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[339] political parties, retain their title to our reverence as to our pride, to our esteem as to our admiration. The whole record of their long, laborious lives has been exposed, upturned, published, and not one syllable of shame.

It is the slander of envious or ambitious rivals which the record has exposed—to their shame. It is the hideous revilings, the ceaseless calumnies of some partisan newspapers, on both sides, which have been shriveled up and burnt away in the glare of modern investigation.

It is the credulity of opposing partisans, sectarians, bigots, which the muse of history now mocks with her wise smile.

Fellow-citizens of North Carolina, fellow-citizens of Mecklenburg, I congratulate you especially that there is something else which the tooth of time has wholly spared.

I congratulate you that after all the researches of their contemporaries, their historians and their critics, here, too, you can hold fast and keep forever undisturbed your veneration for the ‘gray forefathers of the State,’ and all your pride in the authentic precursors of American Independence.

Grant for a moment the very uttermost that anybody ever tried to prove to unsettle the verdict of the North Carolina historian.

Has it ever occurred to you to inquire what it amounts to? Nothing at all, or nothing but this—that your forefathers were less than a fortnight later in being still by more than a year in advance of all as the forerunners, the precursors of American Independence.

Which one of the thirteen States, finding such a record as that among its archives, never questioned, undisputable, authentic and contemporaneous, would not regard the Mecklenburg Resolves of the 31st of May as a perfect title to all that was ever claimed for North Carolina's sons as the forerunners of American Independence. Let every other page of your annals perish, and then would not the old Bay State? would not the Empire State? would not the Keystone State? would not old Virginia? if that remaining record belonged to either one of them, instead of belonging, as it does, by an unchallenged title, to the Old North State, proclaim it the very Koh-i-noor among all the jewels of American liberty?

Turn in every light and it blazes with an incomparable lustre. I lately turned over some few of the leaves of controversy.

I glanced at the famous correspondence of John Adams and Thomas Jefferson over the Raleigh Register, in their old age, in their

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