The Colonial Williamsburg site has posted many issues of the Virginia Gazette, which was published in America during that included events like the French & Indian War, the Regulator rebellion, and the American Revolution.
I summarized some of the Gazette’s coverage of the first stage of the Regulator movement, . Today I’ll pick up where I left off and continue the story :
- Virginia Gazette,
- Reprints an address from the North Carolina assembly to Governor William Tryon, expressing their “indignation” over the “Outrages lately committed at Hillſborough, by a deluded People, under the Direction of their ſeditious Leaders” and says further that “we aſſure your Excellency that we will, with our utmoſt Zeal, join in any Meaſure that may beſt tend to wipe away a Stain thrown upon an Adminiſtration which every honeſt and intelligent Man among us muſt confeſs has, with uniform Uprightneſs, ſought the Proſperity and Perfection of this Community.” They also congratulate him on the new “Palace” he’s built for himself (with public funds). A second such address admits that “The Conduct of publick Officers in ſome Parts of this Province, perhaps, has given juſt Cauſe of Complaint,” and suggests this this is “the Conſequence of an inconſiſtent and oppreſſive Fee Bill [which] annexed Fees to unneceſſary Services, which in this Country are never performed; yet, ideal as they are, they are carefully attended to, and often received.” They promise to do something about it. They also suggest that the government consider redeeming all the paper currency in the province and removing it from legal tender as a way of ending a counterfeiting crisis. They then return to condemning the regulators: “The late daring and inſolent Attack made on the Superiour Court at Hillſborough, by the People who call themſelves Regulators, we hold in the utmoſt Deteſtation and Abhorrence. The deliberate and preconceived Malice with which it was contrived, and the brutal Fury with which it was executed, equally beſpeak them unawed by the Laws of their Country, inſenſible to every moral Duty, and wickedly diſaffected to Government itſelf. The diſſolute Principles and licentious Spirit by which theſe People are actuated, and ſtand united, render them too formidable for the ordinary Proceſs at Law. Senſible of this, Sir, we owe it to our Sovereign, our Conſtituents, and ourſelves, to adopt Meaſures at once ſpirited and effective.”
- Virginia Gazette,
- A dispatch dated from Williamsburg says: “We hear that the North Carolina Aſſembly have voted the Inſurgents in that Province Rebels, and intend purſuing vigorous Meaſures to reſtore the publick Tranquillity. Herman Huſband, one of the Ringleaders, and who is one of the Aſſembly, is committed to Priſon.”
- Virginia Gazette,
- This issue gives a report of a grand jury held in Newbern district on
to consider “a great Number of
Bills of Indictment, againſt the People called Regulators, ſixty one of
which they found.” Some excerpts from their “Preſentment”:
Whereas a Number of unthinking and deluded People, Inhabitants of the County of Orange, and of the neighbouring Counties in this Province, under the Influence and Direction of ſeveral wicked, ſeditious, evil deſigning, and diſaffected Perſons, have aſſumed to themſelves the Title of Regulators, and in open Defiance of the Laws of the Land, in great Numbers, under Arms, aſſembled together, violently reſiſted, inſulted, and beat, the Sheriffs and other Officers in the Execution of their Office, and expreſsly refuſed to pay their Shares of the publick Taxes laid by the General Aſſembly of the Province for the Support of Government; and at the laſt Superiour Court of Juſtice held for the Diſtrict of Hillſborough, in , aſſembled together, in a riotous and tumultuous Manner, barbarouſly inſulted and broke up that Court, cruelly beating and wounding the Officers thereof, deſtroying and pillaging the Houſes of ſuch Perſons as were obnoxious to their Ring-leaders, and have lately aſſembled themſelves in great Numbers, armed and arrayed in warlike Manner, and publickly avowing their Intention of marching to Newbern, and of carrying into Execution by Force their hoſtile Measures: We, the Grand Jury… do therefore preſent all ſuch wicked, ſeditious, evil deſigning, and diſaffected Perſons… as being Enemies to his Majeſty’s Perſon and Government…
- Virginia Gazette,
- This issue includes a dispatch dated that says:
Herman Huſbands, ſaid to be chief Ringleader in the late Commotions in North Carolina, and one of the Aſſembly, having been taken and impriſoned at Newbern, the Inſurgents (as they are called) ſo ſeriouſly threatened to beſiege that Town, to releaſe him, that a Body of Militia was raiſed to oppoſe them. On a Bill of Indictment was prefered againſt the ſaid Huſbands, at the Court of Oyer and Terminer; but the Grand Jury not finding the Bill, he was diſcharged, and the Quiet of the Province is ſaid to be reſtored.
- Virginia Gazette,
- Apparently the release of Husband didn’t quite mollify the rebels. An
dispatch from New York says:
A Gentleman, in about eight Days from Newbern (in North Carolina) reports that the Regulators, who upon the Releaſe of Huſbands ſeemed to have been appeaſed, had begun a new Inſurrection; and that Governour Tryon, with a conſiderable Body of the Militia, was preparing to march againſt them.
- Virginia Gazette,
- Describes the departure, from Newbern, on , of “his Excellency the Governour, attended by ſeveral of the Members of his Majeſty’s Council, and the principal Gentlemen of the Town, …at the Head of near three Hundred Men, a Train of Artillery, and a Number of Baggage Waggons, for the Settlements of the Regulators, in the Heart of which his Excellency will ſoon be encamped at the Head of two Thouſand Men, which are collected from the ſeveral Counties of this Province…” The article goes on to describe the Regulators as “a Body of Men, who, under Colour of redreſſing nominal Grievances, have had Nothing more in View than overturning the civil Government of this Province, and reducing it to a State of Anarchy and Confuſion.”
- Virginia Gazette,
- This issue gives the first account of the Battle of Alamance:
By Letters from Orange County, in North Carolina, we learn that Governour Tryon and the Regulators met on . The Regulators were aſſembled to the Number of twelve or fifteen Hundred Men; and their two Chiefs, Huſbands and Hunter, had a Conference with the Governour, who allowed them two Hours to lay down their Arms and repair to their reſpective Homes, otherwiſe he ſhould treat them as Rebels. The Time being very near expired, and Nothing done on the Part of the Regulators, and the Governour finding, by their Motions, that they were determined to give him Battle, in which Caſe he ſhould have to cope with almoſt three to one, his Party not conſiſting of more than five Hundred Men, a few Minutes before the Expiration of the Time his Excellency gave Directions for his little Army to open to the right and left and uncover the Artillery, which they did in the utmoſt good Order, and immediately poured in upon the Regulators a moſt dreadful Fire from their Cannon and Muſketry, which did great Execution, there not being above fifty Yards Diſtance between the two Parties; and killed, it is ſaid, to the Amount of a Hundred and ſixty Men. Although the Regulators were thrown into the greateſt Confuſion, they returned the Governour’s Fire, killing ſeven of his Men, and wounding about forty. Near a Hundred of the Regulators are taken Priſoners.
