The general awakening in matters social and economic was accompanied by an expansion of the press. In it there are two distinct periods for which the year 1820 may be taken for the dividing line.
At the close of the Revolution there was no newspaper in the state, all publications having collapsed in 1778. But in August 1783, Robert Keith, an immigrant from Pennsylvania, issued at Newbern the first number of the North Carolina Gazette or Impartial Intelligencer and Weekly Advertiser. About 1793 he was succeeded by Francis Xavier Martin, a French refugee, more widely known for his "History of North Carolina" and his compilations of statute law. The paper is said to have been printed at irregular intervals, when news enough to fill it or make it interesting had reached Newbern. In default of modern methods of distribution, he filled his saddle bags with the numbers and peddled them about the country. In the meantime another immigrant, Abraham Hodge, of New York, established a press at Newbern; in 1785 he became state printer, an office which he held until 1800. In 1786 Hodge, in partnership with one Blanchard, established at Fayetteville the State Gazette of North Carolina. Henry Wills soon succeeded Blanchard and in 1788 the paper was removed to Edenton. Hodge proved to be a veritable promoter of newspapers. In 1793, with the co-operation of Wills, he established at Halifax the North Carolina Journal. In 1796 Hodge and his nephew, William Boylan, founded another paper, the North Carolina Minerva and Fayetteville Gazette, which in 1799 was removed to Raleigh and as the p375Raleigh Minerva became the leading organ of the federalists. In the meantime another paper had been begun at Fayetteville in 1789, the North Carolina Chronicle or Fayetteville Gazette; it was printed by George Roulstone for John Sibley and Company, the price of subscription being three hard dollars per annum for fifty-two papers.
Wilmington also was a center of journalistic activities. There three papers were published before 1800: the Wilmington Chronicle and North Carolina Weekly Advertiser, Hall's Wilmington Gazette, and another whose title is not known. Nor were the western counties unresponsive to the desire for news. Early in 1786 the North Carolina Gazette was established at Hillsboro. The printer was Robert Ferguson, and the editor, Thomas Davis. At Salisbury the North Carolina Mercury and Salisbury Advertiser was established by Francis Cowpee, and near the opening of the nineteenth century a weekly paper whose title is unknown was issued at Lincolnton. With the exception of the Minerva, little is known of these early publications. Only partial files exist, and of some no copies are extant.
By far the most important of the early papers was the Raleigh Register, founded in 1799 as the organ of the republicans by Joseph Gales. As a collector of news and as an agency of propaganda, it outclassed all competitors for many years. Leading in the political revolt of 1800, it was conservative toward the later revolt in the 'twenties, and became the leading spokesman of the whig party. Publication was practically continuous from 1799 until the year 1885. In 1808 the Raleigh Star was begun by Dr. Calvin Jones and Thomas Henderson; the firm was succeeded by that of Bell and Lawrence, then by Bell and Lemay, and in 1835 Lemay became sole editor. In December, 1852, the paper was suspended, its last editor being W. C. Doub. In politics the Star was originally neutral, but was mildly whig in its later days. In 1810 the following papers were published in North Carolina: Federalist — the Wilmington Gazette, the Raleigh Minerva, Carolina Federal Republican (Newbern), Edenton Gazette, Fayetteville Intelligencer; Republican — Raleigh Register, True p376Republican (Newbern), Elizabeth City Gazette; Neutral — the Raleigh Star and the North Carolina Journal (Halifax).
