The Papers of Henry Laurens

[Page 386]

Council of Safety to William Henry Drayton


Moses Kirkland came into Charles Town on Monday late in the Evening & disguised, repaired immediately to the Governor at whose House he was accomodated with a Bed & from whence he embarked on Tuesday Morning in the Tamar's Boat & got Safe on board that Man of War_ these facts the General Committee were informed of on Wednesday_ the Committee Examined a Young Man one Bailey Chaney[1] who was Said to have accompanied Kirkland & amidst heaps of Shuffling & pre- prevarication they collected enough to confirm not only their belief of Kirkland's being actually on board the Man of War but also that His Excellency held a correspondence with our Enemies of a very different nature from that which he had endeavoured by various arts which he had to represent to us as the true motive of his writing to Fletchal & others of that party; in order however to obtain more Satisfactory proofs Some of the gentlemen of the Army by a Stratagem which Succeeded to their wish procured Such from his own Mouth as were indubitable, the particulars of which we Shall inclose & refer you to_ henceforward we can depend upon this Gentleman only as upon one who under this the[2] guise of Neutrality & even pretended friendship is devoted to work our destruction_[3] tis not improble improbable he will of his own Accord Soon leave the Colony, if he has any feelings he must do so in preference to being looked in the Face by Gentlemen whom he has deceived & by whom he has been So clearly detected_ be that as it may we judged it[Page 387] proper to Send a party of Men under the Command of Collo. Motte to take possession of Fort Johnson which was effected before day light this Morning & the Garrison consisting of the impudent Gunner Walker[4] & four other Men made prisoners_ but Collo. Motte reports that the Governor who was at the Fort Yesterday had ordered a party of Sailors on Shore from the Tamar & by their means thrown the Cannon of off the lower Battery of their Carriges & destroyed many of the latter Carriages_
This Moment your Packet dated 11th. Inst. by the hands of Fields Pardue[5] was delivered to us_ We approve of the measures you have taken & you may clearly perceive that even in instances where you have not been altogether clear & explicit in your advices we have imputed the deficiency to the right Cause & put the most favourable construction on all your Acts. Kirkland has eluded all your Schemes, but we will not yet think him out of our Reach tis possible we may Still bring him to answer for his misdeeds_ his Companions Robinson, Brown & Cuningham's[6] we hope will be taken or driven out of the Colony by you.
16th. Septem.˜ last Night a packet arrived from Capt Pearis who was at Congaree with four Cherokees who were waiting for you_ Mr. Pearis laments your delay, represents the anxiety of the Indians & fears bad consequences will follow if they Should return without Seeing you or Some person to Talk to them in your Stead_[Page 388] this appears to be a matter of great moment & will require your immediate attention_ we need not inform you of the contempt in which Indians hold the Man who deceives them & they Scarcely know a difference & never will make one the distinction when their friendship is Courted, between, disappointment & deceipt_ Cameron too will exult & repeat his Slanders, we therefore recommend this business to your most Serious attention.
last Night also the Governor who was on board the Man of War Sent Capt Innes to demand at Fort Johnson_
What Troops are in the Fort?
Ans.˜ American Troops
who commands them?
Ans. By what Authority do you ask it?
By the Governors.
the Governor desires to know by what Authority you took possession of this Fort?
Ans. By the express Command of the Council of Safety._
The Man of War & Cherokee Guard Ship[7] are nevertheless Still at Anchor in the Road We have reinforced the Garrison by an addition of 250 Rank & File_ Some volunteers are gone down & we have hopes that by this hour Collo. Motte has remounted his Cannon, Carriages & other necessary articles having been Sent for that purpose before Midnight_
the Swallow Packet[8] arrived three days ago the Letters were long detained & we learn in general that the King & Administration are determined to reinforce Gen Gage & also to throw Troops into all the Colonies_
We repeat our good wishes for your health & continued Success_[9]

By order of the Council of Safety

H L Presidt.

[Page 389]P.S.
I have paid the express £25. send by him 12 Association Papers two Quires of writing Paper a Letter from Mr Middleton this will be Seald first by a Wafer the Cover by a Wafer & Wax & my Cypher plainly impressed on both_
a Letter from Mr C Drayton[10]
d¯d with the above but not inclosed
it came after that was sealed_
Copy, HL Papers, ScHi; no address; dated "Charles Town. 15. Septem.˜ 1775."; docketed "Copy of a Letter 15 & 16 / Septem¯ 1775 to W H / Drayton_ by".
[1.] The clerk left a blank and HL filled in the name. Bailey Chaney (Cheney, Chany, Chayney), a captain in Col. John Cotton's regiment in the Ninety Six Loyalist militia brigade in 1780, was promoted to lieutenant colonel in 1781. Clark, Loyalists in the Southern Campaign, pp. 223, 251, 309, 339, 340. Chaney, in exchange for his freedom, was forced to participate in a ruse perpetrated by the General Committee. He introduced Capt. Adam McDonald, of the First Provincial Regiment, to Governor Campbell as "Dick Williams," a backcountry Loyalist. The American spy discovered during this interview that Campbell carried on a correspondence with the King's friends in the upcountry, that he encouraged them to organize and arm themselves, and that he expected British regulars to land at Charleston before the end of autumn. For a text of the McDonald-Campbell interview, see Moultrie, Memoirs, I, 68-72; Charles Drayton to William Henry Drayton, Sept. 16, 1775, Gibbes, Documentary History, I, 183-184.
[2.] Interlineations by HL.
[3.] Possibly "distraction".
[4.] George Walker, a gunner at Fort Johnson, came to America in 1767 and served at Boston and Philadelphia before coming to Charleston. He owned a house on Sullivan's Island and five slaves, all of which were lost in the war. A particularly vocal opponent of the patriots, he was tarred and feathered on Aug. 12, 1775. He continued in royal service at Halifax and New York before retiring to England in 1779. Walker went out to Charleston again in 1780, was wounded, and returned to England. Loyalist Transcripts, LII, 90-104; Drayton, Memoirs, II, 17.
[5.] The clerk left a blank in which HL wrote the name. Fields Pardue (Perdue, Pardieu) (d. ca. 1835) was a resident of Ninety Six District who served as a militia lieutenant and later as a major in Samuel Hammond's regiment. Directory of the S.C. House, III, 535-536.
[6.] Patrick and Robert Cunningham. Patrick Cunningham (ca. 1742-1796) moved with his brother Robert from Augusta County, Virginia to the Ninety Six District of South Carolina in January 1769. Rosemont, his home plantation, was located in present Laurens County. An active Loyalist, he led a party of King's men in an attempt to free his brother who had been taken by the patriots. While he failed to gain his brother's release, he captured gunpowder the whigs were sending to the Cherokees in early November 1775. Later that month he participated in the siege at Ninety Six. He was captured and imprisoned at Charleston in February 1776. After his release he offered his services to the patriots in their expedition against the Cherokees but was refused. Directory of the S.C. House, IV, 139-140.
[7.] His Majesty's armed ship Cherokee, Lt. John Fergusson, arrived at Charleston Sept. 7, 1775. Naval Documents (Clark), II, 56, 584.
[8.] The Swallow packet, William Copeland, arrived at Charleston from Falmouth September 13. S.C. General Gazette, Sept. 15, 1775.
[9.] Rest of text in HL's hand.
[10.] Charles Drayton to William Henry Drayton, Sept. 16, 1775. Gibbes, Documentary History, I, 183-184.