We have not been able to learn what has happened ſince the Battle; but it is ſaid the two Chiefs of the Regulators had ſent a Challenge to the Governour to fight him and his Party that Day ſe’nnight.
- Virginia Gazette,
- Includes this more thorough description of the battle:
An Authentick Relation of the Battle of Alamance, .
On , his Excellency received certain Information that the Inſurgents were aſſembled at about ſix Miles from the Camp at Great Alamance. A Council of War being called, it was unanimouſly reſolved to march againſt them. Accordingly, on , the Army leaving the Tents ſtanding, and all the Baggage and Proviſions in Camp, under the Guard of a Field Officer and about fifty Men, began to march at about eight o’Clock in the Morning, and advanced to an old Field within Half a Mile of the Rebels; when his Excellency formed the Order of Battle, in two Lines, Part of the Artillery on each Wing, and the Remainder in the Center of the firſt Line. His Excellency then ſent one of his Aid de Camps, and the Sheriff of Orange, with a Letter to the Rebels, requiring them to lay down their Arms, ſurrender their outlawed Ringleaders, and ſubmit themſelves to the Laws of their Country, allowing them one Hour to accept of the Terms, to prevent the effuſion of Blood, which muſt enſue, as they were at that Time in a State of War and Rebellion againſt their King, their Country, and their Laws. In the mean Time, the Army kept advancing nearer to the Enemy. The Meſſenger ſoon afterwards returned, and reported to his Excellency that the Rebels had received his Offers with Diſdain; and the general Cry among them was, Battle! Battle! Immediately after a conſiderable Body of them appeared in Sight, and waved their Hats, daring the Men to advance; upon which the Army continued moving towards them, until they were within thirty Yards of the Enemy, when his Excellency ſent an Aid de Camp to inform them that the Hour was elapſed, and that he ſhould immediatley fire. They called out that he might fire and be damned. Upon the Return of the Aid de Camp the Action began, and a hot Fire was kept up on both Sides for about an Hour and a Quarter, when it abated a little from the Enemy. The Cannon was ordered to ceaſe firing, and the whole Army to advance. Then the firſt Line, after engaging three Quarters of an Hour longer, drove the Enemy out of the Field, and gained a complete Victory. Their Camp was taken, with many Horſes, Arms, Ammunition, Clothes, and Proviſions. The Army, after having Care taken of their Wounded, got back to their Camp by Sunſet. It is computed that the Rebels muſt have had killed in the Battle about one Hundred Men, two Hundred more wounded, and upwards of twenty taken Priſoners. The Loſs of the Loyaliſts was nine killed, and about ſixty wounded. The Number of the Rebels in the Battle, from the beſt Information, could not be leſs than two Thouſand three Hundred. Our Army did not exceed one Thouſand Men, of which not more than ſix Hundred were engaged. The Artillery was well ſerved, and did great Execution. The Behaviour of the Officers and Men, on this Occaſion, will appear by what the Governour gave in Orders the next Day.
- Virginia Gazette,
- This issue gives yet another account, dated that contradicts in many details both of the above (already
mutually contradictory) accounts, and reads even more like it came from
the Governor’s press secretary:
His Excellency having reached Hillſborough, with about one Thouſand three Hundred of the Troops, and finding the Regulators were at about forty Miles Diſtance above him, embodied and in Arms, to oppoſe the provincial Forces under his Command, immediately marched from thence to attack them, in Caſe they ſhould refuſe to comply with the Terms he offered them; which were, to give up their Principals, lay down their Arms, and ſwear Allegiance to his Majeſty.
On , being within a Mile of them, his Excellency received a Meſſenger from them, with Terms of an Accommodation; but they, being wholly inadmiſſible, he marched to within a ſmall Diſtance of them and formed, in one Line about Half his Men, the other Half forming a ſecond Line, at about two Hundred Yards Diſtance, by Way of Reſerve. The Regulators, to the Number of at leaſt two Thouſand five Hundred, immediately formed within twenty or thirty Paces Diſtance, and behaved in a moſt daring and deſperate Manner. His Excellency again propoſed Terms to them, which they ſpurned at, and cried out for Battle. His Excellency then immediately ordered the Signal of Battle to be given, which was a Diſcharge of the Artillery, when inſtantly enſued a very heavy and dreadful Firing on both Sides, for near two Hours and a Half; when the Regulators, being hard preſſed by our Men, and ſorely galled by the Artillery, which played inceſſantly on them with Grape Shot, gave Way on all Sides, and were purſued to the Diſtance of a Mile through the Woods and Buſhes, our Troops making great Slaughter among them, as they did not make a regular Retreat, but ran in great Confuſion to all Quarters from whence they apprehended the leaſt Danger.
The Killed and Wounded on our Side, in this Battle, through the immediate Interpoſition of divine Providence, are very inconsiderable; the Killed not exceeding ten, and the Wounded about ſixty, among which is the Honourable Samuel Cornell, Eſquire, of this Town [Newbern], who received a ſlight Wound in his Thigh. But of the Regulators three Hundred were found dead on the Field next Morning, and a very great Number wounded. About twenty or thirty were made Priſoners; and chief of their Ammunition and Baggage, conſiſting of hunting Shirts, Wallets of Dumplings, Jackets, Breeches, Powder Horns, Shot Bags, &c. were taken, with a Number of Horſes.
The glorious and ſignal Victory of this Day, gained over a very formidable Body of lawleſs Deſperadoes, under divine Providence, is much to be attributed to the cool, intrepid, and Soldier-like Behaviour of his Excellency the Governour, who was in the Centre of the Line during the whole Engagement, and in the moſt imminent Danger, having had his Bayonet ſhot away with a Muſket Ball. Nothing could equal the Firmneſs and Intrepidity with which our Troops behaved, the Craven and Beaufort Detachments, on the right Wing, ſuſtaining a very heavy Fire for near Half an Hour, and the Carteret and Orange Detachments, on the left Wing, performing Wonders, for raw and unexperienced Militia, who ſcarce have had Time ſince their enliſting to learn the Exerciſe.
