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Speech of the President


Message from the President by the Master in Chancery:

"Mr˙ SPEAKER: His Excellency the President desires the attendance of this House in the Council Chamber immediately."

And the Messenger withdrew.

Mr˙ Speaker, with the House, waited upon his Excellency accordingly.

And being returned, Mr˙ Speaker reported, that this House having waited upon the President in the Council Chamber, his Excellency had been pleased to make a Speech, of which he had obtained a copy, in the following words:

"Honourable Gentlemen of the Legislative Council, Mr˙ Speaker, and Gentlemen of the General Assembly:

"I think it my duty to pay this tribute of applause to those brave troops who, in repelling the formidable British armament which attacked them on Sullivant' s Island, vainly flattering themselves with an assurance of easy conquest, displayed a firmness and intrepidity that would have reflected honour on Roman veterans; and I most heartily congratulate you on their heroick behaviour. It is an auspicious presage of what may be expected from the valour of our other troops when theirs shall be the post of danger, as it demonstrates that men, animated by an ardent zeal for the sacred liberties of their country, and trusting in the Divine support, are capable of the most glorious achievements.


The Cherokee Indians having committed such barbarous acts of hostility as threatened desolation to the frontier settlements at a time when the enemy lay in view of this town, and an attack on it was daily expected, a considerable force was immediately sent into that nation, to obtain satisfaction for their cruel outrages, by acting with the greatest vigour. Our people have behaved with much spirit. It has pleased God to grant very signal success to their operations; and I hope, by His blessing on our arms and those of North-Carolina and Virginia, from whom I have promises of aid, an end may soon be put to this war. Since your last meeting, the Continental Congress have declared the United Colonies free and independent States, absolved from allegiance to the British Crown, and the political connection between them and Great Britain totally dissolved, an event which necessity had rendered not only justifiable, but unavoidable. This Declaration and several Resolves of that honourable body, received during your recess, shall be laid before you. I doubt not you will take such measures as may be necessary in consequence of them.

"A well-regulated Militia being essential to the preservation of our freedom, I am persuaded you will think with me that your time cannot be better employed than in framing a law for making such improvements in the Militia as may produce the most beneficial consequences. It is not improbable that at the season appointed for the meeting of the next Assembly the business of legislation must yield to that of a different nature; and it behoves us to employ this time of the enemy' s absence in making the best preparations for defence, and enacting such laws as the present exigencies demand. I have, therefore, thought it for the publick service to call you together now, that you may deliberate on those matters which tend to the interest and security of the State. I shall propose what, in the course of your session, appears so to me, and be happy in receiving your advice on, and concurring with you in, any that may effect those important objects.


"September 19th, 1776"