show right and reason upon their side. I do not fear to trust the issue now to these potent weapons in the hands of such men as will wield them next summer; I do fear to trust bayonets and dungeons.
I endeavored soon after my accession to the Chief Magistracy of North Carolina to make you aware of both the fact of disaffection in this State and the cause of it. In addition to the many letters written you, I have twice visited Richmond expressly to give you information on this point. The truth is, as I have often said before, that the great body of our people have been suspected by their Government, perhaps because of the reluctance with which they gave up the old Union, and I know you will pardon me for saying that this consciousness of their being suspected has been greatly strengthened by what seemed to be a studied exclusion of the anti-secessionists from all the more important offices of the Government-even from those promotions in the army which many of them had won with their blood. Was this suspicion just? And was there suffiecient effort made to disprove that it existed, if it really did not exist at Richmond? Discussion, it is true, has been unlimited and bitter, and unrelenting criticisms upon your adminstration have been indulged in; but where and when have our people failed you in battle or withheld wither their blood or their vast resources? To what exaction have they not submitted? What draft upon their patriotism have they yet dishonored? Conscription, ruthless and unrelenting, has only been exceeded in the severity of its execution by the impressment of property, frequently intrusted to men unprincipled, dishonest, and filled to overflowing with all the petty meanness of small minds dressed in a little brief authority. The files of my office are filled up with the unavailing complaints of outraged citizens to whom redress is impossible. Yet they have submitted and so far performed with honor their duty to their country, though the noise of their very natural murmurs is set down to disloyalty. I do not hold you responsible for all the petty annoyances-"the insolence of office"-under which our people lose heart and patience. Even if I did, I cannot forget that it is my country that I am serving, not the rulers of that country. I make no threat. I desire only, with singleness of purpose and sincerity of heart, to speak those words of soberness and truth wihich may, with the blessing of God, best subserve the cause of my suffering country. Those words I now believe to be the advice herein given to refrain from exercising the extraordinary powers about to be given you by the Congress, at least until the last hope of moral influences being suffiecient is extinct.
Though you expressed a fear in your last letter that my continued efforts to conciliate were injudicious, I cannot yet see just cause for abandoning them. Perhaps I am unduly biased in my judgment concerning a pople whom I love and to whom I owe so much, though I trust not. Our success depends not on the numbers engaged to support our cause, but upon their zeal and affection. Hence I have every hope in persuading, not one in forcing, the sympathies of an unwilling people. The Legislature of this State meets next May. Two-thirds are required by our constitution to call a convention. This number cannot be obtained. A bare majority vote for submitting the proposition of a convention to a vote of the people will, in my opinion, be impossible. Under no circumstances can a convention be assembled in North Carolina during the present year, in my judgment, and during the next summer the approaching State elections will afford an opportunity for a full and complete discussion of all the issues, the result of which I do not fear, if left to ourselves. If there be a people on earth given to