The Papers of Henry Laurens

[Page 364]

Council of Safety to William Henry Drayton


The powers contained in our last Letter of the 31st Ulto. which went by Thos. Dean & Thomas Pierce[1] who carried the Indian presents will have Shewn the confidence which we have reposed in you & we assure our Selves that you will make Such use of your authority & of the means which are in your hands as will[Page 365] be productive of great advantages to the Colony & give general Satisfaction.
But we perceive by yours of the 30th. Augt. which came to hand this Morning that you had from the Contents of our Letter of the 11th. assumed[2] all the powers which we intended to vest you with by our last therefore we cannot avoid remarking that if the former was adequate & Sufficient a further application was altogether unnecessary, however we make due allowances for the necessity of the times_ We are not under the least doubt of your ability to defeat any Plots which Kirkland may have concerted against Fort Charlotte or Augusta, & Since you have thus Seriously entered upon a contest with him, it will be absolutely necessary to Subdue him, or drive him out of the Country. but we Strongly recommend to you to discharge the Militia as Soon as you can possibly do it with Safety Such additional expence will be very heavy on our treasury_
We informed you in our last that we had Supplied Collo. Neyle with certain quantities of Gun powder & about & illegible Lead_ we Shall now Send two Barrels of Powder & about 400. weight Lead to Mr. Kershaw's Store[3] at the disposal of that Gentleman & Collo. Richardson, for the use of Collo. Richardson's Regiment we Should have Sent this directly to himSelf if we had precisely known his Station_
As we are come to a Resolution to distribute Powder throughout the Colony among our friends we beg you will consider what will be proper proportions for the Several districts in which you have & will have been in the course of your tours_
We are now also to acknowledge the Rect. of a Letter from you & Mr. Tennent dated at Ford's upon Enoree by the hands of Mr. Downs,[4] for carriage of which he demanded, as he Said by agreement with you, £35._ & we have paid him although you have[Page 366] mentioned nothing of the agreement nor did it appear to us that he came expressly for that purpose_ We hope Mr. Tennent will be assured that we have a proper Sense of his Services & excuse our not writing particularly to him for the reason mentioned in our last our daily expectation of Seeing him happily returned to Charles Town_[5] we have Sent Copies of Cameron's intercepted Letter[6] & of Clark's affidavit to the Council of Safety at Savanna & to Mr. Galphin, no doubt you have made Andrew Williamson fully acquainted with the Contents of both but to guard against the contrary as possibly you may in your hurry have omitted to take Copies we Send one of each under this Cover these will do no harm even if they Should prove Superfluous_
We have Resolved to equip three Schooners to be mounted with two Nine pounders each, for defence of this Harbour & have named Commissioners for the purpose_ Captains Blake Lempriere & Tucker_[7] We have also Ordered the Militia throughout the Colony to be held in readiness as in time of Alarm & you will herewith receive 4 Copies of our Declaration[8] on that head which we desire you will distribute to Collo. Savage, Collo. Richardson, Collo. Fletchal & Collo. Neyle_ We Shall now Send one to Collo. Thomson_
We Shall wait with anxiety for further intelligence from you in the mean time be assured of our continued good wishes for your Success._
By order of the Council of Safety
Copy, HL Papers, ScHi; addressed below close "William Henry Drayton"; dated "Charles Town 5th. Septem˜ 1775_"; docketed "Copy 5th. Septem.˜ 1775_ / Wm. Henry Drayton".
[1.] Thomas Dean (b. ca. 1741) and Thomas Pearce (b. ca. 1735), natives of Virginia, were privates in Capt. Samuel Wise's company. Return of the Regiment of Rangers, Oct. 13, 1775, HL Papers, ScHi.
[2.] The clerk wrote "assured"; an "m" was then interlined over the letter "r" to make the word "assumed".
[3.] Joseph Kershaw's store at Camden.
[4.] Jonathan Downs (1738-1818), a native of Virginia and a South Carolina resident since at least 1769, was probably the messenger who carried Drayton and Tennent's letter of August 24 to the Council of Safety. Active politically and militarily, he represented the District between the Broad and Saluda Rivers in the Provincial Congresses and in subsequent state legislatures. In October 1775 he joined Andrew Williamson's Ninety Six District militia as a lieutenant and was promoted to captain (December 1775) and major (January 1776). Directory of the S.C. House, III, 191-192.
[5.] William Tennent did not return to Charleston until Sept. 15, 1775. Gibbes, Documentary History, I, 239.
[6.] Alexander Cameron to Andrew McLean, Aug. 16, 1775, a copy of which was inclosed with Drayton and Tennent's letter of Aug. 24, 1775, to the Council of Safety. Gibbes, Documentary History, I, 143-144.
[7.] The schooners Defence, Comet and Beaufort were adapted to protect coastal and inland navigation. The commissioners named were Edward Blake, Clement Lempriere, and Benjamin Tucker.
[8.] The Council of Safety's "Declaration of Alarm," dated Sept. 5, 1775, placed the Charleston militia regiment under special regulations prescribed for times of actual invasion. The Council also restated and clarified the powers granted to it over the militia by the Provincial Congress. S.C. General Gazette, Sept. 8, 1775; Journals of S.C. Provincial Congress, pp. 54-55.