With the year 1820 a new epoch opens. There was profound and increasing discontent with the existing political organization, national and state. Discontent of the western counties with the system of representation was also intense. Here lay the opportunity for the foundation of new papers. Editorials and state affairs became more prominent. The early editors were chary in regard to state news, inclinations toward violent language were restrained, dignity and decorum characterized their editorial columns. But with the new period a new type of editorial appeared. It burned with conviction, broke the bounds of sedate constraint, and faced any situation uncompromisingly. The new note was struck by the Western Carolinian. It was founded by Samuel Bingham in 1820, and associated with him in the same year was Philo White of New York, who became sole editor in 1823. Constitutional reform, condemnation of the caucus, state as well as federal, the need of public schools, preference of Jackson over Crawford — these were the dominating features of the paper, which was published at Salisbury. When Mr. White left the state in 1830, the Western Carolinian was taken over by Burton Craig and H. Jefferson Jones, the former assuming entire control in 1831. Mr. Craig was a radical advocate of states' rights, an admirer of Calhoun, and approved of the nullification movement. To counteract this influence, Hamilton C. Jones in 1832 founded the Carolina Watchman, also published at Salisbury. There was a veritable war of words between the two papers. In 1833 Mr. Craig sold the Western Carolinian to John Beard, and thereafter little difference existed between the policies of the two papers. The Western Carolinian was suspended in 1844, but the Carolina Watchman, under the editorship of John Joseph Bruner, lived until recent years. Other papers active in the cause of social and political progress were the Fayetteville Observer and the Greensboro Patriot. The former was founded in 1817, and was edited from 1825 to 1865 by Edward J. Hale. It was widely respected for its sanity and its sense of public spirit. In politics it was whig. The Patriot was established in 1825 p377or 1826 by L. G. Watson and a Mr. Potter. In 1826 it was purchased by T. Early Strange, who invented the full title, "Greensborough Patriot." From 1827 to 1835 the editor was William Swaim, a member of the North Carolina Manumission Society. Under various editors the paper survived until the recent past.
A majority of the newspapers were in politics whig. As an organ for the democrats Philo White, soon after his return to the state in 1834, established the North Carolina Standard. In 1836 he sold the paper to Thomas Loring, who in turn was followed in 1843 by William W. Holden, whose power as editor has never been surpassed in the state. Another democratic paper of importance was the Free Press, established by George Howard of Baltimore in 1824 at Halifax, and removed to Tarboro in 1826 where the name was changed to the Tarborough Press. In the west the Charlotte Democrat, edited in 1855 and after by William J. Yates, likewise supported democratic policies. There was a host of other journals after 1820, but those mentioned have a larger place in the political traditions of the state. The increase of newspapers is shown by statistics; in 1811 only 10 were listed; in 1851 there were 44; in 1858, 74.
In the use of the press religious interests were also active. In January, 1826, Reverend Robert Morrison, a Presbyterian minister, began the publication at Fayetteville of the North Carolina Telegraph, a general religious weekly, which was merged with the Richmond Family Visitor at the end of the year. In 1828 another Presbyterian minister, Reverend Colin McIver, established at Fayetteville the Evangelical Museum, a monthly journal of theology, and also the Presbyterian Preacher. The progressive element among the Baptists felt the need of a paper, and in 1832 the Intelligencer was established at Edenton by Reverend Thomas Meredith; the next year the name was changed to the Biblical Recorder. In 1835 the paper was removed to Newbern and in 1838 to Raleigh. Those Baptists opposed to change in the denominational organization found an ally in the Primitive Baptist, edited at Tarboro by Mark Bennett. In 1844 the Christian Sun was established at Hillsboro and became the spokesman for the p378Christian Church. In 1855 the North Carolina Christian Advocate was founded as the organ for the Methodists, and in 1860 the Church Intelligencer was launched at Raleigh to cultivate the interests of the Episcopalians.
The years in which the press revived and expanded also marked the beginning of literature. The new epoch opened by the revolt against Great Britain aroused curiosity and patriotic interest concerning the past. Hence the historians led in the production of books. First in point of time was Hugh Williamson's "History of North Carolina," published in 1812. The author was a physician and a native of Pennsylvania, who resided at Edenton from the beginning of the Revolution to 1793, served as a surgeon in the army, and was also a member of the legislature, the Continental Congress, the Federal Convention, and the first Congress of the United States. In culture, outlook on life, and in experience he was far above the average of his contemporaries. In 1787 he contributed to the American Museum a series of papers entitled "Letters to Sylvius," which dealt with the ills of the currency, trade conditions, and the need of manufactures. For all historical development he believed there was a basis in nature, and therefore wrote a work comparing the climate of America with that of Europe. However, his two volumes pertaining to North Carolina from 1584 to 1786 displayed little understanding of the forces which moulded the early history of the state, but the style is clear and vigorous, the moral sense strong, the typographical work durable and artistic.
