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Chapter 46:

The origin of Tennessee.—Hillsborough's Administration of the Colonies continued.

October, 1770—June, 1771.

The Colonization of the West was one of the
Chap. XLVI.} 1770. Oct.
great objects ever promoted by Franklin. No one had more vividly discerned the capacity of the Mississippi valley not only to sustain Commonwealths, but to connect them with the world by commerce; and when the Ministers would have rejected the Fort Stanwix Treaty,1 which conveyed from the Six Nations an inchoate title to the immense territory southwest of the Ohio, his influence secured its ratification, by organizing a powerful company to plant a Province in that part of the country which lay back of Virginia, between the Alleghanies and a line drawn from the Cumberland Gap to the mouth of the Scioto.2 [378]

Virginia resisted the proposed limitation of her

Chap. XLVI.} 1770. Oct.
jurisdiction, as fatal to her interests;3 earnestly entreating an extension of her borders westward to the Tennessee River. It would be tedious to rehearse the earnest pleas of the Colony; the hesitations of Hillsborough, who wished to pacify her people, and yet to confine her settlements; the entreaties of Botetourt; the adverse Representations of the Board of Trade; the meetings of Agents with the Beloved Men of the Cherokees. On the seventeenth of October, two days after the death of Botetourt, a treaty conforming to the decision of the British cabinet, was made at the Congress of Lochaber,4 confining the Ancient Dominion on the Northwest to the mouth of the Kenawha, while on the South it extended only to within six miles of the Holston River.5 The Cherokees would willingly have ceded more land; and when in the following year the line was run by Donelson for Virginia, their Chief consented that it should cross from the Holston to the Louisa,6 or Kentucky River, and follow it to the Ohio. But the change was disapproved in England, so that the great body of the West, unencumbered by valid titles, was happily reserved for the self-directed emigrant.

The people of Virginia and others were exploring and marking all the richest lands, not only on the Redstone and other waters of the Monongahela, but along the Ohio, as low as the little Kenawha;7 and [379] with each year were getting further and further

Chap. XLVI.} 1770. Oct.
down the river. When Washington in 1770, having established for the soldiers and officers who had established for the soldiers and officers who had served with him in the French war, their right to two hundred thousand acres in the western valley, went to select suitable tracts, he was obliged to descend to the Great Kenawha. As he floated in a canoe down the Ohio, whose banks he found enlivened by innumerable turkeys and other wild fowl, with many deer browsing on the shore or stepping down to the water's edge to drink, no good land escaped his eye. Where the soil and growth of timber were most inviting, he would walk through the woods, and set his mark on a maple, or elm, a hoop-wood, or ash, as the corner of a soldier's survey;8 for he watched over the interests of his old associates in arms as sacredly as if he had been their trustee, and never ceased his care for them, till by his exertions, and ‘by these alone,’9 he had secured to each one of them, or if they were dead, to their heirs, the full proportion of the bounty that had been promised. His journey to the wilderness was not without its pleasures; he amused himself with the sports of the forest, or observing new kinds of water-fowl, or taking the girth of the largest trees, one of which at a yard from the ground measured within two inches of five and forty feet. His fame had gone before him; the Red Men received him in Council with public honors. Nor did lie turn homewards without inquiring of Nicholson, an Indian interpreter, and of Conolly, an intelligent forester, the character of the country further [380] west. From these eye-witnesses he received glowing
Chap. XLVI.} 1770. Nov.
accounts of the climate, soil, good streams and plentiful game that distinguished the valley of the Cumberland. There he was persuaded a new and most desirable Government might be established.10

At that time Daniel Boon was still exploring the land of promise.11 Of forty adventurers who from the Clinch River plunged into the West under the lead of James Knox, and became renowned as ‘the Long Hunters,’12 some found their way down the Cumberland to the limestone Bluff, where Nashville stands, and where the luxuriant, gently undulating fields, covered with groves of beech and walnut, were in the undisputed possession of countless buffaloes, whose bellowings resounded from hill and forest.13

Sometimes trappers and restless emigrants, boldest of their class, took the risk of crossing the country from Carolina to the Mississippi; but of those who perished by the way, no tradition preserves the names. Others, following the natural highways of the West, descended from Pittsburg, and from Red Stone Creek to Fort Natchez. The pilot, who conducted the party of which Samuel Wells and John MacIntire were the Chiefs, was so attracted by the lands round the Fort, that he promised to remove there in the spring with his wife and family, and believed a hundred families from North Carolina14 would follow.

