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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Preface to Volume 7 of the Colonial Records of North Carolina
Saunders, William Laurence, 1835-1891
Volume 07

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Governor Tryon's administration lasted from the death of Governor Dobbs, on the 28th of March, 1765, to the 30th of June, 1771, when he left North Carolina to take upon himself the government of New York, and its salient points were:

I. The Stamp Act Trouble.

II. The Palace and the debt it created.

III. The Cherokee Boundary Line and the extravagant cost of running it.

IV. The Regulation Troubles.

I. The Stamp Act Trouble.—The Stamp Act excitement was well under way by the time Tryon assumed the reins of government, and the people were in such a rebellious temper that he felt constrained to prorogue the Legislature, after a brief session of some two weeks only. This was his first Legislature, and called immediately after he took charge of affairs. Tradition says it was prorogued in consequence of an interview with Mr. Speaker Ashe, of the Assembly, who, upon being asked by his Excellency what course the Assembly would take in regard to the Stamp Act, replied: “We will fight it to the death,” and thereupon the Legislature was straightway sent home.

The cause of the Stamp Act trouble was the recent assertion by the British Parliament of the right to tax the Province. The expenses of the war with the French and Indians rendered necessary a great addition to the regular revenues of England. Considerable difficulty was found in devising new subjects of taxation, and great opposition was made to every new tax proposed. Thus embarrassed, the attention of the British administration then in power was directed to America. The degree of authority that might be exercised by the mother country over her Colonies had never been

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accurately defined. In Great Britain it had always been asserted that Parliament possessed the power of binding them in all cases whatsoever. In America, at different times and in different Colonies, various opinions had been entertained on the subject. In North Carolina, as we have seen, however, there was never but one opinion as to the right of Parliament to tax her people without the consent of their own Assembly. The result of it all was that in 1764 the British Parliament passed a resolution importing that it would be proper to impose certain stamp duties in the Colonies for the purpose of raising a revenue payable into the British treasury. The resolution excited a general ferment in America. The right of Parliament to impose taxes on the Colonies became the subject of universal conversation, and was almost universally denied. Seeing the opposition to the resolution, the administration informed the agents of the Colonies in London that if they would propose any other mode of raising the sum required—that is to say, £100,000 sterling—their proposition would be accepted and the stamp duty laid aside. The agents replied, in substance, that they had no authority to do anything in the premises save to oppose the Bill for the stamp duty whenever brought before Parliament. The issue was now squarely made, the right of taxation being as peremptorily denied by one party as it was asserted by the other. The administration thereupon brought into Parliament. the celebrated act for imposing Stamp Duties in America, and in March, 1765, it passed both houses by very great majorities. The act was, in many respects, similar to our American Internal Revenue Law.

In all of the Colonies organizations known as “The Sons of Liberty” were entered into by zealous patriots, and these organizations constituted the machinery by which information was sent from Colony to Colony, and by which the several Colonies were kept abreast of each other in the great movement. These associations, while they contributed much to increase the spirit of opposition to the Stamp Act, added also, as Judge Marshall says, to the turbulence with which, in some places, it was attended. This, however, was

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unavoidable, for it is simply impossible to stimulate the people of a country to the vigorous and persevering opposition necessary to accomplish success in redressing any great popular grievance, or in resisting any great governmental oppression, without such associations. The use of the necessary remedial measures in such emergencies is sure to be followed, if not accompanied, by their abuse. In the resistance to the Stamp Act, according to Judge Marshall, many houses were destroyed, much property injured, and several persons, highly respectable in character and station, grossly abused. So much for the Sons of Liberty and their fight against the Stamp Act.

