrent of prejudice which ran so strong against him.

Another eminent quality which illustrated the whole life of Judge
Gaston was the constant love of order and a devoted and almost
sacred regard for the Constitution and laws of his country. In all
his precepts, wheresoever and to whomsoever uttered, in all his
conduct, whether in public or in private, he inculcated and enforced
obedience to the law, observance of order, and the support and
maintenance of our fundamental institutions in all their integrity.
His views and opinions upon this subject are expressed in an address
which he delivered at Princeton in September, 1835, before the
"American Whig" and "Cliosophic" Societies of the College of New
Jersey. It is difficult to find anywhere, within the same compass,
the duties of an American citizen, in relation to the laws and
institutions of his country, so clearly expressed and so powerfully
enforced. The address was much admired at the time, and received on
two occasions a compliment of which any man might be justly proud.
In a charge to the grand jury of his Court, Chief Justice Cranch,
of the District of Columbia, read several pages from the address,
accompanied by remarks of the highest commendation. And shortly
afterwards, Governor Vance, of Ohio, on an occasion so solemn as his
inauguration, quoted largely from it, after speaking in the most
flattering terms of the author, as one of the most eminent statesmen
and profound jurists of our country.

If the qualities which we have considered excite our admiration
and command our respect, that to which I would now call your
attention is well calculated to inspire love and win affection. I
mean his kind regard for the young. To them he was ever accessible,
kind and communicative; always ready to give advice, or to impart
instruction. Among them it was his delight to unbend, after the
severity of his official labors, and to engage in their innocent
amusements. Often have I seen him in such moments of relaxation; and
as I saw, I could but admire and love a wisdom which, while it could
instruct senates, disdained not the sports of the young, nor even
the frolics of infancy; which, while it could one moment expound
the gravest of laws, could the moment after explain an apothegm for
the instruction of youth, or solve a riddle for the amusement of
childhood. His regard for the young extended from the earliest to
the latest period of that time of life. For those just approaching
the verge of manhood he has often given signal proofs of his
solicitude. In 1832 he was invited to deliver an address before the
two Literary Societies of this institution, and in 1835 he received
an invitation to perform a similar duty before the Societies of
Princeton College in New Jersey. In both instances, though at much
personal inconvenience, he complied with the request, and delivered
the addresses to which I have had occasion to allude. On the merit
of these productions the public has already decided. It remains only
for me to say that no young man can read them, as they ought to be
read, with care and attention, without profit and advantage; and
the best return I can make for your kindness to me on this occasion
is to advise each of you to procure copies of them, and to "attend
to their admonitions, treasure up their counsels and obey their

From what I have already said, you have doubtless anticipated my
account of the character of Judge Gaston in private and domestic
life. A kind master, a fond father, a true friend, a most amusing
and instructive companion, he made the social intercourse of life
a source at once of pleasure and profit. None could make the
grave remark, none could tell the laughable anecdote, better than
he. An evening spent among his friends always left them in doubt
whether to admire most the extent of his information, the depth of
his erudition, the variety of his powers, or the easy, cheerful,
instructive flow of his conversation.

It can hardly be necessary for me to say that Judge Gaston was
always a zealous and enlightened friend to the cause of education.
His great services to the University as a guardian and benefactor
for more than forty years have been very justly and appropriately
acknowledged in the resolutions recently adopted. He was appointed a
trustee of the University in the year 1802, and was at the time of
his death, with the exception of Judge Potter, the oldest member of
the board.

The crowning glory of Judge Gaston's character remains yet to
be spoken of. He was a firm believer in the superintending
Providence of an All-wise and an Almighty Being, and in the truths
of Revelation. The principles of the Christian religion were
deeply impressed upon his infant mind by the devoted piety of his
excellent mother; and they were never forgotten and never departed
from. An abiding faith in them was a staff to his hand and a lamp
to his feet. It sustained, guided, and animated him through life,
and in the hour of death it did not desert him. The last sentence
he uttered recognized its truth and its consolations. Yes, this
elegant scholar, this accomplished orator, this eminent statesman,
this profound jurist, was an humble follower of the meek and lowly
Jesus. He thought it no scorn to bow at the footstool--he felt it
no degradation to take upon him the yoke of a Saviour. And when
his last hour came, we cannot doubt that the parting soul counted
all--fame, reputation, worldly pleasures, worldly honors--as but
dross, in comparison with that faith, upon whose wings it was
upborne to the bright realms of glory.

Such, my young friends, was the great and good man whose life and
character I have attempted to portray. I cannot take upon myself to
say that he was faultless: since the memorable declaration of the
incarnate Son of God, that "there is none good save one, that is
God," it would be impious for me to do so; but whatever might have
been his frailties, he had such great virtues, such noble qualities,
there was such a harmony in his character, such a beauty in his
life, that I can conscientiously propose him for your study, and
recommend him for your imitation. Go then, and like him, perform
fully, faithfully, fearlessly, your duty to yourselves, your
families, your country and your God; and then, like him, you will be
honored in your lives, and when you come to die, a nation's tears
will hallow your graves.



_Gentlemen of the Dialectic and Philanthropic Societies_:

When I look around on this extraordinary concourse of visitors I
cannot but feel that expectation has been too highly excited, and
cannot but anticipate and regret the disappointment which it must
necessarily meet with. Aware of the value which is here set upon
the ceremony of the annual address; knowing that friends of the
University throughout the State regard it as calculated not only to
excite a spirit of emulation among the students, but to attract the
public attention to the institution itself; and warmly attached to
that noble cause, for the advancement of which these edifices have
been erected and your associations formed, I felt myself bound to
accept the invitation, in obedience to which I appear before you.
Could I indeed have foreseen the unusual engagements which, added to
the ordinary occupations of a busy life, have left me no leisure to
prepare anything worthy of the general expectation, I should have
deemed myself at liberty to decline the call. But the discovery was
not made until after my word was pledged and it was too late to hope
that the duty could be devolved on another. Compelled then to choose
between an entire disappointment of your hopes and the presenting
myself to you without the advantage of full preparation, I have
resolved to execute the undertaking imperfectly rather than forego
it altogether. To whatever petty mortifications the adoption of this
alternative may expose me elsewhere, from you, my young friends, I
am sure of a favorable reception. You will see in it an expression
of the sense which I entertain of the honor conferred on me, by your
choice, of my readiness to gratify your wishes, and of my solicitude
to cheer you on in the noble career upon which you have entered.
The few homely truths which I wish to impress upon your minds will
not indeed come mended from my tongue, but I do not despair that,
presented in their naked plainness, but urged with the earnestness
and sincerity of friendship, they may win their way to your generous
and affectionate approbation.

The authority of Shakespeare is often invoked for the position that
"there is a tide in the affairs of men, which taken at the flood,
leads on to fortune." Without venturing to deny altogether the
fitness of this metaphor, and fully admitting it to have enough
of truth to render it appropriate to the occasion for which it
was used, and the character to whom the great poet assigned it, I
yet regard it as too favorable to that indolence of disposition
which is always ready to imagine success in life as depending on
some fortunate tide. I hold that, generally, every man is the
architect of his own fortune, the author of his own greatness or
insignificance, happiness or misery. True, it is, that casualties,
neither to be foreseen nor prevented, may defeat schemes which have
been wisely concerted and vigorously prosecuted; and that success,
undeserved, and perhaps unsought, may sometimes befall the weak
and slothful. These, however, are but occasional deviations from
the ordinary course of nature, according to which, man's energies,
wisely or foolishly directed, and diligently or carelessly exerted,
are made to determine his character and condition in society. The
stoutest ship that was ever manned with prudent heads, brave hearts,
and strong hands has foundered in a hurricane, while the feeble
bark that "owns no mastery in floating" is sometimes safely wafted
into port; yet, who can deny that, ordinarily, the fate of the
voyage must depend on the skill, care, and courage with which it is
conducted. Much, too, very much, either for permanent good or ill
in the fate of every individual, has been found to follow almost
necessarily from the habits formed, the propensities cherished
or restrained, and the rules of conduct adopted at a very early
period of life. We might, perhaps, be tempted to regret that such
important and often awful consequences should follow on the doings
of an age, when the unworn senses are alive to every impression and
the keen appetite greedy for every enjoyment; when the imagination
is wild, the judgment feeble, and "heedless, rambling impulse" has
scarcely learned to think. Yet such is the constitution of nature,
and such consequently the appointment of Him, whose ways are always
wise, benevolent and just, and whose will it were not more madness
to resist than it is impiety to question. Look through the world,
and the least observant cannot fail to discover talents abused,
opportunities squandered, and men ruined because of early folly,
misbehavior or thoughtlessness; and let those who have passed
through life's ordeal with safety and honor look back on their
trials, and they will acknowledge how much they owe to very early
impressions and to habits contracted almost without a sense of
their use or a foresight of their consequences. He, therefore, who
aspires to excellence cannot too soon propose to himself the objects
which he should strive to obtain, nor fix his aim too early, or too
steadily, on the end to which his efforts should be directed. The
shortness of life, large fragments of which are necessarily occupied
by animal wants or wasted on frivolous cares and amusements, leave,
at best, but an inconsiderable portion to be devoted to intellectual
cultivation and exertion. To waste this portion would be criminal
improvidence, and it is of the highest moment to learn betimes how
it may be most beneficially applied.

The end which an ingenuous youth naturally proposes to himself
is a faithful and honorable discharge of the duties of life. His
objects are to realize the fond hopes of his parents and friends,
to acquire the affection and esteem of those around him, to become
the dispenser of good to his fellow-men and thus to fulfill the
purposes for which it has pleased God to place him in this world
of trial and discipline. He feels that these objects are indeed
good. By a moral instinct he is propelled towards them as fit to
fill his heart, kindle his aspirations, and animate his exertions.
Reason, as she gradually unfolds her powers and assumes dominion
over him, sanctions this choice with her approbation; and religion
comes in aid of nature and reason, to teach him that talents are
but lent to be improved, and that an account must be one day
rendered in which their use or neglect will be amply rewarded or
severely punished. How much is it not to be lamented that sloth
should enervate, dissipation corrupt, or vice brutalize this child
of hope and promise? You, who have him in charge, watch over him
with never-sleeping vigilance and affectionate solicitude. Give
him a happy start, sustain him when disposed to flag, reanimate him
when discouraged, check kindly his wanderings, soothe his wounded
feelings, guide him with your counsels, and save him from the foes
by which he is waylaid and beset. _Macte nova virtute puer sic itur
ad astra._

Most faithfully, no doubt, are these duties performed by the
able and excellent men who are here charged with the office of
instruction. Little can be done in aid of their efforts but to
exhort and entreat all placed under their care to attend to their
admonitions, treasure up their counsels, and obey their injunctions.
Yet, there are some errors which were prevalent when I was a boy
which I have reason to believe still prevail in public schools,
and which may perhaps be better handled by an old friend than an
acknowledged instructor, and to these, therefore, I would for a few
moments request the favorable attention of the younger portion of my

Vigorous, diligent, and persevering application is essential to the
attainment of excellence in every pursuit of man. It is undoubtedly
a mistake to suppose that there is no original inequality in the
mental faculties of different individuals. Probably, there is
as great a disparity in their intellectual as in their physical
conformation. But however false this extravagant theory may be
there is another error far more common, and, practically, far more
mischievous--the error of exaggerating the difference between the
original energies of intellect, and of attributing to splendid and
resistless genius those victories which are not to be achieved but
by well directed and continued industry. It is in the infancy of
life that the inequalities of original talent are most striking,
and it is not strange that vanity, on the one hand, and indolent
admiration, on the other, should hyperbolically extol these obvious
advantages. In what this disparity consists it may not be easy to
state with precision. But from an observation of many years, I
venture to suggest that the chief natural superiority manifested
by the favored few over their competitors in the intellectual
conflict is to be found in the facility with which their attention
is directed and confined to its proper subjects. That youth may
be regarded as fortunate indeed who in early life can restrain
his wandering thoughts and tie down his mind at will to the
contemplation of whatever he wishes to comprehend and to make his
own. A few moments of this concentrated application is worth days
and weeks of a vague, interrupted, scattered attention. The first
resembles the well-known manœuvre in strategy, so simple in its
conception and yet so astonishing in its results, by which all
the arms of a military force are made to bear upon a given point
at the same moment. Everything here tells, because there is no
power wasted, and none misapplied. Now let no one despair because
he finds this effort to confine his attention difficult, or for a
considerable length of time, impracticable. Nothing is more certain
than that this power over the mind may be acquired. Let the attempt
be repeated again and again--first short, afterwards (as the ability
is increased) for longer periods, and success will ultimately
follow. The habit of fixed attention will thus be created, and it is
one of the peculiarities of all active habits, that in proportion to
the difficulty with which they were produced, is their inveteracy,
when once thoroughly formed. Thus, it not unfrequently happens that
the advantages with which the individual commenced his career, who
was naturally alert and devoted in his attention to every subject as
it was successively presented to his notice, have not enabled him
to contend successfully with him who, by hard efforts, has chained
down his wandering thoughts and dissipated faculties to the habit of

Among the best results which attend a course of regular academical
education is this exclusive and concentrated direction of the
mental powers to their appropriate objects. In the years employed
principally in the study of the learned languages the necessity
of finding out the meaning of each word and discerning either the
agreement between different words or the dependence of some of them
upon others in certain grammatical relations necessarily sharpens
and fixes the attention. After this preparatory discipline of the
intellect the student is introduced to the study of mathematical
science, where proposition leads on to proposition in regular
order, and his attention is necessarily enchained to each truth,
as it follows with logical certainty, from truths previously
demonstrated. He is then initiated into the mysterious laws of
natural philosophy, as they have been discovered, explained and
illustrated, by a course of rigorous induction, and is ultimately
familiarized with the yet nobler and more sublime investigations of
moral science, the refinements of taste, the beauties of eloquence,
and the charm of heavenly poesy. And this admirable training is
conducted remote from the bustle and cares of the world, in the
very hush of the passions, and beyond the reach of beguiling and
distracting pleasures. Here surely, then, the understanding is
disciplined, its discrimination rendered more acute, its general
health and vigor confirmed, while a facility is created for
directing its powers to the various manly and trying services which
may await in life's busy theatre. But not unfrequently is the
question asked by querulous students, why all this devoted attention
to the dead languages, to mathematical theorems, philosophical
experiments, metaphysical disquisitions and critical subtleties? In
the world [he soliloquizes] no one talks Greek or Latin, and in the
forum or legislative hall we shall not be called upon to demonstrate
the propositions of Euclid, or explain the phenomena of hydrostatics
and optics. The motives of human action are better learned in that
great practical school, the world, than by poring over the theories
of metaphysicians; and all the rules of Quintilian, Rollin, or Blair
will never make a powerful reasoner or an eloquent orator. Why,
then, shall we consume our nights and days in the acquisition of
that which is to be of no practical utility hereafter, and which
brings with it no immediate advantage, except the gratification of
pride, a shortlived honor, a distinction at commencement? Beware, my
young friends, beware of the tempter! These are the suggestions of
sloth--the most insidious, persuasive and dangerous of deceivers.
_Vitanda est improba Siren Desidia._

If you cannot close your ears against her insinuations, strengthen
your understandings to triumph over her sophisms, and nerve your
courage to resist her wiles. Be sure, if you submit to her benumbing
influence, and waste your days here in idleness, the time will come,
when with bitter, but perhaps unavailing anguish, you shall bemoan
your folly. Remember, that it is not designed by an academical
education to teach you all that it behooves you to learn. Education
is not completed within these walls. When you shall have quitted
this peaceful retreat, and selected the profession or state in
life in which you are to be engaged, then you should apply all
your efforts to the acquisition of that species of knowledge which
is more especially needed. Here are inculcated those elementary
principles of science and literature which experience has shown
to be best fitted to form the foundation of the character of the
scholar and gentleman--those rudiments of instruction, which,
omitted here, are rarely indeed acquired afterwards. Here are to be
formed those habits of vigorous and continuous application--here,
the capacities for improvement are to be cultivated and
strengthened, so that every occasion and every employment without
these walls may become subsidiary to further advancement in
knowledge, ability, and usefulness. It is a miserable fallacy to
mistake the exception for the rule. True it is, that those who have
won the highest honors at college do not always realize the hopes
which these glorious beginnings have excited. "The fair bloom of
fairest fruit" may be blasted by pestilent dews. Folly, vanity and
vice, low pursuits and vulgar associations, indolence, intemperance,
and debauchery but too often debase and destroy the generous youth
who entered on life's career rich in academical distinction, docile,
ardent for fame, patient of labor, of manly purpose and noblest
promise. Mourn over these moral wrecks. Lament the inadequacy of
all earthly good, the frail character of all human excellence.
Weep for those who have fallen from their high estate, but say not
it was folly in them thus to have risen. True it is also, that it
sometimes, though very rarely, happens that those who have been idle
during their academical course have, by extraordinary exertions,
retrieved their early neglect, and in the end outstripped others
who started in the race far ahead. These are the exceptions--they
furnish cause to humble arrogance, check presumption, banish
despair, and encourage reformation. But so surely as a virtuous
life usually precedes a happy death, so surely it will be found
that within the college precincts is laid the groundwork of that
preeminence afterwards acquired in the strife of men, and that
college distinctions are not only good testimony of the fidelity
with which college duties have been performed, but the best presages
and pledges of excellence on a more elevated and extensive field
of action. In defiance, therefore, of all the lures of pleasure and
seductive suggestions of sloth, let active, persevering industry
be the habit of your lives. Form this habit here, and cherish and
preserve it ever afterwards.

But however earnestly you are thus exhorted to diligence, let it not
be forgotten that diligence itself is but a subordinate quality, and
derives its chief value from the end to which it is directed and the
motives by which it is impelled. It is diligence in a good cause
only that is commendable. The first great maxim of human conduct,
that which it is all-important to impress on the understandings of
young men, and recommend to their hearty adoption is, above all
things, in all circumstances, and under every emergency, to preserve
a clean heart and an honest purpose. Integrity, firm, determined
integrity, is that quality which, of all others, raises man to the
highest dignity of his nature, and fits him to adorn and bless
the sphere in which he is appointed to move. Without it, neither
genius nor learning, neither the gifts of God, nor human exertions,
can avail aught for the accomplishment of the great objects of
human existence. Integrity is the crowning virtue--integrity is
the pervading principle which ought to regulate, guide, control,
and vivify every impulse, desire, and action. Honesty is sometimes
spoken of as a vulgar virtue; and perhaps that honesty, which barely
refrains from outraging the positive rules ordained by society for
the protection of property, and which ordinarily pays its debts and
performs its engagements, however useful and commendable a quality,
is not to be numbered among the highest efforts of human virtue. But
that integrity which, however tempting the opportunity, or however
secure against detection, no selfishness nor resentment, no lust of
power, place, favor, profit or pleasure can cause to swerve from
the strict rule of right, is the perfection of man's moral nature.
In this sense the poet was right when he pronounced an honest man
the noblest work of God. It is almost inconceivable what an erect
and independent spirit this high endowment communicates to man,
and what a moral intrepidity and vivifying energy it imparts to
his character. There is a family alliance between all the virtues,
and perfect integrity is always followed by a train of goodly
qualities, frankness, benevolence, humanity, patriotism, promptness
to act, and patience to endure. In moments of public need, these
indicate the man who is worthy of universal confidence. Erected on
such a basis, and built up of such materials, fame is enduring.
Such is the fame of our Washington, of the man "inflexible to ill
and obstinately just." While, therefore, other monuments, intended
to perpetuate human greatness, are daily mouldering into dust, and
belie the proud inscriptions which they bear, the solid granite
pyramid of his glory lasts from age to age, imperishable, seen afar
off, looming high over the vast desert, a mark, a sign, and a wonder
for the wayfarers through this pilgrimage of life.

A nice sense of integrity cannot, therefore, be too early cherished,
or too sedulously cultivated. In the very dawnings of life occasions
are presented for its exercise. Within these walls temptations
every day occur, when temporary advantage solicits a deviation from
the rule of right. In the discharge of the various duties which
you owe to your companions, let no petty selfishness be indulged,
no artifices practiced, by which you are to escape from your fair
share of labor, inconvenience or contribution, or any one deprived
of the full measure of whatever he may rightfully claim. Cultivate
singleness of purpose and frankness of demeanor, and hold in
contempt whatever is sordid, disingenuous, cunning or mean. But it
is when these peaceful shades shall have been left behind, and the
fitful course of busy life begun, that seductions will be presented
under every form by which inexperience, infirmity of purpose, and
facility of disposition, can be waylaid. Then is the crisis of the
young man's fate--then is the time to take his stand, to seize his
vantage ground. If he can then defy the allurements of cupidity,
sensuality and ambition, the laugh of fools, the arts of parasites,
and the contagion of improbity, then indeed, may he hope,

    "In sight of mortal and immortal powers,
    As in a boundless theatre to run
    The great career of justice--
    And through the mists of passion and of sense,
    And through the tossing tide of chance and pain
    To hold his course unfaltering."

You, my young friends, who are standing at the threshold, and
waiting with eager impatience the signal for entrance upon life,
must not think that I mean to alarm you with idle fears because
I thus warn you of the approaching conflict. The enraged bull
may close his eyes before he rushes upon his foe, but rational
courage calmly surveys danger, and then deliberately prepares and
determines to encounter it. Apprised of your peril, and armed for
the encounter, enter on your course with resolved hearts, and fear
not for the issue.

So sweet are the notes of human praise, and so abhorrent the tones
of reproach, that it is among the highest efforts of magnanimity
to pursue the straightforward course of duty, without being turned
aside by commendation or reproof, by flattery or calumny. Whatever
be our journey through life, like the princess in the eastern
tale, ascending the mountain in search of the wondrous bird, we
are sure to hear around us the confused sounds of blandishment and
solicitation, or menace and insult, until with many of us, the giddy
head is turned, and we are converted into monuments of warning to
those who are to follow life's adventure. Rare, indeed, is that
moral courage which, like the prudent Parizade, closes its ears
against the impression of these sounds, and casts not an eye behind
until its destined course be accomplished. Rare, however, as may
be this excellence, and in its perfection perhaps unattainable,
there can be no true dignity and decision of character without a
near approach to it. Let youth be ever modest, ever deferential
to the counsels, the suggestions and the claims of others. But in
matters of right and wrong, whatever be the lures, the taunts, or
the usages of the world, or whatever the supposed inconveniences
of singularity, let judgment and conscience always rule with
absolute sway. Carry this maxim with you through life, whatever be
the station you are to occupy, or the business you are to pursue;
and carry with it another kindred maxim--rely for success in your
undertakings, not on the patronage of others, but on your own
capacity, resolution, diligence, and exertions. Rise by merit, or
rise not at all. Suited as these injunctions are believed to be by
all, they are peculiarly addressed to those who, panting for renown,
are resolved to enter upon a public career, and long "to read their
history in a nation's eyes."

"O how wretched," exclaimed the Poet of Nature, "is that poor man
that hangs on princes' favors." Miserable is the condition of every
being who hangs on the favors of creatures like himself. Deserve,
and strive by desert, to win the esteem of your fellow-men. Thus
acquired, it decorates him who obtains and blesses those who bestow
it. To them it is returned in faithful service, and to him in aid
of the approbation of conscience to animate diligence and reward
exertion. Those too, who engage in public service, are bound to
cherish a hearty sympathy with the wants, feelings, comforts, and
wishes of the people--whose welfare is committed to their charge.
It is essential for the preservation of that confidence which ought
to subsist between the principal and the agent, the constituent
and the representative, that all haughtiness and reserve should
be banished from their intercourse. It sometimes happens that he
who has lived too constantly among books manifests a disgust in
an association with the uneducated and unrefined, which mortifies
and repels them. This is absurd in him, and unjust to them. It is
absurd, for he ought to know, and know well, those for whom, and
upon whom, he expects to act--they constitute in fact, one of the
first and most appropriate objects of his study; and it is unjust,
for not unfrequently under this roughness which shocks the man of
books is to be found a stock of practical information, in which he
is miserably deficient. Banish, then, all superciliousness, for it
is criminal and ridiculous. Honestly seek to serve your country, for
it is glorious to advance the good of your fellow-men, and thus,
as far as feeble mortals may, act up to the great example of Him
in whose image and likeness you are made. Seek also, by all honest
arts, to win their confidence, but beware how you prefer their favor
to their service. The high road of service is indeed laborious,
exposed to the rain and sun, the heat and dust; while the by-path
of favor has, apparently, at first, much the same direction, and is
bordered with flowers and sheltered by trees, "cooled with fountains
and murmuring with waterfalls." No wonder, then, that like the son
of Abensina, in Johnston's beautiful apologue the young adventurer
is tempted to try the happy experiment of "uniting pleasure with
business, and gaining the rewards of diligence without suffering
its fatigues." But once entered upon, the path of favor, though
found to decline more and more from its first direction, is pursued
through all its deviations, till at length even the thought of
return to the road of service is utterly abandoned. To court the
fondness of the people is found or supposed to be easier than to
merit their approbation. Meanly ambitious of public trust, without
the virtues to deserve it; intent on personal distinction, and
having forgotten the ends for which alone it is worth possessing,
the miserable being, concentered all in self, learns to pander to
every vulgar prejudice, to advocate every popular error, to chime
in with every dominant party, to fawn, flatter and deceive, and
become a demagogue! All manliness of principle has been lost in this
long course of meanness: he dare not use his temporary popularity
for any purposes of public good, in which there may be a hazard of
forfeiting it; and the very eminence to which he is exalted renders
but more conspicuous his servility and degradation. However clear
the convictions of his judgment, however strong the admonitions of
his, as yet, not thoroughly stifled conscience, not these, not the
law of God, nor the rule of right, nor the public good, but the
caprice of his constituents, must be his only guide. Having risen by
artifice, and conscious of no worth to support him, he is in hourly
dread of being supplanted in the favor of the deluded multitude by
some more cunning deceiver. And such, sooner or later, is sure to be
his fate. At some unlucky moment, when he bears his blushing honors
thick upon him--and well may such honors blush--he is jerked from
his elevation by some more dextrous demagogue, and falls, unpitied,
never to rise again. Can this be the lot of him who has been here
trained to admire and love high-minded excellence, and who has
been taught by high classical authority to regard with the same
fearless and immovable indifference the stern countenance of the
tyrant and the wicked ardor of the multitude, and who has learned
from a yet higher and holier authority to hold fast to "whatsoever
things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things
are just, whatsoever things are pure, to abhor that which is evil
and cleave to that which is good?" Believe me, however, this is no
fancy picture. The original may be found in the world every day. Nor
will it surprise those who have had occasion to see how the vain
heart is swollen, and the giddy head turned, how honesty of purpose
and manliness of spirit are perverted by popular applause. It is
but the first step that costs. Once yield to the suggestion that a
little deceit or prevarication, a slight sacrifice of principle and
independence, a compromise of conscience in matters not absolutely
fundamental, may be excused, when the immediate gain is obvious and
the end in view important, and the downward path becomes every day
more and more smooth until, in its descent, it reaches the very
abyss of vulgar, trading, intriguing, electioneering, office-hunting
politicians. If in this lowest depth a lower deep can be found, none
of us, I am sure, have the curiosity to explore it.

But is integrity sure to meet here its merited reward?
Unquestionably not. If it were, and the fact generally known, there
would scarcely be room for choice, and men would be honest from the
want of a plausible temptation to be otherwise. But it is not too
much to say, that in general, integrity has a tendency to promote
the interests of him who pursues it, and it is therefore recommended
to our adoption by prudence, not less than by principle. Success in
the acquisition of any intrinsic object is necessarily uncertain,
since it depends on contingencies which cannot be foreseen, and
which, if foreseen, are frequently beyond our power. It is not in
mortals to command success. No talent, no courage, no industry, and
no address can be certain to effect it. But when it is attempted by
cunning, disingenuous means, it is usually rendered more difficult
of attainment because of the complexity of the scheme and the
risk of detection and counteraction. Honesty, in the long run, is
therefore the surer policy. It is impossible to thrive without the
reputation of it, and it is far easier to be honest, indeed, than to
cheat the world into the belief of integrity where it is not. The
crooked stratagems, the arts, toils, concealments and self-denials,
which are necessary to carry on a successful imposition, are far
more onerous and painful than all the duties which a life of
probity enjoins; while the consciousness of an upright deportment
diffuses through the whole man that security and serenity which
infinitely outweighs all the advantages of successful cunning.
Nor, in recommending a spirit of independence, is it intended to
proscribe the acceptance of friendly aid, freely tendered, and
won by no mean solicitation. Children of the same common family,
we are bound to help each other in the trials and difficulties of
our common pilgrimage; nor should we ever be too proud to receive
from others that assistance which it is our duty to render to them.
Now such aid is not only more likely to be bestowed, but comes
with far greater effect, when there has been a manly and sustained
effort to do without it. The spindling plant which has always been
supported by a prop is not only unable to stand alone, but can
scarcely be sustained by props when the season of fruit arrives;
whereas, the slight assistance then bestowed on the hardy tree that,
self-sustained, has always braved the breeze, will enable it to bear
up under the heaviest and richest burthen. He who trusts to others
must necessarily be often disappointed, and the habit of dependence
creates a helplessness which is almost incapable of exertion.
Fancy dwells on expected aid, until it mistakes its own creations
for realities, and the child of illusion wastes life in miserable
daydreams, unable to act for himself, and confidently relying on
assistance which he is destined never to receive.

Deeply-rooted principles of probity, confirmed habits of industry,
and a determination to rely on one's own exertions constitute,
then, the great preparation for the discharge of the duties of man,
and the best security for performing them with honor to one's self
and benefit to others. But it may be asked what is there in such
a life of never-ending toil, effort and privation, to recommend
it to the acceptance of the young and the gay? Those who aspire
to heroic renown, may indeed make up their minds to embrace these
"hard doctrines;" but it may be well questioned whether happiness
is not preferable to greatness, and enjoyment more desirable than
distinction. Let others, if they will, toil "up the steep where
Fame's proud temple shines afar"; we choose rather to sport in
luxurious ease and careless glee in the valley below. It is, indeed,
on those who aspire to eminence that these injunctions are intended
to be pressed with the greatest emphasis, not only because a
failure in them would be more disastrous than in others, but because
they are exposed to greater and more numerous dangers of error. But
it is a sad mistake to suppose that they are not suited to all, and
are not earnestly urged upon all, however humble their pretensions
or moderate their views. Happiness, as well as greatness, enjoyment
as well as renown, have no friends so sure as Integrity, Diligence,
and Independence. We are not placed here to waste our days in wanton
riot or inglorious ease, with appetites perpetually gratified and
never palled, exempted from all care and solicitude, with life ever
fresh, and joys ever new. He who has fitted us for our condition,
and assigned to us its appropriate duties, has not left his work
unfinished, and omitted to provide a penalty for the neglect of
our obligations. Labor is not more the duty than the blessing of
man. Without it there is neither mental nor physical vigor, health,
cheerfulness, nor animation; neither the eagerness of hope, nor
the capacity to enjoy. Every human being must have some object to
engage his attention, excite his wishes, and rouse him to action,
or he sinks, a prey to listlessness. For want of proper occupation,
see strenuous idleness resorting to a thousand expedients--the
race-course, the bottle, or the gaming-table, the frivolities of
fashion, the debasements of sensuality, the petty contentions of
envy, the grovelling pursuits of avarice, and all the various
distracting agitations of vice. Call you these enjoyments? Is such
the happiness which it is so dreadful to forego?

    "Vast happiness enjoy the gay allies!
      A youth of follies, an old age of cares,
    Young yet enervate, old yet never wise;
      Vice wastes their vigor and their mind impairs.
    Vain, idle, dissolute, in thoughtless ease,
      Reserving woes for age, their prime they spend;
    All wretched, hopeless to the evil days,
      With sorrow to the verge of life they tend;
    Grieved with the present, of the past ashamed;
      They live and are despised, they die, no more are named."

If to every bounty of Providence there be annexed, as assuredly
there is, some obligations as a condition for its enjoyment, on
us, blest as we have been, and as we now are, with the choicest
gifts of heaven here below--with freedom, peace, order, civilization
and social virtue--there are unquestionably imposed weighty
obligations. You whom I now address will, in a few years, be among
the men of the succeeding age. In a country like ours, where the
public will is wholly unfettered, and every man is a component
part of that country, there is no individual so humble who has not
duties of a public kind to discharge. His views and actions have
an influence on those of others, and his opinions, with theirs,
serve to make up that public will. More especially is this the case
with those who, whatever may be their pursuits in life, have been
raised by education to a comparative superiority in intellectual
vigor and attainments. On you, and such as you, depends the fate
of the most precious heritage ever won by the valor, preserved
by the prudence, or consecrated by the virtue of an illustrious
ancestry--illustrious, not because of factitious titles, but
nature's nobles, wise, good, generous, and brave! To you, and
such as you, will be confided in deposit the institutions of our
renowned and beloved country. Receive them with awe, cherish them
with loyalty, and transmit them whole, and, if possible, improved,
to your children. Yours will, indeed, be no sinecure office. As the
public will is the operative spring of all public action, it will
be your duty to make and to keep the public will enlightened. There
will always be some error to dispel, some prejudice to correct,
some illusion to guard against, some imposition to detect and
expose. In aid of these individual efforts, you must provide, by
public institutions, for diffusing among the people that general
information, without which, they cannot be protected from the
machinations of deceivers. As your country grows in years, you must
also cause it to grow in science, literature, arts, and refinement.
It will be for you to develop and multiply its resources, to check
the faults of manners as they rise, and to advance the cause of
industry, temperance, moderation, justice, morals, and religion all
around you. On you too, will devolve the duty which has been long
neglected, but which cannot with impunity be neglected much longer,
of providing for the mitigation, and (is it too much to hope for in
North Carolina?) for the ultimate extirpation of the worst evil
that afflicts the southern part of our confederacy. Full well do
you know to what I refer, for on this subject there is, with all of
us, a morbid sensitiveness which gives warning even of an approach
to it. Disguise the truth as we may, and throw the blame where we
will, it is slavery which, more than any other cause, keeps us back
in the career of improvement. It stifles industry and represses
enterprise--it is fatal to economy and providence, it discourages
skill, impairs our strength as a community, and poisons morals at
the fountain-head. How this evil is to be encountered, how subdued,
is indeed a difficult and delicate inquiry which this is not the
time to examine nor the occasion to discuss. I felt, however, that
I could not discharge my duty without referring to this subject, as
one which ought to engage the prudence, moderation, and firmness of
those who, sooner or later, must act decisively upon it.

I would not depress your buoyant spirits with gloomy anticipations,
but I should be wanting in frankness if I did not state my
convictions that you will be called to the performance of other
duties unusually grave and important. Perils surround you, and are
imminent, which will require clear heads, pure intentions and stout
hearts to discern and overcome. There is no side on which danger
may not make its approach, but from the wickedness and madness
of factions it is most menacing. Time was, indeed, when factions
contended amongst us with virulence and fury, but they were, or
affected to be, at issue on questions of principle; now Americans
band together under the names of men, and wear the livery and put on
the badges of their leaders; then the individuals of the different
parties were found side by side, dispersed throughout the various
districts of our confederated republic, but now the parties that
distract the land are almost identified with our geographical
distinctions. Now, then, has come the period foreseen and dreaded
by our Washington--by him, "who more than any other individual,
founded this, our wide-spreading empire, and gave to our western
world independence and freedom"--by him, who with a father's
warning voice, bade us beware of "parties founded on geographical
discriminations." As yet, the sentiment so deeply planted in the
hearts of our honest yeomanry, that union is strength, has not
been uprooted. As yet, they acknowledge the truth and feel the
force of the homely but excellent aphorism, "United we stand,
divided we fall." As yet, they take pride in the name of "the
United States"--in the recollection of the fields that were won,
the blood which was poured forth, and the glory which was gained in
the common cause, and under the common banner of a united country.
May God, in His mercy, forbid that I or you, my friends, should
live to see the day when these sentiments and feelings shall be
extinct! Whenever that day comes, then is the hour at hand when this
glorious republic, this once national and confederated Union, which
for nearly half a century has presented to the eyes, the hopes and
the gratitude of man a more brilliant and lovely image than Plato
or More or Harrington ever feigned or fancied, shall be like a
tale that is told, like a vision that hath passed away. But these
sentiments and feelings are necessarily weakened, and in the end
must be destroyed, unless the moderate, the good, and the wise unite
to "frown indignantly upon the first dawnings of every attempt to
alienate any portion of our country from the rest, or to enfeeble
the sacred ties which now link together its various parts." Threats
of resistance, secession, separation have become common as household
words in the wicked and silly violence of public declaimers. The
public ear is familiarized with and the public mind will soon be
accustomed to the detestable suggestion of _disunion_! Calculations
and conjectures, what may the East do without the South, and what
may the South do without the East, sneers, menaces, reproaches, and
recriminations, all tend to the same fatal end! What can the East do
without the South? What can the South do without the East? They may
do much; they may exhibit to the curiosity of political anatomists,
and the pity and wonder of the world the _disjecta membra_, the
sundered, bleeding limbs of a once gigantic body instinct with
life and strength and vigor. They can furnish to the philosophic
historian another melancholy and striking instance of the political
axiom that all republican confederacies have an inherent and
unavoidable tendency to dissolution. They will present fields and
occasion for border wars, for leagues and counter-leagues, for the
intrigues of petty statesmen, the struggles of military chiefs,
for confiscations, insurrections, and deeds of darkest hue. They
will gladden the hearts of those who have proclaimed that men
are not fit to govern themselves, and shed a disastrous eclipse
on the hopes of rational freedom throughout the world. Solon in
his code proposed no rational punishment for parricide, treating
it as an impossible crime. Such with us ought to be the crime of
political parricide--the dismemberment of our "fatherland." _Cari
sunt parentes, cari liberi, propinqui, familiares; sed omnes omnium
caritates patria una complexa est; pro qua quis bonus dubitet mortem
oppetere, si ei sit profuturus? Quo est detestabilior istorum
immanitas qui lacerarunt omni scelere patriam, et in ea funditus
delenda occupati et sunt et fuerunt._

If it must be so, let parties and party men continue to quarrel
with little or no regard to the public good. They may mystify
themselves and others with disputations on political economy,
proving the most opposite doctrines to their own satisfaction, and
perhaps to the conviction of no one else on earth. They may deserve
reprobation for their selfishness, their violence, their errors,
or their wickedness. They may do our country much harm. They may
retard its growth, destroy its harmony, impair its character, render
its institutions unstable, pervert the public mind, and deprave
the public morals. These are indeed evils, and sore evils, but
the principle of life remains, and will yet struggle with assured
success over these temporary maladies. Still we are great, glorious,
united, and free, still we have a name that is revered abroad and
loved at home--a name which is a tower of strength to us against
foreign wrong and a bond of internal union and harmony, a name which
no enemy pronounces but with respect, and which no citizen hears but
with a throb of exultation. Still we have that blessed Constitution
which, with all its pretended defects and all its alleged
violations, has conferred more benefit on man than ever yet flowed
from any other human institution--which has established justice,
insured domestic tranquillity, provided for the common defense,
promoted the general welfare, and which, under God, if we be true
to ourselves, will insure the blessings of liberty to us and to
our posterity. Surely such a country and such a Constitution have
claims upon you, my friends, which cannot be disregarded. I entreat
and adjure you, then, by all that is near and dear to you on earth,
by all the obligations of patriotism, by the memory of your fathers
who fell in the great and glorious struggle, for the sake of your
sons whom you would not have to blush for your degeneracy, by all
your proud recollections of the past and all your fond anticipations
of the future renown of our nation, preserve that country, uphold
that Constitution. Resolve that they shall not be lost while in your
keeping, and may God Almighty strengthen you to fulfill that vow!

[Illustration: GEORGE E. BADGER.]



My acquaintance with Mr. Badger commenced in the latter part of
the summer of 1825. He had already completed his service as a
judge, which office he resigned at the close of the spring circuit
of that year; had contested the palm of forensic eloquence and
professional learning with Seawell and Gaston, with a wide increase
of reputation, at the recent term of the Supreme Court, and was
returned to the practice in Orange, where he had once resided, in
generous competition with Murphy, Nash, Yancey, Mangum, Hawks,
Haywood, and others--Mr. Ruffin, hitherto the leader at this bar,
having been appointed his successor on the bench of the Superior

He was then a little turned of thirty years of age. One half of his
time since his majority had been passed upon the bench, yet his
fame as a lawyer was fully established; and though he doubtless
afterwards added vastly to his stores of erudition, yet in quickness
of perception, readiness of comprehension, clear and forcible
reasoning, elegant and imposing diction, in all that constitutes an
orator and advocate, he had attained an eminence hardly surpassed at
any period of his life. From that time and before it, I know not how
long, till the day he was stricken by the disease which terminated
his life, in North Carolina, at least, his name was on every tongue.
He was not only marked and distinguished, but an eminent man.
So bright and shining a character could not but attract general
observation; and though

    "Hard is his fate on whom the public gaze
    Is fixed forever, to detract or praise";

and while, with gay and hilarious nature, frank but somewhat
eccentrical manners and unequaled powers of conversation, united
with some infirmity of temper, his expressions and conduct in the
earlier half of his life were often the subject of severe criticism;
yet in the long period of from forty to fifty years, in which he
moved "in the high places of the world," no one denied him the
gifts of most extraordinary talents and unswerving integrity and
truthfulness. Even in the particular in which complaint had been
made--an imputed hauteur and exclusiveness--his disposition was
either mellowed by time, or, what is more probable, his character
came to be better appreciated from being better understood; and for
years before the sad eclipse which obscured his usefulness no man
enjoyed more of the general confidence and favor of the people, as
none had possessed in a higher degree their admiration.

Transferred to the more extended field of jurisprudence administered
in the courts of the United States, and afterwards to the Senate of
the nation, he took rank with the first advocates, jurisprudents,
and debaters of the Union; and the purity of his morals, the
elevation of his character, his readiness and accomplishments as a
conversationalist, the gayety and vivacity of his manners, rendered
him a general favorite with old and young, the grave and gay, in the
brilliant society of the metropolis.

George Edmund Badger was born in New Bern, North Carolina, on the
17th of April, 1795. His father, Thomas Badger, Esq., the son of
Edmund and Lucretia Badger, was a native of Connecticut, and his
birth is recorded to have taken place at Windham, in that State, on
the 27th of June, 1766. Having received a good education, he came
early in manhood to New Bern, and thence to Spring Hill, in the
county of Lenoir, where for some time he taught school, but was then
probably a student of the law, and was in due time admitted to the
practice in this State. Fixing his residence in New Bern, he early
rose to distinction as a practitioner, and appears in the published
reports as one of the leading counsellors in the courts of that
riding, and in the Supreme Court of the State, from 1792 till his
death, which occurred from yellow fever, while in attendance on a
court at Washington, in Beaufort county, on the 10th of October,

The traditions of the profession and of intelligent persons of his
acquaintance represent him as a man of determined character and
great intellectual and professional ability, and leave the question
in doubt whether at the same period of life he was more than equaled
by his son. The late Peter Browne, himself one of the first lawyers
and men of letters of his time in North Carolina, a contemporary
at the bar of the senior Badger, spoke of him, before the entrance
of his son into public life, as one of the ablest men he had ever
known, and especially as possessing a power to fascinate and control
masses of men in the most remarkable degree--a power, he added,
which the son might exert with similar effect, if he would.

His mother, by name Lydia Cogdell, was the daughter of Colonel
Richard Cogdell, of New Bern, a gentleman of much consideration
under the provincial rule in North Carolina, and an active and bold
leader in the movement of the Revolution. As early as August, 1775,
his name appears second on the list of the committee of safety for
New Bern district, appointed by the first Congress of the province
(that of Alexander Gaston being at the head). Lydia Cogdell was
a person of singular vigor of mind and character, well fitted to
encounter the cares and trials of her early widowhood. Her husband
had experienced that which has been said to be the common lot of the
profession in this country, "to work hard, live well and die poor,"
and left her with but little fortune to rear three children, of whom
George was the eldest and the only son.

According to her narrative, he manifested no fondness for books,
and made little progress in learning till about seven years of
age. At that period she placed in his hands Goldsmith's _Animated
Nature_. He was delighted with its perusal, and she never found it
necessary to stimulate his thirst for knowledge afterwards. His
preparatory course was taken in his native town of New Bern, and
at the age of fifteen he entered Yale College. There he passed
through the studies of the freshman and the sophomore classes, when
his education, so far as it depended on schools, was brought to a
close. A relative, a man of fortune, at the North, who had hitherto
furnished the means for his college expenses (his own patrimony
being wholly insufficient), and from whose bounty he had hoped to
pass on to graduation, suddenly withdrew his support and left him
to his own exertions. Of the motives of this unexpected arrest in
his college career, on which so much might have depended, it is
useless, now at least, to speculate or inquire. But it will be a
source of gratification to his friends to be assured that it was
attributable to no demerit in our student. True, his contemporaries
at Yale differ widely in their estimation of his capacities while
there. The Northern students, who belonged to a different society,
regarded him as a frolicsome youth, averse to mathematics, and fond
of novel-reading, who gave no indications of superior endowments.
On the other hand, a college classmate (Thomas P. Devereux, Esq.,
of Halifax) and member of the same society, who knew him intimately
throughout life, and was five and twenty years associated with him
at the bar, affirms that "he was beyond dispute the first boy of
his class, composed of seventy individuals, many of them afterwards
distinguished men." He was not, says this friend, "a hard student
of the prescribed course. Perhaps I ought to add that he was remiss
in his college duties, but he was eager for information to a most
wonderful degree, and among his fellow-students he exhibited the
same intellectual superiority we have seen him so steadily maintain
among men." To the same source I am indebted for the following
observations concerning his elocution, which I repeat for the
advantage and encouragement of the young. "I think," he remarks,
"that the thousands who listened to the fluency with which Mr.
Badger spoke, the clearness of his enunciation, the exact accuracy
of his sentences and the carefulness of their formation--the right
words always in the right places--will be surprised to learn that in
his youthful attempts in debate he was almost a stammerer. I have
heard him say he owed exemption from downright stuttering to his
father, whom he remembered with affection, though under five years
of age at the time of his decease, who would not permit him to speak
while he hesitated in the least, but required him to stand by his
side perfectly silent, until he had collected himself and arranged
his thoughts. He, himself, often asserted that any one could speak
fluently who thought clearly and did not lose his presence of mind."

He made known to President Dwight the reception of the letter
announcing the withdrawal of the patronage by which he had been thus
far supported, and the _res angusta domi_ which caused him to bid
adieu to Yale when reaching the portion of her curriculum by which
his expanding mind would have been most profited, and left with the
regrets and kind wishes of that venerable divine and instructor. In
after years when he had established a character, his _alma mater_
honored herself by volunteering a degree to her barely risen junior,
and enrolling his name among her sons with whom he should have
graduated in 1813, as, at a later period, she acknowledged his still
higher advancement in liberal learning, by conferring upon him the
degree of Doctor of Laws.

He appears to have indulged in no unavailing grief at the freak
of fortune which blasted his hopes of a collegiate education, but
returning home, though but little over seventeen years of age,
betook himself at once to the study of the law. His legal preceptor
was his maternal cousin, Hon. John Stanly, of New Bern, who as
an advocate, a statesman, a parliamentarian, a wit and adept in
conversation, is one of the historical characters of North Carolina;
and, who, viewing him as I did, from the gallery of the House of
Commons in my boyhood, impressed me as an orator of more graceful
and elegant manner and action, according to my conception of the
Ciceronian standard, than any public speaker it has ever been my
fortune to hear.

Mr. Badger was granted a license to practice law in the County
Courts in the summer of 1814, and, according to the usual probation,
in the Superior Courts in 1815; the Judges of the Supreme Court
consenting to relax the ordinary rule and overlook his nonage, by
reason of the narrowness of his fortune and the dependence of his
mother and sisters upon his exertions for their support. The war
with England raging in the former year, and an invasion of the State
being threatened by the British forces under Admiral Cockburn, then
hovering on our coasts, Governor Hawkins called out the militia, and
himself took the field, in an expedition for the defense of New Bern
and Beaufort. In this expedition Mr. Badger served as aid-de-camp
to General Calvin Jones, of Wake, with rank of major; but the alarm
soon ceasing, with the retirement of the enemy the soldier was
again resolved into the youthful barrister. A vacancy occurring in
the office of solicitor to prosecute the pleas of the State in that
riding, about this time, he was introduced to public notice by the
temporary appointment from the judge, and made one circuit in that

In 1816, the year of his majority, he was returned a member of
the House of Commons from the town of New Bern; and whatever
advantages he may have lost by his retirement from college (and
they were doubtless many and important), it may well be questioned
whether any of the more fortunate youths he had left behind in the
classic shades of Yale were, by this time, better fitted to play a
distinguished part in a deliberative assembly or a court of justice.
Profiting by the instruction, the conversation, the intercourse,
and the example of that accomplished gentleman, Mr. Stanly, and his
compeers, Gaston, Edward Graham, Moses Mordecai, and others, whom
he met at the bar or in society, but above all by his own profound
study, he not only gained great attainments in the law, but (what
is now I fear becoming rare), a familiar acquaintance with the
classic authors of English literature, and with the arts of rhetoric
and composition. He wrote and spoke our language with a readiness,
force, precision, and propriety, the more remarkable because equally
as conspicuous in jocose and trifling conversation (in which he
freely indulged) as in public address. As a critic, whether under
the inspiration of a "good or bad natured muse," he has had few
peers among the judges of "English undefiled." His appearance in
the Legislature was the advent of a new star above the horizon,
somewhat erratic and peculiar in its orbit, but effulgent even in
its irregularities, and shining with a splendor not unworthy of the
oldest and greatest lights of the firmament.

Tradition furnishes anecdotes of many encounters, during the
session, of gladiatorial skill, in which his love of pleasantry and
the _gaudia certaminis_ involved him with the late Attorney-General
Drew, a son of genius and of Erin, and others, with various success:
but it assures us that this, his first and last session in the
General Assembly, closed with a profound impression and universal
acknowledgment of his genius, culture, and high promise for the

The Hon. Thomas Ruffin, the speaker of the House of Commons, who
had been first appointed a judge of the Superior Court during this
session, discovering in Mr. Badger a congenial spirit, alike emulous
with himself of liberal culture and professional distinction,
invited him to take his briefs and pursue the practice in Orange.
The acceptance of this proposition carried him to Hillsborough as
his place of residence for the next two or three years, during
which, having married the daughter of Hon. James Turner, of Warren,
he transferred his home to Warrenton; thence he moved to Louisburg,
where he continued to reside until his retirement from the bench in
1825, when he removed to Raleigh, and there abode during the residue
of his life.

How well he maintained his professional character in the new field
of his practice is observed in the fact that, with but little of
what is known as personal popularity, he was elected a judge of the
Superior Court by the Legislature in its session of 1820, at the
age of twenty-five. In this office he rode the circuits four years
with admitted ability, candor and impartiality, evading no question
and no duty; but he was sometimes thought to err from quickness
of temper and too great readiness to assume responsibility. His
courtesy to the profession won him general esteem. The people,
though sometimes murmuring at the severity of a sentence or a
supposed arbitrary or whimsical order, regarded with equal wonder
the promptness and force with which he discussed questions of law
with the veterans of the bar, and the intelligent, amusing and
instructive conversation with which he habitually entertained his
acquaintances and associates.

I mention a single case in his administration of the law as
illustrative both of the firm and impartial hand with which he dealt
out justice and the jealous care with which the judiciary of North
Carolina has ever protected and maintained the rights of the weak
against the strong and influential. A citizen of great fortune, and
advanced age, who had represented his county in earlier years in
both Houses of the Legislature, having also numerous and influential
connections, charged a free-negro with larceny of his property,
had him brought by warrant before a justice of the peace, prevailed
on the justice to try and convict him of the offense charged, and
to sentence him to punishment by stripes, which were inflicted--a
proceeding allowable by law, provided the offender had been a slave.
But here the culprit was a freeman, and by the Constitution entitled
to public trial in open court before a jury of the country. The
prosecutor, with the justice and constable, was arraigned before
the Superior Court for this violation of law, and their guilt
being established, Judge Badger, who happened to preside at this
term, was strongly inclined to imprison the principal defendant,
and was only deterred by reason of his (said defendant's) age and
state of health; but, announcing that this was omitted from that
cause only, sentenced him to a fine of twelve hundred dollars, the
justice of the peace to fifty, and the constable to ten dollars,
the differences being made on account of their several grades of
intelligence and consequent criminality, as well as of ability to

From the time of his return to the bar and location at Raleigh,
until the access of disease which suddenly, and, as it proved,
finally arrested his course, he devoted his time to the practice
of his profession, with the exception of a few months, occasioned
by his appointment by Harrison and his continuation by Tyler as
Secretary of the Navy, and such further interruption as was produced
by his occupation of a seat in the Senate of the United States from
1846 to 1855. During his forensic career he was, at different times,
proposed by executive nomination for the bench of the Supreme Court,
both of his own State and of the United States; but the spirit of
party exacted a denial of his confirmation, though no man doubted
his eminent qualification.

If it be true, as remarked by Pinkney, in one of his familiar
letters, published by Wheaton, that "the bar is not a place
to acquire or preserve a false or a fraudulent reputation for
talents," it was eminently so in his case. He had an intrepid and
self-reliant mind, which, disdaining artifice, timidity or caution,
struck out into the open field of controversy with the daring of
conscious power, and shunned no adversary not clad in the panoply
of truth; was as ready to challenge the authority of Mansfield or
Denman, Rosyln or Eldon, if found deflecting from the paths of
principle or precedent, as that of meaner names. If, from want of
opportunity or inclination, he had failed to master the mathematics
of numbers, he made himself proficient in the mathematics of life
(as our law, from the exactness of rule at which it aims, has been
not inaptly denominated), and by a rigorous logic was prompt to
expose whatever could not bear the test of reason. Yet, it was a
logic free from the pedantry of the schools, apparently not derived
from books, and accompanied by a rapidity of mental action, which
gave to it the appearance of intuition. Whether in analysis or
synthetical reasoning, in dealing with facts before juries or the
most intricate questions of law before courts, these faculties were
equally conspicuous, and attended, when occasion called for their
use, with powers of humor, sarcasm, and ridicule hardly inferior to
those of ratiocination. Added to all this, there was a lucidness
of arrangement, an exact grammatical accuracy in every sentence,
a forcible and graceful style which, independent of a clear and
distinct enunciation, a melodious voice and engaging manner,
imparted even to his extemporaneous arguments the charms of polished

On one occasion, in a case of indictment for blasphemy, the question
had been raised whether the Christian religion was a part of the
common law, with a suggestion that if it was, it might be altered
by statute, Mr. Badger volunteered an argument for the cause of
religion and sound morality. It so happened that, as he opened his
case, a venerable citizen of the State, of great intelligence,
entered the court-room to speak a word to the reporter, expecting
immediately to retire. He was, however, so fascinated with the
manner of the speaker, the splendor of his diction, the copiousness
of his theological and legal learning, the force and clearness of
his arguments and the precision with which they were stated, that
he sat down and heard him to the close, observing, as he withdrew,
"what folly ever to have made him a judge, he ought to have been a

Literature, whose office it is to preserve the results of learning,
knowledge, and fancy, has made so little progress among us that
there has not been much effort to save from oblivion the discussions
at the bar or in the deliberative assemblies of the State--the chief
theatres of public intellectual exertion besides the pulpit. Had Mr.
Badger been studious of posthumous fame and bestowed half the time
in reporting his speeches in the more important of his causes on the
circuit, which Cicero recommended and practiced in the preparation
of his orations, the result would have been a most interesting
contribution to American rhetorical literature. There are occasions
enough within the recollection of many, who were present, in Wake,
Orange, Granville, Halifax, and elsewhere, when his utterances,
even if printed as delivered, would have formed a volume of no less
interest than the speeches of Wirt or Emmet, Erskine or Curran,
as well as afforded insight into events, crimes, transactions of
business, and the state of society of our times, such as the muse of
history derives from the records of courts of justice.

Two causes in the Circuit Court of the United States, in the days
of Chief Justice Marshall, are especially remembered as being the
themes of his most admired arguments, and in which he overcame the
preconceived opinions of the great Judge, though impressed and
supported by the acknowledged abilities, learning and persuasiveness
of Gaston. These were the cases of _Whitaker_ vs. _Freeman_, an
action for libel in twenty-five different counts, and _Lattimer_
vs. _Poteat_, one of a series of cases in ejectment, to recover
immense bodies of land in the western counties, claimed by the
citizens of Northern States under purchases from speculators who,
it was alleged, had made their entries and procured grants before
the extinction of the title of the Cherokee Indians, in violation
of law; the defendants claiming under grants from the State made
after the admitted cession of the Indian title; and Mr. Badger
was retained by the State to defend their interests. This latter
case, involving the relations of North Carolina while a separate
sovereignty, and afterwards of the United States with the Cherokee
Indians, as regulated by sundry treaties, the location of several
lines of partition between them and the whites, but removed
further and further west as the population of the superior race
increased and emigration advanced, surveys partially or wholly
made to establish these lines through a mountainous, and in many
parts, an impervious country, imputed frauds in transgressing those
lines and entries without actual survey, was of exceeding volume
and complication in its facts, and occupied a week in the trial.
The argument, running through four days, was said to be the most
elaborate on both sides ever made in the State in a jury trial. It
resulted in a verdict and judgment for the defendants, which was
afterwards affirmed by the Supreme Court of the United States. After
the trial, Judge Marshall, in the simplicity and candor of his great
character, observed to the then Governor of the State, "At the close
of Mr. Gaston's opening argument, I thought he had as good a case as
I ever saw put to a jury, but Mr. Badger had not spoken two hours
before he satisfied me that no one of his [Gaston's] positions could
be maintained."

To this instance of _laudatus a laudato viro_ I deem it not improper
to add a few others from sources only less eminent: Chief Justice
Henderson declared in my presence that "To take up a string of
cases, run through them, extract the principle contained in each,
and discriminate the points in which they differed from each other,
or from the case in hand, I have never seen a man equal to George

Judge Seawell remarked of him: "Badger is an elementary man,"
and, continuing in his peculiar and racy style, "he goes to first
principles; he finds the corners of his survey and then runs out
the boundaries, while others hunt along the lines. The difference
between him and myself is, that when I take up a book I read slowly,
pausing at the end of each sentence, and when I have reached the
bottom of the page I must stop and go back to see whether I fully
comprehend the author's meaning, while he reads it off like a novel,
and by the time he gets to the bottom of the page or the end of the
treatise he has in his mind not only all that the author has taught,
but a great deal that the author never knew."

Chief Justice Ruffin, yet surviving in honorable retirement from the
labors of the profession, whose early appreciation of the faculties
of Mr. Badger we have already noticed, and before whom as a Judge
of the Supreme Court, he was in full practice for twenty-three
years, affirmed to me, since the death of Mr. Badger, that in
dialectic skill and argument he excelled any individual with whom he
had ever been acquainted, not even excepting Chief Justice Marshall
himself, for that he possessed the faculty of imagination and the
capacity for illustration which Judge Marshall had not.

To his hospitality and kind intercourse with gentlemen of the
profession, his liberality and assistance to its junior members
(whom his gracious demeanor and familiar manners won, no less than
his spirited and intelligent conversation entertained and improved),
to his unselfish and genial nature, and an integrity on which no
temptation ever brought a stain, the occasion permits time only to
allude before closing our view of his professional life. Had he
been called to the office of Attorney-General of the United States
by General Jackson at the period of his first election (of which
Mr. Badger had been an ardent and efficient advocate), as many of
his friends entertained expectation, and had continued from that
time his practice in the Supreme Court of the United States, it is
hazarding but little to say that his fame would have equaled that of
any advocate in the history of American jurisprudence.

Of Mr. Badger's brief service at the head of the Navy
Department--excepting his recommendation of the establishment of a
home squadron to patrol the Gulf of Mexico and West Indian seas,
as a protection against piracy or any sudden hostile demonstration
on our coasts (a measure since adopted)--there is no circumstance
demanding especial notice. He had accepted the appointment at the
request of President Harrison with reluctance, retained it by the
expressed desire of his successor, and resigned it as soon as the
breach between Mr. Tyler and the party that elected him was found to
be irreparable.

Equally unsought and unexpected was his election to the Senate of
the United States when absent from the seat of government on a
professional errand beyond the sphere of his usual practice. He
entered the Senate in the first year of the war with Mexico and held
his seat throughout the struggle which ensued over the introduction
of slavery into the Territories acquired by the treaty of peace, a
struggle which was then threatening the dissolution of the Union;
he held his seat during the compromise measures of 1850, under the
leadership of Clay; the election of General Taylor; the succession
of Fillmore; the election of Pierce and the first half of his term,
including the organization of territorial government in Kansas and
Nebraska, a period of more fierce, convulsive and (as the sequel has
proved) fatal party agitation than any in American history except
the years that have succeeded it. Even now, after the dreadful
chastening that all have received from recent calamity, it is
difficult to recur to it without reviving passions inconsistent with
the solemnities of the hour and the charities inspired by common

In this struggle it was maintained on the one hand that inasmuch
as these acquisitions of territory had been made by the common
contribution of men and means from all the States, the citizens of
any State were at liberty to emigrate and settle upon them, and to
carry any property they might possess, including slaves; that this
was the case by virtue of the operation of the Constitution over
the new territory _proprio vigore_. It was further declared that
Congress had no authority to legislate in contravention of this
right; and, in the progress of the dispute, this latter position,
was extended into the assumption that it was the duty of Congress
to enact laws to ensure it, and that a failure in this was a breach
of Constitutional duty so gross as to justify the injured States
in withdrawing from the Union, a power which, it was declared,
every State held in reservation, and might exercise at pleasure,
the Constitution being but a compact having no sanctions for its
perpetuation. On the other hand, there had been for years at the
North a party organization, not numerous at first, but which at this
period had swollen into a formidable power, whose avowed object was
the extinction of slavery; which had denounced the Constitution,
so far as it upheld or tolerated it, as a covenant with the
infernal powers; had absolved themselves from its maintenance in
this particular, and avowed their preference for a disruption of
the Union unless slavery should be abolished in the Territories
and States as well. More moderate men in that section, while not
agreeing with these extremists, denied emphatically either that the
Constitution gave to slavery a footing in the Territories or bound
Congress to maintain, or not interfere with, its existence there;
and that in the exercise of a legislative discretion they might
encourage, tolerate or forbid it; the great majority favoring its
prohibition in the Territories, while they held themselves bound to
non-interference in the States.

In this conflict a third party arose, which affirmed that Congress
had no power over the question in the Territories; that the people
who settled in those distant regions were entitled (not only when
applying for admission into the Union as a State, but whenever
organized into a Territory, or at any time thereafter) to determine
on the establishment or rejection of slavery as well as all other
questions of domestic policy; and by consequence, that the whole
history of the Government in the regulation of its Territories had
been an error.

Either of the contending parties was accustomed to tolerate very
considerable aberrations, and even heresies against its creed, to
acquire or preserve party ascendancy, or to achieve success in a
Presidential election; to which latter object no concessions and
no sacrifices were deemed excessive. And the flame on the main
topic was probably fanned by many, on both sides, with a view to
the marshalling of forces for this quadrennial contest for power
and patronage. Be this as it may, never were themes presented for
sectional parties so well adapted to deepen and widen the opened
breach between them, or pressed with more intensity or zeal. In the
ardor of the contest, old landmarks were discarded and old friends
repudiated, if not found in accordance with new positions assumed
in its progress. William Pinkney, the great champion of Southern
interests, at the period of the Missouri question, was pronounced
an abolitionist on the floor of the Senate by the highest Southern
authority, and the doors of Faneuil Hall were closed against Daniel
Webster by the authorities of Boston, for words of truth, soberness,
and conciliation, spoken in the Senate; and this while Clay (once
so much deferred to by them as a party leader) sat by, admiring and
encouraging every sentence Webster uttered.

Between these excited parties, Mr. Badger stood approved by neither.
As far back as the Mexican war, perceiving, as he thought, the
dangers to flow from the adjustment of the interests of slavery,
provided conquests should be made and new territories acquired, he
had repeatedly endeavored to bring the war to a close and to bar
out those dangers to the Union, by abstaining from the acquisition
of new domains, while the fierce contestants were both eager for
extensive conquests--the one with the flattering, but delusive, hope
of expanding the area of slavery, the other with the settled purpose
to apply to all such conquests the Wilmot Proviso and to exclude

When peace came with those splendid acquisitions of territory,
so gratifying to the national pride, he was not disappointed in
discovering in them an apple of discord which was to prove fatal to
tranquillity at home. In the contention which was thus inaugurated,
he steadily supported the rights of his own section, maintaining
the justice and expediency of opening the Territories to all
emigrants, without restriction as to any species of property. In
an argument, replete with scriptural learning, he defended the
servitude existing in the South, under the name of slavery, as not
inconsistent with the divine law, more than justified by Jewish
precedents, and not forbidden by the benignant teachings of the
Saviour of the world, who found in the Roman Empire, at His coming,
and left without condemnation, a system of far greater severity.
He reminded Northern Senators of the responsibility of their
ancestors for the introduction and establishment of slavery in this
country--ours being but purchasers from them, at second hand, for a
consideration vastly greater than they had paid; the profits being
the foundation of much of their wealth, which their consciences did
not forbid them to retain. He brought home to their sense of duty
and of honor the obligation to maintain the Constitution, so long
as it remained the Constitution, in all its parts, as well those
which, as individuals, they disapproved as those to which they
assented. If any representative of the South urged any or all of
these considerations in favor of the rights of his section, with
more earnestness and ability than Mr. Badger, it is some one whose
argument has not fallen under my observation. But he refused to go
further. He refused to argue that Congress had no constitutional
power to legislate on the subject of slavery in the Territories.
He discussed the question with boldness, and adduced a decision of
the Supreme Court, announced in an opinion of Judge Marshall, to
the effect that the power did exist; and therefore, he addressed
his appeals to the legislative discretion of Congress. For this he
incurred the disapprobation of the extreme advocates of Southern
interests. But his opinion on the question had been deliberately
formed, and though he maintained that the exclusion of the Southern
emigrant with his peculiar property from these Territories would be
an unjust exercise and abuse of power, he declined to make what he
believed to be a false issue, in pronouncing it unconstitutional.
He dealt with the whole subject in the interest of peace, in
subordination to the Constitution, in the hope of allaying
excitement, and with an earnest desire for continued Union. He
therefore gladly co-operated with his old political associates,
Clay, Webster, Pearce of Maryland, Bell, Mangum, Berrien, Dawson,
as well as his Democratic opponents, Cass, Douglas, Dickinson,
Foote and other compatriots of both parties, in the well-remembered
measures of the Compromise of 1850, which calmed the waves of
agitation, and promised a lasting repose from this disturbing
element--an effect which was fully realized, with an occasional
exception of resistance to the law providing for the surrender of
fugitive slaves--until the unfortunate revival of the quarrel by the
repeal, in 1854 (in the law for the organization of the Territories
of Kansas and Nebraska) of the provision of the Missouri Compromise,
by which slavery was restricted from extending north of thirty-six
degrees thirty minutes, the southern boundary of Missouri. His
participation in this measure of repeal, Mr. Badger regarded as the
most serious error of his public life. He lived to see consequences
flow from it which he had not contemplated, and publicly expressed
his regret that he had given it his support. Not on the ground of
any breach of faith, for, as he amply demonstrated in his speech
on the passage of the measure, the Representatives of the North in
Congress had, in the Oregon Territorial bill, as well as in other
instances, demonstrated that they attached to it no sanctity. Yet
many good men among their constituents did--and politicians who
had, since the settlement of 1850, found "their occupation gone,"
eagerly welcomed this new theme for agitation. The experience of
climate, labor, and production, had shown that African slavery could
not be attended with profit north of this parallel, and the repeal
was regarded as a flout, defiance, and aggression which provoked
the resentment of thousands who had never before co-operated with
that extreme faction which conspired the destruction of slavery in
despite of the Constitution. Followed up as this measure was by
the impotent attempt to enforce protection to the institution in
Kansas, where it neither did, nor could exist without unreasonable
aid (which attempt was made after Mr. Badger left the Senate, and
in which there is no reason to believe he would have concurred), it
aroused an opposition, which, when embodied in the organization of
party, was irresistible. He was no propagandist of slavery, though
all the affections of his home and heart seconded the efforts of
his great mind in defending it as an institution of the country
recognized and guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States.
He was too sagacious to believe it could be benefited in any way by
provoking the shock of civil war, and too truthful and patriotic to
trifle with it as a means of rallying parties or subserving any of
the interests of faction. In voting for the repeal of the Missouri
restriction, he looked upon it as having been overvalued in its
practical importance at first, abandoned by the North as effete, if
not disregarded from the beginning, and its removal out of the way
as but conforming the system of territorial law to that part of the
Compromise of 1850 pertaining to the Territories, which left the
adoption or rejection of slavery to be decided by the inhabitants
when framing a constitution, preparatory to their admission as a
State of the Union; not anticipating the recoil in public sentiment,
which was the first step in the overthrow of slavery itself.