The zeal of hunters and emigrants outran the concessions extorted from the Board of Trade. This [381] year James Robertson, from the home of the Regula-

Chap. XLVI.} 1770. Nov.
tors in North Carolina, a poor and unlettered forester, of humble birth, but of inborn nobleness of soul, cultivated maize on the Watauga. The frame of the heroic planter was robust; his constitution hardy; he trod the soil as if he were its rightful lord. Intrepid, loving virtue for its own sake, and emulous of honorable fame, he had self-possession, quickness of discernment, and a sound judgment. Wherever he was thrown, on whatever he was engaged, he knew how to use all the means within his reach, whether small or great, to their proper end; seeing at a glance their latent capacities, and devising the simplest and surest way to bring them forth; and so he became the greatest benefactor of the early settlers of Tennessee, confirming to them peace, securing their independence, and leaving a name blessed by the esteem and love and praise of a commonwealth.15

He was followed to the West, by men from the same Province with himself, where the people had no respite from the insolence of mercenary attorneys and officers, and were subjected to every sort of rapine and extortion.16 There the Courts of law offered no redress.17 At the inferior Courts the Justices who themselves were implicated in the pilfering of public money, named the juries. The Sheriff and receivers of taxes were in arrears for near seventy thousand pounds, which they had extorted from the people, and [382] of which more than two thirds18 had been irretrieva-

Chap. XLVI.} 1770. Nov.
bly embezzled. In the northern part of the Colony, where the ownership of the soil had been reserved to one of the old proprietaries, there was no land-office19 so that the people who were attracted by the surpassing excellence20 of the land could not obtain freeholds. Every art was employed to increase the expenses of suits at law; and as some of the people in their wretchedness wreaked their vengeance in acts of folly and madness, they were artfully misrepresented as enemies to the Constitution; and the oppressor treacherously acquired the protection which was due to the oppressed. In March, 1770, one of the associate justices reported that they could not enforce the payment of taxes. At the Court in September the Regulators appeared in numbers. ‘We are come down,’ they said, ‘with the design to have justice done;’ they would have business proceed, but with no attorney except the King's; and finding that it had been resolved not to try their causes,21 some of them pursued Fanning and another lawyer, beat them with cowskin whips, and laid waste Fanning's house.22

The Assembly which convened in December, at Newbern, was chosen under a state of alarm and vague

apprehension. Tryon had secured Fanning a seat, by chartering the town of Hillsborough as a borough, but the county of Orange, selected Herman Husbands as its Representative, with great unanimity. The [383] rustic patriot possessed a good reputation and a con-
Chap XLVI.} 1770. Dec.
siderable estate, and was charged with no illegal act whatever; yet he was voted a disturber of the public peace; on the twentieth of December was expelled the House;23 and against the opinion of the Council, and notwithstanding the want of evidence,24 that he had been even an accessory to the riots at Hillsborough, Tryon seized him under a warrant concerted with the Chief Justice,25 and kept him in prison without bail.26

The Presbyterian party was the strongest in the House;27 to conciliate its power, a law was passed for endowing Queen's College in the town of Charlotte, Mecklenburg County;28 a deceitful act of tolerance, which was sure to be annulled by the King in Council. But the great object of Tryon was the riot Act, by which it was declared a felony for more than ten men to remain assembled after being required to disperse. For a riot committed before or after the publication of the Act, persons might be tried in any Superior Court, no matter how distant from their homes, and if within sixty days they did not make their appearance, whether with or without notice, they were to be proclaimed outlaws, and to forfeit their lives with all their property.29 Such was the sanguinary [384] method by which the wrath of Fanning was

Chap. XLVI.} 1770. Dec.
to be appeased. In the wish to establish order, full license was given to the ruthlessness of revenge. The Governor also sent letters into the neighboring counties, to ascertain how many would volunteer to serve in a military expedition against ‘the rebels;’ but the Assembly, by withholding grants of money, set itself against civil war.

Tryon's smooth exterior and determined purpose had won for him at the Colonial office the reputation of being the ablest Governor in the thirteen Colonies; the death of Botetourt opened the way for his promotion to the chief magistracy of New-York. The Earl of Dunmore, a needy Scottish peer of the House of Murray, passionate, narrow, and unscrupulous in his rapacity, had hardly taken possession of that Government, when he was transferred to what was esteemed the more desirable one of Virginia. But before he made the exchange, his avarice had involved him in a singular strife. Fees for grants of land had swollen the emoluments of office during the short administration of Colden; Dunmore demanded half of them as his perquisite; and to make sure of four or five thousand pounds, prepared as Chancellor to make, in the King's name, a peremptory award in his own favor. He came over to amass a fortune, and in his passion for sudden gain, cared as little for the policy of the Ministers or his instructions from the Crown, as for the rights of property, the respective limits of jurisdiction of the Colonies, or their civil and political privileges. To get money was the rule of conduct, which included his whole administrative policy.

