Thursday, January 31, 2008

Washington Irving, re: North Carolina settlers

From The Life of George Washington, Volume IV, by Washington Irving, published 1857:

    "The original settlers were from various parts, most of them men who had experienced political or religious oppressions, and brought with them a quick sensibility of wrong and a strong appreciation of their rights, and indomitable spirit of freedom and independence. And this part of the state was of a hard Presbyterian stock, the Scotch-Irish, as they were called, having emigrated from Scotland to Ireland, and thence to America, and was said to possess the impulsiveness of the Irishman 
with the large resolution of the Covenanter. The early history of the colony abounds with instances of this spirit among its people. 'They always behaved insolently to their governors,' complains Governor Burrington, in 1731; 'some they have driven out of the country—at other times they set up a government of their own choice, 
supported by men under arms.' It was, in fact, the spirit of popular liberty and self-government which stirred within them, and gave birth to the glorious axiom: the rights of the many against the exactions of the few. It was this spirit that gave rise to the confederacy called the Regulation formed to withstand the abuses of power, and the first blood shed in our country in resistance to arbitrary taxation was at Alamance, in this province, in a conflict between the Regulators and Governor Tryon. Above all, it should never be forgotten that at Mecklenburg in the heart of North Carolina, was culminated the first Declaration of Independence of the British crown upward of a year before a like declaration by Congress."