Of course, as Speaker Ashe foretold and as our records show, the Act was resisted “to the death” in North Carolina, and naturally enough, for the people had for years contended that the right of taxation could be lawfully exercised only by their own Assembly. The right of their Assembly to control the purse of the Province, they asserted, as we have seen, was an hereditary right, coming down to them from the charter of Charles, the exercise of which they had been born to from generation to generation. As early as 1716, when the Colony had been in existence barely fifty years, and the population, all told, young and old, men and women, black and white, was only some 8,000; when the Neuse was the frontier and the Cape Fear a howling wilderness, they entered upon the Journal of their Assembly, in so many words, the formal declaration “that the impressing of the inhabitants or their property under pretence of its being for the public service without authority from the Assembly, was unwarrantable and a great infringement upon the liberty of the subject.” As late as 1760 the Assembly formally declared that it was the indubitable right of the Assembly to frame and model every bill whereby an aid was granted to the King, and that every attempt to deprive them of the enjoyment thereof was an infringement of the rights and privileges of the Assembly. And in 1764 the Assembly entered on its Journal a peremptory order that the

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Treasurer should not pay out any money by order of the Governor and Council without the concurrence of the Assembly.

From such premises the events that followed were but a natural sequence.

On the 19th October, 1765, near 500 people assembled in Wilmington, near the court-house, and burnt Earl Bute in effigy, for the reason, as they said, that he had “several times expressed himself much in favor of the Stamp duty.” After the effigy was consumed, the crowd went to every house in town and brought all the gentlemen to the bonfire, and insisted upon their drinking LIBERTY, PROPERTY and NO STAMP DUTY, and confusion to Lord Bute and all his adherents, giving three huzzas at the conclusion of each toast.

On the 16th November, 1765, Dr. William Houston, the recently-appointed Stamp Master, who happened to be in town on that day, was taken to the court-house in Wilmington and forced to resign his office, and to promise, in writing, “not to receive any stamped paper nor to officiate in any means as Stamp Master or distributor of the stamps within the province of North Carolina, directly or indirectly.”

On the same day Mr. Steuart, the printer of the Gazette, who had said he would not print the Gazette save on stamped paper, was required to promise positively to continue his business as heretofore. He did so, but under protest, however, saying “that rather than run the hazard of life, being maimed or have his printing office destroyed, he would comply with their request, but took the whole for witness that he was compelled thereto.” The next issue of the Gazette had on the margin a ghastly representation of a skull and bones and just above it the words, “This is the place to affix the STAMP.”

On 18th November, 1765, near fifty of the merchants and gentlemen of New Hanover and Brunswick dined by invitation with Governor Tryon, who “urged to them the expediency of permitting the circulation of the stamps,” or at least a partial one. The next

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day they replied in writing, saying they thought it was the “securer conduct” to prevent to the utmost of their power the operation of the Stamp Act in any of its features in part or in whole, and that while they desired, as far as possible, to prevent injury to any officer of the Crown, the office of Distributor of Stamps was so detested by the people in general that they did not think either the person or property of such an officer could by any means be secured from the resentment of the country.

On, or before, 14th January, 1766, two sloops, the Dobbs and the Patience, came up the river, one from Philadelphia and the other from St. Christophers; neither vessel had stamps on their clearance papers, but, instead thereof, had statements from the proper officers of the Customs of the ports from which they came, certifying that no stamps could be had there. Captain Lobb, of the Viper, a sloop of war, thereupon seized the vessels. Another vessel, the Ruby, was also seized. Similar certificates for vessels clearing from the Cape Fear had been refused by Governor Tryon. This requirement to have stamps at Cape Fear, when none were required elsewhere, the merchants of Wilmington said was “a particular restriction” on their port, and for that reason it excited their hot indignation so that they straightway made up their minds not to submit to it.

Before this, they had contented themselves with a general resistance to the Stamp Act, by requiring the stamp master to foreswear his office. But when Tryon sought to impose particular restrictions upon the commerce of their river, restrictions not elsewhere imposed, they went into particular resistance to meet them, and very effectual it was, too.