Of even less value than Williamson's work was Francis Xavier Martin's "History of North Carolina," published at New Orleans in 1829. The author was the French refugee and printer already mentioned, who lived at Newbern. He was admitted to the bar in 1789; law and the printing press opened to him an avenue to affluence and fame. In 1791 he published the first of a number of legal works, "The Office and Authority of the Justice of the Peace." The next year this was followed by his "Statutes of the Parliament of England Enforced in the Courts of North Carolina," an official collection authorized by the legislature, notable for its inaccuracies. To these must be added his "Private Acts of North p379Carolina," likewise an official publication, and "Acts of the General Assembly of North Carolina, 1791‑1794," independently printed. In 1797 he published his "Decisions of the Superior Courts of North Carolina", and in 1804 he also issued "Martin's Revisal of the Laws of North Carolina," an official publication. Other legal publications consisted of a treatise on the powers and duties of the sheriff, "Martin's Executor," and a translation of Pothier on "Obligations." From his press also came several novels — "Lord Rivers," "The Female Foundling," "Delaval," "Stephanie de Bourbon," and a "Rural Philosopher." In 1809 he removed to Louisiana, where he became successively superior court judge of the Territory of Mississippi and also of the Territory of Orleans, Attorney-General of the State of Louisiana, and a member of the Louisiana Supreme Court. It was while in Louisiana that he published his "History of North Carolina." It has the characteristic of his legal works — inaccuracy and a predilection for compilation. Many errors are inexcusable, unused evidence being available. Other mistakes were derived from tradition, and the two volumes as a whole are no more than annals, devoid of insight. Judge Martin also published a "History of Louisiana" and a number of legal works which have a valuable place in the bibliography of that state.
Nearly a generation passed before another history was published. Then in 1851 appeared John H. Wheeler's "Historical Sketches of North Carolina," the first history of the state by a native. It is a digest of information by a democratic politician. The first two parts of the book are a narrative of events and miscellaneous matters from 1584 to 1851; the second is a collection of sketches of the various county, including short biographies of prominent men. Inaccuracy, blind prejudice in the matter of elimination and inclusion of men and facts, and a lack of unity in plan characterize the book, but it had an extensive sale and became the most widely known history of the state.
By far the best of the ante-bellum historians was Francis Lister Hawks. Trained for the law by Judge Gaston and at the celebrated school at Litchfield, Connecticut, and full of promise in the legal profession, he became a clergyman of the p380Episcopal Church. In 1829 he removed to New Haven, Connecticut, and there began a long career in the priesthood, education, and literature, most of which was spent in the State of New York. He was an active member of the New York Historical Society, and achieved distinction as an antiquarian and historian of the Episcopal Church. But his opus magnum was a history of his native state, of which the first two volumes, ending with the proprietary period, were published in 1857 and 1858. His conception of history was broader than that of Williamson, Martin, and Wheeler, and also broader than that of contemporary historians generally, for it included economic, religious, and cultural, as well as political, development. Of the 591 pages in the second volume, 263 are given to these matters. For information he utilized the collections made by George Bancroft in England, as well as materials preserved by the State of North Carolina. His style was that of a literary artist, his first volume containing a story of Raleigh and Roanoke Island which is unsurpassed. However his work is marred by his prejudice in matters religious. Himself a devoted churchman, he failed to do justice to the religious motives and policies of the early settlers, but in his conception of history as a revelation of the social as well as the political life of man, and also in attractive presentation, his two volumes are still unsurpassed. The Civil War, and also his death in 1866, prevented the completion of the other two volumes which he planned.
