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 suffering and every peril incident to a hazardous rebellion. Defeat did not dismay them, treachery did not destroy their confidence, jealousies did not divide their councils, blunders did not cast them down and success did not unduly exalt them. They were a plain people—honest, earnest, steadfast and true. They fought for principles and not for spoils; for their country and not for power; for posterity, and not for themselves alone. They contended against the injustice of taxation without due representation, against the inequality of governmental burdens, against the exactions of arbitrary power, against the imposition of standing armies to harrass the people and eat out their substance, against non-resident officehold-ers, and against the attempt to make the military superior to the civil authority. A holier cause never enlisted the efforts of freemen; a nobler type of freemen never walked this earth. The circumstances of the Mecklenburg declaration were most extraordinary. There had been no recent conflict upon North Carolina soil; she had no grievances which were not common to all the colonies. Mecklenburg was in a portion of the country remote from the centres of population; there was no immediate prospect of foreign invasion of its territory or actual impending injury to its citizens; it was a period of darkness and uncertainty in which the future could not be predicted; yet this people, without consultation with other localities, and without pledges of assistance from other colonies, relying upon the truth and justice of their cause with ‘war in each heart and freedom on each brow,’ unaided and alone set the ball in motion and boldly inaugurated a righteous rebellion, the result of which no one could foretell. The recollection of this chivalric, but perilous undertaking constitutes a source of pride to the State of North Carolina ‘ever to be cherished, never to be forgotten.’ It was a step for which, as yet, neither the State at large nor the Colonial Congress was prepared. It evinced the highest courage and the loftiest patriotism, but it nevertheless seemed to many patriots premature. Resistance to British authority at that time had not assumed anywhere else the form of a demand for separation. Such resistance was elsewhere made as a protest against abuses and as an effort to secure the correction of grievances rather than to establish a new government. Reformation under royal rule was all that had thus far been generally contemplated. But to this general sentiment of loyalty the citizens of Mecklenburg presented a notable exception. The leading characters are said
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