First of all, upon learning of the seizures made by the Viper, the inhabitants of Wilmington entered into an agreement not to supply his majesty's ships with provisions until such seizures were stopped, and the boatmen sent by the Viper for supplies were put in jail. The agreement was carried out until, the Viper being without rations, Captain Lobb came to terms with Colonels Waddell and Ashe on the 20th, and agreed to stop such seizures for the future.

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On 12th of February, 1766, a letter appeared in the Gazette of that date, dated on the 30th of January, at Cross Creek, urging the people by every consideration, in the name of “Liberty, dear Liberty,” to rise in their might and put a stop to the seizures. The expressions contained in it were so inflammatory that the Governor informed the Council he felt called upon to suspend the publication of the paper.

On the 18th February, 1766, an association was entered into “by the principal gentlemen, freeholders and inhabitants of several counties of the Province,” as follows:

“We, the subscribers, free and natural-born subjects of George the Third, true and lawful King of Great Britain and all its dependencies (whom God preserve), whose sacred person, Crown and dignity we are ready and willing at the expense of our lives and fortunes to defend, being fully convinced of the oppressive and arbitrary tendency of a late Act of Parliament imposing stamp duties on the inhabitants of this Province and fundamentally subversive of the liberties and charters of North America; truly sensible of the inestimable blessings of a free constitution gloriously handed down to us by our brave forefathers; detesting rebellion, yet preferring death to slavery, do, with all loyalty to our most gracious sovereign, with all deference to the just laws of our country, and with a proper and necessary regard to ourselves and posterity, hereby mutually and solemnly plight our faith and honor that we will at any risque whatever, and whenever called upon, unite and truly and faithfully assist each other to the best of our power in preventing entirely the operation of the Stamp Act.”

On 19th February, 1766, the Collector's desk at Brunswick was broken open and the clearance papers of the vessels that had been seized for want of stamps were forcibly taken from him. On the same day some one hundred and fifty armed men went to the Governor's house in Brunswick to demand the person of Captain Lobb, of the royal sloop Viper, who had made the seizures; but he was not

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there, so on the next day in the morning a committee of these “inhabitants in arms” went aboard of the Viper and demanded of Captain Lobb possession of the sloops he had seized. In the evening Captain Lobb surrendered the vessels, and agreed to make no further seizures.

On the 21st February, 1766, in Brunswick, Colonel Pennington, the Comptroller of the Province, was taken from the Governor's own house and from his very presence by the militia of the District, then and there surrounding his house under arms to the number of some seven hundred, carried to the court-house and there compelled to do as Houston had done in Wilmington. A similar oath was required also of all the Clerks of the County Courts and other public officials in the Province.

There was neither concealment nor disguise about any of this, but everything was done openly and by men perfectly well known and under the very eye of the Governor.

Nor were the people in other parts of the Province less pronounced in their views than those of the Cape Fear. Martin says that public meetings were held in Edenton and Newbern, as well as in Wilmington, and resolutions passed expressing the abhorrence in which the inhabitants held the Stamp Act, and that generally throughout the Province, at all their public meetings, the people gave expression to similar sentiments. The events of the Cape Fear, due in some degree to the presence of the Governor there, and occurring under his own eyes, were set out in detail in his dispatches to the home government, and have come down to us from that source in fuller description. At Newbern, Dr. William Houston, the Stamp Agent, was burned in effigy during the sitting of the Superior Court. Dr. Houston, however, complained of this, as we learn from the North Carolina Gazette of that date, saying that he had been condemned unheard; that he had never solicited the office of Stamp Master, nor did he know, at the time, that he had been appointed thereto—an appointment, too, that, as he said, made him odious and abhorred. At Fayetteville, likewise, he was hung

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in effigy, along with a man who had murdered his wife; nor did they spare him even in Duplin, the county where he lived.

