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Doc. 77. North Carolina resolutions, adopted by the Convention in Hyde Co., N. C., Oct. 12, 1861.

The following resolutions were read and passed unanimously and without discussion:

By a meeting of citizens of North Carolina, held in Hyde County, Saturday, Oct. 12, 1861,

Resolved, That we do hereby voluntarily and deliberately reaffirm our loyalty to the Government of the United States, and express our unalterable attachment to that Constitution which is the basis of the Union founded by our fathers.

Resolved, That while, as a law-abiding people, we accept the Constitution and laws of the Commonwealth of North Carolina, as they were prior to the treasonable and revolutionary innovations of the conspirators against the Union in this State, we do, nevertheless, utterly repudiate, reject, and disavow all acts of any Convention or Legislature done in contravention of our primary and permanent allegiance to the Federal Government, or in derogation of its authority, as imposing no obligation that loyal citizens are bound to respect.

Resolved, That we owe no obedience to the commands of the Acting Governor of North Carolina, nor to any other public officers, however validly constituted, who have transferred the duty they owed to the Union to the spurious Government self-styled the Confederate States of America. They have vacated, by the fact of their treason, the positions to which they were elevated by a confiding but betrayed people; and the rightful power to fill their vacancies reverts to the loyal men among their constituents.

Resolved, That no State authority existing, which we can consistently recognize or obey, and desiring to secure the benefit of law and order, now virtually suspended amid the anarchy of usurpation which prevails within our borders, we declare our wish for the establishment, at an early day, of a Provisional State Government for the loyal people of North Carolina.

[178]

Statement of grievances.

The following is the report of the Committee appointed by a meeting of the citizens of Hyde County, North Carolina, to draw up a statement of grievances and a formal declaration of independence:

Appealing to that sacred right of protest and resistance which is inherent in all oppressed communities and with a firm trust in the Almighty ruler of mankind, whose good providence is declared in history, and who can never tolerate the permanent ascendency of wrong, we do hereby, on behalf of the people of North Carolina, deliberately and solemnly proclaim our independence of the spurious Government designating itself the Confederate States of America, and the revolutionary and treasonable dynasty which now usurps the governing power of our own State. We repudiate the unwarranted arrogations of authority asserted by these bold, bad men — traitors alike to the Federal Union and to the people of North Carolina; we disclaim and disavow all participation or acquiescence in their twofold treachery; we denounce their wanton crimes against heaven and humanity; and we now and hereby reaffirm our unalienable allegiance to the Government of the United States, and resume all those elements and parts of sovereignty which belong, in subordination to the National Constitution, to the freemen of this Commonwealth.

In vindication of the justice of our cause, and in deference to the judgment of the world, we proceed to set forth some of the considerations which impel us to this declaration.

The tyrants whom we now arraign before the tribunal of public conscience have sought to deprive us of the precious heritage of our American citizenship, won for us by the heroic toils of our sires of the Revolution, and handed down to us to be transmitted to our children.

They have not only attempted the abrogation of the Constitution of the United States, but have addressed themselves to the sweeping mutilation of our municipal statutory law as embodied in the Code adopted 1st January, 1856.

They have violated nearly every section of that venerable work of our fathers, the Bill of Rights, which the State Constitution solemnly declares to be an integral portion of itself, and never to be violated on any pretence whatever.

They have placed us in the false attitude of revolt, against a beneficent and protecting Government which has never done us an injustice, and which was full of blessings to us all.

They have made loyalty a crime, and betrayed many of our people into rebellion by false pretences and intimidation.

They have endeavored, by the grossest falsehoods, persistently repeated, and by exaggerated appeals to prejudice and passion, to inflame our minds against our fellow-citizens whose intercourse with us has been productive only of benefits.

They have destroyed a commerce with our Northern brethren, which afforded a means of livelihood to no small portion of our people, and thereby brought the horrors of starvation to our doors.

They have inaugurated a neighborhood warfare of the most cruel and unpitying ferocity, which spares neither age, sex, nor condition, but which arrays brother against brother, father against son, and substitutes for the kindly intercourse of friend with friend a fiendish hatred, espionage, and persecution.

They have invaded the sacred precincts of the household, and sundered the dearest ties of human nature. They have torn husbands and fathers from their homes, and robbed families of their natural protectors.

They have perpetrated the most shocking barbarities, and established a reign of terror and alarm without precedent in civilized history.

They have countenanced outrages and bloodshed, and encouraged mobs and riots. They have sanctioned the proceedings of irresponsible and self-constituted vigilance committees and other bodies utterly unknown to the laws, tolerated with complacency their proscriptive and indiscriminate violence, and applauded their atrocious deeds.

