Newspaper Page Text
8 ADAIR COUNTY KEWS I w How Famous Declaration Was Adopted OF AMERICA; v CtMr-Jtcrcj & V, 4 1NCE first our And fired the if-Ias come to pass the epoch of their dream When to the April breeze their flag unfurled. S?TX)DAY, where floats the Stars and Stripes, we deem Each star defiance at the tyrant hurled; lEach stripe a bar 'gainst despots, too, would seem To interpose for human rights imperiled. ODAY, in foreign lands, the flag Against a crimson sky across the sea, ere battle's bane from out the land has wrung Wh Its dreadful toll. ach nation, and All peoples in Moith Carolina ILed Colonies in I Freedom's Fight T Is popularly supposed that the , Independence of the United States J legan on a Fourth of July In Phil- . ldeinhla. but down In the Old "SbxtjIi State Is a community that 'O&szr c the British yoke more than iJttK'-before the rumult In the city, n the quaint old Quaker town I -wmir tmcsd the first general step to- vez the freedom of the colonies. Jh. 1763 the British parliament passed -ate- tamp act When the first sloop of flcar .arrived off Cape Fear from Eng im5 .carrying stamped paper the peo- V53eerrorized the captain until he was Afraid to land his stuff, and then they 'sagi.ired the stamp officer from the governor a n u made the officer take oath that he TTOuld not at tempt to enforce the use o stamps. A year later the stamp act was repealed. But North Caro lina had found that she had a power when the people arose, and the English crown was never again sure of Its ground In the col ony. The people as serted the right of free assem blage after that and the assump tion led to numer ous clashes with the governor un til in May, 1771, "JSB &2zz -t&e governor, with soldiers, proceeded ssslnst a fcand of men calling them vsaives Regulators; and a few miles viiorth of Southern Pines a battle was -:ccght In which more than 100 casual - tiss occurred or both sides, nearly two ssore being killed. This was the first JWodshed In the Revolution. The ln ;$odlcious governor, whose force was - -rictorlous, aroused further hatred on ib& part of the people by hanging a asnnlber of his prisoners. Herman Eisbands, the leader of the Regula faeCi -escaped and went to Pittsburgh, rsHsfre ke settled, dying later at-Phlla- -jSelpliki. j The feeling was fanned by the er- vtotme acts of each side, until a state sires stood beside shot that echoed It promises to free to number each among a worldwide liberty. -HARLOWE R. HOYT. convention was held at Newbern in Au gust, 1774. The meeting of the colonial legislature, which, followed, practically endorsed the radical views of the con vention, which was proclaimed by the governor to be anarchy. The result was that the legislature was dissolved and the governor took refuge on a ship of war in Cape Fear river. In May, 1773, the people of Mecklen burg county had a convention, and they took occasion, nearly 14 months before the Declaration of Independence was issued at Philadelphia, to say Declaration. "We declare ourselves a free and independent people; are and of right ought to be a sovereign and indepen dent self-governing association, under no power than that of our God and the general government of congress. To the mainte nance of which in dependence we solemnly pledge to each other our mutual co-operation, our lives, our fortunes and our most sacred honor." The convention that adopted such startling resolu tions of indepen dence undertook to lay the founda tion for a govern ment for North Carolina until a suitable and sta ble form could be provided by con gress, and from that day the au thority of the British crown was exhib ited only during those few times when Cornwallis made his ventures with more or less varying success on the territory of the colony. North Carolina was the first of the colonies to have an English settlement, the first to shed blood in the war for independence, and the first to give ut terance in explicit form to that inde pendence. Nor was the declaration of the people of Mecklenburg the sole manifestation of the sentiment in the matter. At Fayetteville, on Cape Fear river below Southern Pines, another Declaration of. Independence ante dated that of Philadelphia. The peo ple in Cumberland county, of which Fayetteville Is the capital, issued their statement In June of 1775, Insisting that resort to arms was justified, and pledging each other to sacrifice life and fortune to the freedom and safety of an oppressed people. In April, Tn6, still before the Philadelphia Declara tion of Independence, the provincial congress of North Carolina appointed 4 J die stream, 'round the world, is flung ! a committee to prepare