Dunmore did not remain in New-York long [385] enough to weary the legislature into a spirited resist-

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ance. Its members remained steadfast in their purpose to connect loyalty with their regard for American liberty. On a charge of contempt of their authority, they kept MacDougall30 in prison during their session; at the same time, adopting the nomination made by Schuyler a year before,31 they unanimously elected Edmund Burke, for whom his own country had no employment, their Agent in England, allowing ‘for his services at the rate of five hundred pounds per annum.’32

This moderation might have persuaded the Ministry to conciliatory measures; it only raised a hope of producing divisions in America, by setting one Province against another. ‘I can find bones to throw among them, to continue contention and prevent a renewal of their union,’33 promised Hutchinson, now happy in the assurance of receiving from the tax on tea a salary of fifteen hundred pounds for himself as Governor, while three hundred more were granted to the Lieutenant Governor Oliver, who had long been repining at the neglect of his sufferings in behalf of the Stamp Act. Yet Samuel Adams did not despair. ‘In every struggle,’ said he, ‘this country will approve herself glorious in maintaining and defending her freedom;’34 and he was sure that the unreasonableness of Great Britain would precipitate the epoch of American Independence. South Carolina received [386] his letters, still urging union, directing attention to the

Chap. XLVI.} 1770. Dec.
necessity, of finding some more efficacious method of redress than a bare resolution to suspend commerce, and encouraging in the ‘young men’ the ambition ‘of making themselves masters of the art military.’35

Zeal for the cause was not wanting in the South. The people had their ‘tribunes’ and most determined leaders in Thomas Lynch, praised by royalists as ‘a man of sense,’ and inflexible firmness, Christopher Gadsden, the ‘enthusiast in the cause,’ ever suspicious ‘of British moderation,’ and John Mackenzie, whose English education at Cambridge furnished him with arguments for the Colonies.36

On the thirteenth of December they met the planters, merchants and mechanics of Charleston. Lynch, who had come fifty miles on purpose, exerted all his eloquence; and even shed tears for the expiring liberty of his country. He was seconded by Gadsden and Mackenzie; but South Carolina could neither continue non-importation alone; nor by itself devise a new system. Its association was dissolved, like the rest; the goods of importers which had been stored by the General Committee were delivered up, and in Charleston, the fourth largest city in the Colonies, then having five thousand and thirty white inhabitants, with five thousand eight hundred and thirtythree blacks,37 commerce resumed its wonted activity in every thing but tea.38

For a moment rumors of war between Great [387] Britain and the united Kings of France and Spain,

Chap. XLVI.} 1770. Dec.
gave hope of ‘happy effects.’39 But this also failed. England, following the impulse given by Lord Egmont during the administration of Grenville, had taken possession of the Falkland Islands, as forming the key to the Pacific. Spain, claiming all that part of the world as her own, sent a fleet of five frigates which drove the English from their wooden block-house, and after detaining them twenty days, left them to return to England. The English Ministry, willing to abandon Port Egmont, demanded of the Spanish Government a disavowal of the seizure and its temporary restoration. Spanish pride would have rejected the terms with disdain. ‘They are the only propositions, which the British Ministry could make;’ said Choiseul, scoffing at the Spanish rodomontade. ‘For heaven's sake,’ he wrote to the French Minister at London, ‘do the impossible; and persuade Prince Masserano to follow my instructions rather than those of his own court, which have not common sense.’ Determined to preserve peace, Choiseul, who would not have feared war for a great cause like the emancipation of the colonial world, checked the rashness of Spain and assumed the direction of its diplomacy.40 But Weymouth was haughty and unreasonable. ‘War is inevitable,’ said Harcourt to Choiseul. ‘If the English are bent on war,’ wrote Choiseul to Frances, ‘all that I can say is unavailing. But you will be witness, that I did not [388] wish it.’41 Lord North gained honor by allowing
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Weymouth to retire, and standing firmly for peace; but it was Choiseul's moderation which prevented a rupture. On the twenty-fourth of December the ablest French Minister of the century was dismissed from office and exiled to Chanteloupe, not because he was impassioned for war, as his enemies pretended, but because he was the friend of philosophy, freedom of industry, and colonial independence. Thoroughly a Frenchman, as Chatham was thoroughly an Englishman, he longed to renovate France that she might revenge the wounds inflicted on her glory. For this end he had sought to improve her finances, restore her marine, reform her army, and surround her by allies. Marie Antoinette, the wife of the Dauphin, was a pledge for the friendship of Austria; Prussia was conciliated; while the Family Compact insured at Naples and in the Spanish peninsula the predominance of France, which had nothing but friends from the Bosphorus to Cadiz.

It marks the sway of philosophy that crowds paid their homage to the retiring Statesman; he was dear to the Parliaments he had defended, to men of letters he had encouraged, and to Frenchmen whose hearts beat for the honor of their land in its rivalry with England. His policy was so identified with the passions, the sympathies, and the culture of his country; was so thoroughly national, and so liberal, [389] that it was sure to return in spite of the royalist

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party and the Court, and even though he himself was never again to be intrusted with the conduct of affairs. The cause of royalty was, for the time, triumphant in the cabinets; and had America then risen, she would have found no friends to cheer her on.

