, since he has opened and arranged this store-house of facts, which were heretofore unknown or only guessed at, the history of North Carolina
can be fully and truthfully written, and it is to be hoped that some equally devoted son of hers will soon take up the task, and perform it as acceptably as he did his.
Nothing so delighted him in his investigations as the discovery of facts which proved the existence among the early settlers of the Democratic
spirit, and no incidents roused his enthusiasm like those in which this spirit forcibly asserted itself.
He would quietly smile at the conduct of such characters as John Starkey
, who despite sneers and ridicule persistently refused to wear shoe-buckles and a queue, but his eye would kindle and his cheek glow at such declarations as that of John Ashe
, that the people would resist the Stamp Act ‘to blood and death.’
His sympathies were altogether with those who, like the Regulators, sought redress of grievances even by violent and revolutionary methods, because he believed that underlying all such movements there was the true spirit of liberty and devotion to the rights of man; which were to him of inestimably greater importance than the preservation of the forms of law, or even the peace of society.
But he indulged in no harsh criticism of those other patriots who—believing that liberty regulated by law was the only liberty worth preserving, and fearing for the safety of society—aided in suppressing such movements; for he knew and honored their motives, notwithstanding his own strong sympathy with those who resisted and fought them.
In a word, he pursued his labors with the true spirit of historic investigation, and meted out with an impartial hand honor to whom honor was due, and blame to all who deserved it. And he rejoiced in the work of rescuing from oblivion the names and noble acts of the pioneers of our civilization and in placing them in their true light for the admiration of posterity.
In this work he was engaged for about eleven years, with frequent interruptions caused by illness, and a more conscientious, faithful and valuable work has never been done for North Carolina
It is the great reservoir of facts from which all must draw who would write accurately and truthfully the history of the first century of our civilization.
It was done by a true and loving hand, under the inspiration of a brave and loyal heart, without the least expectation or hope of