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To feed the rapacity of rulers, the people of North Carolina were very heavily taxed; and, to comply with the extortions of public officers, they were burdened beyond endurance, particularly in the interior counties. They finally formed an association to resist this taxation and extortion, and, borrowing the name of Regulators from the South Carolinians (see State of South Carolina), they soon became too formidable to be controlled by local magistrates. They assumed to control public affairs generally, and became actual insurgents, against whom Governor Tryon led a considerable force of volunteers from the seaboard. The opposing parties met and fought a battle, May 16, 1771, near the Allemance Creek, in Allemance county, when nearly forty men were killed. The Regulators were beaten and dispersed, but not subdued, and many of them were among the most earnest soldiers in the Revolutionary War. Indeed, the skirmish on the Allemance is regarded by some as the first battle in the war. Tryon marched back in triumph to Newbern, after hanging six of the Regulators for treason (June 19). These events caused fierce hatred of British rule in the region below the Roanoke.

After the close of the Cherokee War, the western districts of South Carolina were rapidly settled by people of various nationalities, but mostly by Scotch-Irish, Germans, and immigrants from the Northern provinces. Among these was a lawless class, for the summary punishment of which the better sort of people associated themselves under the name of Regulators. This “vigilance committee,” or “Lynch” law, was strongly protested against, for abuses followed its exercise. The people claimed the just right of trial by jury. Governor Montague sent a commissioner in 1766 to investigate the matter, who arrested some of the Regulators and sent them to Charleston. Two parties were formed, and nearly came to blows. They were pacified by the establishment of [393] district courts, but ill-feeling continued, and the opponents of the Regulators, taking sides with Parliament in the rising disputes, formed the basis of the Tory party in South Carolina.

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