At the same time the British Ministry attracted to itself that part of the Opposition which was composed of Grenville's friends. Now that he was no more, Suffolk became Secretary of State, instead of Weymouth; and Thurlow being promoted, Wedderburn, whose ‘credit for veracity’ Lord North so lately impeached, and who in his turn had denied to that Minister ‘honor and respectability,’—refused to go upon a forlorn hope; and with unblushing effrontery, leased his powers of eloquence to the Government in return for the office of Solicitor General.42 By these arrangements Lord North obtained twelve new votes.43

But the moral power of the Ministry gained still more from the vehement clamor with which its opponents condemned the wise settlement of the question respecting the Falkland Islands. Sir Robert Walpole had yielded to a similar clamor, and had yet lost his place; Lord North won the praise of good men by resisting it, and securing peace without a compromise of the public dignity. When the Administration needed for its defence no more than the exposition of the madness of modern wars [390] in the brilliant and forcible language of the moralist

Chap. XLVI.} 1771. Jan.
Johnson,44 the applause of Adam Smith45 was in accordance with the sentiment of the country.

This was the happiest period in the career of Lord North. His system acquired stability in the confidence of the country; and was sure of majorities in Parliament. No danger hung over him but from his own love of ease. ‘He was seated on the Treasury bench, between his Attorney and Solicitor General,’ his equals in ability, but most unlike him in character;46 and it was his fatal error that he indulged in slumber when America required all his vigilance.

The Regulators of North Carolina gathered toge-

ther in the woods on hearing that their Representative had been expelled and arbitrarily imprisoned, and they themselves menaced with exile or death as outlaws. They had labored honestly for their own support; not living on the spoils of other men's labors, nor snatching the bread out of other men's hands. They accepted the maxim, that laws, statutes and customs which are against God's law or nature, are all null; and that civil officers who, contrary to reason, exacted illegal taxes and fees from the poor industrious farmers, were guilty of a worse crime than open robbery. They asked no more than that extortioners might be brought to fair trials, and ‘the collectors of the public money called to proper settlements [391] of their accounts.’47 Honor and good faith now
Chap. XLVI.} 1771. Feb.
prompted them to join for the rescue of Husbands.

Tryon was intimidated. Newbern might be attacked and his newly finished palace, source of so much gratification to his vanity, of grievous taxation to the people, might be burned to the ground. Without some manifest sanction of law he dared no longer detain in custody the sturdy Highlander, who had come down under the safeguard of his unquestioned election to the Legislature. Eager to take advantage of the Riot Act, he had by special commission called the Judges to meet at Newbern on the sixth of February. No sooner were they assembled, than he conspired with the Chief Justice to get Husbands indicted for a pretended libel. But the Grand Jury refused to do the work assigned them; and the prisoner was set free48.

Angry with the indocile jury, the Governor by a new Commission, called another court for the eleventh of March; against which day he took care, by

giving the strictest orders to the Sheriffs, many of whom were defaulters, and by the indefatigable exertions of his own private Secretary, to obtain jurors and witnesses, suited to his purpose.49

The liberation of Husbands having stopped the march of the Regulators, it occurred to some of them on their return to visit Salisbury Superior Court.50 On the sixth of March, about four or five hundred of them encamped in the woods near the Ferry, on the [392] western side of the Yadkin River. ‘The lawyers

Chap. XLVI.} 1771. March
are every thing’ they complained. ‘There should be none in the Province.’ ‘We shall be forced to kill them all.’ ‘There never was such an Act as the Riot Act in the laws of England.’51 This was true; the Counsel to the Board of Trade, making his official report upon that law, declared its clause of outlawry ‘altogether unfit for any part of the British empire.’52 ‘We come,’ said the Chiefs in the Regulators' camp to an officer from Salisbury, ‘with no intention to obstruct the Court, or to injure the person or property of any one; but only to petition for a redress of grievances against officers taking exorbitant fees.’ ‘Why then,’ it was asked, ‘are some of you armed?’ ‘Our arms,’ said they, ‘are only to defend ourselves.’ They were told, that no Court would be held on account of the disturbances; but the very persons of whom they complained, finding them ‘peaceably disposed beyond expectation,’53 agreed with them, that all differences with the officers of the county of Rowan should be settled by arbitration on the third Tuesday in May. The umpires being named, the Regulators marched through Salisbury, gave three cheers, and quietly returned54 to their farms, which were the best lands in the whole Province.55 [393]

But Tryon and Fanning were bent on revenge.

Chap. XLVI.} 1771. March
On the eleventh of March the Court opened at Newbern; with willing witnesses and a unanimous Grand Jury, sixty-one56 indictments were readily found for felonies or riots, against the leading Regulators in Orange County, who lived two hundred miles off, and many of whom had been at home during the riots of which they were accused. By law, criminal jurisdiction belonged in the first instance to the district within which offences were charged to have been committed; every one of the indictments was illegal;57 and yet those charged with felony must appear within sixty days, or a vain and merciless Governor will declare them outlaws.