Dr. Houston's assertion that he was appointed Stamp Master without any solicitation on his part, and even without his knowledge, seems by no means improbable, when it is remembered that Franklin, and other Provincial Agents in London, had at one time so little hope of the repeal of the Stamp Act that they recommended their friends for positions under it.

After this the Governor made no effort to execute the Stamp Act, and everything went on in the Province as if it had never been passed. The ports remained open and entries and clearances were made without stamped papers, just as they had always been, and the Governor sought, by every means in his power, to conciliate the people, but it all availed nothing, so far as the Stamp Act was concerned.

In accordance with the policy of masterly inactivity he found it necessary to pursue, the Governor refrained from calling the Legislature together until the fall of 1766, by which time he had received official information of the repeal of the obnoxious act. Tryon had two purposes in view in thus preventing a session of the Legislature:

1. To prevent delegates from going to the Colonial Congress, held in New York in 1765, which he could readily do, as the delegates to that body were required to have credentials from the Assemblies of their respective Provinces.

2. To preserve the peace at home. The Province, he said, was not in a temper to do business in a manner likely either to be agreeable to the King or beneficial to itself, and, as he had no power to quiet their tumults, he thought it most expedient not to inflame them—a contingency he could not well avoid if the Assembly was allowed to meet.

It will be seen from the foregoing that Tryon's purpose, for some time, was to enforce the Stamp Act in North Carolina, no matter how little it was regarded in the other Provinces, and, to this end, was ready to use cajolery or force, either or both, as might be expedient.

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Accordingly, we find him dining the Cape Fear gentlemen, and begging them to allow the act to go into at least partial execution. Failing in this, we find him in January, 1766, resorting to force and seizing all vessels coming into the river. And again on 3d March, 1766, he was contemplating the use of British troops to control the Province, as appears from his letter of that date. But force did no good, for Tryon was beaten at his own game, and the Cape Fear once more opened to the world.


After all that was said and done in the premises, however, the Stamp Act, had there been any authority for its enactment, would not have been unwise in principle, as it would have operated with something like equality upon all sections of the Province and upon all classes of the community. The more opulent, that is to say, the maritime districts, would have yielded much the larger proportion of revenue, while the poorer or the interior and frontier districts would have been touched with a lighter hand.

The provincial or poll-tax system of taxation was both unwise and oppressive to an extent now little appreciated. To-day public revenues are raised largely from property; indeed, the tendency now seems, in matters of taxation, to favor the poll, which, of course, must be done at the expense of property. Then, however, with the exception of a small revenue derived from imported liquors, the expenses of the government were provided for by a poll-tax. Every species of property, save that in slaves, was entirely exempt from taxation, and even the tax on slaves was a poll-tax, and not ad valorem. The result of it all was that the burden of taxation fell very heavily upon poor men and men in moderate circumstances, and very lightly upon men of wealth; in other words, very heavily upon the people of the interior and frontier counties, and very lightly upon those of the maritime counties. Indeed, no system of taxation more favorable to the wealthy sections, or more favorable to wealthy citizens of any section, could well have been devised.

But whether wise or unwise, whether equal or unequal in its

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operation, the British government had no right to pass the Stamp Act, and so the people of the interior and frontier counties opposed it with a unanimity quite as great and a determination quite as fixed as their brethren of the East displayed. Indeed, Chief Justice Hasell on his return from riding his circuit, assured the Governor that among all the inhabitants of the back counties he found not one advocate for the Stamp duty—a unanimity of sentiment more remarkable, perhaps, because there was no particular restriction on the trade and commerce of the people there to move them to special anger and particular resistance, as there was on the Cape Fear.

II. The Palace.—The erection of a palace, admitted to be the handsomest building then in all America, in a Province straitened in its finances, limited in its resources and sparsely settled as North Carolina was at the time, was simply cruel and heartless extravagance. Its cost was £15,000, and in this connection it must be remembered that the only tax then levied was a poll-tax, and that there were in all the Province only 51,044 taxables, the poorest of whom paid precisely the same amount that the richest paid, except, of course, the owners of slaves, who, necessarily, paid the taxes for their negroes. But neither lands nor personal property paid any tax. The hardship, then, of imposing this burden of £15,000 debt for the palace, especially upon the poor people of the interior and frontier counties, can be seen at a glance.