I have been thus tedious in the review of the history of this period
because it was upon topics arising out of this great subject of
controversy, ever uppermost in the public mind, that Mr. Badger
made his most frequent and probably most elaborate efforts in the
Senate, and for the further reason that in the heated atmosphere of
the time his opinions as expressed and the moderation of his course
were, by some, supposed to imply indifference to the interests of
his section. Time and disaster are not unfrequently necessary to
vindicate true wisdom.

He was as averse to the details of revenue and finance as Charles
James Fox, and could probably have united with that statesman in
the declaration that he had never read a treatise on political
economy. But on all subjects pertaining to general policy, or to the
history, jurisprudence, or Constitution of the country, he commanded
a deference yielded to scarcely any other individual, after the
withdrawal of Mr. Webster; and as a speaker and writer of English,
according to the testimony of Judge Butler, of South Carolina, he
had no peer in the Senate, save Webster.

He delighted in repeating the rule for the construction of the
Constitution, which he had heard enunciated by Judge Marshall in the
Circuit Court for North Carolina. "The Constitution of the United
States," said he, "is to be construed not _strictly_, not _loosely_,
but _honestly_. The powers granted should be freely exercised to
effect the objects of the grant, while there should be a careful
abstinence from the assumption of any not granted, but reserved."
With this simple rule for his guide, with an innate love of truth
and wonderful perspicacity in its discernment, with an ethics which
permitted no paltering in deference to the authority or suggestion
of faction, his arguments on constitutional questions were models
of moral demonstration. Such was the confidence reposed in his
accuracy and candor on questions of this nature, that his opinions
were sought, for practical guidance, alike by friends and opponents.
And such was the personal favor and kindness entertained towards him
by all his associates that at the expiration of his term the rare
compliment was paid him of expressing regret at his departure by an
unanimous vote of the Senate.

After ceasing to be a Senator he held, until the commencement of
the late calamitous war, the place of one of the Regents of the
Smithsonian Institution. In his professional visits to Washington,
until the interruption of intercourse by that dire event, and in
all his correspondence with public men, he never departed from
that course of moderation and peace on the exciting subject of the
times which had characterized him as a Senator, joined heartily
in the movement of his old Whig friends for the organization of a
Constitutional Union party to abate the violence of faction which
was too surely tending to disunion, and to make an appeal to the
people to rescue the country from the impending peril. The result of
this movement was the nomination of Bell and Everett for the first
offices of the government; and Mr. Badger accepted the nomination
for Elector on this ticket, and visited various parts of North
Carolina, addressing the people in its support. In these addresses,
with the frankness which belonged to his nature, he freely admitted
that there was a strong probability of the election of Mr. Lincoln,
not merely from a division of votes among three other candidates,
but from the strength of his party in the Northern States, founded
on the principle of opposition to slavery; and he charged, that in
that event, it was the design of a large portion of the supporters
of Mr. Breckinridge to attempt to destroy the Union by the secession
of the Southern States, and that there was reason to believe his
defeat and the election of Mr. Lincoln were desired by this latter
class, because of the opportunity it would afford for a dissolution
of the Union, a purpose which they had long cherished. While,
therefore, he advocated the election of Mr. Bell, he conjured the
people, no matter who might be elected, to acquiesce in the decision
and give no countenance to secession. Although, with the exception
of a small faction, the people were averse to disunion, the majority
were persuaded that this was an overstatement of the case, and cast
their votes for Mr. Breckinridge, as they usually did for the party

When the election was past, and the proceedings which immediately
followed in other States verified Mr. Badger's anticipations,
the people began to turn to him, and those of like opinions, for
guidance in the future. And, to persons in distant parts of the
Union, it is, no doubt, a matter of mystery how he, with all his
antecedents in favor of Union, became involved in war against the
Government of the United States. The case of Mr. Badger, in this
particular, is the case of at least three-fourths of the people
of the State (for they relied upon his counsels for their action
quite as much as upon those of any other individual) and requires
a word of explanation. Notwithstanding the long and acrimonious
disputations which had been carried on in Congress and at the
hustings, and the sentiments declared in opposition to slavery by
Mr. Lincoln and his supporters, Mr. Badger maintained that his
election afforded no sufficient cause for a resort to revolution--as
to the right, claimed, of a State to secede, he had never for a
moment believed in it or given it the least countenance--that
the accession of such a party to power would require increased
vigilance over the rights and interests of the South; but that the
majority in Congress was not lost to us, if the members from all
the Southern States would remain and be faithful, and that the
judiciary was open to any just complaint, even if the Executive
should attempt aggression. After every State south of North Carolina
to the confines of Mexico had adopted ordinances of secession, the
people of this State rejected a proposition to call a convention to
consider the question.

But when Virginia, our neighbor on the northern frontier, also
withdrew, and Tennessee on the west had taken measures for the
same object, when war had been actually begun, no matter by whose
rashness or folly, and the only alternatives presented were in the
choice of the side we should espouse, considerations of national or
State interest, safety and necessity (such as are not unfrequently
forced upon the decision of neutrals by the conduct of belligerents
not connected under the same government) at once occurred, and were
obliged to be weighed with the obligations of constitutional duty.
Our borders were surrounded on all sides, except that washed by the
ocean, by seceded States. Our youth must go forth to battle with
or against these States. The Union we had so long and so sincerely
cherished, was a Union in its integrity; and next to that, and as
a part of it, was a Union with neighboring States, in which were
our kindred and most intimate friends, and identical institutions.
Slavery, whatever may be thought of it elsewhere or now, constituted
more than one-half of our individual and public wealth. It had paid
our taxes, built our railroads, reared our seminaries of education
and charity, and was intimately connected with the order and repose
of our society. Withal, in the acrimony of a long quarrel, its
maintenance had become a point of honor. In the actual posture of
affairs, which promised to continue while the war lasted, instead of
fifteen States in which slavery existed, whose Representatives were
to maintain a common interest in the halls of Congress, there were
to be but three, or at most, four, and all these, except our own,
with a minor interest in the system. A civil war which threatened to
be sanguinary and protracted, kindled avowedly for the protection of
slavery, was not likely to end in the defeat of the insurgent States
without the destruction of the institution in them, and after no
long time, in the adhering States, also. Though far from approving
the course of the recusant States, victory on the side of those who
held the reins of government could not inure in benefit, nor without
serious disaster, to us.

These ties of blood, vicinity, institutions and interests, the
desire to avoid internecine strife among our own people (which must
have been immediately precipitated by a zealous minority, with
the local government, legislative and executive, in their hands)
impelled Mr. Badger, and those who acted with him, to decline to
take up arms against their own section in favor of the distant
authority of the national government, and as a consequence to unite
with those whose action they had deprecated and endeavored to
prevent, and with whom they had had little sympathy or cooperation
in the politics of the past. The support of the undertaking, if
concurred in by all the slaveholding States, which was confidently
represented to be certain, appeared to afford hope of a safer and
better future than its suppression by force. The determination of
the question, as I know, occasioned him pain and embarrassment,
but when made it was firmly maintained. He accepted a seat in the
Convention which passed the ordinance declaring the separation of
the State from the Federal Union, and gave to this ordinance his
sanction; not, however, without a distinct declaration of his
disbelief in the doctrine of secession as a constitutional right.
He also sustained measures for the prosecution of a vigorous war,
as, in his conception, the surest and shortest way to peace, but
was ever vigilant of the dignity and just rights of the State, the
encroachments of the military authority, the jurisdiction of the
civil tribunals and the protection and liberty of the citizens. He
sought no patronage or favor for himself or his family. His sons
served in the ranks of the army and bore their part in the perils
and adventures of war.

While it yet raged, he was stricken by the hand of disease, which
partially obscured his faculties and withdrew him from public view.
He survived, however, until after the return of peace, and in the
twilight of mind, with which he was yet favored, rejoiced in the
deliverance of the country from the calamities of war, and very
sincerely acquiesced in a return to his allegiance to the Government
of the United States.

These observations on the professional and public life of the
subject of our sketch have been so prolonged that the occasion will
permit but a few further remarks upon his general attainments,
his intellectual and moral character and usefulness as a citizen.
It was the remark of Lord Bacon that "Reading makes a full man,
conference a ready man, and writing an exact man." Mr. Badger's
reading was confined, with the exception of the dead languages,
which he had acquired in his youthful studies, to the literature
of our own language. With the most approved authors in this he
had a familiar acquaintance, and, as already remarked, excelled
in the accomplishments of a critic. The field of learning, which
next to jurisprudence he most affected, and perhaps even preferred
to that, was moral science. Upon the sublime truths of this
science, in the conversations with his friends, his remarks and
illustrations were often not unworthy of Alexander or Wayland,
Butler or Whately. "In it," says one of the most intimate of his
friends and contemporaries, "the rapidity of his perception and
accuracy of his deductions were marvelous. Place before his mind
any proposition of moral science, and instantly he carried it out,
either to exact truth, most beautifully enunciated, or reduced it to
an absurdity." To his acquisitions in the kindred topic of didactic
divinity, or theology as a science, only a professional theologian
can do justice. An earnest member of the Protestant Episcopal
Church, though but a layman, he ventured on more than one occasion
to discuss matters of discipline and doctrine in the character of a
pamphleteer, in opposition to clergymen of note, and in a memorable
instance with the head of the diocese himself with such signal
success that, although the Bishop ultimately united himself with the
Romish Church, whither Mr. Badger charged that he was tending, not
another member of his denomination left its communion.

He was averse to the labor of writing, and beyond an address before
the Literary Societies of the University, the reports, by his own
hand, of some of his speeches in Congress, and other pamphlets on
subjects political or religious, has left few written performances.
But he had the accuracy in thought and speech of a practiced writer.

In conversation he realized in the fullest sense Bacon's idea of
readiness, and shone with a lustre rarely equaled. The activity
and playfulness of his thoughts and the gayety of his disposition
inclined him to paradox and repartee to such a degree that his
conversation was oftentimes but amusing levity. But in a moment
it rose to the profoundest reflection and most fascinating
eloquence. His knowledge was ever at instantaneous command, as it
was far more the result of his own meditations than of acquisition
from others, and fancy lent her aid in giving a grandeur to his
conceptions on all the subjects of his grave discourse. After
all the public displays in which he enchained the attention of
judges, jurors, senators, and promiscuous assemblies with equal
admiration and delight, it is a matter for doubt, among those who
knew him well, whether his brightest thoughts and most felicitous
utterances, the versatility of his genius, and the vast range of
his contemplations were not oftener witnessed in his boon and
social hours, in the converse of friends, around his own hospitable
board, or at the village inn, or on a public highway--all without
pedantry or apparent effort, "as if he stooped to touch the loftiest
thought"--than in these elaborate and studied exhibitions. He
affected no mystery, and wore no mask, and stood ready in familiar
colloquy to make good, by new and apt illustrations, any sentiment
advanced in formal argument, or to abandon it as untenable if
satisfied of error.

His reverence for truth, to which allusion has been already made in
the course of these observations, was even above his intellectual
powers, his most striking characteristic. He was accustomed to speak
of it "as the most distinguished attribute of God himself, and the
love of it as giving to one moral being an eminence above another."
To its discovery he delighted to apply the powers of his remarkable
intellect, to its influence he was ready to surrender his most
cherished convictions whenever found to be erroneous.

The fruits of this were seen in the crowning virtues of his
character: he was a Christian of humble and intelligent piety
without intolerance toward others, a lawyer without chicanery or
artifice, a statesman without being a factionist, a party man above
the low arts of the demagogue, a gentleman and citizen enlightened,
social, charitable, liberal, impressing his character upon the
manners and morals of his times, ready to render aid in every good
and noble work, and prompt to resist and repel any evil influence,
no matter by what array of numbers, power or vitiated public opinion
supported. I have known no man to whose moral courage may be more
fitly applied the ideal of the Latin poet, as rendered in free

    "The man whose mind on virtue bent,
    Pursues some greatly good intent
      With undiverted aim,
    Serene beholds the angry crowd,
    Nor can their clamors fierce and loud
      His stubborn honor tame.
    Not the proud tyrant's fiercest threat,
    Nor storms, that from their dark retreat
      The rolling surges wake;
    Not Jove's dread bolt that shakes the pole,
    The firmer purpose of his soul
      With all its power can shake."

In the latter years of his life, actuated by a desire to be useful
in his day and generation, wherever opportunity and his ability
might allow, he accepted the office of justice of the peace, an
office which, to the honor of those who have filled it in North
Carolina from the first organization of civil government until
now, has ever been performed without pecuniary reward, and took
considerable interest in administering justice in the County Courts
of Wake, giving to this inferior tribunal the dignity and value of a
Superior Court, to the great satisfaction of the bar and the public.

He was thrice married; first, as before mentioned, to the daughter
of Governor Turner; second, to the daughter of Colonel William Polk,
and third, to Mrs. Delia Williams, daughter of Sherwood Haywood,
Esq., in each instance forming an alliance with an old family of
the State, distinguished by public service and great personal worth
from an early period. The last named lady, the worthy companion of
his life for thirty years, who survives him as his widow, receives
in her bereavement the condolence and sympathy, not merely of
this community and State, but that of those in distant lands and
in other States of the Union whom, not the lapse of years nor the
excitement of intervening events, nor the fiery gulf of civil war
shall separate from a friendship accorded to her and her departed
husband, as representatives of the personal character, the society
and domestic virtues of their native State in better days of the
republic. By the two latter marriages he left numerous descendants.

While taking his accustomed walk at an early hour in the morning
of January 5, 1863, he was prostrated by a paralytic stroke, near
the mineral spring in the environs of the city of Raleigh, and
although retaining his self-possession and ability to converse until
assistance was kindly furnished, on the way home his mind wandered,
and before reaching his residence his faculty of continuous speech
deserted him, never again to return. His mental powers after a brief
interval rallied, insomuch that he took pleasure in reading and in
listening to the conversations of friends, whose visits afforded him
much satisfaction; and, with assistance, he could walk for exercise
in the open air; but was never afterwards able to command language,
except for brief sentences, failing often in these to convey his
full meaning. In this condition he lingered until the 11th of May,
1866, when, after a few days' illness from renewed attacks of the
same nature, he expired, having recently completed his seventy-first

My task is done. I have endeavored but "to hold the mirror up to
nature." If the image reflected appears, in any of its features,
magnified, it was not so intended. Yet the memory of a friendship,
dating back to kind offices and notice in my student-life, extending
through all my active manhood, may not have been without its
influence in giving color to the picture. But the character in
our contemplation was of no ordinary proportions. At the bar of
the State he wore the mantle of Gaston and Archibald Henderson
for a much longer period than either, worthily and well, with no
diminution of its honors. In the highest court of the Union he was
the acknowledged compeer of Webster, Crittenden, Ewing, Johnson,
Berrien, Walker and Cushing. That he did not sit in the highest seat
of justice in the State and nation, as proposed successively by the
Executive of each, is imputable to no deficiency or unworthiness for
the station, his adversaries being judges. In the Senate, when Clay,
Webster, and Calhoun still remained there, not to name others of
scarcely inferior repute, he was among the foremost, upholding the
rights of his own State and section with manliness and ability, but
with candor, moderation, and true wisdom, which sought to harmonize
conflicting elements and avert the calamities of civil strife. In
morals he was inflexible, without stain or suspicion of vice; in
manners and social intercourse, genial, frank, hospitable, with
colloquial powers to instruct, amuse, and fascinate alike, and "with
a heart open as day to melting charity." The fame of such a man is
a source of natural and just pride to the people of the State. This
sentiment is that which the poet describes in the Englishman, when
he sings

    "It is enough to satisfy the ambition of a private man,
    That Chatham's language was his mother tongue,
    And Wolfe's great name compatriot with his own."

How much he will be missed as a member of the community, as the
friend of order and law, religion and morality, as a professional
man, counsellor, and advocate of unrivalled ability and reputation,
as an intellectual and cultivated man, with armor bright and
powers ever at his command, presenting a model for the emulation
of our ingenuous youth, as a public character, as adviser and true
friend, but no flatterer of the people, and an unflinching supporter
of their rights, wherever truth and duty might lead, time and
experience may demonstrate. There is no public aspect, however, in
which his loss is so much to be deplored as in the relation he bore
to the past, and his probable efficiency in solving the problem
of the day. Who so capable of interpreting the Constitution which
forms our government, and the alleged laws of war by which it is
claimed to be suspended or superseded, as that gifted mind and
sincere nature, so trusted on these topics in former years, and
so thoroughly imbued with the spirit and teachings of Marshall?
Who so deserving to be heard on the best means of pacification and
reestablishment of order and right among thirty-five millions of
freemen as he who, by his temperance, calmness, and intelligent
constitutional opinions, in the commencement of our national
difficulties, incurred the censure of many in our own section of
country, without receiving the approbation of their adversaries? Who
so fitted for the exposure and correction of error, of allaying the
ignoble passions of hatred and revenge, and rekindling the national
affections inspired by a common and honorable history? Who so
skillful to remove the scales from the eyes that will not see, and
who so wise and brave to rebuke the age of faction, threatening to
realize the assertion of Mr. Fox, in his history of James II., that
"the most dangerous of all revolutions is a restoration?"

To that good Being, in whose hands are the destinies of nations and
individuals, by whose divine agency crooked paths are often made
straight and issue granted out of all troubles, in ways not visible
to human eyes, let us unite in commending every interest of our
beloved country.

       *       *       *       *       *

The foregoing sketch, in the form of an address on the life and
character of George E. Badger, was delivered in Raleigh, July 19,
1866, at the request of the Wake county bar. Though much of it is
not strictly biographical, it is interesting on account of its
distinguished author, as well as for giving us a view of the times
and events discussed.

The address delivered by Mr. Badger at the State University in June,
1833, before the two Literary Societies, is said, by those who heard
him on other occasions, not to afford a fair illustration of his
great powers as a speaker. He was in fact never a florid orator,
powerful to move the passions above reason, but his mind was so
clear, his manner so unhesitating, his knowledge so great, his flow
of language so easy, his memory so accurate, and his presence so
commanding that he was bound to make a powerful impression whenever
he spoke to men in public or in private.

He was not greatest as a statesman--he had his run in the technical
learning of the law too long--statesmen must be early and specially
trained and educated in the business of statecraft.

He was too reserved, austere at times, and perhaps sensitive, ever
to win the affections of men in the same proportion that his great
talents commanded their respect and admiration.

His short tribute to Judge Gaston, hereto subjoined, is valuable for
the purpose for which it was uttered, and as a fair sample of his
style, showing his choice of words, in easy command, when occasion
called them forth. Judge Gaston died in January, 1844, and, at the
meeting held in honor of his memory, Mr. Badger said: "This meeting
of the members of the bar of the Supreme Court has learned with
profound grief the melancholy and totally unexpected bereavement
which the Court and the country have sustained in the death of
the Hon. William Gaston. Struck down suddenly by the hand of God,
in the midst of his judicial labors, dying as he had lived in the
enlightened and devoted service of his country, endued by learning
and adorned by eloquence with their choicest gifts, enobled by that
pure integrity and firm and undeviating pursuit of right which only
an ardent and animating religious faith can bestow and adequately
sustain, and endeared to the hearts of all that knew him by those
virtues which diffuse over the social circle all that is cheerful,
refined, and benevolent, he has left behind him a rare and happy
memory, dear alike to his brethren, his friends, and his country."

Governor Graham undertakes to set forth Mr. Badger's reasons for
finally favoring the secession of North Carolina from the Union, but
the reader will see from the subjoined resolutions that it is best
to allow Mr. Badger to speak for himself. He and the people of North
Carolina then assumed as axiomatic that Lincoln's call for troops
to invade the South was utterly without warrant of law. Strong as
was the language of the resolutions, it was not strong enough to
express the indignation of the people at Lincoln's usurping the
authority to begin the war on his sole responsibility. Not mainly
because the institution of slavery was threatened, nor yet because
we were wedged between seceding States, but because the people, as
one man, believed that the most vital powers of a government of
three departments had been violently seized by the Executive, that
the seizure was supported by a conspiracy of States, and that the
Constitution and the Union of the fathers were already outraged and

The resolutions above alluded to, and a part of the speech delivered
in the United States Senate, March 19, 1850, instructive in
themselves, are given also as specimens of Mr. Badger's style.



"Whereas, Abraham Lincoln, of Illinois, and Hannibal Hamlin, of
Maine, were chosen President and Vice-President of the United
States by a party in fact and avowedly entirely sectional in
its organization, and hostile in its declared principles to the
institutions of the Southern States of the Union, and thereupon
certain Southern States did separate themselves from the Union, and
form another and independent government, under the name of 'The
Confederate States of America'; and

"Whereas, the people of North Carolina, though justly aggrieved by
the evident tendency of this election and of these principles, did,
nevertheless, abstain from adopting any such measures of separation,
and, on the contrary, influenced by an ardent attachment to the
Union and Constitution, which their fathers had transmitted to them,
did remain in the said Union, loyally discharging all their duties
under the Constitution, in the hope that what was threatening in
public affairs might yield to the united efforts of patriotic men
from every part of the nation, and by their efforts such guarantees
for the security of our rights might be obtained as should restore
confidence, renew alienated ties, and finally reunite all the
States in a common bond of fraternal union; meantime, cheerfully
and faithfully exerting whatever influence they possessed for the
accomplishment of this most desirable end; and

"Whereas, things being in this condition, and the people of this
State indulging this hope, the said Abraham Lincoln, President
of the United States did, on the fifteenth day of April, by
his proclamation, call upon the States of the Union to furnish
large bodies of troops to enable him, under the false pretense
of executing the laws, to march an army into the seceded States
with a view to their subjugation, under an arbitrary and military
authority, there being no law of Congress authorizing such calling
out of troops, and no constitutional right to use them, if called
out, for the purpose intended by him; and

"Whereas, this call for troops has been answered throughout the
Northern, Northwestern, and Middle non-slaveholding States with
enthusiastic readiness, and it is evident, from the tone of the
entire press of those States and the open avowal of their public
men, that it is the fixed purpose of the governments and people of
those States to wage a cruel war against the seceded States, to
destroy utterly the fairest portion of this continent, and reduce
its inhabitants to absolute subjection and abject slavery; and

"Whereas, in aid of these detestable plans and wicked measures, the
said Lincoln, without any shadow of rightful authority, and in plain
violation of the Constitution of the United States, has, by other
proclamations, declared the ports of North Carolina, as well as all
the other Atlantic and Gulf States under blockade, thus seeking to
cut off our trade with all parts of the world; and

"Whereas, since his accession to power, the whole conduct of said
Lincoln has been marked by a succession of false, disingenuous and
treacherous acts and declarations, proving incontestably that he
is, at least in his dealings with Southern States and Southern men,
devoid of faith and honor; and

"Whereas, he is now governing by military rule alone, enlarging by
new enlistments of men both the military and naval force, without
any authority of law, having set aside all constitutional and legal
restraints, and made all constitutional and legal rights dependent
upon his mere pleasure and that of his military subordinates; and

"Whereas, in all his unconstitutional, illegal and oppressive acts,
in all his wicked and diabolical purposes, and in his present
position of usurper and military dictator, he has been and is
encouraged and supported by the great body of the people of the
non-slaveholding States;

"Therefore, this convention, now here assembled in the name and
with the sovereign power of the people of North Carolina, doth, for
the reasons aforesaid, and others, and in order to preserve the
undoubted rights and liberties of the said people, hereby declare
all connection of government between this State and the United
States of America dissolved and abrogated, and this State to be a
free, sovereign, and independent State, owing no subordination,
obedience, support or other duty to the said United States, their
Constitution or authorities, anything in her ratification of
said Constitution or of any amendment or amendments thereto to
the contrary notwithstanding; and having full power to levy war,
conclude peace, contract alliances, and to do all other acts and
things which independent States may of right do, and appealing to
the Supreme Governor of the world for the justice of our cause, and
beseeching Him for his gracious help and blessing, we will, to the
uttermost of our power and to the last extremity, maintain, defend,
and uphold this declaration."



I concur entirely in what has so often been said on this floor that
there can be no peaceable separation of this Union. From the very
nature of the case, from the character of our institutions, from the
character of our country, from the nature of the government itself,
it is, in my judgment, impossible that there can be a peaceable
separation of this Union. But if there could be, I agree entirely
with the honorable Senator from Kentucky, that the state of peace
in which we should separate must be speedily ended, must terminate
in intestine conflicts, in wars, which, from the nature of the
case, could know no amicable termination, no permanent peace but,
until the superiority of the one or the other side in the conflict
should be completely established, would admit of nothing but hollow
truces, in which each might breathe from past exertions, and make
preparations for future conflicts.

Sir, the idea of a separation of these States into distinct
confederacies was thought of, and considered, and spoken of before
the adoption of this Constitution. At the time that the question
was before the American people, whether the Constitution proposed
by the Convention should be adopted, it was then spoken of. It is
probable--yea, certain--consequences were referred to by the writers
of that admirable series of papers denominated the "Federalist";
and I beg the indulgence of the Senate while I read a very brief
extract, conveying the views of those eminent men:

"If these States should either be wholly disunited, or only united
in partial confederacies, a man must be far gone in utopian
speculation who can seriously doubt that the subdivisions into which
they might be thrown would have frequent and violent contests with
each other. To presume a want of motives for such contests, as an
argument against their existence, would be to forget that men are
ambitious, vindictive, and rapacious. To look for a continuation of
harmony between a number of independent, unconnected sovereignties,
situated in the same neighborhood, would be to disregard the uniform
course of human events, and to set at defiance the accumulated
experience of ages."

If this was a just view of the probable--the certain--results of
a separation of these States at that time, and under the then
existing circumstances, I pray you, sir, upon what, at the present
day, can we found a better hope? Then the States were fresh from
the conflict of the Revolutionary war. Then, not only had they a
lively remembrance of the contest in which they had fought and in
which they had gathered victory and honor together, but the leading
men of that time were those choice spirits who had carried them
through that recent conflict, who had established the independence
of the country, and who exercised an influence in public affairs
proportioned to their patriotism, their valor and their wisdom.
Then they might have separated without the same causes of hostility
and alienation which must exist in any separation of these States
at the present day. If we separate now, we do it with feelings of
mutual distrust and bitterness. We divide, not by common consent,
as partners who can no longer carry on their joint business with
mutual profit, each to pursue, for his own separate advantage, that
course of business in which he thinks he can best succeed, but we
part with the feelings of those who consider themselves mutually
wronged. A sense of injustice and oppression rankles in the hearts
of one portion of the new confederacies, and a sense in the other of
defiance and indignity.

Under such circumstances, "what can ensue" (to borrow the language
of the great English moralist) "but a continual exacerbation of
hatred, an unextinguishable feud, an incessant reciprocation of
mischief, a mutual vigilance to entrap and eagerness to destroy?"

The question has been asked, What can the States do, supposing them
to be divided--separated into distinct subdivisions or independent
sovereignties? Allow me to answer that question in the words of one
of the most eminent men whom my State has ever produced: a man of
clear and comprehensive intellect, of a sound heart and enlarged
and ardent patriotism, who shed a glory around his native State, and
whose name is held in just veneration by every one who acknowledges
himself a North Carolinian. At another period of our history the
same question was asked. In the years 1831 and 1832 it had become
an inquiry, a subject of disquisition in my State, and the late
Judge Gaston, in an address delivered in 1832 before the Literary
Societies of the University, thus treats of the subject:

"Threats of resistance, secession, separation, have become common
as household words in the wicked and silly violence of public
declaimers. The public ear is familiarized with, and the public
mind will soon become accustomed to, the detestable suggestion of
disunion. Calculations and conjectures--what may the East do without
the South, and what may the South do without the East?--sneers,
menaces, reproaches, and recriminations--all tend to the same fatal
end. What can the East do without the South? What can the South
do without the East? They may do much; they may exhibit to the
curiosity of political anatomists, and the pity and wonder of the
world, the _disjecta membra_--the sundered, bleeding limbs of a once
gigantic body instinct with life, and strength, and vigor. They can
furnish to the philosophic historian another melancholy and striking
instance of the political axiom, that all republican confederacies
have an inherent and unavoidable tendency to dissolution. They
will present fields and occasions for border wars, for leagues
and counter leagues, for the intrigues of petty statesmen and the
struggles of military chiefs, for confiscations, insurrections, and
deeds of darkest hue. They will gladden the hearts of those who have
proclaimed that men are not fit to govern themselves, and shed a
disastrous eclipse on the hopes of rational freedom throughout the
world. Solon, in his code, proposed no punishment for parricide,
treating it as an impossible crime. Such, with us, ought to be the
crime of political parricide--the dismemberment of our 'fatherland.'"

To me, sir, these sentiments convey a just representation of what
will be the future and unavoidable result of a separation of
the people of this great country into distinct and independent
confederacies. And when I look at the prospect before us it is one
so dark, filled with such horrid forms of dread and evil, that I
willingly close my eyes upon it, and desire to believe that it is
impossible it should ever be realized. * * * * * * * *

Nor, Mr. President, must I forget that, in considering the effect
which this proviso [the Wilmot Proviso] is likely to have upon the
condition of the Southern mind, we must look to what has been said
by Northern gentlemen in connection with this subject. Permit me
to call the attention of the Senate to a very brief extract from a
speech delivered in the other end of the Capitol:

"In conclusion, I have only to add, that such is my solemn and
abiding conviction of the character of slavery, that, under a
full sense of my responsibility to my country and my God, I
_deliberately_ say, better disunion, better a civil or a servile
war, better anything that God in His providence shall send, than an
extension of the bounds of slavery."

SEVERAL SENATORS. Whose speech is that?

A SENATOR. Mr. Mann's.

MR. BADGER. We have heard much, Mr. President, of the violence of
Southern declamation. I have most carefully avoided reading the
speeches of Southern gentlemen who were supposed to be liable to
that charge. I happened, however, in the early part of this session,
and before the other house was organized, to be in that body when
there were some bursts of feeling and denunciation from Southern
gentlemen, which I heard with pain, mortification, almost with
anguish of mind. But, sir, these were bursts of feeling; these were
passionate and excited declarations; these had everything to plead
for them as being spontaneous and fiery ebullitions of men burning
at the moment under a sense of wrong. And where, among these, will
you find anything equal to the cool, calm, deliberate announcement
of the philosophic mind that delivered in the other house the
passage which I have read: "Better disunion, better a civil or a
servile war, better anything that God in His providence shall send,
than an extension of the bounds of slavery?" In other words, it is
the deliberate, settled, fixed opinion of the honorable gentleman
who made that speech, that rather than the extension of the bounds
of slavery _one foot_--yes, sir, there is no qualification, _one
foot_--he would prefer a disunion of these States, he would prefer
all the horrors of civil war, all the monstrous, untold, and almost
inconceivable atrocities of a servile war, he would pile the earth
with dead, he would light up heaven with midnight conflagrations;
all this--yea, and more--all the vials of wrath which God in His
providence might see fit to pour down on us he would suffer, rather
than permit, not one man who is now free to be made a slave--that
would be extravagant enough--but rather than permit one man who now
stands upon the soil of North Carolina a slave, to stand a slave
upon the soil of New Mexico!

Yes, sir, here is a sacrifice of life and happiness, and of all that
is dear to the black and white races together, to a mere idealism--a
sacrifice proposed by a gentleman who claims to be a philosopher,
and to speak the language of calm deliberation, a sacrifice of
our glorious Union proposed by a patriot, not rather than freemen
should be made slaves, not rather than the condition of even one
human being should be made worse than it now is, but rather than
one man shall remove from one spot of the earth to another without
an improvement of his condition, without passing from slavery to
freedom! Sir, after that announcement thus made, which I beg to say,
sir, I did not seek--for the speech I have never read--the extract I
found in one of the newspapers of the day--after that announcement,
talk not of Southern violence, talk not of Southern egotism, talk
not of our disposition to sacrifice to our peculiar notions and our
peculiar relations the peace and happiness, the growing prosperity,
and the mutual concord of this great Union. Now, sir, if that
announcement goes abroad into the Southern country, attended by this
wanton application of the Wilmot Proviso, an irritating commentary
upon that patriotic announcement, what can be expected? What but
the deepest emotions of indignation in the bosoms of those born
and brought up where slavery exists, and taking totally different
views of the institution from those which are taken by the honorable
gentleman who has placed himself in this cool and deliberate,
humane, and philosophical position!

Sir, we know, with regard to two or more of the Southern States,
emphatic pledges have been given, through their Legislatures, that
_some_ mode of resistance to this proviso will be adopted. Now,
what is to be the result of the Nashville Convention which has been
called for June next, should that body assemble and find matters
in their present condition? If no bill shall have passed to do us
justice by affording, as far as the law can afford it, the effectual
restoration of fugitive slaves; if a bill shall have passed, or be
likely to pass, with the insult of the Wilmot Proviso causelessly
and wantonly inserted in it, after the announcement made in the
extract of the speech which I have just read, and after that made by
the Senator from New York that so far from there being an obligation
to restore to us our fugitive slaves, the duty of hospitality
requires that they shall be received, kept and retained from us and
that the constitutional law which requires their restoration to
us is contrary to the law of God, and not binding in conscience;
and, still more, after the settled policy is fully realized that
those who visit our shores, coming under the protection of the
American flag within our jurisdiction, and, in violation of our
laws, seduce our slaves from us, and carry them to the North, shall
not be surrendered up as fugitives from justice, because the same
high and overruling law which puts the Constitution down, and makes
it a nullity, has converted what we call a crime into a high and
meritorious act of duty, what will be the result of this convention,
meeting under such circumstances, what may be, what probably will
be, the consequence? I say it not because I wish it, I do not
wish it; the conviction has been forced upon my mind by evidence
reluctantly received; and therefore I wish my friends around me
to give, for that reason, the more credit to what I say--if that
convention shall meet under such circumstances, in my judgment the
Union is from that day dissolved. I do not say that dissolution will
follow instantly; I do not say but that a connection, an external
Union, may not be maintained, and linger on for a few years longer:
but the meeting of that convention will be to our institutions, in
the language of Napoleon, "the beginning of the end"; it will be
the initiative step in such a course of measures, North and South,
as will result in convulsing us so far that the ills to which we
fly, cannot, in our judgment, exceed those we bear; and thus will
be put upon the people of the South the necessity, the painful,
hard necessity, of a dissolution, a final separation. Now, sir,
why do I take this view? In the first place, the meeting of the
Nashville Convention is, upon its face, a step towards a separate
and distinct organization of the Southern States. The very movement
separates them for a time, in purposes and intent, from the great
mass of the population of the country. They meet there for what
purpose? To consider, to deliberate, to debate--what? What course
of action shall, by mutual agreement, be taken by the States whom
this convention will represent, what manner of resistance, what
mode of redress? Now, sir, in all matters of this kind, in all
revolutions, in all dissolutions of the ties which bind us together,
the first step is the great difficulty. It is so even in social and
private life; it is so in the married state. The first wanton and
public outrage on the part of one towards the other of the parties
is easily followed by such steps as end in total and thorough
estrangement. Well, then, suppose no measures are proposed which
look to a separation of the Union, as I have no reason to suppose
that any will be proposed looking to that as an object, I fully
believe that that convention in Mississippi which terminated its
session in the call for this convention was influenced by high and
patriotic motives, seeking to preserve and not to destroy the Union.
If I wanted anything to satisfy me of that (besides other reasons
which I have), the very fact that the convention was presided
over by the venerable and venerated Chief Justice Sharkey, a most
learned jurist and patriotic gentleman, would be sufficient for me.
But when we have ascertained what people design by any particular
movement, we are far, very far, from having ascertained what they
may accomplish by it. Now, suppose this meeting should resolve that,
by a common concurrence of the States represented, laws should be
passed, police regulations be adopted, in those States, of the
most irritating and offensive kind towards the Northern portion of
the Union: such a course will not appear surprising, if we bear in
mind the fact that slaves are constantly taken from our ports by
vessels that visit them for the purpose of commerce; that, thus
taken, they are withheld from us, and their seducers are neither
discountenanced at home, nor restored to us for punishment; and that
a flagrant wrong on one side naturally provokes to measures at once
of protection and retaliation from the other. But, Mr. President,
the moment these States, by mutual compact and agreement, have come
to a resolution to adopt a particular course of measures upon this
subject, they have left the platform of the Constitution; they are
no longer upon it, because the Constitution expressly forbids a
State to enter into any compact or agreement with another State
without the consent of Congress. When this first step is taken,
the process is easy and need not be traced to a final dissolution
of our present Union: and, therefore, in the event of the meeting
of this convention, with the slavery question in the situation I
have mentioned, I have, I repeat, gloomy apprehensions of what
may be, and most probably will be the result upon the destinies
of our country. Force, Mr. President, cannot keep the States of
this Union together, cannot preserve the constitutional Union. I
distinctly admit what has been said by the honorable Senator from
Massachusetts [Mr. Webster], that no State has a _right_ to secede
from this Union. I distinctly admit that the Constitution, looking
to perpetuity, makes no provision directly or indirectly, for the
separation of its parts. But, in point of fact, from the very nature
of our institutions, the States cannot be kept in union by force.
The majority, or the most powerful portion, may conquer and reduce
to subjection the other; but when this is done, the States are not
in union, the constitutional connection is not restored. It is but
the spectacle of a conquered people submitting to superior power;
and no ties of affection, no cooperation in a common government,
no _American_ Union can reasonably be hoped between the conquerors
and the conquered. Believe me, sir, if ever the unhappy hour
should arrive when American blood is shed in a contest between the
States--some desiring to secede, and the others endeavoring to
compel them by force of arms to remain in the Union--whenever that
hour comes, our connection is immediately broken, to all beneficial
purposes, for the happiness or prosperity of the country.

Now, Mr. President, with regard to my own State. Should this
proviso be adopted, and should satisfaction not be given in the
other particulars which I have mentioned, will North Carolina
join in resisting, in any mode, the action of this government?
Will she unite in measures for secession, for revolution, or
for retaliatory legislation? I am so far, sir, from undertaking
to speak upon this subject for the South, which I wish to be
understood now and always as disavowing, that I do not feel myself
even empowered to speak what will be the judgment and conduct of
my own State. As was well said the other day by my friend and
colleague [Mr. Mangum], in presenting some resolutions to the
Senate, disunion is a question which we cannot discuss here as one
for Senatorial action. We are sent here to represent the State
under the Constitution, and to discharge ordinary legislative and
executive duties, which presuppose the Constitution to be entire
and in full force. We of course have no delegated authority to
speak the views of North Carolina upon any such question as that
which I have just stated. Last year the Legislature of my State
passed a series of resolutions, in which, after expressing in very
strong and decided terms the sense felt by the people of that State
of the wrong of the Wilmot Proviso, and other kindred measures,
they nevertheless adopted an extract from the Farewell Address of
Washington, embodying the sentiment that we were not to look upon
the Union as _in any event_ to be abandoned. Making all proper
modifications of that large and most comprehensive expression, "in
any event," it could have no less interpretation than this, that
none of the events alluded to by the preceding resolutions would
furnish ground for the abandonment of the Union. Since that time
this matter has been much discussed in North Carolina; primary
meetings have been held; different resolutions have been passed
by those meetings, some discountenancing and declining to be
represented in the Nashville Convention, others approving the call,
and resolving to send delegates; and one meeting, with a somewhat
singular inconsistency, while protesting against a government of
unlimited powers, solemnly pledged itself to adhere to, abide by,
and support whatever the Nashville Convention shall determine. I
hope, sir, that North Carolina will not concur on account of the
passage of the Wilmot Proviso, in any measures for the dissolution
of the Union or resistance to the Government. My own opinion is
that it would furnish no sufficient ground for such a procedure. I
say that here; I shall say it at home when the proper time arrives,
if a time shall ever arrive when it shall be necessary to say it.
But this I say, also, that I shall feel, if such an event as the
adoption of the proviso should happen, that a serious indignity has
been offered to us; not, perhaps, designed--I will not charge any
with a deliberate design to insult--but yet an indignity, because
such must be the wanton adoption of an objectionable and useless
measure, after distinct notice that it will be considered in that
light. And rely upon it, sir, that whatever may be the result in
regard to any external action of the people of the Southern States,
if something satisfactory is not done respecting fugitive slaves,
and if the application of this Wilmot Proviso is insisted upon,
there will be left in the hearts of our people a rankling sense of
injustice and offense. They will have less of hope in the future
operation of the Constitution. They will feel, to a certain extent,
a painful conviction that the large majority of the inhabitants
of the free States have not that sympathy with their feelings and
regard for their rights, that justice and moderation in the exercise
of the known powers, and that abstinence from the needless exercise
of doubtful and questionable ones which are so essential to keep
the mind of the country united; and, unless our minds are united,
the forced association of reluctant communities, who stay together,
not to obtain good from their connection, but to avoid evils of
separation, does not deserve the name of Union.

Mr. President, I am sorry that I have occupied the Senate so long.
I will endeavor to draw the few remaining remarks I have to make
to a speedy close. I have submitted with entire frankness the
views which I entertain. I believe, conscientiously believe, that
there is in the Northern States of the Union a sincere attachment
to the Constitution, a firm adherence to the compromises of the
Constitution, and a just consideration for the rights and feelings
of their Southern brethren. And I have a strong hope, an abiding
confidence, that these sentiments will, on every proper occasion, be
manifested by the great body of inhabitants in the free States. If I
thought otherwise, I should be without hope, and should be inclined
to consider my birth an event to be deplored, as imposing upon me
the necessity of witnessing the utter destruction of my country.
But, sir, let a proper bill for the recapture of fugitive slaves be
passed, let this Wilmot Proviso be dropped (and, if possible, sink
into insignificancy and oblivion), and I will be willing to deal
with every question before the Senate in the utmost liberality of
compromise. Yes, sir, I have no objections to compromise. The Union
sprung out of compromise. The Union is supported by legislative
compromise, a compromise incorporated in the fundamental law, the
Constitution. Springing out of compromise, this Union can only be
preserved and made to promote the great and good ends designed by
and hoped from it, by our carrying on the government habitually
in the spirit of compromise. In that view, sir, I am willing to
withdraw all objection to the admission of California, with or
without an alteration of her limits as settled by her constitution.
And when I say that, Mr. President, permit me to say that I make
a great sacrifice. Sir, I occupy the same position with regard to
California now as I did at the last session. The honorable Senator
from Mississippi, now in his seat [Mr. Davis], knows that I was
with him upon a committee charged with the subject of admitting
those Territories as States. I announced to him at once that I was
totally and absolutely opposed to their admission in any form,
and with any subdivision of territory. I have heard nothing to
remove the objections I then entertained; but, in the manner of the
organization of the government there, I find additional objections,
strong in themselves, and giving additional force to those which
I had before. And if I could believe that the views expressed by
the Senator from New York [Mr. Seward], the other day, upon this
subject, are the views entertained by the people of California, or
by the gentlemen who are sent here to represent them, my objections
would rise almost to an insurmountable repugnance, to a perpetual
opposition; for that Senator has not hesitated to tell us, in
substance, that we have no choice about admitting California; that
she is a State, and a State she will continue, irrespective of any
act of Congress; that she comes here and demands admission into this
Union, and, if not admitted here, our authority will be cast aside,
and she will be an independent republic upon the Pacific. But,
sir, I cannot believe, and do not believe, that such an insolent
dictation to us is designed by the people of California. And I
personally know the two gentlemen whom she has selected as Senators,
and am sure they would be the first to disown and renounce the
position assumed by their patron upon this floor.

The honorable Senator from New York [Mr. Seward], seems to consider
the admission of California as a matter beyond all price and all
value, to be attained at every hazard and every sacrifice, and
therefore, notwithstanding the opinion he has expressed with
regard to slavery, though he considers it a high, hospitable duty
to entertain the fugitive slaves from the South, and to keep them
from their masters, though he has a holy horror of the extension
of slavery into the Territories now free, and considers every
obligation imposed by the Constitution in reference to slavery
overborne and annulled by the supreme law of God--he tells us,
that so all-important is the admission of California, under the
circumstances, that he would have voted for her admission with an
express recognition by her constitution of the right to carry slaves
into her territory. An allusion to this subject seems to have a
strange effect upon the Senator from New York. He is carried back
at once to the last session, when certain measures were pending
here for the purpose of organizing some temporary government for
California and New Mexico; and alluding to the gentleman who is
now the source of power and patronage in this Government, he thus
expresses himself:

"May this republic never have a President commit a more serious
or more dangerous usurpation of power than the act of the present
eminent Chief Magistrate, in endeavoring to induce the legislative
authorities to relieve him from the exercise of military power, by
establishing civil institutions, regulated by law, in a distant
province. Rome would have been standing this day if she had had
such generals and such tribunes."

Yes, sir, if Rome had been blessed with a Zachary Taylor for
commander of her armies; if Rome had been blessed with a Zachary
Taylor for a tribune, the Goths, the Vandals, and the Huns, Attila,
and all his hordes, would have poured upon the empire in vain--they
would have been repelled, overcome upon the embattled plain, and
driven back to their fastnesses in the North, and Rome would
stand this day proud mistress of the world! Now, sir, whether the
President of the United States can swallow such an adulation as
this, I will not undertake to decide; but such is my estimate of his
intelligence and his merit, of his modesty--a just modesty, which
usually accompanies true merit--that I believe he has no powers of
deglutition sufficient to get it down.

I have said, Mr. President, that I should make a great sacrifice
in my vote for the admission of California; yet I will make the
sacrifice, not grudgingly, but cheerfully; and, as said by the
Senator from Michigan [Mr. Cass], the other day, if asked "What
would I do to restore harmony to the country, and make this still a
united and happy people," I would answer like him, "I scarcely know
what I would _not_ do to accomplish such an end."

Mr. President, I feel the importance of this great subject, and my
utter want of power to treat it as it deserves. I wish to excite or
to irritate the angry feelings of no section of this country; I am
conscious, in my own bosom, of no sentiment towards any portion of
my countrymen, except one of respect and cordial attachment. But
I may be permitted to except from this general declaration those
mischievous associations in the Northern part of the United States,
which, to our injury, and to the great and permanent injury of the
unfortunate slaves among us, have been, with an unholy pertinacity,
agitating the subject of this domestic institution of ours for the
last fifteen years. Towards them, even, I trust I have no feeling of
hatred. For every portion of the American people, I care not whether
in the East or West, the North or South, I have the heart and hand
of a brother. There is no gentleman upon this floor, among my
immediate associates around me, no gentleman upon the other side of
the chamber, for whom I have not always manifested a proper personal
consideration and kindness; but I wish to make our Northern friends
aware of the danger to which we are exposed. My own views have never
been extreme, my position has ever been moderate; and I trust some
credit will be given me when I declare my deliberate judgment, that
consequences the most serious, even the most calamitous, may follow
a particular disposition of this subject by the present Congress.
If it should be believed throughout the Southern country that
sentiments which we have heard here uttered, are the sentiments of
the whole body of the North, every desire to remain together would
sink in Southern hearts. We would be together, then, not for love
or affection, not from the hope of happiness or improvement; and if
we would remain united at all, it would be solely from dread of the
greater and darker calamities that might follow our separation. If
this subject is met in a proper spirit, it can be easily settled and
adjusted. So far as I am concerned, I am willing to meet upon any
reasonable ground. I am willing to yield much that I wish, to do
much for which I have a strong and serious repugnance.

I call upon every conservative gentleman in this body, every one
from a free State who desires to perpetuate the institutions of
his country in their true spirit and character, who wishes not to
convert our Union into an association of discordant and discontented
parts, held together by dread or force, but to preserve us one
people, united in heart and affection, I call upon him to meet us
upon the ground of kindness, compromise, and conciliation. I say
to him, drop this odious proviso, a measure powerful for evil and
impotent for good; let it not have an immortality of mischief;
give us security for the restoration of our fugitive slaves; admit
California as you wish, and if you choose to abolish in the District
of Columbia this foreign slave-trade, this conversion of the seat
of government into a general mart for the slavedealers of the
surrounding States, I say abolish it. My colleague [Mr. Mangum] and
myself both stand ready to vote for it. Permit me, sir, to say to
our Northern friends, that if they suppose Southern gentlemen to be
wedded to any of the adventitious evils or abuses of slavery, to be
unwilling to correct excesses, or disposed to support cruelty or to
patronize inhumanity, they do us great injustice. Upon the rights of
property we stand--these we consider sacred--and from our support of
them we cannot be moved. But, saving these, make what regulations
of police the occasion may require, and I will not only submit, but
will give them my hearty concurrence and approbation.

Mr. President, it cannot be--I will not believe it--nothing but
demonstration, nothing but the accomplished fact shall satisfy
me, that we have so degenerated from our sires of the Revolution
as not to be able harmoniously to adjust the questions before us.
It cannot be that the true spirit of concession and compromise
has fled; that idealisms have taken the place of constitutional
obligations and kindly feelings; that fanaticism has dethroned
reason, and the Union, the work of our noble fathers, just as it has
well commenced its onward progress to a future of real glory and
power, is to be broken to pieces by the rude hands of agitation,
by cabals abroad or intrigues at home, contrary to the general
sentiment and earnest wish of the great mass of the people. Sir,
we have had offerings made here for the preservation of this Union
from every quarter of this chamber. Often and nobly have they been
made by the distinguished Senator from Michigan [Mr. Cass]; firm,
steady, constant, and true in this cause has my friend from New
York, on the other side of the chamber [Mr. Dickinson], at all times
been. The distinguished Senator from Kentucky [Mr. Clay], in his
late earnest and patriotic efforts, has added another laurel to the
immortal chaplet that binds his brow; and but a few days since,
the great expounder of the Constitution [Mr. Webster], that man
of mighty mental and moral power, closed the list of great names
engaged in this holy cause, in a speech so clear in expression,
so comprehensive in patriotism, so noble in self-devotion, that
could we doubt the success of these united efforts for harmony
and conciliation, we must needs believe that, for some inexpiable
crime, God has visited us with judicial blindness, preparatory to
the outpouring of his indignation upon our country. Sir, I will not
believe this, I do not, I will not despair of a cause so good. On
the contrary I trust that we shall yet come together on a common
basis of harmonious cooperation, and find ourselves able to adopt,
as the expression not only of a patriotic wish, but of an assured
and confident hope, the sentiment made immortal by the great Senator
from Massachusetts, "_Liberty and Union, now and forever, one and

[Illustration: DAVID L. SWAIN.]



That great range of mountains, extending from the St. Lawrence to
the plains of Alabama, called by De Soto Appalachian, and by the
Indian tribes, Alleghanies, which, in their tongue, signifies the
endless, attains its greatest elevation in the Black Mountain group
in the western part of this State.

This group lies partly within the counties of Yancey, McDowell
and Buncombe; and the tallest peak of the cluster, and of all
the peaks east of the Rocky Mountains, is Mt. Mitchell. From its
dominating summit there is thrown off a ridge which runs west,
south and southwest, in a zigzag shape, alternated with deep gaps,
tall summits and frightful precipices, until it melts away in the
peninsula of the plain which is enclosed by the waters of the
Swannanoa and the French Broad, in the county of Buncombe.

In this range, about seven miles from where these waters meet, there
is a little gorge-like valley scooped out of its western slope,
which spreads its narrow bosom precisely in the face of the setting
sun. The tall dome of Mt. Mitchell literally casts its shadow
over this mountain-cradled vale as the sun first comes up from
the eastern sea. Great ridges hem it in on either side, gradually
melting on the south into the sloping hills on which stands the town
of Asheville. A bold fresh brook from springs high up in the heart
of the mountain ripples through the bottom of this vale, reenforced
by a hundred smaller streams pouring from the ravines on the right
and left, and empties its bright, fresh floods into the French
Broad five miles below the county-seat. Near the very head of this
valley is a charming little homestead, consisting of fertile bits
of meadow on the brook-side, above which are open fields swelling
upwards to the skirts of the mountain forests. In the midst of
these fields, where the ground slopes gently towards the brook,
there stood, about the beginning of this century, an old-fashioned
log-house of the kind familiarly known to our mountain people as
a "double-cabin." An orchard of a growth and fruitful luxuriance
peculiar to that region surrounded the house and curtilage,
imparting that air of rustic beauty and abundance which constitutes
a special charm in simple country homes.

This spot, at the period indicated, was the home of an honest,
upright, and intelligent man, whose name was George Swain; and here,
on the 4th day of January, 1801, was born the child who became the
man to whose memory we desire to do honor this day.

David Lowrie Swain was the second son and child of George and
Caroline Swain. His father was of English descent, and was born
in Roxboro, Massachusetts, in 1763. He came South and settled in
Wilkes, now Oglethorpe county, in Georgia, served in the Legislature
of that State five years, and was a member of the convention that
revised the Constitution of Georgia. His health failing, he removed
to Buncombe county, North Carolina, in 1795, and was one of its
earliest settlers. He was for many years Postmaster at Asheville,
and until within two years of his death; becoming insane a year or
two previous to that event. Soon after his settlement in Buncombe
he was married to Caroline Lowrie, a widow, whose maiden name was
Lane, a sister of Joel Lane, the founder of the city of Raleigh, and
of Jesse Lane, the father of General Joe Lane, late United States
Senator from Oregon, and Democratic candidate for Vice-President
on the ticket with General Breckinridge in 1860. This lady had
three children by her first husband, one of whom, the late Colonel
James Lowrie, of Buncombe county, lived and died a citizen of most
excellent repute. By her last husband she had seven children. All of
these are now dead.

George Swain was by trade a hatter, but like all the thrifty men of
his day, he combined farming with his shop, and was a successful man
in both, as success was then measured. Whilst his hats were famous
all the county over, his little farm on Beaver Dam, the name of the
stream on which it was located, was considered a pattern in that
period of rude agriculture. His apple-trees, under the shade of
which young David was born and reared, were the product of cuttings
brought all the way from Massachusetts--a great and tedious journey
then--and some of the varieties which he thus imported still remain
in that region by the names which he gave them.

He was a man of some learning and much intelligence, mixed with a
considerable degree of eccentricity. Like all New Englanders, he
believed much in education, and struggled constantly to impart it
to his children. He was possessed of a most wonderful memory, and
I have heard it said by a lady who, as a girl, was intimate in his
house, that he often entertained her and other visitors for hours
together with the recitation of poems without book or manuscript.

In this humble but instructive home, secluded from anything that
could be termed fashionable society, but trained to industry, and
instructed in the ways of integrity, young David Swain's early youth
was passed. I cannot subscribe to the phrase so usually employed
in describing such biographical beginnings as this, when it is
said that the subject of the memoir was "without the advantages
of birth." The fact that a child is born amid such surroundings,
and with such blood in his veins as coursed through those of young
Swain, constitutes the very highest advantages which could surround
the birth and bringing up of a young man who is to fight his way in
a country like ours.

The surest elements of success are commonly found in the absence of
indulgences in youth, and the most successful warriors against fate
are those who are taught by stern necessity to fight early.

Governor Swain was fond of recurring to the scenes and influences
of his early life, and always felt that he had been fortunate
in possessing a father to whom he could look with respect and
confidence. He maintained a close and confidential correspondence
with him from the time he left his roof to make his own way, and
often referred to it as having had a most beneficial influence upon

In the summer vacation of 1852 he visited Buncombe, and I
accompanied him out to Beaver Dam to see once more the place of his
birth, then and now in the possession of the Rev. Thomas Stradly.
On a spot not very far from the house he stopped and told me that
near this place was the first time he ever saw a wagon. This
wondrous vehicle, he said, belonged to Zebulon and Bedent Baird,
Scotchmen by birth, who came to North Carolina some time previous to
1790, by way of New Jersey. There being no road for such vehicles,
this wagon had approached the house of Mr. George Swain, he said,
in the washed-out channel of the creek, and the future Governor of
North Carolina stood in the orchard waiting its approach with wonder
and awe, and finally, as its thunder reverberated in his ears, as it
rolled over the rocky channel of the creek, he incontinently took
to his heels, and only rallied when safely entrenched behind his
father's house. He enjoyed the relation of this to me exquisitely.
As a palliation of his childish ignorance, however, he added that
this was the first wagon which had crossed the Blue Ridge.

With healthful labor at home, and healthful instruction by the
fireside, the days of his early childhood passed, till he attained
the age at which his careful father thought he should be placed
under other instructors. At the age of fifteen he was accordingly
sent to the school near Asheville, called the Newton Academy. Its
founder and first teacher was the Rev. George Newton, a Presbyterian
clergyman of good repute, who was succeeded by Rev. Mr. Porter,
another Presbyterian clergyman, and then by the late William Smith,
of Georgia, familiarly known as "_Long Billy_." This academy was
justly famous in that region, and educated, in whole or in part,
many of the prominent citizens of that country beyond the Blue
Ridge, and elsewhere. Governor B. F. Perry and Hon. Waddy Thompson,
of South Carolina, M. Patton, R. B. Vance, James W. Patton, James
Erwin, and many others of North Carolina, were classmates of young
Swain at that school. A lady who is now living, and was also a
schoolmate of his there, tells me he was a most exemplary boy and
diligent student, soon and clearly outstripping all his associates
in the acquisition of knowledge. This superiority was doubtless due
to the aid of an exceedingly strong and tenacious memory which he
inherited from his father, and which characterized him through life.
Mr. M. Patton informs me that young Swain taught Latin in the same
school for several months.

I am not aware that he attended any other school till he came to
the University in 1821; in that year he entered the junior class,
but only remained some four months. Want of means most probably
prevented him from graduating. In 1822 he entered upon the study
of the law in the office of Chief Justice Taylor, in Raleigh. He
obtained license to practise in December, 1822; and referring to
that event in his address at the opening of Tucker Hall, August,
1867, forty-five years afterwards, he gives a most entertaining
picture of the Supreme Court which granted his license, and of the
great North Carolina lawyers who at that time were practicing before
its bar.

Returning to the mountains, with his license in his pocket and
a sweetheart in his eye, he went hopefully to work, and became
almost immediately in possession of a lucrative practice. The good
people of his native county were quick to perceive his talents
and integrity, and in 1824 he was elected a member of the House
of Commons from Buncombe. So great was the satisfaction which
his conduct in that capacity gave to his constituents, that they
continued him as their member by successive elections until 1829.

In his character as legislator he was most distinguished for his
industry and attention to details, especially in the department
of statistics and taxation, in which he soon became the highest
authority in the body of which he was a member. He was prominent
in getting the bill passed for the building of the French Broad
Turnpike, a measure which revolutionized the intercourse between
Tennessee, Kentucky, and South Carolina, bringing an immense stream
of emigration, travel, and trade through western North Carolina, and
adding greatly to his own popularity among the people of that region.

In 1829 he was elected, by the Legislature, Solicitor of the
Edenton Circuit, a circumstance remarkable in our legal annals,
both on account of his extreme youth at the time of his election
to so important an office, and because the Edenton Circuit was in
the most distant part of the State from his residence, and it had
been the custom to select for that office a lawyer residing in the
district for which he was elected. This compliment to his learning
and ability was conferred upon him without solicitation, under the
following circumstances: A bitter contest had sprung up between two
candidates for that position, one of whom was the notorious Robert
Potter, and the friends of neither consenting to give way, by common
consent both sides agreed to take young Swain.

He rode only one circuit, when the next Legislature elected him
a Judge of the Superior Court over Judge Seawell, then an able
and eminent practitioner at the Raleigh bar. Swain was at that
time the youngest man ever elevated to the bench in this State,
except Judge Badger, who was elected at the age of twenty-six. He
had ridden four circuits as judge with great acceptance, when in
1832 he was elected by the Legislature to be Governor of the State
over several competitors, and was inaugurated on the first day of
January, 1832. Under the Constitution of 1776 the term of Governor
was only one year, and Governor Swain was reelected in 1833 and
1834 successively. Just previous to the close of his official term
in 1835 he was elected President of the State University, under the
following circumstances: It is said that he would have continued in
politics if the way had then been clear for him to go to the United
States Senate; or that he would have continued in the law, could he
then have returned to the bench. But the way to neither being at
that time open to him, he had no desire to return to the practice
of law, or to continue further in State politics, in which he had
already attained the highest honors which his State had to bestow.
Under these circumstances, he turned his eyes towards the presidency
of the University, vacant since January, 1835, by the death of the
venerable and lamented Dr. Joseph Caldwell. But great as was his
reputation as lawyer and politician, his character as a scholar was
by no means so established, nor had public attention been directed
to him as a fit person to take charge of an institution of learning.
He one day called his friend, Judge Nash, into the executive
office and told him frankly that he desired to be made President
of the University; and seeing that the Judge did not express much
approbation of the project, he asked him to consult with Judge
Cameron, and if they two did not approve of it, he would abandon the
idea. Nash promised to do so, and on meeting Judge Cameron gave him
his opinion that Swain would not do for the place. Cameron, however,
dissented at once, saying that Swain was the very man; that though
it was true he was not a scholar, yet he had all the other necessary
elements of success; and that the man who had shown he knew so well
how to manage men could not fail to know how to manage boys. So, at
the next meeting of the Board of Trustees, Judge Cameron nominated
him and secured his election to the Presidency. This closed his
political and judicial career.

I have omitted to mention, however, in its chronological order, a
most important part of that career. In 1835, whilst Governor, he was
elected a delegate from the county of Buncombe to the convention
of that year which amended the Constitution. Perhaps no portion
of his political service was of greater importance to the State
than that which he rendered as a member of that convention. His
sagacity, liberality, and profound acquaintance with the statistics
of the State, and with the history of the constitutional principles
of government contributed very largely to the formation of that
admirable instrument, the Constitution of 1835, a more excellent one
than which, our surroundings considered, was never framed by any
English-speaking people. Few men in our annals have risen in life
more rapidly than he, or sooner attained the highest honors in every
branch of the government, legislative, judicial and executive. In
making an estimate of his character and capacity in these offices,
we shall be compelled, beyond doubt, to conclude that it required
very substantial abilities to enable him thus to reach and sustain
himself creditably in them all.

His practice as a lawyer was a very lucrative one to have been
acquired at so early an age. As an evidence of the esteem in
which his abilities and learning were held, he was, at the age of
twenty-seven, when he had been a lawyer but four years, retained
as counsel for the State of North Carolina, with George E. Badger,
in a most complicated mass of litigation, involving the title to
more land than was ever sued for under one title in our State
(except, perhaps, that instituted by the heirs of Lord Granville in
1804). Several hundred thousand acres of land had been granted to
William Cathcart, Huldeman, and Elseman, citizens of Pennsylvania,
lying in the counties of Burke, Buncombe, Haywood, and Macon.
Subsequently, these same lands, in great part, were sold in smaller
lots to settler citizens by the State, under the belief that when
patented originally by Cathcart and others they were not subject
to entry, for the reason that they were within the boundaries
which had been reserved to the Indians by various treaties. One
hundred suits in ejectment were brought against these settlers in
the Circuit Court of the United States by the heirs of Cathcart.
All these actions were dependent on similar facts, and each one
involved the validity, accuracy, and definite character of various
surveys made at sundry different times during a period of nearly
half a century previous thereto, under treaties between the State
and the Cherokee Indians, and between the United States and the
same Indian tribe. The State resolved to defend the titles it had
given to its citizens, and employed Badger and Swain to contend
with Mr. Gaston, who was for the plaintiffs--a very high compliment
to both of them. Here was a field wherein Governor Swain had no
superior, and where his peculiar talents came specially into play.
A complicated maze of long-forgotten facts was to be resurrected
from buried documents, dimly traced surveyors' lines and corners
through hundreds of miles of tangled mountain forests were to be
established, partly by the evidence of old grey-haired woodmen
and partly by the fading outlines of the rude maps and indistinct
field-notes of the surveyors of that day; and old treaties and
musty statutes were to be brought out of the dust and made to speak
in behalf of the rights of our people. In such a work his soul
delighted, and to his faithful labors and indefatigable energy must
the final success of the State be mainly attributed. For though he
was put on the bench, and from the bench was made Governor before
the test case was tried in 1832, and the victory won, he never
ceased his labors in this behalf, and his official letter-book of
that period is filled with evidences of his zeal and research. Judge
Badger, who was as generous as he was great, and who followed the
case up to the Supreme Court of the United States, where he was
assisted by Mr. Webster, frankly acknowledged that the cause was won
mainly by the careful preparation of Swain. Another circumstance
connected with this litigation, worth the mention in these days is,
that notwithstanding the vast amount of valuable work he had done
already, yet because the cases were not concluded when he was made a
judge, Governor Swain voluntarily returned half of his retainer into
the treasury. All of which goes to show that in selecting him out of
so many able and older lawyers to assist Mr. Badger, the State had
chosen wisely indeed.

There were giants in those days, and the giants were honest!

During his service in the Legislature no great or exciting
issues were before the people, and his career there displays no
extraordinary effort in any direction. He soon acquired, however,
a high reputation for learning and industry in dealing with the
practical questions of the day, among which then was the very vexed
one of the ratio of representation in the Legislature between the
East, where were many slaves, and the West, where there were few.
This finally forced the calling of the Convention in 1835. It
was, however, an era of great political importance, viewed in the
light of subsequent events. The great political parties--Whig and
Democratic--which have shaped the destinies of these United States
for full half a century, were then crystallizing from the confused
and crude opinions of our early American politics. All thinking men
began about this period to range themselves with one or the other
of the schools which undertook to construe the Constitution of the
United States, to ascertain its meaning and its powers, and to
define its relations with the States. A gigantic, and, as it would
seem, an endless task indeed. Swain sided with Adams, Clay, and
Webster, whose followers began to be called Whigs. Of the prominent
men of that day, who agreed with him, or with whom he agreed, were
Gaston, Morehead, Badger, Mangum, Cherry, Graham, Stanly, Moore,
Miller, Outlaw, and Rayner. Of those who adhered to the school of
Jefferson and Calhoun, were the venerable Macon, Ruffin, Haywood,
Saunders, Branch, Edwards, Seawell, Shepherd, Donnell, Fisher,
Craige, and Venable. It is not practicable to enumerate all the
mighty men of that day who controlled our affairs and gave tone and
character to our society. No State in the Union had a larger list of
very able citizens, and we can pay no higher compliment to Governor
Swain than to say that he rose up among such, and was the peer of
them all.

As before stated, he rode but four circuits as judge. From all his
decisions during that time there came up but eighteen appeals. Of
these, thirteen were sustained by the Supreme Court, consisting of
Ruffin, Henderson, and Hall, and in one other he was sustained by
the dissenting opinion of Chief Justice Ruffin, leaving but four in
which he was unanimously overruled. This, says Mr. Moore, who is now
our highest living authority in matters relating to the law, is an
evidence of judicial ability more satisfactory than could elsewhere
have been furnished among our judges, and no higher compliment
could have been paid him. Mr. Moore also informs me that Swain was
very popular as a judge, even in those days when the only road to
popularity in that office was the honest and able discharge of its
exalted duties. In the contest for judge, when he was elected over
Seawell, he first acquired a nickname which stuck to him till after
he retired from politics. Repeated attempts with various candidates
had been made to defeat Seawell, who was obnoxious to the party to
which Swain belonged, but all these efforts had failed until Swain's
name was brought forward. "Then," said an enthusiastic member from
Iredell, "we took up old '_warping bars_' from Buncombe, and warped
him out." After the Governor became President of the University he
lost this humorous and not ill-fitting _sobriquet_, and acquired
from the college wits the geographical _descriptio personae_, "Old
Bunk," which adhered to him through life.

The official letter-book of Governor Swain during his administration
shows that his time and labors were principally devoted to the
questions of constitutional reform; the coast defenses of North
Carolina; the claims of the State against the general government;
the removal and settlement of the Cherokee Indians, the adjustment
of land titles in the West, and other matters of domestic concern.

During this time, however, many letters of literary and historic
importance were written by him. There is found on those pages
a letter written by Mr. John C. Hamilton, of New York, son of
Alexander Hamilton, propounding eleven inquiries relating to the
history of North Carolina; more particularly with regard to the
system of her colonial and early State taxation; and the reasons
of the action of her convention in regard to the adoption of the
Federal Constitution, and kindred topics. Governor Swain's replies
to these queries show a wonderful amount of information and research
into the minuter sources of our early history, clearly indicating
that he was possessed in a high degree of those peculiar talents
which constitute the true historian. Most of his literary labor
throughout his life was in this department, and his collections were
especially rich in the early history of North Carolina. Who is there
left now in our State able to use the material for its history which
he had been accumulating through so many years? To this great work
he had intended to devote the closing years of his life. What stores
of information perished with him! He was the special vindicator of
that much-abused and much-misunderstood class of men, the Regulators
of our colonial times. No man in the State has done so much to clear
their fame--few have been so competent. The papers contributed by
him to the _University Magazine_ on the subject would form a volume,
if collected, and their great value is indicated by the numerous
inquiries instituted for them by men in various States of the Union.
His lecture before the Historical Society in 1852 may be said to
have settled the question of the merits of the Regulators and their
service to liberty.