Armed with this authority to proscribe the principal men among the Regulators, Tryon next received the Grand Jury at the Palace, and volunteered to them to lead troops into the western counties.58 The obsequious body, passing beyond their proper functions, applauded his purpose; and the Council acquiesced. To obtain the necessary funds, which the Legislature had refused to provide, Tryon created a paper currency by drafts on the Treasury.

The Northern Treasurer declined to sanction the

illegal drafts; and in consequence, the Eastern counties took no part in the scenes that followed; but the Southern Treasurer complied. From Wilmington a body of militia under the command of Waddel, was [394] sent to Salisbury, while Tryon himself, having writ-
Chap. XLVI.} 1771. May.
ten a harsh rebuke of the agreement in Rowan County for arbitration, marched into Orange County. His progress was marked by the destruction of wheat fields and orchards, the burning of every house which was found empty; the seizure of cattle, poultry and all the produce of the plantations. The terrified people ran together like sheep chased by a wolf; while Tryon crossed the Eno, and the Haw; and the men who had been indicted at Newbern for felonies, were already advertised as outlaws, when on the evening of the fourteenth, he reached the Great Alamance.

The little army under his command was composed of one thousand and eighteen foot soldiers, and thirty light horse, besides the officers.59 The Regulators, who had been drawn together not as insurgents but from alarm,—many, perhaps most of them without guns,—may have numbered rather more, and were encamped about five miles to the west of the stream. They gathered round James Hunter as their ‘general;’ and his superior capacity, and dauntless courage, won from the unorganized host implicit obedience and enthusiastic reverence.60 They were almost in despair, lest the Governor ‘would not lend a kind ear to the just complaints of the people.’ Still on the evening of the fifteenth they entreated, that harmony might yet be restored, that ‘the presaged tragedy of warlike marching to meet each [395] other might be prevented;’ that the Governor

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would give them leave to present ‘their Petition,’ and to treat for peace.

The next day Tryon crossed Alamance River, and marched out to meet the Regulators. As he approached, James Hunter and Benjamin Merrill,61 a Captain of militia, ‘a man in general esteem for his honesty, integrity, piety and moral good life,’ received from him this answer: ‘I require you to lay down your arms, surrender up the outlawed ringleaders, submit yourselves to the laws, and rest on the lenity of the Government. By accepting these terms in one hour, you will prevent an effusion of blood, as you are at this time in a state of war and rebellion.’62

The demands were utterly unjustifiable. No one of the Regulators had been legally outlawed; or even legally indicted. The Governor acted against law as against right; and by every rule deserved to be resisted. Yet the Regulators reluctantly accepted the appeal to arms; for they had nothing to hope from victory itself. Their courage was the courage of martyrs.

The action began before noon, by firing a fieldpiece into the midst of the people. Many of the Regulators, perhaps the larger number, retired; but those who remained, disputed the field for two hours, fighting first in the open ground and then from behind trees, till at last having nearly expended their ammunition,63 Hunter and his men were compelled to [396] retreat.64 Nine of the King's troops were killed, and

Chap. XLVI.} 1771. May.
sixty-one wounded.65 Of the Regulators, above twenty fell in battle, besides the wounded.66 Some prisoners were taken in the pursuit. Before sunset, Tryon had returned in triumph to his camp.

The next day James Few, one of the prisoners, was by the Governor's order, hanged on a tree as an outlaw; and his parents ruined by the destruction of their estate. Then followed one proclamation after another,67 excepting from mercy outlaws and prisoners, and promising it to none others but those who should take an oath of allegiance, pay taxes, submit to the laws, and deliver up their arms.

After this Tryon proceeded to the Yadkin to join

Waddel, who had incurred some danger of being cut off. Waddel then moved through the Southwestern counties, unmolested, except that in Mecklenburgh his ammunition was blown up,68 while Tryon turned back, living at free quarters on the Regulators,69 forcing them to contribute all kinds of provisions, and burning the houses and laying waste and destroying the plantations of every outlaw.70

On the ninth of June he arrived at Hillsborough, where the Court awaited him. His first work was a proclamation inviting ‘every person’ to shoot Herman Husbands, or James Hunter, or Redknap [397] Howell, or William Butler; and offering a hundred

Chap. XLVI.} 1771. June.
pounds and a thousand acres of land, as a reward for the delivery of either of them alive or dead. Then twelve men, taken in battle, were tried and brought in guilty of Treason; and on the nineteenth of June, six of them were hanged under the eye of the Governor, who himself marked the place for the gallows, gave directions for clearing the field, and sketched in general orders the line of march of the army to the place of execution, with the station of each company round the gallows. The victims died bravely. It is yet kept in memory, how Benjamin Merrill met his fate in the most heroic manner, sustained by the pious affection of his children, and declaring that he died at peace with his Maker, in the cause of his country.71

The next day Tryon, having gratified himself with the spectacle, and taking care to make the most of the confiscated lands, which were among the best on the continent, left Hillsborough, and on the thirtieth sailed to take possession of the Government72 of New-York, leaving the burden of an illegally contracted debt of more than forty thousand pounds. So general was the disgust, that his successor dared not trust the people with the immediate election of a new Assembly,73 though terror and despair had brought six thousand of the Regulators to submission.74

