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[6]

During the month of January, 1861, various delegations were received from the more southern States which had already seceded. It was the duty of these commissioners to bring North Carolina over, if possible, to the side of the Confederacy. The University found three of her alumni among these commissioners: Isham W. Garrott, from Alabama; Jacob Thompson, from Mississippi, and Samuel Hall, from Georgia. The Assembly of North Carolina had also received an invitation from the State of Alabama to send a delegation to meet similar delegations from other States at Montgomery in February, 1861. The State sent a committee ‘for the purpose of effecting an honorable and amicable adjustment of all the difficulties which distract the country, upon the basis of the Crittenden resolutions,’ and the parties chosen were all University men: President D. L. Swain, General M. W. Ransom, and Colonel John L. Bridgers. In the same way three of the five commissioners sent by North Carolina to attend the Peace Congress in Washington in 1861 were University men. They were J. M. Morehead, George Davis, and D. M. Barringer.

Finally, on January 30th, 1861, through the strenuous efforts of Judge S. J. Person, W. W. Avery, and Victor C. Barringer, all again University men, the Assembly of North Carolina passed an act providing for the calling of a convention. The election was on the 28th of February. In Holden's paper, The Standard, of the 20th of March, the official figures are given as 467 against a convention.1 The same paper estimates that out of 93,000 votes cast at this election, 60,000 were in favor of the Union, and that 20,000 sympathizers with the same side staid from the polls. Of the delegates elected about eighty-three were for the Union, and only about thirty-seven for secession. Some of the counties, like Caswell, voted against the convention, but chose Union delegates; others, like Wake, voted for convention and chose Union delegates. In Raleigh the vote was nearly nine to one in favor of the Union. No convention was therefore called and secession was defeated for the second time in North Carolina.

But all the efforts towards a peaceful solution of the problem were failures; Sumpter was fired on and President Lincoln issued his call for 75,000 troops. The share of North Carolina was two regiments.

1 Add to this 194 majority from Davie, which arrived too late to be put into the official returns, and we find a majority of 661 against a convention.

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