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and from an experience of its defects, will guard against those very evils which have wasted its vigor. Be it our endeavor to guard against every measure that may tend to prevent so desirable an object.” In these words lay, no doubt, the germ of our National freedom.

In the winter of 1775 both houses of the English parliament presented a joint address to the king, declaring that a rebellion existed in Massachusetts, and pledging themselves solemnly to its suppression. When the news of this reached Mecklenburgh county, which, owing to the infrequency of communication between the old world and the new, did not happen until April following, great indignation and excitement were at once felt, and a conference was held in the town of Charlotte, where already the Revolutionary idea seemed to have taken strong root. In this conference, a series of twenty resolutions was drawn up by Dr. Ephraim Brevard, founded on the parliamentary address as premises, and deducing therefrom the annulment of all laws and commissions in the colonies derived from parliament and the king as authority, and providing the forms of local government. As a result of the same conference, an order was issued in the name of Colonel Thomas Polk, requiring each militia company to select two delegates to a convention to meet at Charlotte, “to devise ways and means to aid and assist their suffering brethren in Boston, and to adopt measures to secure, unimpaired, their inalienable rights, privileges and liberties from the dominant grasp of British imposition and tyranny.” On the nineteenth day of May, 1775, these delegates met, and on that very day there was received, by special express, official news of the battle of Lexington. On the following day, May 20, the Mecklenburgh Declaration of Independence came into existence. The resolutions were as follows:

First. Resolved, That whoever directly or indirectly abetted, or in any way, form or manner countenanced, the unchartered and dangerous invasion of our rights, as claimed by Great Britain, is an enemy to this country, to America and to the inherent and inalienable rights of man.

Second. Resolved, That we, the citizens of Mecklenburgh county, do hereby dissolve the political bands which have connected us to the mother country, and hereby absolve ourselves from all allegiance to the British crown, and abjure all political connection with that nation, who have wantonly trampled on our rights and liberties

and inhumanly shed the innocent blood of American patriots at Lexington.

Third. Resolved, That we do hereby declare ourselves a free and independent people, and of right ought to be a sovereign and selfsustaining association, under the control of no other power than that of our God and the general government of congress; and to the maintenance of which independence we solemnly pledge to each other our mutual coöperation, our lives, our fortunes and our most sacred honor.

Fourth. Resolved, That as we now acknowledge the existence and control of no law or legal officer, civil or military, within this country, we do hereby ordain and adopt as a rule of life all such and every of our former laws, wherein, nevertheless, the crown of Great Britain never can be considered as holding rights, privileges, immunities or authority therein.

Fifth. Resolved, That it is further decreed that all, each and every military officer in this country is hereby reinstated in his former command and authority, he acting conformably to these regulations, and that every one present of this delegation shall hereafter be a civil officer, viz.: a justice of the peace, in the character of a “committee man,” to issue process, hear and determine all matters of controversy according to said adopted laws, and to preserve peace, union and harmony in said country; and to use every exertion to spread the love of country and fire of freedom throughout America, until a more general and organized government be established in this province.

These five resolutions were received with applause, were approved and signed by all the delegates and were read to the expectant people from the court-house steps at Charlotte. They were then despatched by special messenger to the three representatives of North Carolina in the general congress, then in secret session in Philadelphia. These representatives were Richard Caswell, William Hooper and Joseph Hewes, who were requested to use all possible means to have said pro ceedings approved by the general congress; but this course they deemed inexpedient at the time, as, in their opinion, congress was not yet ready to settle upon so decisive and solemn a step. But the Declaration was undoubtedly shown to several members of congress, among them, probably, Richard Henry Lee, who afterwards, consciously or unconsciously, used several of its phrases in his "resolutions of independence," whence they afterwards passed into the National Declaration of 1776.