Francis Lister Hawks
Interest in the past was not confined to formal literary works. It also inspired the antiquarian and the collector. A notable service of Archibald Debow Murphey, who planned but never wrote an elaborate history, was to arouse interest in the collection and the preservation of historical sources. In 1827 the legislature requested the governor to apply to the British government for permission to procure copies of manuscripts in the office of the Board of Trade and Plantations. The application was made through the proper authorities and permission was granted; indeed, the British authorities forwarded an index of manuscripts. In 1843 the collection and copying of the governors' letter books and records of local committees in the period of the Revolution p381was authorized; in 1847 another publication of records pertaining to the Revolution was likewise authorized, but was never carried out. In 1849 the governor was also authorized to procure from London such documents pertaining to the colonial and revolutionary history of the state, without restriction as to expense. The execution of this notable work was entrusted to President Swain of the University; but he thought it wiser first to collect material in this country, and to that end he planned a thorough survey of American historical collections. In 1856 he secured the co-operation of Doctor Hawks, through whom George Bancroft offered free access to manuscripts transcribed by him in England. In 1858 Swain and Hawks memorialized the legislature for the p382publication of a series of records and annotated statutes. In reply the legislature authorized its publication by Hawks and Swain of a "Documentary History of North Carolina, or of the Statutes at Large, in two volumes; the execution of the work was prevented by the outbreak of civil war. A generation later this scheme was revived and carried out under the title of "Colonial and State Records."
Historical interest found expression in other types of literature than formal histories. Joseph Sewell Jones, of Shocco, chose for his task an investigation of the Revolutionary history of the state, with the purpose of showing its leadership in the revolt against Great Britain. Thomas Jefferson's letter to John Adams, doubting the authenticity of the Mecklenburg Resolves of May 20, 1775, furnished the cue for a violent attack on Jefferson. Hence the title, "Defense of the Revolutionary History of North Carolina from the Aspersions of Mr. Jefferson." The introduction contained an arraignment of the character and influence of Mr. Jefferson, very suggestive of the political revolt against Virginia influence which started in the 'twenties.
I yield no faith whatever to the contents of the four volumes of his (Jefferson's) writings. Private and political scandal, truth, religion, infidelity, federalism, republicanism and Jacobinism, are all conglomerated there, — as if the Sage of Monticello had devoted the whole evening of his life to the collection and endorsement of principles of every kind, from the purest tenet of religion to the most disgusting absurdity of the basest and most abandoned profligacy. And yet, dispute one word of the four volumes of this political Koran, or doubt, for a moment, the immaculate purity of the character of its author, and you have not only all the rabble of the celestial empire, but all the great Images of the Prophet, who have gone or are going into power, on the strength of his name, roaring out Aristocracy, Federalism, Nullification, or any other unpopular word, suited to sustain them in their places. It may be confidently asserted, that the whole range of history does not exhibit an instance of baser subserviency, not only of many, as individuals, but of the nation at large — than the over-powering influence of the mere name of Jefferson. Such is its amazing power, that no party of the present day aspires to popular favor through any other channel, and National Republican, as well as Jackson, Bucktail, and Anti-bucktail, all piously claim for their priesthood the purest legitimacy of descent. The people have placed him upon the throne of public opinion and the statue of Washington is burnt, broken, and scattered into fragments. It is time to p383have done with this delusion. The lives of the eminent and patriotic, whose biographies have not yet been written, should be studied and examined with an especial view to correct the errors, conspicuous from one end to the other of "the writings of Jefferson." If the pen of their calumniator is to perform this task, and his works go down to posterity as truth, the patriots of our revolution will be ranked by posterity, not as American statesmen but as traitors to their country. The names of Washington, Hamilton, Richard Henry Lee, Marshall, Story, Henry Lee, Bayard, and a host of others, comprising the talents civil and military of the whole Union, are the companions of William Hooper in the almost universal calumny of his pen.
The "Defense" is interesting and virile, well written but partial. Yet it is a landmark in the awakening of patriotic interest in the state's history. A similar judgment must be meted to Jones' "Memorial of North Carolina" (1838), notable also for its criticism of John Randolph.
