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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
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History by Joseph Seawell Jones concerning the reception of the Declaration of Independence in North Carolina [Extract]
Jones, Jo. Seawell (Joseph Seawell), 1811?-1855
1834
Volume 10, Pages 715-716

[Reprinted from Jones' Defence of North Carolina. P. 268.]
An account of the reception of the news of the Declaration of Independence at Halifax.

On the 22nd of July the news of the Declaration of Independence reached Halifax; and, the Council of Safety being in session in that place, the following resolution was unanimously adopted,

Resolved, That the Committees of the respective counties and

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towns in this State on receiving the Declaration of Independence, do cause the same to be proclaimed in the most public manner, in order that the good people of this Colony may be fully informed thereof.

On the 25th of July the Council proceeded to change the test oath; and the preamble of the resolution states that the Colonies were now free and independent States, and all allegiance to the British Crown was forever at an end. On the 27th of the same month the Council set apart Thursday, the first of August, as a day for proclaiming the Declaration at the Court House in Halifax; and the freeholders and inhabitants of the County were requested to give their attendance at the time and place.

On the appointed day an immense concourse of people assembled at Halifax to witness the interesting ceremony of a public proclamation of the Declaration of Independence.

The Provincial troops and militia companies were all drawn up in full array, to witness the scene and to swear by their united acclamations to consummate the deed.

At mid-day Cornelius Harnet ascended a rostrum which had been erected in front of the Court House, and even as he opened the scroll, upon which was written the immortal words of the Declaration, the enthusiasm of the immense crowd broke forth in one loud swell of rejoicing and prayer. The reader proceeded to his task, and read the Declaration to the mute and impassioned multitude with the solemnity of an appeal to Heaven. When he had finished, all the people shouted with joy, and the cannon, sounding from fort to fort, proclaimed the glorious tidings that all the Thirteen Colonies were now free and independent States. The soldiers seized Mr Harnett and bore him on their shoulders through the streets of the town, applauding him as their champion, and swearing allegiance to the instrument he had read.