The Palace was begun in 1767, the first brick being laid on 26th August, 1767, and finished in 1770, and was burned on the night of the 27th of February, 1798. Its erection had much to do with the odium that attached to Tryon and his administration in all parts of the Province beyond the reach of his patronage and other blandishments.

III. The Cherokee Boundary Line.—The necessity for a wellknown, well-marked dividing line between the Indians and the whites had long been felt. The necessity, however, for the Governor to superintend the running of such a line in person was not

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so apparent, nor was the necessity for him to march to the line with a large military escort, as if going though a hostile country, obvious to an already tax-burdened people who must foot the bills. The escort consisted of two detachments—one from the Rowan and one from the Mecklenburg Regiment of Militia, numbering some 70 men in all, including company officers. Lieutenant-Colonel John Frohock commanded the detachment from Rowan, and Lieutenant-Colonel Moses Alexander that from Mecklenburg. Colonel Hugh Waddell was Colonel Commandant of the whole escort. Edmund Fanning, with rank of Colonel, was Adjutant-General, and Isaac Edwards Aid-de-Camp. William Frohock was Commissary, and John Wills was Chaplain. The whole retinue, including servants, numbered near 100 men, and daily orders were issued by his Excellency to the troops, and the troops kept a regular journal of every day's march they made. Courts-martial were provided for; each camp had its name, and each day its formal countersign and parole; in a word, all the paraphernalia of war, so ridiculous in time of peace, were duly provided. The appointment of Fanning as AdjutantGeneral with the rank of Colonel doubtless gave rise to the rumor current in the country that he had been paid £1,000 for going on the expedition.

Without sufficient currency to meet existing taxes, with additional taxes in view for the Palace in the East and for the Boundary Line in the West, and with official extortion from east to west, the outlook in 1767 was by no means encouraging. Extravagance was the order of the day—a fact that the unnecessary parade and expenditure attending the running of the Boundary Line, taken in connection with the building of the Palace, did much to emphasize, showing, as it did so plainly to the people, how quick Governor Tryon was to spend their money to gratify his vanity and love of display. And, after all, the line was run after Tryon and his Colonels, and his Lieutenant-Colonels, and his Adjutant-General, his Commissary and his Chaplain, and his escort generally, had left the ground and returned to their respective homes. The dance

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was, indeed, a brave one, but it was not those who danced that paid the piper.

IV. The War of the Regulation.—We come now to consider a period in our history about which neither our own people nor those outside of the State have always agreed. For half a century, indeed, the verdict was unfavorable, but since then opinion has undergone a marked change, as light was turned on that much-misunderstood and much-misrepresented trouble, so that now it may be said that history has fairly righted itself, and that Haywood, Caruthers, Shocco Jones, Swain and Wiley were enabled to undo the cruel wrong that Martin and Williamson and the generation that preceded them did to that long-suffering, patriotic body of North Carolinians known as the Regulators. Mr. Bancroft, too (long may he live), the great American historian, is their able defender and enthusiastic eulogist, and has written them down upon imperishable record as the earliest and most devoted of American Revolutionary patriots, rather than ignorant, lawless men of low degree, opposed to all government and the payment of all taxes; and, with a knowledge of the records now accessible, there seems to be little danger they will lose the place in history thus assigned them, for to those records they may safely appeal for the justice so long denied them. Time heals many wounds and rights many wrongs.


The causes that led to the War of the Regulation may be shortly summed up under three heads: 1st. Unlawful exaction of fees by Clerks and County Registers of Deeds; 2d. Unlawful exaction of taxes under color of legislative authority; 3d. And indirectly, the unduly unequal distribution of the benefits and burdens of the Provincial Government.