Not polemical, but smacking of the raconteur, were the works of Rev. William Henry Foote and Rev. Eli W. Caruthers, Mr. Foote was a Presbyterian clergyman of Romney, Virginia. His "Sketches of North Carolina," published in 1844, interwove with formal history the story of the Scotch-Irish settlers and the Presbyterian Church in North Carolina. His work is invaluable, since much of his information was derived from unwritten sources, such as the recollections of early settlers. Of like value is Caruthers' "Old North State" (first series 1854, second series 1856). In these volumes were recounted stories and legends gathered at the fireside, which give local color to historical movements during the latter period of the eighteenth century.
Much of the interest in state history centered around the controversy over the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence. There was a tradition in the western counties that at Charlotte on May 20, 1775, a meeting of delegates chosen in Mecklenburg declared independence from Great Britain. It did not gain wide currency until 1819, when the Raleigh Register published an account of the reported meeting and its resolutions. This was really a reply to the claim made in Wirt's "Life of Patrick Henry" that Henry "gave the first impulse to the ball of the Revolution" — a statement that had aroused considerable discussion among North Carolinians. p384The matter was given publicity in the newspapers and in 1825 the people of Charlotte hallowed the reputed event with the first of a long series of annual celebrations. In 1829 discussion was again aroused by the publication of Jefferson's works, in which was found a letter from Jefferson to John Adams expressing the opinion that the resolutions were spurious. Now this was at the very time of the political revolt in North Carolina against Virginia leadership. It is not surprising therefore to find that the legislature appointed a committee "to examine, collate, and arrange" all the evidence concerning the declaration that could be procured. Its report was published in 1831 and naturally was defensive. Shortly after, Peter Force found in the Massachusetts Spy or an Oracle of Liberty an account of other resolutions at Charlotte, on May 31, 1775, which he published in the National Intelligencer of December 18, 1838. As the two documents were not identical, as the latter was not so radical as the former, and as the resolves of May 20 were not supported by contemporary evidence, while those of May 31 were so substantiated, a long controversy was begun. The problem was the subject of numerous addresses and considerable investigation; the upshot was a firm, popular conviction that the resolves of May 20 were as genuine as those of May 31, and also a feeling of doubt on the part of those who patiently and rationally weighed all the evidence.
Contemporary with the writing of formal histories and sketches came an interest in religious origins. Foote's "Sketches," above mentioned, was largely a product of this impulse. To preserve the traditions and records of the Baptists, Lemuel Burkitt and Jesse Read published in 1806 a "History of the Kehukee Baptist Association;" a continuation, bringing the narrative down to 1834, was later issued by Joseph Biggs (1834). George W. Purefoy performed a similar service for the Sandy Creek Baptists in his "History of the Sandy Creek Association" (1859). Rev. John Paris' "History of the Methodist Protestant Church" (1849) is full of information regarding controversies in North Carolina which were directly related to the division in the Methodist p385Church. Robert B. Drane made the first contribution to the history of the Episcopal Church in the state in his "Historical Notices of St. James' Parish, Wilmington" (1843), and Bishop Reichel in 1857 published a "History of the Moravians in North Carolina." Supplementing these were historical and memorial addresses, notably Banks' "Centennial Address Before the Presbytery of Fayetteville" (1858) and Buxton's "The Church in America, Particularly in North Carolina" (n. d.).
History, too, was the dominant interest in the writing of biography and fiction. In 1840 Edward R. Cotten published a "Life of Hon. Nathaniel Macon," which was little more than an eulogy. Of real value was Rev. Eli W. Caruthers' "Life of David Caldwell," his predecessor as pastor of the Presbyterian churches at Alamance and Buffaloe. The work is a contribution to political as well as religious history. The biography par excellence was Griffith J. McRee's "Life and Times of James Iredell" (2 vols., 1857, 1858), really a collection of letters invaluable for an understanding of social and political affairs in the later eighteenth century, prized by all investigators of national as well as of state history. Professor F. M. Hubbard of the University contributed to Sparks' Library of American Biography a study of William R. Davie (1848), which meets well the standard of that series. The relation between the state and the Cherokee Indians was the theme for a novel by Senator Robert Strange, entitled "Eoneguski" (2 vols., 1839); because of severe criticisms of the treatment of the Indians by prominent white men of western North Carolina, the book was suppressed. Calvin H. Wiley found in the War of the Regulation the subject matter of his story, "Alamance."