a civil consfl tution, and it was done so well that the document served some GO years as the organic law of the state. And so it was that North Carolina opened the road that led up to the creation of the most progressive nation on the face of the earth, and the one whose influence has done most for the advancement of mankind. Some Tory Sentiment. All of this section of North Carolina was not enthusiastic in the Declaration of Independence. A portion of the set tlers were ardent Tories so ardent, in fact, that it was not until the war of 1812 that the Scotch of Cape Fear valley finally turned away absolutely from the royal standard. The story Is one of singular misfor tune. The Cape Fear valley was Set tlor! lnrrroltr Hv 5 . the adherents of &.& the Stuart family, which met with such disaster at Culloden that many of the fol lowers of the Pre tender were ban ished to America for taking up arms against the British crown. Be v& fore these people were permitted to sail they were I j 4 Mi y loyal henceforth) king. When the settlers around them in North Carolina were ris ing against the declaring indepen royal governor, dence, refusing to pay stamp taxes, making new constitutions and fighting against the king, the Scotch settlers were in arms under the British flag. Their oath and their bitter experience before migrating to America prompted them to keep away from any further rebellious acts. Greene's Memory Worthy of Honor. Next to Washington, Nathanael Greene was the most potent force in our struggle for national independence. He was born on May 27, 1742, in a lit tle farmhouse in Rhode Island. His boyhood was spent like that of the other youth of the neighborhood. Prob ably it was a little less exciting, for his father was a strict Quaker and pastor of a church at East Greenwich. He was also a "captain of industry" at that period. With his five brothers, he owned a forge, a grist mill, a sawmill, as well as a store for the sals of gen eral merchandise. f& J w p INDEPENDENCE day this year witnesses the unique spectacle of the Stars and Stripes and the flag of Great Britain intertwined in a bond of friendship, the United States allied with her old jnother country in fighting the world battles of democ racy. In that memorable document which was proclaimed to the inhabi tants of the original thirteen colonies 142 years ago is a sentence which seems fitting now as an indictment of the European monarch against whom America is at war. It is tins: Our repeated petitions have been an swered only by repeated Injury. And then follows this severe arraign ment of George m, the last of the Eng lish kings who maintained the divine right of rule: A prince whose character is thus mark ed by every act which may define a ty rant Is unfit to be the ruler of a free people. Prior to the Revolutionary struggle the sentiment in all the colonies for ten years and more from the time of the first Stamp Act troubles was strongly against a severance of rela tions with the parent country. Paul Revere's ride and the battles of Lexing ton and Concord in April, 1775, memo rable as those events are as the fore runners of the great conflict, failed to arouse any widespread enthusiasm for Independence. It is even significant to note that just a year before the Dec laration of Independence was unani mously approved by all of the thirteen colonies the Continental congress that had appointed Washington comman der in chief of the army, drew up, July G, 1775, a declaration of the causes for taking up arms In which it was said : We mean not to dissolve that union which has so long and so happily sub sisted between us and which we sincere ly wish to see restored. Even Thomas Jefferson, the author of the Declaration of Independence, two months after the battle of Bunker Hill wrote that he was "looking with fondness toward a reconciliation with Great Britain." A few far-sighted leaders like Ben jamin Franklin, Samuel and John Adams and Patrick Henry had felt at a comparatively early date that n break was inevitable. The historic declaration of the citi zens of Mecklenburg county, North Carolina, in May, 1775, was one of sev eral local events indicating that public opinion was tending toward independ ence, but not until the appearance of Thomas Paine's stirring pamphlet, "Common Sense," early in January, 1776, was there any appreciable public sentiment in its favor. In the plain language of the day it presented the facts so simply that all could under stand. This "phenomenon," as John Adams styled Paine, suddenly found himself transformed from obscurity to fame. The Pennsylvania legislature vpted him $2,500, and a Southern legis Thomas