As Governor of the State, in 1833, he laid the cornerstone of the
present capitol amid imposing ceremonies; a building designed with
perhaps as pure and simple taste as any in America, and as solid and
enduring as any in the world.

On the 12th of January, 1826, he was married to Miss Eleanor
H. White, daughter of William White, Secretary of State, and
granddaughter of Governor Caswell, a union productive of great
domestic happiness to a man so fitted as he, by nature and by a life
of unsullied purity, to appreciate the ties of home and the love
of wife and children. By this lady there were born to him several
children, of whom but three, two daughters and a son, ever reached
maturity. His oldest son, David, who died in childhood, was a boy of
great promise. His eldest child and daughter, Anne, died unmarried
in 1867. The second daughter, and now only surviving child, Eleanor
Hope, married General S. D. Atkins, of Freeport, Illinois, where
she now resides. The son, Richard Caswell, was killed a few years
since, near his home in Illinois, being crushed to death by falling
between two railroad cars while in motion. There is now no male
representative of the name surviving.

From the time that Governor Swain entered upon his duties as
President of the University his career is marked by few notable
events of which his biographer can make mention. Although the
work he did here was undoubtedly the great work of his life, it
is impossible for us to compute it. As with the silent forces
of nature, which we know to be the greatest that are exerted in
this world, but which yet elude the grasp of our senses, so is it
impossible for us to measure the power of the able and faithful
teacher. The connections between moral cause and effect are much
more difficult to trace than those between physical cause and
effect, but although in either case the lines are dim the wise
do not fail to see that they are there, and that the results are
powerful. It is conceded that the imperceptible and benign force
of light and heat which lifts the mighty oak out of the earth, and
spreads its branches to the skies, is infinitely greater than that
of the noisy whirlwind which prostrates it in the dust.

Says Mr. Herbert Spencer: "In every series of dependent changes a
small initial difference often works a marked difference in the
results. The mode in which a particular breaker bursts on the beach
may determine whether the seed of some foreign plant which it bears
is or is not stranded, may cause the presence or absence of this
plant from the flora of the land, and may so affect for millions
of years, in countless ways, the living creatures throughout the
earth. The whole tenor of a life may be changed by a single word of
advice, or a glance may determine an action which alters thoughts,
feelings, and deeds throughout a long series of years."

We know that the moral tone of a community is the mainspring of its
glory or its shame; that that tone is to a great extent imparted by
its educated men; we know, too, that no man has ever lived in North
Carolina whose opportunities for thus influencing those who control
her destinies have been greater than Governor Swain's were; and I am
quite sure that no man ever more diligently and earnestly improved
those opportunities. There is this, too, further and better to be
said, that in the whole course of his contact with the young men of
North Carolina and of the South at the University for a third of a
century, the whole weight of every particle of influence which he
possessed was exerted in behalf of good morals, good government,
patriotism, and religion. The sparks of good which he elicited,
the trains of generous ambition which he set on fire, the number
of young lives which his teachings have directed into the paths of
virtue and knowledge, and colored with the hues of heaven--who but
God shall tell? If we could see events and analyze destinies as only
the Most High can, how wondrous would appear the harvest of David
L. Swain's sowing! How many great thoughts worked out in the still
watches of the night; how many noble orations in the forum, stirring
the hearts of men; how many eloquent and momentous discourses in
the pulpit; how many bold strokes of patriotic statesmanship; how
many daring deeds and sublime deaths on bloody fields of battle;
how many good and generous and honest things done in secret; how
many evil things and sore temptations resisted; in short, how
much of that which constitutes the public and private virtue of
our people, the prosperity, the honor, and the glory of our State
might not be traced to the initial inspiration of David L. Swain!
Say what you will for the mighty things done by the mighty ones of
earth, but here is the truest honor and renown. For whether there be
prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall
cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away; but he
that helps to shape an immortal soul, and fit it for the service of
heaven and humanity, verily his memory shall endure until that which
is perfect is come!

How well do I remember the many occasions during my sojourn at the
University, when he as my preceptor, esteeming such influences of
greater importance to the class than the texts of the lessons,
would for the time give his whole soul to the stirring up of these
generous and emulous sentiments in the hearts of his pupils. The
very first recitation in which I ever appeared before him was one
such. I shall never forget it. In 1851 I entered the University,
and joined the senior class as an irregular. The first lesson was
in constitutional law. A single general question was asked and
answered as to the subject in hand, and then he began to discourse
of Chancellor Kent, whose treatise we were studying; from Kent he
went to Story, from Story to Marshall, repeating anecdotes of the
great Americans who had framed and interpreted our organic law, and
touching upon the debate between Hayne and Webster. From these, he
went back and back to the men and the times when the great seminal
principles of Anglo-Saxon liberty were eliminated from feudal chaos,
and placed one by one as stones, polished by the genius of the
wise, and cemented by the blood of the brave, in the walls of the
temple of human freedom. He told us of the eloquence of Burke, of
the genius of Chatham; he took us into the prison of Eliot and went
with us to the death-bed of Hampden; into the closet with Coke and
Sergeant Maynard; and to the forum, where Somers spoke; to the deck
of the _Brill_, where William, the deliverer, stood as he gazed
upon the shores of England; to the scaffolds of Sidney and of our
own glorious Raleigh. Warming as he went with the glowing theme,
walking up and down the recitation-room, which was then the library
of the "old South," with long and awkward strides, heaving those
heavy passionate sighs, which were always with him the witnesses of
deep emotion, he would now and then stop, take down from its shelf
a volume of some old poet, and read with trembling voice some grand
and glowing words addressed to man's truest ambition, that thrilled
our souls like a song of the chief musician. A profound silence was
evidence of the deep attention of the class, and the hour passed
almost before we knew it had begun.

I afterwards learned that this lecture was intended for my benefit,
as I was a stranger to the class and had entered it under some
disadvantages, and in his kindness of heart he supposed I needed
some encouragement. But such were frequently given us. Nor were
these digressions from the chief business of the hour always of a
serious nature. The gayest wit and brightest humor often illumined
the moments when, not content with putting forth his own conceits,
he exerted himself to draw forth those of the class, and if he
succeeded sometimes in bringing forth a repartee that struck _pat_
upon his own head, no one enjoyed it more than himself. Like a true
humorist and story-teller, he enjoyed the taking as well as the
giving with the utmost good fellowship.

From the day that Governor Swain became the chief officer of the
University his life was literally devoted to its interests. The same
traits of character which had hitherto secured his success in life
were especially needed here. His prudence, his cautious far-reaching
policy, his constructive ability, his insight into character, and
remarkable faculty for suggesting valuable work to others and
setting them at it, his forbearance, charity, self-control--these
were all brought into play with marked results. The reputation
of the institution, and the number of its students steadily and
continually increased. In 1835 there were not over ninety in
attendance. In 1860 there were nearly five hundred.

Governor Swain was eminently a progressive man. He loved to
suggest, and to see his suggestions taken up and carried out.
What a number of improvements the record of his management shows
that he inaugurated at the University! The excellent system of
street-draining in the village of Chapel Hill, by stone culverts,
the planting of elms, the enclosing of the college grounds, and
their improvement and ornamentation with shrubbery--all these were
planned by him, and executed under Dr. Mitchell's superintendence.
He first employed a college gardener. He was the founder of the
State Historical Society. He established, and assisted largely
to support, the _University Magazine_, and was himself one of its
most regular and valued contributors. He was one of the foremost
friends of the North Carolina Central Railroad, and offered to be
one of a number to take the whole stock at once. He first introduced
the study of the Bible into college, and of constitutional and
international law. He was always deeply interested in the prosperity
of the village of Chapel Hill, believing, and justly, that its
welfare was identical with that of the college. Circumstances since
his death have amply proved the truth of this. He had ever a kind
word, and a charitable estimate for every man, woman, and child in
the place.

Thirty-three years of his best days and the sincerest labors of his
existence were spent at our University in the training of young men.
As yet no monument has been erected in its grounds to commemorate
his virtues and his labors. The valley of humiliation--nay, of the
shadow of death--through which our beloved institution has passed,
in which she was despoiled of everything but her glorious memories,
and, I trust, her gratitude, is the apology which can be offered
for this seeming, but not real, neglect. A simple tablet to his
memory might well be inserted in any of its walls, and fitly written
thereon might be the words found in the epitaph of Sir Christopher
Wren in the crypt of St. Paul's:

    _Lector, si monumentum requiris,

In very truth the University may be looked upon as his monument. It
emerged from swaddling clothes under President Caldwell; it passed
through a vigorous youth into a splendid manhood under President
Swain. But whilst the stranger stands upon the earth and beholds the
monument of the great architect in the magnificent pile whose tall
fane overtops the loftiest domes and spires of the greatest city in
the world, he who would fully comprehend the great work of David
Swain's life would have to stand upon the battlements of heaven and
survey the moral world with an angel's ken.

I know of no man of his day, surrounded by so many inducements to
return to the paths leading to highest distinction in active public
life, who so completely put them all away, and adhered so strictly
to his accepted work. As we have seen, his career as a politician
and a lawyer had been remarkably successful while he was yet at a
very early age, and if he had desired further honors he had all
the qualities which are supposed to fit men for the attainment of
these objects. Had he been possessed of a passion to accumulate
wealth, almost any other course in life would have fed this desire
more than the presidency of the University. From all these fields
of distinction and of wealth, the public sentiment of his time
desired that the officers, and especially the chief officers, of
the University should be isolated. This expectation Governor Swain
filled, and more than filled. For the good of the institution, he
not only laid aside whatever of ambition he may have had in the
directions usually chosen by able men, but he subordinated many
cherished convictions, and refrained from doing many things which
he, no doubt, most ardently desired to do. In the nature of things,
this course, so essential to the success of an institution entirely
dependent on popular favor, begot many misconceptions of his
character. It has been said that he was undecided in his opinions,
and timid in the expression and maintenance of them. I believe
such an impression does his memory great injustice. His nature was
essentially gentle, his manners mild, his temper was cautious; but
I cannot believe that he was either timid or undecided. I had the
honor--and I consider it both an honor and a happy fortune--to be on
terms of confidential intimacy with him from my first entrance into
the University until his death. We were in the utmost accord on all
questions pertaining to church and state, and during my subsequent
career, especially in those troublous years of war, I consulted him
more frequently perhaps than any other man in the State, except
Governor Graham. So affectionately was his interest in my welfare
always manifested that, many people supposed we were relatives, and
I have frequently been asked if such were not the fact.

This state of our relations gave me ample opportunity to know
him well, and I believe I can say with entire truth that whilst
his course of life and surroundings necessarily made him tolerant
and even liberal towards those who disagreed with him, he was
as positive in his opinions, religious and political, and as
firm in his adherence to them, as any man of my acquaintance.
The unpopularity of which he was afraid, and which produced that
cautious habit which some men mistook for timidity, pertained to the
institution which he had in charge, and not to himself. And as the
State reaped the benefit of his prudence in the increased prosperity
of the University, the injustice of charging this to a defect of
character becomes all the more apparent.

The remarkable character of his memory served him in good stead in
many ways through life. As a lawyer it had been invaluable, not only
enabling him to cite cases with great readiness to the court, but
in trials before juries, without taking notes, he could repeat the
testimony of all the witnesses examined, no matter how many, nor how
long the trial continued.

Perhaps he was more thoroughly versed in biography than any man who
has ever lived in America; certainly North Carolina never produced
his equal in this respect. His wonderful memory, combined with great
industry, was stimulated by a genuine love of genealogical studies.
Almost the first question he would ask a student on meeting him,
if indeed he did not already know, was, "Who is your father?" On
being told, by a few quick questions he would possess himself of
the boy's lineage, and would never forget it. Generally, however,
the boys would be utterly astounded on presenting themselves, to
find that the Governor knew more of them and their families than
they did themselves. It was equally so with all strangers whom he
met, and frequently ludicrous scenes resulted from his insatiable
desire to trace pedigree. Whilst a delegate from this State to the
Montgomery Convention, which organized the Confederacy in 1861, he
was introduced to a distinguished gentleman, and without letting go
his hand, which he took to shake, he stopped in the midst of the
flow of ceremonious speech, and, to the no small amusement of the
bystanders, said: "Sir, was not your mother's maiden name Jones?"
I doubt if there is a single family on the Atlantic coast, whose
members have borne any prominent part in the affairs of the country,
in regard to which he did not have more or less of information--at
least, he could have told all about its leading representatives.
With a very little help indeed he could have supplied a "Doomsday
Book" of North Carolina, more accurate by far than that of the
Conqueror. It was generally understood at Chapel Hill that if you
wanted to know _what anything was_, you went to Dr. Mitchell; if you
wanted to know _who anybody was_, you went to Governor Swain.

And as he never forgot face, or name, or lineage of the man once
known to him, so he never forgot a kindness or a favor once done
to him or his, and loved to continue such memories, and extend the
chain of friendship to second and third generations. "Thine own, and
thy father's friend forsake not," was one of his favorite maxims.
He was utterly incapable of resisting an appeal for mercy, or a
tale of distress. This was, I believe, the only objection urged
against his conduct on the bench--his leniency to criminals. So too
arose the only serious trouble he ever had with the Trustees of
the University. Stringent measures had been resolved upon by the
Board towards dissipation and insubordination among the students,
which were not rigidly enforced by Governor Swain. So great was his
forbearance with the hot blood of youth, and so strong his faith
that time would cure these early follies, and enable the better
natures of the young men to assert themselves, that he suffered the
Draconian code of the Trustees to lie dormant, whilst he lectured,
reproved, and exhorted. He shrank from branding the opening years
of a young life with sentence of dismission or expulsion, and would
condescend to an erring boy while there remained the last hope
of reform. In such cases his judgment not unfrequently came into
conflict with the opinions of other members of the faculty, and
finally so irritated the Trustees that they passed a resolution
of censure upon him, which was publicly read from the platform of
the chapel by no less a personage than Governor Iredell. Quite a
scene was excited on this occasion, and when Governor Swain arose
and replied in his own vindication, it was with much emotion,
not unmingled with indignation; "More," says Mr. Cameron, who was
present, "than I ever knew him to exhibit on any occasion, before or

The lapse of time has shown this policy to have been the best
and wisest not only for the young men themselves, but for the
institution, and for his own fame. Who of all the hundreds to whom
he thus stood in the attitude of a father, kind, and long-suffering,
and hopeful, but now recalls him with affection and gratitude; how
many a one remembers his college-life at Chapel Hill as the turning
point of his career, where he was won by undeserved kindness to
paths of honor, not repelled by judicial severity, and feels in his
heart that under God he owes all that he has of fortune, friends or
fame to the University and its wise head!

While the Governor remained in political life his extraordinary
memory of persons and names and events gave him a wonderful
advantage. There is no more successful way of making one's self
agreeable to the multitude than by knowing men when you meet them,
and calling them by name. Not to recognize a man who has stood your
friend, and fought your battles at the polls, is always an omission
of evil omen in his eyes, and a bad memory for names will not always
apologize for what seems to be neglect. Many and many are the shifts
of the politician to avoid this fatal predicament. But I venture to
say that Governor Swain was never caught in such a way. Once being
introduced, he never forgot his man, nor his family connections.
After the surrender of General Lee in 1865, when General Sherman had
begun his march upon Raleigh, at the earnest request of Mr. B.F.
Moore and Mr. Kenneth Rayner, I sent an embassy to meet the federal
commander, and obtain what terms were possible for the surrender of
the capital of the State.

Having confidence in their firmness and discretion, I selected
Governors Swain and Graham, who left in a few moments after their
appointment, on a special train, accompanied by Dr. Edward Warren,
Surgeon-General of the State. I remarked, after their departure with
my letter, as one reason for selecting him, that I had no doubt
Governor Swain would find plenty of acquaintances in the enemy's
camp, or at least would prove that he knew the fathers of many
of the officers. And so it was; on his arrival at headquarters,
he not only claimed General Sherman as an old correspondent, and
fellow-college-president, but immediately seized upon two or three
members of the staff whose parents and pedigree he knew, and was
soon at home among them.

And here perhaps it is not improper in me to correct a statement
made by General Sherman in his memoirs in relation to this embassy.
Referring to it, that General says: "They had come with a flag of
truce, to which they were not entitled; still, in the interests
of peace, I respected it, and permitted them to return to Raleigh
with their locomotive, to assure the Governor of the State and
the people, that the war was substantially over, and that I
wanted the civil authorities to remain in the execution of their
office till the pleasure of the President could be ascertained.
On reaching Raleigh I found these same gentlemen with Messrs.
Bragg, Badger, Holden and others, but Governor Vance had fled, and
could not be prevailed on to return, because he feared arrest and
imprisonment." This statement is uncandid, not to say untruthful,
by implication at least. These gentlemen _had_ a right to the flag
of truce, for it was sent with the consent and by permission of
General Hardee, commanding the Confederate forces in the absence
of General Johnston, and should not have been permitted to enter
the enemy's lines if the bearers were not entitled to carry it.
It was _not_ respected, for it was fired upon by Kilpatrick's
men, and "captured," as they claimed, and the gentlemen composing
the embassy were promptly and skillfully robbed of their surplus
personalty, and were conducted as "_prisoners_" to General Sherman's
headquarters. They were _not_ permitted promptly, as the statement
implies, to return with their locomotive, with assurances of peace
and protection, but were detained there the entire day and night
after their arrival within Sherman's lines, until he no doubt
knew that Raleigh was entirely uncovered by Johnston's troops. Of
course, all the officers of the State government who did not wish
to surrender at discretion, left with the Confederate troops, for,
the embassy not returning, and no news of its fate, except that
it had been captured, and no reply to my letter being received,
they had no assurance of protection. Governor Swain states in his
address at the opening of Tucker Hall that on the return of the
embassy that memorable morning, but a few minutes in advance of
the Federal troops, the city was shrouded in silence and gloom,
except for the presence of a few marauding stragglers from Wheeler's
cavalry, showing conclusively that the city was uncovered when he
arrived with Sherman's message. It was some days afterwards, and
at Hillsborough, when I learned from Governor Graham the result of
his mission, and it was then far too late for me, consistently with
other duties, to accept of Sherman's offer of protection, had any
one convinced me that it was best to do so, which indeed no one did.
My inclinations, I confess, were to be with that little army, fully
one-third of whom were North Carolinians, until they laid down their
arms. I am happy to reflect that I shared their fate to the last.

This much to vindicate the truth of history. Throughout this whole
transaction, as many gentlemen have testified to me, Governor
Swain's bearing was, in the highest degree, courageous, discreet,
and manly.

During the war his efforts had mainly been directed to keeping the
college alive, for such was the impetuosity with which the call to
arms was obeyed, that of the eighty members, of which the freshman
class consisted in 1860, but _one_ (in delicate health) remained
to pursue his studies. (Of the senior class of that date not one
had remained out of the army, and fully one-fourth of them fell
in battle.) Seven members of the faculty volunteered, and of them
_five_ returned no more.

Governor Swain appealed to the Confederate Government more than once
to prevent the handful of college boys left from being drafted.
President Davis himself seconded these efforts in the earlier years
of the war, declaring that "the _seed-corn_ should not be ground
up." But as the exigencies of the country increased, this wisdom
was lost sight of, the collegians were again and again called upon,
till at the time of Lee's surrender there were but about a dozen
here, still keeping up the name and forms of a college. But even
while the village and University were occupied by four thousand
Michigan cavalry, the old bell was rung daily, prayers were held,
and the University was _kept going_. The Governor took a pride in
this, and hoped that he was to tell it many years after. But this
long and useful life, devoted to the best interests of his country
and his age, was nearing its close. Only three years yet remained to
him, and these were devoted by him to earnest, unceasing endeavors
to reinstate the University pecuniarily, and to recall its former
patronage. Darker days, however, were in store for it, which he in
the good providence of God was not to be permitted to see.

In the summer of 1868, the State passing under a new Constitution,
and an entire change of government, the University also fell into
new hands, whose first action was to request the resignation of
the president and faculty, most of whom had grown grey in service
to the State. A guard of negroes were sent to take possession,
and these halls were closed. Governor Swain was then preparing
for a visit to Buncombe. On the 11th day of August, while driving
in the neighborhood of Chapel Hill, with Professor Fetter, he was
thrown from the buggy, and brought home painfully, but as was then
supposed, not seriously injured. Confined to his bed for about two
weeks, he appeared to be recovering, when on the morning of the 27th
he suddenly fainted, and expired without pain.

He was in the full possession of all his faculties up to the last
moment, and died at peace with all the world; a fitting close to a
life of beneficence and integrity. There is a melancholy coincidence
in the manner of his death with that of his two oldest friends and
colaborers in the faculty who had preceded him over the river, and
were "resting under the shade of the trees." Dr. Elisha Mitchell
perished by falling down a precipice in the cataracts of the Black
Mountain, June 27, 1857. Dr. James Phillips sank down suddenly on
the rostrum while in the act of conducting morning prayers, and died
without a struggle, March 14, 1867. Thus all of these eminent men,
worthy servants of Christianity and civilization, died suddenly, or
with some degree of violence.

A just estimate of the talents and character of Governor Swain,
for reasons already indicated, is not easily made plain to popular
apprehension. By the world the term "great" is variously applied,
and misapplied. It is often withheld when it is mostly richly
deserved; not, because of the injustice of contemporaries, for
personal prejudice rarely outlives a generation, but because men
rarely appreciate the full extent and character of the labors of
a lifetime. And especially is this true when that life has been
mainly spent in the planting of moral seeds below the surface,
which, perhaps for years, make no great show of the harvest which is
sure to come. Generations are sometimes required to elapse before
the world can see the golden sheaves which cover and adorn the
landscape, the result of that patient and judicious planting.

They who in life are followed by the noisy plaudits of the crowd,
who fill the largest space in the eyes of their contemporaries,
and seem to tower far above their fellows, are not always found
to have their reputation built on the securest foundations, nor
to have left their mark on the age in which they lived. Erasmus
was esteemed by his generation a much greater man than Luther. He
was one of the most remarkable men of his century, few indeed have
equaled him in keenness of intellect, and in depth and extent of
learning. Yet, viewed now in the light of their labors, and the
value and significance of their impression on the world, what a
veritable shadow he was by the side of the plainer, less learned,
but downright monk! Erasmus is known to the scholars who search for
his name and works in the cyclopædias; the name and the spirit of
Luther pervade and affect the civilization of the whole world.

On the 21st of February, 1677, there died in a small house in
the Hague a man whose greatness could not be measured, says his
biographer, until humanity had moved to the proper prospective point
at the distance of more than a century. The view enlarged as time
rolled on, as it does to men climbing high mountains; in 1877, the
world agrees to number him among the undoubted sons of genius, and
benefactors of mankind. His admirers erect a monument to his memory
just two hundred years after his death in the same city where he
was persecuted, excommunicated, and his works destroyed. His name
was Spinoza. Modest, and pure, and upright, he had the misfortune
to live two hundred years before his age, and to put forth fruits
of genius which his fellows could not comprehend, and so they
stamped him and them into dust as being unorthodox. Two centuries
of progress have brought the world up to where Spinoza died, and it
builds him a monument. At last, his work is seen.

The Earl of Murray, Lord Regent of Scotland, was not esteemed a
great man in his day. His behavior was modest, his abilities were
apparently but moderate, and for more than two hundred years he has
figured in history as an ordinary man, overlaid by the more violent
and intriguing spirits of his time, and his character obscured and
distorted by the glamour which surrounds the name of his beauteous
but abandoned sister and murderess, Queen Mary. And yet when two
centuries afterwards the spirit of philosophic history comes to
trace cause and effect, and to show the result of his life's work
upon Protestant Christianity, and what he contributed to the
domination of the English-speaking races, we agree at once with Mr.
Froude that he was in truth one of the best and greatest of men, a
benefactor of mankind.

And so it may be said of Bunyan, of Wesley, and of many more, whose
beginnings were esteemed but of small account, but whose fame has
continually grown brighter and brighter, as the world has been
forced to see how wisely they builded.

In many senses of the term Governor Swain was not a great man.
As an author, though a man of letters, he neither achieved nor
attempted anything lasting. As a politician, though he rose rapidly
to the highest honors of his native State, he did not strikingly
impress himself upon his times by any great speech, nor by any
grand stroke of policy. In this respect he was inferior to many of
his contemporaries who constituted, perhaps, the brightest cluster
of names in our annals. As a lawyer and a judge, he occupied
comparatively about the same position; and as a scholar he was not
to be distinguished, being inferior to several of his colaborers
in the University. But in many things he was entitled to be called
great, if we mean by that term that he so used the faculties he
possessed that he raised himself beyond and above the great mass of
his fellows. In him there was a rounded fullness of the qualities,
intellectual and moral, which constitute the excellence of manhood,
in a degree never excelled by any citizen of North Carolina whom I
have personally known, except by William A. Graham. If there was
in Swain no one grand quality of intellect which lifted him out of
comparison with any but the demigods of our race, neither was there
any element so wanting as to sink him into or below the common mass.
If there were in him no Himalayan peaks of genius, piercing into the
regions of everlasting frost and ice, neither were there any yawning
chasms or slimy pools below the tide-waters of mediocrity. He rose
from the plain of his fellow-men like the Alleghanies, in whose
bosom he was born, by regular and easy gradations--so easy that you
know not how high you are until you turn to gaze backward--every
step surrounded by beauty and fertility--until he rested high over
all the land. If there be those who singly tower above him in gifts,
or attainments, or distinctions, there are none whom as a whole
we can contemplate with more interest, affection, and admiration;
none whose work for North Carolina will prove to be more valuable,
or more lasting, or more important to future generations; none to
whom, at the great final review, the greeting may be more heartily
addressed: "_Servant of God, well done!_"

No estimate of Governor Swain's walk through life should omit the
consideration of his Christian character. It was especially marked
by catholicity of feeling towards all good men of whatever name. He
was accustomed to refer this to the circumstances of his bringing
up. He would say: "My father was a Presbyterian elder, and an
Arminian; my mother was a Methodist and a Calvinist, who loved and
studied Scott's commentary. Their house was the home for preachers
of all sorts west of the Blue Ridge. Bishop Asbury blessed me when
a child. Mr. Newton, a Presbyterian, taught me when a boy, and
Humphrey Posey, a Baptist, used to pray for me when a youth. So I
love all who show that they are Christians."

On his death-bed he spoke often of the communion of saints with,
one another, and with their Head. He was a decided Presbyterian,
however; he admired what he called "the symmetry" of the
ecclesiastical system of his church; he dwelt on its history with
great delight, and was accustomed to find support for his soul in
times of deep distress in its interpretations of the Bible. He
was a praying man, and not ashamed to be known as such. He first
introduced the practice of opening the regular meetings of the
faculty with prayer. The night before he died he said of the Lord's
Prayer: "The oftener I use it the more precious it is to me; it
contains a whole body of divinity."

In private life he was most upright, kind, social, and hospitable.
An excellent financier, he left a handsome estate, even "after the
war." He had a proper conception of the value of wealth, and all his
life practiced a judicious economy, but he knew well both how to
lend and how to give. His conversation was delightfully interesting
and instructive, replete with anecdote, genial humor, historical
incident, or literary quotation. Few men of his associates equaled
him in these respects, even after the infirmity of deafness had cut
him off from much social enjoyment.

His remains lie buried in Oakwood Cemetery, near Raleigh, and close
beside the sleeping soldiers of the Confederacy. The soil of our
State holds the dust of no son who loved her more or served her
better. Peaceful be his rest, as he waits for the clear breaking of
the day over the brow of the eternal hills.

    The daisies prank thy grassy grave,
    Above, the dark pine branches wave;
        Sleep on.
    Below, the merry runnel sings,
    And swallows sweep with glancing wings;
        Sleep on, old friend, sleep on.
    Calm as a summer sea at rest,
    Thy meek hands folded on thy breast,
        Sleep on.
    Hushed into stillness life's sharp pain,
    Naught but the pattering of the rain;
        Sleep on, dear friend, sleep on.



There were few more exciting topics in ante-revolutionary times than
the location of the seat of government.

The first General Assembly, in relation to which we have much
authentic information, met at the house of Captain Richard
Sanderson, on Little River, in the county of Perquimans, in 1715,
and revised the whole body of the public statute law.

The style of enactment is characteristic of the times and of the
proprietary government: "Be it enacted by his Excellency the
Palatine and the rest of the true and absolute Lords Proprietors of
Carolina, by and with the advice and consent of this present General
Assembly, now met at Little River, for the northeastern part of this

From Little River the seat of legislation was transferred in 1720 to
the General Court House at Queen Anne's Creek, in Chowan Precinct,
and in 1723 to Edenton.

In 1731 the Proprietary was succeeded by the Royal Government, and
in 1734 the legislative will assumed a form of expression worthy
of eastern despotism: "We pray that it may be enacted, and be it
enacted by his Excellency, Gabriel Johnston, Esq., Governor, by and
with the advice and consent of his Majesty's council in the General
Assembly of this province."

In 1741 the General Assembly met at Wilmington, but returned the
following year to Edenton. From 1745 to 1761, with the exception of
a single session at Bath, it convened at New Bern. In 1761 it met
again at Wilmington, and from that time keen rivalry was maintained
between New Bern and Wilmington for metropolitan distinction, until
quieted by the Act of 1766, authorizing the construction of Governor
Tryon's viceregal palace at New Bern. This edifice, completed in
1770, dedicated to Sir William Draper--and the subject of his
muse in an attempt at Roman versification--was pronounced on good
authority, in 1783, superior to any structure of the kind in British
or South America.

During the Revolution the General Assembly met somewhat in
accordance with the exigencies of the times, at New Bern, Kinston,
Halifax, Smithfield, Wake Court House, Hillsborough and Salem.

In 1782 and 1783 the Legislature convened at Hillsborough, and in
1784 and 1785 at New Bern, in 1786 at Fayetteville, in 1787 at
Tarborough, and in 1788 returned to Fayetteville.

In 1787 the General Assembly had resolved that it "be recommended
to the people of the State to authorize and direct their
representatives in the convention called to consider the Federal
Constitution to fix on the place for the unalterable seat of

The convention met at Hillsborough in August, 1788, and resolved
that "this convention will not fix the seat of government at one
particular point, but that it shall be left to the discretion of
the Assembly to ascertain the exact spot, provided always, that it
shall be within ten miles of the plantation whereon Isaac Hunter now
resides, in the county of Wake."

The following editorial article is copied from the _Fayetteville
Chronicle_ or _North Carolina Gazette_ of the 29th of November, 1790:

"On Thursday last the bill for carrying into effect the Ordinance of
the Convention held at Hillsborough in 1788 for holding the future
meetings of the General Assembly, etc., came before the House of
Commons, when the question was put, Shall this bill pass? The House
divided, and there appeared fifty-one for it and fifty-one against
it, whereupon the Speaker [Mr. Cabarrus] gave his own vote, and
pronounced the passage of the bill. It was then sent to the Senate,
when that House divided, and there appeared an equal number of votes
for and against the passage of the bill, whereupon the Speaker
[General Lenoir] gave the casting vote against its passage, and the
bill was rejected."

In 1791, however, the General Assembly met at New Bern, and in
compliance with the positive constitutional injunction, passed an
act to carry the ordinance of 1788 into effect. The act provides
that ten persons shall be appointed to lay off and locate the city
within ten miles of the plantation of Isaac Hunter, and five persons
"to cause to be built and erected a State-house sufficiently large
to accommodate with convenience both houses of the General Assembly,
at an expense not to exceed ten thousand pounds."

In the following year (1792) a majority of the commissioners,
to wit: Frederic Hargett, Willie Jones, Joseph McDowell, Thomas
Blount, William Johnson Dawson, and James Martin, met on the 4th of
April, and on the following day purchased of Colonel Joel Lane one
thousand acres of land, and laid off the plan of a city, containing
four hundred acres, arranged in five squares of four acres and
two hundred and seventy-six lots of one acre each: Caswell Square
(the site of the Institute for the Deaf and Dumb and the Blind),
the northwestern; Burke (the site of the Raleigh Academy) [now the
Governor's Mansion], the northeastern; Nash, the southwestern; Moore
the southeastern, and Union, on which the State-house stands, the
central square.

The names of the towns towards which the principal streets ran
gave them their designation, and the names of the commissioners
and other prominent citizens were applied to the others. New Bern,
Hillsborough, Halifax, and Fayetteville streets were ninety-nine,
and all the other streets sixty-six feet in width.

In December, 1794, the General Assembly met in the new State-house
for the first time.

In 1802 an act was passed requiring the Governor to reside at the
seat of government, and a plain two-story frame building, painted
white, and an office on the corner, were provided on lot No. 131.
This first gubernatorial mansion was subsequently the residence of
the late James Coman. The First National Bank of North Carolina now
occupies the site from which the first executive office and Mr.
Coman's brick store were successively removed.

In 1813 the General Assembly appointed Henry Potter, Henry Seawell,
William Hinton, Nathaniel Jones, Theophilus Hunter, and William
Peace, commissioners to erect on the public lands near the city of
Raleigh a convenient and commodious dwelling-house for the Governor,
at a cost not to exceed five thousand pounds, to be derived from the
sale of lots which they were authorized to lay off, and from the
sale of lot No. 131, referred to as the residence, at successive
periods, of Governors Turner, Alexander, Williams, Stone, Smith, and

The site selected for the new gubernatorial residence, in common
parlance the "Palace," was near the terminus of Fayetteville street,
directly south of and fronting the capitol, and just beyond the
southern boundary of the city. The edifice was completed during
Governor Miller's administration, from 1813 to 1816, and he was the
first occupant.

In 1819, Duncan Cameron, John Winslow, Joseph Gales, William
Robards, and Henry Potter were authorized to sell all or any
part of the lands purchased of Joel Lane, with the exception
of the stone-quarry, in lots to suit purchasers. The Governor
was authorized, from the proceeds of the sale, to improve the
State-house under the direction of the State architect, and in
conformity with a plan which he had prepared and submitted to the
General Assembly.

The old State-house, which is believed to have been constructed from
the net proceeds of the sales of city lots in 1792, was described
by a writer of the time as a huge, misshapen pile. In form it was
substantially, so far as the body of the building was concerned,
though on a smaller scale, very similar to the present edifice.
It was divided by broad passages on the ground floor from north
to south and from east to west, intersecting in the center at
right angles. The offices of the Secretary, Public Treasurer and
Comptroller were on the lower floor. The Senate chamber and hall of
the House of Commons, with the offices appurtenant, above, as at
present. The executive office, as has been stated, was contiguous
to the palatial residence. The passages and halls of the first
State-house supplied all, and more than all, the accommodation to
the public contemplated by the founders of this less extensive,
but better furnished, and more finely finished edifice [referring
to Tucker Hall]. Here divine worship on the Sabbath, balls on
festive occasions, theatrical representations, sleight-of-hand
performances, and last but not least, fourth-of-July orations and
fourth-of-July dinners, all found their places, and their votaries
for a time. The construction of the dome, the erection of the east
and west porticoes, the additional elevation and covering of stucco
given to the dingy exterior walls, the improvement of the interior,
and especially the location of the statue of Washington, from the
chisel of Canova (a noble specimen of a noble art, commemorative of
the noblest of men), in the rotunda at the point of intersection
of the passages directly under the apex of the dome, converted the
renovated capitol into a sightly and most attractive edifice. There
were but few of the better class of travelers, who did not pause
on their passage through Raleigh, to behold and admire it. The
improvements were designed by, and executed under, the supervision
of Captain William Nichols, then recently appointed State architect,
and completed early in the summer of 1822. He was a skillful and
experienced artist, and made the public greatly his debtor for a
decided impulse given to architectural improvements throughout the
State, in private as well as in public edifices.

It was my lot on the 21st of June, 1831, to stand a helpless
spectator, when that noble edifice, adorned with the statue of the
father of his country, was a sheet of blinding, hissing flame, and
to hear, amidst the almost breathless silence of the stupified
multitude around it, the piteous exclamation of a child: "Poor
State-house, poor statue, I so sorry." There were thousands of
adults present as sorrowful and as powerless as that child.

It was my lot as Chief Magistrate of the Commonwealth, on the fourth
day of July, 1833, to lay the corner-stone of the present capitol,
supposed on its completion to be the most magnificent structure of
the kind in the Union.

It was my lot on the morning of the 13th of April, 1865, as the
friend and representative of Governor Vance, to find, on approaching
the southern front of the capitol, the doors and windows closed,
and a deeper, more dreadful silence shrouding the city than during
the sad catastrophe to which I have referred. I met at the south
front of the capitol, however, a negro servant, who waited on
the executive department, the only human being who had dared to
venture beyond his doors. He delivered me the keys, and assisted
me in opening the doors and windows of the executive office, and I
took my station at the entrance, with a safe-conduct from General
Sherman in my hand, prepared to surrender the capitol at the demand
of his approaching forces. At that moment a band of marauders,
stragglers from Wheeler's retiring cavalry, dismounted at the head
of Fayetteville street, and began to sack the stores directly
contiguous to and south of Dr. Haywood's residence. I apprised them
immediately that Sherman's army was just at hand; that any show of
resistance might result in the destruction of the city, and urged
them to follow their retreating comrades. A citizen, the first I saw
beyond his threshold that morning, came up at the moment and united
his remonstrances to mine, but all in vain, until I perceived,
and announced, that the head of Kilpatrick's column was in sight.
In a moment every member of the band, with the exception of their
chivalric leader, was in the saddle, and his horse spurred to his
utmost speed. He drew his bridle-rein, halted in the center of the
street, and discharged his revolver until his stock of ammunition
was expended in the direction, but not in carrying distance of his
foe, when he too fled, but attempted to run the gauntlet in vain.
His life was the forfeit at a very brief interval.

The remains of this bold man rest in the cemetery, covered with
garlands and bewept by beautiful maidens, little aware how nearly
the city may have been on the verge of devastation, and how narrowly
the fairest of their number may have escaped insult and death
from this rash act of lawless warfare. The bones of the old North
Carolinian, the founder of the city thus imperiled, moulder in the
midst of other unrecorded dead, beneath the shade of a mulberry on
his ancient domain, about as far west as those of the young Texan
east of the capitol.

About three o'clock in the afternoon, in company with Governor
Graham, who had risked life and reputation in behalf of this
community to an extent of which those who derived the advantage are
little aware, I delivered the keys of the State-house to General
Sherman, at the gubernatorial mansion, then his headquarters,
and received his assurance that the capitol and city should be
protected, and the rights of private property duly regarded.

May I be pardoned in connection with this narrative, for a brief
reference to an incident in my personal history, illustrative of
the character of one of the purest, as well as the wisest, men I
have ever known. At our first interview after I was elected Superior
Court Judge in 1831, Mr. Gaston, who was then at the bar, and who,
from our earliest acquaintance, had treated me with the kindness
of a father, after cordial congratulations on my elevation to the
bench, took occasion to advise me most earnestly never to permit
myself, except under an overpowering sense of public duty, to be
seduced into a return to political life. He said he was growing old,
and endeavored, as much as possible, to withdraw attention from
the threatening aspect of public affairs, but there were sleepless
hours, when he could not avoid reflection on the utter heartlessness
of party politicians, and the difficulty of preserving a conscience
void of offense, when mingling in political controversies--that he
had always endeavored to place country above party, and that yet,
on a calm review of his whole course of life, too many instances
presented themselves, when he convicted himself of having been
influenced to an extent of which he had no suspicion at the moment,
by other than purely patriotic considerations. In addition to all
this, it had been his fate on repeated occasions to be most loudly
applauded for what, in his own conscience, he regarded as least
praiseworthy, and to be bitterly reviled for what he considered to
have been the purest and most discreet acts of his public life.

In 1812, and along about that time, the only newspapers in Raleigh
were _The Raleigh Register_ and _The Star_, both published weekly.
_The Minerva_ had been discontinued.

From 1792 until the publication of _The Raleigh Register_, in
the autumn of 1799, _The North Carolina Journal_ was the great
advertising medium for the portion of the State north and west of

Conspicuous among the merchant princes of that day were the
brothers, Joseph and William Peace. They occupied a one-story frame
building, perhaps 20x24, nearly opposite to W. C. and R. Tucker. The
junior partner informed me many years ago that he had ordinarily
purchased goods twice a year, always for cash, and always at ten
per cent. discount, and that the advantage thus obtained over those
who bought upon credit was the nucleus of the large estate he had
realized. He was kind enough in October, 1822, as soon as I was
able to travel, after recovering from severe illness, to drive me
from Raleigh to the hospitable mansion of the late General Calvin
Jones, the present site of Wake Forest College. On the way he
related various incidents in his personal history, which interested
me. Referring to the success of an eminent lawyer and statesman,
as estimable in private as distinguished in public life, he stated
that that gentleman, who was licensed to practice law during his
minority, applied to him shortly thereafter for a suit of clothes
upon credit; that he had always made it a rule to meet such requests
with such prompt compliance as to impress the applicant with a
grateful sense of the confidence reposed, or, with so blank a denial
as to shield him from future annoyance. In this instance he admitted
that he hesitated. The appearance and manner of the applicant
impressed him most favorably, but he was very young as well as very
needy, and the Captain had learned from previous experience that the
young lawyer's prospects were a contingent remainder, which required
a particular estate of freehold to support them. It afforded him
great gratification to remember that his kind impulses prevailed,
and that he cut off the goods with great seeming cheerfulness.

I had no suspicion until three months afterwards that the story
could point a moral in relation to myself. At the close of a casual
interview, after the recovery of my health, he said: "Mr. Swain,
perhaps it is convenient for you to pay for that suit of clothes
now." "What suit, Captain?" "The suit you purchased some time
since." I replied, "I never bought anything of you in my life but
one bandanna handkerchief, and I paid for that when I got it." He
turned to his book and showed me an account for a full suit of
black, dated September 10. "On that day, Captain, I was sick in
bed, and my life despaired of by my physicians." "Oh! I remember
it was F---- got the clothes." He was sent for, and in reply to my
inquiry whether he ever got a suit of clothes for me, replied he
did. "Had you any order from me to do so?" "No, sir; but you were
expected to die every hour, I knew you had no burial suit, and
thought it my duty, as your tailor, to provide one." "Where are the
clothes?" "When I found you were getting well I sold them." "What
right had you to consider yourself my tailor?" "I made a pair of
pantaloons for you last spring." At the close of the dialogue the
Captain remarked: "I claim nothing from you, Mr. Swain." The tailor
left the store under the decided impression that his best interests
would be served by a prompt settlement of the account. Had I died,
a punctual but not opulent father, would have paid the bill upon
presentation without inquiry.

The late William Boylan, the first editor of _The Raleigh Minerva_,
and the immediate successor of Colonel Polk as President of the
State Bank, was a gentleman sedate and grave in manner to a
degree that to a stranger might have been taken for austerity.
Traveling from Raleigh to Pittsborough about 1800, he and Mr.
Peace, on reaching the election ground at Brassfields, found a
multitude assembled engaged in dancing and other rural sports, in
the free-and-easy manner characteristic of the time and place.
Mr. Peace was comparatively at home. Mr. Boylan stood aloof until
a rowdy approached and invited him to enter the ring with the
dancers. On his declining, a dozen came forward, prepared to coerce
the submission of the proud aristocrat. In an instant Mr. Peace,
with great solemnity, beckoned the leader of the band aside, and
whispered: "My friend, be careful how you act. Bless your life,
that is Mr. Boylan, the man who made the almanac, and can foretell
eclipses and thunder-storms." The reference to the almanac-maker
secured at once the most deferential respect for the distinguished

The late William Glendennin (one of the old merchants) resided and
did business during many years in the house nearly opposite the
old State Bank, the recent residence of Colonel William J. Clarke.
He built a meeting-house at his own expense at a very early period
in the history of the city, and during a series of years previous
to the erection of any other church, ministered in his peculiar
manner at his own altar, without earthly fee or reward, to all who
chose to hear him. His deserted tabernacle was pointed out to me,
when I first knew Raleigh, standing a little south of the corner, at
the intersection of Morgan with Blount street. I remember to have
seen, in my early boyhood, his autobiography, recounting numerous
conflicts, spiritual and physical, with the arch-enemy of the human
race. His little volume is probably out of print. It would be a rare
curiosity, at the present time, in many respects. Notwithstanding
these vagaries, he was shrewd and systematic in business, and in due
time accumulated a handsome fortune for that day. His eccentricities
increased, however, to such an extent that a guardianship became
necessary, and Mr. Boylan was selected as the person possessing the
requisite nerve and tact to control and manage him.

As soon as Glendennin was apprised of the arrangement his
confidential clerk, the late Robert Harrison, was dispatched
to invite Mr. Boylan to his house. When he entered, Glendennin
requested him to take a book from the mantelpiece, which proved to
be the Bible, and it disclosed, at opening, a fifty-dollar bill.
"The foul fiend was here last night and told me that he had come for
the soul of old ----. I obtained a year's respite for fifty dollars,
and the fiend is to take the money from that book at midnight."
Glancing his eye inquiringly at Mr. Boylan, "I understand that you
are my guardian, and I wish to know how I am to act, and what I am
to do?" Mr. Boylan intimated that as little change as possible would
be made in the management of his affairs. "Mr. Harrison will keep
the keys, sell goods, and collect debts, as heretofore." "Am I to be
master of my own house?" "Certainly." "May I invite any one I choose
into my house?" "Oh, yes; just as heretofore." "May I order a man
out, when I don't want him here?" No sooner had Mr. Boylan given
an intimation in the affirmative than Glendennin, with a frenzied
glare, stamping his foot, and clenching his fist, cried out: "Then,
sir, get out of my house; get out of my house, this instant!"

The poor old gentleman died in the summer of 1816, leaving a very
pretty property for two nieces in Scotland.

The recent abstraction of records from the executive and other
public offices, by persons acting under the authority of the Federal
Government, renders it impossible to give as minute an account of
an interesting event as I would like to present. As I must relate
the circumstances entirely from memory, after the lapse of more than
thirty years from the time the records were at my command, allowance
must be made for a want of precision, especially as to dates.

During Governor Ashe's administration, embracing the years 1796,
1797, and 1798, it was ascertained that numerous frauds had been
perpetrated in the office of the Secretary of State and the offices
of John and Martin Armstrong, in the entry and survey of western
lands, and active exertions were made to discover and arrest the
offenders in this State and Tennessee. It was, I think, in 1797,
that a confidential messenger was sent by Judges Tatum and McNairy
from Nashville to the Governor to warn him of a conspiracy to burn
the State-house, in order to destroy the records, the production
of which upon the trial was indispensable to the conviction of the
offenders. A guard was armed and stationed around the capitol for
the next two months. The communication from Nashville requested the
Governor, immediately on its receipt, to erase from the despatch
the name of the messenger who bore it, as any discovery of his
connection with it would lead to assassination. This was done
so carefully as to elude every effort on my part to restore and
ascertain it, thirty years ago, and I have not at the present moment
the slightest suspicion of the agent who overheard the plot of the
conspirators in Knoxville and was sent from Nashville to Raleigh on
this secret and dangerous mission.

The earliest letter I ever saw from General Jackson was in relation
to this affair. With his instinctive hatred of fraud, he tendered
his service to the Governor in any effort that might be necessary to
arrest the offenders who were supposed to have sought refuge in the
then Spanish domains in the direction of Mobile. This letter was on
file in the executive office in 1835.

In 1797, according to my remembrance, on the night when the ball
was given at Casso's hotel to the bridal party, very shortly after
the second marriage of the Public Treasurer, the festivities were
interrupted by the hasty entrance of a servant, with the information
that some one was forcing an entrance into the window of the office,
where the trunk containing the records in question was deposited. He
was caught, was ascertained to be the slave of one of the persons
charged with fraud, was convicted of burglary, and executed.

In 1799 the General Assembly passed the act directing the Judges of
the Superior Courts to meet together to settle questions of law and
equity arising upon their circuits, and to provide for the trial of
all persons concerned in the commission of frauds in the several
land offices. This act was carefully and skillfully drawn, consisted
of fifteen sections, and, voluminous as it was, contained more
than met the eye of the ordinary observer: the germ of the present
Supreme Court, notwithstanding the proviso in the closing section,
"that this act shall continue in force from its commencement only
for two years, and from thence to the end of the next succeeding
General Assembly" was contained in that act.

Under the provisions of this act Colonel James Glasgow, the
Secretary of State, was indicted for a misdemeanor in the
fraudulent issue of land-warrants. The four judges of the Superior
Courts were John Haywood, Spruce Macay, John Louis Taylor, Samuel
Johnston. Blake Baker was Attorney-General, and Edward Jones,
Solicitor-General. The latter seems to have been mainly relied on to
conduct the prosecution.

The commission under which the court was held was drawn by Judge
Haywood. While on his way to Raleigh to meet his brother judges he
accepted a fee of one thousand dollars, resigned his seat upon the
bench, and undertook the defense of Glasgow.

There has rarely convened from that day to this, even after the
resignation of Haywood, an abler tribunal, on any occasion, or for
any purpose, than that which tried and convicted the distinguished
culprit. In relation to the advocate the late Judge Hall remarks
in a judicial opinion delivered in 1828: "I shall not treat with
disrespect the memory of the dead nor the pretensions of the living,
when I say that a greater criminal lawyer than Judge Haywood never
sat upon the bench in North Carolina." The General Assembly in
anticipation of the judgment of the court, in 1799, changed the name
of the county of Glasgow, erected in 1791, to the county of Greene.

Duncan Cameron, at the early age of twenty-three, was the clerk,
and immediately after the close of the trial reported and published
the decisions of the court in an octavo of one hundred and eight
pages. As I have the only copy I have ever seen of this brochure,
the earliest, with the exception of _Martin_ and _1 Haywood_, in
the entire series of North Carolina Reports, I give for the benefit
of legal antiquarians an exact copy of the title-page: "Reports of
cases determined by the Judges of the Superior Courts of law and
Court of Equity of the State of North Carolina, at their meeting on
10th of June, A. D. 1800, held pursuant to an act of the General
Assembly for settling questions of law and equity arising on the
circuit, by Duncan Cameron, attorney at law, Raleigh. From the press
of Hodge & Boylan, printers to the State, 1800."

In 1800 an act was passed to continue in force the Act of 1799,
three years longer. The sessions of the court by the former act were
limited to ten days; they were now extended to fifteen days (Sundays
excepted) if the business of the court should so require. The third
section of the act is in the following words: "And be it further
enacted that no attorney shall be allowed to speak or be admitted
as counsel in the aforesaid court." The General Assembly must have
entertained a high opinion of the ability and purity of the bench,
and serious misgivings in relation to the cunning and crafty bar of
which John Haywood was the leader.

The late Judge Hall told me that he was present when Joshua
Williams, senator from Buncombe, called upon Governor Turner for
advice in relation to the extension of the lease of life to this
high tribunal. The Governor urged the continuance of the court until
the other offenders could be arrested and tried, and the remaining
questions of doubt and difficulty in the law be put finally at rest.
My good senator, and there were few as good men as he in any age
of the commonwealth, assented, under the entire conviction that a
little longer time was necessary to enable the judges to render the
law so clear and certain, that no perplexing questions would arise
in the future. He was probably more confident of a consummation so
devoutly to be wished, since the court was neither to be annoyed nor
perplexed by the arguments of such lawyers as Haywood.

Iredell, the greatest of Haywood's compeers was in his grave. Moore
was Iredell's successor on the Supreme Court Bench of the United
States, and Davie had on the 24th of December, 1799, been appointed
Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary of the United
States to the French Republic as successor of Patrick Henry, who had
been compelled to decline on account of bodily infirmity.

In 1804, the court, which since 1801 had been styled the Court of
Conference, was made a court of record, the judges required to
reduce their opinions to writing, to file them "and deliver the
same _viva voce_ in open court." In the following year (1805) the
name was changed from the Court of Conference to the Supreme Court
of North Carolina, and converted from a temporary to a permanent, I
hope immortal, tribunal, in fame as in duration.

The senator from Buncombe, and the great advocate Haywood, removed
to Tennessee no great while afterwards. The former lived long enough
in the midst of the legal strife which abounded in that young and
rising commonwealth to find that the end of controversy, like the
end of the rainbow, was not easily reached; and the latter to reap
golden harvests of fame and fortune from the "glorious uncertainty
of the common law."

When I first saw the Supreme Court in session in June, 1822, Chief
Justice Taylor, the Mansfield of North Carolina jurisprudence,
Judge Hall, proverbial for integrity, amiability and sound common
sense, and Judge Henderson, who in genius, judgment and power of
fascination in social intercourse, was without his peer, were the
three judges. William Drew, standing on the thin partition which
divides great wit and frenzy, was the Attorney-General. Francis L.
Hawks, who had not yet attained the 25th year of his age had already
given favorable promise of future eminence as a member of the New
Bern bar, the representative of that town in the General Assembly,
was the reporter. Hawks was destined however to a much wider
celebrity in a very different sphere, and for many years previous to
his death, as a brilliant writer and eloquent speaker, had a higher
transatlantic reputation than any other American divine.

The bar in attendance in those days was much less numerous than at
present. He was a young man of rare self-complacency, who would
imperil a rising reputation in a contest with the sages of the
profession before that tribunal. I well remember the remark of a
gentleman, second as an advocate in the Superior Courts to no one of
his contemporaries, that he never rose in the Supreme Court without
trembling, and never ventured to do more than simply to suggest the
principles, and give the names of the cases and authorities upon
which he relied.

Of those in attendance, Gaston, from the east, was _facile
princeps_, Archibald Henderson, probably the most eloquent and
successful advocate in criminal defenses who ever appeared at the
bar in North Carolina, was the great representative of the middle,
and Joseph Wilson of the extreme west, Judge Murphy and Judge Ruffin
represented Hillsborough, and Judge Seawell, Gavin Hogg and Moses
Mordecai, the Raleigh circuit. Mr. Badger was just attaining the
fulness of fame while the youngest of the Superior Court judges,
and Peter Browne, the head of the bar, before Mr. Gaston assumed
his position, was deciding cases with unprecedented facility and
despatch as chairman of Wake County Court.

Mr. Devereux was the District Attorney for the United States.
James F. Taylor, with the most brilliant prospects, died six years
afterwards, Attorney-General of North Carolina at the early age of

With the present organization of the Supreme Court, in January,
1819, commenced a gradual change in the length of time consumed in
the management of causes, in that and the subordinate tribunals
which continues to increase in an accelerating ratio, and which
ought to be diminished.

The Act of 1799, limited the sessions of the Court of Conference to
ten days, the Act of 1800 extended them to fifteen days exclusive of
Sundays. At one time, as we have seen, no arguments were allowed,
and throughout the entire existence of the court discussions were of
necessity commendably brief.

Peter Browne, with an ample fortune and very high reputation,
relinquished his professional pursuits at the comparatively early
age of fifty-five. Selling the Lane residence, and his well-selected
library to his friend, Mr. Boylan, in the summer of 1818, he
returned to Scotland to spend the evening of his life amidst the
romantic scenes of his native country. An absence of three years
proved that the ties which bound him to Raleigh were stronger than
those which bound him to his birthplace. He came back and resided
here until his death in November, 1832. In 1821, he accepted the
appointment of justice of the peace, and was during several years
chairman of Wake County Court.

I remember to have heard him complain of the dilatory proceedings
of the courts, and especially of the time lawyers were permitted to
consume in argument, as a grievous innovation on ancient usages,
and to asseverate most solemnly that there was one court in North
Carolina where no such indulgence would be allowed. All who remember
his administration, will admit that few and brief were the arguments
heard in Wake County Court in his day.

My professional experience of ten years, eight at the bar, and two
upon the bench, closed in December 1832. During this period I rode
the Morganton, Hillsborough, Raleigh, and Edenton Circuits, and met
at intervals nearly every eminent lawyer in the State. I can recall
no instance when more than a day was occupied with the trial of a

Judge Cameron, the immediate successor of Mr. Browne as president
of the State Bank, was, during the last twenty years of his life, a
citizen of Raleigh. He came to the bar at the age of twenty-one in
1798, was appointed judge in February 1814, resigned December 1816,
engaged immediately in agricultural pursuits, and the performance
of all the duties which properly devolved on eminent citizens in
private life, and preeminent among these was the discharge of the
duties of presiding magistrate of the County Court of Orange.

He had not attained his fortieth year when he retired from the bench
of the Superior Court.

During the fifteen years that he practiced law, his professional
emoluments were probably greater than fell to the lot of any other
North Carolina lawyer, at so early a period of life, and to none
were honors and emoluments more justly awarded.

Mr. Badger, alike eminent as a jurist and a statesman, following
Mr. Browne, was, during a series of years chairman in Wake; and
Chief Justice Ruffin (a citizen of Raleigh from 1828 to 1834),
simultaneously with Mr. Badger's services here, was chairman of the
County Court in Alamance.

Of the eminent lawyers who have appeared at our bar during the
present century, to no one living or dead has greater length of
days, crowned by more brilliant success in all walks of life, been
accorded, than to the four great men who closed their professional
career by the gratuitous, graceful, able, and impartial discharge
of the important duties pertaining to the office of justice of the

While I can make no positive averment, I am very confident in the
opinion that during the time that Judges Badger, Cameron, and Ruffin
presided on the Superior and County Court bench, no case tried
before them ever occupied more than a single day.

Mr. Browne, as appears from the graveyard record, died at the age
of sixty-seven. Mr. Badger had entered upon his seventy-second, and
Judge Cameron his seventy-sixth year. Chief Justice Ruffin, in the
possession of unimpaired intellectual strength, is an octogenarian.

In 1806, five years after the conviction of Glasgow, the great case
of Lord Granville's heirs _versus_ Governor Davie and others, which
threatened a more extensive confiscation than that menaced in our
time, was argued before the Federal Court in this city by Gaston and
Harris for the plaintiffs, and Cameron, Woods, and Baker for the
State of North Carolina. Potter, District Judge, charged the jury;
Marshall, Chief Justice, from personal considerations, peremptorily
declining to sit upon the trial.

Marshall is the only Revolutionary Titan I have ever seen. With fair
opportunities to judge of him as he appeared upon the bench, and in
social intercourse sixteen years afterwards, I can pronounce with
emphasis, that I never expect to look upon his like again.

I sometimes feel apprehensive that I will become old myself before
a great while, when my memory recurs to the time when Chief Justice
Ruffin was one of the promising young men of my day. In 1822, when
a student in Chief Justice Taylor's office, occupied by Mr. Gaston
during the sessions of the Federal and Supreme Courts, Ithiel
Town, the architect who planned the present capitol and who had an
important suit pending in the Federal Court against the Clarendon
Bridge Company, inquired of Mr. Gaston whether Mr. Ruffin would be
acceptable to him as associate counsel. He replied: "No one more so;
Mr. Ruffin is a very promising young man, and if he lives ten years
longer will be at the head of the profession." The prediction was
fully verified at an earlier date.

Rarely since the completion of the Pentateuch has full historic
justice been meted out to woman. The character of the great father
of the human race is not more fully and clearly delineated by Moses
than that of its beautiful mother. The termagant Sarah received
quite as much attention as the father of the faithful. Hagar is
the heroine of an episode, the most beautiful in the annals of
history, with the single exception of the narrative of the maternal
tenderness of Naomi, and the filial love and devotion of Ruth,
the fascinating little widow, whose charms dissolved the obdurate
celibacy of the sage, opulent and stately Boaz. The crafty and
managing Rebecca is finely contrasted with the confiding Isaac; and
the beautiful Rachel, from the moment that Jacob gave his first
kiss "and lifted up his voice and wept," as a bride, and a mother
with Joseph at her side in his little coat of many colors and
his stainless virtue, constitutes in life and in death, the most
charming picture on the historical canvas of any age or country.

Why are not similar pictures presented in modern times? Moses was
inspired. Subjects are not wanting worthy of historic inspiration.
Has an abler monarch than Elizabeth, or a more estimable sovereign
than Victoria ever given character and strength and grace to the
British throne? Was "the man of destiny" superior to Josephine? Is
the Empress of France inferior to Napoleon III.?

We are told that the heroic Wolfe while passing down the St.
Lawrence on his way to "glory and the grave," closed the recitation
of the inimitable "elegy" with the remark that he would gladly
exchange all the renown he had acquired or hoped to achieve for
the fame of the authorship of those verses, and yet Gray makes no
reference to the spot where all the mothers of the hamlet sleep.

I have recently wandered through your cemetery, pausing and
lingering here and there, at the tombs of familiar acquaintances and
intimate friends, and realized the truth, that if I could summon
the departed around me, I would stand in the midst of more numerous
friends than I meet at the present day in the crowded streets of
your living city.

I trust I shall be suspected of no want of gallantry to the living
if I venture to intimate that among the nymphs that illuminate the
page of memory and imagination, I find pictures of beauty and grace
and refinement quite equal to the best specimens of modern times, or
even, in poetic hallucination, "some brighter days than modern days,
some fairer maids than living maids."

Captain Peace reposes by the side of his aged brother without as
yet a stone to tell his name. He was, I suppose, at the time of his
death, the oldest citizen of Raleigh, as well as the oldest man who
has passed from the living city to the city of the dead. I have
never yet met with a man whom I supposed to be a hundred years old.
Various colored persons have represented themselves of greater age,
but their computations would not bear scrutiny. The late William
Henry Haywood, the elder, died at the age of eighty-seven, and Mrs.
Haywood in her ninetieth year.

The honored name of their only son, the late Senator in Congress,
was given at the baptismal font to the senior proprietor of
Tucker Hall, in admiration of early promise, by a discerning
father. The suit of clothes presented to the child by the Senator
in acknowledgment of the compliment, is in a state of perfect
preservation, and will be kept as an interesting illustration of
the habits and customs of other days. We are to be instructed by
grave lecturers in every department of science and art; shall we
not have a miniature museum, a portrait gallery and a niche for the
preservation of specimens of the antique, among which the best _bib_
and _tucker_ of earlier times may find an appropriate place?

John Rex was one of the earliest citizens of Raleigh. My
acquaintance with him was slight. In appearance he was said to bear
striking resemblance to John Quincy Adams. He was a grave, sedate,
quiet, retiring, modest man, not unlike in character to his worthy
contemporary William Peck. By long years of industry, economy
and thrift in the management of the first tannery established in
Raleigh at Rex's spring, near the railway station, he accumulated
a handsome estate, and like Mr. Peace, atoned for his failure to
build up a family, by a liberal provision for the children of
misfortune and want. He manumitted all his slaves at the close of
life, and bequeathed the remainder of his estate to the endowment of
a hospital, the construction of which is understood to be in early

The Rex Hospital and Peace Institute, the latter far advanced
towards completion, will constitute the appropriate and enduring
monuments of these public benefactors. Mr. Rex died January 29,
1839, aged seventy-four years.

As scant justice is done to the memory of the ladies who repose
in the cemetery, as is accorded to their sex on the page of
modern history. The memorials are few, and the information given
comparatively meagre.

Of the eighty-nine counties in North Carolina, nearly all perpetuate
the names of men. Two only, Wake and Jones, are graced with the
maiden names of women, the wives of Governor Tyron and Governor
Nash. There are not less significant indications of the want of
liberality from the sterner towards the gentler sex. Four-fifths of
the wills that I have had occasion to construe, give to the "dear
wife" a portion of the estate pared down to the narrowest limit that
the law will allow, "during life or widowhood." So universal and
inveterate is this phraseology, that a somewhat famous parson in
the county of Gates, some years ago at the funeral of her husband,
poured forth a most fervent supplication, that the bereaved wife
might "be blessed in her basket and her store during life or

I know but a single instance, the will of a distinguished American
statesman, Gouverneur Morris, which provides a largely increased
annuity to the widow in case of a second marriage.

Jacob Marling was the first portrait and landscape painter, and
various specimens of his art are now extant, among others a picture
of the State-house as it was anterior to the fire of 1831. It graces
the parlor of Dr. F. J. Haywood.

The following narrative of the celebration of the thirty-third
anniversary of American Independence, is from the pen of General
Calvin Jones, one of the most useful men of his day. A careful
examination of all the details will present to the mind a more
life-like picture of what your city was in all the aspects of
society in 1809 than can possibly be produced by the most elaborate
attempt at description by a modern pen. Compare and contrast it with
the scenes exhibited and the events which occurred on an anniversary
fifty-eight years thereafter, and in due time make suitable
preparation for the proper observance of a day still dear to every
patriotic bosom.

"The thirty-third anniversary of American Independence was
celebrated in this city in the usual manner on the 4th inst. At 12
o'clock a procession of citizens and strangers, with Captain Willie
Jones' troop of cavalry at the head, formed at the court-house,
agreeable to previous arrangements, and directed by Captain Scott,
proceeded up Fayetteville street to the State-house, during the
ringing of the State-house, court-house, academy and town bells, and
firing of cannon. Being seated in the Commons' Chamber, an ode in
honor of that day, composed for the occasion, was sung by a choir of
about seventy voices, conducted by Mr. Seward, accompanied by a band
of instrumental music.

"The Rev. Mr. Turner then rose and delivered an oration on the
merits of which we shall at present forbear to speak as we intend to
solicit a copy for publication, and hope in our next to present it
as a very acceptable treat to our readers. At the conclusion another
patriotic ode was sung.

"At 3 o'clock the company sat down to an excellent dinner prepared
by Mr. Casso at the State-house, at which Colonel Polk and Judge
Potter presided. Seventeen appropriate toasts were drunk, among
which we notice the following: 'The President of the United States,
may his administration close as it has commenced, with the applause
and general approbation of the people.'

"'George Washington, the hero, patriot, statesman, friend and father
of his country, the memory of his inestimable worth and service will
never cease to be revered by the American people.'

"'Literature, the arts and sciences, the precursors of national
greatness and universal happiness.'

"'The University of North Carolina, may the people see and fully
understand the great interest they have in this institution, and
before it is too late duly foster and endow it.'

"'The Constitution of North Carolina, the happy, wise and revered
work of our ancestors, long may it remain sacred and inviolate.'

"'The social circles of life, may no discordant interests or variant
opinions be suffered to destroy their harmony.'

"The Supreme Court of the State being in session, the celebration
was honored with the presence of the judges, gentlemen of the bar
and many other characters of respectability from almost every part
of the State.

"In the evening a ball was given to the ladies."

Of all the joyous throng that crowded these streets at that national
jubilee fifty-eight years ago, whose bosoms thrilled responsive to
the patriotic sentiments of the orator of the day, or who gathered
round the festive board--of all the gallant men and beautiful women
who united in the exultant song or chased the flying hours in that
evening's dance, there is probably not one present now, not one to
contrast the spectacle then presented of a great, free, united, and
happy people, with their discordant, dissevered relations in 1867!

    "A King sat on his rocky throne
      Which looked on sea-born Salamis,
    And ships by thousands lay below
      And men and nations;--all were his!
    He counted them at break of day,--
    And when the sun set, where were they?

    And where are they--and where art thou,
      My country? On thy voiceless shore
    The statesman's tongue is silent now,
      The heroic bosom beats no more!"

Let us hope that when we meet here on the 4th of July, 1868,
Southern voices will again have been heard in the halls of Congress,
and that millions of Southern hearts, as in former days, will be
prepared to respond, "Liberty and Union, now and forever, one and

       *       *       *       *       *

I heard Governor Vance deliver his address on Swain, which I have
called a sketch, at the Chapel Hill Commencement of 1877. I well
remember the low melancholy and the effortless pathos of his voice.

Governor Swain was his friend, and fortunate is he indeed to have
had such a kind and able hand to sketch his life.

The foregoing estimate of Swain's character and methods does not
receive the unanimous endorsement of all who knew him. He was
thought by some to have been guilty of favoritism, to have lacked
nerve for discipline, and to have shown too great partiality for
families of wealth and influence. But he rendered a service to the
State in writing and preserving some memorials of her history. He
held the most important position she could bestow for many years,
and until his death; and his regime illustrated the defects of
a system which prevented the University from being directly and
entirely dependent on the people for its support.

Vance put him among the distinguished men of North Carolina, and
for this, if for no other reason, I could afford to put him in
this book. Posterity will not lightly overrule the verdict of
its greatest commoner, even though rendered in the partiality of

Although no sketch of Vance is in this book (his life, in a more
extended form, having been lately written), yet Bryan's estimate of
him, spoken in the House of Representatives, February 25, 1895, is
not an inappropriate introduction of the man who has contributed to
history the foregoing sketch of Swain--if indeed there be any part
of the Union where he needs an introduction, even from the lips
of one who has canvassed the whole country. Besides, it would be
offensive to North Carolinians if I should even begin a list of our
distinguished dead without according to Vance his well-won place
among the foremost.


