Wednesday, December 23, 2015

NC: “We want not Gascons, but Southern gentlemen, honorable, high-toned men of strict integrity and straight hair.”

"In regard to your first communication touching the burning of Plymouth you seem to have forgotten two things. You forget, sir, that you are a Yankee and that Plymouth is a Southern town. It is no business of yours if we choose to burn our own towns. A meddling Yankee troubles himself with everybody's matters but his own and repents of everybody's sins except his own. We are a different people. Should the Yankees burn a Union village in Connecticut or a codfish town in Massachusetts we would not meddle with them but rather bid them God-speed in their work of purifying the atmosphere."
Gentlemen of the Historical Society of Mecklenburg (1876):
Our president has appropriately introduced the series of historical lectures with the inquiry, why so few have attempted to preserve the record of the great events in the history of North Carolina, and to embalm the memories of the illustrious actors therein. Perhaps, it may not be amiss in me to pursue the same line of thought. For, if the neglect of our past history be due to the lack of materials, then our organization is in vain, and our time and our labor will be thrown away. The truth, however, is that our materials have been rich and lustrous, and the causes which have led to the neglect of them can only be explained by an examination into the characteristics of our people and those surroundings which have moulded their thoughts and their actions.

We look for an explanation of this neglect, in part, to the influence exerted in the State by the Scotch-Irish population. These people have ever been God-fearing, law-loving, law-abiding, honest, truthful, energetic and courageous; but they are, to the last degree unpoetic and averse to hero-worship. They never canonize saints, nor idolize warriors and statesmen. This rugged race bore the brunt of the contest in North Carolina. They fought the battles of freedom for freedom’s sake, and when that guerdon was won, they cared not to exalt the merits or the prowess of this or that leader, each conscious of his own equal worthiness. The Scotch-Irish disdained the laudations of heroes as much as their great religious leader, John Knox, disdained “to fear the face of mortal man.” Such a people would be slow to build monuments, erect statues and write histories to commemorate deeds of high emprise. Perhaps, this self-reliant, self-asserting and unsentimental people would regard everything that looked like hero-worship as unmanly and contemptible.

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