We have the greateſt Probability to think that this ſignal Victory will cool the regulating Spirit, and put a final End to the moſt formidable and dangerous Rebellion that ever aroſe in America; but if they are ſtill infatuated, and will ruſh on to their Deſtruction, his Excellency is now joined by the Wake, Johnſton, and Cumberland Detachments, alſo by Colonel Waddell from Saliſbury, and in a much better Condition to reduce them to Obedience.
We hear from North Carolina that the Regulators have entirely diſperſed ſince their late Defeat; that their Ringleaders have fled to the Miſſiſippi; that one of them has been executed, and it was expected more would undergo the ſame Fate; and that Numbers of them had come in, taken the Oaths to the Government, as required of them by his Excellency Governour Tryon, and made the proper Submiſſion.
- Virginia Gazette,
- This issue reprints the first real dissent from the official story, what
it describes as an “Extract of a letter from the back parts of
If Governor Tryon had been as fond of checking the officers of government for their unheard of oppreſſions to the poor back inhabitants, as he was of ſhooting thoſe unhappy people, Carolina would not now have felt the horrors of her children murdering one another. He pretended to give the oppreſſed people two hours to conſider, whether they would fight or ſurrender, but as ſoon as their chief men got into a conſultation, he began with a dreadful fire on them, from his artillery, with grape ſhot which did great execution.
- Virginia Gazette,
- A more thorough dissent, this time in the form of an “Extract of a letter
from a perſon in Carolina to his friend in Pennſylvania, dated
I am ſorry I have to inform you, that our country and the Governor have come to open war. The juſtneſs of the cauſe, on the ſide of the country, during a conteſt for this year or two paſt, has gained them ſuch a majority all over this province, that it was in vain the Governor and officers tried to raiſe the militia, before the laſt ſitting of our Aſſembly, when a law paſſed, under the title of a Riot Act; whereby, they ſay, the Governor is inveſted with as arbitrary a power as the King of France has. However that may be, it is fact, that he has collected, out of the meaner ſort, an army of 1500 or 2000 men, by way of enliſting for bounty money and high wages, and promiſes of equal ſhare of plunder; with which army he is paſſing through the country, deſtroying houſes, fields of wheat, corn and orchards, and taking from the inhabitants all manner of proviſions. This uſage, never heard of in America before, ſuddenly raiſed the country very unanimouſly, who firſt ſurrounded a party of about 4 or 500, commanded by Col. Waddel, and prevailed on him to retreat, convincing him and his officers, that there was not occaſion for ſuch hoſtile proceedings; and a few days after met the Governor, hoping to prevail with him in the ſame manner; but he ſoon fired on them, with both great and ſmall arms, about 15 minutes after they had his promiſe of an hour to conſider of his terms. The country, who had not the leaſt order or diſcipline, but as every man had ran together, as it were, to quench, devouring flames, the moſt part without arms or ammunition, fled at the firſt fire. About 300 ſtood and returned the fire for three quarters of an hour, in which time the Governor ſtruck his colours [?], hoiſted a white flag, and beat a parley, but the country, being quite ignorant of any ſignals or terms of war, kept a conſtant firing, as long as their ammunition laſted, and then left the ground.
There were ſeven killed on the ſpot, and two more fell, after running ſome diſtance; eight more are ſince dead of their wounds, and two or three more not yet out of danger. The number of ſlain on the Governor’s ſide is uncertain, as he keeps it as much as poſſible a ſecret; but, by the beſt accounts, it amounted to 57 on the ſpot, with a proportionable number of wounded. The Governor took 20 or 30 priſoners, one of whom he hanged the next day. The ſlain, on the ſide of the country, lay unburied, except two, who were ſtolen away by their families. The Governor makes all the advantage he can of this affair, and it is ſupposed aims to have all their lands forfeited; the conſequence of this affair is yet unknown, numbers are coming in, and ſubmitting to certain terms, &c. others are ſtanding out, and collecting in bodies, and many people are of opinion, that the moſt of the inhabitants will leave this province, before they will live under the intolerable oppreſſion and ſlavery that naturally muſt attend a conqueſt, made by men of ſuch principles.
There never was any people more abuſed by authority than this country has been, which would be too tedious to relate in a letter, but in a very ſhort way The main ſubſtance of the difference was in the ſheriffs of moſt counties not having ſettled their accounts for 8 or 10 years paſt; nor the Treaſurers having ſettled accounts with the public for upwards of 20 years paſt; ſo that by computation they were, on the whole, eighty or one hundred thouſand pounds behind. The honeſt party in the adminiſtration, appeared to the country to be too weak to bring theſe over-grown members to an account; therefore, to ſtrengthen their hands, great part of the country ſtopped payment of any taxes but what were agreeable to law, and this of conſequence could not be known, till theſe public accounts were ſettled. Next to this the officers had extorted unlawful fees, in an unreaſonable manner, and when the country proſecuted them, could get no redreſs, or any kind of fair trial, but on the contrary, the proſecutors were like to be ruined, by ſuits commenced againſt them by officers, for damages, ſcandal, &c. and by means of picked juries, compoſed of the officers themſelves, who were indicted, and liable to indictments; ſo that a General Court writ, againſt ever ſo innocent a man, became as dangerous and dreadful as a piſtol clapped to his breaſt by a robber, for nothing would ſatisfy but a ſurrender of all you poſſeſſed; this cauſed riots, tumults, &c.
In the Aſſembly it was propoſed to ſend a committee of enquiry into thoſe counties where the tumults happened, but was ſtrenuouſly oppoſed by the courty party, and put aſide; but in a private conference among the members, Mr. Knox, and Mr. Lewis, were appointed, and they rid up to the next General Court, to be held in Rowan county, for the diſtrict of Saliſbury, when the whole body of officers of that diſtrict, conſcious of their guilt, and convinced of the upright and good intentions of the country, came to an amicable and firm agreement, under hand and ſeal, to refund back all they had extorted and taken contrary to law, which was to be decided by arbitrators, unanimously choſen by either ſide; both officers and people were heartily ſincere in this agreement; but the Governor and officers in the five other diſtricts of the province, reſented it in the higheſt degree, and immediately entered into an aſſociation to prevent its taking place, by ruſhing up into the ſettlements of the inſurgents, as they call them, with an armed force, and reſtoring peace on conſtitutional principles, as the Governor termed it in a letter to Col. Trohawk, wherein he told him, he ſhould anſwer for entering into that agreement at the tribunal of his country. It is matter of fact, that the officers of this district had inclined to comply, and make the country reſtitution, above a year before this, but were deterred by the officers of the other five diſtricts, no doubt, from a fear they muſt come to do the ſame juſtice.