The Governors of South Carolina and of Virginia, [398] were requested not to harbor the fugitives. But the

Chap. XLVI.} 1771. June.
far wilderness offered shelter beyond the mountains, and the savages seemed comparatively mild protectors. Without concert, instinctively impelled by discontent and the wearisomeness of life exposed to bondage, men crossed the Alleghanies and descending into the basin of the Tennessee, made their homes in the valley of the Watauga. There no lawyer followed them; there no King's Governor came to be their Lord; there the flag of England never waved. They rapidly extended their settlements; by degrees they took possession of the more romantic banks of the broader Nollichucky, whose sparkling waters spring out of the tallest mountains in the range. The climate was invigorating; the health-giving westerly wind blew at all seasons; in spring the wild crab apple filled the air with the sweetest of perfumes, A fertile soil gave to industry good crops of maize; the clear streams flowed pleasantly without tearing floods; where the closest thickets of spruce and rhododendron flung the cooling shade furthest over the river, trout abounded. The elk and the red deer were not wanting in the natural parks of oak and hickory, of maple, elm, black ash, and buckeye. Of quails and turkeys and pigeons there was no end. The golden eagle built its nest on the topmost ledge of the mountain, and might be seen wheeling in wide circles high above the pines, or dropping like a meteor upon its prey. The black bear, whose flesh was held to be the most delicate of meats, grew so fat upon the abundant acorns and chestnuts, that he could be run down in a race of three hundred yards; and sometimes the hunters gave chase to the coward panther, strong enough to beat off twenty dogs, yet flying from [399] one. Political wisdom is not sealed up in rolls and
Chap XLVI.
parchments. It welled up in the forest, like the waters from the hill side. To acquire a peaceful title to their lands, the settlers despatched James Robertson75 as their envoy to the Council of the Cherokees, from whom he obtained sincere promises of confidence and friendship, and a lease of the territory of the infant Colony. For government, its members came together as brothers in convention, and already in 1772, they founded a republic by a written association,76 appointed their own magistrates, James Robertson among the first; framed laws for their present occasions; and ‘set to the people of America the dangerous example of erecting themselves into a separate State, distinct from and independent of the authority’ of the British King.77

Fanning who followed Tryon to the North, extolled his patron as the ablest supporter of Government.78 ‘I shall leave to your Lordship's reflections the tendency this expedition has had on the frontiers of every Colony in British America,’ was the self-laudatory remark of Tryon to Hillsborough.79 The insolent extortioners and officers whom the Regulators had vainly sued for redress, taunted them with their ill fortune, saying, ‘Alamance is your court of record.’80 Yet the record was not closed. In the old counties of Orange and Mecklenburg, the ‘overhill’ [400] glades of Carolina, and the little band of moun-

Chap. XLVI.
taineers who planted the commonwealth of Tennessee, a bloodthirsty Governor, in his vengeful zeal for the Crown, had treasured up wrath for the day of wrath.


The successor of Tryon reached Carolina in August, 1771, and drank in all the accounts of the ‘glorious spirit,’ which had defeated the Regulators near the Alamance. The next year he made a tour into Orange County. The result of his observations is best given in his own words.

extract of A Letter from Josiah Martin [the brother of Samuel Martin, who wounded Wilkes in a duel in 1763,] Governor of North Carolina, to the Earl of Hillsborough, Secretary of State for the Colonies.

North Carolina, Hillsborough, August 30, 1772.
* * * * My progress through this country, my Lord, hath opened my eyes exceedingly, with respect to the commotions and discontents that have lately prevailed in it. I now see most clearly, that they have been provoked by insolence, and cruel advantages taken of the people's ignorance by mercenary tricking attorneys, clerks, and other little officers, who have practised upon them every sort of rapine and extortion; by which having brought upon themselves their just resentment, they engaged Government in their defence by artful misrepresentations, that the vengeance the wretched people in folly and madness aimed at their heads, was directed against the constitution; and by this stratagem they threw an odium upon the injured people, that by degrees begot a prejudice, which precluded a full discovery of their grievances. Thus, my Lord, as far as I have been able to discover, the resentment of Government was craftily worked up against the oppressed, and the protection which the oppressors treacherously acquired, where the injured and ignorant people expected to find it, drove them to acts of desperation and confederated them in violence, which as your Lordship knows, induced bloodshed; and I verily believe necessarily. Inquiries of this sort, my Lord, I am sensible are invidious; nor would any thing but a sense of duty have drawn from me these opinions of the principles of the past troubles of this country. * * * *

Diligent inquiry has not as yet brought to light a copy of the written Constitution adopted by the Settlers of Eastern Tennessee. Its existence [401] was ascertained by Haywood, the careful historian of that com-

Chap. XLVI
monwealth. Ramsey has adopted all that was preserved by Haywood, and has added the results of his own persevering researches. To these authorities I am able to subjoin the evidence of a contemporary witness. In a letter from the Governor of Virginia to the British Secretary of State, pleading warmly in favor of the propriety of making grants of land at the West, in Illinois, he derives his strongest argument from the establishment of this very Republic of Watauga.