To the payment of taxes lawfully collected and honestly applied, or to the payment of lawful fees, it cannot be shown they ever objected. On the contrary, they asserted from the outset that it was the duty of every honest man “to give part of his substance to support rulers and laws.”

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1. Extortion of County Officials.—The proof on this charge is plenary. Governor Tryon, in a dispatch to the home government, dated 24th of December, 1768, said it was not to be denied that the people of Orange had a color for showing their dissatisfaction at the conduct of their public officials, as both the Register and Clerk of the County had been found guilty of taking “too high fees” at the preceding Court. Colonel Fanning, a leading lawyer, a Yale graduate, a member of the Assembly, was also Register of Deeds for the county of Orange, and the outcry against him became so great because of his extortions that he was prosecuted therefor by order of Governor Tryon. At the trial at September Term of Hillsboro Superior Court, in 1768, he was duly convicted and according to popular tradition was fined a penny and costs. The records, however, do not show that he was ever subjected to any sentence whatever by the Court, but, on the contrary, they seem to show that an advisari was taken from time to time so as to give Fanning opportunity to get opinions from London lawyers declaring that, though technically guilty of extortion in that he had taken greater fees than the law allowed, there was no criminaliter in the act, as he had taken only such fees as the Inferior Court had told him he was entitled to take. This was certainly the state of the case as late as 1770. The battle of Alamance doubtless terminated the advisari and fixed the mind of the Court.1 Now when it is remembered that this Inferior Court was presided over by ordinary magistrates, utterly unlearned in the law, and that Fanning was an educated man and a leading lawyer among educated lawyers, a Yale graduate and an LL. D. of that institution, of King's College and of Dartmouth University in America, and of Oxford in England, the absurdity of the pretence that his taking excessive fees, as a matter of fact, lacked the criminaliter element, is at once apparent; and it is apparent,

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also, that his consulting an unlearned court in the premises was a mere trick that his lawyer's learning suggested to him in advance might be expedient in time of future trial. Able practitioners, learned in the law, especially those honored with the degree of LL. D. from the oldest and greatest institutions in the world, have never been in the habit of going in good faith to unlearned laymen, especially when made magistrates through their influence, to construe statutes for them, and the men who constituted the Inferior Court of Orange were certainly laymen unlearned in the law.

And as it was with the Register of Deeds so it was with the Clerk of the Court and the Sheriff and his deputies, and as it was in Orange so it was in Anson, Rowan and Mecklenburg.

At the same term of the Court at which Fanning was thus dealt with for extortion, three Regulators were tried for taking part in the rescue of a mare that had been levied upon by the Sheriff in payment for taxes unlawfully exacted. Convicted by a packed jury, the Court took no advisari in their cases, but proceeded at once to inflict upon them heavy fines and severe imprisonment.

The contrast in the action of the Court in the two classes of cases had, as it were, under the very eye of the Governor, who was personally present at Hillsboro at the time, was, to say the least, very striking.

And thus was the solemn appeal of the Regulators to the Courts of the Province made a delusion and a mockery.

2. Unlawful Taxation Under Color of Legislative Authority.—The proof under this head, though full and entirely convincing, can be stated in a very brief compass. It will be remembered that, from the time each issue of government notes that constituted the public debt of the Province had been made, a tax had been annually levied and collected as a sinking fund for its payment. These taxes were poll-taxes, and, as the total of the debt was well known, and