Huſbands, who was a principal man in proſecuting every legal method for juſtice and redreſs, has been accuſed as principal in the acts of riots, &c. he has been made priſoner, and ſtood trial three times on that account, and cleared each time by proclamation. The Court party, deſpairing of finding him guillty in the ordinary courſe of proceedings, and according to the Engliſh laws, makes a particular law for that purpoſe, to continue one year, by which law, without any precept, or his knowledge, and unheard, finds a bill againſt him for a riot, aſſault, &c. for which they came with the aforeſaid army, and deſtroyed his houſe, plantation, and goods; from which, I ſuppoſe, it is to be granted now that he is guilty in the eye of that particular law, though he is really clear, and quite innocent of the charge. Many others, as well as he, have ſhared the ſame fate; ſome were 40 miles diſtant from the place, at the time the crimes laid to their charge were committed.
- Virginia Gazette,
- This issue includes an article that tries to patch up the official account
of the battle. It also includes “a Letter from Brunſwick County, dated
” that says:
I can give you no particular Account of the Action between the Governour and Mob in Carolina, only that the latter were defeated, with the Loſs of about two Hundred Men in killed and wounded. It is ſaid they are ſtill in Arms, and that there is Reaſon to apprehend another Engagement.
That Governour Tryon had under him a Thouſand Men, and that the Regulators amounted to three and twenty Hundred; that his Excellency was much inſulted by them, particularly on Fellow, whom he ſhot dead on the Spot, as he was approaching him; that this happened but a very ſhort Time before the Expiration of the two Hours allowed them by the Governour, upon which the Engagement began; that both Parties fought with great Animoſity, for two Hours and upwards; that the Artillery was diſcharged ſix and thirty Times, and that one Shot ſtruck a Tree, which in its Fall killed thirty odd of the Regulators; that the Governour had his Horſe killed under him, and the Breech of the Gun he had in his Hand ſhot away; that a Hundred and ſixty of the Regulators were killed, and two Hundred wounded, forty of whom were taken Priſoners; that the Regulators were badly conducted, and fought in the utmoſt Confuſion, their Ranks being, in ſome Places, a Hundred Men deep, and that many of them were unarmed; that the Governour had only two Men killed, and ſixty wounded. One Man, it is ſaid, of the Governour’s Party, was ſo much incenſed againſt the Regulators, by whom he had been threatened, that he was determined upon an ample Revenge, or loſing his Life; for it is thought he killed upwards of thirty with his own Hands, walking backwards and forwards on the Flanks of his Party during the Engagement, and charging with as much Coolneſs as if hunting of Squirrels. The Regulators have loſt a Number of Horſes, Guns, and Carriages; to the Amount, it is ſaid, of more than a Thouſand Pounds. — The Families of theſe poor deluded People are much to be pitied, as they muſt be reduced to very great Diſtreſs. The Province likewiſe, in general, is in the greateſt Diſorder. And however faulty thoſe who ſtile themſelves Regulators may have been, as we learn that the Cauſe of their Complaints has been removed (their Leaders, it is probable, being bad Counſellors, and to have urged them on from one Step of Rebellion to another) it ought to be a Leſſon for all good Governments to ſuffer no Set of Men, under the Sanction of Authority, to fleece the People.
We have juſt received an Account that the Regulators have been attacked and defeated by Colonel Waddell. The Engagement was long and obſtinate. The Conquerors were but four Hundred in Number, and the vanquiſhed a Thouſand. The Ringleaders of the Regulators have all abſconded.
- Virginia Gazette,
- This article highlights the ruthlessness with which Tryon’s forces pursued
their aims. Tryon would get a reputation for usual cruelty toward civilian
populations when he led Loyalist troops during the American Revolution,
but it seems he already had tendencies in this direction:
Since our laſt the Honourable Samuel Cornell, Eſquire, returned home from our Troops in Orange County, and brings a certain Account of the Regulators being entirely broken and diſperſed; and that [ſome?] thirteen or fourteen Hundred of them have laid down their Arms, taken the Oaths of Allegiance to his Majeſty, and returned to their Habitations in Peace.
His Excellency the Governour, after the Battle, marched into the Plantations of Huſbands, Hunter, and ſeveral others of the outlawed Chiefs of the Regulators, and laid them waſte; they having moſt of them eſcaped from the Battle, and are ſince fled. A Reward of one Thouſand Acres of Land, and one Hundred Dollars, is offered by his Excellency for Huſbands, Hunter, Butler, and Rednap Howell; and ſeveral of the Regulators have been premitted to go in Queſt of them, on leaving their Children Hoſtages.
The Lands of the outlawed Regulators are to be ſold by the Sheriff of the County where they lie, agreeable to Act of Aſſembly; and many of these are of great Value, being perhaps the beſt Lands on this Continent, particularly Herman Huſbands’s, who had growing on his Plantation about fifty Acres of as fine Wheat as perhaps ever grew, with Clover Meadows equal to any in the northern Colonies; but (infatuated, unhappy Men) about four Hundred Head of Horses, which were turned in upon it by our Troops, in a few Days left it without a Spear of Corn, Graſs, or Herbage growing, and without a Houſe or Fence ſtanding. A melancholy Conſideration, but made neceſſary by the Laws of War.
Thus has his Excellency the Governour, at the Head of a Handful of Troops, compared to the Number of the Regulators, through the immediate [?] of divine Providence, broke this dangerous and daring Confederacy…
- Virginia Gazette,
- A brief note, datelined from Williamsburg, confirms that most Regulators have surrendered and taken a loyalty oath, but notes that Tryon and Waddell have moved on to Saliſbury for a mopping up operation “upon receiving Advice that a large Body of Regulators, who had not been out before, were aſſembled in that Neighbourhood, and intended giving him Battle.”