Poetry as well as prose had a place in nascent literary activities. In 1854 Mary Bayard Clarke wrote:
"Come rouse you, ye poets of North Carolina.
My State is my theme and I seek not a finer.
I sing in its praise and I bid ye all follow
Till we wake up the echoes of 'Old Sleepy Hollow!'
p386 "Come show to his scorners 'Old Rip' is awaking,
His sleep like a cloud of the morning is breaking;
That the years of his slumber, at last have gone by,
And the rainbow of promise illuminates the sky."
These lines are from the introduction to the writer's anthology of North Carolina poetry, entitled "Wood Notes" (2 vols.). It contained 182 poems by sixty authors. Among the selections were Mrs. Clarke's "Triumph of Spring," under the pseudonym "Tenella," Gaston's "Carolina," and James B. Shepard's less known poem of the same title, J. M. Morehead's "Hills of Dan," Ellenwood's "Marriage of the Sun and Moon," and "Swannanoa," by an unknown author. Mrs. Clarke likewise published two volumes of her own composition, "Mosses From a Rolling Stone" (1866) and "Clytie and Zenobia" (1871), the latter being a story of ancient Palmyra. In 1846 William Henry Rhodes, a native of Bertie County, a young man then in his twenty-fourth year, a graduate of the Harvard Law School and a member of the Texas bar, published "The Indian Gallows and Other Poems," in which the legends of the Tuscaroras were treated in epic p387form. Other volumes of poetry of minor importance were William Hill Brown's "Ira and Isabella" (1807), R. T. Daniel's "Selection of Hymns and Spiritual Songs," (1812), of which eighty were original, "Attempts at Rhyming" (1839), by Old Field Teacher, George V. Strong's "Francis Herbert," a romance of the Revolution (1847), and Lemuel Sawyer's "Wreck of Honor and Tragedy." Of antiquarian interest was a volume, "Hope of Liberty" (1829), by George M. Horton, a slave of Chatham County. Connecting the ante-bellum period with the more recent past was Theo H. Hill, whose "Hesper and Other Poems" appeared in 1861.
Residence of John Louis Taylor,
The most prevalent form of literature was not the formal volume but the essay or literary address. Its principal sponsor was the college, notably the University, Wake Forest and Davidson, which published in pamphlet form commencement orations by public men. Among the more notable of these were three issued by the University; Gaston's "Address to the Literary Societies" (1832), widely noticed on account of its condemnation of slavery, George Davis' "Early Men and Times of the Cape Fear" (1855) and William Hooper's "Tis Fifty Years Since" (1859); also Romulus M. Saunders' "Address before the Literary Societies of Wake Forest in defense of the Mecklenburg Resolves of May 20, 1775," and William Hooper's "Sacredness of Human Life," likewise issued by Wake Forest. Other pamphlets of interest published by non-academic authority were Caldwell's "Numbers of Carlton" (1828) and "Letters on Popular Education" (1832), Henry W. Miller's "The Eighteenth Century," and the Memoir of Elisha Mitchell (1858). Religious pamphlets treating of theological or doctrinal subjects were also numerous.
Between 1840 and 1860 efforts were also made to establish literary periodicals. In 1834 the faculty of the University began the publication of a weekly paper, the Harbinger. Its purpose was "to diffuse literary information with correct taste, to impress the importance of popular and academic education, and explain the best methods discreetly, but with independent freedom of stricture; to discuss subjects in which it is important to enlighten the public mind; to furnish p388events and circumstances occurring among ourselves that deserve notice; to exhibit science in popular form that will solicit curiosity and be generally intelligible; to promote the cause of internal improvements; and to give a competent portion of the political and religious intelligence of the time, with studious exclusion of all party character." The paper was short-lived, as was also the Columbian Repository, published at Chapel Hill by Hugh McQueen in 1836.