MR. SPEAKER: We are called upon on these occasions to speak of the
virtues of many different types of men. Sometimes one is taken
from us who has spent the most of his days in private business
and has come to these halls to crown with public honors a busy
life. Sometimes we are called to mourn a man taken from us in the
very beginning of his career, and consider what he might have
accomplished had he lived. But it is seldom that, in either of these
halls, we find a man whose life was so completely given to public
service as was the life of Senator Vance. He began his public career
when a young man barely of age, and he has been a public servant
from that time, almost without pause, until his earthly life was
ended. In the history of our country I think we shall find few men
as remarkable. When a man is elected once or twice and disappears,
we may attribute his success to circumstances; but when he begins,
as Mr. Vance began, a young man, and retains the confidence of those
whom he served for a generation, we must conclude that his success
is due to something more than a chance or accident.

Senator Vance was a "leader among men." Few in our day, or in our
history even, have better earned that distinction. He was a leader
among men--and naturally so. He had those characteristics which
could not fail to make him a leader, not self-appointed, but chosen
by common consent. He was a wise man. He was able to estimate
causes and calculate effects. He was able to foresee what would
come to pass, because he understood men--that is necessary in a
leader. We rely upon the Infinite because we are finite. We feel the
limitations of our own knowledge, and we long to find some one who
knows more and can see further than we. Among men, we naturally turn
to the one who can foresee events, as a child turns to a parent for
advice. It was not the experience of age which he possessed, it was
a sort of intuitive judgment, an instinct for truth, that made him
see in advance what others only found out afterwards.

It has been mentioned here to-day that when the late civil war was
about to break out he was able to survey the whole ground and see
what would be the necessary result, and that he told his people what
that result would be. He did this, too, when a young man--younger
than any of us who are on this floor to-day--and time proved his
wisdom. So, coming on down, as each new crisis arose, as each new
force began its work upon society, he seemed to be able to calculate
what was coming, and every time his judgment was justified by events
his hold upon popular confidence increased.

When the Fifty-third Congress was convened in extra session in
August, 1893, no man in this country more clearly foresaw the course
of events and more clearly predicted the results of the proposed
financial policy. He talked with his associates; he wrote to his
people, he told them just what the effect would be upon the party
with which he was identified, and whose name he loved.

Not only was he wise, but he was courageous. And courage is a
characteristic, too, in a leader of men. He had the courage to
assume responsibility. He shirked no duty. What he believed he
said, and he was willing to stand or fall by the correctness of
his conclusions. Jefferson, in speaking of some man, said that he
had not learned the sublime truth that a bold, unequivocal virtue
is the best handmaid even unto ambition. Zebulon B. Vance had
learned that sublime truth. He knew, while trimming one's sails
to catch a passing breeze may help temporarily, there is nothing
which is permanently of aid to a public man except standing by his
convictions. I have no doubt he had ambition; but from what I have
been able to read and learn of him, it was a laudable ambition
which every man in this country may well possess, an ambition to do
his duty everywhere, an ambition to deserve well, to have what he
deserved and nothing more.

He had more than wisdom and courage; he had that without which
wisdom and courage would have boon of no avail: he loved the people
whom he would lead. And it was no condescending love either. It was
no stooping down to some one beneath him. He really believed in the
equality of men, and that those among whom he associated were his
brethren. He shared their hopes, their aims, and their ambitions. He
felt their woes and he knew their joys. He was one of them, and the
people loved him because they knew that he loved them. They trusted
him because they knew that he trusted them. In building upon the
affections of the people he built upon the only sure foundation.

It has been said that the most sincere tribute that can be paid to
a man is that which is paid at his grave. Some may fear him while
he lives, and therefore show him attention; or others may desire to
court his favor. When we see apparent friendship for the great we
do not always know what motives may be behind it. But when a man is
dead and is impotent longer to injure or to aid, when men gather
round his grave and manifest their love, then we know that their
affection is disinterested. And I believe it can be said that no
man in this country ever enjoyed the sincere affection of a larger
proportion of the people whom he served than Mr. Vance.

But he was not only a leader of men, he was an orator of great
influence. Not that, on dress parade, he was the best man to put up
for a public speech, but he was one of the great orators because he
possessed two of the characteristics of the orator; he knew what he
was talking about when he talked, and he believed what he said. He
who believes what he says will move others; and he who knows what
he is talking about will convince others. Not only did he impart
knowledge surcharged with earnestness, but he possessed rare ability
in making the truth pleasant to receive.

He was a statesman as well as a leader of men and an orator. As a
statesman he was devoted to his work and was prepared to make every
sacrifice for which his position called. As a statesman he was
ready to give to every call that conscientious response which duty
required. As a statesman he was pecuniarily honest. There is nothing
in the life of Mr. Vance that I prize more than the fact that with
all his ability, with all his knowledge, with all his influence,
no person can say that he ever sold his influence, his ability, or
his support for money. No person can say that on any occasion he
ever surrendered the interests of the people, as he understood those
interests, for hope of gain.

Sometimes people speak sneeringly of legislators. Sometimes they
speak as if there were no such thing as honesty among them. Some
people talk as if every man has his price, as if all that is
necessary is to offer enough money, and the influence of any man who
is serving in official position can be purchased. I do not believe
that the worst enemy that Mr. Vance ever had would say of him that
any amount of money, however great, could have purchased his vote,
his voice or his influence. And that a man with his commanding
ability, whose official life began at the very dawn of manhood, and
continued through all the conspicuous positions within the gift of
his countrymen, should successfully resist all pecuniary temptation
and die poor, is, I think, one of the proudest of his achievements.

Mr. Speaker, there are things in this life more valuable than money.
The wise man said three thousand years ago, "A good name is rather
to be chosen than great riches, and loving favor than silver and
gold." We struggle, we sacrifice, and we toil in order to leave
to our children a fortune; but I believe that Senator Vance has
left to his widow, and to his children a greater, a more valuable
heritage than could possibly have been left had he given to them
all the money which one man ever accumulated in this world. When he
left to them a name untarnished, when he left to them a reputation
such as he earned and bore, he left to them that which no wealth
can purchase. I am not skilled in the use of obituary adjectives,
and did not rise to give a review of his life, but I beg to place
on record my tribute of profound respect for a public servant who
at the close of his career was able to say to the people for whom
he toiled, "I have lived in your presence for a lifetime; I have
received all my honors at your hands; I stand before you without
fear that any one can charge against me an official wrong." I say,
to such a man I pay my tribute of respect.

[Illustration: THOMAS RUFFIN.]



The patriotic people of the county of Rockingham, in a public
assemblage at their first Superior Court after the death of Chief
Justice Ruffin, in which they were joined with cordial sympathy by
the gentlemen of the bar at that court, resolved to manifest their
appreciation of his talents, virtues and public usefulness, by
causing to be pronounced a memorial on his life and character. Such
an offering was deemed by them a fitting tribute from a people among
whom his family first settled, upon their arrival in North Carolina,
and with whom he had been associated as a planter and cultivator of
the soil from his early manhood till his decease. The Agricultural
Society of the State, of which for many years he had been a
distinguished president, subsequently determined on a like offering
to his memory at their annual fair. The invitation to prepare such a
discourse has been by both bodies extended to the same individual.
The task is undertaken with diffidence and a sense of apprehension
that amid the multiplicity of other engagements its fulfillment may
fail in doing justice to the subject of this memoir.

Thomas Ruffin, the eldest child of his parents, was born at
Newington, the residence of his maternal grandfather, Thomas Roane,
in the county of King and Queen, in Virginia, on the 17th of
November, 1787.

His father, Sterling Ruffin, Esquire, was a planter in the
neighboring county of Essex, who subsequently transferred his
residence to North Carolina, and died in the county of Caswell.
Ardent in his religious sentiments, and long attached to the
Methodist Episcopal Church, he very late in life entered the
ministry, and was for a few years prior to his death a preacher in
that denomination.

His mother, Alice Roane, was of a family much distinguished in
Virginia by the public service of many of its members, and was
herself first cousin of Spencer Roane, the Chief Justice of that
State, in the past generation, whose judicial course, connected as
it was with questions of difficulty and importance in constitutional
law, gave him high professional, as well as political, distinction;
but it may well be doubted whether, in all that constitutes a great
lawyer, he had preeminence over the subject of our present sketch,
his junior kinsman in North Carolina, then but rising into fame, and
destined to fill the like office in his own State.

His father, though not affluent, had a respectable fortune, and
sought for the son the best means of education. His early boyhood
was passed on the farm in Essex, and in attendance on the schools of
the vicinity. Thence, at a suitable age, he was sent to a classical
academy in the beautiful and healthful village of Warrenton, in
North Carolina, then under the management of Mr. Marcus George, an
Irishman by birth and education, a fine classical scholar and most
painstaking and skillful instructor, especially in elocution, as
we must believe, since among his pupils who survived to our times
we found the best readers of their day, within our acquaintance.
His excellence in this particular was probably attributable to his
experience on the theatrical stage, where he had spent a portion of
his life. He made his first appearance in the State at Hillsborough,
during the Convention of 1788, which rejected the Federal
Constitution, and being in search of employment as a teacher, he
was engaged by the Warren gentlemen then in attendance, and many
years subsequently was still at the head of a flourishing school, in
which our student entered. The system and discipline of Mr. George
conformed to the ancient regime, and placed great faith in the rod;
and he being a man of much personal prowess and spirit, did not
scruple to administer it on his pupils, when sloth, delinquency
or misbehavior required, without regard to age, size or other
circumstances. Yet he secured the respect of his patrons and the
confidence of the public, and inspired the gratitude and affection
of his pupils in a remarkable degree.

This turning aside from our subject, to pay a passing tribute to
his old preceptor, is deemed to be justified not only by the long
and useful labors of Mr. George, in the instruction of youth in
the generation in which Mr. Ruffin's lot was cast, but because he
himself entertained the highest appreciation of the profession of
an instructor, accustoming himself to speak of it as one of the
most honorable and beneficent of human employments. Throughout his
laborious and well-spent life he often acknowledged his obligations
of gratitude for the early training he had received under the
tuition of this faithful, but somewhat eccentric, son of Erin. And
it may well be doubted whether Lord Eldon, in the maturity of his
wisdom and great age, retained a more grateful and affectionate
recollection of Master Moises of the High School of New Castle, than
did Chief Justice Ruffin of Master George of the Warrenton Male

At this institution were assembled the sons of most of the
citizens of eastern North Carolina, and of the bordering counties
of Virginia, who aspired to a liberal education. And here were
formed friendships which he cherished with great satisfaction
throughout life. Among his companions were the late Robert Broadnax,
of Rockingham, subsequently a planter of large possessions on
Dan River, among the most estimable gentlemen of his time; and
Cadwallader Jones, then of Halifax, but afterwards of Orange, an
officer at different periods in the navy and in the army of the
United States, a successful planter, and a model of the manners
and virtues which give a charm to social intercourse. Here, too,
he found Weldon N. Edwards, of Warren, subsequently distinguished
by much public service in Congress and under the government of
the State, thenceforward his lifelong friend, with whom the
bonds of amity seemed to be drawn more closely as others of his
contemporaries dropped from around him. Of these four youths of the
Warrenton Academy, in the beginning of the nineteenth century, Mr.
Edwards alone survives. Long may he live to enjoy the veneration and
respect due to a life of probity, honor, and usefulness.

From the Warrenton Academy young Ruffin was transferred to the
College of Nassau Hall, at Princeton, New Jersey. It is believed
that his father, who was a deeply pious man, was controlled in the
selection of this college in preference to that of William and Mary,
in Virginia (next to Harvard University the oldest institution of
learning in the United States), not only by a desire to guard his
son's health, which had suffered from the malaria of tide-water
Virginia, but to secure him as well against the temptations incident
to college life in an institution where, as he supposed, the
discipline was too lax for the sons of affluence who matriculated
there. He entered the freshman class at Princeton, and graduated
at the commencement in 1805, the sixteenth in a class of forty-two
members, "being the first of the second division of intermediate
honors." The late Governor James Iredell, of North Carolina, was
in the class succeeding his own, and for nearly the whole of his
college course his room-mate. Thus commenced a friendship between
these gentlemen in youth which was terminated only by the death
of Mr. Iredell. Among others of his college associates who became
distinguished in subsequent life, there were Samuel L. Southard
and Theodore Frelinghuysen, of New Jersey, Joseph R. Ingersoll, of
Philadelphia, the Cuthberts and Habershams, of Georgia, Christopher
Hughes of Maryland, and Stephenson Archer, of Mississippi.

Returning home with his bachelor degree, Mr. Ruffin soon afterwards
entered the law office of David Robertson, Esq., of Petersburg, as
a student of law, and continued there through the years 1806 and
1807. Here he was associated as a fellow-student with John F. May,
afterwards Judge May, of Petersburg, and Winfield Scott, afterwards
so highly distinguished in arms, and the only officer, down to
his time, except General Washington, who attained the rank of
Lieutenant-General in the army of the United States. General Scott,
in his autobiography, describes their preceptor, Mr. Robertson, as
a Scotchman, a very learned scholar and barrister, who originally
came to America as a classical teacher, but subsequently gained
high distinction as a lawyer, and was the author of the report of
the debates in the Virginia Convention which adopted the Federal
Constitution, and of the report of the trial of Aaron Burr for high
treason. In a note to the same work, General Scott mentions his
chancing to meet Judge Ruffin in New York in 1853, while the latter
was attending as a delegate the Protestant Episcopal Convention
of the United States, after a separation of forty-seven years,
and recurs to their association together with Judge May, as law
students, and to the conversation in which they then indulged, with
manifest pride and pleasure. He also refers to their subsequent
intercourse in the City of Washington, in 1861, while Judge Ruffin
was serving as a member of the Peace Congress, and expresses the
opinion that if the sentiments of this good man, always highly
conservative (the same as Crittenden's), had prevailed, the country
would have escaped the sad infliction of the war, which was raging
at the time he wrote.

Sterling Ruffin, the father, having suffered some reverses of
fortune, determined to change his home, and removed to Rockingham
county, North Carolina, in 1807. His son soon followed, a willing
emigrant. It was in North Carolina he had received his first
training for useful life: here was the home of most of his early
friends, and here he confidently hoped to renew his associations
with Broadnax, Jones, Edwards, Iredell, and other kindred spirits.

He doubtless brought with him a considerable store of professional
learning from the office of Mr. Robertson, in which he had been
more than two years a student, but on his arrival in North Carolina
he pursued his further studies under the direction of Hon. A. D.
Murphy, until his admission to the bar, in 1808. Early in 1809,
he established his home in the town of Hillsborough, and on the
9th of December in that year he was united in marriage to Miss Ann
Kirkland, eldest daughter of the late William Kirkland, of that
place, a prominent merchant and leading citizen.

The twenty years next ensuing, during which his residence was
continually in Hillsborough, comprehends his career at the bar
and on the bench of the Superior Courts. In 1813, 1815 and 1816
he served as a member of the Legislature in the House of Commons
from this town, under the old Constitution and filled the office
of Speaker of the House at the last mentioned session, when first
elected a judge, upon the resignation of Duncan Cameron. He was
also a candidate on the electoral ticket in favor of William H.
Crawford for the Presidency of the United States in 1824. But his
aspirations, tastes, and interests inclined him not to political
honors, but to a steady adherence to the profession to which his
life was devoted. He found at the bar in Orange and the neighboring
counties several gentlemen, his seniors in years, who were no
ordinary competitors for forensic fame and patronage, of whom it may
be sufficient to name Archibald D. Murphy, Frederick Nash, William
Norwood, Duncan Cameron, Henry Seawell, Leonard Henderson, William
Robards, Nicholas P. Smith, of Chatham, and later of Tennessee. His
first essays in argument are said not to have been very fortunate.
His manner was diffident and his speech hesitating and embarrassed.
But these difficulties being soon overcome, the vigor of his
understanding, the extent and accuracy of his learning, and the
perfect mastery of his causes by diligent preparation, in a short
time gave him position among these veterans of the profession,
secured him a general and lucrative practice, and an easy accession
to the bench in seven years from his initiation at the bar.

His reputation was greatly advanced and extended by the manner in
which he acquitted himself in this office. The wants, however, of
an increasing family and an unfortunate involvement by suretyship
forbade his continuance in a situation of no better income than the
salary which was its compensation. He resigned to the Legislature of
1818, and immediately returned to the practice. Mr. Ruffin had kept
up habits of close study of his profession before his promotion to
the bench, and he eagerly availed himself of the leisure afforded
by the vacations of the office for the same object. He came back to
the bar not only with his health renovated, which had never been
very robust, but with a brightness in his learning and an increase
of fame which, in the Supreme Court, then recently established on
its present basis, and in the Circuit Court of the United States,
as well as on the ridings in the State courts, brought to him a
practice and an income which has hardly ever been equaled by any
other practitioner in North Carolina. For forty-three weeks in the
year he had engagements in court, and despite all conditions of the
weather or other impediments to traveling in the then state of the
country, rarely failed to fulfill them. He held the appointment of
Reporter of the decisions of the Supreme Court for one or two terms,
but relinquished it on account of the engrossment of his time by his
practice; and his labors are embraced in the first volume of Hawks.
Mr. Archibald Henderson, Mr. Gaston, Mr. Seawell, Mr. Murphy, Mr.
Moses Mordecai, Mr. Gavin Hogg, and Mr. Joseph Wilson, all men of
renown, were, with Mr. Ruffin, the chief advocates in the Supreme
Court at that period, Mr. Nash and Mr. Badger being then upon the
bench; and according to tradition, at no time have the arguments
before it been more thorough and exhaustive. The late Governor Swain
being, part of this period, a student of the law in the office of
Chief Justice Taylor, in a public address at the opening of Tucker
Hall, mentions a prediction in his hearing by Mr. Gaston to one
of his clients in 1822, that if Mr. Ruffin should live ten years
longer he would be at the head of the profession in North Carolina.
By the same authority we are informed that only a year or two later
Judge Henderson declared that he had then attained this position of

In the summer of 1825, upon the resignation of Judge Badger, Mr.
Ruffin again accepted the appointment of Judge of the Superior
Courts. His recent successes had relieved him of embarrassment, and
supplied him a competent fortune; his health demanded relaxation
and rest; and he considered his duties to his family, now quite
numerous, required more of his presence at home than was consistent
with the very active life he was leading. He therefore relinquished
his great emoluments at the bar for the inadequate salary then paid
to a judge, and virtually closed his career as an advocate. By the
bar and the public he was welcomed back on the circuits, and for the
three following years he administered the law with such universal
approbation that it was generally understood he would be appointed
to the bench of the Supreme Court.

The reputation he had established by this time, however, did not
merely assign him capabilities as a lawyer, but ascribed to him
every qualification of a thorough man of affairs. It was conceded,
at least, that he could teach bankers banking and merchants the
science of accounts.

In the autumn of 1828 the stockholders of the old State Bank of
North Carolina, at the head of whom were William Polk, Peter Browne,
and Duncan Cameron, owing to the great embarrassment of the affairs
of the institution, involving disfavor with the public and threats
of judicial proceedings for a forfeiture of its charter, prevailed
on him to take the presidency of the bank, with a salary increased
to the procurement of his acceptance, and with the privilege on his
part to practise his profession in the city of Raleigh. In twelve
months, with characteristic energy, mastering the affairs of the
bank with a true talent for finance, making available its assets
and providing for its liabilities, and inspiring confidence by the
general faith in his abilities and high purpose to do right, he
effectually redeemed the institution, and prepared the way to close
out in credit the remaining term of its charter.

At this period, also, another place of high political eminence was
at his choice, but was promptly declined. A vacancy having happened
in the Senate of the United States by the appointment of Governor
Branch to the head of the Navy Department, and Hon. Bartlett
Yancey, who had been the general favorite for the succession,
having recently died, Mr. Ruffin was earnestly solicited to accept
a candidacy for this position, with every assurance of success. But
his desire was, as he himself expressed it among his friends, after
the labor and attention he had bestowed upon his profession, to
go down to posterity as a lawyer. Irrespective, therefore, of his
domestic interests, and the care and attention due to his family, of
which no man ever had a truer or warmer conception, he could not be
diverted from his chosen line of life by the attractions of even the
highest political distinction.

While assiduously employed in the affairs of the bank, to which was
devoted the year 1829, his services were still demanded by clients
in the higher courts, and his reputation at the bar suffered no
eclipse. Upon the death of Chief Justice Taylor, in this year, the
executive appointment of a successor was conferred on a gentleman
of merited eminence in the profession, and of a singularly pure
and elevated character; but the sentiment of the majority of the
profession, as well as public opinion, had made choice of Mr.
Ruffin for the permanent office, and he was elected a Judge of the
Supreme Court at the session of the Legislature in the autumn of
1829. In 1833, upon the demise of Chief Justice Henderson, he was
elevated to the Chief Justiceship, in which he won that fame which
will longest endure because it is incorporated in the judicial
literature of the country, and is coextensive with the study and
administration of our system of law.

Of Mr. Ruffin's arguments at the bar no memorials have been
preserved save the imperfect briefs contained in the causes that
have been reported. His nature was ardent, his manner of speech
earnest and often vehement in tone and gesticulation. Though
versed in _belles-lettres_, and with tastes to relish eloquent
declamation, it was a field into which he did not often, if at
all, adventure. His reliance was upon logic; not upon rhetoric;
and even his illustrations were drawn from things practical rather
than ideal. Analyzing and thoroughly comprehending his cause, he
held it up plainly to the view of others, and with a searching
incisive criticism exposed and dissipated the weak points in that
of his adversary; and all this in a vigorous, terse and manly
English, every word of which told. Few advocates ever equaled him
in presenting so much of solid thought in the same number of words,
or in disentangling complicated facts or elucidating abstruse
learning so as to make the demonstration complete to the minds
of his hearers. These capacities he doubtless gained by severe
culture, a part of which, as I learned from an early student in
his office, resulted from his daily habit of going carefully over
the demonstration of a theorem in mathematics. Thus habituated
to abstract and exact reasoning, he delighted in the approach to
exactness in the reasoning of the law, and no student could more
truly say of his professional investigations: _Labor ipse est
voluptas_. The accuracy thus attained in his studies gave him great
eminence as a pleader in causes both at law and in equity; and the
office of framing the pleadings was usually conceded to him by his
colleagues in the causes in which they were associated. It also gave
him rank among the great counsellors of the time whose opinions
were not the result of cramming for an occasion, or a fortunate
authority, but the well considered reflections of gifted minds
imbued with law as a science. The full development of his forensic
character does not appear to have been manifested until after his
return to the bar subsequently to his first service on the bench.
But from this period till his second retirement, in 1825, he had
hardly a rival in the bar of the Supreme Court of the State or the
Circuit Court of the United States, except Archibald Henderson and
Gaston, and he had a command of the practice in all the State courts
he attended. As a Judge of the Superior Courts he exhibited equal
aptitude as for the practice at the bar. With an energy that pressed
the business forward, a quickness rarely equaled in perceiving and
comprehending facts, patient and industrious habits of labor, and a
spirit of command which suffered no time to be lost, he dispatched
causes with expedition, but with no indecent haste. Whilst he
presided it was rare that any cause before a jury ever occupied more
than a single day, and none is remembered that extended beyond two.
He dismissed a suit brought to test a wager at the cost of both
parties, and remarked that it was on account of leniency that he did
not imprison them.

In administering the criminal law, in which the extent of punishment
generally depended on the discretion of the judge, his sentences
were such as to inspire evil-doers with terror, but eminently
tended to give protection to society and confidence to honest and
law-abiding men.

His accession to the bench of the Supreme Court was a source
of general satisfaction to the profession, and to the people
of the State, by whom his enlightened labors in the circuits
had been witnessed with admiration and pride. He at once took a
conspicuous part in the proceedings of this high tribunal, and for
the twenty-three years that he continuously sat there, probably
delivered a greater number of the opinions than any judge with
whom, in all this long career, he was associated. These opinions
are found through more than twenty-five volumes of the Reports, and
form the bulk of our judicial literature for a full generation.
They have been cited with approbation in the American courts,
State and national, by eminent legal authors, and in the judicial
deliberations of Westminster Hall; and the North Carolina lawyer who
can invoke one of them as a case in point with his own generally
considers that he is possessed of an impenetrable shield. It has
been rare in England that a judge or advocate has reached high
distinction in the courts both of common law and equity. The student
of the judicial arguments of Chief Justice Ruffin will be at a loss
to determine in which of these branches of legal science he most
excelled. To the votary of the common law, fresh from the perusal
of the black letter of the times of the Tudors and early Stuarts,
and captivated with its artificial refinements and technical
distinctions, he would appear to have pursued his professional
education upon the intimation of Butler, in his reminiscences, that
"he is the best lawyer, and will succeed best in his profession,
who best understands Coke upon Littleton"; or, advancing to the
modern ages of greater enlightenment and freer intercourse among
nations, that he had made a specialty of the law of contracts, bills
of exchange and commercial law generally; whilst his expositions
of equity causes will satisfy any impartial critic that he was at
least equally a proficient and master of the principles and practice
of the jurisprudence of the English Chancery, and would induce
the belief that, like Sir Samuel Romilly or Sir William Grant,
his practice at the bar had been confined to this branch of the

During his chief-justiceship it cannot fail to be remarked that
there was a great advance in the accuracy of pleadings in equity
cases, and in general extension of the knowledge of equity practice
throughout the circuits. And the precision and propriety of entries
in every species of procedure were brought to a high state of
perfection, mainly by his investigations and labors, in conjunction
with those of that most worthy gentleman, and modest but able
lawyer, Edmund B. Freeman, Esq., late Clerk of the Supreme Court,
whose virtues and public usefulness, connected as he was for so many
years in close and friendly association with the immediate subject
of our remarks, now likewise gone down beyond the horizon, I am
gratified the opportunity serves to commemorate.

Judge Ruffin's conversancy with political ethics, public law, and
English and American history seems to have assigned to him the task
of delivering the opinions on constitutional questions which have
attracted most general attention. That delivered by him in the case
of _Hoke_ vs. _Henderson_, in which it was held that the Legislature
could not, by a sentence of its own in the form of an enactment,
divest a citizen of property, even in a public office, because the
proceeding was an exercise of judicial power, received the high
encomium of Kent and other authors on constitutional law; and I
happened personally to witness that it was the main authority relied
on by Mr. Reverdy Johnson, in the argument for the second time in
_Ex parte Garland_, which involved the power of Congress, by a test
oath, to exclude lawyers from the practice in the Supreme Court of
the United States for having participated in civil war against the
government; and in which, its reasoning on the negative side of the
question, was sustained by that august tribunal.

The singular felicity and aptitude with which he denuded his
judgments of all extraneous matter, and expounded the principles
of the case in hand, usually citing authority only to uphold what
had been demonstrated without it, is the most striking feature of
his numerous opinions. His style of writing was elevated and worthy
of the themes he discussed. His language was well selected, and
exhibited a critical acquaintance with English philology. A marked
characteristic in his writings, as it was also in his conversation,
was the frequent, dextrous, and strikingly appropriate use he made
of the brief words of our language, usually of Saxon derivation.

In the autumn of 1852, while in the zenith of his reputation, and
not yet pressed with the weight of years, Chief Justice Ruffin
resigned his office and retired, as he supposed forever, from the
professional employments he had so long and with so much renown
pursued. But on the death of his successor and friend, Chief Justice
Nash, in December, 1858, he was called by the almost unanimous vote
of the General Assembly, then in session, to fill the vacancy, and
sat again as a Judge of the Supreme Court until the autumn of 1859,
when failing health rendered his labors irksome, and he took his
final leave of judicial life. Six years of rest in his rural home
had induced nothing of rust or desuetude: he wore the ermine as
naturally and gracefully as if he had never been divested of its
folds; his judicial arguments at this time evince all that vigor of
thought and freshness and copiousness of learning which had prompted
an old admirer to say of him that he was a "born lawyer." It is
not improbable that this preservation in full panoply was, in some
degree, aided by the circumstance that in a desire to be useful in
any sphere for which he was fitted, he had accepted the office of
a justice of the peace in the county of Alamance, in which he then
resided, and had held the County Courts with the lay justices during
this period. Though near ten years later, and when he had passed
the age of eighty, in a matter of seizure, under the revenue laws,
in which he took some interest for a friend, in the Circuit Court
of the United States, a branch of practice to which he had not been
habituated by experience, I had occasion to observe that he was
as ready with his pen in framing the pleadings, without books of
authority or precedent, as any proctor in a court of admiralty.

At an early period he became the proprietor of an estate on Dan
River, in Rockingham, on which he established a plantation at once,
and gave personal direction to its profitable cultivation from
that time until near the time of his death. Carrying his family to
Raleigh for a sojourn of twelve months, upon assuming the presidency
of a bank, as already stated, he removed thence to Haw River, in
Alamance, in 1830, and there, under his own eye, carried on the
operations of a planter with success until the year 1866, when
the results of the war deprived him of laborers and he sold the
estate and removed again to Hillsborough. The law has been said
by some of its old authors to be a jealous mistress, and to allow
no rival in the attentions of its votary. Chief Justice Ruffin,
however, while diligently performing the duties of his great office,
and keeping up with the labors of his contemporaries, Lyndhurst,
Brougham, Tenterden, and Denman, in England, and the numerous courts
exercising like jurisdictions in America, found leisure to manage
his farm at home as well as to give direction to that in Rockingham.
And this, not in the ineffective manner which has attended like
efforts of some professional men, but with present profit and
improvement of the estates. From early life he appeared to have
conceived a fondness for agriculture, including horticulture and the
growing of fruit-trees and flowers, which his home in the country
seemed to have been selected to indulge. Here, for thirty-five years
during the recesses of his courts, he found recreation in these
pursuits and in the rearing of domestic animals; the result of which
was the most encouraging success in orchards, grapery, garden,
cereals, flocks and herds. Combining a knowledge of the general
principles of science, with fine powers of observation, and the
suggestions of the most approved agricultural periodicals, he was
prepared to avail himself in practice of the highest intelligence
in the art. It was therefore no empty compliment to a great jurist
and leading citizen when the Agricultural Society of North Carolina,
in 1854, elected him to its presidency after his retirement from
the bench. He was continued in this distinguished position for six
years, when declining health demanded his retirement; and at no time
have the interests of the Society been more prosperous, its public
exhibitions more spirited; and it may be added that on no occasion
did he ever manifest more satisfaction than in the reunions of its

The liberal hospitality that he dispensed throughout life was a
most conspicuous feature in the period thus devoted to practical
agriculture. His nature was eminently social, his acquaintance in
his high position extensive, his dwelling near one of the great
highways of travel through the State in the old modes of conveyance,
easy of access, and the exuberance of his farm, garden, orchards
and domestic comforts were never more agreeably dispensed than when
ministered to the gratification of his friends under his own roof.

The cordiality and ease with which he did the honors of an
entertainer in an old-fashioned Southern mansion is among the
pleasant recollections of not a few between the Potomac and the
Mississippi. It was here, indeed, surrounded by a family worthy
of the care and affection he bestowed upon them, relaxed from the
severe studies and anxieties of official life, in unreserved and
cheerful intercourse, that, after all, he appeared most favorably.

By his industry, frugality and aptitude for the management of
property, he accumulated in a long life an estate more ample than
usually falls to the lot of a member of the profession in this
State; and although much reduced by the consequences of the civil
war, it was still competent to the comfort of his large family.

Judge Ruffin was, until superseded by the changes made in 1868, the
oldest trustee of the University of the State, and always one of
the most efficient and active members of the board. For more than
half a century on terms of intimate intercourse with its Presidents,
Caldwell and Swain, and the leading Professors, Mitchell, Phillips
and their associates, he was their ready counsellor and friend in
any emergency; whether in making appeals to the Legislature in
behalf of the institution for support and assistance in its seasons
of adversity, or in enforcing discipline and maintaining order,
advancing the standard of education or cheering the labors both of
the faculty and students. His criterion of a collegiate education
was high, and he illustrated by his own example the rewards of
diligent and faithful study. He retained a better acquaintance with
the dead languages than any of his compeers we have named except
Gaston, Murphy, and Taylor. In ethics, history, and the standard
British classics his knowledge was profound. In science and in
natural history, more especially in chemistry, and those departments
pertaining to agriculture, horticulture, pomology and the like,
his attainments were very considerable, as they were also in works
of _belles-lettres_, poetry, taste and fiction, at least down to
the end of the novels of Scott and Cooper. He worthily received
the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws from the University of North
Carolina in 1834, and the like honor is believed to have been
subsequently conferred by his alma mater at Princeton.

His style and manner in conversation, in which he took great
delight and bore a distinguished part in all companies, abounded
in pleasantry, but exhibited the same wide range of thought
and information as his public performances, and was full of
entertainment and instruction to the young. His temperament was
mercurial, his actions quick and energetic, and his whole bearing
in the farthest possible degree removed from sloth, inertness, and
despondency. In political sentiment he accorded with the school of
Jefferson, and for more than forty years was a constant reader of
the _Richmond Inquirer_, the editor of which, Mr. Ritchie, was his
relative, though no one entertained a more exalted reverence for
the character, abilities, and patriotism of Marshall, with whom he
cherished a familiar acquaintance while in practice before him at
the bar, and after his own elevation to the bench. Later in life he
formed a like kind and admiring acquaintance with Chancellor Kent.

In the winter of 1861 the Legislature of North Carolina, having
acceded to the proposition of Virginia, on the approach of the
late rupture between the States of the Union, to assemble a body
of delegates in the City of Washington to consider and recommend
terms of reconciliation, Judge Ruffin was appointed one of the
members in the "Peace Conference," and is understood to have taken
a conspicuous part in its deliberations and debates. We have the
testimony of General Scott, in his autobiography, already quoted,
that his counsels in that assembly were altogether pacific.
President Buchanan, in his work in defense of his action in that
important crisis, makes assertion of the same fact. After the
failure of the efforts at adjustment, and the war, in his opinion,
had become a necessity, Judge Ruffin accepted a seat in the State
Convention of 1861, and threw into its support all the zeal and
energy of his earnest and ardent temper; one of his sons, a
grandson, and other near connections taking part in the dangers
and privations of its camps and battle-fields. When defeat came
he yielded an honest submission and acquiescence, and renewed in
perfect good faith his allegiance to the government of the United
States. Too far advanced in years to be longer active in affairs,
his chief concern in regard to the public interests thenceforward
was for the conservation of the public weal, and that the violent
convulsion, of which we had felt the shock, and the change, might
be permitted to pass without any serious disturbance of the great
and essential principles of freedom and right which it had been the
favorite study of his life to understand and illustrate.

With the close of the war, his farm about his mansion having
experienced the desolation of an army encampment, and its system
of labor being abolished, he felt unequal to the enterprise of its
resuscitation and culture, and therefore disposed of his estate
and again took up his abode in Hillsborough. Here, in occasional
occupation as a referee of legal controversies, in directing the
assiduous culture of his garden and grounds, in desultory reading,
in which he now and then recurred to his old favorites among the
novels of Scott, in the duties of hospitality and the converse of
friends, in the bosom of his family, he passed the evening of his
days. In the sense of imbecility or decrepitude he never grew old,
but was blessed with the enjoyment of a remarkable intellectual
vigor and fine flow of spirits almost till his dissolution. And, in
anticipation of death, in his last illness he laid an injunction on
his physician to administer to him no anodyne which should deprive
him of consciousness, as he did not wish to die in a state of

On the 15th of January, 1870, after an illness of but four days,
though he had been an invalid from an affection of the lungs for a
year or more, he breathed his last, in the eighty-third year of his
age. His end was resigned and peaceful, and in the consolation of an
enlightened and humble Christian faith. For more than forty years a
communicant of the Protestant Episcopal Church, he was one of its
most active members in the State, and more than once represented the
Diocese in the Triennial Conventions of the Union.

The venerable companion of his life, a bride when not yet fifteen,
a wife for more than sixty years, yet survives to receive the
gratitude and affection of a numerous posterity and the reverence
and esteem of troops of friends.

This imperfect offering is a memoir, not a panegyric. It contains
not history, but _particulas historae_--scraps of history, which
it is hoped may not be without their use to the future student
of our annals, for the character we contemplate is destined to
be historical. His life was passed in public view, in the most
important public functions, in contact with the most gifted and
cultivated men of the State for half a century; it ran through two
generations of lawyers. It was given to a profession in which were
engaged many of the first minds of other States, and I can call to
recollection no judge of any State of the Union who in that period
has left behind him nobler or more numerous memorials of erudition,
diligence, and ability in the departments of the law he was called
to administer. The study of his performances will at least serve to
correct the error of opinions prevailing with many at the North,
that the intellectual activity of the South delights itself only in

It has been remarked by one of the British essayists, as "a saying
of dunces in all ages, that men of genius are unfit for business."
It is perhaps a kindred fallacy, to which pedantry and sloth have
given as much countenance on the one hand as blissful ignorance
upon the other, that high culture and erudition, as in the case of
the learned professions, are incompatible with success in practical
affairs in other departments. We have before us the life of one who
demonstrated in his own person that it is possible for a great and
profound lawyer to take a leading part and become a shining light
in practically promoting the first and greatest of the industrial
arts, and although there be no natural connection between these
occupations, that the same well directed industry, patience, and
energy which had achieved success in the one, was equal to a
like triumph in the other; whilst in high probity, in stainless
morals, in social intercourse, in the amenities of life, and the
domestic affections and duties, his example will be cherished in
the recollection of his friends, and may well be commended to the
imitation of our youth.



This opinion of Judge Ruffin, taken at random to illustrate his
style, is not above his average.

His great opinions are too long and technical to be of interest to
the general reader. He thoroughly understood "the language of the
law," and used it with the utmost precision.

His discussion of the question at issue throws a side-light on times
fifty years agone, and will awaken memories in the old and inquiry
in the young.

Badger and Iredell applied to the Chief Justice for a writ of
_habeas corpus_ in behalf of William Bradley, who had been
imprisoned for assault and battery.


_Ruffin, C. J._ At the last term of Anson Superior Court, William
Bradley was convicted of an assault and battery, and was sentenced
to pay a fine of one dollar, and "to be imprisoned in the public
jail of Anson county for twelve months, and thereafter until the
said fine and costs should be paid." He was committed to the custody
of the sheriff of the county, and has been kept a close prisoner
ever since, but has recently tendered to the sheriff a bond with
sureties to keep within the rules of the prison (which have been
laid off by the County Court, and contain six acres), and demanded
of the sheriff to be let out of prison. This was refused by the
sheriff, upon the ground that he was required by the sentence to
keep this person within the public jail.

Upon an affidavit and petition of Bradley, stating those facts, he
has applied for a _habeas corpus_, that he might be brought up and
an order made for his enlargement, according to his application to
the sheriff. His counsel, however, does not desire that he should
be put to the expense and trouble of the writ, unless it should be
thought that he is entitled to the liberty of the rules bounds. As
I had an opportunity of consulting my brethren on the subject, I
have availed myself of it, and I now give our unanimous opinion,
that the sheriff is bound to keep the applicant a close prisoner.
The application is founded on the Act of 1741, Rev. St., c. 90, s.
11. It enacts, that, "For the preservation of the health of such
persons as shall be committed to the county prisons, the court
shall have power to mark out such a parcel of land, as they shall
think fit, not exceeding six acres, adjoining the prison, for the
rules thereof; and every prisoner not committed for treason or
felony shall have liberty to walk therein, out of prison, for the
preservation of his or her health."

If there were no other objection to this application but its
novelty, that would be sufficient. It is the first that has been
made, as far as we have heard, since the act passed, which is now
more than one hundred years. If this were an absolute right of all
persons committed under sentence for misdemeanors, there can be no
doubt that it would have been long before claimed and constantly
exercised. But we think the construction of the act is plainly
against it. It seems to have been made in reference to a known
usage and regulation respecting prisons in the mother country.
There, by "rules" of the several courts, debtors and prisoners
for misdemeanors have the liberty of walking in the prison yards,
or within such other limits as the courts prescribe for their
respective prisoners, at such hours and on such days as "the rules"
may designate. Those "grounds" came in time to be called the "rules
of the prison" because they were laid off and the prisoners had
liberty of exercise therein by rule of court for that prison. In the
same manner and for the same purpose the grounds are to be laid out
adjoining our prisons. The courts "shall have the power," that is
to say, they may lay off ground, little or much, but not to exceed
six acres, adjoining the prison, for the rules thereof. These last
words, "for the rules thereof," show, that with each court it was
left to make such rules respecting the prisoners committed by it as
to the extent, periods and durations of enlargement out of close
prison for exercise and health, as the situation of the prison,
the season of the year, the danger of escape or the character of
the prisoners, or the enormity or mildness of their offenses might
suggest to the court, restraining them, indeed, from allowing more
than six acres in space to any prisoner, and from extending the
liberty to traitors and felons, or persons committed as such. Hence,
also, the expression that the prisoner may have liberty "to walk
therein for the preservation of his health," which shows that the
courts had the power to allow the prisoners merely the "liberty of
walking," at particular hours, and require them still to have their
abode in the prison. Such, at first, was no doubt, the practice.
But in laying out the bounds the rules of the court in modern days
practically exempt persons committed in execution for debt from any
imprisonment within the jail, by allowing them to walk, not for
particular hours, but at all times of the day and night within the
rules. As they are not required to eat or sleep within the prison,
they are, in effect, allowed to live out of the walls, provided they
do not go out of the rules.

But with regard to persons committed under sentence for crimes, no
rules have ever been passed. At least, we have known of none; and
the applicant does not state that there is any such rule for Anson
Superior Court. We do not say that it might not be proper, in some
cases, to grant to minor offenders the liberty of exercise and fresh
air at reasonable times and for a moderate period. But that is,
necessarily, as each court may order in regard to its own prisoners;
for as the imprisonment itself and its duration are within the
discretion of the court, so must the degree of its vigor be, at
least, as to the power of mitigating it within the extent allowed by
the statute. The reason why no _regula generalis_ has been adopted
by the court, doubtless has been, that our courts are not in the
habit of sentencing convicts to imprisonment, unless in those cases
in which the courts think that, for the purposes of correction
and example, there should be actual imprisonment during the whole
period. But if there be any general rule upon the subject in any
court it would be under the control of that court, whether each
prisoner should or should not be allowed the indulgence, and the
sentence on this person is, "that he _shall_ be imprisoned _in_ the
public jail of Anson for twelve months." Of course, this prisoner
cannot demand an enlargement out of prison, as a matter of right.

As I should be under the necessity of remanding the prisoner, if
brought up on _habeas corpus_, I decline issuing the writ at all,
according to the suggestion of his counsel.

[Illustration: THOMAS BRAGG.]



Thomas Bragg was the son of Thomas and Margaret Crossland Bragg,
and was born in the town of Warrenton, in Warren county, on the 9th
day of November, 1810. His father was a carpenter and contractor,
a man of strong will, good judgment, and hard common sense, who
devoted the fruits of his labor to the education of a large family
of children. John, an older brother of Thomas, was a distinguished
judge of Alabama, and a member of Congress from the Mobile District,
in 1852, but declined a renomination. General Braxton Bragg, whose
military reputation is familiar to the country, was a younger
brother. Alexander J. was an architect of high standing in Alabama.
Dunbar was a leading merchant in Texas; and William, the youngest
brother, died near Chattanooga, July 25, 1863, from wounds received
in battle. Mrs. Mary L. Cuthbert, widow of the late James E.
Cuthbert, a sister, and the last of the children, died recently in
Petersburg, Va.

Thomas Bragg received his preliminary schooling at the Academy in
Warrenton and his education was completed at Captain Partridge's
Military School, in Middletown, Connecticut, where he remained
about two and a half years. Soon after returning from Middletown he
commenced the study of law under the late Judge Hall, of Warrenton,
one of the judges of the Supreme Court, and, on obtaining his
license to practice in the courts of the State, he started out,
with a horse and stick gig and fifty dollars, for Jackson, the
county-seat of Northampton county, N. C., which place he made his
home in the spring of 1833. This was all the assistance he had, but
his paying practice was immediate, and he never needed aid from any
other quarter.

Shortly after settling in Jackson, Benjamin B. Blume, who was County
Attorney, resigned the office and removed to Petersburg, Va.,
selling his library to the subject of our sketch, who was elected
County Attorney, beating his opponent, Colonel Samuel B. Spruill,
the office then being worth about five hundred dollars. He was a
strong and vigorous prosecuting officer, discharging the duties in
strict conformity to his oath, and showing neither favor to a friend
nor resentment to an enemy. His execution of the office was so rigid
that it affected his popularity; evidence of which was visible,
in some quarters, even up to the time he assumed the office of
Governor. Upon one occasion, after he had spoken in the prosecution
of a citizen of considerable prominence, Mr. B. F. Moore, who was
counsel for the defendant, made strictures upon his course, and
charged that his zeal was the result more of feeling and spite
than of his conceived duties under his oath. He was seen to bow
gracefully, but determinedly, to Mr. Moore, as he proceeded with his
speech. Immediately after the adjournment of court, a note was borne
from him to Mr. Moore by Colonel Spier Whitaker. It was with some
difficulty that the matter was settled, but friends interposed, and
it was satisfactorily adjusted to both parties; and these men were
not formal in their subsequent intercourse, but, on the contrary,
their relations were always cordial and friendly. Mr. Moore's strong
and feeling speech in the Supreme Court-room, the day after Governor
Bragg's funeral, clearly shows this.

It was not long after he had been at the bar when an important
case was begun in Hertford county, _Beale_ vs. _Askew_. It was a
suit for damages for libel. A. J. Askew was charged with sending
to the Norfolk (Va.) _Herald_, then edited by Thomas G. Broughton,
Esq., a notice of Beale's marriage to a woman in Winton of infamous
character. The case was moved to Chowan and tried in Edenton. Bragg
and William W. Cherry, then very young men, appeared for Askew,
and Judge Augustus Moore and Mr. Kinney, at that time the leading
Eastern lawyers, were the opposing counsel. Governor Bragg alluded
in his speech to his youth and to his being a stranger as working
to his disadvantage before the jury. Mr. Kinney, in his kindest
manner, complimented in his speech these young men for their able
conduct and management of their case, and predicted their future
usefulness and distinction. Mr. Cherry died when quite a young man.
He possessed a powerful intellect, and was unquestionably, the most
brilliant speaker the East ever had.

On the 4th day of October, 1837, Bragg was united in marriage to
Miss Isabella M. Cuthbert, of Petersburg, Va. He first met her in
Jackson while on a visit to her sister, Mrs. Starke, whose husband
was at that time engaged in business in Jackson. Their associated
lives were long and happy, and marked by the most devoted attention
on his part, and cemented by a mutual affection and tenderness. She
only survived him a few years.

Bragg was a close and hard student. Except when called away on
business, he was rarely out of his office; and he left his house
at night only when urgent engagements compelled it, which was
infrequent. So closely did he confine himself to study and to the
full preparation of his cases, and so fully was his time occupied,
that he seemed estranged from the community. These seclusive habits,
together with strongly drawn party lines, destroyed to a degree that
social interchange which a more general intercourse would naturally
have engendered. He was not what might be considered a popular
man of the town, but his high moral worth and his honorable and
commendable course of life accorded him the highest consideration
and respect.

His daily course was to smoke his pipe and read his newspapers for
about half an hour after breakfast, then repair to his office, which
was near to his house and on his lot, read law, and prepare his
cases, smoking a good deal of the time, until dinner. After dinner
he would devote another half-hour to newspaper-reading and his pipe,
and then go to his office, resuming his law studies and duties until
late in the evening, when he would either take a ride or a walk with
his wife. After supper he would take his smoke and read newspapers,
magazines or other literary works until about ten o'clock, his usual
bedtime. He rarely read law at night, except sometimes shortly
before attending the Supreme Court, when it might be necessary for
him to do so to prepare cases for argument there. Such was his
regular course of life at Jackson, and he was as regular in it as
clockwork. He was not an early riser, usually rising just before
breakfast, which was about nine o'clock in winter and about seven in
summer. He never slept in the afternoons, and during the warm summer
evenings he would occasionally lie down on a lounge, or sofa, which
he kept in his office, and read his law books, but he would never
take an evening nap. During his two terms as Governor he would, when
he had taken his after-dinner smoke, go direct to the executive
office, and remain there until late in the evening, and if alone, it
was rare for one to enter and find him not engaged in either reading
or writing. He was an inveterate smoker, and followed the habit
so persistently that he could not relinquish it, and he carried
his pipe to his courts as regularly as he did his law books. His
constitution was, no doubt, though not perceptibly, affected by it,
and the late gifted Dr. Charles E. Johnson, his family physician,
was fully impressed that it shortened his life and precipitated the
disease of which he died.

Bragg practiced law, regularly, in the Courts of Northampton,
Halifax, Hertford, and Gates counties up to the time he became
Governor. When employed in special cases, he would attend the courts
of Chowan and Washington counties. He had a large and controlling
practice, appearing in nearly every important case, yet but twice
did his practice amount to four thousand dollars a year, and it
was brought to that figure by these special courts, the highest
fee being three hundred dollars, which was the largest single fee
he ever received before the war. He was a diligent and faithful
worker, and a moderate charger. One of his greatest efforts at the
bar, before the war, probably, was made in the case of the _State_
vs. _Garrett_. Garrett was tried for murder in Northampton county,
before Judge Bailey, about 1853. He was defended by Bragg and Mr. B.
F. Moore, and the case occupied two days in taking the testimony.
Both of these gentlemen made strong speeches, but Bragg's speech
was particularly strong. He was deeply interested in the case and
bestowed much labor upon it. He believed his client not guilty. The
State was represented by M. W. Ransom, it being his first appearance
as Attorney-General at Northampton court. He was a young man, and,
having such able lawyers to confront, much sympathy was felt by
the audience in the court room for him. He, however, did not need
it. He saw the necessity for the full development of all the tact,
brain power, and legal knowledge at his command. During the whole
trial he took not a note, and he concluded the argument alike to the
astonishment and admiration of the court, jury, and spectators, the
very culmination, beyond doubt, of the greatest legal effort of his
life. Garrett was convicted of murder, but before the day appointed
for his execution he broke jail and was never afterwards captured or
heard from.

It is by some supposed, and has been by some remarked, that Bragg
developed as a lawyer after the war, and that up to that time he
was merely a fair lawyer, with a good local reputation. This is a
very great mistake. Though he may not have achieved an extended
State reputation, yet he was recognized by the bar of the State as a
strong lawyer, and he was accepted before the war by the people of
the East as one of the leading, if not the leading, lawyer of that

In 1842 he was elected to the Legislature--House of
Commons--defeating Thomas J. Gatling, a brother of the inventor
of the Gatling gun. In 1844 he was defeated for the Legislature
by Judge David A. Barnes, who had just before this come to the
Northampton bar and had settled in Jackson. After this he sought no
office, but was an active worker in the county political campaigns.
In 1844 he was Presidential Elector on the Polk and Dallas ticket
for the First District, his opponent being William W. Cherry,
Esq., of Bertie county. In 1848 he was again elector for the First
District on the Cass and Butler ticket, his opponent being the Hon.
Kenneth Rayner, of Hertford county, one of the strongest political
speakers of his day, and a man much to be dreaded in debate. At this
time Bragg was not widely known in politics, and it was considered
by the Whigs that Mr. Rayner would have a "walk-over." Their first
meeting was at Rich Square, in Northampton, twelve miles from
Jackson. Mr. Rayner's friends in Jackson (and the town was about all
Whig) said they were "going out to see Rayner eat Bragg up," but the
"eating up" was not done at that time, and they came back not so
exhilarated as they went. Mr. Rayner had met his match, and Bragg
had fully satisfied his Democratic hearers on that occasion. This
campaign was exciting and ably conducted; and after it was ended Mr.
Rayner was frequently heard to say that Thomas Bragg was the ablest
debater and the strongest opponent he had ever met on the stump.

In 1852 he was again Elector for the Ninth District on the Pierce
and King Presidential ticket, his opponent being Hon. David A.
Barnes, of Northampton county. Judge Barnes was a ready and
effective speaker. They had often crossed political swords. This
campaign was marked by courtesy and ability.

In 1854 the Whig party nominated for Governor General Alfred
Dockery, of Richmond county, and at that time Governor Bragg's name
was prominently mentioned as the Democratic candidate. General
Dockery opened his campaign at Gatesville, in Gates county. Bragg
was there attending court, and he was called on to reply, which he
did very successfully. It is said that he made a speech that much
gratified and pleased his party friends. The week following the
General spoke at Edenton, during court, and Bragg again replied with
equal effect. Soon thereafter the Democratic convention assembled
in Raleigh, and Bragg was unanimously nominated for Governor.
He accepted this nomination with reluctance, and for a little
while considered it. He had a good practice, amounting to about
thirty-five hundred dollars a year. His home was comfortable and
attractive, and his manner of life was quiet and contented. It was
natural that a man thus situated and surrounded, and not beset by
the disquietude of political strife and commotion should hesitate
before disrupting such congenial associations. Upon reflection,
however, he accepted, and when his courts were ended, joined General
Dockery, and entered upon one of the most remarkable campaigns
ever had in the State. General Dockery had been canvassing without
any regular opponent, but the training incident to his having been
pitted against some of the best Democratic talent in the State, as
he went along, had developed him into a dangerous antagonist even
for Bragg. The campaign waxed hotter and hotter, up to the day of
the election, and, in all probability, had the election been a month
later, Dockery would have been victorious.

An incident of the campaign may afford passing amusement. Dockery,
in one of his speeches, had characterized his opponent as the
aristocratic candidate, and said that he drove a fine horse, rode
in a high sulky, and wore kid gloves. Bragg, in his rejoinder,
stated that he was not at all an aristocrat, but only a hard-toiling
lawyer, and the son of a plain carpenter, who had exhausted his
means in educating his children. "But, fellow-citizens," said he,
"General Dockery himself is in fact the aristocratic candidate, for
he lives in the only brick house in the whole county of Richmond."
At this juncture the General rose right up behind him, and, raising
up his hands before the crowd, exclaiming in a loud voice: "Yes,
and these old yaller hands made all the bricks that went into it,
and toted them up thar, too." The effect was crushing, the crowd
yelled, and Bragg was afterwards heard to say he wished he had left
the old brick house alone. He defeated Dockery by a majority of two
thousand and eighty-five votes, and was inaugurated Governor of
North Carolina on the first day of January, 1855.

In 1856 he was again nominated for the second term, his opponent
this time being Hon. John A. Gilmer, of Guilford county. Mr. Gilmer
had a high reputation both as lawyer and politician. He was looked
upon as the strongest man of his party, but Governor Bragg made it
at once manifest that he was his equal in this admirably conducted
campaign. Being desirous at their first joint discussion to have
their positions clearly and correctly put before the people of the
State, Governor Bragg carefully prepared a full account of their
first meeting, which took place at Murphy, in Cherokee county, and
sent it to a friend to be published in the Raleigh _Standard_. It
was known only to his friend and the editor, and so impartially was
it done that no one suspected its authorship.

In this campaign with Mr. Gilmer, Governor Bragg, though he confined
himself to the record, was quite severe on the course of Mr. Rayner,
who had espoused the "Know-Nothing" cause. The published accounts
of these references so irritated Mr. Rayner that for a long time
bitterness existed, and their intercourse became entirely estranged.
During the State Fair of 1858, Mr. Rayner met an intimate friend
of the Governor at the corner of Fayetteville street, where stood
the old North Carolina Book Store, and said to him: "I have a high
regard for Bragg; our estrangement is not well founded, and I
desire to renew our former relations." This was told the Governor
a few moments afterwards in the executive office, who simply bowed
his head, making no reply. That day, seeing Mr. Rayner on the fair
grounds, he went straight to him and offered his hand. These men
were good friends afterwards.

Governor Bragg defeated Mr. Gilmer by a majority of twelve thousand
six hundred and twenty-eight votes, and was the second time
inaugurated Governor of North Carolina on the first day of January,

In his judicial appointments he exercised sound judgment. He was
impressed with the belief that young men of promise and of good and
studious habits would make the best judges, as they would subject
themselves to greater application. Under this view he appointed
Jesse G. Shepherd, of Cumberland, and Samuel J. Person, of New
Hanover, Judges of the Superior Courts, and they adorned the bench
and were among our most efficient judges. In this connection, in
1855, he conferred the appointment of Attorney-General upon Hon.
Joseph B. Batchelor, then a young man, and now one of the leading
lawyers of the State.

In the fall of 1856, and about the time of the State Fair, the
Governors of the Southern States were called to meet in Raleigh
to consider such action as might become necessary in the event
of Frémont's election to the Presidency of the United States in
November following. Governor Wise, of Virginia, Governor Adams, of
South Carolina, and Governor Bragg, of North Carolina, were the only
Governors present. An informal meeting was held in the parlors at
the executive mansion. Among others present were General L. O'B.
Branch, Governor Holden, Wesley Jones, A. M. Lewis, M. A. Bledsoe,
Joseph A. Engelhard, and Pulaski Cowper. The _Raleigh Register_,
then edited by Major Seaton Gales, a vigorous and ready writer,
charged that this meeting of Governors was a step to break up the
Union, and was quite severe in its criticisms. Governor Wise was
warm and determined in his views, and favored immediate resistance,
by fighting in the Union, in the event of Frémont's election, and
that his election should be accepted as the overt act. Governor
Bragg's position was quite conservative, his views being calmly
stated. His sound reason, prudence, and wise counsel produced a
deep impression, and was the subject of much favorable comment the
next day. Owing to the small number of Governors present, nothing
definite was outlined, but this may be characterized as the first
secession meeting ever held in the South.

In the Legislature of 1858 Governor Bragg was elected United States
Senator. He took a high stand in the Senate, and made a noted speech
on the bill providing for the Florida Claims. He also took an active
part in the discussion of other important measures of that time.

When the war had commenced, and the State had seceded, he resigned
his seat in the Senate and returned to Raleigh. Upon the death of
Governor Ellis, which occurred in June, 1861, Hon. Henry T. Clark,
of Edgecombe county, by virtue of his office as Speaker of the
Senate, became Governor. Governor Clark, under the law giving him
power to appoint three persons to act as his military council,
appointed Governor Bragg, Colonel Spier Whitaker, and General D. M.
Barringer to compose this board. Governor Bragg held this position
for only a short time, when he resigned.

Though not openly opposed to the war, and sensible of the just
grounds that the South had to resist the unconstitutional
encroachments of the North, yet he did not believe the South
could establish her independence. He thought the preponderance of
the North's population, together with wealth and resources, easy
access to aid from the outside world, advantage of retaining the
government and its possession of the entire navy, were too great
odds against us. He saw that the spirit of our people was too high,
their determination of resistance too united to take kindly any
suggestions of doubt or difficulty. He therefore kept his opinions
within his own breast. He said to a friend on his front porch, in
July, 1861: "Our people are excited, and do not consider, I fear,
the strength of the enemy; they look upon it as an easy job, and
they believe the war will soon be over; but, in my opinion, it will
be of long duration, and hotly contested on both sides. When our
ports are blockaded and the gunboats come up our rivers, as will be
the case, and our people encounter the hardships that will follow,
I fear their spirits will weaken and dissension will come. I do not
think we will succeed; but I will say this only to you." Continuing,
he said: "I shall do all in my power to secure our success. I will
stand by the old State, and if the worst shall ultimately come, as I
very much fear, I will go down with her, and when all is over I will
do what I can to save what is left of her."

After the removal of the Confederate Government to Richmond, Va.,
Mr. Davis, in 1863, tendered to him the position of Attorney-General
of the Confederate States, which he accepted. He held this high
office but a few months, when he resigned. Some speculation obtained
as to the cause of his early retirement. Suffice it to say, that his
reasons for doing so were cogent and well-founded, as all of his
conclusions were. They were of a private nature, and need not be
related in this sketch.

Upon his acceptance of the place of Attorney-General he rented out
his residence in Raleigh and removed his family to Petersburg, Va.
In the spring of 1864 he returned with his family to Raleigh, where
he was residing when the war ended.

The conclusion of the war found him, like a large number of
the people of the South, wasted in substance, without means or
prospects, and bereft of all save a shelter from the winds and the
cold. He was reluctant to return to the practice of the law, and had
determined not to again resume it. He had been out of the practice
from 1855 to 1865, and had entirely neglected its study during that
time. He said he was rusty, and had about forgotten all the law he
ever knew, and nothing but a dependent family could induce him to
take it up again. He did resume it, and gave to it his former labor
and endurance, and the eminence and success he attained is well
known to the bar and people of the State.

Beyond doubt the greatest forensic effort of Governor Bragg's life
was his speech in the Johnston will case tried before Judge A. S.
Merrimon, at Edenton, in February, 1867. Probably so large and able
an array of counsel was never before engaged in any suit in North
Carolina. The late Mr. James C. Johnston, the wealthiest man in
the State, had devised his estate to the late Mr. Edward Wood and
his (Mr. Johnston's) three overseers, neither of whom were related
to him. The next of kin sought to break the will, alleging mental
disqualification. The case occupied twenty-three days in the trial,
and the best legal talent in the State was engaged in it. The
attorneys representing the will were B. F. Moore, W. N. H. Smith, R.
R. Heath, H. A. Gilliam, P. H. Winston, Edward Conigland, John Pool,
and T. H. Gilliam; those representing the contestants were Bragg,
Graham, Vance, Augustus Moore, William Eaton, James W. Hinton, of
Norfolk, Va., and William F. Martin. Governor Bragg was the leader
on his side, and Mr. Moore was the leader on the opposite side. Dr.
Hammond, of New York, the distinguished specialist, was introduced
as a witness, and presented as an expert to show the want of mental
capacity of the testator. His examination, by the counsel of both
sides, was most searching, and it is said that his cross-examination
by Mr. B. F. Moore was as fine, if not the finest, professional work
of the kind ever done in the State. Judge Merrimon presided with
great ability, patience and impartiality, and well sustained the
high reputation he had for being one of our ablest Superior Court
Judges; Governor Bragg spoke seven hours, making the greatest speech
of his life before a jury. Chief Justice Merrimon, referring to this
speech, said: "Upon an issue of fact it was the strongest speech I
ever heard." Judge Gilliam said: "Governor Bragg was at his greatest
(he was a very great man), and by his ability and his preëminent
tact in the management of his side of the case for a long time
put in peril the integrity of a will which should never have been
questioned." The will was established. An appeal was taken to the
Supreme Court, but the decision of the court below was affirmed.

The _habeas corpus_ cases in 1870 are well remembered. The history
of those times and the incidents arising have not been forgotten by
the people of the State. That the great writ of _habeas corpus_,
issuing from a properly constituted authority, should have been
entirely disregarded, was a blow at the rights of the individual
and a significant stride towards executive usurpation and the
overthrow of the rule of law. That there should be no presumption
of innocence until the contrary was shown, and that the surest and
quickest avenue of establishing innocence of crime should have
been obstructed by a usurped military despotism, betokened that
the liberty of the citizen was fast vanishing, and he was soon to
become helpless indeed. Governor Bragg was among the foremost in
vindicating the law and in maintaining and preserving its supremacy.
He made a strong appeal for the defense of right and justice, and
protested, in burning eloquence, against the least infringement of
the citizen's security, so watchfully guarded by the Constitution.
His memorable words are engraven in the hearts of the people.

While Governor Bragg was making his forcible appeal for
constitutional law and liberty, the late venerable Judge Battle
was listening with marked interest and attention. As the speaker
extolled the past lustre of North Carolina for the maintenance of
law and liberty, and contrasted her former power and renown with
the impending destruction of her people's highest privilege and
greatest boon--their mighty writ of right and safety--the brightest
jewel that ever decked the vesture of the English law--heeded for
centuries, and ever granted when fitly craved--this eminent and
pure judge, thoughtful of his State's honor, could not restrain
his emotion, and tears trickled down his whitened cheeks. When the
speech was concluded Judge Battle said that it was the most eloquent
and powerful argument he had ever heard in that court room. This was
a compliment indeed; because, with honorable distinction, for many
years, he had sat upon the bench of that high Court, and had heard
the arguments of the State's brightest legal luminaries, whose broad
intellectualism was the wonder and the admiration of the time, and
whose lives and reputations have done so much to mould and to make
the Court's past and present history.

The last great effort of Governor Bragg was in the Holden
impeachment trial, the history of which is fresh in recollection.
He appeared for the State, and pressed with fervor the impeachment.
He made a long, close, and exhaustive argument, was listened to
with the deepest and most marked attention, and his speech was
considered by many among the best of his life. When he concluded
Mr. Conigland, one of Governor Holden's counsel, walked over to
where he sat, and, taking his hand, said: "Governor, you have made a
grand speech, but it does not equal your Johnston will speech." Mr.
Paul C. Cameron, who was his schoolmate and drillmaster at Captain
Partridge's military school, a man ripe in years, and yet riper
in intellect, judgment, and learning, said that he had observed
Governor Bragg from his early manhood to his death, and he had
never known any one who had better sustained himself before the
people in every capacity; and that though he was confronted in this
trial by the strongest lawyers in the State, whose reputations were
without limit, he considered that his speech was the most complete
and exhaustive of any delivered on that occasion. General Thomas L.
Clingman, a statesman of the old school, pronounced this speech as
"overwhelming and unanswerable."

Governor Bragg was a well-fledged and thorough lawyer, and he made
himself so by constant application and close study. He was a man of
vigorous intellect and strong common sense. He was one among the few
lawyers who studied thoroughly his adversary's case and anticipated
the points he would most likely present, and was generally ready to
meet and combat them. In conducting the examination of a witness he
exhibited great tact and skill. This faculty of cross-examination,
so effective in conducting suits, was a potent element in his
practice, and gave him no little advantage in the trial of cases.

He was an open and frank practitioner, never taking a "nigh cut,"
but was just and magnanimous, and was possessed of the confidence
and esteem of the profession throughout the State. He was as
well-rounded a lawyer as the State ever had.

Just thirteen months prior to his death he associated with him
Judge George V. Strong, a leading lawyer of the Goldsboro bar.
This was an able combination, and promised the utmost success, for
during the term of their connection their practice amounted to over
nineteen thousand dollars.

Probably no two men were more generally pitted against each other
in the courts which they attended than Governor Bragg and the
late Chief Justice Smith. Their style of speaking was different.
Governor Bragg's was simple, strong, and engaging; Judge Smith's
was easy, forceful and very fluent. Their temperaments were also
diverse. If an important case went adversely to Governor Bragg he
dismissed it from his mind, and was not depressed about it; but
Judge Smith was for the time keenly sensitive, and took to heart
the loss of his case. Their intercourse, however, notwithstanding
these frequent conflicts, was genial and their friendship true; but
Judge Smith accepted it not graciously that Governor Bragg should
have come down into his district and taken part against him in his
campaign for Congress against Doctor Shaw. In a previous campaign
with Colonel Outlaw, Doctor Shaw did not feel that Governor Bragg,
who then resided in the district, had taken a sufficiently active
part in his behalf, and being now hard pressed by Judge Smith,
and the party needing all help at hand, Governor Bragg yielded to
the general request and made several speeches in the district.
But this spasmodic feeling soon vanished, this circumstance was
forgotten, and these men left behind them lives alike well spent and
distinguished and memories equally honored and revered.

When the Holden impeachment trial took place Governor Bragg had
begun to fail, but not very perceptibly. The severe struggle, mental
and physical, which he underwent during that trial hastened his
end. He began soon after its conclusion rapidly to decline, and it
was visible to all that his "last of earth" was fast approaching.
It was painful to see the pallor of his countenance increase day by
day, but he did not give up and it may be said that he worked in the
harness up to his death.

On Friday, the 19th of January, 1872, he took his bed, never again
to arise from it. He knew he was going to die, but he was calm and
composed, exhibiting not the slightest fear of death. He said: "For
the benefit of my family I would like to live ten years longer, but
apart from that the matter of death gives me no concern."

His will was in his own handwriting, and in these words: "I give and
bequeath to my wife, Isabella M. Bragg, all my real and personal
estate of every description whatsoever. She knows my wishes, and I
know she will carry them out." He was kept alive for a day or two
with whiskey and gruel, and when this was given to him he would ask,
"How much whiskey, and how much gruel?" Being told, he said, "You
see the whiskey predominates. This is done to keep me alive for a
little while, when I know I cannot live. I do not want it done.
There is no use in keeping me alive in this way and giving you all
the trouble of waiting on me. I protest against it."

