Copyright 1985. South Carolina Historical Society. All rights reserved.
As we have business of very great importance to lay before you, which we think will merit the consideration of the Representatives of the United Colonies
before their next intended adjournment
we are fortunate in meeting with the present opportunity for [conve]yance[2
] by Mr.
son who has promised
not only to deliver our dispatches into your own hands but also
to impart a
which can not be so well
in any other manner.
in the interior parts of this Colony, the treachery of our Governor who has been pursuing the Steps of Mr.
Martin [as] nearly[Page 398]
as his situation would allow him, our late intelligence respecting the Indians & the unhappy differences which now subsist among the Inhabitants of Charles Town render this application for your advice
We had for some time
suspected His Excellency Ld Wm. Campbell
, but a late circumstance has furnished us with possitive proof of his disengenuity & intention to undo us by stealth_ His Lordship had not only shewn a fair face when waited upon, but had
[in the most condescending terms] invited Gentlemen to call on him in order to [give him
] for expressing his good wishes to the Colony while he was
privately spiriting up the People on our Frontiers to oppose our Association & to hold themselves in readiness to act [in Arms] against the Colony.
when called upon
_ after having received reiterated accounts of the increasing discontents of those People, together with assurances that they were instigated by the Emissaries of
& supported by promises of Royal favour, this Council judged it expedient to send proper Persons to explain to them, the causes & nature of the dispute subsisting between Great Britain & the Colonies to endeavour to reconcile their minds to an Union in defence of their common rights
by approving the illegible
; for these good purposes The Honb¯le. Mr. Drayton
& the Reverend Mr. Tennent
were sent into those parts where the disaffected were most
& most powerful
& although their[4
of those Gentlemen
has been attended with
salutary effects yet particular characters & their abettors continued so irreclaimable that it was found necessary to abandon the mild mode of persuasion & to have recourse to the use of Arms
] we have now 1200. Men of the Regiment of Rangers & Militia under the direction of Mr.
will be able to
_ among the heads of our opponents was one Capt Moses Kirkland who[Page 399]
may with great justice be denominated a Traitor.
] he had actually taken a Commission in the service of the Colony, & had enlisted a Company of Rangers whom he afterward incited to Mutiny & Desert. this Man after having
in vain attempted to make a stand with his adherents
fled in disguise to Charles Town,
illegible here he
took sanctuary in the Governor's House & was by His Lordship's means conveyed on board the Tamar
Sloop of War_ a report of this
brought to the Gen¯ Committee
& a discovery was made of a Person who had been one of Kirkland's
Rangers & had attended him in his flight, this person being Committed to the Guard was made use of by some of the Officers of our Troops to carry on a stratagem the result of which you will learn from one of the inclosed Papers marked "Minutes of a Conversation." The Committee upon this discovery demanded a sight of the Letters which the Governor had just received from Administration by the Swallow
Packet, His Lordship peremptorily refused to comply but in the course of conversation acknowledged that Ships & Troops were to be sent from England to all the Colonies & might be shortly expected; the next Evening he gave orders for dismantling Fort Johnson which was
performed by Men from on board the Tamar
who dismounted all the Guns on the lower Battery & broke many of the Carriages, after which His Excellency dissolved the Assembly & without assigning any reason in public, retired on board that Man of War where he has ever since remained & from certain circumstances
he means, as
to remove his family to the same place._ fortunately the Seamen neglected to spike
the Cannon, we have therefore taken possession of the Fort & remounted them_ the Garrison now consists of about 400. of
our new raised Troops commanded there by Collo.
