Frank Moore, ed., The Rebellion Record: A Diary of American Events, with Documents, Narratives, Illustrative Incidents, Poetry, Etc. (New York: G.P.Putnam, 1861), III: 410-411.
The following text is presented here in complete form, as it originally appeared in print. Spelling and typographical errors have been preserved as in the original.
AT HATTERAS, N. C., NOV. 20, 1861.
To the People of North Carolina:
On Monday, the 18th of November, 1861, a provisional or temporary Government for this Commonwealth was instituted at Hatteras, Hyde County, by a convention of the people, in which more than half the counties of the State were represented by delegates and authorized proxies. Ordinances were adopted by the Convention declaring vacant all State offices the incumbents whereof have disqualified themselves to hold them by violating their official oaths to support the Constitution of the United States, which North Carolina has solemnly accepted as the supreme law of the land; pronouncing void and of no effect the ordinance of secession from the Federal Union, passed by the Convention assembled at Raleigh, May 20,1861; continuing in full force the Constitution and laws of the State, as contained in the revised code of 1853-6, together with all subsequent acts not inconsistent with our paramount allegiance to the United States; appointing a Provisional Governor, and empowering him to fill such official vacancies and to do such acts as in his judgment might be required for the safety and good order of the State.
We have attempted no revolutionary innovations ; we have made no change in the organic law, or sought to overthrow or disturb any of the institutions of the State. In repudiating and resisting the wanton usurpation which has flagrantly defied the will and now crushes the liberties of the people of this Commonwealth, we act in the pursuance of a sacred duty to North Carolina, and to that great republic, our common country, which invested them with the high dignity of American citizenship. We fulfil, moreover, an imperative obligation to God, to civilization, to freedom, and to humanity. We obey that cardinal maxim of sound government which affirms that the popular welfare is the highest law. The good and loyal men of North Carolina have been for months past without any domestic Government which they were bound to respect, and the apparent consent of a large majority uf the citizens to the armed power of the revolutionists and traitors, who have unwarrantedly arrogated the governing authority of the State, has been not a voluntary and cheerful acquiescence, but a compelled and protesting submission to a military despotism. The lives of citizens and their rights of property and person have had no protection amidst the anarchy, misrule, and disorder which have prevailed throughout the Commonwealth. It had, therefore, become necessary for the most ordinary interests of society, as well as in vindication of our loyalty to the national authority, that our municipal government, suppressed and overborne as it was by reckless and irresponsible usurpers, should be revived and maintained under the protection of the banner of the Union. The temporary State Government which we have accordingly set on foot has the approval in advance of thousands of good and faithful North Carolinians, and should command the prompt and cordial adhesion of all loyal citizens of the State. Of the desperate and ill-starred fortunes of the rebellion, and of its ultimate and thorough suppression, no rational man can entertain a doubt. It has the recognition of no nation under heaven, and the world's sympathies are unanimous in its condemnation; it is everywhere regarded as not only a revolt against a most beneficent and paternal Government, but as assailing also law, order, progress, and all the great interests of mankind throughout the globe. It is an aggressive war upon popular liberty in the United States, and its claims can never be conceded short of an absolute surrender of the rights of man and a craven recantation of the holy creed of freedom.
I therefore call upon all the good people of this Commonwealth to return to their allegiance to the United States, and to rally around the standard of State loyalty, which we have reerected and placed side by side with the glorious flag of the republic. I adjure you as North Carolinians, mindful of the inspiring tradition of your history, and keeping in view your true interests and welfare as a people, to rise and assert your independence of the wicked tyrants who are seeking to enslave you. Remember the men of Mecklenburg and the martyrs of Alamance — dead, but of undying memory — and endeavor to repeat their valor and their patriotism.
Marble Nash Taylor,
Provisional Governor of North Carolina.
Hattaras, Nov. 20, 1861.