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[345] to have been ripe for revolution from the very beginning of the difficulties, and the popular sentiment responded in one decisive act, which we this day commemorate. Their decisive and daring action gave to North Carolina the proud distinction, which it has ever since enjoyed, of having been the first of all the colonies to sound the tocsin of revolution and to assert the right of independence.

The same firm determination and high spirit which led to the early pronunciamento of 1775, more than a year in advance of all the other colonies, characterized the conduct of your people during all the dark and stormy days which followed. Lord Cornwallis unwittingly paid your forefathers a compliment when he declared Charlotte to be ‘the hornet's nest of North Carolina’—a reputation which, I am informed, it has ever since gloriously maintained.

The Mecklenburg declaration was momentous in its consequences, because it was the inception of a successful revolution. It was never retracted. It was unique. It was so startling in its boldness, so grand in it conception, so potent in its influence for the good of mankind, and so securely intrenched in those eternal principles which it concisely embodied, that it stands forth conspicuous as an unprecedented event, a wholly American page in the history of the world's progress. That it largely influenced the subsequent similar action of the united colonies cannot stand in need of proof. It kindled the fires of liberty everwhere. It encouraged the dream and hope of a separate government. It cheered the weak-hearted and the wavering, invigorated the just demands of the people, and quarried the cornerstone of the foundations of all our future greatness.

It is natural that this commemoration should possess a greater interest than any other which you observe. It belongs to your city, your county and your State. It has a peculiar significance to you which no other public event can import. It appeals to your local pride, your social pride, your pride of ancestry, your pride of race.

You go forward from this early May day to the National Fourth of July day as from

One happy prologue to the swelling act
Of the imperial theme.

The great central and important thought of the Mecklenburg declaration was the idea of self-government which is boldly embodied. It was a protest against oppression. It was also a distinct repudiation of the divine right of kings. The wisdom of the convictions

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