Motte we intend to persevere in
the best posture of defence.
to fortify the Harbour as effectually as our circumstances will admit of_ tis possible the Man of War may interrupt our proceedings,[Page 400]
in such Case we shall be under a necessity of attempting to take or destroy her._[8
] here we are at a loss to know to what lengths each Colony will be warranted by the Voice of America in opposing
& the British Marine, tho' such opposition should be necessary for the very existence of a Colony &
support of the common Cause_
Our Provincial Congress in June last Resolved that Officers in the two Regiments of Foot in Colony Pay should when acting in Conjunction with Officers of the Militia of equal Commissions take Rank & precedence of these without regard to
Commissions_ this Regulation gave no Umbrage till lately, when we judged it necessary to Issue an Order for compelling many delinquents to do equal duty with their fellow Citizens in the Militia then
a general Clamour was raised, Petitions & Remonstrances from the "12 United Companies" of Volunteers
sent in, to this Board & to the General Committee & the dispute
carried to so great a heigth as to threaten
of our Association,[9
] temperate measures have however pacified many of the well meaning honest people who had been misled by the contrivances of false friends, nevertheless there remains no inconsiderable degree of ferment & dissatisfaction_[10
] to this untoward circumstance add, the unfavorable accounts which we have received from the Indians, the danger which we are always exposed to
from domestic Insurrection
the expectation of British Troops & Ships of War
& you[Page 401]
will agree that we have
unpleasant prospect. We have been informed that you have granted 1000. Men to North Carolina on Accot.
of the disturbances in that Colony,
in this weaker part
an Army of Observation & General Officers to Command all our forces, at the general charge of the Colonies; we would if time had permitted have applied to North Carolina & Georgia to have joined us in an application for such an Army, & we now recommend it to your serious consideration & enjoin you to Address the General Congress upon this subject & to use your endeavo¯rs for obtaining such defence for us,[11
] without which Carolina & Georgia will be involved in such difficulties as may & probably will greatly injure the common Interests of America.[12
We particularly request you to consider of proper measures for Regulating the Militia & to procure a strong recommendation on this head from the Congress_[13
the Judges have refused to do business in their department, hence the Courts are shut up, the Custom House may soon follow the example & we rather suspect it from an application which Mr.
Haliday has made
to retire from the Province altho' he has assured us that he will leave a Deputy.[14
We have used our utmost endeavours & gone to very great
for procuring ammunition, we were stimulated to the Act upon Lofthouse's Vessel at Agustine Bar by our[Page 402]
hearty desire to supply the common Stock on your side, we rejoice to learn that you now have abundance[15
] we have also in our Magazines enough to serve our present purposes &
of receving additional quantities very speedily_ but none to spare
. Nothing would be more acceptable to us than two or three Thousand stand of good Arms is it possible to obtain
such & so many from Philadelphia? if it is, we recommend it as a most essential service_
Your Letter of the 3d. August
with Resolutions of the 1st.
came duly to hand, perhaps after a Post Office is established, the Congress will find it necessary to open the American Ports to Foreigners & to pursue the most vigorous
states, by Sea as well as Land neither of which
can be effected if the Doctrine of abandoning our Sea Coasts should prevail._[16
received a private intimation that Moses Kirkland is to be put on board this Sloop
after she is over the Bar_
& have the
he is to proceed to General Gage
in hope of obtaining
Men & Amunition to enable him to recover his ground & to distress us in the back Country_ We have laid a Plan for having him safely landed at George Town[17
] if that should fail, the Committee or Council of Safety at New York will be informed of his arrival & of his intended Schemes we hope
they will detain him for your directions & that you will give such as shall put it out of his power to do us any further mischief
to return him to Carolina in order to be tried by a Court Martial
be best._ Inclosed you will find a Copy of our late Order concerning the Militia
We must not conclude without intreating you to consider of proper measures for keeping the Militia in due subordination &[Page 403] procuring a strong recommendation on this head from the Congress.
By order of the Council of Safety.
The Papers of Henry Laurens,
ed. David R. Chesnutt, et al.
(Columbia, S.C.: Model Editions Partnership, 1999).
Electronic version based on
The Papers of Henry Laurens
(Columbia, S.C.: University of South Carolina Press, 1994), Vol. 10, pp. 305-415. On the Web at http://mep.blackmesatech.com/mep/ [Accessed 4 January 2018]