On the evening before he died the door-bell rang. He saw his friend
Mr. Cowper go to the door, and on his return he asked who it was,
and being told that it was Governor Graham, said: "I have a high
regard for him, and I regret very much that he was not asked in. I
want you to go down to his room and tell him I am very sorry he was
not brought in to see me, and that I should be pleased to see him."
Governor Graham was much impressed and deeply moved when the message
was delivered to him.

On Saturday evening he called his family to his bedside, and in
beautiful language of wisdom gave them counsel and advice. In the
midst of sorrow which such a solemn occasion would naturally bring,
his eye was not moistened, his voice did not falter, and as calmly
as if he were going on a short journey, he imparted to them words of
advice "like apples of gold in pictures of silver." "My children,"
said he, "I wish to impress one thing upon you: always stand
together, comfort and assist each other, consider that no necessity
can arise by which you could feel justified in raising a hand or
uttering a word one against the other."

Shortly before his death he uttered these words: "I have no doubt
that I have my sins and transgressions to account 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 induced, through fear,
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 always been to me, and is now, a deep, dark mystery."

A little while before day on Sunday morning, while resting quietly,
but not sleeping, he heard the sound of wood being put on the
fire in the adjoining room, and remarked: "It must be near day;
I hear them making a fire in the next room." A few minutes after
this he straightened himself in bed, placed his head on a line
with his body, folded his arms across his breast, and in a little
while was dead. It was on Sunday morning, January 21, 1872, about
the hour of five o'clock, that he thus peacefully passed away
in the sixty-second year of his age. He left a wife and seven
children--three sons and four daughters. The wife and two sons have
since "passed over the river" and entered the vale of the future and
into the "deep, dark mystery."

He was buried the next day in Oakwood Cemetery, near the city of
Raleigh. Both Houses of the Legislature and the Superior Court of
Wake, then in session, adjourned for the day, and all the business
houses of the city closed their doors to show their respect for
his character and worth. On the following day a large meeting was
held in the Supreme Court-room to do further honor to the life and
services of the distinguished dead.

He was a man of kind heart, tender sympathies and noble impulses;
a devoted husband and an indulgent father; and though he was not
demonstrative, yet his friendship was valuable, because it was
consistent and true. He was as true a man as ever trod the soil of
his native land.

The younger members of the bar will recall with pleasure his
courteous bearing to them, the delight it seemed to give him to
render them assistance, and the painstaking aid he would bestow
when his legal advice was solicited. The older members will long
remember his quiet and dignified demeanor, his social intercourse,
his manliness of character and his integrity, merit and worth.

He possessed those qualities which adorn and elevate society and
exalt and ennoble human character. He has left a high and noble
name, a reputation unspotted and untarnished--a priceless legacy to
his posterity, and an enduring heritage to his State and country. It
will not be dimmed as time proceeds.

       *       *       *       *       *

The account of the discussion at Murphy, Cherokee county, previously
referred to, is reproduced, and appended hereto, as interesting
matter, showing the impartiality with which it was done, and calling
to mind some of the issues of former and better days. This was Mr.
Gilmer's first appointment, and Governor Bragg, seeing it announced
in the _Raleigh Register_, went there to meet him. Desiring to
put him on record, and have the East apprised of his position, he
wrote the account of the discussion as given in the _Standard_ of
May, 1856, and sent it to the writer to deliver to Mr. Holden, with
request that no intimation be given as to the writer of the article.
No mention of this was made until after Governor Bragg's death, and
upon the publication of this sketch.

The Bragg and Dockery campaign closed on the day of election at
Murphy in August, 1854, and the Bragg and Gilmer campaign opened
there in May, 1856.

       *       *       *       *       *

Standard_ of May, 1856).

  MURPHY, CHEROKEE CO., May 9, 1856.

  _Editors of the North Carolina Standard._

_Gentlemen:_--The discussion between the gubernatorial candidates
opened here yesterday, and I propose to give you the points made and
the substance of what was said on that occasion. There were probably
two hundred persons present, and there would have been more had it
been generally known that both candidates would be present. Until
Governor Bragg arrived it was doubted whether he would attend, as
the _Standard_ announcing his intention to do so did not reach us
until the day of his arrival.

Mr. Gilmer opened the discussion by informing the people that his
name was John A. Gilmer--that he was a candidate for the office of
Governor, and had come among them for the purpose of presenting
his claims for their suffrages. He said he had found the country
beautiful and romantic far beyond his expectations--never having
before been on this side the mountains--and that when he was in the
Legislature he voted for the measures introduced for their relief
and for the improvement of their section.

He said that a short time ago he had no intention of becoming
a candidate--that he had not now, nor ever had, any political
ambition, but that he had listened to the importunities of friends,
and had yielded rather to feeling than to his better judgment.

He said the organ of the party to which his opponent belonged had
said that he had a bad political record, and it had referred to
many of his votes and addresses to show that he was a Western man.
Well, he was ready to defend these votes and addresses; they were
brought forward to injure him in the East. He was then justified
in making an appeal to the people of the West to sustain him as a
Western man. First, he was charged with having voted to distribute
the school fund according to white instead of federal population. He
said it was true and asked if he had not done right in so doing. He
referred to the first law introduced and passed under the auspices
of Bartlett Yancey, Esq., to raise the fund and distribute it among
the white children of the State. In 1838-'39 it was submitted to the
people and accepted on that basis. In 1842, when the Democrats got
into power, they altered the law to the federal basis, the effect of
which was to give to a child in the East five or six times as much
as to one in the West. This was unjust, and was a violation of the
original agreement upon which the fund was raised. He further said
that had Western men been true to themselves, Governor Reid never
could have been elected, occupying the position he did upon this
question; that _party_ was allowed to overcome their rights and true
interests; for, taking the counties favoring the present mode of
distributing the fund and those against it, there would be found a
majority of fourteen or fifteen thousand in the latter. In the vote
he had given he had carried out the will of his constituents, and
he put it to them to say if it was fair to charge him with being a
Western man with a view to injure him. He hoped, if such was the
case, the West would stand by him. Next, as to free suffrage. He
had been charged with being opposed to that. This was not true. He
was always for it, provided it could be passed in a proper manner
and with such guards and qualifications as, in his opinion, ought
to go with it. He preferred a convention. He could not see why the
West was disturbed on that question, willing as she was to go into
convention on the federal basis. There all things could be settled.
They could elect their justices of the peace by the people, and
establish cheap justices' courts for the trial of petty offenses,
and thus keep them from the courts; that it was important that
justices should be elected by the people, as they laid the county

He said he voted against the present free-suffrage bill because
there was no provision in it to prevent the undue taxation of land;
that the Senate, as now constituted, was a check on such taxation;
but, abolish the freehold qualification for voters, and where would
the check be; that he had offered an amendment himself which, had it
passed, he would have voted for the bill, and waived his objection
to the legislative mode of amendment; that the object of this
amendment was to provide simply a protection to lands by requiring
land, the slave poll and white poll to be taxed alike; that, in his
opinion, something ought to be adopted to protect the landholder.

He said that the _Standard_ had called him the "shin-plaster
candidate." It was true that his face appeared upon the bills of a
small bank in his town, but he was in no way concerned in the same,
and had no interest in the institution. He was, however, opposed
to the law, and would make war upon any law which undertook to do
away with small notes. Why take away small notes, the only currency
which a poor man could get? The rich could get large bills, but
they were beyond the reach of a poor man. (Here Mr. Gilmer entered
into a rather elaborate argument to sustain the policy of small
banknotes, and read the _Bank Note Reporter_ and other authorities
to show that true policy required their free circulation, and that
the worst consequences had followed their discontinuance in some of
the States.)

He next shadowed forth a project for a new bank, to be owned in part
by the State and part by individuals. For every one hundred dollars
the State owns in railroad stock he would have her own a like amount
in stock in the bank, and the same as to individuals; something was
said also as to State bonds forming a part of the basis, but the
writer did not clearly catch the idea.

It was insisted, however, by Mr. Gilmer, that such a bank would
be very profitable, and that the State would realize enough from
the profits to pay the interest of the State debt, and relieve the
people from taxation; and the plan was, he said, for the bank to
issue mostly one and two dollar notes for currency, as in South

He was, too, in favor of having our State bonds, and the interest on
the same, payable in North Carolina, and not in New York, and thus
keeping the money of our people at home. He said the national debt
of England, being due to her own people, strengthened her, while
ours acted as a continual drain to pay interest in New York.

After speaking one and a half hours, Mr. Gilmer said he desired,
before he closed, to say something on Federal politics, and the
principles of the American party, of which he was a candidate.

He said when Mr. Fillmore left the Presidency all was quiet. He had
approved of the Compromise measures; and when Boston had rebelled
against the fugitive-slave law, he declared he would enforce the
law or burn the city, and it was enforced. We had extremists at
both ends of the Union. Formerly, the Nashville Convention said the
Union should be dissolved unless the Missouri Compromise line should
be adopted. Now, the black Republicans said it should be dissolved
unless it was restored.

Mr. Fillmore, in his message, said the existing laws were a
finality on the subject of slavery--both the great parties said
so in 1852, and agreed to abide by it. Did they do it? No; hence
the troubles we now have. He had no doubt but that Mr. Pierce had
acted honestly, but he had appointed freesoilers from the North and
fire-eaters from the South, in order to reconcile all; but this had
not been the result, and the country could only be saved by the
honest men of both parties. He, therefore, advocated the principles
of the American party--that Americans should rule America--that
the influence of foreigners was great--that it gave the North a
preponderating increase of population--that it ought to be checked,
and that foreigners ought to remain here twenty-one years before
voting, and that Catholics who owed allegiance to the Pope ought not
to be allowed to hold office; that no one could insist that this was
persecution; that the charge that it was was false and unfounded,
and it was known to be so.

He then asked who was the founder of the American party. Said it was
George Washington, and read from several of his letters to show it.
He also read from a speech of Mr. Buchanan as to foreign influence,
etc., and, after justifying the course of his party as to the
Catholics, he closed, having spoken two hours and ten minutes.

Governor Bragg arose, and said: Two years ago this summer he closed
the canvass with his then competitor. It had pleased a majority of
the people of the State to elect him Governor. He had acted as such
since the first of January, 1855. He had endeavored to discharge all
his duties faithfully. The people, however, would be the judges of
that. He would say, however, that he was not aware of any charges
against him for not doing so; and if there was no just ground for
complaint, then he submitted to all fair-minded men whether he had
not now some right to ask at their hands a liberal and generous
support in the present contest.

He said he concurred with Mr. Gilmer as to the beauty and fertility
of their country, and as to what he had said in relation to its
improvement, and hoped to see the day when its now comparatively
hidden and locked up resources would be laid open and developed.

He said that he was surprised to hear his competitor to-day enter
into the discussion of some matters which he had not supposed would
be brought into this canvass, and he was still more surprised to see
the manner in which he had treated them. His competitor complained
that the _Standard_ had assailed him for his vote some years ago
as to the distribution of the school fund. This was a mistake. The
_Standard_ had never, to his knowledge referred to it at all. It may
have been done in some other paper, but his competitor would find,
as _he_ had done in a former contest, that it was useless to notice
attacks of that kind. If he did, he would have his hands full. But,
from the course of his competitor, he rather thought he was availing
himself of this matter to get votes in this section. He had made
an elaborate argument to show the gross injustice of the present
mode of distributing the school-fund, and had undertaken to show
that the Democratic party was responsible for it; that the original
pledge for distributing the fund had been violated; that the West
had not been true to her own interests, or she would have defeated
Governor Reid; and he had made a strong appeal to the people here as
a Western man.

Now, said Mr. Bragg, I claim not your support either as an Eastern
man or a Western man, but as one who intends to discard all
sectional questions, looking to the interests and wishes of the
whole State. But Mr. Gilmer is in error as to one thing--the fund
chiefly for common schools was not raised by Mr. Yancey's bill, but
came from the General Government as part of the surplus revenue
under General Jackson's administration. Nor did the Democrats of
1842 introduce the present mode of distribution by a repeal of any
other law, but it was done before that time--it was not a party
vote, but it was one about which there was difference of opinion
and contest without the slightest regard to party. Time and again
the matter was brought before the Legislature, but for several
years past the question had ceased to be raised. It was considered
as settled. In the last contest it was so considered between him
and his competitor, and he regretted that Mr. Gilmer had deemed it
proper to reopen it. It would do no good; it would again lead to
sectional strife; it would retard the public improvements of the
State, and nothing practical would come of it, because experience
had shown that it could not be changed. It would even injure the
common schools which were now doing well and improving under the
efficient management of our State Superintendent. Governor Bragg
said that he had no wish to conceal his own opinions on this
subject. He was against disturbing the matter. He would say so in
the West; he would say so in the East. And now, said he, turning to
Mr. Gilmer, I want my competitor to state his position. He has said
a great deal about the matter, but has not told you what he will
recommend in case he should be elected.

(At first Mr. Gilmer declined to answer, but before the discussion
closed he said that the opinions advanced by him were his _private_
opinions; but if elected Governor he would not recommend any change,
but would acquiesce in the present law, whatever his own opinions
might be.)

Then, said Governor Bragg, there is practically no difference
between us. But my competitor makes a public argument in order to
express his private opinions, and makes it in such a way as he
thinks will get him votes here. I hope, said Governor Bragg, he will
take the same course all over the State.

As to free suffrage, Governor Bragg said that his competitor
professed to be a great free-suffrage man, but somehow always voted
against it. Formerly, we were told that it was wrong to pass it by
the Legislature; that it must be done by a convention. That was the
objection two years ago. He had then told the people that it was
idle to talk about a convention; that the action of the several
Legislatures for years past had shown it to be so; that we must take
things as they are, and act accordingly. Now he would remind the
people of what he said, and would ask if it was not true, for, if
they would examine the journals of the last General Assembly, they
would find that the convention bill, when offered in the Senate,
received the votes only of some sixteen out of the fifty members,
and in the House of Commons never received, in any of the different
shapes in which it was offered, more than forty out of one hundred
and twenty members, thus showing, conclusively, that there was a
large majority--two to one--against a convention in the Commons,
in which house the West has a majority opposed to the call of a
convention; whilst upon the passage, in the same House, of the
free-suffrage bill, there were only fifteen votes against it, the
members from Cherokee and most of the mountain counties who had
voted for a convention voting for the bill. But his competitor,
as already stated, had in every case voted against the bill, and
says he is yet against it, unless an amendment offered by him, or
some other, could be adopted; and, as that cannot be done now, the
bill having passed through one Legislature, and to amend it would
be to destroy it, of course his competitor was opposed to it.
Governor Bragg said that the opponents of this measure were always
finding some objection to it. First, it was to be done by an open
convention, then by a restricted convention, and now it seems his
competitor falls back upon an old objection always urged by those
in favor of keeping things as they are, that there is danger that
the landed interest would be burdened unduly with taxes. This was
altogether chimerical--such had not been the case in other States.
It was the largest and most powerful interest in the State, and
members of the Assembly could not do such a thing and sustain
themselves at home. Nor was it likely they ever would attempt it,
inasmuch as they themselves must be landholders, and would suffer as
well as other land proprietors. The thing was preposterous. Let the
freemen of the State, then, be true to themselves, and the measure
would be passed. But let them be on their guard. Every effort will
be made by open enemies and pretended friends to defeat it.

As to the tempting bait held out to them of having cheap courts
and trials of petty offenses before justices of the peace, and
thus keeping such matters out of court, no one know better than
Mr. Gilmer that the Legislature had power to do that without a
convention; and if he thought it expedient, he ought to have done it
when in the Legislature.

As to Mr. Gilmer's bank notions, in relation to which he wished to
know Governor Bragg's opinion, he, Governor Bragg, stated he should
have it whenever he would set them out with such plainness as to
enable him to see what they were.

His competitor made brave promises, however, to the people that
it would pay the interest on the State debt, and save them from
taxation. He would say this--he did not believe that interest,
debts, and taxes could be paid by any such legislative _hocus
pocus_. As to small notes, the Governor said that the matter was not
one of a party character; that he had no wish to follow Mr. Gilmer
into that discussion, as it would consume all his time, and he much
preferred to discuss what the Know-Nothing platform called the
"Paramount Principles of Americanism"; and he would proceed to that
after saying a word as to Mr. Gilmer's idea that our State bonds and
the interest thereon should all be payable in North Carolina. Had
he seen as much of this matter as I have done, said Governor Bragg,
since I went into office, he would change his opinion. He said it
would all be well enough to have our bonds paid here, if they could
be sold here in sufficient quantities. But our public works would
have stopped had they depended on sales in North Carolina, and our
Treasurer and railroad presidents would tell him so; and moreover,
that bonds payable here could not be sold in New York.

The Legislature had not taken the view of his competitor, and he
thought they had acted wisely.

Governor Bragg said that he thought that the allusion of Mr. Gilmer
to Mr. Fillmore and his execution of the fugitive-slave law was
exceedingly unfortunate. In that case the negroes were allowed to be
taken away from the United States authorities and carried off. In
the case of Mr. Pierce, Anthony Burns, by the aid of the whole power
of the Government was returned to his owner.

His competitor talked a great deal about the peace and quiet of
Mr. Fillmore's administration, and charges Black Republicans and
Democrats with causing all the excitement and danger of the existing
troubles, and he stands upon a platform, said Governor Bragg, which
denounces the administration for having recklessly and unwisely
repealed the Missouri Compromise--a pretty platform for a Southern
man to stand upon, especially when adopted in place of that of the
year before. He read from the speech of Mr. Badger to show that
all the Whig Senators from the South supported the Kansas-Nebraska
Bill, except one, and that the measure was passed by Northern and
Southern Democrats and Southern Whigs, and that Mr. Badger said it
was right and proper that it should pass.

Governor Bragg then gave the history of the Missouri Compromise
line--showed how unjust it was to the South originally, that the
South had, however, shown every disposition to abide by it, and had
time and again sought to have it extended over the new territory to
the Pacific, while the North repudiated that line. The South was,
therefore, not properly chargeable with any breach of faith, and
was right to get rid of the odious act. Now, he said, there were
questions of vital importance growing out of that matter, and he
wished to know where our Know-Nothing opponents stood with regard
to them. But no one could tell. What was Mr. Fillmore's opinion
upon any one of these questions? Nobody knew. He had said nothing
while at home, and at the last accounts, strange as it might seem
to Know-Nothing ears, he was in the city of Rome partaking of the
hospitalities of the Pope. When the matter is pressed, we are told
that the party eschews all sectional questions, state and national,
in order that the "Paramount Principles of Americanism" may have
full play, thus raising the question only, who shall hold the
offices of the country, and not, in what manner our government shall
be administered. Can it be possible, said Governor Bragg, that the
people will be thus humbugged and trifled with when the country is
in danger?

Governor Bragg said he would then examine the claims of this new
party. He went into a full examination of its principles; stated
what had been its history North and South; what had been its fruits
in different sections; how it sent nothing but abolitionists and
freesoilers to Congress, and challenged his competitor to point to
one solitary Northern national man of his party in either house of
Congress; gave the history of the election of Speaker of the House
of Representatives, and how not one of them voted for Aiken when the
contest was between him and Banks, although five of them had voted
for him the day before, including their candidate Fuller.

He then examined into its origin, and traced out the machinery of
the whole thing; showed that it was a monstrous attempt to subvert
the plan of government adopted by our fathers, and to substitute in
its stead these worse than midnight Jacobin clubs. But I am unable
to follow the Governor through this part of his speech without too
much prolixity.

He exposed their constitutions, rituals, obligations and oaths, some
of which he read. Said they had been hunted from their dark places
in this State, and now profess to have done away with all this--how
and in what way does not appear--while at the North these councils,
as appears from their last national platform, are still kept up.

He concluded by saying that such a party did not deserve support
of a free people, nor did he believe they would receive it. He was
willing to go before the people of North Carolina on this subject,
and should do so confident of success.

       *       *       *       *       *

Mr. Cowper himself selected Governor Bragg's account of the
discussion above given as illustrative of his judicial fairness of
mind, and I have adopted it for all purposes. Of course there is
nothing in it to show Bragg's strength of intellect. The discussion
as reported is interesting, however, as a side-light on those times.

Bragg was essentially a lawyer. His practical sagacity and hard
common sense, however, as well as his wide political reading, made
him a success both in politics and law, a rare combination.

His speech in the Holden impeachment would give a better idea of his
talents, but it is too long for the scope of this work; and all the
facts and speeches of every trial should be published together in
justice to the accused.

This sketch was written in 1891, and is here given in a slightly
abbreviated form.

[Illustration: WILLIAM A. GRAHAM.]



William Alexander Graham was born on the 5th day of September,
1804, in the county of Lincoln. He was fortunate alike in the race
from which he sprang and in his own ancestry. The race was that
which, by a change of residence from Scotland to Ireland, anterior
to its immigration to this country, acquired, as it were, a double
nationality and name, to wit: Scotch-Irish.

The ancestry of Mr. Graham were deeply imbued with the spirit of
this people. His maternal grandfather, Major John Davidson, was
one of the signers of the Mecklenburg Declaration, and acted a
conspicuous part in the Revolution. The name of his father, General
Joseph Graham, is one of the best known in our Revolutionary annals.
The biographical sketch incorporated into _Wheeler's History_ is a
brief but noble record.

His mother was distinguished for her personal beauty--distinguished
as well for her sense, piety and many amiable virtues. But death
deprived him of her fostering care before he had attained his fourth
year, and he was then consigned to the care of an elder sister. The
tender affection and respect with which he always referred to this
sister, attests how fully she discharged a mother's duty.

He received the rudiments of his education in the common schools of
the country. He commenced his classical education in the academy
at Statesville, then under the care of the Rev. Dr. Muchat, a
scholar of good repute. Mr. Graham verified the apparent paradox of

             "The child is father of the man."

He was noted, from his earlier years, for his industry, his thirst
for knowledge and his aptitude to learn. One who knew him well
testifies that from his childhood he was no less remarkable for
his high sense of truth and honor than for his exemption from the
levities and vices common to youth. At this academy he applied
himself to his studies with the most exemplary diligence. A
classmate at that time says of him, "He was the only boy I ever knew
who would spend his Saturdays in reviewing the studies of the week."

An incident which occurred about this time affords a striking proof
of his early force of character. General Graham was a pioneer in
a branch of industry yet but little developed in this State--the
manufacture of iron. Upon his removal to Lincoln he established a
furnace and forge, which, at the time now spoken of, had become
quite extensive. From some cause the works were left without a
superintendent. The General installed his son William, though
then but a boy, and wholly without experience, at the head of the
establishment; and the energy and judgment with which he conducted
it, obtained his father's entire approval. He was next sent to the
academy at Hillsborough.

From this academy he went to the University of the State, where he
was matriculated in the summer of 1820. His course throughout his
college life was admirable in every way. He appreciated the scheme
of study there established, not only as the best discipline of the
intellect, but as the best foundation for knowledge in its widest
sense. He mastered his lessons so perfectly, that each lesson became
a permanent addition to his stock of knowledge. The professors
rarely failed to testify by a smile, or some other token, their
approval of his proficiency. On one occasion, Professor Olmstead
(who has achieved a wide reputation in the field of science)
remarked to one of his classmates that his lecture on chemistry
came back as perfectly from Mr. Graham as he had uttered it on the
previous day.

Some thirty years after, the same professor in a letter to Mr.
Graham (then Secretary of the Navy) uses this language: "It has
often been a source of pleasing reflection to me, that I was
permitted to bear some part in fitting you, in early life, for
that elevated post of honor and usefulness to which Providence has
conducted you."

His high sense of duty was manifested in his conscientious
deportment under the peculiar form of government to which he was
then subject. His observance of every law and usage of the college
was punctilious; while, to the faculty, he was ever scrupulously and
conspicuously respectful.

His extraordinary proficiency was purchased by no laborious
drudgery. The secret of it was to be found in the precept which he
acted upon, through life: "Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do
it with thy might." His powers of concentration were great, his
perceptions quick, his memory powerful, prompt, and assiduously
improved. By the joint force of such faculties, he could accomplish
much in little time. Hence, notwithstanding his exemplary attention
to his college studies, he devoted much time to general reading.
It was at this time, no doubt, that he laid up much of that large
and varied stock of information upon which he drew, at pleasure, in
after life.

Intent upon availing himself to the full, of every advantage
afforded him, he applied himself assiduously to the duties of
the Literary Society of which he was a member. He participated
regularly in the debates and other exercises of that body. For
all such he prepared himself with care; and it is asserted by the
same authority, to which I have already referred--a most competent
judge--that his compositions were of such excellence that, in a
literary point of view, they would have challenged comparison with
anything done by him in after life.

His engaging manners brought him into pleasant relations with all
his fellow-students. He lived with them upon terms of the frankest
and most familiar intercourse. In their most athletic sports he
never participated, but he was a pleased spectator, and evinced by
his manner a hearty sympathy with their enjoyments. His favorite
exercise was walking, and those who knew him well will recollect
that this continued to be his favorite recreation while health was
spared him. With his friends and chosen companions he was cordial
and easy, and always the life of the circle.

The class of which he was a member was graduated in 1824. It was
the largest up to that time; and, for capacity and proficiency,
esteemed the best. It was declared by Professors Olmstead and
Mitchell, that Yale might well have been proud of such a class. It
embraced many who afterward won high distinction in political and
professional life.

No one could have availed himself to a greater extent than Mr.
Graham did, of the opportunities presented in his collegiate career.
"His college life, in all its duties and obligations," says the
gentleman before quoted, "was an epitome of his career upon the
stage of the world." He adds that on the day when he received his
diploma, he could, with his usual habits of study, have filled
any chair with honor to himself and acceptance to his class. Such
is the emphatic testimony of one who himself graduated with high
distinction in the same class. Might we not subjoin, building upon
the above remark, that his career in after life was, in great part,
the logical result of the discipline and training to which he
submitted himself, so conscientiously, in his college life?

After graduation he made an excursion to some of the western
States, which occupied a few months. While at Lexington, he heard
Mr. Crittenden address the jury in a great slander or libel case.
The speech, which was worthy of the great advocate's fame, made a
profound impression upon Mr. Graham. It may have had some influence
in determining his choice of a profession, or in fixing it, if
already made. From this tour he returned in 1824, and entered upon
the study of the law in the office of Judge Ruffin.

He obtained his County Court license in the summer of 1826. At
August term of the court he appeared at the Orange bar. The rule
then required, between the admission to practice in the County Court
and the admission to practice in the Superior Court, a novitiate
of one year. This period he spent in Hillsborough that he might
continue to profit by the instruction of his learned preceptor. At
the end of the year he received his Superior Court license. It was
now a question where he should establish himself for the practice of
his profession. The counties of Mecklenburg, Cabarrus and Lincoln
were filled with his blood relations, connections and friends. They
were among the most distinguished for their wealth, intelligence
and Revolutionary service. Their combined influence would give
him command of all the important business of those counties, and
place him at the outset in the position of a leader of the bar. The
prospect in Orange and the adjoining counties was widely different.
In these latter counties he would have no adventitious advantages.
The business of these counties, moreover, was engrossed by an able
and a numerous bar. At the first court which he attended after he
obtained his Superior Court license they mustered to the number of
twenty-six. A large proportion of these were young men recently
admitted to practice; but after deducting these, and many more of
longer standing and respectable position, there still remained a bar
which for learning, abilities and eloquence was never surpassed in
this State. Of resident lawyers there were Thomas Ruffin, Archibald
D. Murphy, Willie P. Mangum, Francis L. Hawks and Frederick Nash;
of lawyers attending the court, from other counties, there were
George E. Badger, William H. Haywood and Bartlett Yancey. What
recollections of renown connected with the forum, the Senate, and
the church flood the mind as we recall these names! Fain would
I pause to contemplate the career of these illustrious men, by
which the character of North Carolina was so much elevated in the
consideration of the world, and so much of honor brought to the
State. But other subjects press upon me--subjects of more immediate

Notwithstanding this formidable competition--a competition which
might well dismay one at the outset of professional life--Mr.
Graham resolved to fix his residence at Hillsborough. Two reasons
were assigned by him for this conclusion: first, an unwillingness
to relinquish the foothold he had gained in the county courts of
Orange, Granville and Guilford; second, a reluctance to sever the
associations formed with his professional brethren at those courts.
Another reason, quite as potent, probably, was a well-grounded
confidence in his own abilities, and in his knowledge of his
profession. Against such men he entered the lists, and against such
he had to contend; not indeed all at the same time, but all within
a period of two years. It may be mentioned as an instance of the
vicissitudes of human life, that five years from the August of that
year--1827--not one of those illustrious men remained at that bar.

His first case of importance in the Superior Court was one which,
from peculiar causes, excited great local interest. It involved an
intricate question of title to land. On the day of trial, the court
room was crowded and the bar fully occupied by lawyers--many of them
men of the highest professional eminence. When he came to address
the jury, he spoke with modesty, but with ease and self-possession.
His preparation of the case had been thorough, and the argument
which he delivered is described as admirable, both as to matter and
manner. When he closed Hon. William H. Haywood, who had then risen
to a high position at the bar, turned to a distinguished gentleman,
still living, of the same profession, and inquired who had prepared
the argument which Mr. Graham had so handsomely delivered. The
answer was, "It is all his own;" to which Mr. Haywood replied with
the observation, "William Gaston could have done it no better."

Mr. Graham knew none of that weary probation which has been the lot
of so many able men. His argument in the case just mentioned at
once gave him a position of prominence. It was not long before he
attained a place in the front rank of his profession. Here, with the
large stores of professional knowledge which he had laid up, it was
easy to sustain himself. His high mental qualifications, his habits
of study, his perseverance, his unalterable faith in his cause,
brought to him a constantly increasing business, and a constantly
widening reputation. He was early, for so young a man, retained in
the most important causes in the courts in which he practiced, and
his associate counsel generally gave him the leading position in the

In 1833 he was elected a member of the General Assembly from the
town of Hillsborough. His first appearance on the floor has an
interest from the relations subsequently existing between him
and the distinguished man to whom the motion submitted by him
had reference. He rose to move the sending of a message to the
Senate to proceed to the election of a Governor of the State, and
to put in nomination Governor Swain. A day or two after he had
the satisfaction of reporting that that gentleman--who was ever
afterward united to him in the closest bonds of friendship--had
received a majority of votes, and of being named as first on
the committee to inform him of his election. He took, from the
beginning, an active part in the business of the House relating to
banks, law amendments and education.

I record an incident which attests the high consideration which he
had already acquired in the country, and the importance attached
to his opinion. Judge Gaston had been elected in 1833 to a seat
on the Supreme Court Bench by a majority of two-thirds of the
General Assembly. He had been brought up in the Roman Catholic
faith--the faith of his fathers--the faith in which he died. The
thirty-second section of the old constitution declared incapable
of holding office all those who "deny the truth of the Protestant
religion." Some dissatisfaction had been expressed at his accepting
a judicial office under a constitution containing this clause,
which in the opinion of some, excluded him. For some time he did
not deem it necessary to advert to the matter. In 1834--November
12--he addressed a letter to Mr. Graham, enclosing a written paper,
in which he stated succinctly, but with great clearness and force,
the reasoning by which his acceptance had been determined. In the
conclusion of his letter he referred it to Mr. Graham's judgment,
to determine what degree of publicity should be given to the
paper. Whether it was ever published we do not know; but when we
consider Judge Gaston's high station and great name in the country,
and that the purity of that name was in a measure at stake, the
incident must be regarded as a singular tribute to the character
which Mr. Graham had thus early established. It is well known how
Judge Gaston availed himself of his place in the Convention of 1835
to set forth to the world the reasons by which his decision had
been influenced--reasons so cogent and conclusive as to satisfy
every mind. It is known, too, that the object of the great speech
delivered by him then--an object happily accomplished--was to bring
about such a modification of the obnoxious clause as to deprive it
of all sectarian intolerance.

Mr. Graham was again a member from Hillsborough in the year 1835.
In the organization of the committees the post of chairman of the
Committee on the Judiciary was assigned to him, and the journals
bear testimony to the diligence with which its duties were
discharged. It was through him, in his capacity of chairman, that
the various reports of the commissioners to revise the statute
laws of the State--the _Revised Code_ being then in progress--were
submitted to the House.

From the abilities displayed and the high position held by him in
the Legislature, we should naturally expect to find him in the
Constitutional Convention of 1835. It has been well said that the
county of Orange has been to North Carolina, what Virginia has been
to the Union, the mother of statesmen. On this occasion, by one of
those caprices which sometimes seize upon communities as well as
individuals, the noble old county seemed to care little for her
ancient renown. There seems to have been no action by the county
to secure delegates worthy of her former reputation. We learn from
the remarks of one of the delegates in the Convention, that there
were ten candidates in the field, and that the successful candidates
were returned by so small a vote as to call forth a taunt from a
member of the Convention. In such a contest Mr. Graham had no desire
to enter the field; indeed, whenever he offered himself for the
suffrages of his countrymen, it was as the chosen champion of the
principles of a great party.

He again represented the county of Orange in the Legislatures
of 1838 and 1840, in both of which he was elected Speaker. This
withdrew him from the arena of debate, and we learn little more of
him from the journals of those sessions than the uniform punctuality
and universal acceptability with which he discharged the duties of
that high trust.

A revolution in the politics of the State brought about a vacancy,
in 1840, in the representation from North Carolina in the Senate of
the United States. Mr. Strange, under instructions, had resigned his
seat; the term of the other Senator was near its end. There were
thus two terms to be filled by the Legislature of 1841. Mr. Mangum
was elected for the full term, Mr. Graham for the unexpired term.
This election was considered by Mr. Graham as the most emphatic
testimonial of the confidence and favor of the State which he
received during his life. Mr. Mangum and he were residents of the
same county, and of the many able men who might justly advance
claims to the other seat Mr. Graham was the youngest. Certainly an
election under such circumstances constituted a tribute of peculiar
significance and value.

He was among the youngest members of the Senate when he took his
seat; but he soon commanded the esteem and respect of the entire
body. That, it has been truly said, was preëminently the age of
great men in American parliamentary history, and of such he was
regarded as the worthy compeer. "He never rose to speak," says a
distinguished gentleman (Mr. Rayner), who was himself a member of
Congress at that time, "that he did not receive the most respectful
attention. When the Senate went into Committee of the Whole he was
usually called upon to preside. Reports from him as chairman of a
committee almost invariably secured the favorable consideration of
the Senate." From the same authority we learn that the relations
existing between him and Mr. Clay were of the most kindly and
intimate character, and that Mr. Clay "regarded him as a most
superior man, socially and intellectually."

The period during which Mr. Graham was in the Senate was one of
the most stormy in our political annals. The Whig party had just
achieved a great victory, and Harrison and Tyler had been elected
by an immense majority. That party reckoned confidently that it
would now be able to carry out those great principles of government,
for which it had so long contended, and which had been so signally
approved in the recent election. In the midst of these patriotic
anticipations, General Harrison died, and Mr. Tyler succeeded to
the Presidential chair. Mr. Tyler had adopted the platform of the
Whig party, and in his address, upon assuming the duties of his
high office, he did not intimate the least change of policy from
that which his predecessor had announced in his inaugural. He had,
moreover, retained the same constitutional advisers. The statesmen
of the Whig party now set to work to redeem the pledges which had
been made to the country. A great financial measure was passed; this
was vetoed by the President. A second measure of the same kind,
framed in conformity to the views indicated in his veto message, was
passed, which was vetoed in like manner. A tariff bill was passed,
but this shared the same fate. Efforts were made to pass these
bills over the President's veto, but in every instance the veto
was sustained by the opposite party. The result of these repeated
disappointments was that all hope of united and efficient action
in carrying out the great principles of the Whig party was finally

The administration of Mr. Van Buren had largely exceeded the
revenues. Provision for this deficiency had to be made by the
incoming administration. To meet an emergency so pressing a bill
was introduced, known as the "Loan Bill." It was strongly opposed,
among others, by Mr. Calhoun, in a speech of characteristic force
and compass. So far as the Whigs were concerned it was an appeal by
the administration for aid, to a party which it had betrayed. Mr.
Graham only recollected that the good of the country was involved,
and gave it his support. "I will not," said he, "stop the action of
the government by denying it the means of going on, no matter who
may be in power." The speech which he delivered on this bill was
eminently able and statesmanlike. He demonstrated the necessity of
the measure; he traced out the cause of the deficiency, and pointed
out the remedy. The subject has little interest to the general
reader at this day, yet in that speech there are passages of such
profound reflection and philosophic scope as will give it a value to
the political student at all times.

When the Apportionment bill in 1842 was under consideration, very
strong opposition, headed by Mr. Buchanan, of Pennsylvania, and Mr.
Wright, of New York, was made to the districting clause. Mr. Graham,
on June the 3d, addressed the Senate in support of the clause. In a
calm, condensed, weighty and conclusive argument, he demonstrated
that the district system of electing Representatives to Congress,
was in conformity to the true theory of representative government,
and was the one contemplated and expected by the framers of the
government; that it was sanctioned by usage almost unanimous in the
old States, and by the usage of two-thirds of the new; that the
general ticket system was fraught with evils, public and private;
nay, with dangers to the Union. There was a passage in that debate
which so forcibly illustrates the high moral plane upon which he
discussed public affairs that I cannot pass it by. It was objected
by Mr. Woodbury, of New Hampshire, that if the act were passed
by Congress, it had no means of enforcing it. He wished to know
whether an armed force or a writ of mandamus would be sent to the
State Legislatures to compel them to lay off the districts. In
reply Mr. Graham showed that if, notwithstanding the law, a State
should return members according to general ticket, the House of
Representatives, as judge of the election of its members, could
pronounce such election a nullity. "But the duties of the States
under our Constitution," said he, "are not to be determined by
their liability to punishment, but by the covenants into which they
entered by that instrument. It is faith, honor, conscience, and
not the 'hangman's whip,' on which, at last rest the blessings of
this noblest human institution which has ever been devised for the
security, the welfare and happiness of man." In this exclamation,
he unconsciously announced those great principles by which his own
conduct through life was regulated, and to whose slightest behest he
ever yielded an unhesitating obedience.

A short time after--July 25, 1842--he received the following
letter from Chancellor Kent: "I thank you for your speech on the
districting clause of the Apportionment bill. I have read it
carefully, and I deem it in every respect logical, conclusive, and a
vindication of the power assumed by the bill, in language clear and
specific, tempered with due moderation and firmness. The district
system is essential to check and control the cunning machinery of

After the expiration of his term--March 3, 1843--Mr. Graham resumed
the practice of his profession.

In 1844 he was nominated by the Whig party of North Carolina for the
office of Governor. He had not sought the nomination; nay, would
have declined it if he could have done so consistently with his high
conceptions of the duty of a citizen. In 1836 he had married the
daughter of the late John Washington, Esq., of New Bern, a lady of
rare beauty and accomplishments--a union which brought to him as
much of happiness as it is the lot of man to know. From this union
a young and growing family was gathering around him. His patrimony
had not been large, and the requirements of his family demanded his
constant professional exertions. He was now at the summit of his
profession, and his emoluments would be limited only by the nature
of the business in an agricultural State, where commerce existed to
only a small extent, and manufactures were in their infancy. His
attention had been much withdrawn from his profession during his
senatorial career, and besides the expense and loss of time in a
State canvass, he would, if elected, be entirely precluded from the
exercise of his profession during his term of office. The salary
of the office was small, and a residence in the capital as Chief
Magistrate would render necessary an increased scale of expense. On
the other hand were considerations of great weight. Letters came to
him from many gentlemen of high standing in various parts of the
State, pressing his acceptance by every consideration that could be
addressed to an elevated mind. Moreover, he was not unmindful of
the honors which had been conferred upon him, and not ungrateful.
He held, too, that the circumstances must be very exceptional
which could justify a citizen in withholding his services when
called to a public station by the general voice of the people. To
determine his duty cost him much anxious reflection; but the latter
consideration proved decisive. The decision once made, he acted with
his accustomed energy.

His nomination was hailed with satisfaction throughout the Union.
Among other letters which he then received, giving expression to
this feeling, was one from Mr. Clay. In conclusion he thus expressed
himself: "Still, I should have preferred that you were in another
situation, where the whole Union would have benefited by your

His opponent was Colonel Mike Hoke. He was born in the same county
with Mr. Graham, and was nearly of the same age. He was a gentleman
of fine person, of fine address, of considerable legislative
experience, and of high position at the bar. The canvass was well
contested on both sides; on the part of Mr. Graham it was conducted
with surpassing ability. When it came to the vote he led his
competitor by several thousand majority.

He was inaugurated on the 1st of January, 1845, the oaths of office
being administered by Chief Justice Ruffin. The _Raleigh Register_
of that date remarks, that "the audience which witnessed the
ceremony, for everything that could make the occasion imposing,
has never been surpassed within our recollection. The lobbies and
galleries were crowded with strangers and citizens, and a brilliant
assemblage of ladies."

His first term was so acceptable that he was elected to the second
by a largely increased vote. His two terms embrace that period,
during which North Carolina made the greatest progress in all her
interests. The messages of his very able predecessor, Governor
Morehead, followed up by his own, drew the attention of the whole
State to the subject of internal improvements, and a powerful
impulse was given to that great interest.

In a letter, Mr. Webster writes as follows: "The tone which your
message holds, in regard to the relations between the State
Government and the General Government, is just, proper, dignified
and constitutional, and the views which it presents on questions
of internal policy, the development of resources, the improvement
of markets, and the gradual advancement of industry and wealth,
are such as belong to the age, and are important to our country
in all its parts." His earnest recommendation of a geological
survey elicited from Prof. Olmstead, a letter commending his views
expressed in that regard, in which he said: "There is no State in
the Union which would better reward the labor and expense of a
geological survey than North Carolina."

In 1849 he delivered the address before the literary societies
at Chapel Hill. His subject was a cursory view of the objects
of liberal education. This address stands out in wide contrast
to those which have been customary on such occasions, and is
solid, sterling, practical. It is a vindication of the University

Public honors have been coy to most men; it was the reverse in his
case. They waited around him with perpetual solicitation. In 1849,
Mr. Mangum, one of the confidential advisers of the President, wrote
to Mr. Graham that he might make his election between the Mission to
Russia and the Mission to Spain. Subsequently the Mission to Spain
was tendered to and declined by him.

Upon the accession of Mr. Fillmore to the Presidency, a seat in the
Cabinet was tendered to Mr. Graham. In the letter addressed to him
by the President, informing him of his appointment, he said: "I
trust that you will accept the office, and enter upon the discharge
of its duties at the earliest day. I am sure that the appointment
will be highly acceptable to the country, as I can assure you, your
acceptance will be gratifying to me." In a letter couched in proper
terms, dated July 25, he communicated his acceptance.

In a letter dated the 19th of February, 1851, Mr. Benton wrote as
follows: "I have just read a second time, your report on the Coast
Survey. I consider it one of the most perfect reports I ever read--a
model of a business report, and one which should carry conviction to
every candid, inquiring mind. I deem it one of the largest reforms,
both in an economical and administrative point of view, which the
state of our affairs admits of."

He resolved, being strongly supported by the President, to send
an expedition to Japan and bring that empire within the pale and
comity of civilized nations. The command was assigned to Commodore
Perry. The event showed what statesmanlike sagacity was exercised
in planning the expedition and in the selection of its leader.
Everything that was contemplated was accomplished. The success of
that expedition constitutes one of the principal claims of Mr.
Fillmore's administration to the admiration of the country and of
posterity. Its success constitutes, indeed, an era in the history of
the world. Its results have been great and cannot but be enduring.
It has placed our relations with Japan upon a just and honorable
basis. It has given a new direction to much of the commerce of
the world--pouring its fertilizing tide through the heart of the
American continent. Its effects upon Japan are but beginning to be
seen; yet already they exceed what would have been brought about in
the ordinary course of affairs in a thousand years. No people have
ever availed themselves of the light of a superior civilization
as the Japanese have. In that light they have seen the unfitness
of many of their old institutions and have abandoned them; they
have seen the unfitness of their language for foreign intercourse,
and are preparing to substitute the English language. The changes
thus made are harbingers of progress which will justify the most
lively anticipations for the future. The friends of humanity and
religion, especially, hail the prospect with delight. They see in
what has been already done, the prospect of an entire change in the
institutions of that land. They hope, at no distant day, to see
liberal institutions introduced there. They hope to see a universal
recognition of popular rights, where the bonds of caste have been
so inexorable; to see equal laws take the place of a despot's will,
and to see the Christian religion again introduced, never more to be
disturbed in its peaceful reign.

Another expedition was sent out in 1851 under the direction of the
Navy Department. The object was the exploration of the valley of the
Amazon in the interests of commerce. The instructions to Lieutenant
Herndon--to whose charge the expedition was confided--contained
in the letter of Mr. Graham, of February 15th, were full and
particular. They embraced the position of the country--the
navigability of its streams--its capacities for trade and
commerce--and its future prospects. In February, 1854, the report
was published by order of Congress. It contains the most ample
information upon all the points embraced in the instructions. In the
London _Westminster Review_ of that year, it was noticed with just
credit to the author, and due recognition of the enlightened policy
which projected the expedition.

A part of the triumph of the compromise of 1850 belongs to North
Carolina. Her favorite statesman was then in the Cabinet, and
shared in the counsels by which these results were brought about.
During the progress of these measures he was in constant conference
with their author, and to the opinion of none did their author pay
greater deference.

His labors as Secretary of the Navy were brought to a sudden
termination. The Whig party met in convention on the 16th of June,
1852, and put in nomination for the Presidency General Scott, and
for the Vice-Presidency Mr. Graham. Mr. Graham's preference for the
Presidency was Mr. Fillmore, and without a distinct declaration of
principles, and an approval of the course of his administration,
he would not have permitted his name to be placed on any other
ticket. This declaration was made, and in terms as explicit as he
could wish; with that declaration, it became a mere calculation of
chances which was the candidate most acceptable to the country.
Under these circumstances he accepted the nomination. Immediately
on his acceptance, with a view as he expressed it, "to relieve the
administration of any possible criticism or embarrassment on his
account in the approaching canvass," he tendered his resignation.
The President "appreciating the high sense of delicacy and
propriety" which prompted this act, accepted his resignation with
expressions of "unfeigned regret."

In Mr. Stephens' history of the United States, it is said that in
accepting the nomination tendered him by the Whigs, General Scott
"cautiously avoided endorsing that portion of the Whig platform
which pledged the party to an acceptance of and acquiescence in
the measures of 1850." If avoidance there was, it was because he
deemed it unnecessary to pledge his faith to measures with which
he was so intimately identified. He was acting Secretary of War
during the pendency of these measures. "No one," says Mr. Graham
in a letter to a friend, "more deeply felt the importance of the
crisis, or cooperated with us more efficiently in procuring the
passage of the compromise measure, or rejoiced more heartily in
the settlement thereby made." With a soldier's sentiment of honor,
General Scott rested on his record, which was open to all the world.
But the charge of unfaithfulness to those measures was made against
him, and urged with fatal effect. And so it came to pass that the
two candidates who had exerted all their abilities, and used all
their influence, official and other, to secure the passage of the
compromise measures, were beaten upon the charge alleged against one
of them of unfaithfulness to those measures.

After his retirement from the cabinet, and in the same
year--1852--he delivered the sixth lecture in the course, before the
Historical Society of New York, in Metropolitan Hall, in the city
of New York. "The attendance," we are told in the _Evening Post_ of
that date, "was exceedingly numerous." Ever anxious to exalt his
State, and set her before the world in her true glory, his subject
was taken from the history of North Carolina. It was the British
invasion of North Carolina in 1780 and 1781.

It is known what scant justice has been done to our State by the
early historians of the country. This injustice Mr. Graham, as far
as a lecture would admit, undertook to redress. Though his subject
confined him to the events of less than two years, and took up the
story five years after the first blood had been shed at Lexington,
and four years after the Declaration of Independence, he presents
a rapid and graphic sketch of what was done in North Carolina down
to the year 1780. He depicts the advanced state of opinion in North
Carolina before the war; he recounts the military expeditions sent
out by her in support of the common cause; and shows that "from
New York to Florida, inclusive, there were few battle-fields on
which a portion of the troops engaged in defense of the liberties
of the country were not hers." He then places before us in strong
colors, the period just before Lord Cornwallis commenced his famous
march--that period so justly designated as the dark days of the
Revolution; when Georgia and South Carolina had been over-run and
subjugated; when the army of the South had been nearly annihilated
by the disastrous battle of Camden and the catastrophe of Fishing
Creek. He relates the bold measures--measures which call to mind
those of Rome, at similar crises of peril--with which the State
of North Carolina prepared to meet the impending shock. He then
enters upon a narrative of the different operations of the American
and British armies under their respective commanders, Greene and
Cornwallis, and a finer narrative it would be difficult to point
out. A bare recital of the incidents of that campaign would not want
interest in the hands of the dryest historian, but in this narrative
it is brought before us in vivid colors. By his brief but striking
delineation of the principal actors; by his rapid touches in which
the relative state of the Whig and Tory population of that day is
brought to view; by his sketches of the scenery of the Piedmont
country--the theater of that campaign; by his notices of individual
adventure; above all, by his masterly recital of the incidents of
the retreat of General Greene and the pursuit of Lord Cornwallis--a
retreat in which the hand of Providence seemed from time to time,
so visibly interposed--the grand procession of events passes before
us with the interest of an acted drama. We experience a feeling of
deep relief, when at length, the army of Greene is placed in safety.
After taking breath, which we had held as it were, during the quick
succession of events in that celebrated retreat, we retrace our
steps and the interest culminates in the battle of Guilford. "The
philosophy of history," says Mr. Benton in his _Thirty Years' View_,
"has not yet laid hold of the battle of Guilford; its consequences
and events. That battle made the capture of Yorktown. The events are
told in history, the connections and dependence in none." The future
historian will find the task done to his hand in this lecture. Its
decisive character is there appreciated and set forth.

The lecture closes with some reflections on the "Act of Pardon and
Oblivion," passed by the Legislature, after the proclamation of
peace, at its first session in 1783. "An act," says Mr. Graham,
"of grace and magnanimity, worthy of the heroic, but Christian and
forbearing spirit which had triumphed in the struggle just ended."
The words have a peculiar and melancholy significance to us, who
recollect how long after the war, he stood among us as an alien and
a stranger, deprived of the commonest right of citizenship; and how
by mistaken party spirit he was debarred the enjoyment of those
senatorial honors, with which a grateful people would have cheered
and crowned the evening of his life.

This lecture will, I think, be regarded as the maturest of his
literary efforts. It presents the events of the time of which it
treats in new combinations, and sheds upon them new lights from
original investigations. The style is always clear, forcible and
harmonious. Classic ornament is introduced to an extent rare for
him; for though he retained his classical learning to the end of his
life, his sense of fitness led him to employ very sparingly what
any one might be disposed to attribute to ostentation. Altogether
it is the most valuable contribution yet made to the history of
North Carolina at that era. It sets the State in a juster light
than anything on record. It particularly commends itself to all who
cherish in their hearts the sacred flame of State love and State
pride; to all who hold in honor the renown of their ancestry; to all
who would catch

            "Ennobling impulse from the past."

Mr. Graham was again a member of the Legislature in 1854-'55. The
great question of that session was what was popularly known as "Free
Suffrage." Its object was to abolish the property qualification for
the Senate, and extend to every voter the same right of suffrage,
whether for the Senate or the House. To this extension of suffrage
_per se_ he made no objection. He contended, however, that the
constitution was based upon carefully adjusted compromises of
conflicting interests, and that an amendment of the constitution
confined to this single point--as it must necessarily be if carried
out by the Legislative method--would disturb those compromises and
thus destroy or greatly impair the harmony of that instrument. He,
therefore, advocated the calling of a convention, that all the
questions embraced in these compromises might be duly considered,
and other parts re-adjusted to suit those which might be changed.
These views were presented in a speech, memorable for its ability.
In the former part he discusses the question at issue, and here will
be found some of the finest examples of his skill as a dialectician;
in the latter part he gave an exposition of the subject in all
its constitutional bearings--an exposition learned, lucid and

The administration of Mr. Buchanan drew to its close amidst signs
ominous for the future tranquillity of the country. These signs
awakened the fears of all who loved and valued the Union, and the
trusted statesmen of the country made arrangements to meet for
conference, and to give expression to their views. The executive
committee of the Constitutional Union party determined early in
January, 1860, to issue an address to the people of the United
States upon the grave exigencies in national politics. A committee
of seven, all men of the highest national distinction, among whom
was Mr. Graham, was appointed to prepare the address. Mr. Crittenden
notified him of his appointment in a letter of January 24th, and
urged his attendance at the meeting of the committee. In his
answer, Mr. Graham had left it doubtful whether the pressure of his
engagements would permit his attendance, and requested that another
might be appointed in his place. Accordingly Governor Morehead
was appointed. But Mr. Crittenden wrote again, and to show the
importance attached to his judgment and action, I subjoin an extract
from his letter: "The crisis is important, and fills the public mind
with expectation and anxiety. It is earnestly to be desired that the
character of our convention should be conspicuous and equal to the
occasion. We have good reason to feel assured of the attendance of
many of the most eminent men of the country, and it is by the great
weight of the moral and public character of its members that the
convention must hope to obtain for its acts or counsels, whatever
they may be, respect and influence with the people. We cannot
do without your _assistance_ and _name_. All the members of the
committee, who were present when your letter was read, united in
wishing me to write and to urge your coming to the convention. Your
absence will be a positive _weight_ against us."

A number of eminent statesmen, among whom was Mr. Graham, met in
Washington City, in February, to consult together upon the dangers
which menaced the country. The result was the convention which
nominated the Constitutional Union ticket for the Presidency, in
behalf of which he canvassed the State. Upon the election of Mr.
Lincoln he made public addresses, and exhorted the people to yield
due obedience to his office.

But the tempest had long been gathering, and was now ready to burst.
No human power could avert it. The people of South Carolina, and
of the other States of the far South, had been educated in the
doctrine of secession, and there were few in those States who did
not hold that doctrine as an undeniable article of political faith.
The time was come when this doctrine was to be tested. The election
of Mr. Lincoln constituted the cause in the minds of the people
of South Carolina. On the 20th of December, 1860, that State held
a convention, and declared her connection with the United States
dissolved, and proceeded to put herself in an attitude to make good
her declaration. In this action she was followed by States to the
south of her, and on similar grounds.

The doctrine of secession met with little favor in North Carolina.
As a right deduced from the Constitution, and to be exercised
under its authority, it was believed by Mr. Graham, and the school
of statesmen to which he belonged, to be without foundation. The
Legislature of North Carolina directed the question of a convention
to be submitted to the people. The question was discussed, in the
light of recent events, by the press of the State, and numerous
meetings of the people were held in every part. These meetings
were addressed by our ablest men. Amongst these a monster meeting
was held at Salisbury, which was addressed by Governor Morehead,
Mr. Badger and Mr. Graham, who, as well for the exalted positions
they had held as for their commanding abilities, were looked to for
counsel in this emergency. The people at the polls pronounced with
great unanimity against a convention.

But events were marching on with rapid strides. On the 13th of
April, 1861, Sumter surrendered to Confederate guns. On the 15th,
Mr. Lincoln issued his call for 75,000 troops. This call was made
without authority, and was the first of that series of public
measures culminating in the unauthorized suspension of the "Habeas
Corpus Act" on the 10th of May, under the shock of which the public
liberties of the North for a time went down.

By these events the aspect of things was wholly changed. The
question of secession as a right, whether the election of Mr.
Lincoln was a just cause for the exercise of that right or not, had
drifted out of sight. War was inevitable. Virginia had followed the
example of the Southern States, and North Carolina was now girdled
with seceded States. All that was left her was a choice of sides.
The language of Mr. Graham at this crisis was the language of all
thoughtful men; nay, it was the language of the human heart. And
looking back upon all that we have suffered--and there are none,
even in the Northern States, but say we have suffered enough--if a
similar conjuncture were to arise, the heart would speak out the
same language again. Speaking the voice of the people of North
Carolina, as he, from the high trusts confided to him in his past
life, and from the confidence always reposed in him, was, more than
any other, commissioned to do, in a public address at Hillsborough,
in March, 1861, he expressed himself as follows:

"Ardent in their attachment to the Constitution and the Union, they
had condemned separate State secession as rash and precipitate, and
wanting in respect to the sister States of identical interests; and
as long as there was hope of an adjustment of sectional differences,
they were unwilling to part with the Government, and give success to
the movement for its overthrow, which appeared on the part of some,
at least, to be but the revelation of a long cherished design. But
the President gives to the question new alternatives. These are,
on the one hand, to join with him in a war of conquest, for it is
nothing less, against our brethren of the seceding States--or, on
the other, resistance to and throwing off the obligations of the
Federal Constitution. Of the two, we do not hesitate to accept the
latter. Blood is thicker than water. However widely we have differed
from, and freely criticised, the course taken by these States,
they are much more closely united with us, by the ties of kindred,
affection, and a peculiar interest, which is denounced and warred
upon at the North, without reference to any _locality_ in our own
section, than to any of the Northern States."

Under the influence of these counsels, so wisely and temperately
expressed, a convention of the people of North Carolina, was called.
On the 20th of May, a day memorable in the annals of the State and
of the world, the convention passed the ordinance of secession.

For this ordinance the vote was unanimous. But though the vote
indicated an entire unanimity among the members, it was unanimity
only as to the end to be accomplished. The views of Mr. Graham, and
the statesmen with whom he acted, had, in regard to secession as
a constitutional remedy, undergone no change. To set forth their
views, Mr. Badger offered a series of resolutions in the nature of
a protestation--an exclusion of a conclusion. These resolutions
asserted the right of revolution, and based the action of the
convention on that ground; but the minds of men had been wrought to
such a pitch of excitement that the distinction was unheeded, and
the resolutions failed.

On the 20th of June the convention passed the ordinance by which
the State of North Carolina became a member of the Confederacy. To
this measure Mr. Graham offered a strong but fruitless opposition.
In the perilous career upon which we were about to enter he was
unwilling to surrender the sovereignty of the State into the hands
of those whose rash counsels had, in the judgment of the people of
North Carolina, precipitated the war. He wished the State to hold
her destinies in her own hands, that she might act as exigencies
might require. Those who realize the delusive views under which the
government at Richmond acted during the last months of the war will
see in this opinion another proof of his wise foresight.

The progress of the war which now broke out with such fury
demonstrated that there were here, as at the North, those who
conceived that the public peril had merged the constitution and
the laws. Early in the session "an ordinance to define and punish
sedition and to prevent the dangers which may arise from persons
disaffected to the State," was introduced.

On the 7th of December Mr. Graham addressed the convention in
opposition to this ordinance. The speech which he delivered on this
occasion was, perhaps, the noblest effort of his life. It breathes
the true spirit of American freedom. It is the product of a mind
deeply imbued with the great principles of civil liberty, and which
had devoutly meditated upon all those safeguards which the wisdom of
successive generations had thrown around it. His wide acquaintance
with history had made him familiar with every device by which
liberty may be sapped and undermined; his exalted estimate of its
value and dignity had developed this acquaintance into a special
sense by which he could detect any design hostile to it, under any
pretense or subterfuge, however specious or skillful.

From the beginning of the war the current of power set steadily
from the Confederate States to the Confederate Government; and with
each year of the war, the current flowed on with increasing tide.
Within its just bounds, no man yielded a heartier allegiance to that
government than Mr. Graham; but on the other hand, no man stood
ready to oppose a firmer resistance when that government overstepped
those bounds. The war had been begun and was then prosecuted for the
maintenance of great principles, and it was his fixed purpose that
civil liberty should not, at the South as at the North, be engulfed
in its progress. In the year 1862 a minister of the gospel--a man
of learning and of irreproachable character--was arrested in the
county of Orange, under a military order, sent to Richmond, and cast
into prison. He was not in the military service of the Confederate
States, and therefore not amenable to military law. As a proceeding
against a citizen, such an arrest, without charge made on oath and
without warrant, was in violation of all law; while his deportation
beyond the limits of the State, for trial by military tribunal, was
in contempt of the dignity and sovereignty of the State. Mr. Graham,
being then Senator from Orange, introduced a resolution demanding
a return of the prisoner to the State, which was passed at once.
On introducing the resolution, he expressed the opinion that the
proceeding was without the sanction of the Confederate Executive,
or of the Secretary of War. The sequel proved this supposition to
be correct. The prisoner was sent back with a disavowal of any
knowledge of the proceeding on the part of the President or the
Secretary, until the confinement of the prisoner in the military
prison at Richmond. The Secretary frankly admitted the erroneous
nature of the arrest and imprisonment, and disclaimed all intention
to interfere with the rightful jurisdiction of the State. On the
22d of January, 1863--upon the incoming of the message with the
accompanying documents, touching the case--Mr. Graham paid a merited
tribute to the enlightened comprehension of the relations existing
between the Confederate Government and the States, evinced by these
sentiments, and in the further remarks submitted by him, he took
occasion to re-state the great principles of personal liberty--daily
more and more endangered in the course of the war--and to impress
them upon the public mind by apt comments upon the case to which the
public attention was then so strongly directed. This was the first,
and is believed to have been the last case, in which military power
was used to override civil law.

In December, 1863, Mr. Graham was elected to the Confederate Senate
by a majority of two-thirds of the Legislature. He took his seat in
May, 1864. There was then need of the best counsel. The brilliant
successes which had crowned our arms in the early years of the
war, had been replaced by a succession of disasters. The battle of
Gettysburg and the fall of Vicksburg had brought us apparently to
the brink of ruin. As the year 1864 rolled on, the prospect became
darker and darker, and at the end of the year the situation was
to the last degree critical. Our territory had been cut in twain,
and we were beleaguered by land and by sea. Within the area which
acknowledged the Confederate Government, there was great exhaustion
of all kinds of military supplies, and a like exhaustion of all the
elements for the support of human life. General Lee was only able
to oppose the front of General Grant by extending his line until it
was ready to snap from excessive tension. To strengthen his force
from the white race was impossible; conscription there had reached
its limit. General Sherman had swept through Georgia, and the
broad track of desolation which he left behind him too truly told
the story of our helplessness. It was known that each Confederate
soldier was opposed by as many as five Federal soldiers; the
former scantily fed, clothed and shod; the latter supplied with
every comfort and many luxuries. (The odds were seven to one, says
_Stephens' History of the United States_.) It was plain there was
no longer any hope of a successful prosecution of the war. In the
midst of a dense gloom which shrouded the country on every side,
a ray of light dawned in the proposed peace conference at Hampton
Roads. Mr. Graham had endeavored to reach this form of intercourse
from the commencement of the session. He was not without hope
of a peaceful termination of hostilities; not so much from his
estimate of the statesmanship of President Davis and his Cabinet,
as from the extremity of the case which left no other alternative.
The conference took place on the 3rd of February, 1865. The terms
offered by Mr. Lincoln were, that the seceded States should return
to the Union under the Constitution, in the existing state of
affairs, with slavery as it was, but liable to be abolished by an
amendment to the Constitution. He pledged himself to the utmost
exercise of the executive powers in behalf of the South. The
demand of the Commissioners was for independence. There could be
no middle ground, and the conference ended. Upon the return of the
Commissioners, Mr. Davis and Mr. Benjamin made public speeches in
Richmond, to fire the Southern heart anew; but the event proved how
little sagacity they brought to the direction of affairs at that
supreme hour. The speeches fell still-born. [French intervention in
Mexico was the South's opportunity; Seward's object in the Hampton
Roads Conference was to ascertain if Southern statesmanship knew how
to play its advantage.--_Ed._]

One principle had actuated Mr. Graham from the beginning of the war;
to sustain the Government in its struggles for independence until
it should be demonstrated that our resources were inadequate for
that end; and when that should be seen and acknowledged, to seek, if
possible, a peaceful solution. How well he sustained it is matter
of history. He sustained it in every way in which his talents and
his means could be made available. He sustained it by his counsels
in the State and in the Confederate Government. He sustained it by
blood more precious in his eyes than his own--all his sons, five in
number, who had attained the age of eighteen, entered the army, and
were in the army to the end.

The inadequacy of our resources, particularly of the population from
which our soldiers were drawn, had now been demonstrated. It was
known to Congress; it was admitted by General Lee in his proposition
to conscribe slaves; it was proclaimed from the steps of the Capitol
by Mr. Benjamin: "Unless the slaves are armed," he said, "the cause
is lost." Every expedient had been tried; the extremest measures had
been put in operation; "by means of conscription, impressment laws,
and the suspension of the _habeas corpus_, the whole population, and
all the resources of the country, had long before been placed at the
command of the President for prosecution of the war." All had been
found unavailing.

One resource, in the opinion of some, remained--the conscription
of negroes. A bill for this purpose was introduced into
Congress. It was opposed by Mr. Graham upon the ground that it
was unconstitutional, as well as inexpedient and dangerous. His
sagacious mind saw that this was a measure, not of safety, but a
measure born of the wild promptings of despair. On the 21st of
February it was indefinitely postponed, though it was subsequently
taken up and passed.

If ever negotiation was to be resorted to, it was clear the time had
come. We know but little of what passed in the Confederate Congress
at that time. Its proceedings were had in secret session; nor is it
now known whether the journals of the body escaped destruction. All
that we know is derived from what was published by the members after
the fall of the Confederate Government. Among these publications
is a paper contributed by Mr. Oldham, then Senator from Texas, to
_DeBow's Review_, in October, 1869, which gives us some information
of the proceedings of the Senate at that time. A few days after the
conference at Hampton Roads, he informs us, a committee consisting
of Messrs. Orr, Graham and Johnson, was appointed to confer with the
President, and ascertain what he proposed to do under the existing
condition of affairs. In a few days they made a verbal report
through Mr. Graham. "Among other things," I quote Mr. Oldham's
words, "they stated that they had inquired of the President his
views and opinions in regard to proposing to the United States to
negotiate for peace upon the basis of the Confederacy returning
to the Union, and that he had answered that he had no power to
negotiate a treaty upon such a basis; that his authority to make
treaties was derived from the Constitution, which he had sworn to
support and that such a treaty would operate as an abrogation of the
Constitution, and a dissolution of the government; that the States
alone, each acting for itself, in its sovereign capacity, could make
such a treaty. Mr. Graham said, he gave notice that he would, in a
few days, introduce a resolution in favor of opening negotiations
with the United States upon the basis of a return to the Union by
the States of the Confederacy; that he did not give the notice at
the instance or under the instruction of the committee, but upon his
own responsibility. The notice was received in such a manner that he
never offered his resolution."

I never saw the paper from which the foregoing quotation is made,
and was a stranger to this passage of Mr. Graham's life until within
the last forty days. I read it with a feeling of profound relief.
I have ever regarded him from my earliest years, with the warmest
admiration and the most affectionate respect; but his failure, as
I thought, to take some action looking to peace after the Hampton
Roads conference--when the plainest dictates of humanity so clearly
demanded it--left upon my mind the painful impression that he had
been wanting to himself in that, the most important, crisis of his
life. There is a deep-seated conviction that the blood which was
shed after that conference might have been saved. That the waste of
the fruits of past centuries of toil--a waste which consigned so
many of the present and future generations to want and misery--might
have been avoided. It is with gratitude I reflect that not a tittle
of responsibility for this bloodshed and waste lay at his door.
And when the inevitable hour came to him, I doubt not the thought
that he had done what he could to arrest a war attended with such
terrible and useless sacrifice, was one of the sweetest reflections
of his whole life.

Congress adjourned about the 16th day of March. Impressed with
the imminence of the emergency, Mr. Graham stopped but one day at
home--that day being the Sabbath--and on Monday proceeded to Raleigh
to confer with the Governor. The conference was long and earnest.
Mr. Graham laid before the Governor the views of the President, the
state of the armies, and earnestly recommended that the Legislature
should be convened. He sustained his advice by the opinion of
General Lee, and that of many good and able men with whom he had
been associated. He ended by telling him that Richmond would fall
in less than thirty days, and that event would be followed probably
by a rout or dispersion of General Lee's army for want of food, if
for no other cause. The Governor was surprised by his statement
of facts, and incredulous in some degree as to his conclusions.
He agreed to consider the subject, and convened the Council on
that day week. Hearing nothing of their action, in a few days Mr.
Graham visited Raleigh again. The Governor informed him that on the
day appointed, a bare quorum of the Council attended, and being
equally divided, he had not summoned the Legislature. He said that
Mr. Gilmer, with whom Mr. Graham had advised him to consult, had
suggested to him to solicit an interview with General Sherman on
the subject of peace. Mr. Graham remarked that if such an interview
were held, Mr. Davis should be apprised of it. To this the Governor
at once assented. Mr. Graham suggested further that if that course
were taken, he (the Governor) should be in a condition to act
independently of the President, and convene the Legislature. To this
proposition the Governor manifested reluctance; but finally agreed
to call the Council of State again. But while negotiation halted,
the march of General Sherman's army decided events. In a few days
no resource was left but an unconditional surrender. With the part
borne by Mr. Graham at that trying time, a gifted authoress of North
Carolina has made the public already familiar in the captivating
pages of her work, _The Last Ninety Days of the War_.