They have brutally murdered inoffensive and harmless persons, some of them of great age, and who would have soon departed from amongst us in the ordinary course of nature.

They have offered rewards for the lives of freemen guilty of no crime, and put prices upon their heads.

They have organized fraud and falsehood, and made a system of robbery and theft.

They have taught our youth habitual disrespect of law, and inculcated lessons of sedition and unbridled license.

They have used every agency of bribery and corruption to consummate their ends.

They have invited foreign tyrants to our shores, and sought, through the intrigues of commissioners abroad, to barter away our chartered liberties.

They have confiscated the property of citizens without just cause.

They have denied us the exercise of the elective franchise, and set at nought that provision of our organic law which affirms that elections ought to be often held.

They have destroyed the freedom of speech and of the press.

They have arrested peaceful and unoffending citizens without due process of law, and suspended the writ of habeas corpus.

They have recklessly disregarded the will of the people to abide by the compact of National Union, as repeatedly declared in public meetings throughout the State, and by the emphatic and overwhelming vote of the qualified electors of the Commonwealth, in February last. [179]

They have set aside the solemn and deliberate disapproval of the machinations of the disunionists, pronounced by a majority of the people in refusing to authorize the call of a State Convention.

They have prostituted their official positions to the purposes of a secret and infamous conspiracy which had predetermined the destruction of the Union, regardless of popular dissent, and, in the unscrupulous zeal of their treason, they have assumed powers without warrant, express or implied, in the Constitution.

They have arrogated the authority, through a Convention summoned with indecent haste, and acting in flagrant defiance of the wish of the people, to perform an act legally impossible, and therefore without effect or force, in decreeing the secession of this Commonwealth from the National Union. The ordinances of this Convention have never been submitted to the people for their ratification or rejection.

They have commissioned ten men as representatives of the State, in a body called the Confederate Congress, unknown to and unauthorized by the laws, and occupying an attitude of open hostility to that Constitution which North Carolina has formally and definitely ratified and accepted as the supreme law of the land. And, as if to omit no incident of a complete disfranchisement, they have withheld from the electors the poor privilege of designating such representatives.

They have raised and kept up armies to crush the liberties and waste the substance of the people, and have subordinated the civil to the military power.

They have deprived the people of the right to bear arms in their defence, but have obliged them to assist in the unhallowed work of their own enslavement.

They have required excessive bail, imposed excessive fines, and inflicted cruel and unusual punishment.

They have instituted a system of illegal searches and seizures, in granting general warrants, whereby officers and messengers have been commanded to search suspected places, without evidence of the fact committed, and to seize persons not named, and whose offences were not particularly described and supported by evidence.

They have restricted the people of their right to assemble together to consult for their common good.

They have taken and imprisoned freemen, and disseized them of their freeholds, liberties, and privileges, and outlawed and exiled them, and destroyed and deprived them of their life, liberty, and property, contrary to the law of the land.

They have delayed and denied to freemen restrained of their liberty, the remedy guaranteed by the Bill of Rights to enquire into the lawfulness of such restraint, and to remove it if unlawful.

They have allowed the people of the State to be made subject to the payment of illegal and exorbitant taxes and imposts without their consent.

They have denied our citizens the sacred and inviolable right of trial by jury in questions respecting property.

They have put freemen to answer criminal charges without presentment, indictment, or impeachment.

They have convicted freemen of crimes without the unanimous verdict of a jury of good and lawful men in open Court, as heretofore used.

They have disregarded the right of every man in criminal prosecution to be informed of the accusation against him, and to confront the accusers and witnesses with other testimony, compelled freemen to give evidence against themselves, and refused them a speedy and impartial trial.

They have suspended the laws and their execution without warrant or necessity, and permitted the prevalence of anarchy and disorder.

They have confounded the legislative, executive, and supreme judicial powers of government, which ought to be forever separate and distinct.

They have permitted the interference of persons from outside our boundaries in regulating our internal government and police, the right of which belongs solely and exclusively to the people of this State. They have welcomed armed invaders from other States to assist in the subjugation of our citizens.

They have secretly promulgated, and in some instances openly proclaimed,their purpose to confer official honors and emoluments and peculiar privileges upon a certain set of men separate from the community: to restrict the right of suffrage to a few, and to substitute a life tenure of public office for the term fixed by law.

They have practically annulled the cardinal axiom of popular government and initial declaration of our Bill of Rights, that all political power is vested in and derived from the people only.

Wherefore, from these tyrants and public enemies we now dissever ourselves, socially and politically, forever.

And with a full and lively sense of the responsibilities which our action devolves upon us, and reverently invoking the aid and guidance of Almighty God, we pledge to each other, for the maintenance of this solemn compact, our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.


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