Jefferson. lator suggested that a statue of Paine In gold would not be too high an honor. Richard Henry Lee's Resolution. Things moved rapidly In the colonies after that, and Richard Henry Lee of Virginia rose in the Continental con gress at Philadelphia, June 7, 1776, and presented his famous resolutions which led to the Declaration of Independence. The resolutions, in Lee's handwriting, and now one of the treasured papers in the library of congress, were: Resolved, That these United Colonies are and of right ought to be free and Independent states; that they are ab solved from all allegiance to the British crown, and that all political connection between them and the state of Great Britain is and ought to be totally dis solved; That It Is expedient forthwith to take the most effectual measures for form ing foreign alliances; That a plan of confederation be pre pared and transmitted to the respective colonies for their consideration and ap probation. Here, In fact, was the Declaration of Independence in a nutshell, proposed by one of the most eminent men of the most Influential colony at that time and promptly seconded by John Adams of Massachusetts. It was deem gd wise to order the secretary, to omit their names from the journal. The next day congress went into a committee of A" fht pK1 AJiX cW I to fh 7ViM4ru mo4iv? -rLQjJuurtd YkoX Kj .JLfvZD dtcZtytC t&- C4C vfKuA intjVtC tKcmk to tPl I 11 li i JCfHsrcJtccrrx '' -VT7vmwv."i VtyAytcd 4Urrvrvf jJfrrwvM IkXU ryruHr9 frWJn Draft of the First Words of the Declaration of Independence, in Thomas Jef ferson's Handwriting, Which Established Democracy in America. the whole to discuss the resolutions. The delegates from Pennsylvania, New York and one or two other colonies ob jected on the ground that the middle colonies were not yet ready for so radi cal a step, although personally express ing a friendly attitude. Delegates Hesitated. Unanimous action by all the colonies on so momentous a question was re garded by congress as of paramount importance. Some of the delegates had not been instructed to go so far as vot ing for independence, New York and New Jersey being among them. The majority had been authorized to take any action that might be deemed wise, Virginia having gone so far as actual ly to instruct her delegates to propose p. declaration of independence to con gress, and Richard Henry Lee was simply obeying the legislative voice of his colony when he presented his reso lutions. June 10 congress postponed final consideration for three weeks, and on the following day appointed a commit tee of five to draw up the declaration. Richard Henry Lee, as the proposer of the plan, would surely have been on the committee and, possibly, its chairman, had he not in the meantime been hur riedly summoned home by the illness of his wife. But for that Lee might have been the author of the declara tion instead of his younger Virginia colleague, Thomas Jefferson, then but thirty-three years old. Jefferson had brought to congress the reputation for wielding a facile pen, and in the balloting for the com mittee he received a majority of votes and became its chairman. The others were John Adams of Massachusetts, Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania, Roger Sherman of Connecticut and Robert R. Livingston of New York. Honor Given Jefferson. How did Jefferson come to be se lected to write the Declaration, "the one American state paper, as has been said, that has reached to supreme dis tinction in the world and that seems likely to last as long as American civi lization lasts"? 'The most interesting account is giv en by John Adams, who says that he and Thomas Jefferson were designated by the committee to prepare the rough minutes in a proper form. Mr. Jeffer son first proposed that Adams prepare the draft of the Declaration. Adams declined, giving, as he says in his au tobiography, the following reasons: (1) That he was a Virginian and I a Massachusettenslan. (2) That he was a Southern man and I a Northern one. (3) That I had been so obnoxious for my early and constant zeal in promoting the measure that every draft of mine would undergo a more severe scrutiny and criti cism In congress than one of his composi tion. (4) And lastly, and that would be rea son enough If there were no other, I had a great opinion of the elegance of his pen and none at all of my own. I therefore insisted that no hesitation should be made on his part. He accordingly took the minutes and in a day or two produced to me his draft. As Jefferson Wrote It. Jefferson says that the entire com mittee urged him to make the draft. He showed it first to Franklin and Adams "because they were the two members of whose judgments and amendments I wished most to have the benefit" They made a few minor al terations in their handwriting. This original draft was given by Jefferson to Richard "Henry Lee, the dean of the Virginia delegation, and in 1825 his grandson presented it to the Amer ican Philosophical society of Philadel phia. Jefferson, having made another copy, with the changes suggested, presented it to the committee, which reported it unaltered to congress. July 1 Phila delphia was on the qui vlve of expecta tion, and contemporary accounts have left us a stirring picture of the eager ness with which the citizens awaited definite news of the most Important act which the colonists had been called upon to decide in the long chain of disputes with the mother country. On the following day, when the formal vote of congress was taken, the reso lutions were approved by twelve col-" onles all except New York. The orig inal colonies, therefore, became the United States of America on July 2, 1776. The next two days were spent in discussing the draft of the Declara tion as drawn by Jefferson. The debate 'was animated, but when it was all 'over the draft was adopted with sur prisingly few changes, a tribute to the ability with which the author had pressed to the world the causes which had made it necessary for "one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another." Unanimously Adopted. The Declaration of Independence was then unanimously adopted by the twelve colonies, whose delegates were tCoQxtJhi - in. ; 1 1 e.JtcJOrn. T Instructed to vote in Its favor, on July 4, which thenceforth became the recog nized birthday of the new nation. The old bell ringer of Philadelphia, who had been patiently waiting for the news in the steeple of the historic statehouse, was the. first to peal out the message of American independence on the bell ever since honored as the Liberty Bell. No longer was there any doubt that public opinion was ready for the step, for, as the news spread, It was everywhere received with ex ultation. Word came to George Washington July 9, at his headquarters in New York, that the Declaration was ratified, and It was at once read to the sol diers and citizens. On the same day the New York asaeci'jjy, in session at White Plains, gave its formal vote for independence, and the thirteen colonies were then united in their common cause. John Hancock, president of the con gress, was the only member who signed the declaration on July 4. An engross ed copy on parchment was ordered for all the delegates to sign. This was completed August 2 and signed by 54 fS3?v -wvvvsfs'iasv masz- - vs38& &. ss&sm --Tr" .lc392 John Adams. delegates. Two others signed later, Thomas McKean of Delaware, who was absent with his regiment in August, and Matthew Thornton of New Hamp shire, who was not elected to congress until the fall, but was permitted to sign the document in November, mak ing the total number of the famous "signers'" 56. The Two Most Famous Signers. Of all the signers, Jefferson and Adams bear a deeper personal relation, to the declaration than any others. Adams was its most vigorous supporter..,, in congress and Jefferson bears Ttesti-S mony to his valuable aid. In after years both received the highest honors that the citizens could bestow. They were permitted to witness the growth, of their country for half a century, from the first Independence day. The day of their death, July- 4, 1826, was the fiftieth anniversary of the memor able Fourth of July. It was the most remarkable coincidence ever recorded in American history. Jefferson was eighty-three years old and John Adams ninety-one years. The 56 signers were distributed among the 13 states in the following proportion: Pennsylvania, 9; Virginia, 7; Massachusetts, 5; New Jersey, 5; Connecticut 4; Maryland, 4; New York, 4; South Carolina, 4; New Hampshire, 3; Delaware, 3; Georgia, 3; North Carolina, 3; Rhode Island, 2. Jefferson's draft of the declaration presented to congress and the signed copy on parchment are in the depart ment of state, at Washington, the lat ter having been replaced for public ex hibition several years ago by a fac simile. French People Our True Friends. The true and controlling reason why; the government of Louis XVT Intei vened in our war of independence was the enthusiasm of the French people for the cause of liberty. Considera tions of material advantage were en tirely secondary. Public opinion forced the hand of an unwilling and hesitat ing government, and placed at om; disposal the economic, military and naval resqurces of the country. m: Si ?s&ra swP - - t V-f JTv Ki Wt Vi -.