There is no part of Mr. Graham's life in which the calm wisdom, for
which he was so distinguished, shone more conspicuously than in the
closing months of the civil war. When independence was demonstrated
to be hopeless, he sought peace; but even then, only in channels
admitted to be in accordance with the great principles of our

In his opinion, that peace ought to be sought by the State after
the failure of the conference at Hampton Roads, he was sustained
by our entire delegation in Congress, and a large proportion of
the leading citizens of the State. Yet so anxious was he not only
to avoid any appearance of conflict among the Confederate States,
but to conform to all that the most punctilious deference for the
Confederate Government might require, that he did not move in the
matter until after a conference with the President, and then only
in the track pointed out by him. The President disclaimed all
power of making a treaty, which would abrogate the Government,
and declared that the "States alone, each acting in its sovereign
capacity, could make such a treaty." In the line of action here
indicated the State could not be put in a false position; nay, her
honor would be put beyond all cavil. It was known that we had no
power to arrest General Sherman's march. General Johnston confronted
him, and all felt convinced that whatever his great military genius
could accomplish would be done. But it was also known that his
gallant army was outnumbered six to one. A surrender in a few days
would be inevitable. Burning capitals, desolated homes, famine and
destruction of life, followed Sherman's march. Was it not worth
the effort to put a stop to such frightful calamities? What Mr.
Graham urged was that the people might be allowed to determine their
fate for themselves. Such a course was in strict conformity to the
fundamental principles of our Government. A convention of seven
Governors had precipitated the war when peace counsels seemed to be
in the ascendant. Was not Mr. Graham justified in the opinion that
executive powers which had been so destructively exerted in the
beginning, might be beneficently exerted in the end?

In an address delivered by Governor Vance before the Southern
Historical Society, at White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, August
18th, 1875, occurs the following statement:

"Soon after the failure of the Fortress Monroe or Hampton Roads
conference, I was visited by Governor Graham (whose death we
so recently deplore) who was then a Senator of the Confederate
States. After giving all the particulars of that conference which
had not appeared in the papers, and the prevailing impressions
of congressional circles, about Richmond, etc., he informed me
that a number of leading gentlemen there, despairing of obtaining
peace through Mr. Davis, and believing the end inevitable and not
distant, had requested him to visit me and urge me, as Governor
of North Carolina, to take steps for making separate peace with
Mr. Lincoln, and thus inaugurate the conclusion; that he agreed
to lay their request before me without promising to add his
personal advice thereto. I asked who those gentlemen were, and,
with some reluctance, he gave me their names, chiefly Senators and
Representatives in the Confederate Congress. I asked why these
gentlemen did not begin negotiations in their own States with the
enemy, and if they would come out in the papers with this request
to me. He said they could not take the initiative, they were so
surrounded at home, and so trammeled by pledges, etc., as to render
it impossible! I declined the proposition of course."

It is with reluctance that I advert to this statement. Had it been
given to the press with a sponsor less entitled to consideration,
I should have been disposed to let it float with the tide. But it
presents itself under imposing circumstances; it proceeds from one
who, at the time referred to, was at, the head of the government
in North Carolina; it is contained in an address made before a
society whose object it is to preserve the memorials of that time.
The statement thus passes into history. It will not be waived. It
peremptorily challenges attention.

[Mr. McGehee here enters into a rather labored argument to show
that Vance was mistaken; it would have been sufficient simply to
have published Graham's letter to Swain, written shortly after the
conversation, and therefore a better exponent of what actually took
place. It appears that Graham as Confederate Senator had far better
means of knowing the real condition of the Confederacy than Vance
had, and he, doubtless, as was his duty, gave him the whole truth.
Even without the vindication of his letter, I should be very slow
to believe that he ever advised Vance on his own responsibility
to undertake separate negotiations with the enemy. For the
consideration of a matter so delicate, serious, and dangerous,
doubtless, he, as well as Vance, would wish the assembled wisdom of
the State. And what he really advised, as his letter shows, was to
call the Legislature together, so that, in secret session, upon full
information, it might consider if the State and the several States
of the Confederacy should as States make any propositions to the

After the Hampton Roads conference he had no longer any hope of
a peaceful solution through the action of President Davis; from
thenceforth he turned his thoughts to the accomplishment of the
same end through the action of the States. The subject is often
recurred to, but not an intimation can be found of any plan, except
that of the States acting in conjunction. Very soon united action
on the part of all became an impossibility; conquering armies had
dismembered the Confederacy--had left indeed but two States that
could act in concert. But his plan still embraced these two. March
26th, he writes as follows to Governor Swain: "I went to Raleigh to
have an interview with the Governor on the subject-matter referred
to in your letter. The result was a convocation of the Council of
State to assemble to-morrow. The Legislature of Virginia has taken
a recess until the 29th instant, and I think it very important that
that of North Carolina should be in session as early as possible.
The war is now nearly reduced to a contest between these two
States and the United States!" In his letter of the 8th of April,
which contains, as I think has been shown, the true account of the
interview between Mr. Graham and Governor Vance, Mr. Graham says:
"I told him I should attend the session of the General Assembly,
and, if desired, would address them in secret session; that I
had confidential conversations with a committee of the Virginia
Legislature, which had taken a recess for ten days, and that it was
important to act in concert with that body."

The surrender left the State under the control of the Federal
generals and under the military law. According to the theory of the
administration, all civil government had ceased; all the offices
were vacant. The government, for a time, was such as a conquering
army administers in a subjugated country. At length, to inaugurate
a civil government the precedent for the admission of territories
was partially adopted. A provisional Governor was appointed with
power to call a convention. In execution of his powers the Governor
made appointments to the vacant offices and issued a call for a
convention. Mr. Graham was nominated for the convention; but it
being announced by the executive, that persons unpardoned would not
be allowed to take their seats, he withdrew from the canvass.

A constitution--the old constitution with some alterations--was
adopted. Mr. Graham opposed its ratification. From his action
at this time many of his best friends dissented. They admitted
with him that a convention called, not by the people, but by a
power _ab extra_ and under limitations of suffrage unknown to the
constitution, was an anomaly in American institutions. But certain
changes were regarded as inevitable after the war, and, if the
administration, then wielding supreme power over us, should rest
satisfied with the changes thus made, it was conceived by them
to be the wiser course to raise no question as to the manner in
which the convention was called. But in Mr. Graham's view many of
the ablest men in the State concurred, and the constitution was
defeated. Certainly it seems more in accordance with the spirit of
a great patriot to make continual claim, even if ineffectual, in
behalf of the principles of government established by our fathers.
Any mitigation which an abandonment of those principles might have
obtained would have been but temporary; the principles themselves
were for all time.

The Reconstruction measures were now passed. The former government
was swept away. The whole power over the question of suffrage,
that question which lies at the foundation of all representative
government, and which, under the old constitution belonged to the
States, save that Congress might pass uniform naturalization laws,
was assumed and exercised by Congress. Suffrage was adjusted upon
a new basis; all the black race was enfranchised, and a large
portion of the white race was disfranchised. Under this adjustment,
a new convention was called, and a new constitution adopted, the
constitution under which we now live.

These measures, so extreme in their nature, were regarded while they
were yet in progress by a large part of our people with a feeling
little short of consternation. The government seemed wholly changed;
the constitution irrevocably wrenched, if not destroyed. A profound
apathy fell upon the minds of the people. A vast number ceased to
take any cognizance of public affairs. They seemed to regard them,
as removed forever beyond their control. In this state of things a
convention of the conservative party of North Carolina was called.
It met on the 5th of February, 1868, in Tucker Hall, in the city of
Raleigh, and was presided over by Mr. Graham, who made the principal
speech of the occasion.

The effect of this speech cannot be estimated. It aroused the people
from their despondency; it animated them to new efforts; it went
further, it infused into them the spirit with which the speech
itself was instinct. From that day the Conservative-Democratic
party dates its existence in this State as a regularly organized
party; within a short time thereafter it gained possession of the
Legislature and has held it to the present time.

The Convention of 1865 had directed that the Legislature should
be convened. An election was accordingly held and the Legislature
met in the winter of that year. Mr. Graham was unanimously elected
for the county of Orange, but, being unpardoned he did not offer
to take his seat. It was the universal desire of the people that
he should represent the State in the Senate of the United States,
when restored to its old relations. It was felt that North Carolina
had no one more competent to vindicate her action or represent her
interests. It was felt that she had no one who, by his balanced
judgment, his temperance of feeling, his urbane bearing, would do
more to mitigate the asperities which had been provoked by civil
strife. He was elected by a large majority. Upon his election he
repaired to Washington and presented his credentials. They were laid
upon the table. He presented to the Senate a manly and respectful
memorial; but he was never permitted to take his seat. The spectacle
presented by the exclusion from public affairs of a man of his
antecedents, while so many who had an active agency in bringing on
civil strife had been promoted to high station, arrested attention
everywhere. Many of the most eminent men in the Northern States used
their best efforts for the removal of his disabilities, without
effect. Political persecution, set on foot by parties in his own
State, pursued him until it was placed beyond all human probability
that he should ever enjoy the honors for which the State had
destined him. When that had become a certainty, to wit, in 1873, his
disabilities were removed. What reflections arise, as we recur to
this passage of his life! Mr. Graham had clung to the Constitution
until the rising tide of secession had flowed around and completely
insulated his State; to this ancient ark of our fathers he again
clung when after the war the waves of political enthusiasm inundated
the country and the constitution. Yet he was left stranded, while
many of those who had fanned the tempests of both found secure
anchorage. But we look beyond to-day. The things seen are temporal
in more senses than one. The impartial tribunal of posterity rises
up before us. Then, when the actors of to-day are weighed in even
scales; when the influence of passion and prejudice is unknown, then
will the consistent devotion to principle, by which his conduct was
always actuated, receive its due meed of admiration and applause.

In the year 1875--upon the 4th of February--he presided over a
meeting held in Charlotte to take steps for the proper celebration
of the centennial of the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence.
Some writers of ability had seized upon that event, and in that
spirit of historical skepticism so rife in our days, had undertaken,
out of a few minor discrepancies, to deny the genuineness of the
Declaration, or that any meeting was held on the 20th of May. Mr.
Graham had been often solicited to place that event upon its proper
basis. He had heard it often talked of at his father's fire-side;
he knew all the traditions connected with it; he had known and
talked with many of the subscribers of that declaration; he was well
acquainted with public opinion regarding it, in that section where
the event occurred, down to the date of its publication in 1820.
For a long time motives of delicacy, growing out of his connection
with some of the principal actors, restrained him. But at that time,
all the actors had passed away; they could no longer be heard; and
a just regard for their fame urged his acquiescence. He embodied
his vindication in the form of an address which he delivered on
this occasion. No fair synopsis of that address is possible; it is
a solid, compact argument which would be greatly impaired by any
attempt at abridgment. Let it suffice to say that the evidence is
arrayed in the spirit of the philosophical historian, and with the
skill of a lawyer. It will not put to silence the mere caviller;
no amount of evidence will, on this or any other subject; but the
candid inquirer will rise from its perusal with the conviction
that few events in history rest upon a firmer foundation than the
Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence.

Mr. Graham left behind many literary essays, but none which were
prompted by mere desire for literary distinction. His efforts of
this kind were all the result of passing events; all the fruit
of hours snatched from an absorbing profession. Yet if collected
together they would form a considerable volume; and if we consider
their contents they give a high idea of the intellect which could
find its relaxation in such labors. The dominant feeling of his life
was loyalty to the State and her institutions; hence the subjects
usually selected by him were drawn from her history.

Among these was a lecture delivered at Greensboro, in 1860. The
citizens of that section of country, of which Greensboro is the
centre, contemplated the erection of a monument to commemorate the
services of General Greene in the Revolutionary struggle. This
lecture was delivered in aid of the enterprise, and embraced a life
of Greene and a history of Revolutionary events in this State. A
copy was solicited for publication, but from some cause it was never
published. It remains in manuscript, full and entire, as if prepared
for the press. Here may be mentioned two Memorial Addresses--the one
upon the life and character of Hon. George E. Badger, and the other
of Hon. Thomas Ruffin.

This record would be most imperfect did it fail to bring into the
most prominent relief the services of Mr. Graham in his office of
trustee of the University. He regarded the University as the best
ornament of the State, and no one of all its sons nursed it with a
more devoted or wiser care. He attended all its commencements, and
was most active in watching over all its interests. No one labored
with more zeal for its restoration to the control of the true sons
of the State. For many years he was a member of the executive
committee, and at the time of his death he was the chairman of that
committee. It was to him, finally, that Governor Swain, in the last
years of his successful administration, looked for direction and
support in all its trials and embarrassments.

"It is not unusual for men of eminence," said Judge Story,
"after having withdrawn from the bar to find it difficult, if
not impracticable, to resume their former rank in business." Mr.
Graham experienced no such difficulty. Though often called from
his profession to public station, at the first court at which he
appeared after his term of office expired, he was retained in all
important causes, and business flowed in upon him thenceforth as
if he had never been absent. In common with all the people of the
South, his resources had been somewhat impaired by the war, and
when civil government was restored he resumed the practice of his
profession with more than his wonted ardor. He returned to all the
courts of his former circuit, the business of which had greatly
increased by the general settlement of all previous transactions
which took place after the war. The business of the circuit and
district courts--both of which he regularly attended--had been
greatly enlarged by the new system of revenue laws and other changes
introduced by the war, but, above all, by the bankrupt laws then
recently enacted. These with appeals to the Supreme Court of the
State, and appeals to the Supreme Court of the United States,
increased his labors, protracted his absences from home, and left
him few intervals for repose. It was felt by his friends that he
was overtaxing his strength by these great exertions, but there was
no abatement of his energies until about a year before his death.
Symptoms then appeared which inspired deep apprehensions. It seemed
but too certain that disease had fixed itself upon some of the
great organs of life. He now gave up attendance upon courts, but
still watched over the progress of his causes, and labored in the
preparation of briefs--the causes themselves being argued by his
son, Maj. Graham. He was preëminently a worker and he continued to
work to the end. At length the symptoms became more distressing,
and he repaired to Philadelphia to consult the eminent physicians
of that city. The result confirmed the opinion before entertained
that his malady was disease of the heart. Upon his return home he
continued his labors in his office. It was only under physical
exertion that his malady gave him trouble; when in repose he was
capable of as great mental efforts as ever.

At this period of comparative inaction that fortunate destiny which
presided over his life was constant to him still. The pain, which
was incident to his malady, was only felt at intervals, and then was
not severe. Apart from this, there was every possible compensation.
Besides the department of professional labor still left to him,
he had the boundless resources of literature, ancient and modern,
which in the busiest periods of his life he had always cultivated
and justly prized. Every day, moreover, brought to him in the visits
of friends, or through the mails, in newspapers and letters, some
new testimonial of esteem and regard, public or private. But above
any and all of these, he could now enjoy without interruption those
pleasures, in which, amidst his most brilliant successes, he ever
found his chief happiness, the pleasures of home and its sweet

Mr. Graham had been nominated by acclamation by the people of Orange
for the constitutional convention which sat in September, 1875, but
the state of his health rendered it impossible for him to undergo
the labors of the canvass. This was not needed on his own account,
but his absence from the hustings was regretted on account of the
convention cause. He published, however, a strong address to his
constituents; which was widely circulated, and had an important
influence on the result.

A meeting of the commissioners to determine the boundary between
Virginia and Maryland had been arranged to take place at Saratoga
Springs, in the State of New York, in the month of August, 1875.
Thither Mr. Graham accordingly went, accompanied by Mrs. Graham
and his youngest son. For many days he appeared to be in his usual
health; but a great change was at hand. After an evening spent with
his friends, whose society he enjoyed with more than his wonted
zest, he retired a little beyond his accustomed hour. Soon after
the symptoms of his disease recurred in aggravated form. Physicians
were summoned who ministered promptly, but ineffectually. Meantime
the news of his situation spread, and messages of inquiry and offers
of personal services testified to the general and deep concern.
But all that science and the most affectionate solicitude could
suggest proved unavailing. He expired at 6 o'clock on the morning of
Wednesday, the 11th of August, 1875.

It had long been believed, by those who knew him best, that
Mr. Graham was at heart a Christian. It is with inexpressible
gratification, I am able to add, that when approached on this
subject during the last days of his life, he freely expressed his
hope of salvation through our crucified Redeemer.

The intelligence of his death was transmitted by telegraph to every
part of the country. All the great journals responded with leading
articles expressive of the national bereavement. Numerous meetings
were held--meetings of the bar, meetings of citizens, meetings of
political opponents, for political enemies he had none--to give
their estimate of the illustrious deceased, and to speak their
sense of his loss. The States of Virginia and Maryland, with that
high sense of delicacy which marks all their public acts, took care
that the remains of one who had stood in such honored relations to
each, should be conveyed with due honor across their bounds. At the
borders of our State they were received by a committee appointed
by the bar of Raleigh, by a committee appointed by the mayor and
common council of that city, and by a committee from Hillsborough,
and were conveyed by special train to Raleigh. There they were
received by appointed committees--by the Raleigh Light Infantry, by
the Raleigh Light Artillery (of both of which companies he was an
honorary member), by the United States troops from Camp Russell,
and accompanied by a great concourse of the citizens, conveyed to
the capital. There the remains were deposited in the rotunda, which
was draped in mourning for the occasion. Late in the afternoon of
the same day they were conveyed with similar ceremonies to the
central station. From thence, attended by the Raleigh companies,
and by special guards of honor, appointed by cities and towns of
the State, and by the family of the deceased, they were conveyed by
special train to the station at Hillsborough. From thence they were
escorted, with the addition of the whole population of the town, to
his mansion, where they lay in state till the noon of Sunday, the
15th. At that hour they were conveyed to the Presbyterian Church,
and, after appropriate funeral services, were interred with solemn
ceremony, amid an immense concourse, gathered from many counties, in
the graveyard of that church.

The place which will be awarded him in the rank of orators will not
be the highest. Indeed at oratorical effects, purely as such, he
never aimed. There is no doubt but that he might have employed the
resources of oratory, other than the very highest, to a much greater
extent than he did. All who have heard him in capital trials, and on
other occasions when great interests were at stake, were persuaded
that he possessed reserved resources of this kind to which he did
not give play, and which he could have called into requisition
at will. That he refrained was matter of deliberate judgment. He
preferred to address himself to the understanding. He relied wholly
upon argument, disdaining the adjuncts of mere rhetoric. He knew
that the triumphs of reason are more durable than those which are
the offspring of excited feeling. Reaction and change follow the
latter; the former leave full, permanent conviction.

As a parliamentary speaker and as an advocate he stood in the first
rank. His style was that which finds so much favor among eminent
English statesmen, that style in which the results of thought
and research are given with the warmth and ease of animated and
unpremeditated conversation.

In addition to his high intellectual endowments, nature had to him
been profuse in external gifts. In person he was the ideal of the
patrician. His features, regular and classic in their outline, would
have satisfied a sculptor. The habitual expression of his face was
one of blended thought, refinement and quiet will. His form was
noble and commanding; cast, indeed, in nature's finest mould. These
advantages were set off by a dress always scrupulously neat, and
sufficiently conformed to the prevailing mode to escape observation.
The advantages, thus slightly touched upon, were singularly
calculated to impress favorably the mind of any audience. If we
add that he appeared before every audience with the prestige of a
character, which calumny itself would own to be without a blemish,
the causes of his uniform success are easy to discern.

He possessed in many respects the temperament of a great commander.
As difficulties thickened around him his courage seemed to rise,
and his resources to develop. No man ever fought a losing cause
with more courage and constancy. When in important cases the tide
of testimony unexpectedly turned and flowed dead against him there
was nothing in his look or manner that betrayed the change. His
attention would be redoubled, but in all else there was so much
of calm composure that lookers-on, inattentive to the evidence,
have left the court house under the impression that he would gain
the cause. He preserved, under all circumstances in the trial of
causes, the lofty tenor of his bearing. He was never betrayed into
an altercation with witnesses. It may be that awe of his character,
and a consciousness of his practiced sagacity and penetration
constrained witnesses, when in his hands, to an unwonted utterance
of the truth. This impression may have been assisted, and probably
was, by the fairness and integrity observable in his whole
bearing. But whatever the cause, it is certain he never resorted
to boisterous tones or a browbeating manner. Equally removed was
his manner from all the arts of cajolery. In his examination of
the most refractory witness his mien was calm, his look observant
and penetrating, his voice never or but slightly raised above
its ordinary tone. In such a contest, the contest between acute,
disciplined reason, and cunning or obstinate knavery, the victory
was always on the side of the former.

In his moral constitution he was complete on every side. All his
conduct in life was regulated not only by the highest sense of
honor, but by the most scrupulous sense of duty. This supreme sense
of duty in everything that he did, whether great or small, was his
distinguishing characteristic. From his cradle to his grave not
a shadow of a shade ever rested upon him. Esteeming a stainless
character as the highest of all earthly possessions, he exercised
the most scrupulous caution in his judgment of others. Few men were
more often in the public arena. He took part in all the political
canvasses of his time; in many of which partisan feeling was
inflamed to the highest pitch. Yet he never assailed the motives of
his opponent and never left any feeling of personal injury rankling
in his bosom. He always contended for principle, and disdained to
use any argument which reason would not sanction.

In debate he was a model of candor, and whoever might be his
opponent he would always accept Mr. Graham's statement of his
position. In all his intellectual conflicts, whether at the bar,
on the hustings or in the Senate, under no provocation was he ever
excited to an unseemly exhibition of temper. "Although," said a
gentleman of high distinction, who knew him long and well (Hon. S.
F. Phillips), "I have been present at the bar, and upon other public
occasions when he must have been greatly tried, I have never seen
his countenance degraded by an expression of passion. His look may
at times have been stern and high, but at all times it could with
advantage have been committed to marble or canvas."

It was the opinion of that eminent lawyer, Archibald Henderson, that
public men should mingle much with the people--that there is to be
found the true school of common sense. Either because he held the
same opinion, but more probably from inclination, his intercourse
with the people was constant and cordial. When in attendance on his
courts it was his custom when the day was fine to repair, after the
adjournment of court, to the portico of his hotel, or the lawn in
front of it, and sit for an hour or two. This was often his custom
after the evening meal, usually served in his circuit at hours
primitively early. Here he became the centre of a group of citizens
all of whom he received with courtesy. The talk on such occasions
was free and general; and, whatever the topic, he listened to their
views with attention, and in turn frankly gave his own. Thus his
information in regard to all matters of general interest was minute
and particular. It was thus, too, that he became informed as to the
current opinion in regard to public men and public measures. This
intimate knowledge of the people was one of the great sources of his
strength; it rendered his judgment of the probable fate of State and
national questions of great value. His judgment upon such matters,
in the counties in which his circuit lay, was almost infallible.

In his social relations Mr. Graham was one of the most attractive of
men. Few had so wide a circle of friends, or friends so attached.
His manner to all men was urbane; to his friends cordial and
sincere. There was, except to a very few, and at times even to
them, a shade of reserve in his manners; but there was nothing
of pride; nothing expressive of conscious superiority. There was
great dignity, tempered by unfailing courtesy. Perhaps this tinge
of reserve made his subsequent unbending the more agreeable. In
his social hours, in the long winter evenings at court, with the
circle gathered around the blazing hearth--it is as he was then
seen that his friends love best to recall him. For many years there
met together at one of his courts a number of gentlemen of high
intellectual gifts and attainments. These were Hon. Robert Gilliam,
Hon. Abram W. Venable, the present Judge of the Seventh Circuit,
and others less known. With such men there was no need that any
limitations should be imposed on the conversation. Except in the
field of exact science they were very much at home in all. The
conversation ranged wide, law, cases in court, history, biography,
politics--largely interspersed with anecdotes--formed the topics.

The moral dignity of man never received a higher illustration than
in the life before us. We admire the pure patriot in whose thoughts
the State--her weal and her glory--was ever uppermost; the learned
jurist who, from his ample stores informed, moulded the laws of his
own commonwealth; the eloquent advocate who stood always ready to
redress the wrong, whether of the individual or the community at
large; the wise statesman who swayed the destinies of his State more
than any of his generation. But we render the unfeigned homage of
the heart to him, who by the majesty of his moral nature, passed
pure and unsullied through the wide circle of trials and conflicts
embraced in his life; and who, in his death, has left a fame that
will be an incentive and a standard to the generous youth of North
Carolina through all the ages that are to come.

       *       *       *       *       *

The foregoing sketch is the main body of a memorial address on the
"Life and Character of Governor Graham," delivered in Raleigh before
the bench and bar of the Supreme Court, June 8, 1876.

Much of it has been omitted; for, while it was a labor of love (and
there is much labor in it), it is too long for the scope of this
work. If Mr. McGehee's power of condensation had been equal to his
zeal and to his admiration and knowledge of Governor Graham's life
and work this memorial would have been monumental.

As it stands now in its original form, or even as abridged in this
book, in spite of some just criticisms which could be made against
its style and method, it is an example of industry to those who seek
to collect and preserve the facts which illustrate the lives of
distinguished North Carolinians.

Who now, after the lapse of twenty years, could and would write
this life? Who has done a similar service in respect to the lives of
Mangum, Pearson, and others perhaps equally worthy?

Mr. McGehee's sketch is, however, rather a panegyric. No great
man needs to be bolstered up with compliments, and praise cannot
preserve mediocrity from oblivion.

Nothing better illustrates the defects of Southern education than
the glittering generalities with which we would whitewash our
distinguished dead--as if they needed it--or as if flattery could
"soothe the dull, cold ear of death." We must show, rather than
say, our great men are great, and for this purpose works are more
effectual than words. By their fruits ye shall know them.

[Illustration: BARTHOLOMEW F. MOORE.]



A great lawyer, a cherished and distinguished citizen having fallen
in our midst, in obedience to an honored custom, we turn aside from
the ordinary pursuits and ambitions to pay this sad tribute to our
illustrious brother.

Bartholomew Figures Moore having passed the age allotted to man by
the Psalmist, in the midst of his friends and kindred, departed this
life in the city of Raleigh, November 27, A. D. 1878. He was the son
of a Revolutionary soldier, and born at the family residence near
Fishing Creek in Halifax county, January 29, 1801.

Having prepared himself for college, he entered the University of
the State in 1818, and in 1820 graduated with honor in a class of
recognized ability.

Leaving the University, Mr. Moore read law with Hon. Thomas N. Mann,
an able and distinguished lawyer of Nash county. After obtaining
his license he entered upon the practice of his profession at the
then flourishing village of Nashville, the county seat. His success
for some years was not by any means flattering, yet the first five
hundred dollars he received from his professional services he
expended in traveling and familiarizing himself with his country.

In December, 1828, he married Louisa, a daughter of George Boddie,
Esq., of Nash county, who lived only until the 4th of November,
1829. In April, 1835, he married Lucy W., likewise a daughter of
George Boddie, who, having witnessed and shared his toils and
triumphs, survives him, blessed with a large and estimable family.

He returned, in 1835, to Halifax, his native county, and while
pursuing his profession, was elected successively to the House of
Commons from 1836 to 1844, with the exception of 1838, when he was
defeated in consequence of having voted to give State aid to the
Wilmington and Weldon Railroad Company, of which he was a warm
friend and an able advocate.

He was appointed Attorney-General of the State in 1848, and, upon
the convening of the General Assembly in December, elected to the
same position. This office he continued to hold and fill with
great acceptability until he resigned it in consequence of being
appointed a commissioner to revise the statute law of the State. To
him was assigned the principal labor of arranging the matter and
superintending the publication of the _Revised Code_.

While ample success crowned his professional career in Halifax
county, yet in 1848 he removed to Raleigh, where he resided till the
time of his death. Bringing with him his well-established reputation
for research and ability, he continued to command an extended and
lucrative practice in this and other parts of the State.

Mr. Moore early secured a high reputation as an able and profound
lawyer by an elaborate brief in the celebrated case of the _State_
vs. _Will_, a slave (_1 Devereux and Battle's Law_). It was a
case that awakened a general and profound interest throughout the
country and settled the true relations between master and slave in
our State. It recognized the right of the slave to defend himself
against the assaults of his master in the preservation of his own
life. It is reserved to but few of the profession to so impress
their views upon the courts, in advance of public opinion, and to
prepare so admirable a collocation of the law and to establish so
durable a reputation upon any one case.

Mr. Moore was a close and painstaking student; reluctant to appear
in any case without careful preparation; yet when he entered the
combat, the rich and fertile resources of his well-stored mind
clearly manifested that nothing rusted in his intellectual armory.

His mind was logical, his manner forcible, his ideas, without
undue ornamentation, were clothed in strong and graphic language.
He seized at once the strong points of his case, and pressed them
with skill and sagacity. Possessed of a strong mind and robust
constitution, he was a fine exemplification of the _mens sana in
corpore sano_.

In politics he was a Whig, and admired a strong and stable
government; an ardent lover of civil liberty, he watched with
jealousy all legislation tending to encroach upon the guaranteed
rights of the citizen.

A bold and avowed Union man, while the States were engaged in an
unremitting and unrelenting civil war, his high character and
recognized integrity secured him, even amidst the clash of arms,
a respectful hearing, for it was known that he sympathized with
his own people in their unequal conflict, and that often his hasty
expressions were the result of deep convictions. Recognized as a
pronounced and outspoken Unionist, it was but natural that he should
be sought for and consulted by the President of the United States at
the termination of the war.

His respect, however, for the constitutional limitations of the
General Government compelled him to oppose the whole reconstruction
policy, for he was incapable of yielding to the intrigues of the
politician or the subservient traffic of a mere placeman.

He was a leading member of the State convention called by the
President, and ably advocated the adoption of all such measures
as were proclaimed as indispensably necessary to a rehabilitation
of the State, believing that wise statesmanship required an early
submission to the demands of the General Government.

Reared in a conservative school of politics, and devotedly attached
to his State and the high character of her judiciary, he ever looked
with distrust upon the election of judges for short terms and by
popular ballot as an alarming inroad.

As a citizen, to the poor he was liberal and unostentatious, to his
equals, frank and manly, to all, kind and just.

That he had his faults, none will deny; he was impatient of
contradiction, at times impetuous and irascible, yet these were
but the natural emotions of an ardent and sanguine temperament,
and while they tended to obscure, did not infect those true and
excellent qualities which lay beneath the surface.

He lived literally within the Augustan age of the profession in our
State. With a Gaston, Daniel, and Ruffin on the bench, the logical
and versatile Badger, the strong and rugged Saunders, the able,
astute Haywood and their illustrious compeers as rivals at the bar,
it is praise enough to say that he was ever equal to the emergency
of any occasion.

He was the wisest man I ever knew. At his decease and almost for his
whole life, though filling only a private station, he had come to be
recognized as a distinct and efficient moral power in regulating the
social and political welfare of the State. He lived almost to the
utmost limit of the span allotted by the Psalmist to man. Satisfied
with only some very brief honorable rest in extreme old age, he
spent all these years of his life in active, unremitting, assiduous
labor, and finished his career without a taint upon his honor or a
stain upon his reputation. His life covers many epochs in our State
and national history, and among them, the most solemn and imperative
political crisis through which State and nation have yet passed. For
forty years he was a leader in the legal profession, and for perhaps
a quarter of a century he was the very head of the bar--_facile
princeps_. Of all the gentlemen who composed the Raleigh bar, when
I was first admitted to practice, he was the last relict--Badger,
the two Busbees, Husted, Jones, Manly, Mariott, Miller, Rogers,
Saunders, Sheppard, are all gone, sunk down--down with the tumult
they made!

His thorough and life-long devotion to the enforcement of the laws
preserving civil liberty, distinguished him among his fellows. No
circumstances of danger--no allurements of ambition--no fear of
consequences--no regard for himself, his family, his fortune, his
future--no specious arguments of expediency ever tempted him upon
any occasion to refrain from boldly and perseveringly, in public and
in private, urging and enforcing his objections, whenever, wherever
and in whatsoever form the liberty of the humblest citizen was
threatened or invaded.

For solid wisdom, penetrating foresight, invariable sagacity, he had
no peer, and he has left behind none like him. He had nothing but
observation, reason and a sense of duty to guide him, and these he
obeyed under trials and temptations which it is to be hoped, for the
sake of public virtue, are not to become common. In the presence of
such manly, unselfish, heroic virtue, I uncover my head and put the
shoes from off my feet and lift up my heart to God in thankfulness
for the example of this His faithful soldier and servant. According
to his lights he did his duty--a hard and painful duty it was, and
the event has proved that his lights were as true as the sun in
heaven. Every man is to be judged, so far as human judgment is to be
passed upon him at all, by the tenor of the motives which actuated
him, and to which the main current of his life responded. Judged by
this standard his course with reference to the late social war must
command admiration even of those who most earnestly condemned his

I do not think Mr. Moore had genius, but his talents were great, his
will imperative, his industry unbounded, and his habit of methodical
and exhaustive analysis unequaled. He had no great oratorical gifts,
except to those cultivated minds to which lucidity of arrangement
and logical presentation of a subject are most pleasing and
convincing. Even his voice when addressing an audience was harsh
and unmusical. But he was the most successful lawyer we had, and I
remember watching his mode of managing a cause with admiration and
wonder, and studying it, as the most perfect model within my reach.
In this respect his professional skill and acumen were, and to the
very end continued to be, unapproachable.

On a more favorable occasion it is to be hoped that some person
well qualified for the task will lay before the profession a full,
critical and careful history and examination of some of the numerous
great causes in which he appeared and his arguments therein; in
one or the other of which, as I verily believe, is exhibited every
variety of intellectual excellence demanded for the elucidation
and application of law in the courts of justice. His briefs in the
_State_ vs. _Will_, _Moye_ vs. _May_, and _Walton_ vs. _Gatling_ are
all models; each one has its distinct method and discloses a special

During the period I knew him, which extended through a quarter of
a century, I never knew him to make a mistake of judgment. I do
not mean that he never, upon some passing matter, erred in act or
opinion, but in great crises when the waters of revolution were out
and the files of political experience furnished no precedent for
guidance--when all was on the hazard and he was called upon to use
his wisdom in suggesting the best means applicable to the production
of the best results, in predicting what results must follow from
one course of action or another--he was almost infallible--his
predictions were prophecies. His bare opinions had come to have in
this community the weight of actual knowledge. "He was a man, take
him for all in all, I shall not look upon his like again."

And in this connection let me say one word of a single episode
in Mr. Moore's career, with which I have heard some thoughtless
persons find fault. I speak of his well known hostility to secession
and the Confederate cause. Surely those who impute blame to him
have not considered his motives, his opinions, his conduct. Mr.
Moore was by conviction a Federalist, both in politics and in the
construction which, as a lawyer, he gave to the Constitution of the
United States; he denied always, from first to last, the right of
secession; he thought the only safety for his people, for the State,
for the nation, for civil liberty even, was in the perpetuation
of the Union; with his far-seeing intellect he knew and foretold
the fierce struggle to come, the bloodshed, the evil passions, the
crime, the suffering which would accompany it, its failure, the
dreadful consequences, the perils to all civil liberty and all
rights of person and property which would result, many of which are
not yet past. He made no secret of his opinions and his feelings
at any time--he was constant, in season and out of season, in
proclaiming them from the housetops, and in endeavoring to convert
others to his views; to him the result--the failure--was always
present in all its shocking and useless reality; and when the good
opinion of his neighbors and friends (which he cherished as much as
any man) was at stake, and his liberty, his future, his reputation,
his very life, was on the hazard of a die--he yet stood steadfast as
the Northern Star--"Of whose true, fixed and resting quality there
is no fellow in the firmament."

Which of his faultfinders would have done as much under like
circumstances? Which one of us, I pray you, oh! hot-blooded
secessionists, Hebrew of the Hebrews, if we had had his prevision,
would have obeyed the dictates of our convictions and have exhibited
such courageous virtue?

But, in my opinion, the _Revised Code_ is the greatest monument
he has left of the excellent and rare endowments of his mind;
especially does it illustrate his profound knowledge of the written
law of North Carolina at the date of its preparation. Lord Coke said
of Littleton's treatise on _tenures_, "I affirm, and take upon me to
maintain, against all opposites whatsoever, that it is a work of as
absolute perfection in its kind, and as free from error, as any book
that I have ever known to be written of any human learning"; and I
venture to adopt his language as applicable to the _Revised Code_.
Its great and surpassing excellence can only be fully perceived and
appreciated by those who have studied it, and have long had occasion
to apply it practically. They will have seen that it is far more
than a bare compilation of statutes--far more than a codification
of existing acts of Assembly, but that it has amended and perfected
every such act in those particulars in which it has been proved
by experience to be imperfect. It indicates a profound and exact
knowledge of every principle which had been established, and every
decision which had then been made by our courts, and an exhaustive,
methodical analysis of the fundamental principles of the common law.

Having carefully arranged his affairs, and provided for the wife and
children whom he loved, and disposed of his great estate, he retired
to his chamber and folded his mantle about him to die as he had
lived, with decency. Weary and worn, perhaps disappointed, certainly
disenchanted, disillusioned of all the bright dreams of his green
manhood--let us follow him there: be ye sure that sacred chamber was
not haunted by memories of evil deeds, of sins that had sorrowfully
come home at nightfall--with hopes that had borne no fruit, with
resolves abandoned almost as soon as formed. His strength failed him
more and more; painlessly he sinks into the lethargy of approaching
death, while his children gather around his couch. What are the
last feeble syllables which they hear from the dying lips of this
gray-haired veteran--"I am tired now. I am going to my mother in

Perhaps he knew that there were some heavy items underscored
against him, but he also knew that the mercy of God can even outdo
the hope He gives us for token and keepsake. A greater and a grander
end, after a life of mark and power, might, to his early aspirations
and self-conscious strength, have seemed the bourne intended. If it
had befallen him--as but for himself it would have done--to appear
more actively in official life, where men are moved by ambition and
bold decision, his name would have been more famous in history--but
perhaps also better known to the devil. As it was, he lay there
dying, and was well content. The turbulence of his life was past,
the torrent and the eddy, the attempt at fore-reaching upon his age,
and the sense of impossibility, the strain of his mental muscles to
stir the "great dead trunks of orthodoxy"--and then, the self-doubt,
the chill, the depression which follow such attempts, as surely as
ague tracks the pioneer--thank God, all this was over now--the
violence gone--and the dark despair. Of all the good and evil
things which he had known and felt, but two yet dwelt in the feeble
heart--only two still showed their presence in his dying eyes and
words. Each of these two were good--if two indeed they were--faith
in the Heavenly Father, and love of the earthly children.

"When the young are stricken down, and their roses nipped in an hour
by the destroying blight, even the stranger can sympathize, who
counts the scant years on the gravestone, or reads the notice in
the newspaper corner. The contrast forces itself upon you. A fair
young creature, bright and blooming yesterday, distributing smiles,
levying homage, inspiring desire, conscious of her power to charm,
and gay with the natural enjoyment of her conquests--who, in his
walk through the world has not looked on many such a one; and, at
the notion of her sudden call away from beauty, triumph, pleasure,
her helpless outcries during her short pain, her vain pleas for a
little respite, her sentence and its execution, has not felt a shock
of pity? When the days of a long life come to their close, and a
white head sinks to rise no more, we bow our own with respect as
the mourning train passes, and salute the heraldry and devices of
yonder pomp, as symbols of age, wisdom, deserved respect, merited
honor--long experience of suffering and action. The wealth he has
achieved is the harvest he has sowed; the title on his hearse,
fruits of the field he bravely and laboriously wrought in. Around
his grave are unseen troops of mourners waiting; many and many a
poor pensioner trooping to the place; many weeping charities; many
kind actions; many dear friends beloved and deplored, rising up at
the toll of that bell to follow the honored hearse; dead parents
waiting above, and calling 'come son,' lost children, heaven's
foundlings, hovering around like cherubim, and whispering 'welcome,

"Here lies one who reposes after a long feast, where much love has
been; here slumbers, in patience and peace, a veteran, with all his
wounds in front, and not a blot on his scutcheon after fourscore
years of duty well done in the fierce and ceaseless campaign of

    "Oh, yet we trust that somehow good
      Will be the final goal of ill,
      To pangs of nature, sins of will,
    Defects of doubt, and taints of blood;

    "That nothing walks with aimless feet;
      That no one life shall be destroy'd,
      Or cast as rubbish to the void,
    When God hath made the pile complete;

    "That not a worm is cloven in vain;
      That not a moth with vain desire
      Is shrivel'd in a fruitless fire,
    Or but subserves another's gain.

    "Behold, we know not anything;
      I can but trust that good shall fall
      At last--far off--at last, to all,
    And every winter change to spring.

    "So runs my dream; but what am I?
      An infant crying in the night;
      An infant crying for the light;
    And with no language but a cry."

       *       *       *       *       *

This sketch is the best part of Mr. Haywood's address to the bench
and bar of Wake county, delivered shortly after Mr. Moore's death.
If he presents the character of his subject correctly, as far as he
goes, he does not make a complete sketch.

Mr. Haywood had the reputation of having more learning than
judgment, and his reading in law was very wide; he was not the man
to go into details and marshal the facts requisite for a perfect

Mr. Moore feared lest his fellow-countrymen should misjudge the
motives which made him a Union man during the war. He therefore
inserted in his will an _item_ which explains his views. No great
man is ever careless of what his people and their posterity may
think of his conduct. The records of his adopted county will safely
keep his eloquent words, and the originality of _his_ method of
preserving them will cause them to be republished from time to time.

Item 39 of Mr. Moore's will reads as follows:

"Prior to the late civil war I had been for more than thirty years
much devoted to investigating the nature and principles of our
Federal and State governments, and during that period, having been
several times profoundly exercised as to the true and lawful powers
of each--not as a politician, but as a citizen truly devoted to my
country--I was unable, under my conviction of the solomn duties of
patriotism, to give any excuse for or countenance to the Civil War
of 1861 without sacrificing all self-respect. My judgment was the
instructor of my conscience, and no man suffered greater misery than
did I as the scenes of battle unfolded the bloody carnage of war in
the midst of our homes. I had been taught under the deep conviction
of my judgment that there could be no reliable liberty of my State
without the union of the States, and being devoted to my State, I
felt that I should desert her whenever I should aid to destroy the
Union. I could not imagine a more terrible spectacle than that of
beholding the sun shining upon the broken and dishonored fragments
of States dissolved, discordant and belligerent, and on a land rent
with civil feuds and drenched in fraternal blood. With this horrible
picture of anarchy and blood looming up before my eyes, I could
not, as a patriot, consent to welcome its approach to my own native
land, and truly was I happy when I saw the sun of peace rising with
the glorious promise to shine once more on States equal and free,
honored and united. And although the promise has been long delayed
by an unwise policy, and I myself may never see the full-orbed sun
of liberty shine on my country and every part of it as once it did,
yet I have strong hopes that my countrymen will yet be blessed with
that glorious light."

The argument of Mr. Moore, or _brief_, as it is called, in the
_State_ vs. _Will_, is the best thing of the kind in the law books
of this State. I cannot prophesy much of a future in any field of
public service for that young man who shall fail to be impressed and
interested by this powerful production. I therefore give it entire.



The defendant was indicted for the murder of one Richard Baxter,
and on the trial before Judge Donnell, at Edgecombe, on the last
Circuit, the jury returned the following special verdict, viz.:

"That the prisoner, Will, was the property of James S. Battle, and
the deceased, Richard Baxter, was the overseer of said Battle, and
entrusted with the management of the prisoner at the time of the
commission of the homicide; that early in the morning of the 22d day
of January last, on which day the killing took place, the prisoner
had a dispute with slave Allen, who was likewise the property of
said Battle, and a foreman on the same plantation of which the
deceased was overseer; that the dispute between the prisoner and
the said Allen arose about a hoe which the former claimed to use
exclusively on the farm on account of his having helved it in his
own time; but which the latter directed another slave to use on
that day. That some angry words passed between the prisoner and
the foreman, upon which the prisoner broke out the helve, and went
off about one-fourth of a mile to his work, which was packing
cotton with a screw; that very soon after the dispute between the
prisoner and the foreman, the latter informed the deceased what
had occurred, who immediately went into his house; that while the
deceased was in his house, his wife was heard to say, 'I would
not, my dear,' to which he replied in a positive tone of voice, 'I
will'; that in a very short time after this the deceased came out
of his house to the place where the foreman was, and told him that
he, the deceased, was going after the prisoner, and directed the
foreman to take his cowhide and follow him at a distance; that the
deceased then returned into the house and took his gun, mounted his
horse and rode to the screw, a distance of about six hundred yards,
where the prisoner was at work; that the deceased came up within
twenty or twenty-five feet of the screw without being observed by
the prisoner; dismounted and hastily got over the fence into the
screw-yard; that the deceased, with his gun in his hand, walked
directly to the box on which the prisoner was standing, engaged in
throwing cotton, and ordered the prisoner to come down; that the
prisoner took off his hat in an humble manner and came down; that
the deceased spoke some words to the prisoner which were not heard
by any of the three negroes present; that the prisoner thereupon
made off, and getting between ten and fifteen steps from the
deceased, the deceased fired upon him; that the report of the gun
was very loud, and the whole load lodged in the prisoner's back,
covering a space of twelve inches square; that the wound caused
thereby might have produced death; that the prisoner continued to
make off through a field, and after retreating in a run about one
hundred and fifty yards in sight of the deceased, the deceased
directed two of the slaves present to pursue him through the field,
saying that 'he could not go far'; that the deceased himself, laying
down his gun, mounted his horse, and having directed his foreman,
who had just come up to pursue the prisoner likewise, rode round
the field and headed the prisoner; that as soon as the deceased
had done this, he dismounted, got over the fence and pursued the
prisoner on foot; that as soon as the prisoner discovered he was
headed, he changed his course to avoid the deceased, and ran in
another direction towards the wood; that after pursuing the prisoner
on foot two or three hundred yards, the deceased came up with him
and collared him with his right hand; that at this moment the
negroes ordered to pursue the prisoner were running towards the
prisoner and the deceased; that the prisoner had run before he was
overtaken by the deceased five or six hundred yards from the place
where he was shot; that it was not more than six or eight minutes
from the time of the shooting till the slaves in pursuit came to
where the prisoner and deceased were engaged; that in a short time
the said slaves came up, and being ordered by the deceased, one
of them attempted to lay hold of the prisoner, who had his knife
drawn, and the left thumb of the deceased in his mouth; that the
prisoner struck at said slave with his knife, missed him and cut the
deceased in the thigh. That in the scuffle between the prisoner and
the deceased, after the deceased overtook the prisoner, the deceased
received from the prisoner a wound in his arm which occasioned his
death; and that the deceased had no weapons during the scuffle. That
soon after, the deceased let go his hold on the prisoner, who ran
towards the nearest woods and escaped; that the deceased did not
pursue him, but directed the slaves to do so; that the deceased soon
recalled the slaves, and when they returned the deceased was sitting
on the ground bleeding, and as they came up the deceased said, 'Will
has killed me; if I had minded what my poor wife said, I should not
have been in this fix.' That besides the wound on his thigh the
deceased had a slight puncture on his breast, about skin-deep, and a
wound about four inches long and two inches deep on his right arm,
above his elbow, which was inflicted by the prisoner, and which from
loss of blood occasioned his death, and that he died on the same day
in the evening; that the prisoner went the same day to his master
and surrendered himself; that the next day, upon being arrested
and informed of the death of the deceased, the prisoner exclaimed,
'Is it possible?' and appeared so much affected that he came near
falling, and was obliged to be supported. That the homicide and all
the circumstances connected therewith took place in Edgecombe county.

"But whether upon the whole matter aforesaid the said Will be
guilty of the felony and murder in the said indictment specified
and charged upon him, the said jurors are altogether ignorant, and
pray the advice of the Court thereupon. And if upon the whole matter
aforesaid it shall appear to the Court that he is guilty of the
felony and murder wherewith he stands charged, then, they find him
guilty. If upon the whole matter aforesaid, it shall appear to the
Court that he is not guilty of the murder aforesaid charged upon him
by said indictment, then the said jurors upon their oaths aforesaid,
do say, that the said Will is not guilty of the murder aforesaid, as
the said Will has for himself above in pleading alleged, but that
the said Will is only guilty of feloniously killing and slaying the
said Richard Baxter." Upon this special verdict, his Honor gave
judgment that the prisoner was guilty of murder, and pronounced
sentence of death; whereupon the prisoner appealed to the Supreme

B. F. MOORE FOR THE PRISONER.--It is conceded that Baxter occupied
the place of master, and, in his capacity of overseer, was invested
with all the authority of owner, in the means of rendering the
prisoner subservient to his lawful commands. With this concession,
freely made, it is believed, that if the shot of the deceased had
proved fatal, he had been guilty of murder, and not of manslaughter
only. The instrument used, and the short distance between the
parties, were calculated to produce death; and nothing but the
want of malice could have deprived the act of any of the features
of murder. The disobedience of running from his master on account
of threatened chastisement, however provoking, does not justify
the death of a slave. It is truly calculated to surprise the
master into a sudden gust of passion, and, on this account, death
inflicted during such a moment may well be mitigated to the offense
of manslaughter. But it is only the surprise of the passions that
will extenuate their transport. Divest the act of all idea of
surprise, it then becomes deliberate, and in law, there will be
no difference between shooting for the disobedience at the moment
of running away, and many days thereafter. It is clear then, that
if Baxter's shot had been fatal, he had been guilty of murder and
not of manslaughter. For, that he loaded his gun and proceeded to
the cotton-screw with the intent to shoot the prisoner, if the
latter should make off, is manifest from his whole conduct, and
particularly so, from the fact of his directing the foreman to walk
behind at a distance. If he had armed himself for defense, expecting
a conflict with the prisoner, he would have summoned his aid and
kept it at his heels ready for the encounter. The bloody purpose
of shooting had certainly been formed, and the time given him for
reflection and the calm concoction of his plans evince a settled
design and perfect deliberation. He was not surprised into the
act of shooting; it was deliberate; it was expected and intended
beforehand, and, therefore, murderous.

It is further believed by the prisoner's counsel, that if on firing
the shot, Baxter had rushed towards him in a threatening manner,
and the prisoner had turned, being unable to escape, and slain the
deceased, the act had been homicide _se defendendo_, and this upon
the clearest principles of criminal law.

The prisoner's counsel contends:

_First_, That if Baxter's shot had killed the prisoner, Baxter would
have been guilty of manslaughter at the least.

_Second_, This position being established, the killing of Baxter
under the circumstances stated is but manslaughter in the prisoner.

The first position would seem too plain to be argued; but as an
opinion appears to be rapidly pervading the public mind that any
means may be resorted to to coerce the perfect submission of the
slave to his master's will, and that any resistance to that will,
reasonable or unreasonable, lawfully places the life of the slave
at his master's feet, it may be useful to attempt to draw the
line, if there be any, between the lawful and unlawful exercise of
the master's power. That there is such a line, though it may be
difficult in all cases to find it and fix it with precision, is
nevertheless true; and although the courts may resolve that in all
cases short of homicide they will not look for it, yet, disagreeable
and perplexing as the task may be, they cannot avoid the search so
long as a master may be tried for the homicide of the slave, or so
long as the slave may set up any defense for the homicide of his

It is not intended to combat the correctness of the decision in
the _State_ vs. _Mann_, 2 Dev., 263, though that case leaves the
slave, when his life is spared, under the slender guardianship of
the "frowns and execrations" of a moral community against cruelty.
That decision is not understood by me as some have expounded it.
In declaring that a master cannot be indicted for a battery on his
slave, the Court is not to be understood to affirm that he cannot
be indicted for any offense which necessarily includes a battery.
I apprehend the substance of their decision to be that they will
take no cognizance of any violence done to the slave by the master
which does not produce death. It is true, there is a portion of
the opinion of the Court which puts the slave entirely out of the
pale of the law, and secures the master in a despotic immunity.
On page 266 the Court says: "Such obedience is the consequence of
only uncontrolled authority over the body; there is nothing else
which can operate to produce the effect; the power of the master
must be absolute to render the submission of the slave perfect. In
the actual condition of things it must be so, there is no remedy;
this discipline belongs to the state of slavery; they cannot be
disunited without abrogating at once the right of the master and
absolving the slave from his obligation." These expressions, it
must be admitted, are clear beyond cavil in their meaning, and that
they were selected to convey, with great accuracy, the opinions of
the learned judge who used them, may be well argued from the frank
confession which he avows of their abhorrence. In truth, they do
outlaw the slave and legalize his destruction at the will of his
master. It is believed, however, that they were never intended to
cover the entire relation between master and slave. If they were, it
is humbly submitted that they are not only startling and abhorrent
to humanity, but at variance with statute law and decided cases.
Uncontrolled authority over the body is uncontrolled authority over
the life; and authority, to be uncontrolled, can be subject to no
question. Absolute power is irresponsible power, circumscribed by no
limits save its own imbecility, and selecting its own means with an
unfettered discretion. Absolute power is exempt from legal inquiry,
and is absolved from all accountability for the extent or mode of
its exercise.

During its operations it acknowledges no equal which may check
its will, and knows no superior afterwards which may rightfully
punish its deeds. The language of the Court does not strictly
and precisely describe the relation of master and slave which
subsisted in ancient Rome, and does now subsist in modern Turkey;
a relation which this Court in the case of _State_ vs. _Read_ did
most emphatically denounce as inhuman, unsuited to the genius of our
laws, and unnecessary to protect the master in his legal rights. In
that case Judge Henderson fixes the true boundary of the master's
power. It extends, says he, to securing the services and labors of
the slave, and no farther. And he expressly declares that a power
over the life of the slave is not surrendered by the law, because
the possession of such a power is noways necessary to the purposes
of slavery, and that his life is in the care of the law.

The idea of the perfect submission of the slave is in true
accordance with the policy which should regulate that condition of
life, wherever it may exist. But whether it will more certainly
result from the absolute power of the owner than from a large but
limited authority, is questionable indeed. More especially, if it
be true, as argued in the opinion already referred to, that the
absolute power of the master, although left unrestrained by law, is
checked and fettered by what is stronger than law, the irresistible
force of public sentiment. If that force is now setting in a
counter-current against the license of absolute power, either it
is to be deprecated and stopped, or absolute power is most clearly
proved to be unnecessary to the ends of slavery. The courts of
the country should foster the enlightened benevolence of the age,
and interpret the powers which one class of the people claim over
another, in conformity, not with the spirit which tolerates the
barbarian who is guilty of savage cruelty, but with that which
heaps upon him the frowns and deep execrations of the community.
All domestic police power must be regulated by the feelings and
views of those who dispense it. If it be true, then, that public
sentiment will no longer tolerate the excessive cruelties from the
master, as is said by Taylor, Chief Justice, in the _State_ vs.
_Hale_; by Henderson, Chief Justice, in the _State_ vs. _Read_; and
by Ruffin, Chief Justice, in the _State_ vs. _Mann_; and if it be
true, likewise, that the relation between master and slave is to be
discovered from the opinions and feelings of the masters, we cannot
hear without surprise that it is necessary, in the actual condition
of things, to clothe the master with an uncontrolled and absolute
authority over the body of the slave. If such necessity now exists,
the rhetorician hath spoken, and not the judge. If such necessity
does not exist, the power is given for abuse, and not to accomplish
the objects of slavery. It would seem really, that whilst the courts
are lauding the Christian benevolence of the times manifested by the
humane treatment of the slaves, they are engaged in investigating
to what possible extent the master may push his authority without
incurring responsibility. They feel shocked at the discovery they
make themselves, but rise from their labor with the consolation that
few are so abandoned to a sense of public indignation as to enjoy
the revealed prerogative. If the expression could be divested of
the appearance of sarcasm, some truth might, perhaps, be found in
the assertion that the great result of their disclosure has been to
teach the kind master how merciful and moderate he is in the midst
of such plenitude of power, and the cruel one, how despised and
desecrated he will be if he use its legal license. Good men will
feel no pleasure in the revealment, bad men will be freed from the
check of ignorance.

It is further said in the _State_ vs. _Mann_, "That the slave, to
remain a slave, must be made sensible that there is no appeal from
his master; that his power in no one instance is usurped." The
language here is equally explicit, and altogether as strong, as
that before quoted. It denies to the slave the smallest attribute
of a rational or feeling creature. It not only represses thought,
and extinguishes all power to deliberate on any command of his
master, however repugnant to natural justice it may be, and whether
its execution is to affect himself or others; but it professes to
control into perfect tameness the instinct of self-preservation. It
would be difficult, and if it were easy, it would be lamentable,
to accomplish the former; but it would be impossible to effect the
latter. Such insensibility to life would defeat the very object
of its inculcation--the value of the slave. For we can never hope
to regulate this powerful instinct of nature with an adjustment
which will quietly yield all its love of life into the hands of
a ferocious master and yet preserve it against the world beside.
But if it were desirable so far to annihilate it, the task is
beyond the reach of human ingenuity and not to be accomplished by
the possession of absolute power, however fearfully enforced or
terribly exercised. The relation of master and slave may repress
all the noble energies and manly sentiments of the soul, and may
degrade the moral being into a brute condition. And when this is
done we shall not be astonished to see the moral brute exhibiting
the instinct natural to the brute condition. How vain must it always
be, when we shall have reduced humanity to its ultimate capability
of degradation, to expect any embellishment of mind to adorn the
wretched existence. If the relation require that the slave be
disrobed of the essential features which distinguish him from the
brute, the relation must adapt itself to the consequences and leave
its subject the instinctive privileges of a brute.

I am arguing no question of abstract right, but am endeavoring to
prove that the natural incidents of slavery must be borne with,
because they are inherent to the condition itself; and that any
attempt to restrain or punish a slave for the exercise of a right,
which even absolute power cannot destroy, is inhuman, and without
the slightest benefit to the security of the master, or to that
of society at large. The doctrine may be advanced from the bench,
enacted by the Legislature, and enforced with all the varied agony
of torture, and still the slave cannot believe, and will not
believe, "That there is no one instance" in which the master's
power is usurped. Nature, stronger than all, will discover many
instances and vindicate her rights at any and at every price. When
such a stimulant as this urges the forbidden deed punishment will be
powerless to reclaim or to warn by example. It can serve no purpose
but to gratify the revengeful feelings of one class of people and to
inflame the hidden animosities of the other.

With great deference to the opinion already commented on, it would
appear to me that a conclusion directly the reverse as to the
necessity of the absolute power in the master should have been drawn
from the premises. The slave can only expect to learn the law of the
land as respects the power of the owner over him, from the manner in
which it is generally, and almost universally, administered by the
owner. If their treatment is now so mild or becoming so, as rarely
to require the interposition of any tribunal for their protection,
they will soon be taught by the conduct of their masters, if not
already taught, that absolute power is not the master's right; and
the consequence which may be expected will be that the slave will be
prepared to resist its exercise when bad men attempt to commit the
cruelties allowed by it. So important is it that the Court should,
as far as possible, conform their exposition of the rights of men
with those sentiments of the public which, by the Court themselves,
are admitted to be wholesome and just. And especially should they do
so when those rights are constituted by public opinion and almost
exclusively by that alone.

Whatever be the power, however, which the master may possess, it is
given with the sole view to enable him to coerce the services of the
slave, and all experience teaches us that a power over life is not
necessary to effectuate that end.

The usual modes of correction are found to be altogether sufficient.
Punishment short of death serves the end of the master both as a
corrective and as an example. Power over the life of the slave,
being therefore unnecessary, ought not to be conceded. The use of
highly dangerous weapons in cases of simple disobedience is not
tolerated by the law, because they are calculated to produce death.

If the deceased had been resisted a great degree of force might
have been used, and the law would not have been scrupulous in
determining the excess. If he had been chastising the prisoner in
the ordinary mode and death had ensued, it would have been nothing
more than an unfortunate accident. But the prisoner was neither
resisting his master nor did the calamity grow out of any attempt
to chastise. It is confidently contended that a master has not by
the law of the land the right to kill his slave for a simple act
of disobedience, however provoking may be the circumstances under
which it is committed; that if a slave be required to stand, and
he run off, he has not forfeited his life. This is conclusive, if
the law will never justify a homicide except it be committed upon
unavoidable necessity, and will never excuse one, except it be
done by misadventure or _se defendendo_. There is no principle of
criminal law which will justify or excuse the death that has been
caused through the provocation of the passions alone.

This court has repudiated all idea of similarity between the
relation of master and apprentice, as understood in the English
law, and that of master and slave as understood in ours. I cannot
perceive the propriety of such total repudiation. The foundation of
both relations is the same, to wit, service; and although the slave
may stand in a lower grade than the mere apprentice, and be more
dependent on his master, yet it is submitted that the difference
is in the degree and not in the nature of the authority which the
master of the one or the other may exercise. This seems to have been
the idea of Justice Blackstone, who, in speaking of homicide by
parents and masters caused by immoderate correction, proceeds: "Thus
by an edict of the Emperor Constantine, when the rigor of the Roman
law began to relax and soften, a master was allowed to chastise his
slave with rods and imprisonment; and if death accidentally ensued
he was guilty of no crime; but otherwise, if he struck him with a
club or a stone, and thereby occasioned his death, or if in any yet
grosser manner (as by shooting), _immoderate suo jure utatur, tunc
reus homicidii sit. 4 Bl. Com., 183._"

It is not my purpose, however, to place the slave and apprentice
on the same footing. It is freely conceded that there is a great
difference between the two conditions, and that many cases of
homicide committed precisely under the same circumstances would be
murder of an apprentice, and only manslaughter of a slave. Thus the
master has the right to beat his apprentice as well as his slave,
but the principle is universal (with a solitary exception), that
a man having the right, under a given provocation, to lay hand
upon another, but using a weapon calculated to produce death, and
death ensuing, is guilty of murder. The exception alluded to is the
slaying of an adulterer caught in the act. Now, if an apprentice
disobeys and runs from his master in order to escape chastisement,
and the master shoots and kills him, it is murder.

Surely the slaying of the slave under the same circumstances, after
full allowance for the difference in their grade of life, can be
nothing less than manslaughter. If the law, for the purposes of
policy, will not permit the master to be called to account for
batteries, however cruel or unjust, done on the body of his slave,
as it does in the case of an apprentice, yet when it is obliged
to examine the extent of the master's powers by reason of death,
then it will apply the same reasonable rules in investigating
the master's guilt and the slave's conduct and rights, which it
applies in the case of slaying an apprentice, suiting the rule
to the difference of condition. _1 Hawks_, 217. If, indeed, the
master may not be called to account till the death of his slave,
if he have this wide scope of authority, to be exercised upon his
own discretion, it is highly reasonable that, when he is called to
account, the examination should be rigorous, for it is the only
protection which the slave can claim at the hands of the law, and,
therefore, ought to be strict, in order that it may be the more
efficient. It is here alone that the slave, in the eye of the law,
ascends from the level of mere property, and takes an humble stand
amid his species.

Here he is regarded as a rational creature. _Scott's case_, _1
Hawks_, 24; _State_ vs. _Read_, _2 Hawks_, 454. The necessity of
averring that he is property, and whose property, as is requisite
in indictments for the batteries of slaves, is here dispensed with;
and from this distinction alone it would appear that the courts, in
the very form of the indictment for murder, have not recognized the
exemption of the master from the accountability, common to the world
beside, for the death of a slave. _2 Dev._, 264.

The prisoner was shot in the act of making off from his overseer
who was prepared to chastise him. A master's authority to apprehend
his slave cannot be greater than that of a constable or sheriff to
arrest for a misdemeanor; and a constable may not kill in order to
prevent the escape of one guilty of that grade of offense. The law
has so high a regard for human life that it directs the officer to
permit an escape rather than kill. If the officer act illegally, by
abusing his authority, or exceeding it, resistance unto death is
not murder. But if the master have greater authority to apprehend
his slave than a law-officer hath to arrest, under a precept, for a
misdemeanor, he certainly has not a greater than a sheriff, acting
under a precept, hath to arrest a felon. Here the law again shows
its tender and noble regard for human life and its detestation of
the shedding of human blood. The officer is not allowed to kill a
felon, a murderer, or a traitor, unless his escape be inevitable.
"And in every instance in which one man can be justified in killing
another, the abuse of his power makes him guilty of manslaughter."
_Bevil_, 78. An officer, therefore, having the right to kill a felon
in order to prevent his escape, and then doing so when the escape
may be prevented by more lenient means, is guilty of manslaughter.
This necessity must always be proven. It is never to be presumed.
No such necessity appears in the finding of the jury. In legal
contemplation, therefore, it does not exist.

The law enjoins it as a duty on the officer to kill a felon, rather
than permit his escape, upon the presumption, I suppose, that if
he do escape, he will forever elude the penalty of his crime. Such
is not the case with a runaway slave, who, in general, may be
certainly recaptured. No one will be found to maintain that it is
the duty of the master to kill his slave rather than suffer his
temporary escape. The prisoner was in the act of disobedience and
not of resistance, between which there is a substantial difference.
Act of 1791, _Bevil_, 114. The deceased then greatly exceeded his
authority; whether the prisoner is to be considered in the light of
an apprentice, of one who had committed an aggravated misdemeanor,
or even in that of a felon; and if death had ensued, I conclude that
he would have been guilty of manslaughter at the least.

This brings us to the important question in this case. Was the
prisoner justly so provoked by the shooting as, under the influence
of ordinary human frailty, to cause his reason to be dethroned,
and to be deprived of deliberation? Or, in the language of Judge
Haywood, in Norris's case, "was not the prisoner thereby deprived
of the free and proper exercise of his rational faculties, owing to
the fury of resentment, not unreasonably conceived?" If he was, that
ends the question. Was it such a provocation as, allowing for the
disparity of the free and slave condition of men in this country,
was well calculated, even in minds tolerably well regulated, to
throw a man off his guard and excite a furious anger? If so, the
_State_ vs. _Merrill_, _2 Dev._, 279 (Ruffin's opinion), determines
the fate of the prisoner. An appeal to human nature in its most
degraded state will answer, unhesitatingly, it was. No man can
reason and respond otherwise. And it appears to me that an appeal
to the principles of law, as founded in the nature of man and
recognized for centuries, will leave not a particle of doubt. Can
the prisoner be guilty of murder? Who can review the circumstances
of the case, and in candor pronounce that they carry in them "the
plain indication of a heart regardless of social duty, and fatally
bent on mischief?" If this case can be made to reach this standard
definition of murder, what bosom is there which does not luxuriate
in the poison of murderous thought? And in vain may nature plead her
wrongs and the tempest of the passions to excuse the indiscretion
of her fitful moments. It may be murder, but if so, it must find
its guilt, not in the human disposition, but in a policy that knows
no frailty and shows no mercy. That policy is yet to be declared;
I will not suppose its intended application to this case, and I
shall, therefore, for the present, take the liberty of discussing
the defense upon the received principles which define murder and
distinguish it from manslaughter.

Murder is the felonious killing of a human creature with
deliberation. The act must have three intents. 1. An intent to kill
or hurt. 2. An intent to kill or hurt unjustly. 3. The intent must
be deliberate. It is only necessary in this case to consider the
deliberation of the intent; for it is admitted that the intent of
the prisoner was to kill or hurt, and that it was unjust; but it is
denied that it was deliberate.

The intent is not deliberate if there be provoking cause.

The mischievous, vindictive disposition essential to constitute
the crime of murder is implied from the want of legal cause of
provocation. The greatest care should be taken not to confound a
vindictive act with such an act as shows a vindictive disposition.
Every case of manslaughter, perpetrated in anger, is a vindictive
act, whilst every case of murder exhibits the vindictive
disposition. A vindictive act simply is the result of ordinary
frailty; a vindictive disposition is the attendant of extraordinary
depravity. The former comes of a surprise of the passions; the
latter marshals, stimulates, and leads the passions.

Manslaughter wants one of the above intents which define murder. It
implies an intent to kill or hurt, and that the intent is unjust,
but supposes the absence of deliberation, or the presence of a
justly provoking cause. But what is justly provoking cause? In our
search for the meaning of the expression we cannot consult the vague
notions of men as to insults. There would not only be no certainty
in them as a guide, but they would strip men of all security for
their lives. We must appeal to the common law as it has recognized
excusable frailties. Its principles, being bottomed on human nature
civilized by legal restraints and legal privileges, adapt themselves
with a happy facility to all the changes and modifications of
society, and to all the mutations in the relations of its parts.
These principles, having discarded the idea of legal provocation
from words, have resolved the foundation of their existence into the
protection of the person.

