Any number of other puzzles also remain. Our modern commentators look back to sources from 1835, 1829, 1824, and 1818—with the 1818 source referring to a prior source for Henry’s speech—American Orator, which I have been unable to locate. What the original source of Henry’s speech was remains unclear. Certainly, the Commons’ Journal is not helpful. Modern commentators also look to Gaston’s 1835 speech. Gaston made the “officer” argument there, but he did not positively assert that that he or anyone else made that argument in the 1809 proceedings. So was that argument actually made in 1809?
And, of course, the chief puzzle remains. What line of reasoning (if any) led the members to reject the motion to vacate Henry’s seat? Was it Henry’s platitudinous (almost extra-legal) argument about religious toleration and freedom of conscience? Or, was it the more legalistic arguments brought by one or more of Henry’s purported supporters relating to the scope of the 1776 North Carolina Constitution’s “office”-language? One commentator affirms that it was both. As he points to no sources, his explanation appears to be no more than a somewhat unsatisfying fudge. There is a third explanation—one not properly developed in the extant literature—to which I now turn.
If the reader has stubbornly persisted in going with the Author thus far, I would ask you to go with me a bit farther still. But here, admittedly, I shift from law and history, to conjecture and hypothesis. Perhaps some future sibyl, who will come after me, will fill in the intellectual gaps where I am unable to see. Is not the quality of the reported debate on the Henry motion—the sophistication, the complexity, and the sheer number of arguments marshalled on each side—all on one day’s notice—more than somewhat surprising? Is it just possible, might not we hope, that the debate was pre-planned and pre-arranged, viz., that Henry was set up? Perhaps the motion and subsequent debate were arranged to provide a public vehicle to debate Article 32 and to create a record towards its amendment, if not its abolition? If a cabal of members were quietly engineering such strategic parliamentary politics for the consumption of the wider demos, is there any reason we should be surprised? And if we were consigned by a trick of fate to similar circumstances, could we aspire to do any more than they did?
 I have checked: Increase Cooke, The American Orator (New Haven: Sydney’s Press, 1811), <https://tinyurl.com/t98c24m>; ibid. 2d ed. (Hartford: Oliver D. Cooke, 1814), <https://tinyurl.com/wa67de4>; ibid. (New Haven: Sydney’s Press, 1819), <https://tinyurl.com/tuv6hhk>. I have also checked Joshua P. Slack, The American Orator (Trenton, New Jersey: Daniel Fenton, 1815), <https://tinyurl.com/untl7tb>. Henry’s speech does not appear in these sources.
 Samuel A’Court Ashe, History of North Carolina [from 1783 to 1925], 2 vols. (Raleigh: Edwards & Broughton Printing Company, 1925), 2:207, <https://archive.org/details/historyofnorthca02ashe/page/n7>.
Seth Barrett Tillman, New Sources on the 1809 Motion to Vacate Jacob Henry’s North Carolina State Legislative Seat (posted Nov. 25, 2019) <https://ssrn.com/abstract=3498217>.
Brian L. Frye, Podcast, A Religious Test in America?—The Motion to Vacate Jacob Henry’s Legislative Seat, Ipse Dixit (Dec. 4, 2019) (interviewing Tillman), <https://shows.acast.com/ipse-dixit/episodes/seth-barrett-tillman-on-the-jacob-henry-and-the-meaning-of-o>.
Seth Barrett Tillman, Extract From My Next Article, New Reform Club (Dec. 5, 2019, 4:26 AM), <https://reformclub.blogspot.com/2019/12/extract-from-my-next-article.html>;