In 1844 the University Magazine, published by the Literary Societies of the institution, made its appearance; it suspended after nine issues but was revived in 1852 and continued without interruption until May, 1861. Its files are especially valuable for their contribution to the history of the state, notably for Johnson's "Biographical Sketch of Johnston Blakeley," Hooper and McCree's "Memoir of John Ashe" (vol. III), General Joseph Graham's "Narrative of Revolutionary History" (vol. V), Hubbard's "Life and Times of Caswell" (vol. VII), the "Autobiography of Joseph Caldwell" (vol. IX), Swain's "War of the Regulation" (vols. IX and X), and his "Life and Letters of Cornelius Harnett" (vol. X). Less successful magazine adventures were made by Braxton Craven and Andrew J. Stedman. The former established in 1850 the Evergreen, a literary journal, in which the editor published his "Naomi Wise," a story based on legends of Randolph County. The periodical was short lived, only a few copies being known to exist. Stedman's Salem Magazine made its appearance in January, 1858. Designed to be a periodical of "pure literature," an "Emporium of Southern Literature," only one issue is known to exist.
A sense of unity and also of duty based on citizenship in the state was manifest in the organizations devoted to professional and moral causes. On December 17, 1799, the "North Carolina Medical Society" was organized at Raleigh, and six days later was incorporated by the legislature. Little is known of its activities. The first president was Dr. Richard Fenner of Raleigh. Prizes were offered for essays on selected subjects and for the production of medicines from plants. Applicants for membership were subjected to an examination by a Board of Censors. A botanical garden for p389the cultivation of medicinal plants, a museum, and a library were among the projects of the society. In 1800 the state was divided into medical districts and district meetings of physicians were urged; two years later such a policy was advised for every state in the Union by the American Medical Association. No information about the Society exists after 1804. Over a generation later, in January, 1849, six physicians, three of whom were members of the legislature, called a State Medical Convention which met in Raleigh on April 16. A new organization was formed, the "Medical Society of the State of North Carolina." Aggressive policy was at once taken toward the elevation of professional standards by the adoption of the Code of Ethics of the American Medical Association. In 1850 the legislature was memorialized to require the registration of marriages, births and deaths; the response was a law providing for the registration of marriages only. Regarding the question of establishing a medical college in the state, a committee in 1852 made an unfavorable report. Notable was the statement that it should be "certainly no part of our policy to add to the number of those colleges which are dependent upon patronage, and who annually turn loose upon the public swarms of graduates, many of whom are entirely ignorant of the first principles of medicine, totally unfit for its practice, and possess no other qualification than such as is found in the fact that they have attended two courses of lectures and possess the necessary amount of money wherewith to purchase a diploma." Therefore the committee was "forced to believe that a few good, well endowed, well supported medical colleges, independent of favor, will effect far more real and substantial good for the science of medicine than an illimitable number of such as your society now have the means of establishing." In 1856 the publication of a medical journal was authorized, and in August, 1858, appeared the first number of the North Carolina Medical Journal, of which Dr. Edward Warren was editor. The greatest achievement of the early days of the Society was its incorporation in 1859, with the power to select a Board of Medical Examiners consisting of seven "regularly graduated physicians," by which all physicians practicing p390in the state after April 15, 1859, should be licensed. This was the first board of medical examiners provided by law in any state of the Union. These measures of progress were not attained without opposition on the part of certain elements in the medical profession and the laity. Yet the society prospered; its membership, which was 25 in 1849, had by 1860 increased to over 200.
