Cyclopædia of Political Science, Political Economy, and the Political History of the United States

Edited by: Lalor, John J.
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New York: Maynard, Merrill, and Co.
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Includes articles by Frédéric Bastiat, Gustave de Molinari, Henry George, J. B. Say, Francis A. Walker, and more.
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MECKLENBURGH DECLARATION (IN U. S. HISTORY). The authorized account of this document is that it was adopted at two o'clock in the morning of May 20, 1775, at Charlotte, by a convention of two delegates from each militia company of Mecklenburgh county, N. C.; that the papers of John M. Alexander, the secretary of the convention, were accidentally burned in April, 1800; that copies of the minutes and declaration were then sent to Hugh Williamson, at New York, the historian of North Carolina, and to W. R. Davie; and that another copy was finally published by the "Raleigh Register," April 30, 1818. From this last publication the declaration first became generally known.


—The declaration purports to "dissolve the political bands which have connected us to the mother country, and absolve ourselves from allegiance to the British crown, and abjure all political connection, contract and association with that nation"; to declare that the people of Mecklenburgh county are "a free and independent people," who "are, and of right ought to be, a sovereign and self governing association, under the control of no power other than that of our God and the general government of the congress"; and to establish a revolutionary government for the county.


—The declaration is historically suspicious from its use of phrases used in the declaration of July 4, 1776; from the facts that Williamson, and the contemporary writers of this and neighboring states, show no knowledge of it, and that it was entirely ignored in and out of congress at a time when resolutions coming far short of independence were heralded by every newspaper in the country; and from its inability to appeal to any better evidence in support of it than that of dead men, burned papers, and a missing letter of approval from the three North Carolina delegates in congress, two of whom were notorious tories. Nevertheless Bancroft accepts it without hesitation; and the probability is that resolutions, of the kind which were common at the time, were passed May 31, that the "copies" of 1818 were from recollection, with strong traces of the declaration of July 4, 1776, and that the Mecklenburgh "declaration" was not of its purported date, or essentially of its purported nature. (See REVOLUTION, DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE.)


—See 7 Bancroft's United States, 370; 3 Hildreth's United States, 74; Frothingham's Rise of the Republic, 422; 3 Randall's Life of Jefferson, App 2; 4 Jefferson's Works (edit. 1829), 314; Jones' Defense of the Revolutionary History of North Carolina; Graham's Address on the Mecklenburgh Declaration; W. D. Cooke's Revolutionary History of North Carolina; 2 Lossing's Field Book of the Revolution, 617; North Carolina University Magazine, May, 1853; North American Review, April, 1874; Niles' Principles and Acts of the Revolution, 132.


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