Raleigh’s “New Fort in Virginia” 1585, Colonial Records
The following data is extracted from Trinity College Historical Society .
forgotten papers. Our Colonial Records have been printed, chiefly through the noble efforts of William Saunders. All honor to him who, though a cripple from wounds and a martyr to pain, bravely carried through his colossal work! Go to Greensborough, and see what the devotion of one man can accomplish.. Six years ago Guilford battlefield, ---the scene of the only pitched battle fought within our borders by regular armies during the Revolutionary war, ---was an almost unknown wilderness. Today, through the energies of David Schenck, it is a beautiful park adorned with noble monuments, and it has become a Mecca of patriotism for thousands of pilgrims. As the years roll on it will become more and more a centre of historic interest to our children's children, until Guilford will be as familiar a name as Bunker Hill, and its significance in the great struggle will be as fully recognized as that of Yorktown, to which it was the necessary prelude.
Thus should we cherish the memory of every important fact in our history. Let us devoutly study the Genesis of our beloved State, the development of our institutions, the formation of our special character,---for we Tar Heels, like the Hebrews of old, are a peculiar people,---we may even say in a limited sense God's chosen people. Let us remember how the English pioneers from the borders of the Chesapeake peopled the Albemarle district,---how the French Huguenots settled on Pamplico Sound and on the fertile lands between the Neuse and Trent,---the Swiss and the persecuted refugees from the Palatinate found a home at New Berne,-the Scotch Highlanders occupied the banks of the Cape Fear,---the sturdy Irish Protestants and the Germans filled the centre of the State, and the industrious Moravians the country between the Dan and Yadkin. From the mingling of these varied elements has grown a homogeneous people-simple, unpretentious, modest, unostentatious, hardy, patient under suffering, obedient to law divine and human-a nation of brave, honest men and pure, tender women, unsurpassed in the world for their sterling qualities. As ready to resist tyranny as loyally submissive to rightful authority, their political acts have been marked by the highest wisdom, and if "there is any," says Bancroft, “who doubt man's capacity for self-government, let them study the history of North Carolina."
Over sixty years under the government of the Lords Proprietors, and nearly as long under the rule of royal Governors, our fathers showed from the outset an earnest love of liberty and a determined spirit of independence. All oppression of the home government and every abuse of the royal prerogative were stoutly resisted, and when the day of inevitable conflict came, Mecklenburg pointed out to the sister Colonies the path to independence, and North Carolina soldiers shed their blood for the common safety from Stony Point on the Hudson to our extreme Southern border in Georgia. The cause, which their valour had helped to win in the field, was upheld by their wisdom in the council-chamber, and in nothing are our ancestors worthier of admiration than in the measures adopted for the formation of a State government and the conditions prescribed for the acceptance of the Federal Constitution.
Then followed two generations of happy, prosperous development, when again our country was desolated by a cruel civil. war,---for the outbreak of which North Carolina was in no way responsible,---and yet how nobly she responded to every call of duty and honour!---till her best blood was reddening every battlefield, and our dear mother offered up more of the precious lives of her children than -lid any other State.
With what interest, what pride should we dwell upon dl these things! But especially should we love and adorn he sacred spot which was the birthplace of American civilisation. Let Roanoke Island become as familiar and as tear to its as is Plymouth Rock to the New Englander; cake Fort Raleigh as widely known as Jamestow; let there gather around Virginia Dare the romantic interest that attaches to the name of Pocahontas.
Let us men and women give to this, and to all such patriotic movements, our substantial aid and hearty sympathy; and let all the young be taught to know and feel what a proud privilege it is to be a child of Carolina.
EDWARD GRAHAM DAVES.
NOTE.-This article was prepared by Professor Daves for use as a lecture. As such it was delivered by him in a lecturing tour throughout North Carolina, in the winter of 1894-'93, in the interest of the Roanoke Colony Memorial Association scheme.-EDITOR.
Source: Trinity College Historical Society