Extract of a letter from the Earl of Dunmore, Governor of Virginia, to the Earl of Dartmouth, Secretary of State.

Williamsburg, 16 May, 1774.
* * * Whatever may be the law with respect to the title, there are, I think, divers reasons which should induce his majesty to comply with the petition, so far at least, as to admit the petitioners and their acquisitions, if not into this government, into some other. For if the title should be thought defective, it would still, at such a distance from the seat of any authority, be utterly impracticable to void it, or prevent the occupying of the lands, which being known to be of an extraordinary degree of fertility, experience shows nothing (so fond as the Americans are of migration,) can stop the concourse of people that actually begin to draw toward them; and should the petition be rejected, your lordship may assure yourself, it is no chimerical conjecture, that, so far from interrupting the progress of their settlement, it would have a direct contrary tendency, by forcing the people to adopt a form of government of their own, which it would be easy to frame in such a manner as to prove an additional encouragement to all the dissatisfied of every other government, to flock to that. In effect, we have an example of the very case, there being actually a set of people in the back part of this colony, bordering on the Cherokee country, who finding they could not obtain titles to the land they fancied, under any of the neighboring governments, have settled upon it without, and contented themselves with becoming in a manner tributary to the Indians, and have appointed magistrates, and framed laws for their present occasions, and to all intents and purposes, erected themselves into, though an inconsiderable, yet a separate State; the consequence of which may prove hereafter detrimental to the peace and security of the other colonies; it at least ets a dangerous example to the people of America, of forming governments distinct from and independent of his majesty's authority. * * *

1 W. S. Johnson to Joseph Chew, 13 Feb. 1770.

2 See the elaborate Petition of Works. Benjamin Franklin to Congress, Passy, 20 Feb. 1780; not in his

3 Washington to Botetourt, 15 April, 1770; Writings, II. 357.

4 Treaty of Lochaber in Mr. President Nelson's No. 8, of Dec. 1770.

5 Superintendent Stuart to Lord Botetourt, Lochaber, 25 Oct. 1770.

6 Lord Dunmore to Hillsborough, March, 1770.

7 Washington's Diary, in Writings, II. 531. Washington, II. 531.

8 Washington's Diary, Writings, II. 528.

9 Life of Washington by Jared Sparks, i 119, 120.

10 Dr. Conolly in Washington, II. 533.

11 Boon's Autobiography.

12 Monette's Valley, i. 355; Butler's Kentucky, 18, 19.

13 Ramsey's Annals of Tennessee, 105. Haywood's Civil and Political History of Tennessee, 77.

14 Letter dated Fort Natchez, 19 July, 1770. Compare Hillsborough to Chester, 3 Oct. 1770; Gage to Hillsborough, 24 April, 1770.

15 John Hayward's Civil and Political History of the State of Tennessee, 39, 40.

16 Governor Martin to the Secretary of State, Hillsborough, 30 August, 1772.

17 Petition of Orange County to Chief Justice Howard, and to the Associate justices Moore and Henderson, without date; presented perhaps to Henderson, 29 Sept. 1770. See Henderson to Tryon, 29 Sept. 1770, and inclosed in Tryon to Hillsborough, 20 Oct. 1770.

18 Postscript to Martin to Hillsborough, 30 Jan. 1772.

19 Tryon to Hillsborough, 12 April, 1770.

20 Martin to Hillsborough, 10 Nov. 1770, ‘The super-excellence of the soil.’

21 Judge Henderson to Tryon, 29 Sept. 1770.

22 Deposition of Ralph McNair, of 9th October, 1770.

23 Gov. Tryon to Sec. Hillsborough, 31 Jan. 1771.

24 ‘No testimony being present to prove him an accessory to the riots at Hillsborough.’ Tryon to the Sec. 31 Jan. 1771.

25 Tryon to Hillsborough, 31 Jan. 1771. Letter from Newbern, N. C. 5 Oct. 1770. Letter from a Gentleman in N. C. to his friend in New Jersey respecting the Regulators in North Carolina; in Pennsylvania Journal of 3 Oct. 1771, and in Boston Gazette, of 21 Oct. 1771.

26 Judge Martin, II. 269. ‘Husbands remained several days in jail before he could procure bail.’ Worse than that; several weeks, and was not bailed at all.