Self-preservation, being a prime law of nature, and indispensable
to the first and permanent interests of society, the instinct is
fostered instead of being checked. The policy of the law to cherish
it is what dispenses indulgence to an excess of force requisite
to preserve it and palliates an unnecessary homicide. If human
institutions could so blunt this sense as to effectuate a law which
should forbid blow for blow not threatening death, the introduction
of slavery, to a great degree, would be already prepared. If,
however, the degradation should stop at this point, still there
would be a very ample scope for this powerful sense to act in, and
a dangerous attack, or a blow menacing death, being out of the
customary sufferance, would call up, in vigor, the unsubdued though
mutilated sense, and surprise it into action. It is not the object
of the law, in its regulation of the relation of master and slave,
to destroy any portion of the instinct of self-preservation. On the
contrary, it would be rejoiced to preserve it entire, but this is
inconsistent with the subjection of the slave, without which he is
valueless. If this instinct were permitted to be displayed by the
slave as by a freeman, the authority of the master would be at an
end. Hence it is that when it is not so essential to be curbed it
is allowed to enjoy a wider range; as, in respect of strangers who
have no right to assume any authority, it is permitted to turn many
degrees toward the condition of freemen. Hence it is, too, that
whenever the law, for the purpose of sustaining the relation of the
several parts of society deemed essential to the peace and safety
of the whole, tolerates its partial suppression, it provides the
best possible security against any abuse likely to occur because of
its required extinction. Thus it gives to the wife the protection of
love and identity of welfare; to the child the shield of affection;
to the apprentice the guaranty of a penal bond; and to the slave the
guard of interest. In general, in proportion as these securities
are weaker, that of the law itself ought to be stronger; and, in
proportion as the subjection in the one or the other of these
relations is required to be greater or less, so must the suppression
of this instinct be greater or less. The subjection in the relation
of slavery ought to be greater, and so ought the extinction of the
instinct to be greater than in any of the other relations. It is
the legal duty of all who are subjects in any one of them to adapt
and conform this instinct to the extent necessary to maintain the
relation; and if any one do not, he shall not plead its want of
subjection in excuse of a deed occasioned by his neglect of duty.
If an apprentice, being under lawful correction, shall resist and
slay his master, it is murder, and not manslaughter, because the
law cannot admit that he was provoked. If a slave be under any
correction, with or without cause from his master, provided it do
not threaten death or great bodily harm, and he resist and kill his
master, this is murder likewise, and for the same reason, as the law
requires this degree of submission from him. But if the apprentice
be unlawfully beaten and he resist and kill his master, it is not
murder, because the law hath not required him to extinguish his
instinct of preservation to such an extent, and therefore it admits
that he was provoked; so, if a slave be beset by his master in a
manner to threaten death and he slay his master, this cannot be
murder, because the law hath not required him to extinguish his
instinct to so great a degree, and, therefore, it admits that he
was provoked. In a word, in those bounds within which the law has
enjoined it as a duty to curb the instinct of self-preservation, we
are not allowed to display it, and if we do, the law cannot hear
the defense of provocation; but all display of it, out of these
bounds, is admissible and is the effect of legal provocation. The
law demands it as a duty that we should tame our passions to suit
the conditions which it has assigned us. It supposes that this duty
will become habitual and consequently easy of performance, and that
we will conform ourselves to its requirements. This, and this alone,
is the true foundation of all the distinction between the master and
the apprentice, between the freeman and the slave.

But having conformed ourselves to a given and required degradation,
to an enjoined submission, we are ready by our very nature and
habits to resist any degradation or submission greatly beyond that
which we have learned to acquiesce in as a duty. When a slave is
required to bare his back to the rod, he does it because it is
usual; but when he is required to stand as a target for his master's
gun, he is startled--no idea of duty sustains the requirement
and the unquelled portion of his instinct rouses his passions to

Human institutions are inadequate to the task of settling a
condition in society which shall impart to its members the highest
perfection of philosophic fortitude and the lowest degradation of
animal existence--which shall blend into harmony the reasonable man
and the passionless brute.

When it is declared that a slave is a reasonable or human creature,
and that he is the subject of felony at common law; that murder and
manslaughter both may be perpetrated on his person, that himself
may commit both, it would seem to result that he was acknowledged
to possess the infirmities common to his species. That they must
be palliated in some cases, even when the master is the victim, I
hope I have satisfactorily shown. And now I come to the deliberate
conclusion that the only difference caused by the relation consists
in the fact that there are some acts of the slave which constitute
provocation that would not if done by a freeman; some which would
constitute provocation to the master which would not to a stranger;
and on the contrary, that a slave is not permitted to be provoked at
many acts done by a stranger freeman which would constitute a lawful
provocation if done by a fellow-slave; and that a great variety of
acts done by the master shall not be sufficient cause of provocation
which, if done by a stranger, would be so deemed, but that in not a
single relation in which the slave is placed by law is he debarred
in every case of violence to his person from feeling and pleading a
legal provocation.

If I have been successful in showing that the deceased greatly
abused his authority by shooting at the prisoner, and that the act
was calculated to produce a resentment not unreasonably conceived,
the inference in law is irresistible that if the prisoner,
immediately on being shot, had turned and slain the deceased, it
could not have been more than manslaughter; and the only important
point now remaining to be discussed is whether the interval of
time between the reception of the injury and the commission of the
homicide enhances the guilt of the deed. The law would be vain and
nugatory as a rule of action if it should allow that the passions
may be justly provoked and yet refuse to allow a reasonable time
for their subsidence. When it says that reason may be dethroned it
is never guilty of the solecism of holding the judgment accountable
till reason can be reseated. Whether there may have been sufficient
time for that important operation of the faculties, is a question
often dependent on the circumstances of the case. The continuance
of the original exciting causes and the addition of subsequent
stimulants being necessarily calculated to prevent the restoration
of reason, may prolong the time till they cease to exist; nor even
then, at the very moment of their cessation, does the law demand
that the bosom shall return to its calm and tranquillity. Such an
instantaneous repose is no more to be looked for, in the tempest of
the passions, than it is in the storms of the ocean, whose angry
waves are often seen to run mountain high long after the dark cloud
hath passed away, and the raving wind hath fled from the conflict,
leaving its enraged victim heaving with agitation beneath a tranquil
and sunny heaven.

The time in this case was but six or eight minutes, and the wound
calculated to produce death. If the exciting cause of provocation
had here ceased, it would be a rigid and unnatural rule, to
require, at the expiration of this short period, the presence of
a responsible judgment; for it is perfectly apparent, that in
proportion to the severity of the injury received, will be the
length of time which nature demands to adjust the shaken balance of
the mind. The prisoner had much cause to suspect that his wound
would prove fatal; and no man, either bond or free, laboring under
the excitement incident to such a situation, could, so soon, have
quelled his fury and recalled his scattered senses. But these few
moments were not allowed to be moments of rest and thought to the
wounded man. They were moments of flight and active pursuit; flight,
by a man, dangerously shot, his wounds bleeding in profusion, and
chafed into agony by the friction of his clothes and the motions
of his body; pursuit by a man who had meditated and attempted a
deadly injury; who called to his aid three more men, ready to
execute his purposes, whatever they might be, and who was well aware
of the mangled condition of his victim, and who, under the full
conviction of his shot proving fatal, cheered his comrades of the
chase, by the unfeeling exclamation, "He can't run far." Let it be
remembered, too, that the prisoner, during this space of time, had
run a distance of five or six hundred yards; that he was overtaken
by a man who, in moments perfectly cool, when compared with those
in which he captured the prisoner, had not hesitated to shoot him
at a distance of a few rods, and by what logic can we arrive at the
conclusion, either that the prisoner had enjoyed opportunity to
regain his judgment, or that he had not every reason to apprehend
from the deceased the finishing stroke to his life? How could he be
trusted, with every passion inflamed to madness, who in cooler times
had violated every duty as a man, had deliberately prepared himself
to take the life of his fellow-man, and, as a superintendent, had,
for trifling cause, attempted to destroy valuable property entrusted
to his care? In no part of the slave's conduct does he evince a
disposition to seek a conflict. He takes every occasion to avoid it.
When he is headed, he does not hesitate to turn his course, and flee
from an encounter.

Upon the whole, I cannot bring my mind to the conclusion, that
this case is of higher grade than manslaughter, if of that; and
whatever may be the prisoner's fate, I am free to declare, and
with the most sincere candor, that I do not recognize in his
conduct the moral depravity of a murderer, nor any high degree of
inaptitude to the condition of slavery. He was disobedient, it is
true, and ran to avoid chastisement. Three-fourths of our slaves
occasionally do this. He slew his overseer, it is true, after
having been dangerously shot, pursued and overtaken. The tamest and
most domestic brute will do likewise. And I feel that if he must
expiate the deed under the gallows, he will be a victim, not of
his own abandoned depravity, but a sacrifice offered to the policy
which regulates the relation of slavery among us. But before he
is sacrificed, it may be useful to inquire into that policy. The
interests of society demand that it should be fixed, and permanently
fixed, that the master may know the extent of his authority, and the
slave prepare himself to its accommodation.

No question can be more delicate, or attended with so many bad
consequences if settled in error. It would be next to impossible
for the judiciary to adjust this relation adversely to any strong
and deliberate opinion entertained by the public mind. The momentum
of this feeling, acting through the juries of the country and the
spirit of the Legislature, would be too powerful, successfully to
be encountered by the courts. And in whatsoever decided current
it might run, it would, finally, bear into its channel all
interpretations of the law.

By a timely and judicious administration of the law, however,
in relation to this subject, the courts may effect much in the
formation of public opinion, and at this time they may exert the
opportunities afforded by their situation, in a most happy manner to
impart fixedness and stability to those principles which form the
true basis of the policy. They have of late frequently announced
from the bench the progression of humanity in this relation, and
their clear conviction that the condition of the slave was rapidly
advancing in amelioration, under the benign influence of Christian
precept and the benevolent auspices of improving civilization. It
is believed that these convictions were founded in truth, and the
various laws on the statute books bring ample testimony to the
fact. As far as slavery has been the subject of legislation for
the last ninety years, it has been undergoing a gradual revolution
in favor of the slave, and it is confidently asserted, not adverse
to the best interests of the master, or of the security of the
public. In a popular government we can nowhere look for more correct
information of the state of the public mind, upon a subject
deeply interesting to the people at large, than in their laws. The
history of the legislation of the State for the last century on
this subject, during which more than a dozen principal acts have
been passed at intervals, is a history of a gradual progression in
the improvement of the condition of the slave, in the protection
of his person, his comforts, and those rights not necessary to
be surrendered to his master. The length of time in which this
evidence of a common sentiment has been continuing in one course,
is irrefutable testimony of its being the true and deliberate sense
of the community. Very lately the whole subject came before the
Legislature; and though it was at a time when the public mind was
inflamed and alarmed at a recent and yet reeking massacre, they
did not relax the laws made for their protection, nor render their
lives or persons less secure. From the Act of 1741, which put the
life of the slave, on trial, in the hands of three justices and four
freeholders, down to that of 1831, which secures, beyond doubt,
the right of the slave to a jury of slave owners, there will be
found, without a solitary retrograde, one continued, persevering,
and unbroken series of laws, raising the slave higher and higher in
the scale of moral being. To the period of 1794, the character of
the acts, though they are not numerous, nor strongly marked with
exclusive benefit to the slave, is evincive of an intent to afford
protection, where before it was weak.

It is not possible that there can be found, anywhere, a plainer
manifestation of a decided intent to raise the consideration
and standing of the slave than is expressed in these acts of
the Legislature. Will the Court disappoint this unequivocal
intention? Will they rebuke the spirit of the age and strike back
this unfortunate race of men, advancing from the depths of misery
and wretchedness to a higher ground under the shield of so much
legislation enacted in their behalf?

Our laws furnish incontestable evidence of what is the enlightened
sentiment of the State. The history of other nations affords a
body of luminous information to instruct us what that sentiment
should be; and I feel no small pleasure in believing that the
legislative policy of our past and present day most fully accords
with that course which the long tried experience of bygone ages has
distinctly marked out as the wiser and better one.

Upon this subject the Baron Montesquieu has gathered the choicest
materials of every age, clime, and nation. With a mind, formed in
the mould of patience itself; strong by nature and enriched with a
philosophic cultivation, he hath executed the task of analysis with
the most profound and discriminating sagacity. With no object in
view but the advancement of political knowledge, he hath unmasked
all the forms of government, traced to the fountain the principles
of their action, and exposed to the meanest capacity the deep-hidden
reasons of all the diversified relations of man, and the true genius
of the laws necessary to support them.

In his _Spirit of Laws_, Vol. I, p. 291 _et seq._, to 298, he
treats of the subject of slavery, and informs us as the result of
his inquiries that in governments whose policy is warlike, and the
citizens ever ready with arms in their hands to quell attempts to
regain liberty, slaves may be treated with great rigor and severity
without the hazard of servile wars; but that in republics, where
the policy is essentially pacific, and the citizens devoted to the
arts of peace and industry, the treatment of slaves should be mild
and humane; that the power of the master should not be absolute, and
that the slave should be put within the keeping of the law. If that
candid and ingenious writer be not deceived in his conclusions, he
has given us a hint for the regulation of our domestic servitude,
the neglect of which may lead to the most fatal sequel. Our
government is perhaps the most pacific on earth, and the citizens
most addicted to the pursuits of civilized life. How inconsistent,
then, will it be in us to adopt a policy in relation to our slaves
which must be either yielded up or must change the habits and
character of our people, and ultimately our form of government, with
the blessing of liberty itself.

We may not expect that the danger of servile wars will only operate
to arm the citizens generally in their own defense. The recent
insurrection may show, indeed, the formation of numerous companies
of yeomanry for the purpose of being always ready to meet and
vanquish the earliest movements of insurrectionary slaves; but a
little observation at this time, so soon, too, after the panic
that gave rise to these preparations, will serve to show that at
the present moment there remains scarcely a single one of the many
associations which were then formed. They grew up with the panic,
and they have vanished with it. It must be apparent, then, if ever
ready arms are necessary to our safety, they must be lodged in hands
not filled with other occupations, but responsible to the public
for efficiency and dispatch. In other words, if a display of force
be requisite to chain down the spirit of insurrection or stop the
bloody career of its actual march, a standing army, which will leave
the great body of citizens to pursue their favorite occupations of
peace in perfect security, will be the loud demand of the community.
How certainly such a permanent association of armed men, first
formed to preserve the relations of our slavery, will ultimately
introduce a civil slavery over the whole land, the experience of
other nations, and the warning of our own Constitution, will most
fearfully answer. I know it has been frequently said, and with
some it is a favorite idea, that the more cruel the master, the
more subservient will be the slave. This precept is abhorrent to
humanity, and is a heresy unsupported by the great mass of historic
experience. The despair of individuals cannot last forever; neither
will that of a numerous people afflicted with common wrongs, and
exchanging a common sympathy. Rome had no servile wars till her
masters had outraged every feeling of justice and benevolence and
made their slaves drink the cup of unmitigated cruelty to its last
drop; nor had she any, that I remember, after the first Christian
prince of the empire had relaxed the intolerable degradations of
that unfortunate class of her people.

I feel and acknowledge, as strongly as any man can, the inexorable
necessity of keeping our slaves in a state of dependence and
subservience to their masters. But when shooting becomes necessary
to prevent insolence and disobedience, it only serves to show the
want of proper domestic rules, but it will never supply it; and
never can a punishment like this effect any other purpose than to
produce open conflicts or secret assassinations.

In adjusting the balance of this delicate subject, let it not
be believed that the great and imminent danger is in overloading
the scale of humanity. The courts must pass through Scylla and
Charybdis; and they may be assured that the peril of shipwreck is
not avoided, by shunning with distant steerage, the whirlpool of
Northern fanaticism. That of the South is equally fatal. It may not
be so visibly seen, but it is as deep, as wide, and as dangerous.

[Illustration: J. JOHNSTON PETTIGREW.]



James Johnston Pettigrew, late a Brigadier-General in the army of
the Confederate States, was born at Lake Scuppernong, in Tyrrell
county, North Carolina, upon the 4th day of July, 1828. His family
is of French extraction. At an early period, however, one branch
of it emigrated to Scotland, where it may be traced holding lands
near Glasgow about the year 1492. Afterwards a portion of it
removed to the northern part of Ireland. From this place James
Pettigrew, the great-grandfather of the subject of this sketch,
about the year 1732, came into Pennsylvania, and, some twenty
years afterwards, into North Carolina. About 1770 this gentleman
removed to South Carolina, leaving here, however, his son Charles,
who was a resident successively of the counties of Granville,
Chowan, and Tyrrell. Charles Pettigrew was subsequently the first
Bishop-elect of the Protestant Episcopal Church in this Diocese.
He died in 1807, and his memory survives fragrant with piety,
charity, and an extended usefulness. His son, Ebenezer, succeeded
to his estates and reputation, devoting his life to the successful
drainage and cultivation of the fertile lands which he owned and to
the government of the large family of which he was the head. Mr.
Pettigrew resisted every solicitation presented by his neighbors for
the employment of his talents in public service. Upon one occasion
alone was his reluctance overcome. In 1835 he was chosen by a very
flattering vote to represent his district in the Congress of the
United States. At that election he received the rare compliment
of an almost unanimous vote from his fellow-citizens of Tyrrell,
failing to obtain but three votes out of more than seven hundred. He
could not be prevailed upon to be a candidate at a second election.
Mr. Pettigrew married Miss Shepard, a daughter of the distinguished
family of that name seated at New Bern. She died in July, 1830,
when her son James Johnston was but two years of age. Ebenezer
Pettigrew lived until July, 1848, having witnessed with great
sensibility the very brilliant opening of his son's career among the
contemporary youth of the land.

After his mother's death the child was taken to the home of his
grandmother at New Bern, and there remained until he was carried
into Orange county to pursue his education. Owing to an unfortunate
exposure whilst an infant, young Pettigrew became a delicate
boy, but by diligent and systematic exercise he gradually inured
his constitution to endure without harm extraordinary fatigue
and the extremes of weather. He was a member of various schools
at Hillsborough from the year 1836, enjoying the advantages of
instruction by Mr. Bingham for about four years previous to becoming
a student at the University. During this period the state of his
health required him to be often at home for several months together.
He was a member of the University of North Carolina during a full
term of four years, graduating there at the head of his class in
June, 1847. From early childhood young Pettigrew had been noted as
a boy of extraordinary intellect. At all the schools he was easily
first in every class and in every department of study. He seemed to
master his text-books by intuition. They formed the smallest portion
of his studies, for his eager appetite for learning ranged widely
over subjects collateral to his immediate tasks. Nor did they always
stop here. His father was amused and gratified upon one occasion to
observe the extent to which he had profited by his excursions among
the medical books of an eminent physician at Hillsborough, of whose
family he was an inmate at the age of fourteen. In the class-room
at the University he appeared in reciting rather to have descended
to the level of the lesson than to have risen up to it. Student
as he was, and somewhat reserved in demeanor, he was nevertheless
very popular with his fellows, and the object of their enthusiastic

Anecdotes were abundant as to the marvelous range of his
acquirements, and the generosity and patience with which he
contributed from his stores even to the dullest applicant for aid.
Nor was it only in letters that he was chief. A fencing-master, who
happened to have a class among the collegians, bore quite as decided
testimony to his merits in fencing as he had obtained from the
various chairs of the faculty respecting his proficiency in their
several branches.

The commencement at which he graduated was distinguished by the
attendance of President Polk, Secretary Mason and Lieutenant Maury
of the National Observatory. Impressed by the homage universally
paid to his talents and acquirements, as well as by the high
character of his graduating oration, these gentlemen proposed to
him to become an assistant in the Observatory. After spending some
weeks in recreation, Mr. Pettigrew reported to Lieutenant Maury,
and remained with him for six or eight months. In the occupations
of this office he fully maintained his earlier promise, but soon
relinquished the position, inasmuch as the exposure and labor
incident to it were injuriously affecting his health.

After an interval of travel in the Northern States, Mr. Pettigrew,
in the fall of 1848, became a student of law in the office of James
Mason Campbell, Esq., of Baltimore, where he remained for several
months. At the close of this period, by the solicitation of his
kinsman, the late James L. Petigru of Charleston, S. C., he entered
his office with the design of being subsequently associated with
him in the practice of his profession. Upon obtaining license, Mr.
Pettigrew, by the advice of the kinsman just mentioned, proceeded
to Berlin and to other universities in Germany, in order to perfect
himself in the civil law. He remained in Europe for nearly three
years. Two years of this time he devoted to study, the remainder
he spent in traveling upon the Continent, and in Great Britain
and Ireland. He availed himself of this opportunity of becoming
acquainted with modern European languages so far as to be able
to speak with ease German, French, Italian, and Spanish. During
this tour he contracted a great partiality for Spanish character
and history, having had considerable opportunity for studying the
former, not only as a private gentleman, but also as Secretary of
Legation, for a short while, to Colonel Barringer, then Minister of
the United States near the Court of Spain. It may be proper to add
here, that among the unaccomplished designs of Mr. Pettigrew, to
which he had given some labor, was that of following Prescott in
further narratives of the connection of Spain with America, and as
a preliminary to this, he had made a collection of works in Arabic,
and had made himself acquainted with that language.

Mr. Pettigrew returned to Charleston in November, 1852, and entered
upon the practice of law in connection with his honored and
accomplished relative. He profited so well by his studies in Europe
and by his subsequent investigations, that in the opinion of his
partner, who was well qualified to judge, he became a master of the
civil law not inferior in acquisition and in grasp of principle to
any in the United States. His success at the bar was brilliant.
In 1856 he was chosen one of the representatives of the city in
the Legislature, holding his seat under that election for the two
sessions of December, 1856, and December, 1857. He rose to great
distinction in that body. His report against the reopening of the
slave-trade, and his speech upon the organization of the Supreme
Court, gave him reputation beyond the bounds of the State. He failed
to be reelected in 1858.

Mr. Pettigrew persistently refused to receive any portion of the
income of the partnership of which he was a member. Independent
in property, and simple in his habits of personal expenditure, he
displayed no desire to accumulate money. Noble in every trait of
character, he held the contents of his purse subject to every draft
that merit might present.

For some years previous to the rupture between the North and the
South, Mr. Pettigrew had anticipated its occurrence, and believing
it to be his duty to be prepared to give his best assistance to the
South, in such event, had turned his attention to military studies.
Like many other rare geniuses, he had always a partiality for
mathematics, and so very naturally devoted much time to that branch
of this science which deals with war. Even as far back as 1850 he
had been desirous of becoming an officer in the Prussian army; and
negotiations for that end, set upon foot by military friends whom
he had made at Berlin, failed only because he was a republican.
Afterwards he became aid to Governor Allston of South Carolina, and
more recently to Governor Pickens. Upon the breaking out of the war
between Sardinia and Austria, Colonel Pettigrew at once arranged his
private business and hastened to obtain position in the army under
General Marmora.

His application to Count Cavour was favorably received, but after
consideration his offer was declined on the ground that the event of
the battle of Solferino had rendered further fighting improbable.
He was greatly disappointed, as his reception had inspired him
with hopes of seeing active service in the Sardinian army with
rank, at least as high as that of a colonel. Availing himself,
however, of his unexpected leisure, he revisited Spain, and after
a stay of a few months returned to South Carolina. The fruits of
this second visit were collected by him into a volume entitled
_Spain and Spaniards_, which he printed, for the inspection of his
friends, in 1860. It will be found to be a thoughtful, spirited, and
agreeable record of his impressions of that romantic land. At the
opening of the present war, Colonel Pettigrew, as aid to Governor
Pickens, took a prominent part in the operations at Charleston.
He was at that time also colonel of a rifle regiment, in which
he was much interested, and which became conspicuous amongst the
military organizations around Charleston in the winter of 1860-'61.
As commander of this body he received the surrender of Castle
Pinckney, and subsequently held himself in readiness to storm Fort
Sumter, in case it had not been surrendered after bombardment. Later
in the spring, having failed to procure the incorporation of his
regiment into the army of the Confederate States, and believing
there was little chance of seeing active service in South Carolina,
he transferred himself to Hampton's legion as a private, and early
in the summer accompanied that corps into Virginia. A few days
afterwards he was recalled to the service of his native State by
an unsolicited election as Colonel of the Twelfth Regiment of
North Carolina volunteers, afterwards the Twenty-second Regiment
of North Carolina troops. It had been Colonel Pettigrew's earnest
wish to become connected with the North Carolina army, so he at once
accepted the honorable position, and repaired to Raleigh, where his
regiment was stationed in its camp of instruction. He devoted his
attention to its discipline with great assiduity, and in the early
days of August was ordered into Virginia. The fall and winter of
1861 were spent by him near Evansport, upon the Potomac. He gave his
whole time and attention to perfecting his regiment in the duties
of soldiers. He fully shared in every hardship that was incident
to their situation. In this new position Colonel Pettigrew became
conspicuous for another characteristic necessary to eminent success
in every department, but especially in that of military life. He was
an adept in the art of personally attaching to him the men under
his charge. Their enthusiasm knew no bounds. Their confidence in
his administration of the police of the camp was perfect, and their
assurance of his gallantry and skill unqualified. He soon felt
that he might rely upon his brave men for all that was possible
to soldiers. Being offered promotion to the rank of brigadier,
he declined it on the ground that it would separate him from his
regiment. Sometime later, in the spring of 1862, an arrangement
was made by which the Twelfth Regiment was included in the brigade
that was tendered to him, and he no longer felt any difficulty in
accepting the promotion.

General Pettigrew shared in the march under General Johnston into
the Peninsula, and afterwards, in the retreat upon Richmond. On
the first day of June, 1862, in the battle of Seven Pines, he was
severely wounded by a ball which passed transversely along the front
of his throat and so into the shoulder, cutting the nerves and
muscles which strengthen the right arm. This occurred in a charge
which he led with great gallantry. He was left upon the field for
dead, and recovered his consciousness only to find himself in the
hands of the enemy. Some weeks later his exchange was effected, and
being still an invalid, he was placed in command at Petersburg.
The exigencies of the service having required his regiment to be
transferred to another brigade, he found, upon his return, that it
had been placed under the gallant, and now, alas! lamented, General
Pender. By degrees a new brigade assembled around General Pettigrew,
and such was his pains in its instruction, and such the desire among
the North Carolina soldiers to make part of his command, that by
the close of the year he was at the head of a brigade which, in
point of quality, numbers, and soldierly bearing, was equal to any
in the army. He commanded this brigade in repelling the Federal raid
into Martin county, late in the fall of 1862, and again in General
Foster's expedition against Goldsboro, in December, 1862, and
although the quick dexterity of the enemy in falling back did not
upon either occasion afford him and his associates an opportunity
of trying conclusions with them, yet, upon both occasions the
magnificent appearance of Pettigrew's Brigade tended greatly to
revive the spirit of a community recently overrun by the enemy. He
was also with General D. H. Hill during the spring of this year, in
his attempt upon Washington in this State; and in the very brilliant
affair at Blount's Creek gave the public a taste of what might be
expected from his abilities when untrammeled by the orders of a

At the time of General Stoneman's raid on the north of Richmond,
General Pettigrew was ordered to the protection of that city,
and shortly afterwards took position at Hanover Junction. His
brigade subsequently made part of the Army of Northern Virginia,
and accompanied General Lee into Pennsylvania. At the battle of
Gettysburg he was in command of Heth's Division, and won many
laurels. His division was greatly cut up. The loss of his brigade
in killed and wounded was so heavy as almost to destroy its
organization. He himself was wounded by a ball which broke one of
the bones of his hand. He regarded it so little as not to leave the
field. Moving afterwards with General Lee to Hagerstown and the
Potomac, it devolved upon General Pettigrew, on the night of the
13th and the morning of the 14th of July, to assist in guarding the
passage of that part of the army which recrossed at Falling Waters.
About nine o'clock in the morning of the latter day, having been
in the saddle all night, General Pettigrew and other officers had
thrown themselves upon the ground for a few moment's rest, when
a party of Federal cavalry rode into their midst. In the _mêlée_
which ensued, General Pettigrew was shot, the ball taking effect in
the abdomen and passing through his body. When the enemy had been
repulsed, he was taken up by his sorrowing soldiers and carried
across the river some seven miles into Virginia, along the track
of the army. Upon the next day he was carried some fifteen miles
further, to the house of Mr. Boyd at Bunker Hill, where he received
every attention of which his situation allowed. Upon General Lee's
expressing great sorrow for the calamity, he said that his fate was
no other than one might reasonably anticipate upon entering the
army, and that he was perfectly willing to die for his country. To
the Rev. Mr. Wilmer he avowed a firm persuasion of the truths of the
Christian religion, and said that in accordance with his belief he
had, some years before, made preparations for death, adding, that
otherwise he would not have entered the army. He lingered until the
17th, and then at twenty-five minutes after six in the morning,
died, quietly and without pain. The expression of sympathy for
his sad fate was universal. Private soldiers from other commands,
and distant States, vied with his own in repeated inquiries after
his condition. Upon its way to Raleigh, his body was received by
the authorities and by the citizens everywhere with all possible
respect and attention. On the morning of Friday, the 24th of July,
the coffin, wrapped in the flag of the country, and, adorned
with wreaths of flowers and other tributes of feminine taste and
tenderness, lay in the rotunda of the Capitol, where, within the
year, had preceded him his compatriots, Branch and Anderson. Later
in the day the State received his loved and honored remains into her

It was a matter of great gratification to North Carolina when
this son, after an absence of a few years, gladly returned to
her service. She views his career in arms with a just pride. She
will ever reckon him among the most precious of her jewels; and
will hold him forth as the fittest of all exemplars to the coming
generations of her young heroes. Chief among his triumphs will it be
reckoned that in the midst of his elevation and of the high hopes
which possessed his soul, he so demeaned himself as to secure a
place, hallowed by grief, in many an humble heart throughout North
Carolina. His name is to be pronounced reverently and with tears by
the winter fireside of many a hut; and curious childhood will beg
to have often repeated the rude stories in which soldiers shall
celebrate his generosity, his impartiality, his courtesy, and his
daring. It is true that many eyes which flashed with enthusiasm as
their favorite urged his gray horse into the thick of the battle,
are forever dull upon the fatal hills of Pennsylvania; but this will
render his memory only the more dear to the survivors; what of his
fame was not theirs originally, they will claim to have inherited
from the dead around Gettysburg.

If this story has been properly told, little remains to be said by
way of comment. A young man of very rare accomplishments and energy,
fitted equally for the cloister of the scholar and for the field of
battle, has been snatched from our midst. Admirably qualified to be
of assistance to the country as a soldier or as a statesman, General
Pettigrew has been suddenly removed at the very commencement, as it
were, of his career.

    Ostendent terris hunc tantum fata, neque ultra
      Esse sinent.

Although what he has achieved is sufficient for fame, that which
impresses the observer most forcibly is that such vast preparation
should, in the course of Providence, be defeated of an opportunity
for display at all commensurate with what seemed its reasonable
requirements. Under the circumstances, his death looks like a
prodigious waste of material. It adds a striking illustration to
that class of subjects which has always been popular in poetry and
in morals, whether heathen or Christian. It appears very clearly
that the Ruler of all things is under no necessity to employ rare
talents and acquirements in the course of His awful administration,
but, in the crisis of great affairs, can lay aside a Pettigrew with
as little concern as any other instrument, even the meanest.

Upon some fitting occasion, no doubt, his friends will see that the
public is furnished with a more suitable and detailed account of
the preparation he had made to do high service to his generation.
It will then be better known that no vulgar career of ambition, and
no ordinary benefit to his country, had presented itself to him as
worthy of the aims and endowments of James Johnston Pettigrew.

Mrs. Spencer's sketch was written in 1863 and published in the
_Fayetteville Observer_. It will also be found in her _Last Ninety
Days of the War_, as an appendix. Other sketches since written may
have added opinions, but very few facts.

The stranger may ask, What has this young man done that he should
be placed by the side of Davie, Macon, Murphy, Badger, and Ruffin?
In intellectual grasp he was the equal of any of them--probably the
superior of all. As an original thinker, as a practical investigator
in new and untried fields, it does not appear what he might have

He was on the crest of the highest wave of Southern valor and
patriotism as it swept over the mountains of Pennsylvania.

In Longstreet's assault, in the third day's fight at Gettysburg
(which some Virginia historians, with amusing vanity, call
"Pickett's charge"), Pettigrew's command, Heth's Division, bore
the brunt of the enemy's resistance. Five of the North Carolina
regiments following Pettigrew had more men killed than Pickett's
fifteen. His own brigade (four regiments at Gettysburg) carried into
Longstreet's assault about fourteen hundred and eighty men; its loss
in killed and wounded was four hundred and forty-five.

This same brigade, Pettigrew in command, held the pivot of the first
day's fight, but at a fearful cost. Out of the twenty-two hundred
engaged it lost six hundred and sixty killed and wounded.

In this brigade was the famous Twenty-sixth North Carolina Regiment,
under Harry K. Burgwyn, which lost in the first day's fight five
hundred and eighty-eight men killed and wounded out of a total of
eight hundred and in Longstreet's assault one hundred and twenty
of the remnant, the greatest loss and the greatest percentage of
loss of any regiment in either army in any battle during the Civil
War. Its gallant colonel (Burgwyn) was among the last of fifteen
color-bearers who fell with the flag in their hands.

In the first day's fight Pettigrew was engaged with the famous
"Iron Brigade," in which was the Twenty-fourth Michigan, facing
the Twenty-sixth North Carolina in the open field at close range,
gradually getting closer as the Federals slowly retired through
field and woods for an hour and a half, until finally, and before
the Twenty-fourth broke, they were within one hundred feet of each
other, at which range they continued for twenty or thirty minutes.
Captain J. J. Davis (afterwards Associate Justice of our Supreme
Court) was an eye-witness and participant. He says: "The advantage
was everywhere with the Confederate side, and I aver that this was
greatly, if not chiefly, due to Pettigrew's Brigade and its brave
commander. The bravery of that knightly soldier and elegant scholar,
as he galloped along the line in the hottest of the fight, cheering
on his men, cannot be effaced from my memory."

After this frightful day's work he was chosen to lead Heth's
Division in Longstreet's assault. And though wounded in this assault
by a grape-shot through his hand, he it was who, on the retreat of
Lee's army, was chosen to command the rear guard, which consisted
of his own shattered brigade and another. This was the duty that
Napoleon assigned to Marshal Ney, "the bravest of the brave." And it
was in the discharge of this duty that Pettigrew lost his life.

Dr. W. H. Lilly, of Concord, N. C., an eye-witness and the physician
who was with General Pettigrew when he got his death-wound, at my
request gives me a short account taken from his diary kept at the

"General Pettigrew was carrying his wounded hand in a sling.... On
the night of July 13th we started on our march to the river. It
was raining, and very dark, so that we proceeded very slowly. On
the morning of the 14th, General Pettigrew, with his and General
Archer's Brigades, was left as rear guard while the wagons and
artillery were crossing the river on the pontoon bridge. While our
men were lying down a large body of cavalry appeared in our rear. A
squadron from the main body came riding up to our line. They were
at first thought to be our men retiring before the main body of
the advancing enemy. When near us a small United States flag was
recognized, and they were in our midst before we fired on them.
General Pettigrew's horse threw him, as he had only the use of one
hand. He then began to snap his pistol at one of them, who turned
and shot him in the abdomen. The General's pistol did not fire, as
the powder was wet from the heavy rain. Nearly the entire squadron
was killed or captured. We put General Pettigrew on a stretcher
and carried him over the river at once. I advised him to remain in
a house, and assured him that his only chance for life was in his
being entirely quiet. He refused, saying he would rather die than
fall into the hands of the enemy. We brought him in an ambulance to
Bunker Hill and put him into Mr. Boyd's house, where he died at 6:30
A. M. on the morning of July 17th."

Why was it that this young man (who rarely went into a fight that
he did not get hit) was preferred for responsible and dangerous
commands before the officers trained at West Point? He had the
genius for war and the spirit of a hero-martyr.

In the blood of his crucified cause was written the mightiest
protest ever filed for the judgment of posterity against the class
legislation, the centralization and the aggrandizement of the
General Government in copartnership with the preferred and protected
States--a copartnership out of which has been spawned a still more
unholy alliance with the corporations and moneyed institutions which
have their roots in those States and in foreign countries.

Not in blood, we hope, but nevertheless bravely and patriotically,
let the young men of this day and generation strive to free our
Union from the domination of domestic traitors and entangling
alliances with foreign foes.

I have selected two short extracts from his book, _Spain and the
Spaniards_, as giving a hint of his style and habits of thought. The
book was intended for private circulation among his friends, and
was written, doubtless, with the usual speed of young authors. It
indicates considerable learning and research, but its arrangement
is somewhat crude and its style not always sufficiently careful
and clear. One might well wish that he had devoted his life to
literature, but his talents were so varied and versatile it is hard
to say where he would have most excelled.

       *       *       *       *       *


"All this talk (that our western civilization and government is
nothing but a development of English ideas) is beginning to make the
Europeans believe that we consider ourselves under some obligations
to sympathize with and sustain Anglo-Saxonism, the real truth being
that there is a far greater sympathy between the French and us than
between their neighbors and us. We are essentially democratic; they
abhor and detest the idea. The most miserable creature in England
would spurn liberty if accompanied by equality; for he thinks
there must be some poor devil, more miserable than himself, over
whom he can tyrannize. We acknowledge and are in favor of securing
to every one his just rights in the political system; whereas,
exactly the contrary holds in the Anglo-Saxon, who follows the old
parable of giving to him that hath and taking from him that hath
not even that which he hath. The universal tendency is to yield
power to those above and to keep the lower class pressed to the
earth. I, therefore, see little to justify the attempt of Mr. Bright
to transplant our institutions into England. He forgets that the
Americans--it is useless to investigate the causes why--are a race
of higher and more delicate organization, and can be entrusted
with liberty because they can appreciate it. The common Englishman
would only covet the privilege of suffrage in order that he might
sell his vote at its market value. He needs a sort of master, and
delights in having one. Universal suffrage in England, with due
submission, seems to me the craziest idea that ever entered into the
brain of a statesman. But Mr. Bright has a meagre following, for the
English people know themselves too well to indulge in such a Utopian
experiment. Not content with this, they kindly volunteer to lecture
us upon the errors of our system of society--for it is a difference
of society as well as of government--and pronounce republicanism a
failure because we prefer to confine government within the strictest
limits necessary for the objects of its institution, and perhaps
find King Log more suitable for the purpose than King Stork. Even
Mr. Macaulay has favored us with a "preachment," founded upon such
a strange confusion as to seem to belie the aphorism that history
is wisdom teaching by experience, and that its votaries should
consequently be the wisest of statesmen. England is a conglomeration
of monopolies. The land is a monopoly of a few thousands; the
government of a few hundreds. The whole number of capitalists
does not exceed a few millions. All below is a toiling, ignorant,
vicious, discontented multitude, who know not one week where they
will find bread for the next. Such is their system, and were America
like England, Mr. Macaulay would be justifiable in supposing the
cause of republicanism hopeless. But what class in America enjoys
a monopoly of the pleasures of life? Is not every avenue open to
the most unfriended capacity? Do not all receive the benefits of
education? Can not, and have not, the poorest boys occupied the
Presidential chair? Have our great statesmen, our millionaires,
been, for the most part, the children of even competency? Owing to
the equality which reigns throughout our ideas and institutions,
is it not in the power of every honest laborer to make provision
against the contingencies of old age, and do not most of them
make such provision? Whence, then, is to come this army of grim,
despairing, famished workmen, who, having nothing, hoping nothing,
without past or future, are to wage an eternal warfare against
the order of society? Is there, then, no middle ground between a
savorless communism and the despotism of capital? Are there no
checks and balances in nature? Do freedom, equality, education, an
honorable inculcation of industry effect nothing? It is provoking to
hear such solemn inconsequences from a really great man.

The disposition, too, to place a money value upon everything, the
real cause of their difficulties, is peculiar to the Anglo-Saxons,
and an anomaly in the present age of the world. In the military
profession, where, of all others, individual merit should be the
sole passport to distinction, commissions are still bought and sold.
Throughout the country money is imperatively required for every
position of eminence. The records of the House of Lords contain the
strange case of a duke who was expelled for no other crime than his
poverty. Men of the first abilities are deterred from accepting the
peerage because they have not amassed money enough to save them from
the humiliating and disgraceful position of a poor gentleman. We
Americans like money, not because it is money, or because it brings
position or respect, but because it gratifies bodily desires. It
would be thought an astonishing thing with us if the Presidential
Electors were to inspect the pockets of the candidate rather
than his head and his heart; or if, in 1848, Mr. Cass had been
recommended on account of his wealth, or General Taylor had sold out
his commission--things perfectly consonant with Anglo-Saxon ideas.
Yet the greatness of England is due in considerable part to this
very state of affairs, and any attempt to alter it may involve the
downfall of her power. The natural rulers are the aristocracy--and
the Anglo-Saxon gentleman is certainly one of the best qualified
persons in Europe to govern Anglo-Saxons--but all below bear the
impress of an inferior class, a strange combination of servility
with tyranny. That there should be any real sympathy between the
great body of the two nations is as little to be desired as expected.

Having thus spoken of the want of sympathy between us in the weaker
points of character, justice requires me to confess that there is
an equal absence of resemblance in the virtues. The Englishman
certainly does possess bulldog courage. His officers may be
ignorant of the science of war, but he, nevertheless, fights to the
last, nor is he subject either to the exhilaration of success or
the depression of defeat. He is conservative by nature and abhors
humbugs and humbuggery. The middle classes, and particularly the
country gentleman, are worthy of their position. The men of this
rank are true and the women virtuous. Reserved in intercourse and
unamiable toward their own countrymen, they seem to be courteous to
foreigners and even to each other when the social barrier is broken
through; but these do not compose the nation. In discussing national
relations it is not the merits and demerits of one class alone that
are to be considered, but the bearing of the whole.

The increase of steam and the facility of communication and the
little leaven of Anglo-Saxonism unfortunately left among us, has
of late years caused many Americans to look up to England as the
_mother country_, as the phrase goes. Though, perhaps, not one in
ten of those who use the expression so frequently has any great
amount of the much prized fluid in his veins. The manner in which
the homage is received beyond the water depends very much upon
the state of relations with France. As the one goes up, the other
goes down. The difference between the conduct of the English
toward America now, and its conduct in 1850, is astonishing. Then
France was torn internally, scarcely able to maintain domestic
tranquillity, and powerless for any offensive action. Europe
was just beginning to stagger weakly along, as if from a bed of
sickness. England and Russia, alone, of the great powers, had
stood the storm unbent. Under this state of things America was
a presumptuous youngster, to be snubbed upon every opportune
occasion. The Yankees (as they persist in calling the whole nation)
were described in Europe as lank, nasal-twanging barbarians, very
good for accumulating money and manufacturing wooden nutmegs, but
worthy only of a place in the kitchen of the civilized world. The
Brussels-carpeted parlor, Christendom, was not to be defiled with
their presence. The newspapers never wearied of ringing the changes
upon American shortcomings. Our self-government and liberty were
held up as empty bubbles on the point of bursting. The plain and
unflattering truth being that the English have a profound contempt
for us, and it is impossible to blame them for it, when we remember
the servility and utter abnegation of manhood that characterize
so many of us in the presence of a live lord. They have eagerly
embraced every opportunity of kicking and cuffing us, yet we whine
at their feet; how could they do otherwise than despise us? Since
that time, however, certain changes have taken place in the world.
The distracted French Republic has given way to a powerfully
organized empire, with a chief capable of planning, and an army
and navy capable of executing any enterprise, however gigantic.
The first warning given of this change was in 1851, on the Greek
question, when the President of the French Republic checked Lord
Palmerston, and gave England to understand that her course of
proceeding in foreign domineering must be altered or a war with
France would follow in a fortnight. We all remember the salutary
effect of that warning, and Palmerston's capital "bottle-holding"
speech. The doctrine of a balance of power upon the ocean as well
as the land has been again spoken of in high places. The ghost of
Waterloo, from being a source of unmingled pride and gratification
and boasting, has come to cause as many terrors as that of Banquo.
An unexpected consequence has been that the manner of speaking of
America has altered apace. It is "our cousins beyond the water" now,
and "Brother Jonathan." An American is appealed to and asked whether
he will allow the "mother country" to be crushed, the "Protestant
religion to be destroyed," etc. All this happened before, and if the
government of Louis Napoleon were supplanted by a weak monarchy,
the present good feeling of "our dear cousins" would disappear as
rapidly as their fears.

In truth, opposition to the advancement of the United States,
whether material or intellectual, is the normal condition of
England. We have suffered from it ever since the foundation of our
government, and will continue to do so, except when the fear of
invasion causes a temporary change in her policy; for selfishness,
an utter, unholy and inconceivable desire to sacrifice the happiness
and prosperity of every other country to her own even most trifling
advantage, is her invariable rule of action. The English quarrel
among themselves about the length of a bishop's gown, or the cut
of a guardsman's hat, or great constitutional questions, but there
is never a difference of action on this point; and any statesman
who dared raise a voice in behalf of justice and honor in foreign
relations could not be returned from a single constituency in
England. Witness poor Bright and Cobden in the Chinese war. Woe to
any nation that trusts her friendship.

       *       *       *       *       *


About nine o'clock in summer, the whole of Seville issues forth to
enjoy the evening air on the Plaza Isabel, which is the favorite
promenade at that hour. So, following the current, I found myself in
a large parallelogram, surrounded by stately buildings in the modern
style, and half-filled with an innumerable throng of all classes,
some seated, some walking. Most of the men were smoking and most
of the women fanning themselves, with occasional intermixtures of
conversation; but the great occupation of every one is to look and
be looked at....

A public promenade is indispensable to every Spanish city, however
small, and every Spaniard is sure to pass there some portion of the
week. Particularly is this the case in Andalusia and Valencia. The
unbroken clear weather, continuing during a large part of the year,
converts the occasional constitutional stroll into a daily habit,
and an afternoon or evening walk is as much a matter of course as
attendance at mass. Fortunately for strangers, they have thus,
during spring and summer, an opportunity for seeing a considerable
portion of the population without the necessity of resorting to
letters of introduction, which involve the sacrifice of more time
than a passing traveler can spare. Seville is the city where this,
as all other national customs, is seen in its greatest perfection....

The night was Spanish, and who can describe the glories of a Spanish
summer night on the banks of the Guadalquivir? The mellow lustre
of the moon seemed to have overflowed the earth, and the blue
vault of heaven had given even to the stone buildings around an
appearance of liquid silver. It was as though the air itself had a
visible tangible substance, and we were floating upon the bosom of
an enchanted ocean. The lamps served but for ornament, and stood
like little points of burnished gold. Not a cloud obscured the sky.
Odoriferous breezes from the south wafted gently over, as if fearing
to embrace too roughly the fair cheeks that sought their wooing. A
quadruple row of chairs offered repose to the indolent or weary, and
from time to time some young lady would take compassion upon a score
of admirers, by remaining where all might approach within sound
of her voice; but the more interesting part of the assemblage was
generally to be found on the promenade.

The beauty of Spanish women has ever been a subject of admiration
to all who are endowed with a perception of the lovely. Yet, while
acknowledging its irresistible power, there is nothing so difficult
as to explain the fascination which it exercises; for, unlike
the rest of their sex, the daughters of Andalusia owe nothing to
those artificial processes which may be said to form a part of the
female education elsewhere. Their taste in dress is excellent, when
combined with simplicity, as is generally the case; for they have
by nature very little disposition to the variety of colors, which
appears to be the ruling passion of Parisian circles. The universal
costume in winter, and the usual one out of doors in all seasons,
is a dark colored skirt called a _basquiña_, fitting close around
the waist and extending to the feet, which are thus concealed. It is
sometimes kept in place by leaden pellets affixed to the border. The
same innate sense of delicacy, or, perhaps, an intuitive knowledge
of the weakness of men in believing no charms equal to hidden
charms, preserves them from those fearful exposures of neck and
shoulders, which so shocked the Japanese. A delicate satin slipper
encases a foot that would not crush a daisy. From the top of the
comb, if one be worn, gracefully fall the mantilla's folds across a
gently budding breast, where it is confined by the fingers of the
wearer's left-hand, or at times the veil is thrown forward over the

From the hair, massed above the temples, stealthily peeps a rose, as
if hesitating to venture its humble beauties beside such loveliness.
Two curls--_guedejas, caracoles de armor_--bear it company. A fan
completes her costume. Thus armed, the maids of the Guadalquivir go
forth to conquer the world.

The use of the black veil seems traditional in Spain, since it is
mentioned by the Roman geographers as a part of the ancient costume
existing in those provinces which had not fully adopted the dress
of the conqueror; and they describe it as frequently thrown forward
over the face in the same style.... The mantilla is peculiarly
becoming to the Spanish style of features, while the French hat
presents the most odious and hideous contrast conceivable; the
former lends additional attractions; the latter destroys those
which already exist. One may be insensible to everything else, but
the mantilla is irresistible. A _basquiña_, a Cinderella slipper,
a mantilla or a veil, a rose and a fan, are all that any Andaluza
needs to bring the world to her feet.

But the fan! the magic fan! who shall describe its wonderful powers?
Who can sound the depths of its mysteries? Every movement of this
potent wand is fraught with happiness or misery. In their hands it
positively speaks, and its gentle recognitions are far more winning
than any assertions of the tongue. It is said to have a language, a
sort of alphabet of its own, but that is doubtful. Its utterances
are of the magnetic character, which need no interpretation, and
are felt rather than learnt. The art of managing it was always to
me an unfathomable science, and though I embraced every opportunity
of becoming a proficient, and actually took two formal lessons,
I failed utterly of success. It must be said, however, that my
instructor had learnt by intuition, but unfortunately was not able
to teach by the same method. I was always told there was only one
way of opening it, yet there are certainly five, for the theory is
almost as difficult as the practice. But having, by dint of hard
study, acquired, as you fondly imagine, the requisite theoretical
knowledge, you desire to see it embodied in action. Your instructor
shows how the fingers are placed. You are then told to do "so";
whirr! goes the fan, and it is all over before your eyes have
caught the first movement. A gentleman present at my discomfiture,
consoled me by saying that he would not respect a man who could
acquire the art; that in men's hands it was a practical instrument
for putting the air in motion. The ladies certainly do not so regard

I had been apprehensive lest this costume, rendered so poetical by
the descriptions of travelers and the dreams of romancers, were
not the true secret of the admiration which I had formerly carried
away across the Pyrenees, and that it was a reflected, semi-poetic,
semi-romantic, at all events, unsubstantial conception. Such is
not the case. On the present occasion the prevailing color, in
accordance with the season was white, and the mantilla was replaced
by a simple lace veil, so that there is certainly some external
attraction independent of dress. I attribute it to the combination
of personal beauty, such as the world cannot surpass, with a grace
of movement, an innate, inalienable elegance of manner, which no
education can give and no words describe. An Andaluza is born, not
made. Not too tall and never dumpy (horrible word), her person is so
exquisitely proportioned that, without some measure of comparison,
you would form no opinion as to her real size. An elegant fullness
preserves her alike from the scrawny penury of the English or the
corpulency of the Italians. Her lofty brow justifies her sparkling
wit, and the delicate organization of her feelings and intellect
is in harmony with the finely chiseled features. Luxuriant masses
of dark glossy hair, parted slightly on one side, and nobly arched
eyebrows, are a fit setting to a rich southern complexion, not of
sickly yellow, but of a clear olive tinge, through which the timid
blood, with every emotion, mantles to the surface. The pride of
her beauty is the large, lustrous, almond-shaped, velvety eye,
half covered with silken lashes, as if to screen her admirers from
the danger of being consumed; but when aroused into activity,
flashing forth pride, interest, inexhaustible love, with a fire more
irresistible than that of a thousand suns. Then it is that, with an
imperious wave of the fan, she bids you plunge into a maelstrom of
vipers, and you obey.

There is a widely diffused, but very erroneous belief among us that
every Spaniard has perforce black eyes and a dark complexion. Such
is far from being true, even in Andalusia. Ladies of the better
class, who are not exposed to the sun or wind, have beautifully
clear complexions, though brunette. In Ronda, blue eyes form the
majority, and they are by no means uncommon in other provinces. But
the Spanish blonde is still a Spaniard, and her type of beauty very
different from the insipid combination which often passes under that
name in the north. There is the same smothered fire, the same deep
expression in the eye, the same richness of complexion, which, in
union with raven tresses, form an exquisite picture. Light-haired
persons, _rubias_, are rarer, and of course much admired to look at,
though every one falls in love with their dark-haired rivals. Of the
luxuriance and elegance of their hair the ladies are justly proud,
and no pains are spared to render it as beautiful as possible.
The time devoted to this object is sacred in all classes, and if,
in response to an inquiry or request, the ominous reply is heard,
"_hombre! estamos ocupadas con el pelo_," it is useless to remain.
Nothing short of another invasion of the Moors could arouse them.
During the civil war, Zumalacarregui, or Merino, for it is narrated
of both, placed death for the men and loss of their hair for the
women, upon the same footing, and found them equally efficacious

Spanish girls are taught to walk gracefully, too, as all girls
should be, and since the narrowness of the streets prevents the
general use of carriages, and the arms of gentlemen are seldom
offered, and never accepted, they avoid falling into the tottering
shuffle, which is produced by the opposite customs. The walk of
the Seville ladies is something peculiar to Andalusia. That they
take steps is firmly believed because required by the anatomical
construction of mankind, but in their case the belief is the result
of induction, not of ocular perception. They glide over the earth as
though supported by unseen hands, and disappear from your sight ere
you can believe that they are actually moving.

The Andalusian foot is a marvel, both for size and beauty. A lady
will wear with ease the slipper of an ordinary girl of fourteen. If
any artificial means are used, the pressure must be very slight, as
the appearance is perfectly natural, notwithstanding the fact that
they seldom adopt any other means of locomotion. The development of
the English _understanding_ is a subject of perpetual wonderment on
the Guadalquivir, where they are accustomed to compare its covering
to a twelve-oared boat.

The graceful walk of the Sevillians is not more peculiar to them
than the noble carriage of the head, due, doubtless, in some degree,
to the absence of those fragile yet cumbrous ornaments which force
others to assume a stiff and constrained position. It gives them an
air of haughtiness by no means disagreeable, however, as you are
quite ready to admit their unapproachable superiority before they
assert it. Every Andaluza has two points of beauty--fine eyes and
hair. Then she may have a good complexion, and she is almost certain
to be graceful. If to these she unite wit and cultivation, who are
so daring as to deny her preeminence? Progress, perhaps mere change,
is desirable in many things in Spain, but that Heaven may preserve
her fair daughters from the hand of innovation is the prayer of
native and foreigner alike. It is scarcely possible, that the best
laid schemes of any power on earth could effect an improvement.

[Illustration: WILLIAM D. PENDER.]



Among the glorious number of heroic spirits who laid down their
lives for this pre-doomed undertaking [the secession of the
Confederate States] not one was more conspicuous for courage and
loyalty, and but few, if any, for skill and leadership, than the
subject of this sketch, General William Dorsey Pender. He was
born in Edgecombe county, N. C., on the 6th of February, 1834, at
the country home of his father, James Pender, Esq. His paternal
ancestry is of ancient English stock, the name being as old as
English history itself. The first of the family to come to America
was Edwin, who, in the reign of Charles II., settled near Norfolk,
Virginia. A descendant of the same name, grandfather of General
Pender, removed from Norfolk to Edgecombe, on Town Creek, where he
owned and died possessed of large landed interests and slaves. On
one of these plantations, inherited by his father, General Pender
was born. His mother was Sarah Routh, a sister of the mother of the
late Hon. R. R. Bridgers, and the daughter of William Routh, Esq.,
of Tidewater, Virginia.

General Pender lived where he was born until he was fifteen years
of age, when he entered, as a clerk, the store of his brother, Mr.
Robert D. Pender, in Tarboro. This employment was distasteful to him
from the first. The martial spirit was already strongly developed
in him, and the opportunity soon presented itself for him to begin
a military education and training. He entered the Military Academy
at West Point as a cadet on the first of July, 1850, having been
recommended as a suitable candidate by the Hon. Thomas Ruffin, who
was then the member of Congress from his district. The friendship
of Mr. R. R. Bridgers, which lasted through life, procured for him
the appointment. He was graduated in 1854, standing nineteenth in
his class. In this class were G. W. Custis Lee, Stephen D. Lee,
J. E. B. Stuart and other distinguished military men. As cadet he
was modest and unassuming in his intercourse with his fellows,
respectful to his instructors and tractable to the discipline of
the institution. Upon his graduation he was assigned to the First
Artillery as Brevet Second Lieutenant and the same year was made
Second Lieutenant of the Second Artillery. In the year 1855 he was
transferred, at his own request, to the First Regiment of Dragoons,
and in 1858 was promoted to a first lieutenancy. From the time he
entered the dragoons he saw service in the field in all its phases,
camp, frontier, and scouting; fighting in New Mexico, California,
Washington and Oregon. He was engaged in many skirmishes, and in
as many as three battles with the Indians--one of the engagements
being with the Apaches at Amalgré Mountain, on March 20, 1856;
another at the Four Lakes, September 1, 1858, and the other on the
Spokane Plains, September 3, 1858. He took a conspicuous part in
these engagements, and was mentioned with credit in the reports of
them. Lieutenant Lawrence Kip, in his _Army Life on the Pacific_,
narrates the following incident which occurred at the battle of
Spokane Plains: "Lieutenant Pender, while in the woods, returning
from the rear, where he had been on duty connected with ordering up
the balance of the troops, was suddenly attacked by an Indian chief.
To his dismay, the Lieutenant discovered that his sabre had become
entangled in the scabbard and would not draw. Quick as thought one
hand grasped the savage's arm, the other his neck, and in this
manner, hugging him close and galloping into ranks, he lifted
him from his horse and hurled him back among the men, who soon
dispatched him." He was made Adjutant of the First Dragoons November
8, 1860, and served with that rank, with the headquarters at San
Francisco, until January 31, 1861, when he was detached and ordered
to report at Carlisle, Pennsylvania, on recruiting service.

On the 3d of March, 1859, he had married Miss Mary Frances Shepperd,
daughter of the Hon. Augustine H. Shepperd, at Good Spring, the
country-seat of the bride's father, near Salem, North Carolina.
Shortly after the marriage he returned to his command, then in
Washington Territory, his wife accompanying him and remaining with
him until they returned to the east, arriving at Washington in the
latter part of February, 1861. There they remained a few days, and
on the 3d of March, the day before Mr. Lincoln was inaugurated,
they left for North Carolina. This short stay at Washington at this
juncture was a crisis in the young officer's life. He had seen
a sectional feeling arise in the army. He now found the people
divided. The Confederate Government was already established;
troops had been organized and drilled in the South and Fort Sumter
invested. He was perplexed as to what he ought to do; whether
to continue in the service of the United States or resign his
commission; for in case of war he could not take part against the
South, and this would be required of him if he held his commission
in the army. He became satisfied, after considering carefully the
situation and observing closely the tendency of affairs, that war
was inevitable, and from his knowledge of the character and temper
of the two sections he knew the war would be a terrible one. He
determined to cast his lot with his people of the South, and on the
21st of March resigned his commission in the army, and immediately
offered his services to the Confederate Government at Montgomery. He
was appointed captain in the artillery service of the provisional
army, but was shortly afterwards sent by the government to Baltimore
to take charge of the Confederate recruiting depot at that place.

The time has passed when the motives of the men who resigned their
commissions in the armies of the United States and took service
afterwards in the Confederate armies can be impugned. Impartial
history has pronounced their conduct natural, consistent, and
sincere. In this connection it is interesting to recall a sentence
from the memorable address of Mr. Edmunds in the United States
Senate in 1883, on the life and character of Senator B. H. Hill:
"The notion of fidelity to one's own State, whether her cause be
thought wise and right or not, is almost a natural instinct; and
whether it be defensible on broad grounds or not, who does not
sympathize with it?"

In the first week of May, 1861, when North Carolina began to
organize her volunteer troops, Captain Pender returned and entered
her service at the "Old Fair Grounds," near Raleigh, Governor Ellis
appointing him to drill and instruct the officers of the companies
of the First Regiment--the Bethel Regiment. After that regiment was
dispatched to Virginia he was assigned to duty as Commandant of the
Camp of Instruction at Garysburg, and, upon the formation there of
the Third Regiment of Volunteers, was elected its colonel on the
16th of May, 1861. At this time he was twenty-seven years old, about
five feet ten inches in height, well formed and straight; graceful
in his carriage; with large, lustrous, dark eyes, dark-brown hair,
an olive complexion, head almost faultless in shape, a mouth
clear cut, and lips firmly compressed, and a voice soft, low, and
distinct. The combined dignity and ease of his manner charmed all
who came about him. The sweet modesty of his unassuming bearing
was so striking that it won all to him; and this characteristic is
always mentioned, even now, by those who knew him, as one of his
most attractive charms; and it underwent no diminution in after
years when he had won such distinguished military honors. His modest
and unassuming character was not always understood by those who
did not know him well. The following is an instance: He had fought
more than half a dozen pitched battles under General Jackson before
the two ever met socially. One day General Jackson said to Major
Avery, who was well acquainted with them both: "What sort of a man
is General Pender? I'm embarrassed at his never having been to see
me. I know he is a fine soldier, gallant and skillful on the field,
and his troops are well disciplined. I never fail to be impressed
with his camps; they are always clean, orderly and comfortable. I've
made it a rule, though, never to recommend an officer for promotion
unless I have a personal and social acquaintance with him, and this
will some day embarrass me."

However, from the beginning of his career to the end of it he knew
the value of discipline, and though of a kind and gentle disposition
he was firm in the management of his men. Throughout the entire
period of his service the camps of his troops always showed the
marks of order and system and the men the effects of training and

General W. G. Lewis, in a letter to Mr. D. W. Gilliam, says, after
noting a visit paid by himself to General Pender shortly after
the battle of Fredericksburg: "He received me most cordially and
courteously, and I had a very pleasant visit and one of profit to
me, as I saw plainly in his camps the results of true military
discipline and careful attention from headquarters. His camp was a
model of cleanliness, regularity and good order; his sentinels and
guard saluted in strict military style; all officers wore the badges
of their rank. I was particularly struck with this, as it was not,
by far, universal in the Army of Northern Virginia." Discipline was
enforced, as he often said, for the comfort and safety of his men,
and because the fiery gallantry of the Southern soldier would be
uselessly expended unless it was systematically and scientifically
directed; and he used to say that discipline was a protection to the
good soldier, in that it forced the doubtful one to the performance
of his duty, and thus reduced the work and the peril of the former.

Colonel Pender, with his regiment, was near Suffolk, Va., until
after the 15th of August, 1861, when he took command of Fisher's
famous Sixth Regiment at Manassas. He was appointed colonel of the
Sixth by Governor Clark, on the unanimous petition of its officers.
That appointment, at that time, was the highest compliment that
could have been paid to a North Carolinian. None but those who are
old enough to remember those days can appreciate what honor it
was to be accounted worthy to command the men whom Fisher led at
Manassas; though that battle was full of all sorts of blunders,
strategical and tactical, in the Confederate commanders, and turned
out a barren victory, the troops behaved admirably, and this
regiment as well as the best.

The Confederate army occupied about its original position near
Manassas until March, 1862, when it was transferred, under the
command of General Joseph E. Johnston, to the Peninsula to meet
McClellan's "On to Richmond" from that direction. As the Federals
advanced the Confederates retired upon Richmond, taking position on
the south side of the Chickahominy, and from two to five miles on
the east and north of the city. In the last week in May two Federal
corps, Keyes' and Heintzelman's, crossed that stream and entrenched
themselves across the Williamsburg stage road, near Seven Pines.
General Johnston ordered the attack of the 31st May on the enemy's
left. General Keyes, in his report of the battle, says: "The left of
my line was all protected by white oak swamps, but the right was on
ground so favorable to the approach of the enemy and so far from the
Chickahominy that if Johnston had attacked an hour or two earlier
than he did I could have made but a feeble defense, comparatively,
and every man of us would have been killed, captured or driven into
the swamps or river before assistance could have reached us." Owing
to misunderstandings and jealousies between the Confederate general
officers only five brigades of the twenty-three which were ordered
for the attack on the enemy's left were used in that attack, and
some of them fought knee and waist deep in mud and water in a white
oak swamp trying to get at an enemy entrenched on high ground.
There was great gallantry on the part of the Confederates, and the
carnage was dreadful. General D. H. Hill, who made the morning
attack with his division, after numerous repulses in and around the
swamp finally carried the enemy's position from the front--Couch's
Division of Keyes' Corps falling back northward to and beyond Fair
Oaks, a station on the Richmond and York River Railroad. From a
point just outside Fair Oaks, on the north, there is an intersection
at right angles of the Nine-Mile Road to Richmond and a road from
Grape Vine Bridge on the Chickahominy to the station. On the
Grape Vine Bridge road, about a thousand yards from Fair Oaks,
Couch's Division halted and formed a line facing toward the south,
information having been received that Sumner's Corps had crossed
the river at Grape Vine Bridge and was advancing to the assistance
of the Union troops. About 5 o'clock in the afternoon Colonel
Pender, with his Sixth Regiment, arrived at Fair Oaks from toward
Richmond, on the Nine-Mile road, in advance of Whiting's Brigade.
Line of battle having been instantly formed facing to the south,
the regiment, without support and under direct orders from either
General Whiting or General G. W. Smith, went rapidly forward. After
an advance of probably a third of a mile without coming up with the
enemy, Colonel Pender discovered a large force of Federals in the
act of forming a line from column by companies, near the Grape Vine
Bridge road and well to his left and rear. They had seen him in his
perilous position, and were preparing to capture or destroy him.
There really seemed no chance of escape; but as quick as lightning,
and with coolness equaling his bravery, the order "By the left
flank, file left, double quick!" rang out in as clear and musical a
voice as ever was heard on battlefield. The old regiment, the best
drilled and disciplined in the army of Northern Virginia, moved as
if on parade, and before the enemy had completed their formation it
was upon them, pouring volley after volley into their very faces;
and under the suddenness and fury of the attack the foe staggered
and reeled, while the glorious soldier withdrew his men and rejoined
his brigade, which was just coming up. Our hero was here like
Jackson in quickness of comprehension and promptness of decision; he
was like Soult in his tactical skill; he was like Junot in his fiery
onslaught. There never was a more courageous and skillful movement
made on any field. In the attack by Whiting's Brigade, which almost
immediately followed upon Colonel Pender's affair, the brigade was
repulsed and the troops retired in great disorder. Colonel Froebel,
of General Whiting's staff, who was present, in his report of the
battle says that Colonel Pender reformed the broken regiments and
restored the line by his courage and coolness. Mr. Davis was present
and witnessed Colonel Pender's behavior, and said to him on the
field, "_General_ Pender, I salute you!" General Stephen D. Lee thus
writes: "I was on the battlefield of Fair Oaks; saw him (General
Pender) and conversed with him before and after the battle. He
expressed his great satisfaction to me that he was literally made a
general on the field of battle for gallant and meritorious conduct
just performed, and said that it reminded him of such cases in
European armies, where such recognitions of soldierly conduct were

Three days afterwards he was put in command of Pettigrew's Brigade
(Pettigrew having been wounded and captured), which he led
through the Seven Days' fight around Richmond. His commission as
brigadier-general was handed to him July 22, 1862, to date from June
3. His brigade was composed of North Carolinians, the Thirteenth,
Sixteenth, Twenty-second, Thirty-fourth, and Thirty-eighth
Regiments, and General Pender commanded it until he was promoted.

