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[285]

Call made on you by to-night's mail for two regiments of military for immediate service.

Simon Cameron, Secretary of War.

So North Carolina was to be required to make war upon her sister Southern States. But they reckoned without their host. Instantly the reply went back, bold, spirited, patriotic:

Simon Cameron, Secretary of War:
Your dispatch is received, and if genuine, which its extraordinary character leads me to doubt, I have to say in reply that I regard the levy of troops made by the Administration, for the purpose of subjugating the States of the South, as in violation of the Constitution, and as a gross usurpation of power. I can be no party to this wicked violation of the laws of the country, and to this war upon the liberties of a free people. You can get no troops from North Carolina. I will reply more in detail when I receive your call.


A terrible crisis was upon the country, but there was no hesitation. As one man the whole State responded to a proclamation of the Governor calling for troops for defense, and for supplies of all kinds. Military companies were formed everywhere, and a camp of instruction, Camp Ellis, was established at Raleigh, where they were organizod and drilled.

There was no longer any division among the people, no doubt whatever as to their intent. Whatever may have been deemed advisable as to secession previously, there was but one mind now as to coercion, and especially as to the requirement that North Carolina should be a party to it, against which we protested with our utmost energy and resisted with our utmost ability. Let that be borne in mind. With us it was not so much an assertion of the right of secession, though that we did not deny, as an emphatic denial of the right of coercion.

On the 17th of April Governor Ellis issued his proclamation summoning the legislature to meet on the 1st of May in extra session. In this proclamation, as in his reply to Cameron, and in his subsequent message to the legislature, he dwells especially and earnestly

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