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I have the usual excuses to offer for the publication of this little volume. It will sufficiently appear, by both the matter and the style, that it was not originally intended to assume this shape. When my friend Mr. Hope first solicited me to write something for his journal, I consented only on condition that he would accept such papers as I might be able to prepare in the midst of the wearisome and unending duties which devolve upon a country lawyer. · He was pleased to say that he preferred such spontaneous productions to more studied and elaborate essays, as being better adapted to the columns of a daily newspaper. Thus encouraged I began the task, selecting, naturally and almost instinctively, North Carolina as my theme. The sketches were written under most unfavorable circumstances; many were penciled off at night after a fatiguing day of labor in the court-house, and others whilst on the circuit, without books of reference, and sent immediately off to the editor. My professional brethren, at least, will appreciate the tread-mill existence from which they sprang.
After a few numbers were published, Mr. Hope surprised me very much by copyrighting the series, and informing me of his wish to publish in book form. To this I yielded reluctantly. I was conscious of their defects, of their careless manner of preparation, of their scattered and disconnected order; and yet worse, I did not have leisure to rewrite, correct, or add to them. Still I yielded to Mr. Hope's wish, and although the success of the enterprise is of course entirely problematical, I do not, and shall not regret the attempt. By being published first in a newspaper outside of North Carolina, of large circulation and high character, the facts set forth in
relation to our physical surroundings and social characteristics, though familiar to our own intelligent people, may reach many readers who perhaps would not otherwise have seen them, and I thus may have done something for the good of our State.
The great desire of the intelligent people of North Carolina is for a history that shall be worthy of the great deeds of our forefathers. There are many "sketches," compilations and fragmentary productions—some of great value—but no full and complete history of the State has yet been written. It is a grievous want, creditable to neither our scholarship nor our patriotism. It is one of the many instances of our want of that pride in the deeds of our ancestors which, all the world over, has been considered the noblest stimulant to individual genius and public virtue. Two hundred and ninety-one years have elapsed since the first white man's foot was planted on the shores of North Carolina ; and during this career of nearly three centuries, in which she has passed from an unpeopled wilderness to a great State of the American Union, she has furnished, as her needs required, a dynasty of heroes, soldiers, orators, statesmen, scholars, poets, lawyers, jurists, and divines equaled only by those of her great sisterhood, and not surpassed by any English speaking people in the true attributes of manhood. Many spent long lives and large fortunes in her service, others died-cheerfully and valiantly-for their beloved State, rendering her people free and her annals glorious. No men have been happier in their ancestors than are we. And yet the State of North Carolina has not this day, and has never had, a single monument, a statue, or even a picture, commemorating the features or the name and virtues of any one of the many noble sons who rejoiced and were exceeding glad to give every spark of their genius and every drop of their blood to her safety and honor! These painful, not to say shameful truths, may sound ungraciously in the mouth of