- Virginia Gazette,
- Reprints a letter to Governor
Tryon from “Leonidas” (now believed to be Thomas Young,
or so I hear, who would later play a prominent role in the Boston Tea
Party) printed in the Massachusetts Spy (which
also apparently championed the Regulators on other occasions, but I
haven’t looked into those archives yet):
As we hear the Preſſes in North Carolina are entirely at your Devotion, and even theſe confeſs it is dangerous to reaſon in Reach of your Artillery, I will preſume to aſk you ſome Queſtions in this Channel, which, though ſurrounded by Ships of War, dares tell the boldeſt Tyrant he is a Traitor and a Villain. Theſe Queſtions you may anſwer as you pleaſe; or, being so notable a Patron of Pettifoggers, you may, by a Salary, prevail on our redoubted Impavidus to vindicate your Avarice, Ambition, Injuſtice, Perjury, Perfidy, and Murder.
Query 1. Was it not the evident Deſign, and an Object that lay near the Heart of that Father of his People, George the ſecond, that the Carolinas ſhould be ſettled with induſtrious Huſbandmen?
Query 2. Would not your Fame have had a better Chance of reaching future Generations, in the Condition a good Man ſhould wiſh, had you encouraged this gracious Undertaking by a ſtrict and impartial Adminiſtration of Juſtice among your People, than by managing their Repreſentatives in ſuch a Manner as to impoveriſh a whole Province in building a Palace for you?
Query 3. Is not your avowed Connivance at the enormous Villainies of the Banditti of Robbers, your Judges, Sheriffs, and Pettifoggers, a Tranſlation of all their accumulated Iniquities to yourſelf.
Query 4. By what Laws do you vindicate the Trial of an able and generous Planter by a Court Martial, and actually inflicting a Hundred Laſhes upon him, for refuſing to take Arms againſt his Brethren, drove by your intolerable and multiplied Oppreſſions to defend themſelves?
Query 5. How do you account for the acknowledged Perfidy of opening on a People with a full Diſcharge of Artillery, &c. while under the ſacred Bond of a Treaty, the Obſervance of which might have been expected even from a Saracen?
Query 6. What ſhall we in future think of the Term Loyaliſt, ſhould it continue any Time to be excluſively applied to Extortioners, Traitors, Robbers, and Murderers?
Your direct and ſatisfactory Anſwer to each of theſe intereſting Interrogatories is demanded by — Leonidas.
- Virginia Gazette,
- This issue has a brief note saying that Governor Tryon had left for New York (where he had been appointed to be Governor before the battle of Almance broke out). “Six of the Regulators have been executed; and it is ſaid that Hunter, one of their Chiefs, is taken.”
- Virginia Gazette,
- This issue prints some fairly transparent propaganda, datelined Newbern, , to the effect that all of the Regulators have “opened their Eyes” and realized their wrongs, while “ſeveral intercepted Letters from the Regulating Chiefs” expose “that they intended to ſeize the Government, though it was a profound Secret among themſelves, and not ſuffered to tranſpire among the common People, who were to have been led on by Degrees, with the Pretence of redreſſing Grievances, till their Succeſſes againſt the Provincial Forces (which they made no Doubt of) ſhould have infatuated their Minds and ripened them for the Execution of the grand Plot.”
- Virginia Gazette,
- Courts Martial continued to persecute dissidents in North Carolina,
according to another Newbern dispatch, dated
We are adviſed from Dobbs County that ſince the Return of the military Gentlemen of that County from the Expedition very ſpirited Meaſures have been purſued with a Number of Gentry who have been diſcovered to have held regulating Principles, and were ready to have joined the Regulators had they ſucceeded againſt the Provincial Forces. About ten of theſe People have been apprehended, tried by a Court Martial, and ſeverely flogged at the Halberts; and, what is very amazing, a Perſon of that County, of conſiderable Property, has thought proper to decamp rather than undergo the Diſcipline of the Halbert, which he muſt have ſubmitted to, for being very deeply tinged with regulating notions.
That the Idle, the Diſſolute, and Abandoned, who have Nothing to loſe, ſhould join in oppoſing Government, excites no Wonder, becauſe, in the general Confuſion, they have a Chance to mend their Fortunes; but the Man of real Property to riſks his Life and Fortune on ſo precarious a Tenure muſt be a Fool or a Madman, or actuated by ſome malignant Principle of Revenge or Ambition, that degrades human Nature, and places him below the Brute Creation, the Ferocity of whoſe Nature prompts them to devour their own Species.
- Virginia Gazette,
- An interesting note here, from our now-familiar Newbern partisan,
datelined , but partially
obscured by a blot:
By a Veſſel in a ſhort Paſſage from Philadelphia we have a certain Account that Harmon Huſband is now at Wilmington, a little Town juſt below Philadelphia, goes much in Publick, and is highly careſſed by a Multitude, who he every Day entertains with the tragical Story of Governour Tryon’s Maſſacre of his Brethren in Iniquity in North Carolina, and is undoubtedly the Author of the many extraordinary Publications we find in the Pennſylvania Journal. It ſhould ſeem exceedingly unaccountable that a Perſon of Harmon Huſband’s Addreſs and Penetration ſhould be able to induce [?] a Number of People, whom we find eſpouſing his Cauſe, to [?] Governour of this Province, chief of his Majeſty’s [?] forty Members of the Aſſembly, and a very conſiderable [?] gentlemen of the firſt Fortunes and Families in this Province, [?] the Battle of Alamance, ſhould all be corrupted, all in League [?] and oppreſs a Set of harmleſs induſtrious Men, who were ſtriving hard againſt the Iron Hand of Oppreſſion! The Doctrine is abſurd, and ridiculous. The leaſt Reflection muſt compel a Belief that Something was wrong, Something amiſs among theſe People; eſpecially when among the provincial Laws of the Province, publiſhed by Authority, are to be found Acts for redreſſing and removing every Grievance that could poſſibly have an Exiſtence among them.
