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[288] of secession. It resolved upon it unanimously, and it was not therefore necessary to submit it to a vote of the people. To that ordinance every North Carolinian was bound to conform.

It is profitable to note how strictly in accordance with law and precedent, and in what orderly manner, those grave proceedings were conducted—and it may not be amiss to draw a parallel.

On the 12th of April, 1776, North Carolina, through her representatives then assembled at Halifax, first of all the thirteen colonies, authorized her delegates to the Continental Congress to unite in any measure looking to a separation of the colonies from the mother country and to the establishment of independence, thus, as it were, assuming and ratifying the declaration and resolves of Mecklenburg, made in May of the year previous. Elbridge Gerry, of Massachusetts, in that Congress—afterwards Governor and Vice-President—as may be seen in his letter in the American Archives—did not call that action treasonable, but approved it warmly, and wrote his people urging like action on their part. So in May, 1861, North Carolina in convention assembled at Raleigh, by solemn ordinance, without one opposing vote, revoked the ordinance of 1789, withdrew from the association of States and by the same authority that had conferred, in like manner recalled all powers theretofore delegated to the United States. In both instances the step was taken through the lawful authorities duly constituted, after mature consideration, calmly, without outbreak or violence. In both cases the act was one of sovereignty, having been an assumption of power by the colony, whereas it was a resumption merely on the part of the State of powers previously delegated. Now is it not monstrous to call that treason and rebellion in a sovereign State which in a mere colony is termed patriotism and maintenance of right? Such epithets, as so often flippantly applied, are not only untrue but they are absurd. A whole nation, acting through all its people, cannot be guilty of treason. To indict a people for conspiracy and rebellion is as impossible as the crime itself.

On the day of the passage of the Ordinance of Secession the convention passed an ordinance ratifying and assenting to the constitution of the provisional government of the Confederate States, and later other ordinances ceding to that government certain property and privileges, and vesting in it certain necessary rights and powers. North Carolina thus became one of the Confederate States and cast her lot with them for weal or woe, prepared and ready to abide the result. Afterwards the permanent Constitution of the

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