Thirteen editors held a convention in Raleigh in November, 1837, but no permanent society resulted. Persistent and finally successful were the efforts to organize for the cause of education. In 1822 the Education Society of North Carolina was founded at Hillsboro. Its purpose was religious, "to aid indigent and pious young men to acquire an education for the gospel ministry." Dr. Joseph Caldwell of the University was elected president and Dr. James Webb of Hillsboro was treasurer. Nothing is known of the work of the society. In the interest of secular education was the North Carolina Institute of Education, organized at Chapel Hill the day before the commencement of 1831. Its inception was due partly to the example of Tennessee and other states in which educational conventions had been held and organizations launched; partly also to the desire of bringing pressure to bear on the legislature to make appropriations for public schools. A constitution was adopted, stating that the objects of the Institute were to "diffuse knowledge on the subject of education, and by every proper means to improve the condition of common schools and other literary institutions in the state." The annual dues were one dollar, the place and time of meeting were Chapel Hill on the day preceding commencement. S. J. Baker was elected president, and Dr. Walter Norwood, recording secretary. Meetings were held, featured by addresses on educational subjects, in 1832, probably in 1833, and in 1834; there are no records of later existence of the society. In Guilford County, some time during 1849, another futile attempt was made toward an educational organization. Finally on July 1, 1857, a stable society was formed, the Educational Association of North Carolina, the outgrowth of a teachers' convention held at Goldsboro in May, 1856. Annual meetings were held, local auxiliaries were organized, p391reforms were discussed. The great service of the Educational Society was to bring "into council representatives from all classes of our schools, from the university down, and including officers and teachers of the common schools; and its direct and obvious tendency is to create and foster a more catholic spirit among educators, to unite the efforts of the friends of popular intelligence, to repress hostility between schools of different grades and sections, to elevate the standard of teaching, to enliven and widen the popular interest in education." In 1860 the Association was incorporated by the legislature and was granted $600 per annum for four years. In 1858 the North Carolina Journal of Education was established as an organ of the Association.
In the meantime moral and philanthropic organizations were being formed. Sunday schools were in operation probably during the latter part of the eighteenth century. Their work was not confined to religion; they also offered instruction in elementary English. In 1825 the Sunday School Society of Orange County, which had under its care twenty-two schools and between 800 and 1,000 students, memorialized the legislature for an appropriation of twenty-five cents per annum for each student, to be used in the purchase of text books. The memorial was rejected as inexpedient. Likewise at the succeeding session a bill providing for appropriations to Sunday Schools which offered instruction in reading and writing was rejected. In 1813 the North Carolina Bible Society was organized at Raleigh for the gratuitous distribution of the scriptures to the heathen and to the poor in America. In 1835 it sought a charter from the legislature, but the bill of incorporation was tabled on the first reading. Temperance societies, with a state organization, were also active after 1820.
More idealistic but less active was the interest in world peace. The sentiment for the end of warfare, so prevalent just after the Napoleonic period in Europe, was reflected in the Raleigh Peace Society, organized on April 21, 1819. Its purpose was well expressed in the preamble to the constitution:
p392 "We, the subscribers, impressed with the belief that the Gospel is designed to produce peace on earth; and that it is the duty of all good men to cultivate, and, as far as they have power, to diffuse a spirit of kindness, do agree to form ourselves into a society for the purpose of disseminating the general principles of peace, and to use all proper means, within the sphere of our influence, to promote universal harmony and good will among men."
The first Monday after Independence Day was fixed for the time of the annual meeting, always featured by an annual sermon. The annual dues were one dollar. Pacifism was repudiated in the following announcement:
It may be proper to notice an error which some few uninformed persons have fallen into respecting this society. They have supposed its principles were those of passive obedience, submission and non-resistance. Far from it. No man, by becoming a member of this society, surrenders his independence of thinking and acting, and many of them distinctly avow their determination to take up arms to defend their country whenever the occasion requires. But they all unite in the endeavor to do away with the necessity of wars, and hope to do so by means first suggested and attempted by the great and good Henry the Fourth, of France, in an age not sufficiently enlightened and humanized for plans for such extended beneficence.
Little is known of the activities of the Peace Society. Pamphlets were purchased and distributed. A memorial was forwarded to the President and Congress of the United States asking that treaties be made abolishing privateering in time of war. The membership was small; the roll of 1821 had only thirty-eight names, but among these were men of various religious denominations and various professions: Methodists, Baptists, Presbyterians, Episcopalians; merchants, planters, physicians and bankers. The first president of the society was William Peck, a business man, its vice president, Dr. Richard Fenner, and its corresponding secretary, Dr. Jeremiah Battle. No record of the organization exists after 1822.
Images with borders lead to more information.
Boyd et al.
History of NC
A page or image on this site is in the public domain ONLY
Page updated: 5 Dec 11