THE ARTICLES OF CONFEDERATION

1777.*

"O all to whom these Presents shall come, we, the undersigned

Delegates of the States affixed to our Names, send greeting. WHEREAS, The Delegates of the United States of America in Congress assembled did, on the fifteenth day of November, in the Year of our Lord One Thousand Seven Hundred and Seventy-seven, and in the Second Year of the Independence of America, agree to certain articles of Coufederation and perpetual Union between the States of Newhampshire, Massachusetts-bay, Rhodeisland and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North-Carolina, South-Carolina and Georgia, in the Words following, viz. :

Articles of Confederation and perpetual Union between the States of Newhampshire, Massachusetts-bay, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia.

Article I.—The stile of this confederacy shall be “The United States of America."

Article II.—Each State retains its sovereignty, freedom and independence, and every power, jurisdiction and right which is not by this confederation expressly delegated to the United States in Congress assembled.

Article III. — The said States hereby severally enter into a firm league of friendship with each other for their common defense, the security

*The circumstances attending the preparation of the Articles of Confederation, with the names of the delegates, etc., will be found on p. 623, Vol. III.

of their liberties and their mutual and general welfare, binding themselves to assist each other against all force offered to, or attacks made upon them, or any of them, on account of religion, sovereignty, trade, or any other pretence whatever.

Article IV.–The better to secure and perpetuate mutual friendship and intercourse among the people of the different States in this Union, the free inhabitants of each of these States, paupers, vagabonds and fugitives from justice excepted, shall be entitled to all privileges and immunities of free citizens in the several States; and the people of each State shall have free ingress and regress to and from any other State, and shall enjoy therein all the privileges of trade and commerce, subject to the same duties, impositions and restrictions as the inhabitants thereof respectively, provided that such restrictions shall not extend

so far as to prevent the removal of property imported into any State, to any other State of which the owner is an inhabitant; provided also that no imposition, duties or restriction shall be laid by any State on the property of the United States, or either of them.

If any person guilty of, or charged with, treason, felony, or other high misdemeanor in any State, shall fee from justice and be found in any of the United States, he shall, upon demand of the Governor or Executive power of the State from which he fled, be delivered up and removed to the State having jurisdiction of his offence.

Full faith and credit shall be given in each of these States to the records, acts and judicial proceedings of the courts and magistrates of every other State.

Article V.-For the more convenient management of the general interests of the United States, delegates shall be annually appointed in such manner as the legislature of each State shall direct, to meet in Congress on the first Monday in November, in every year, with a power reserved to each State to recall its delegates, or any of them, at any time within the year, and to send others in their stead, for the remainder of the year.

No State shall be represented in Congress by less than two, nor by more than seven members; and no person shall be capable of being a delegate for more than three years in any term of six years; nor shall any person, being a delegate, be capable of holding any office under the United States for which he, or another for his benefit, receives any salary, fees or emolument of any kind.

Each State shall maintain its own delegates in a meeting of the States, and while they act as members of the committee of the States.

THE ARTICLES OF CONFEDERATION

1777.*

O all to whom these Presents shall come, we, the undersigned

Delegates of the States affixed to our Names, send greeting. WHEREAS, The Delegates of the United States of America in Congress assembled did, on the fifteenth day of November, in the Year of our Lord One Thousand Seven Hundred and Seventy-seven, and in the Second Year of the Independence of America, agree to certain articles of Confederation and perpetual Union between the States of Newhampshire, Massachusetts-bay, Rhodeisland and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North-Carolina, South-Carolina and Georgia, in the Words following, viz. :

Articles of Confederation and perpetual Union between the States of Newhampshire, Massachusetts-bay, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia.

Article I.—The stile of this confederacy shall be “The United States of America."

Article II.-Each State retains its sovereignty, freedom and independence, and every power, jurisdiction and right which is not by this confederation expressly delegated to the United States in Congress assembled.

Article III.-The said States hereby severally enter into a firm league of friendship with each other for their common defense, the security

*The circumstances attending the preparation of the Articles of Confederation, with the names of the delegates, etc., will be found on p. 623, Vol. III.

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