General Johnston having been severely wounded in the battle of the
31st, the command of the army was given to General Lee. Within
less than a month he concentrated around Richmond the largest
army the Confederacy ever had in the field, composed of the very
pick and flower of the South. There was little discipline in that
army, but there were the highest personal courage and the greatest
individuality of character among the men. Its antagonist, the
Army of the Potomac, under General McClellan, though possibly a
little inferior in numbers, was thoroughly organized, drilled, and
equipped. On the 23d of June General Jackson arrived at General
Lee's headquarters, having left his troops on the route from the
Valley to join General Lee in a contemplated attack upon McClellan's
right. It was agreed between the two generals that at sunrise on
the morning of the 26th Jackson's forces should attack the rear of
the Federal position at Mechanicsville and Beaver Dam, while a part
of Lee's army should make the attack there in front. On the 25th,
the divisions of the two Hills moved out, A. P. Hill's down the
Meadow Bridge and D. H. Hill's on the Mechanicsville road. Jackson
was waited for until about 3 o'clock of the afternoon of the 26th,
when, not being heard from, A. P. Hill impetuously began the attack
from the front, General Pender with his brigade being the first to
engage. He brushed back the enemy's advanced line to their main one
just behind and along Beaver Dam creek. The position was entrenched
and fortified with siege-guns, as well as light artillery, while the
creek just in front was made hopelessly impassable by all manner of
obstructions placed there for that purpose. The approach was over
an exposed plain about three-quarters of a mile wide and down the
slope to the creek, with no cover or protection. General Pender and
his brave North Carolinians swept over the plain and down the bottom
under a murderous fire of artillery and musketry to the brink of
the creek; nothing could live under that fire. The line wavered and
staggered back. Mr. Davis, who was on the field, seeing the charge
and the terrible repulse, ordered General D. H. Hill to send one of
his brigades to his assistance, and Ripley was sent. About dark,
Pender's lines having been reformed and joined by Ripley, a second
advance was made. Though General Pender and his brave Carolinians
knew what was before them, and had seen with their eyes that the
position could not be carried, yet they went forward with a yell,
many to their deaths, and many more to suffer from their bloody
wounds and broken limbs. There was no chance for Pender to show his
skill here, it was simply a forlorn undertaking. He obeyed orders.
General D. H. Hill, in his article, "Lee's Attack North of the
Chickahominy," in _Battles and Leaders of the Civil War_, writing
of Pender's attack on Beaver Dam, uses the following language: "The
result was as might have been foreseen, a bloody and disastrous
repulse. None of us knew of the formidable character of the works
on Beaver Dam. Our engineers seemed to know little of the country
and nothing of the fortifications on the creek. The maps furnished
the division commanders were worthless. The lack of knowledge of the
topography was inexcusable. They had plenty of time. The Federals
had been preparing for the movement all the winter, and McClellan's
movements up the Peninsula indicated what position he would take
up. The blood shed by the Southern troops was wasted in vain. They
could have been halted at Mechanicsville until Jackson had turned
the works on the creek, and all that waste of blood could have been
avoided. Ripley's Brigade was sent by me to the assistance of Pender
by the direct order of both Mr. Davis and General Lee. The attack
on the Beaver Dam entrenchments or the heights of Malvern Hill and
Gettysburg were all grand, but of exactly the kind of grandeur the
South could not afford."

The next morning only a line of skirmishers occupied the works on
Beaver Dam, the scene of yesterday's slaughter, the main line,
upon discovering Jackson's near presence on the night of the 26th,
having retreated to another strongly entrenched position extending
from Gaines's Mill to near Cold Harbor. The Confederates followed,
Pender hugging the Chickahominy, and then turning off by the mill
to one-half mile beyond Cold Harbor. Here Porter's Corps, being
well entrenched and supported by two other divisions sent to his
assistance, made one of the finest battles of the war, repulsing the
Confederates many times, holding Longstreet and the two Hills and
Jackson at bay until about night, when the lines were broken. A. P.
Hill's Corps was the first to attack. General Pender and his brave
soldiers did their full part there on that day, forgetting their
terrible experience of the day before. He was also at Frazier's
Farm--Glendale--on the 30th.

From Beaver Dam to Malvern Hill, inclusive, these battles were one
continuous series of Confederate assaults upon entrenched Union
positions with unparalleled slaughter of the attacking columns. The
Southerners lost, in killed and wounded, nearly twenty thousand
men, the Federals not much more than half that number. General
Longstreet, in _Battles and Leaders of the Civil War_, writes:
"General Lee's plans in the seven days' fight were excellent, but
very poorly executed." General E. P. Alexander, Chief of Artillery
of Longstreet's Corps, in an article in the _Southern Historical
Society Papers_ on the battle of Frazier's Farm, writes: "As no
one can go through the details of this action without surprise at
the fatal want of concert of action which characterized the many
gallant and bloody assaults of the Confederates, it is best to say
beforehand that it was but the persistent mishap of every offensive
battlefield which the army of Northern Virginia ever fought, and
that its causes were not peculiar to any one."

General Pender in his official report of these battles, while paying
full tribute to the memory of the dead, did not fail to confer honor
on the meritorious survivors. He says of one of our townsmen, now
a distinguished lawyer, "Lieutenant Hinsdale, my acting Assistant
Adjutant-General, deserves the highest praise."

Lee's shattered brigades, somewhat gotten together after the fights
around Richmond, commenced the Maryland campaign. It was begun to
get rid of McClellan around Richmond, and also to strike General
Pope, who was advancing from Washington with another army by way of
Culpeper, before he and McClellan could unite.

Jackson moved off first, and finding the enemy at Cedar Run, or
Slaughter Station, on the Rapidan, he attacked at once. He had his
hands full, and for a time the battle seemed to be lost. At the
supreme moment Pender came on the scene, and, by a beautiful flank
movement, skillfully and energetically made, reanimated the wavering
Confederate line, and in a general advance the enemy was beaten off
the field. General Pender, in his official report of this battle,
makes mention of a young soldier, then serving with him, who is
now the accomplished editor of the _News and Observer_, in terms
most complimentary: "Captain Ashe, my Assistant Adjutant-General,
deserves notice for his conduct, being found almost at every point
almost at the same time, cheering on the men."

At second Manassas, a few days afterwards, Jackson's Corps received
every attack of nearly the whole of the Federal army without
yielding. The fire was delivered very often during that day at
not more than ten paces. There General Pender was like Ney. The
all-importance of holding the line until Longstreet should arrive
was appreciated by him. He exposed himself here almost recklessly.
At Ox Hill, or Chantilly, where General Phil. Kearney was killed,
General Pender again led the movement. He was wounded here again. On
these fields his superior generalship was conspicuously displayed.
From these battles his reputation was established as a skillful
leader. At Winchester, Harper's Ferry, and Sharpsburg he was a
commanding figure, always in place, with his troops well in hand on
the march and in battle. His superiors in rank in every movement
confided in his skill as well as in his courage.

The battle of Fredericksburg ended the campaign of 1862. In this
battle General Pender received the highest encomiums for the steady
and cool bravery with which he held his brigade under a protracted
fire from artillery, the most deadly of the war. It was a great
triumph of discipline, skill, and valor. He was again wounded here.

General Longstreet spent the winter of 1862-'63 with two divisions
of his corps at and near Suffolk, Virginia, procuring supplies
in eastern North Carolina. Before he returned to General Lee
at Fredericksburg, Hooker, who was in charge of the Army of
the Potomac, more than one hundred and twenty thousand strong,
crossed the Rapidan and took position on Lee's left flank near
Chancellorsville. The Confederate army numbered about fifty-five
thousand of all arms. Instead of promptly pressing his advantage,
Hooker delayed, and Lee and Jackson acted. This battle was perfect
in both strategy and tactics, and advanced Generals Lee and Jackson
to the forefront of military commanders. The Confederate soldiers
could not add to their laurels already won. In this battle of
Chancellorsville General Pender and his brigade made a name which
will last as long as the fame of the battle itself. All of us are
familiar with the first day's battle. Howard's Corps was routed by
D. H. Hill's old division, commanded by General Rodes. The tangled
growth of the wilderness and the darkness necessarily threw into
great confusion the Confederate troops which had made the attack.
While they were being reformed and reduced to order, and some of
the brigades relieved by fresh men, the enemy, with great numbers,
who had not been engaged, arrived, and, placing their artillery
at short range, opened fire with fatal effect. Everything which
had been gained seemed to be lost; and, when it was thought that
the Confederate line could not be held, General Jackson, after he
had received his death wound, recognizing in the darkness General
Pender, who had relieved one of Rodes' brigades, said to him: "You
must hold your ground, General Pender, you must hold your ground,
sir!" and he held his ground. This was General Jackson's last

On the next morning early the handful of Confederates saw three
times their numbers in a wilderness country, thoroughly entrenched,
waiting to receive their attack. The assault _had_ to be made.
Sedgwick, with his corps, was in rear and flank at Fredericksburg,
opposed by Early, who was too weak to cope with him, and Hooker's
main force was between Lee and Richmond. It was a terrible day--that
Sunday, the 3d of May, 1863. General Heth, in his official report of
the battle, says that Pender and Thomas, the left of A. P. Hill's
Division, opened the battle. They were repulsed in the first assault
with great loss, but in the second charge they carried the day.
Pender won more glory in this charge than any other of the heroic
souls who took part in it.

General Lee, in his official report of this battle, said: "General
Pender led his brigade to the attack under a destructive fire,
bearing the colors of a regiment in his own hands up to and over the
entrenchments with the most distinguished gallantry."

After the wounding of General A. P. Hill on that day, General Pender
was put in command of that officer's division and was wounded late
that afternoon. His own official report of this action proves the
modesty and magnanimity of his great and lofty nature. He said:
"I can truly say that my brigade fought May 3d with unsurpassed
courage and determination. I never knew them to act universally so
well. I noticed no skulking, and they never showed any hesitation in
following their colors. My list in killed and wounded will show how
manfully they fought on that glorious day. After having witnessed
the fighting of nearly all the troops that fought on the left of
the road, I am satisfied with my own, but by no means claim any
superiority. All that I saw behaved as heroes."

No wonder everybody loved and admired General Pender!

The greatness of General Lee as a commander of armies is nowhere
more certainly seen than in the reorganization and enlargement of
his army after the battles of Chancellorsville. Within a month
after those battles he had organized the most effective and best
disciplined army he ever had. Longstreet had returned, other
reenforcements had arrived, and when the movement of his army
towards the North was begun, on June 3, 1863, he probably had
seventy-five thousand of all arms. In the reorganization of the
army A. P. Hill had been decided on as a corps commander, and a
major-general to command his division was wanted. On the 20th of
May, two weeks after Chancellorsville, General Lee wrote to Mr.
Davis: "If A. P. Hill is promoted a major-general will be wanted
for his division. Pender is an excellent officer, attentive,
industrious, and brave; has been conspicuous in every battle, and,
I believe, wounded in almost all of them." For a division commander
of A. P. Hill's celebrated "Light Division," no two, or three, or
more, are recommended for the President to choose from, but one,
and that one W. D. Pender. He was appointed Major-General on the
27th May, 1863, and assigned to that division composed of the
brigades of Scales, Lane, Thomas, and McGowan, one week later. He
was the youngest major-general in the Confederate army, being only
twenty-nine years old.

Longstreet and Ewell left their camps during the first week in June,
and arrived with Stuart and all the cavalry at Culpeper on the 8th.
Ewell pushed on, and A. P. Hill, leaving Fredericksburg on the 13th,
where the Federals had remained up to this time, passed Longstreet
and moved on to the Valley of Virginia, Longstreet protecting Hill's
flank by moving himself along the eastern base of the Blue Ridge,
with Stuart and his whole cavalry force in his front to watch the

"General Stuart was left to observe the movements of the enemy,
and to impede him as much as possible, should he attempt to cross
the Potomac. In that event, he was directed to move into Maryland,
on right of our column as it advanced." (General Lee's report.)
He, claiming the discretion, went off on a raid toward Washington,
and thereby the enemy was enabled to interpose himself between the
Confederate infantry and cavalry. Ewell, with his corps, advanced as
far as Carlisle, and Longstreet and Hill were at Chambersburg on the
27th June. General Lee, in his official report of the Pennsylvania
campaign, says: "It was expected that as soon as the Federal army
should cross the Potomac General Stuart would give notice of its
movements, and nothing having been heard from him since our entrance
into Maryland, it was inferred that the enemy had not yet left
Virginia. Orders were therefore issued (June 27th) to move on

"On the night of the 28th news came through a scout that the Federal
army had crossed the Potomac and the head of the column was at South
Mountain, and this arrested the movement to Harrisburg."

This advance of the enemy threatened General Lee's communications
with Virginia, and he determined to concentrate his army on the east
of the mountains. On the 29th Hill was ordered to Gettysburg, and
Longstreet was to follow next day. Ewell was ordered to Cashtown or
Gettysburg, as circumstances might require. These movements towards
Gettysburg were not so quickly made as they would have been had
the movements of the enemy been known. Pettigrew's Brigade went
to Gettysburg on the morning of the 30th to get provision, but
finding it in the possession of the Federals, returned to Cashtown,
where he rejoined Heth's and united with Pender's Division. Next
morning the divisions of Pender and Heth and two battalions of
artillery advanced to ascertain the strength of the enemy. Heth,
in the lead, found the enemy's videttes three miles from the town,
they having advanced on the Chambersburg road; he drove them, but
was in turn driven back by a superior force. Pender coming up at
this time, the two divisions advanced and engaged the enemy. Rodes
arrived afterwards, about 2:30 P. M., on the Middleburg road, formed
on Pender's left, at right angles, and Early coming up on the
Heidlersburg road, formed quickly on Rodes' left, when a general
advance was made, and the enemy gave way everywhere. The success was
complete. Of General Pender's part in this battle another extract
from the letter of General Lewis will be used: "While we were being
placed in line on a hill to join on Pender's left, his division
drove the enemy from the woods on Seminary Ridge and across the
open field about one-third of a mile wide and three-quarters long.
The enemy then reformed behind Seminary Ridge and, with unlimited
artillery, made a gallant stand, but Pender's 'Light Division,'
with unbroken ranks, drove them from this strong position just as
we advanced to his assistance. General Pender deserves the entire
credit of the victory of the battle of the first day at Gettysburg."

On the morning of the 2d of July Longstreet, with his corps, except
Pickett, who had not arrived, was on the Confederate right, with the
Federals on Round Top and the adjacent hills in front; Ewell with
his corps in front of Culp's Hill and the north front of Cemetery
Hill, and A. P. Hill in the center, along the western front of
Cemetery Hill. Anderson's Division was the right of Hill's line,
Pender's the left, and Heth's a little in rear, in reserve. At about
5 o'clock in the afternoon Longstreet attacked the Federal left on
Round Top. Hill and Ewell were ordered to make feints to prevent
Federal troops from being withdrawn from their fronts to reinforce
the left, but to attack, if opportunity offered. It was during this
attack of Longstreet that General Pender received the wound which
resulted in his death. Anderson's Division was ordered in to support
Longstreet. Just before the advance was begun, General Pender and
his Adjutant-General, Major Joseph A. Engelhard, and General W. G.
Lewis, who was then Lieutenant-Colonel of the Forty-third North
Carolina Regiment, were on the extreme left of Pender's line,
engaged in a friendly talk, sitting on a large granite boulder, when
suddenly the enemy's artillery opened upon our right. Immediately
General Pender turned to Major Engelhard, and said: "Major, this
indicates an assault, and we will ride down our line."

In Major Engelhard's official report of this we find this account:
"Late in the afternoon, during the attack of Longstreet and a part
of Anderson's Division, General Pender having ridden to the extreme
right to advance his division, did the opportunity occur, received a
severe wound in the leg from a fragment of a shell."

A little later, on this same afternoon, at another part of the
field where Colonel I. E. Avery (brother of Justice A. C. Avery of
our Supreme Court), led the brigade of that distinguished soldier,
General R. F. Hoke, who was absent on account of a wound received at
Fredericksburg, could be seen the Sixth North Carolina (Pender's old
regiment), under the command of Colonel Tate, now State Treasurer,
climbing the east front of Cemetery Hill under a furious storm of
shot and shell. The hill and its fortifications were taken, and the
proud flag of the old regiment floated above the captured works,
but the brave and gifted Avery yielded here his soul to God and his
life to his country. In a plain plank box this hero was placed by
old Elijah, his colored servant, and by him brought along with the
army on its retreat from the place where he fell, in a wagon as
plain as the coffin. The old man was seen every day on that long,
weary march, enduring and suffering, but still devoted in his pious
attentions; and his labors ended only when he had delivered his
precious burden to the tender care of loved ones near the banks of
the Potomac.

On the retreat of the Confederates from Gettysburg, General Pender
took ambulance and set out for Staunton, the nearest railroad
connection. Upon reaching that place a hemorrhage from his wound of
an alarming character occurred. It was stayed, improvement followed,
and the hopes of his friends were reassured; but in a few days, the
hemorrhage recurring, the surgeons determined to amputate the limb.
The operation was performed on the 18th of July. He survived it only
a few hours. Just before the operation he said to his brother: "Tell
my wife that I do not fear to die. I can confidently resign my soul
to God, trusting in the atonement of our Lord Jesus Christ. My only
regret is to leave her and our children. I have always tried to do
my duty in every sphere of life in which Providence has placed me."

The body was taken to Tarboro, North Carolina, and buried in the
beautiful grounds around Calvary church. He was a member of the
Episcopal communion, having been received as a comunicant by
confirmation at the hands of Bishop Johns, in St. John's Church,
Richmond, Va., he having ridden quietly into the city at night for
that purpose.

His death was a great public calamity. He combined every quality
of the ideal soldier: courage, the power to control men, quickness
of perception, readiness of decision, strong sense of justice, and
modesty that excelled all. With the exception of his great commander
he had no superior in the Army of Northern Virginia.

In the letter of General Lewis, heretofore referred to, occurs this
sentence: "It was reported, and firmly believed throughout the
Army of Northern Virginia, that General Lee had said that General
Pender was the only officer in his army that could fill the place of
Stonewall Jackson."

Whether General Lee ever expressed himself in this language may not
be proved, yet it is superlative praise to have the Army of Northern
Virginia believe it to be so, and to hand it down as a tradition. As
some proof of this alleged declaration of General Lee, it will be
appropriate to introduce some testimony from General G. C. Wharton.
It is in the shape of an extract from a letter written from Radford,
Va., on September 5, 1893, to James M. Norfleet, Esq., of Tarboro:
"General Lee was preparing and about giving orders for the removal
of the Army of Northern Virginia from the Valley of the Shenandoah
(between Winchester and the Potomac) to the vicinity of Orange Court
House. As my command was in good condition, not having been in the
forced marches, nor in the battle of Gettysburg, General Lee decided
to leave my command, with some cavalry, temporarily to protect his
rear until his main force should cross the Blue Ridge at Manassas
and other gaps and be well on the march to the Rapidan Valley.
My orders were that after the army had crossed the Blue Ridge,
unless too much pressed by the enemy, I was to retire slowly up the
Shenandoah Valley, cross the Blue Ridge at Brown's or Williams' Gap,
and rejoin the army (via Madison Court House) at or near Orange
Court House. After explaining his wishes and giving the necessary
orders, I was about leaving General Lee's headquarters, when General
A. P. Hill, an old friend and schoolmate, rode up. After the usual
salutations, we entered into a general conversation in regard to
the movement of the troops and the result of the recent campaign
in Maryland and Pennsylvania, specially in regard to the ill-fated
battle of Gettysburg. In the course of conversation, General Lee
said, with sadness: 'I ought not to have fought the battle at
Gettysburg; it was a mistake.' Then, after a short hesitation, he
added: 'But the stakes were so great I was compelled to play; for
had we succeeded Harrisburg, Baltimore, and Washington were in our
hands; and,' (with emphasis) 'we would have succeeded had Pender
lived.'" In General Lee's first report, 30th of July, 1863, of
the battle of Gettysburg, he refers at length to the services of
General Pender and his death, and in terms of higher praise than
can be found, after diligent search amongst his official reports
of battles, than he used concerning any of his fallen subordinates
except General Jackson. In this report he says: "General Pender
has since died. This lamented officer has borne a distinguished
part in every engagement of this army, and was wounded on several
occasions while leading his command with conspicuous gallantry and
ability. The confidence and admiration inspired by his courage and
capacity as an officer were only equaled by the esteem and respect
entertained by all with whom he was associated for the noble
qualities of his modest and unassuming character."

General A. P. Hill, in his official report of the battle of the
second day, says: "On this day, also, the Confederacy lost the
invaluable services of Major-General W. D. Pender, wounded by a
shell, and since dead. No man fell during this bloody battle of
Gettysburg more regretted than he, nor around whose youthful brow
were clustered brighter rays of glory."

General Pender undoubtedly made a great and lasting impression on
General Lee. Six months after his first report of the battle of
Gettysburg he made a full and complete one. Of course he thought
well of what was to be his final report of this battle. In it
he expressed himself in language concerning General Pender more
complimentary, if possible, than that used in his first report. Here
it is: "The loss of Major-General Pender is severely felt by the
army and the country. He served with this army from the beginning
of the war, and took a distinguished part in all its engagements.
Wounded on several occasions, he never left his command in action
until he received the injury that resulted in his death. His promise
and usefulness as an officer were only equaled by the purity and
excellence of his private life."

There is no need for further panegyric.

General Pender did not think his wound a mortal one when he received
it, nor did his friends. His commissary, Major D. T. Carraway,
saw him in the ambulance, and, though suffering from the wound, he
particularly inquired about the quantity of commissary supplies
on hand, and about the condition and comfort of his soldiers as
minutely as when he was well. He knew, though, that his wound was a
serious one, and would be long in healing; he therefore turned his
face from the field of carnage and was driven towards the South.

Ah! we know where his thoughts were then. Though as brave as the
lion, he was yet as gentle as the lamb. He had often heard the wild
shouts of his fierce soldiery as he led them, with colors in his
own hands, over fields red with slaughter, and he had also, in the
beautiful summer days gone by, romped and played with his little
children over field and meadow and in grassy lawn, while the wife
and mother looked on with beaming face. But now, sorely wounded
and helpless, his heart turned toward her, toward her who was more
precious to him than fame, and battle, and glory.

"God bless all good women--to their soft hands and pitying hearts we
must all come at last."

       *       *       *       *       *

Judge Montgomery has portrayed the character of one of the ablest
soldiers and most attractive men that the Civil War developed. It
is well that this duty fell on him to whom it was a labor of love,
who appreciated the value of Pender's life, and depended upon facts
rather than rhetoric to fix his place in history and in the hearts
of his grateful countrymen.

The remarks on the difficulties under which the South labored,
appropriate in his Memorial Address, delivered May 10, 1894 (of
which the foregoing sketch forms the main part), and well considered
in themselves, are not essential to the sketch here presented, and
are therefore omitted.

[Illustration: STEPHEN D. RAMSEUR.]



Stephen Dodson Ramseur, the second child of Jacob A. and Lucy M.
Ramseur, had Revolutionary blood in his veins through John Wilfong,
a hero who was wounded at King's Mountain and fought at Eutaw
Springs. He was born in Lincolnton the 31st day of May, 1837. His
surroundings were well calculated to promote a well developed
character and a strong, self-relying manhood. His parents were
members of the Presbyterian Church and did not neglect to see
their son properly instructed in its religious tenets. They were
possessed of ample means for their section, and gave to him the
best advantages of social and intellectual improvement without his
being exposed to the "devices and snares of the outer world." To the
strong and beautiful character of his mother, Ramseur is said to
have been indebted for the greater part of his success in life. In
preparing the life of Dr. Thornwell, Rev. Dr. Palmer has asserted
a truth which may be classed as a proverb: "The pages of history
will be searched in vain for a great man who had a fool for his
mother." In writing of her, the Hon. David Schenck, who married
Sallie Wilfong, her second daughter, says: "As a young lady she was
said to have been beautiful and attractive. I knew her intimately
from 1849 to her death. She was a woman of great force of character.
To a judgment clear and firm she united gentleness, tenderness and
sympathy. Her manners were easy and courteous and fascinating. She
was an active and devoted member of the Presbyterian Church, and
brought up her children in the teachings of the shorter catechism
from their early youth. It was to her that General Ramseur owed the
mental and moral foundations of his character." He received his
preparatory training in the schools of Lincolnton and Milton; thence
he matriculated at Davidson College, entered the freshman class and
passed eighteen months at this institution. He early displayed
that decision of character and force of will which distinguished
him in after life. He had an ardent longing for a military career,
and though disappointed in his efforts to secure an appointment
as a cadet at the United States Military Academy, he was not cast
down. Through the aid of General D. H. Hill, then a professor at
Davidson, his second application was successful. He was given his
appointment to the Academy by that sturdy old Roman, Hon. Burton
Craige, who before the days of rotation in office was long an able
and distinguished member of Congress from our State. Ramseur spent
the usual term of five years at the Academy and was graduated with
distinction in the class of 1860. Among his classmates of national
reputation were General James H. Wilson and General Merritt, Colonel
Wilson, Commandant at United States Military Academy, and Colonel A.
C. M. Pennington.

Through his courtesy, sincerity and conscientious discharge of
his duties while at West Point he formed many valued friendships
both among his fellow-students and in the corps. After graduating,
Ramseur entered the light artillery service and was commissioned
Second Lieutenant by brevet. He was in the United States army but
a short time prior to the breaking out of hostilities, and during
that time was assigned to duty at Fortress Monroe. In April, 1861,
he resigned his commission in the old army and promptly tendered
his sword to the Provisional Government of the Confederate States,
then assembled at Montgomery. By this government he was commissioned
First Lieutenant of Artillery and ordered to the department of
Mississippi. About this time a battery of artillery was being formed
at Raleigh, whose membership was composed of the flower of the
patriotic youth of the State. It was called "the Ellis Artillery,"
in honor of our then very able and patriotic Governor, whose early
death from phthisis was an irreparable loss to our State in the
early days of the war. The officers were Manly, Saunders, Guion
and Bridgers, who, owing to our long peace establishment, were not
familiar with even the rudiments of the drill. Therefore, with more
patriotism than selfish emulation, they promptly applied through
Lieutenant Saunders to their friend the Governor for some suitable
and reliable commander. With a pardonable pride in so fine a
company, Governor Ellis had doubtless previously considered this
subject in his own mind. At all events, so soon as the request was
made known he promptly replied: "I have the very man. You couldn't
get a better. It is Lieutenant Ramseur." Thereupon a dispatch was
sent tendering him the command, which reached him on his way to
his new field of duty. He accepted the unsolicited, but none the
less coveted distinction of repelling the invasion of his native
State in command of her own sons, and repaired at once to Raleigh.
On arriving at the camp of instruction near this place, he found a
first-class command of raw recruits without equipments or discipline
or the remotest conception of the magnitude of the great contest
before them. Many had joined the artillery because it was known to
be one of the higher and more attractive branches of the service.
They concurred with Secretary Seward, that the war was a matter of
a few months, or else with Vice-President Stephens, that for the
defense of their firesides gentlemen should not be kept in camps
of instruction and discipline, but permitted to remain at their
homes, for they were capable of judging when the enemy should be
met, and by what methods most easily defeated. If they had read
of war, it was in books which gave it such gloss and glamour as
made every battle magnificent, if not positively delectable, for
such, indeed, is the general current of popular history. Not so
Ramseur, who had been taught in the school where the art of war
is thoroughly explained, the discipline and drudgery of soldier
life daily seen, and the distinctions and advantages of rank
recognized and respected. His education and experience led him to
concur with Viscount Woolsey, who, in speaking of war, declares
that active service teaches us some painful lessons: "That all
men are not heroes; that the quality as well as quantity of their
courage differs largely; that some men are positively cowards;
that there always is, always has been, and always will be, a good
deal of skulking and malingering; it teaches us not to expect too
much from any body of men; above all things to value the truly
brave men as worth more than all the talkers and spouters who
have ever squabbled for place in the arena of politics." Ramseur
was well satisfied with the _esprit de corps_ of his command, and
resolved to employ it to the best advantage. To do this his men must
have a knowledge of tactics and discipline; and subordination was
indispensable. He had considered all this, and determined what was
right; and whether it consorted with the wishes and inclinations
of those who belonged to the command or not was not material with
him. Indeed, duty was his polar star. He did not willingly sever his
connection from the old army, but when called on to elect whether
he would fight for or against his people and his State, there was
no hesitancy, no doubt as to where his duty lay; he threw his
whole soul and energies into the cause of the South. This company
was composed of twelve-months men. Ramseur wanted soldiers, and
wanted them for the war. This being known, a few members of the
company began to become discontented. They feared they were to
be treated as regular soldiers, and insisted that, inasmuch as
they had volunteered only for twelve months, should the company
be reorganized for the war, they were entitled to withdraw. They
were good men and did not desire to leave the service; they were
allowed to withdraw, and in other fields made valiant soldiers.
The reorganization of the battery was soon completed, all elements
of discord eliminated, and, under the skillful management and
discipline of its new captain it made admirable progress. The
great thing now was to secure its guns and equipments, and in this
the company was aided by its name and the patriotic ardor of the
citizens of Raleigh. At this time there was only one field battery
available, and for it another company was applying. The name
and _personnel_ of the Ellis Artillery won the prize, while the
voluntary subscriptions of our citizens supplied it with horses.
Being without tents or suitable parade grounds, Mr. William Boylan
tendered it his residence and out-buildings for shelter and ample
grounds as a camp for instruction. The offer was accepted, and here
the company received that impress which, when called to Virginia and
brought in comparison with others, carried off the palm for their
soldierly bearing, their splendid drill and handsome equipment.
In the latter part of the summer of 1861 the company was ordered
to Smithfield, Va., where the fall and winter months were spent
without graver duties than occasional reconnoissances to and from
Norfolk. McClellan's army was now near Washington, confronted by
that of General Joe Johnston, while the public mind of the North was
becoming very impatient at its inaction, and began to renew the cry
"On to Richmond!" which had been so popular before the inglorious
defeat of the Federal army at Manassas. McClellan, unable to resist
this clamor, determined to endeavor to reach the Confederate capital
by way of the lower Chesapeake, transferred his army on transports
to the Peninsula and sat down before Yorktown. It is estimated that
McClellan at this time had an army of not less than one hundred and
twenty thousand men fit for duty. This force was to be confronted
and delayed--until Johnston could arrive--by thirteen thousand
Confederates under J. B. Magruder, who, in order to accomplish
this purpose, was compelled to cover a front of thirteen miles
with his small force. The work was done with consummate ability,
and it is no disparagement to others to say there was no officer
in either army better qualified to play such a game of bluff than
the genial, whole-souled Magruder. Ramseur was ordered to report
with his battery at Yorktown. When he arrived Magruder, who had
known him in the old army, detached him from his battery and placed
him in command of all the artillery on his right. Here Ramseur saw
his first active service in the field, and received the promotion
of major. On the arrival of the forces of McClellan a campaign of
maneuvering commenced which delayed advance for over a month. In
the meantime Ramseur had been elected Lieutenant-Colonel of the
Third Regiment of Volunteers, but declined to leave his battery.
Subsequently, and before serious demonstrations had begun, he was
elected Colonel of the Forty-ninth Regiment of Infantry. He was
still reluctant to leave his battery, but appreciating the fact that
Manly and its other officers were then well qualified for any duties
that might be required of them, through the persuasion of friends
he was induced to accept the promotion. Subsequent events soon
justified his confidence in this artillery company. At the battle
of Williamsburg, where it received its first baptism of fire, it
gathered fadeless laurels which it was destined to wear throughout
the war with a fame still augmenting.

The Forty-ninth Regiment was composed of raw recruits who were
gathered together in the camp of instruction at Raleigh, organized
into companies and regiments and instructed as to its duties in the
field. With his accustomed energy and ability Ramseur immediately
addressed himself to the labor of making soldiers out of these
new recruits. By constant drill he soon had his regiment in fair
condition; and, as the emergency was pressing, he moved with it
to the point of danger. The regiment was assigned to the brigade
of an old army officer, General Robert Ransom, who was soon to
become a distinguished major-general of cavalry in the Army of
Northern Virginia, and thence to be assigned to the command of all
the cavalry under Longstreet in his operations in the West. In
the series of battles around Richmond, known as the "Seven Days'
Fight," Ramseur, while gallantly leading his regiment in the battle
of Malvern Hill, received a severe and disabling wound through the
right arm, but declined to leave the field until the action was
over. This wound necessitated his removal to Richmond, where he was
detained for over a month before his injury permitted him to enjoy
the much-coveted pleasure of a visit to his home. Indeed, the arm
was broken, and he was ever afterwards compelled to wear it in a

In his report General Ransom speaks of the conspicuous gallantry
of Ramseur and his men, and it was by reason of his soldierly
qualities mainly, displayed upon this occasion, that his promotion
to the rank of brigadier-general soon followed. While still at home
wounded Ramseur received notice of his unexpected promotion. At
first he doubted whether one so young should accept so responsible
a position, and was disposed to decline the promotion. His friends
did not coincide in his views, and through their persuasion he
was induced to accept it. In October, 1862, with his arm still
disabled, he went to Richmond to make a decision in regard to
the brigade offered him. While there he called upon Mr. Davis,
alike distinguished as a soldier and a statesman, to whom he
expressed the fears then agitating his mind. In that affable and
engaging manner peculiar to himself, Mr. Davis at once dismissed
any suggestion of his declining, and on the contrary urged him to
accept the command, return home and remain until he had entirely
recovered his health and his strength. But Ramseur obeyed only in
part the suggestions of his commander-in-chief. He accepted the
command of the brigade and went at once to the Army of Northern
Virginia, and, with his wound still green, entered upon the
discharge of his duties. This brigade was then composed of the
Second Regiment, organized and instructed by that able tactician,
scholarly and accomplished gentleman, Colonel C. C. Tew, who was
killed at Sharpsburg; the Fourth by the chivalrous and lamented
Brigadier-General George B. Anderson, who died of wounds received at
Sharpsburg; the Fourteenth, before its reorganization, was commanded
and instructed by that soldierly and ardent North Carolinian,
Brigadier-General Junius Daniel, who fell in the Spottsylvania
campaign ere his commission as a major-general had reached him;
and the Thirtieth by Colonel F. M. Parker, the brave soldier and
courteous gentleman, of whom further mention will be made during the
course of this narrative. Ramseur was fitly chosen the commander
of this distinguished brigade, and immediately addressed himself
to its reorganization. His admirable qualifications for his duties
and his pure and chivalrous character were soon recognized and
appreciated, and infused new life and spirit into the command. As a
disciplinarian he was rigid; as a tactician, skillful; as a judge
of men, good; as a redresser of wrongs, prompt; as an officer,
courteous and urbane; as a soldier, fearless and chivalrous. He
early commanded the respect and ultimately won the hearts of all
over whom he held command. This brigade at the time he took it was
in Rodes' Division of Jackson's Corps. Ramseur remained in command
without events of any particular importance occurring until he
entered upon his Chancellorsville campaign. His report of that
famous battle is so full and complete, and so clearly displays his
unselfish and chivalrous nature, that I am confident I cannot do
better than to incorporate it as a part of this sketch. It reads as

  "MAY 23, 1863.

"SIR:--In obedience to Order No. --, dated May 7th, 1863, I have the
honor to submit the following report of the operations of my brigade
in the series of skirmishes and battles opening at Massaponax Creek
and ending in the splendid victory at Chancellorsville:

"Wednesday, A. M., April 29th, the brigade was placed below
Massaponax Creek to dispute the enemy's crossing, and remained in
that position, occasionally annoyed by their artillery (by which
I lost a few men) and kept on the alert by picket firing until
Thursday evening, when we were withdrawn to a point near Hamilton's

"Friday, May 1st, at 3 A. M., we were aroused for the march and led
the advance of Major-General Rodes' Division in the direction of
Chancellorsville. At a distance of seven miles from Fredericksburg
we were detached from our own division and ordered to report to
Major-General Anderson, when we advanced upon the enemy, who fell
back in confusion before our sharpshooters for several miles,
strewing the way with their arms and baggage, this brigade, with
General Posey on our right and General Wright on our left, for
upwards perhaps of two miles, being in advance. About 6 P. M. we
found the foe in force upon our front and supported by batteries
that poured grape unsparingly into the woods through which we were
still advancing. Night approaching, a halt was ordered, and we slept
on our arms with a strong picket line on the outposts.

"Saturday, May 2d, we were relieved about sunrise and shortly
thereafter marched by a series of circuitous routes and with
surpassing strategy to a position in the rear of the enemy, whom at
about 5 P. M. we were ordered to attack.

"This brigade was directed to support Brigadier-General Colquitt,
with orders to overlap his right by one regiment, and was placed
accordingly. At the command we advanced with the division,
preserving a distance of about one hundred yards in the rear of
General Colquitt. Brisk firing was soon heard upon our front and
left, indicating that General Doles had encountered the foe. At this
point General Colquitt moved by the right flank, sending me word by
an officer of his staff that the enemy was attempting to turn his
right. I immediately moved by the right flank, but heard no firing
in that quarter. Again he sent his staff officer to inform me that
the enemy was passing by his right flank, when I directed him to
say to General Colquitt (in effect) that the firing indicated a
sharp fight with General Doles, and that my impression was that his
support was needed there, and that I would take care of his right
flank. General Colquitt moved to the front, with the exception of
one regiment, which continued to the right. I then pressed on by the
right flank to meet the enemy that General Colquitt's staff officer
twice reported to me to be in that direction, and prosecuted the
search for half a mile perhaps, but not a solitary Yankee was to
be seen. I then came up to the division line and moved by the left
flank to the support of General Colquitt, whose men were resting in
line of battle on the field General Doles had won.

"Saturday night our divisions occupied the last line of battle
within the intrenchments from which the routed corps of Sigel
had fled in terror. My brigade was placed perpendicular to the
plank-road, the left resting on the road, General Doles on my
right and Colonel (E. A.) O'Neal, commanding Rodes' Brigade, on my
left. I placed Colonel (F. M.) Parker, Thirtieth North Carolina,
on the right of my brigade; Colonel (R. T.) Bennett, Fourteenth
North Carolina, on right centre; Colonel (W. R.) Cox, Second North
Carolina, left centre, and Colonel (Bryan) Grimes, Fourth North
Carolina, on left.

"Sunday, May 3d, the division, being as stated, in the third line
of battle, advanced about 9 o'clock to the support of the second
line. After proceeding about one-fourth of a mile I was applied to
by Major (W. J.) Pegram for support to his battery, when I detached
Colonel Parker, Thirtieth North Carolina, for this purpose, with
orders to advance obliquely to his front and left and join me after
his support should be no longer needed, or to fight his regiment
as circumstances might require. I continued to advance to the
first line of breastworks, from which the enemy had been driven,
and behind which I found a small portion of Paxton's Brigade and
Jones' Brigade, of Trimble's Division. Knowing that a general
advance had been ordered, I told these troops to move forward. Not
a man moved. I then reported this state of things to Major-General
Stuart, who directed me to assume command of these troops and
compel them to advance. This I essayed to do, and, after fruitless
efforts, ascertained that General Jones was not on the field and
that Colonel (T. S.) Garnett had been killed, I reported again
to General Stuart, who was near, and requested permission to run
over the troops in my front, which was cheerfully granted. At the
command 'Forward!' my brigade, with a shout, cleared the breastworks
and charged the enemy. The Fourth North Carolina (Colonel Grimes)
and seven companies of the Second North Carolina (Colonel Cox)
drove the enemy before them until they had taken the last line of
his works, which they held under a severe, direct, and enfilading
fire, repulsing several assaults on this portion of our front. The
Fourteenth North Carolina (Colonel Bennett) and three companies of
the Second were compelled to halt some one hundred and fifty or two
hundred yards in rear of the troops just mentioned for the reason
that the troops on my right had failed to come up and the enemy was
in heavy force on my right flank. Had Colonel Bennett advanced the
enemy could easily have turned my right. As it was, my line was
subjected to a horrible enfilading fire, by which I lost severely.
I saw the danger threatening my right, and sent several times to
Jones' Brigade to come to my assistance, and I also went back twice
myself and exhorted and ordered it (officers and men) to fill up the
gap (some five or six hundred yards) on my right, but all in vain. I
then reported to General Rodes that unless support was sent to drive
the enemy from my right I would have to fall back. In the meantime
Colonel Parker of the Thirtieth North Carolina, approaching from the
battery on the right, suddenly fell upon the flank and repulsed a
heavy column of the enemy who were moving to get in my rear by my
right flank, some three or four hundred of them surrendering to him
as prisoners of war. The enemy still held his strong position in the
ravine on my right, so that the Fourteenth North Carolina and the
three companies of the Second North Carolina could not advance. The
enemy discovered this situation of affairs and pushed a brigade to
the right and rear of Colonel Grimes and seven companies of Colonel
Cox's (Second North Carolina), with the intention of capturing their
commands. This advance was made under a terrible direct fire of
musketry and artillery. The move necessitated a retrograde movement
on the part of Colonels Grimes and Cox, which was executed in
order, but with the loss of some prisoners, who did not hear the
command to retire. Colonel Bennett held his position until ordered
to fall back, and, in common with all the others, to replenish his
empty cartridge-boxes. The enemy did not halt at this position, but
retired to his battery, from which he was quickly driven, Colonel
Parker of the Thirtieth North Carolina sweeping over it with the
troops on my right.

"After replenishing cartridge-boxes I received an order from
Major-General Rodes to throw my brigade on the left of the road to
meet an apprehended attack of the enemy in that quarter. This was
done, and afterwards I was moved to a position on the plank-road
which was intrenched, and which we occupied until the division was
ordered back to camp, near Hamilton's Crossing.

"The charge of the brigade, made at a critical moment, when the
enemy had broken and was hotly pressing the centre of the line in
our front with apparently overwhelming numbers, not only checked his
advance but threw him back in disorder and pushed him with heavy
loss from his last line of works.

"Too high praise cannot be accredited to officers and men for their
gallantry, fortitude, and manly courage during this brief but
arduous campaign. Exposed as they had been for five days immediately
preceding the fights on the picket line, they were, of course,
somewhat wearied, but the order to move forward and confront the
enemy brightened every eye and quickened every step. Under fire all
through Wednesday, Wednesday night and Thursday, without being able
effectually to return this fire, they bore all bravely, and led the
march towards Chancellorsville on Friday morning in splendid order.
The advance of the brigade on Friday afternoon was made under the
very eyes of our departed hero (Jackson) and of Major-General A. P.
Hill, whose words of praise and commendation, bestowed upon the
field, we fondly cherish. And on Sunday the magnificent charge of
the brigade upon the enemy's last and most terrible stronghold was
made in view of Major-General Stuart and our division commander,
Major-General R. E. Rodes, whose testimony that it was the most
glorious charge of that most glorious day we are proud to remember
and report to our kindred and friends.

"To enumerate all the officers and men who deserve special mention
for their gallantry would be to return a list of all who were on
the field. All met the enemy with unflinching courage; and for
privations, hardships, and splendid marches, all of which were
cheerfully borne, they richly deserve the thanks of our beautiful
and glorious Confederacy.

"I cannot close without mentioning the conspicuous gallantry and
great efficiency of my regimental commanders. Colonel Parker of the
Thirtieth North Carolina was detached during the fight of Sunday
to support a battery, and, having accomplished that object, moved
forward on his own responsibility and greatly contributed to wrest
the enemy's stronghold at Chancellorsville from their grasp as
well as prevent their threatened demonstrations upon the right of
my brigade; the gallant Grimes of the Fourth North Carolina, whose
conduct on other fields gave promise of what was fully realized on
this; Colonel Bennett of the Fourteenth North Carolina, conspicuous
for his coolness under the hottest fire, and last, though not
least, the manly and chivalrous Cox of the Second North Carolina,
the accomplished gentleman, splendid soldier, and warm friend,
who, though wounded five times, remained with his regiment until
exhausted. In common with the entire command, I regret his temporary
absence from the field, where he loved to be.

"Major Daniel W. Hurtt, Second North Carolina State Troops,
commanded the skirmishers faithfully and well.

"To the field and company officers, one and all, my thanks are
due for the zeal and bravery displayed under the most trying

"To the gentlemen of my staff I owe especial thanks for services
rendered on the march and upon the field. Captain Seaton Gales,
Assistant Adjutant-General, and Lieutenant Caleb Richmond,
Aid-de-camp, were with me all the time, promptly carrying orders
under the very hottest fire. I take pleasure, too, in speaking of
the bravery of private James Stinson, courier, a youth of twenty,
who displayed qualities a veteran might boast of, and of the conduct
of private J. B. Beggarly, also a courier to headquarters.

"To Dr. G. W. Briggs, Senior Surgeon of the brigade, my thanks are
due for his zeal, skill, and care of the wounded.

"I am, sir, very respectfully,

  "Your obedient servant,

  "_Brigadier-General Commanding_."

In the report of this battle by Major-General Rodes he makes the
following remarks as to the part borne by Ramseur's Brigade: ...

"While these movements were taking place on the left, Ramseur
and Doles pushed forward on the right, passed the first line of
intrenchments, which had already been carried, passed the first
and second lines of our troops, and became fiercely engaged. Doles
deflecting to the right, passed up a ravine behind the graveyard
on Chancellor's Hill, and finally came out in the field nearly
opposite the house, driving the enemy before him as he advanced,
actually getting several hundred yards to the rear as well of those
troops opposing the rest of my division as of those opposing General
Anderson's Division. Subsequently he was compelled to fall back,
and was directed by General Lee to take a large body of prisoners.
Ramseur, after vainly urging the troops in the first line of
intrenchments to move forward, obtained permission to pass them,
and, dashing over the works, charged the second intrenchment in
the most brilliant style. The struggle at this point was long and
obstinate, but the charge on the left of the plank-road at this time
caused the enemy to give way on his left, and this, combined with
the unflinching determination of his men, carried the day and gave
him possession of the works. Not being supported, he was exposed
still to a galling fire from the right, with great danger of being
flanked. Notwithstanding repeated efforts made by him, and by myself
in person, none of the troops in his rear would move up until the
old 'Stonewall Brigade' arrived on the ground and gallantly advanced
in conjunction with the Thirtieth North Carolina Regiment, Colonel
F. M. Parker, of Ramseur's Brigade, which had been detached to
support a battery, and was now on its return. Occupying the works
on the right of Ramseur, and thus relieving him when his ammunition
was nearly exhausted, the Stonewall Brigade pushed on and carried
Chancellorsville heights, making the third time that they were

In this battle Ramseur, though severely wounded, declined to leave
the field, and is especially mentioned by Rodes as one who was
"distinguished for great gallantry and efficiency in this action."

It will be remembered that it was here that that great ideal soldier
of the Army of Northern Virginia, who stood second only to Lee,
Stonewall Jackson, fell mortally wounded, and was carried from the
field. His command then devolved on A. P. Hill, who was wounded,
and then upon General J. E. B. Stuart, whose plume, like that of
Henry of Navarre, was always seen conspicuous in the thickest of
the affray. While each of these generals mentioned Ramseur and his
brigade in the most flattering terms, I will not stop to quote from
their reports. I prefer to hasten on and call your attention to
what will be recognized by every soldier of that army as one of the
highest compliments and most distinguished tributes that could have
been paid. I beg you to pause and reflect upon the force and power
of each expression. It emanates from one not given to compliments,
but who, in all his public communications, seemed to weigh and
carefully consider each word. I am confident that the existence of
this letter was not known either to Ramseur or to any of his command
when written, and came to my notice for the first time only very

It reads as follows:


  "June 4th, 1863.


  "_Governor of North Carolina, Raleigh_:

"GOVERNOR:--I have the honor to call the attention of your
Excellency to the reduced condition of Brigadier-General Ramseur's
Brigade. Its ranks have been much thinned by the casualties of
the battles in which it has been engaged, in all of which it has
rendered conspicuous service. I consider its brigade and regimental
commanders as among the best of their respective grades in the
army, and in the battle of Chancellorsville, where the brigade
was much distinguished and suffered severely, General Ramseur was
among those whose conduct was especially commended to my notice by
Lieutenant-General Jackson in a message sent to me after he was
wounded. I am very desirous that the efficiency of this brigade
should be increased by filling its ranks, and respectfully ask that,
if it be in your power, you will send on recruits for its various
regiments as soon as possible. If this cannot be done I would
recommend that two additional regiments be sent to it if they can be
had. I am satisfied that the men could be used in no better way to
render valuable service to the country and win credit for themselves
and their State.

  "I am, with great respect,

  "Your obedient servant,

  "R. E. LEE,


After the battle of Chancellorsville, Ramseur, with his brigade,
accompanied the army of Lee in its invasion of Pennsylvania. In
connection with Rodes' Division, in the first day's fight at
Gettysburg, they secured the elevated ridge known as Oak Hill, which
was the key to the entire field. Swinton, in his _Campaigns of Army
of the Potomac_, says: "When towards three o'clock a general advance
was made by the Confederates, Rodes speedily broke through the Union
centre, carrying away the right of the First Corps and the left of
the Eleventh, and, entering the interval between them, disrupted the
whole line." The Federal troops fell back in much disorder, and were
pursued by our troops through the town of Gettysburg. This was our
opportunity to have seized the heights, the subsequent assaults on
which proved so disastrous to us during the progress of this battle.
Ramseur urged that the pursuit should be continued until Cemetery
Heights were in our possession. The light of subsequent events
shows that he was clearly in the right. Our friends in Virginia
are fond of boasting of the advanced position of their troops at
Gettysburg. It is a thing to be boasted of. Her sons were gallant
and martial, and far be it from me to detract one tittle from the
fame to which they are entitled, yet it is but an act of justice to
call attention to the fact that the only two brigades which entered
the works of Cemetery Heights on the second day of the battle were
Hoke's North Carolina and Hays' Louisiana Brigades. The former was
then under the command of that gallant soldier and accomplished
gentleman, Colonel Isaac E. Avery, who lost his life on this
occasion while gallantly leading his brigade on the heights on the
2d of July. In his report of this battle, Early says: ...

"As soon as Johnson became warmly engaged, which was a little before
dusk, I ordered Hays and Avery to advance and carry the works on
the heights in front. These troops advanced in gallant style to
the attack, passing over the ridge in front of them under a heavy
artillery fire, and there crossing a hollow between that and
Cemetery Hill, and moving up this hill in the face of at least two
lines of infantry posted behind stone and plank fences, and passing
over all obstacles, they reached the crest of the hill and entered
the enemy's breastworks, crossing it, getting possession of one or
two batteries."

Brigadier-General Iverson, of Georgia, had manifested such a want
of capacity in the field at Gettysburg that he was relieved of his
command and assigned to provost guard duty. As a further mark of
Lee's appreciation of Ramseur, this brigade was assigned temporarily
to his command, in addition to the one he already commanded.

In the various skirmishes and battles of this campaign Ramseur
displayed his usual efficiency and gallantry. After returning from
Pennsylvania our troops went into winter quarters near Orange Court
House, and as it was clear that after the exhaustive campaigns of
the year we would enjoy a period of comparative quiet, Ramseur
obtained leave of absence for the purpose of entering into the most
important relations of one's life. He had long been attached to and
was then engaged to Miss Ellen E. Richmond, of Milton, but the
consummation of his hopes had been often deferred by the exigencies
of the public service. He was now made supremely happy in their
marriage, which occurred on the 22d of October, 1863.

The successive failures of the Army of the Potomac in its
engagements with the Army of Northern Virginia created a general
apprehension throughout the North that unless something more
satisfactory was accomplished the successful issue of the war was
becoming a most doubtful problem. This prompted the nomination
of General Grant to the grade of Lieutenant-General, and he was
assigned to the command of "all the armies of the United States."
One of the conditions of his acceptance was that he should not be
hampered in the discharge of his duties by the central authorities
at Washington--a wise and judicious precaution, which else had
resulted in his supersedure after his terrible losses at Cold
Harbor, where, according to Swinton, he had thirteen thousand of
his men killed and wounded within the space of two hours, and this
without inflicting but little loss on his adversary.

On the morning of May 5th, 1864, over one hundred thousand of
Grant's troops had crossed the Rapidan, and thence followed that
series of battles on the overland route to Richmond, wherein the
killed, wounded and disabled on the part of Grant's army were as
great as the whole army of Lee when these engagements commenced.
During this march Ramseur's men were frequently engaged in
successful skirmishes and battles with the enemy, but the great
battle in which he shone conspicuously was on the 12th of May, at
Spottsylvania Court House.

On the afternoon of the 11th there was severe fighting on our right,
when Ramseur's men mounted our works and drove the enemy from our
front in a hand-to-hand engagement. It was expected by Lee that
during the night Grant would withdraw his troops for the purpose
of continuing his advance on Richmond. In order to be in readiness
to confront him when he should make this change, Lee had directed
that the guns in front of Ed. Johnson's Division, in a point in
our lines known as the "salient," should be withdrawn during the
night to facilitate our movements in the morning. This fact became
known to Grant through a deserter from our lines. Hancock's Corps
was in front of this point, and he was directed to approach under
the cover of night and a dense fog and assault the line at early
dawn. The attack resulted most successfully, for our works were
captured, together with a large number of prisoners. To restore in
part this line became Ramseur's duty. In his report of the action he
speaks substantially as follows: That in anticipation of an attack
on his front on the morning of the 12th he had his brigade under
arms at early dawn. Very soon he heard a terrible assault on his
right. He therefore moved Cox's Regiment, which was in reserve, to
a position perpendicular to his line of battle. At this time the
enemy was massing his troops for a further advance. For the purpose
of driving him back he formed his brigade in a line parallel to the
two lines held by the enemy. The men in charging were directed to
keep their alignment and not pause until both lines of works were
ours. How gallantly and successfully these orders were executed were
witnessed by Generals Rodes and Ewell. The two lines of Federal
troops were driven pell-mell out and over both lines of our original
works with great loss. The enemy held the breastworks on our right,
enfilading the line with destructive fire, at the same time heavily
assaulting our right front. In this extremity, Colonel Bennett of
the Fourteenth offered to take his regiment from left to right,
under a severe fire, and drive back the growing masses of the enemy
on our right. This hazardous offer was accepted as a forlorn hope,
and was most successfully executed. To Colonel Bennett, and his men,
and to his gallant officers, says General Ramseur, all honor is due.
I distinctly recall the circumstances under which the charge was
made, and for cool audacity and unflinching courage I never saw it
surpassed. At the time the movement was commenced Colonel Parker's
Regiment and the Federals were engaged in a hand-to-hand encounter
in and over the works, while my regiment was pouring a most
destructive fire into the Federals in our front. We entered these
works at 4 o'clock on the morning of the 12th and remained in the
works fighting and contending for over twenty hours. When relieved,
hungry and exhausted, we dropped upon the wet ground and slept most

A correspondent of the London _Morning Herald_, who had familiar
access to Lee's headquarters, in a description of the battle of the
Wilderness, gives this vivid account of the action of Ramseur's
Brigade on the morning of the 12th:

"The Federalists continued to hold their ground in the salient,
and along the line of works, to the left of that angle, within a
short distance of the position of Monoghan's (Hays') Louisianians.
Ramseur's North Carolinians of Rodes' Division formed, covering
Monoghan's right, and being ordered to charge, was received by
the enemy with a stubborn resistance. The desperate character of
the struggle along that brigade-front was told terribly in the
hoarseness and rapidity of its musketry. So close was the fighting
there, for a time, that the fire of friend and foe rose up rattling
in one common roar. Ramseur's North Carolinians dropped in the ranks
thick and fast, but still he continued, with glorious constancy, to
gain ground, foot by foot. Passing under a fierce fire, resolutely
on, on, on, the struggle was about to become one of hand-to-hand,
when the Federalists shrank from the bloody trial. Driven back,
they were not defeated. The earthworks being at the moment in their
immediate rear, they bounded on the opposite side; and having thus
placed them in their front, they renewed the conflict. A rush of an
instant brought Ramseur's men to the other side of the defenses;
and though they crouched close to the slopes, under enfilade from
the guns of the salient, their musketry rattled in deep and deadly
fire on the enemy that stood in overwhelming numbers but a few yards
from their front. Those brave North Carolinians had thus, in one of
the hottest conflicts of the day, succeeded in driving the enemy
from the works that had been occupied during the previous night by
a brigade which, until the 12th of May, had never yet yielded to a
foe--the Stonewall."

In an address before the Army of Northern Virginia, Colonel Venable,
of Lee's staff, says: "The restoration of the battle on the 12th,
thus rendering utterly futile the success achieved by Hancock's
Corps at daybreak, was a wonderful feat of arms, in which all the
troops engaged deserve the greatest credit for endurance, constancy,
and unflinching courage. But without unjust discrimination, we may
say that Gordon, Rodes, and Ramseur were the heroes of this bloody
day.... Rodes and Ramseur were destined, alas! in a few short
months, to lay down their noble lives in the Valley of Virginia.
There was no victor's chaplet more highly prized by the Roman
soldier than that woven of the grass of early spring. Then let the
earliest flowers of May be always intertwined in the garlands which
the pious hands of our fair women shall lay on the tombs of Rodes
and Ramseur and of the gallant dead of the battle of twenty hours at

General Long, in his _Life of Lee_, puts the name of Ramseur in the
van of those who rushed into this angle of death and hurled back the
Federals' most savage sallies. During the long and fierce struggle
I saw soldiers place the arms of their comrades who had just fallen
in such a position as when they had become stiffened they would hold
the cartridges we were using. Yes, fighting and exhausted, amidst
blood and mud and brains, they would sit on the bodies of their
fallen comrades for rest, and dared not show even a finger above
the breastworks, for so terrible was the fire at this angle that a
tree eighteen inches in diameter was cut asunder by minie balls.
After the battle was over Generals Lee and Ewell thanked Ramseur
in person, and directed him to carry to his officers and men their
high appreciation of their conspicuous services and heroic daring.
At this time such portions of the First and Third Regiments as
were not captured in the salient were placed in the brigade, and
it is sufficient praise to bear witness that from that time on to
the surrender at Appomattox their officers and men always showed
themselves worthy of the highest confidence reposed in them. In
appreciation of the conspicuous services rendered by Ramseur on this
occasion he was made a major-general and assigned to the command
of Early's Division, and I had the distinguished honor of being
assigned to Ramseur's (now to become Cox's) historic brigade.

The Valley of Virginia, both physically and strategically, is
one of the most attractive regions of that State. It is not less
distinguished for the brilliant achievements of Stonewall Jackson
than for the ardent patriotism of its men and the devotion and
sacrifices of its women to the cause of the South. It was here that
Jackson, with only a little army of thirteen thousand men, defeated
and drove from the valley Milroy, Frémont, Banks, and Shields,
whose combined forces were five times as great as his own, besides
capturing vast quantities of much needed commissary and ordnance
stores and large numbers of prisoners. After the battle of Cold
Harbor the Second Corps, composed of Ramseur's, Rodes' and Gordon's
Divisions, were placed under the command of Early, and directed to
proceed to this valley, with instructions to capture or destroy
the army of Hunter, a recreant Virginian, who was marching in the
direction of Lynchburg, destroying the country as he moved along.
Attached to this corps were Nelson's and Braxton's battalions
of artillery, together with a division of cavalry. At this time
Breckinridge, who, in a brilliant engagement, had recently defeated
Sigel, was at Lynchburg awaiting our arrival. Our troops were
transported by rail. Ramseur's and the greater part of Gordon's
Division were sent forward as soon as they were ready. They arrived
at Lynchburg at about 4 o'clock P. M. on the 17th of June. Here they
united with Breckinridge and the troops of Major-General Ransom,
who was in command of the whole cavalry in the valley. Hunter was
in camp near the city of Lynchburg. In a letter to me, General
Ransom says at this time "he (Ramseur) and I reconnoitered the left
flank of Hunter's army and found it could be most advantageously
assailed, and in person reported the fact to General Early, who said
he would not attack until the whole of Rodes' Division had arrived
from Richmond." The opportunity to destroy Hunter's army was then
lost. Hunter took counsel of his fears and advantage of the cover
of night and darkness to make a hasty retreat. Early on the morning
of the 19th we commenced a pursuit, and just before night overtook
the enemy's rear at Liberty, when Ramseur's Division moved on it
and drove it through the place. It was now ascertained that Hunter
had not taken the route that we anticipated, but had retreated by
way of Buford's Gap, where, on the next day, he was found occupying
a commanding position on the crest of the mountain. After our
arrival we spent the afternoon in efforts to secure a position from
which to successfully assail him the following day. Hunter, by
our failure to promptly pursue at daylight, made his escape, and,
being in the mountains, further pursuit was useless. Early, in his
report, says: "By mistake of the messenger who was sent with orders
to General Rodes to lead the next morning, there was some delay in
his movement on the 21st, but the pursuit was resumed very shortly
after sunrise." After resting a day we resumed the march and reached
Buchanan that night. Our next important move was to cross the
Potomac into Maryland. We reached Frederick, Md., about the 9th of
the month, when Ramseur, after a slight resistance, moved through
the town and brushed away the Federals before him. Our invasion had
so alarmed the Federal capital that General Wallace was directed
to move at once with such forces as he had and could collect and
interpose them between us and Washington. When Wallace reached our
front he drew his troops up on the eastern bank of the Monocacy.

Ramseur deployed in his front, drove his skirmishers across
the river and a brief and brisk artillery duel followed. In
the meantime McCausland, with his cavalry, crossed the river,
attacked the Federal left flank and threw it into confusion, which
Early discovering, threw forward Gordon's Division, commanded by
Breckinridge. Gordon moved to the assistance of McCausland, while
Ramseur crossed over the railroad bridge and fell upon Wallace, who
retreated with great precipitation, leaving in our hands six or
seven hundred prisoners besides his killed and wounded. Our loss in
killed and wounded was severe, but as this was a sharp and brilliant
engagement, well planned and spiritedly executed, it infused new
life into our troops. On the 10th we moved to Rockville. As the
weather was hot and roads dusty, our troops were easily fatigued
and made but slow progress. The next day we resumed the march, and
in the afternoon reached Seventh street pike, which leads into
Washington. In a history of the Army of the Potomac, Swinton, in
speaking of this movement, says: "By afternoon the Confederate
infantry had come up and showed a strong line in front of Fort
Stevens. Early had there an opportunity to dash into the city, the
works being very slightly defended. The hope at headquarters that
the capital could be saved from capture was very slender." The
truth is, the Sixth and Ninth Corps of Grant's army were then _en
route_ to save the capital, and for us to have entered it at this
time might, in the end, have proved a costly experiment. Probably
more expedition might have been exercised by us in our march. After
reconnoitering and skirmishing a couple of days, we turned our backs
on the capital, beat a hasty retreat to the Potomac, followed by the
enemy's cavalry.

The next engagement of any importance in which Ramseur was concerned
was at Winchester, where he was left with his command and a
battery of artillery to protect the place from a threatened attack
from Averell. While here he was informed by General Vaughan, in
command of the cavalry, that Averell, with a small force, was at
Stephenson's Depot, and could be surprised and easily captured.
Placing too much confidence in these representations, Ramseur
advanced against him without the proper precaution of throwing
forward a strong skirmish line, and he encountered Averell with a
large force of infantry and cavalry, and met with a pretty severe
repulse. In a letter to me, General W. G. Lewis, who was wounded in
this engagement, says that Ramseur was not altogether responsible
for the mistake that occurred, for he had every reason to suppose
that the information furnished by Vaughan was correct. This matter,
while not of much importance, is referred to simply because it is
the only instance in which he met with a reverse. The blame properly
rests upon General Vaughan, who should have been more careful in his

On the 9th of September information reached us that a large force
had been concentrated at Harper's Ferry, which consisted of the
Sixth, Nineteenth, and Crook's Corps, and was under a new commander,
who proved to be Sheridan. From this time on constant maneuvering
and skirmishing occurred between the two armies, in which Ramseur
was more or less prominently engaged. Sheridan proved to be a
wary, cautious, and prudent commander. In all of these movements
it appeared that his purpose was rather to ascertain the strength
and character of his adversary than to engage him in battle. Early
was disappointed and disgusted by his wary methods, and says in
his _Last Year of the War_ that "the events of the last month had
satisfied me that the commander opposing me was without enterprise
and possessed an excessive caution which amounted to timidity. If
it was his policy to produce the impression that his force was too
weak to fight me, he did not succeed; but if it was to convince
me that he was not an able and energetic commander, his strategy
was a complete success, and subsequent events have not changed my
opinion." Sheridan had recently been transferred from the Army of
the West, where Lee's methods and "Stonewall Jackson's way" were
known as towers of strength. For the first time Sheridan was given
an independent command, had a wholesome dread of our veterans, and
also fully realized the fact that upon the result of his first
encounter with his adversary there was involved an important
political as well as military element.

Grant's campaign from the "Wilderness to Cold Harbor had been
disappointing to the North, where there was a feeling that so
far the war had been a failure, which, in commenting on, in his
_Campaigns of the Army of the Potomac_, Swinton says, that when the
records of the War Department shall be carefully examined they will
develop discoveries of the most startling nature. In speaking of
public sentiment just prior to the battle of Winchester, Grant says
in his _Personal Memoirs_:

"I had reason to believe that the administration was a little afraid
to have a decisive battle fought at that time, for fear it might
go against us and have a bad effect on the November elections. The
convention which had met and made its nomination of the Democratic
candidate for the Presidency had declared the war a failure.

"Treason was talked as boldly in Chicago as ever it had been at

"It was a question of whether the government would then have had
the power to make arrests and punish those who thus talked treason.

"But this decisive victory was the most effective campaign argument
made in the canvass."

In addition to what Grant says there was another motive which made
Sheridan timid in encountering our forces, and possibly Grant's
presence was necessary to get him up to the fighting point.

In his _Memoirs_, Sheridan says:

"I had opposing me an army largely composed of troops that had
operated in this region hitherto under 'Stonewall' Jackson with
marked success, inflicting defeat on the Union forces almost every
time the two armies had come in contact.

"These men were now commanded by a veteran officer of the
Confederacy, General Jubal A. Early, whose past services had so
signalized his ability that General Lee specially selected him
to take charge of the valley district, and notwithstanding the
misfortunes that befell him later, clung to him to the end of the
war. The Confederate army at this date was about twenty thousand
strong, and consisted of Early's own corps, with Generals Rodes,
Ramseur, and Gordon commanding its divisions; the infantry of
Breckinridge, of Southwestern Virginia; three battalions of
artillery, and the cavalry brigades of Vaughan, Johnson, McCausland,
and Imboden."

Early had marched and countermarched so often in the presence of and
around Sheridan's army without bringing him to a test of strength
he began to think him no better than Hunter, and entertained more
contempt for than fear of him. He separated his divisions at will,
and scattered them from Winchester to Martinsburg--twenty-two
miles--with no greater motive than that of interrupting railroad
traffic, producing a little diversion in Washington, and securing a
few commissaries in Martinsburg. His last movement in this direction
was on the eve of the battle of Winchester. Of this movement he
says: "Having been informed that a force was at work on the railroad
near Martinsburg, I moved on the afternoon of the 17th of September
with Rodes' and Gordon's Divisions and Braxton's artillery to Bunker
Hill; and on the morning of the 18th, with Gordon's Division and a
part of the artillery, to Martinsburg, preceded by a part of Lomax's
cavalry." It will thus be seen that in the presence of a largely
superior force, and a new and untried commander, Early had his
troops stretched out and separated like a string of glass beads with
a knot between each one. In a previous move of a similar nature on
Martinsburg, at Bunker Hill, I had been reliably informed that the
next time Early should make the mistake of separating his command
Sheridan intended to attack and endeavor to crush his troops in
detail. This fact I communicated to General Rodes, who replied: "I
know it. I have told Early as much"; and with much irritation of
manner, said, "I can't get him to believe it."

On the morning of the 19th the booming of cannon was heard in the
direction of Winchester. As skirmishing at this time was frequent,
we could not positively decide as to what it portended. Rodes was
now at Stephenson's Depot, Breckinridge and Gordon at Bunker Hill,
and Ramseur at Winchester. Rodes received orders to "move out,"
but was not directed where to go. We moved out, took position
behind a rock wall north of the road intersecting the Winchester
road, where we anxiously awaited further orders for the space of
two hours. All this time Ramseur, with his seventeen hundred men,
was actively engaged with Sheridan's advance corps. Had we been
properly directed we could have moved forward and crushed this corps
before the remainder of Sheridan's troops arrived, and secured a
complete victory. In speaking of the time when the firing commenced,
Early, who was with Gordon, says: "I immediately ordered all the
troops that were at Stephenson's Depot to be in readiness to move,
directions being given by Gordon, who had arrived from Bunker
Hill, to move at once, but by some mistake on the part of my staff
officer, the latter order was not delivered to either Generals
Breckinridge or Gordon."

Ramseur was compelled to bear the whole brunt of the attack of
Sheridan's army until we came to his support, about 10 A. M. While
Rodes was moving in column up the Martinsburg road, near Winchester,
we were unexpectedly called to attention, faced to the left, and
moved forward to engage the enemy, who had advanced to within one
hundred yards of the road. Grimes' Brigade was on the right, mine in
the centre, and Cook's on the left, for Battle's was still behind.
After a brief and vigorous assault the Federals commenced falling

Grimes drove the enemy through the woods and formed on the left
of Ramseur, while I was driving the Federals before me in an open
field, supported by Cook on my left. The latter brigade was brought
to a temporary halt. Rodes was now in my rear, and dispatched his
only remaining staff officer to push forward this brigade. At this
moment Lieutenant J. S. Battle of my staff came up, informed me that
Colonel Bennett of the Fourteenth Regiment had just had his horse
shot under him, and he had given him his. It was now that General
Rodes was shot in the head by a ball, and caught by Lieutenant
Battle as he fell from his horse. The fall of Rodes was not observed
by the troops, who pushed on, and struck a weak line b