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 And they who bore the sword of power were bidden to arm and hold ‘themselves in readiness to execute the commands of the General Congress of this province and this committee.’ Such was, indeed, that ‘clear and logical conception’ which the Mecklenburg patriots of 1775 were foremost to form ‘of the civil status created for the American colonies by the address of both houses of Parliament to the Crown, adopted February 7, 1775, declaring the colony of Massachusetts in a state of “actual rebellion,” ’ and constructively passing the same sentence of outlawry on all the other colonies which were giving her aid and comfort. Fellow-citizens of North Carolina, it is not quite enough to say that the Mecklenburg patriots of 1775 won and wear the unique fame of the precursors of American Independence. The North Carolina Koh-i-noor blazes from a broader facet with a finer light. The Mecklenburg patriots of 1775 also carried onward the very evangel of Democracy! I peruse these authentic, unquestioned resolutions, the text undisputed, the record contemporary and continuous and clear, and I care not what went before or came after, for I say, severance from and independence of the parent State are here. But also every mark of the highest style of self-government is here. Severance, because of encroachments upon self-government—Independence—resumption of power by the self-governed to the end of its redistribution upon the servants of their choice—the temporary character of the grant affirmed, subject to termination by the termination of its necessity, or by the awaited exercise of authority on the part of the larger social structure to which their union and voluntary differerence were affirmed through the Provincial or the Continental Congress. Shall we find in the immortal Declaration of Independence, which Jefferson penned, a surer, firmer grasp of government by the people, of the people, for the people, than that? It will never be found, except by those who could make the mistake which your forefathers never made — the mistaking of Mecklenburg county for North Carolina, the mistaking of North Carolina for the United Colonies of North America. But the dignity and self-restraint of men capable of selfgovern-ment, ordering the spirit and the structures of their society, are here.
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