- Virginia Gazette,
- This issue prints a letter from “Atticus” (who has not been
authoritatively identified as far as I know) to Governor Tryon, lambasting
him for promoting submission to the Stamp Act, and for wasting public
money on his own personal mansion, thereby provoking the Regulator
rebellion. Here is how the letter-writer describes that rebellion, and
the character of the man who suppressed it:
Four or five Hundred ignorant People, who called themſelves Regulators, took it into their Head to quarrel with their Repreſentative, a Gentleman particularly honored with your Excellency’s Eſteem. They fooliſhly charged him with every Diſtreſs they felt; and, in Revenge, ſhot two or three Muſket Balls through his Houſe. They at the ſame Time reſcued a Horſe, which had been ſeized for the publick Tax. Theſe Crimes were puniſhable in the Courts of Law, and at that Time the Criminals were amenable to legal Proceſs. Your Excellency and your confidential Friends, it ſeems, were of a different Opinion. All your Duty could poſſibly require of you on this Occaſion, if it required any Thing at all, was to direct a Proſecution againſt the Offenders. You ſhould have carefully avoided becoming a Party in the Diſpute. But, Sir, your Genius could not lie ſtill; you enliſted yourſelf a Volunteer in this Service, and entered into a Negotiation with the Regulators, which at once diſgraced you and encouraged them. They deſpiſed the Governour who had degraded his own Character by taking Part in a private Quarrel, and inſulted the Man whom they conſidered as perſonally their Enemy. The Terms of Accommodation your Excellency had offered them were treated with Contempt. What they were, I never knew; they could not have related to publick Offences; theſe belong to another Juriſdiction. All Hopes of ſettling the mighty Conteſt by Treaty ceaſing, you prepared to decide it by Means more agreeable to your martial Diſpoſition, an Appeal to the Sword. You took the Field in at the Head of ten or twelve Hundred Men, and publiſhed an oral Manifeſto, the Subſtance of which was, that you had taken up Arms to protect a Superior Court of Juſtice from Inſult. Permit me here to aſk you, Sir, why you were apprehenſive for the Court? Was the Court apprehenſive for itſelf? Did the Judges, or the Attorney-general addreſs your Excellency for Protection? So far from it, Sir, if theſe Gentlemen are to be believed, they never entertained the leaſt Suſpicion of any Inſult, unleſs it was that, which they afterwards experienced from the undue Influence you offered to extend to them, and the military Diſplay of Drums, Colors, and Guards, with which they were ſurrounded and diſturbed. How fully has your Conduct, on a like Occaſion ſince, teſtified that you acted in this Inſtance from Paſſion, and not from Principle! In the Regulators forcibly obſtructed the Proceedings of Hillſborough Superior Court, obliged the Officers to leave it, and blotted out the Records. A little before the next Term, when their Contempt of Courts was ſufficiently proved, you wrote an inſolent Letter to the Judges, and Attorney General, commanding them to attend to it. Why did you not protect the Court at this Time? You will bluſh at the Anſwer, Sir. The Conduct of the Regulators, at the preceding Term, made it more than probable that thoſe Gentlemen would be inſulted at this, and you were not unwilling to ſacrifice them to increaſe the Guilt of your Enemies.
Your Excellency ſaid, that you had armed to protect a Court. Had you ſaid to revenge the inſult you and your Friends had received, it would have been more generally credited in this Country. The Men for the Trial of whom the Court was thus extravagantly protected, of their own Accord, ſqueezed through a Crowd of Soldiers, and ſurrendered themſelves, as if they were bound to do ſo by their Recognizance.
Some of theſe People were convicted, fined and impriſoned; which put an End to a Piece of Knight Errantry, equally aggravating to the Populace and burthenſome to the Country. On this Occaſion, Sir, you were alike ſucceſſful in the Diffuſion of a military Spirit through the Colony and in the warlike Exhibition you ſet before the Publick; you at once diſpoſed the Vulgar to Hoſtilities, and proved the Legality of arming, in Caſes of Diſpute, by Example. Thus warranted by Precedent and tempered by Sympathy, popular Diſcontent ſoon became Reſentment and Oppoſition; Revenge ſuperſeded Juſtice, and Force the Laws of the Country; Courts of Law were treated with Contempt, and Government itſelf ſet at Defiance. For upwards of two Months was the Frontier Part of the Country left in a State of perfect Anarchy. Your Excellency then thought fit to conſult the Repreſentatives of the People, who preſented you a Bill which you paſſed into a Law. The Deſign of this Act was to puniſh paſt Riots in a new Juriſdiction, to create new Offences and to ſecure the Collection of the publick Tax; which, ever ſince the Province had been ſaddled with a Palace, the Regulators had refuſed to pay. The Juriſdiction for holding Pleas of all capital Offences was, by a former Law, confined to the particular Diſtrict in which they were committed. This Act did not change that Juriſdiction; yet your Excellency, in the Fullneſs of your Power, eſtabliſhed a new One for the Trial of ſuch crimes in a different Diſtrict. Whether you did this through Ignorance or Deſign can only be determined in your own Breaſt; it was equally violative of a ſacred Right, every Britiſh Subject is entitled to, of being tried by his Neighbors, and a poſitive Law of the Province you yourſelf had ratified. In this foreign Juriſdiction, Bills of Indictment were preferred, and found as well for Felonies as Riots againſt a Number of Regulators; they refuſed to ſurrender themſelves within the Time limited by the Riot Act, and your Excellency opened your third Campaign. Theſe Indictments charged the Crimes to have been committed in Orange County in a diſtinct Diſtrict from that in which the Court was held. The Superior Court Law prohibits Proſecution for capital Offences in any other Diſtrict than that in which they were committed. What Diſtinctions the Gentlemen of the Long Robe might make on ſuch an Occaſion I do not know, but it appears to me thoſe Indictments might as well have been found in your Excellency’s Kitchen; and give me Leave to tell you, Sir, that a Man is not bound to anſwer to a Charge that a Court has no Authority to make, nor doth the Law puniſh a Neglect to perform that, which it does not command. The Riot Act declared thoſe only outlawed who refuſed to anſwer to Indictments legally found. Thoſe who had been capitally charged were illegally indicted, and could not be Outlaws; yet your Excellency proceeded againſt them as ſuch. I mean to expoſe your Blunders, Sir, not to defend their conduct; that was as inſolent and daring as the deſperate State your Adminiſtration had reduced them to could poſſibly occaſion. I am willing to give you full Credit for every Service you have rendered this Country. Your active and gallant Behaviour, in extinguiſhing the Flame you yourſelf had kindled, does you great Honour. For once your military Talents were uſeful to the Province; you bravely met in the Field, and vanquiſhed, an Hoſt of Scoundrels, whom you had made intrepid by Abuſe. It ſeems difficult to determine, Sir, whether your Excellency is more to be admired for your Skill in creating the Cauſe, or your Bravery in ſuppreſſing the Effect. This ſingle Action would have blotted out for ever, Half the Evils of your Adminiſtration; but alas, Sir! the Conduct of the General after his Victory, was more diſgraceful to the Hero who obtained it, than that of the Man before it had been to the Governour. Why did you ſtain ſo great an Action with the Blood of a Priſoner who was in a State of Inſanity? The Execution of James Few was inhuman; that miſerable Wretch was entitled to Life till Nature, or the Laws of his Country, deprived him of it. The Battle of the Alamance was over; the Soldier was crowned with Succeſs, and the Peace of the Province reſtored. There was no Neceſſity for the infamous Example of an arbitrary Execution, without Judge or Jury. I can freely forgive you, Sir, for killing Robert Thompſon, at the Beginning of the Battle; he was your Priſoner, and was making his Eſcape to fight againſt you. The Laws of Self Preſervation ſanctified the Action, and juſtly entitle your Excellency to an Act of Indemity.