27 Tryon to Hillsborough, with the laws of the session.

28 See Acts of the Session. Caruther's Life of Caldwell, 77.

29 Martin's History of North Carolina, II. 269, 270.

30 MacDougall's Account, New s Gaol, Dec. 22, 2770, in New-York Gazette of 24 Dec. 1770, and in Boston Gazette, No. 822.

31 Journals of N. Y. Assembly for 10 Geo. III. pp. 44, 51, and 59.

32 Journals 11 Geo. III. p. 18.

33 Hutchinson to Mauduit, Boston, Dec. 1770; H. C. III. 68, 69, 70.

34 Samuel Adams to John Wilkes, Boston, 27 Dec. 1770.

35 Samuel Adams to Peter Timothy of Charleston, South Carolina, Boston, 21 Nov. 1770.

36 Lieut. Gov. Wm. Bull, private letter to Hillsborough, 5 Dec. 1770.

37 State of South Carolina, by Lieut. Gov. Bull, 30 Nov. 1770.

38 Lieut. Gov. Bull to the Secretary of State, 13 Dec. 1770.

39 Compare A. Eliot to T. Hollis, 26 Jan. 1771.

40 Grimaldi to Masserano in French Archives; Choiseul to Frances, 6 October, 1770; Choiseul to Frances, 7 October, 1770. Frances to Choiseul, 4 Nov. 1770; Choiseul to Frances, 4 Nov. 1770; Choiseul to Frances, 3 Dec. 1770.

41 Choiseul to Frances, 5 December, 1770. Si les Anglais la veulent, [la guerre] tout ce que je mande est inutile; mais vous serez temoin que je ne la voulois pas, comme on le suppose. Compare also the dispatches of the British Ambassador to Lord Weymouth, 14 and 16 December, 1770, which confirm exactly the desire of peace expressed by Choiseul.

42 King to Lord North, 19 Dec. 1770.

43 Frances to the Duke de Lavrilliere, interim Minister for Foreign Affairs 12 January, 1771.

44 Johnson's Thoughts on the Late Transactions respecting Falkland Islands. 1771.

45 Masere's Occasional Essays and Tracts, 178.

46 Gibbon's Memoirs of Himself.

47 Petition signed by one hundred and seventy-four, addressed to Chief Justice Martin, &c. &c.

48 Tryon to Hillsborough, 12 April, 1771.

49 Tryon to Hillsborough.

50 Colonels Frohock and Martin to Gov. Tryon, Salisbury, 18 March, 1771.

51 Deposition of Waightstill Avery. This deposition of one of Tryon's witnesses, taken alone, gives a very wrong view of the case. The letter of Frohock and Martin must be compared. They are adverse witnesses, but far more candid than Avery.

52 Report of Richard Jackson to the Board of Trade, on the Acts of the North Carolina Session, which began Dec. 5, 1771; 14 February, 1772.

53 From the letter of Fohock and Martin.

54 Letters of Tryon and of Martin; Caruthers in Life of Galdwell.

55 This account, given by the very officers of whom complaint was made, was the statement on the Government side, not of the Regulators. See Frohock and Martin to Tryon, 18 March, 1771.

56 Tryon to Hillsborough, 12 April, 1771.

57 Opinion of Maurice Moore, one of the Associate Judges. Jones's Defence, 60.

58 Tryon to Hillsborough, 1771.

59 The number of the army of Tryon is given exactly according to his own statement in a letter from New-York, 1 August, 1771. As the Regulators were not counted, their number is a matter of mere conjecture. Tryon puts it at two thousand. One newspaper account at the time says but three hundred took part in the battle. Compare the judicious Caruthers, Life of Caldwell, 147.

60 Gov. Martin to Hillsborough, 8 March, 1772.

61 Letter from North Carolina, 24 July, 1771.

62 Tryon to the people now assembled in arms, who style themselves Regulators.

63 Tryon to Hillsborough, ‘They left behind them little ammunition.’ Compare Caruthers.

64 Letter from North Carolina, 24 July, 1771.

65 Official return of the killed and wounded.

66 Martin's Hist. of North Carolina, II. 282.

67 Proclamation of Tryon, 17 May, and others.

68 Tryon's Proclamation of 11 June, excepting from the amnesty, “all concerned in blowing up Gen eral Waddel's ammunition in Mecklenburgh.”

69 Postscript to the same letter.

70 Tryon to Hillsborough, 1 August, 1771. ‘The commissary had got occasion to purchase any provision for the troops, from the 16th of May, till they quitted their settlements the 20th of June.’

71 For this there are contemporary statements in letters from North Carolina, of 22 July, and 12 August, 1771; in Boston Gazette, 849, 3, 1; and 853, 2, 3.

72 Hillsborough to Tryon, 11 Feb. 1771.

73 Martin to Hillsborough, 1771.

74 President Hazel of North Carolina Council to Hillsborough, 4 July, 1771.

75 Haywood's Hist. of Tennessee, 42. 1771.

76 Haywood's Hist. of Tennessee, 41; J. G. M. Ramsey's Annals of Tennessee, 107.

77 The nearest contemporary authority is Dunmore to Dartmouth, 16 May, 1774.

78 New-York Gazette of 9 Sept.

79 Tryon to Hillsborough, New-York, 1 August, 1771.

80 Boston Gazette, 22 July, 1771; 849, 2, 3.

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