Public Papers and Letters of Oliver Max Gardner: Governor of North Carolina, 1929-1933

By Edwin Gill; David Leroy Corbitt | Go to book overview

indicative of popular revolt as the Boston, Edenton, and Wilmington tea parties were; solemn and significant as were the Mecklenburg Declaration, the Halifax Resolves, and the Philadelphia Declaration of Independence, they were neither picturesque nor decisive. We do not forget that every man who signed these papers took his life in his own hands and wrote himself among the immortals; but after all, these were paper declarations, passed by deliberative bodies safe from immediate danger. They contained a list of grievances, many of them long since forgotten, many of them in the progress of modern inquiry have either come to be regarded with indifference as truisms or to be rejected altogether as founded in error.

But behold Yorktown! How profoundly it appeals to our imagination! It was the decisive conflict of a struggle and brought victory for the cause which from the outset seemed doomed to defeat. As North Carolinians all of us are proud of our women who embraced in their catholic affections the women of Boston; we are glorified by the mass movement for liberty at Halifax and Charlotte. But we cannot honor enough our men who did stubborn battle with the King's soldiers at King's Mountain, who moved a hundred miles north with Greene at Guilford Court House and arrived at Yorktown to join the French fleet under De Grasse and the allied armies under Rochambeau and Washington.

North Carolina is happy to be here. It is profoundly grateful to the god of history for a sisterhood in the original thirteen. It is thankful for a religious people who always kept a great faith shining and a great ideal burning. It is proud of the Edenton and Wilmington women, of the Halifax and Mecklenburg men who made vocative their grievances and helped point the way. But we are happiest of all to have sent our ragged, weary, footsore continentals all the way from King's Mountain to Yorktown where an army was

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