The Sacrifice of Few, under its criminal Circumſtances, could neither atone for his Crime nor abate your Rage; this Taſk was reſerved for his unhappy Parents. Your Vengeance, Sir, in this Inſtance, it ſeems, moved in a retrograde Direction to that propoſed in the ſecond Commandment againſt Idolaters; you viſited the Sins of the Child upon the Father, and, for Want of the third and fourth Generation to extend it to, collaterally divided it between Brothers and Siſters. The heavy Affliction with which the untimely Death of a Son had burthened his Parents, was ſufficient to have cooled the Reſentment of any Man whoſe Heart was ſuſceptible of the Feelings of Humanity; yours, I am afraid, is not a Heart of that Kind. If it is, why did you add to the Diſtreſſes of that Family? Why refuſe the Petition of the Town of Hillſborough in Favour of them and unrelentingly deſtroy, as far as you could, the Means of their future Exiſtence? It was cruel, Sir, and unworthy a Soldier.
Your Conduct to others after your Succeſs, whether it reſpected Perſon or Property, was as lawleſs as it was unneceſſarily expenſive to the Colony. When your Excellency had exemplified the Power of Government in the Death of a Hundred Regulators, the Survivors to a Man became Proſelytes to Government; they readily ſwallowed your new coined Oath, to be obedient to the Laws of the Province, and to pay the publick Taxes. It is a Pity, Sir, that in deviſing this Oath you had not attended to the Morals of thoſe People. You might eaſily have reſtrained every criminal Inclination, and have made them good Men, as well as good Subjects. The Battle of the Alamance had equally diſpoſed them to moral and to political Converſion; there was no Neceſſity, Sir, when the People were reduced to Obedience, to ravage the Country or to inſult Individuals.
Had your Excellency Nothing elſe in View than to enforce a Submiſſion to the Laws of the Country, you might ſafely have diſbanded the Army within ten Days after your Victory; in that Time the Chiefs of the Regulators were run away, and their deluded Followers had returned to their Homes. Such a Meaſure would have ſaved the Province twenty Thouſand Pounds at leaſt. But, Sir, you had farther Employment for the Army; you were, by an extraordinary Buſtle in adminiſtering Oaths, and diſarming the Country, to give a ſerious Appearance of Rebellion to the Outrage of a Mob; you were to aggravate the Importance of your own Services by changing a general Diſlike of your Adminiſtration into Diſaffection to his Majeſty’s Perſon and Government, and the riotous Conduct that Diſlike had occaſioned into premeditated Rebellion. This Scheme, Sir, is really an ingenious One; if it ſucceeds you may poſſibly be rewarded for your Services with the Honor of Knighthood.
, you were buſied in ſecuring the Allegiance of Rioters, and levying Contributions of Beef and Flower. You occaſionally amuſed yourſelf with burning a few Houſes, treading down Corn, inſulting the Suſpected, and holding Courts Martial. Theſe Courts took Cognizance of civil as well as military Offences, and even extended their Juriſdiction to ill Breeding and Want of good Manners. One Johnſton, who was a reputed Regulator, but whoſe greateſt Crime, I believe, was writing an impudent Letter to your Lady, was ſentenced, in one of theſe military Courts, to receive five Hundred Laſhes, and received two Hundred and fifty of them accordingly. But, Sir, however exceptionable your Conduct may have been on this Occaſion, it bears little Proportion to that which you adopted on the Trial of the Priſoners you had taken. Theſe miſerable Wretches were to be tried for a Crime made capital by a temporary Act of Aſſembly, of twelve Months duration. That Act had, in great Tenderneſs to his Majeſty’s Subjects, converted Riots into Treaſons. A rigorous and punctual Execution of it was as unjuſt, as it was politically unneceſſary. The Terrour of the Examples now propoſed to be made under it was to expire, with the Law, in leſs than nine Months after. The Sufferings of theſe People could therefore amount to little more than mere Puniſhment to themſelves. Their Offences were derived from publick and from private Impoſitions; and they were the Followers, not the Leaders, in the Crimes they had committed. Never were Criminals more juſtly entitled to every Lenity the Law could afford them; but, Sir, no Conſideration could abate your Zeal in a Cauſe you had tranſferred from yourſelf to your Sovereign. You ſhamefully exerted every Influence of your Character againſt the Lives of theſe People. As ſoon as you were told that an Indulgence of one Day had been granted by the Court to two Men to ſend for Witneſſes, who actually eſtabliſhed their Innocence, and ſaved their Lives, you ſent an Aid de Camp to the Judges, and Attorney General, to acquaint them that you were diſſatiſfied with the Inactivity of their Conduct, and threatened to repreſent them unfavorably in England if they did not proceed with more Spirit and Diſpatch. Had the Court ſubmitted to Influence, all Teſtimony on the Part of the Priſoners would have been excluded; they muſt have been condemned, to a Man. You ſaid that your Solicitude for the Condemnation of theſe People aroſe from your Deſire of manifeſting the Lenity of Government in their Pardon. How have your Actions contradicted your Words! Out of twelve that were condemned, the Lives of ſix only were ſpared. Do you know, Sir, that your Lenity on this Occaſion was leſs than that of the bloody Jeffries in ? He condemned five Hundred Perſons, but ſaved the Lives of two Hundred and ſeventy.
In the Execution of the ſix devoted Offenders, your Excellency was as ſhort of General Kirk in Form, as you were of Judge Jeffries in Lenity. That General honoured the Execution he had the Charge of with play of Pipes, Sound of Trumpets and Beat of Drums; you were content with the ſilent Diſplay of Colors only. The diſgraceful Part you acted in this Ceremony, of pointing out the Spot for erecting the Gallows, and clearing the Field around for drawing up the Army in Form, has left a ridiculous Idea of your Character behind you, which bears a ſtrong Reſemblance to that of a buſy Undertaker at a Funeral. This Scene cloſed your excellency’s Adminiſtration in this Country, to the great Joy of every Man in it, a few of your contemptible Tools only excepted.
Were I perſonally your Excellency’s Enemy, I would follow you into the Shade of Life, and ſhow you equally the Object of Pity and Contempt to the Wiſe and Serious, and of Jeſt and Ridicule to the Ludicrous and Sarcaſtick. Truly pitiable, Sir, is the pale and trembling Impatience of your Temper. No Character, however diſtinguiſhed for Wiſdom and Virtue, can ſanctify the leaſt Degree of Contradiction to your political Opinions. On ſuch Occaſions, Sir, in a Rage, you renounce the Character of a Gentleman, and precipitately mark the moſt exalted Merit with every Diſgrace the haughty Inſolence of a Governor can inflict upon it. To this unhappy Temper, Sir, may be aſcribed moſt of the Abſurdities of your Adminiſtration in this country. It deprived you of every Aſſiſtance Men of Spirit and Abilities could have given you, and left you, with all your Paſſions and Inexperience about you, to blunder through the Duties of your Office, ſupported and approved by the moſt profound Ignorance and abject Servility.
Your Pride has as often expoſed you to Ridicule as the rude Petulance of your Diſpoſition has to Contempt. Your Solicitude about the Title of Her Excellency for Mrs. Tryon, and the arrogant Reception you gave to a reſpectable Company at an Entertainment of your own making, ſeated with your Lady by your Side on Elbow Chairs, in the middle of the Ball Room, beſpeak a Littleneſs of Mind, which, believe me, Sir, when blended with the Dignity and Importance of your Office, renders you truly ridiculous.
- Virginia Gazette,
- Includes a letter from “Phocion” responding to “Aristides” (whose letter I haven’t found). Phocion deprecates Husband, defends Tryon, insists that there were plenty of useful legal avenues for the Regulators to have used to satisfy their grievances, and claims that the military repression was necessary for the defense of the colonial government. He adds nothing really in terms of new facts, just his opinion.
- Virginia Gazette,
- Phocion is back to respond to another author, this time “Honestus” (whose own letter I haven’t found). Again, there isn’t much new here. “I have not perſonally been concerned in any Circumſtance which I related, but am as certain of the Truth of each as I can be of any to which I am not a poſitive Witness,” he says. He claims that the North Carolina legislature was not biased against the Regulators, but indeed was sympathetic to their complaints at first and only reluctantly passed the Riot Act.
- Virginia Gazette,
- Willie Jones also rebuts Honestus. Jones was one of Tryon’s soldiers, and
gives this account of part of what happened:
You honour me, among others who were concerned in breaking open Mr. [Thomas] Person’s Deſk, with the Apellation of a Ruffian. In the late Expedition againſt the Regulators, I ſerved merely as a common Soldier; and never adviſed, nor was conſulted in, any one Step that was taken. I had not been in the Camp, nor exchanged a Word with the Governour, for upwards of a Week preceding the Orders for that Tranſaction. The Governour deſired me to attend Captain Bullock, who headed the Party, without explaining the Nature of the Service; and I readily aſſented. When Captain Bullock told me our Deſtination, I declared it was the only diſagreeable Duty I had been put upon, and that I was not ſatiſfied of the Legality of the Meaſure. We arrived at Mr. Perſon’s Plantation in the Night, and having previouſly ſearched the Outhouses for one Winkler, a Captain of the Regulators, who lived there, civilly demanded Entrance into the Dwellinghouse, and were admitted. After Break of Day, Captain Bullock made known to Mrs. Perſon the Purpoſe of our coming, and requeſted the Keys of the Deſk, which ſhe refuſed to deliver, alleging that ſuch Proceeding was determined to be illegal in the Caſe of Mr. Wilkes. I told her, although there was an obvious Diſtinction between the two Caſes, I myſelf was not ſatisfied of the Propriety of the Meaſure; but, as Soldiers, we were bound to obey our Orders. Captain Bullock then forced one Lock, after which I requeſted her to ſave us the Trouble of breaking a ſecond, ſince the civil Rights of her Husband were as effectually invaded by that ſingle Act as by a Repetition of the ſame Thing twenty Times over; and ſhe complied. Mrs. Perſon, I am confident, will be ſo candid as to own that our Behaviour was polite to her, and that our Conduct in the Search was moderate, flowing from the abſolute Neceſſity of complying with our Orders, as Soldiers, and not from Malice to her Huſband, as Men. Had we ſought this Occaſion to gratify a pitiful Reſentment, we ſhould have eagerly pried into every Hole and Corner; on the contrary, we examined Nothing more than her Deſk and a Book Caſe, and barely looked into an old Cheſt that ſtood unlocked. From this State of the Matter, I ſurely do not deſerve the Name you ſo politely beſtow on me. I am not, I aſſure you, a Friend to Oppreſſion. If any great Occaſion ſhould call for Reſiſtance againſt arbitrary Meaſures, I am bold to ſay that I will go at leaſt as far in aſſerting the Liberty of my Country as Honeſtus ſhall dare to lead.
- Virginia Gazette,
- Reprints an account from Colonel & Lieutenant Putnam, who had just returned from an exploration of the Mississippi, concerning a robbery of a French riverboat and the murder of its crew the previous . “The Villains who perpetrated this Crime are ſuppoſed to be Joſhua Haywood, Earneſt Hooper, Charles Holmes, Reaſon Young, Richard Holloway, and Abſalom Hooper; moſt of whom, if not all, were of the Regulators of North Carolina, except Haywood, who was Servant to Colonel Fanning.”
And that’s all I see about the Regulators until , when this appears:
- Virginia Gazette,
- Notes that a revolutionary convention in North Carolina has agreed to raise 2,000 men and has appointed officers to lead them, and then adds: “There has been a conference held with the Chiefs of the regulators. They have ſome ſcruples about the oath adminiſtered to them by Governor Tryon; but ſome of them have ſigned a teſt or aſſociation, and are now ſigning, and apprehend no danger from them.” This seems to indicate that the Regulators were still an organized society even at this late date.