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the number of taxable polls known with reasonable certainty, as well as the tax per poll, it was easy to form some idea when the debt ought to have been paid off. When the Regulators began their movement under that name, the calculation was that from £25,000 to £30,000 had been collected from the people more than enough to pay off the public debt, though the tax still continued, and without any prospect of its coming to an end. Tryon himself said that, from various causes, partly from the embezzlement of Sheriffs, not more than one-third of the tax levied was paid to the Public Treasurers. The fraud became so patent that the Assembly, on 5th December, 1768, formally declared that the taxes for sinking the £12,000 granted in 1760, and the £20,000 granted in 1761, had had their effect and ought not henceforth to be collected—and this in spite of Fanning's report that they ought to be collected for the next year. Governor Tryon, however, refused to give his assent thereto and the Sheriffs continued their collections. Not content with this, the Legislature appointed Mr. John Burgwin, Clerk of the Upper House and a thorough accountant, to examine into the matter and report the facts. His report, a copy of which we have, shows that, in the year 1770, there was at least one defaulting Sheriff in every county in the Province; that in most counties there was more than one; that the defalcations had been occurring for many years, and that the total indebtedness of the various Sheriffs in the several counties was £64,013 13 3. Subsequent to this report, but subsequent also to the battle of Alamance, the Assembly (the same Assembly that passed the bloody Johnston Bill) forbade the Sheriffs any longer to collect the taxes in question. But that by no means brought back to life the men killed on the banks of the Great Alamance.

3. The Unequal Distribution of the Benefits and Burdens of the Provincial Government.—1. All the revenue of the Province, as we have seen, save a small import duty on liquors, was received from a poll-tax. This tax was unjust and oppressive to the poorer

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classes, and of such the inhabitants of the back counties mainly consisted.

2. The mode of taxation was a grievance bad enough in itself, but another grievance, that is to say, the lack of currency and its unequal distribution, made it ten-fold more oppressive.

To understand the situation in this regard, however, a reference to the condition and legislation of the Province is necessary.

At a very early period, as we have seen, in the ruder stages of our back-woods civilization, owing to the want of a circulating medium for trade and other purposes, certain commodities—products of the soil—were, by statute, made a legal tender, receivable for quit-rents and taxes, as well as for private dues. In the matter of quit-rents, it will be remembered that Governor Johnston had a fierce and prolonged struggle with the people of the East before any agreement was reached as to the commodities or the rates at which they were to be received. Later on, however, especially by the statutes of 1754 and 1764, a limitation was put upon the legal tender quality of commodities by which it was restricted to such as had been prepared for shipment as required by the statutes, had been carried to a warehouse established by statute, and had been duly inspected and branded by an inspector appointed and sworn for the purpose. When deposited in the warehouse, either for shipment or safe-keeping, the inspector was required, if desired, to issue notes to the depositor, according to the value of the commodity, at rates fixed by the statute, which were made transferable by mere manual delivery, and were a legal tender for public taxes, as well as private dues, with some restrictions as to time. What an ease this must have been to trade, as well as to tax-paying, can readily be seen. But without a warehouse there was no inspector, and without any inspectors there were no inspectors' notes and no legal tender quality in the commodities, and the original purpose of the warehouse and inspection system being to prevent the shipment of produce in unmerchantable shape, all warehouses were situated at or near landings on navigable streams. In the frontier counties there were no

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navigable streams, and consequently no warehouses, and so the people there were deprived of the happy incident of the system that took shape in inspectors' notes—an incident that in time became quite as important as the principal, in that it not only provided a ready market for produce, as it were, but provided a currency that was greatly needed. Bearing these things in mind, the prayer of the people of the frontier counties to the Legislature in 1769 for an extension to them of the warehouse and inspection system, and of the legal-tender quality to suitable commodities throughout the entire Province, was both reasonable and intelligible.

As early as 2d February, Governor Tryon called the special attention of the home government to “the distresses the public in general, and many families in particular,” suffered by the collection of taxes where distress was made, by reason of the scarcity of currency. The property put up for sale would not always, he said, bring enough to satisfy the Sheriff, owing to the scarcity of money in the country, yet the owner of the property could, by the sale, “be greatly distressed, if not ruined.”

So great was the scarcity of money, that to wagon forty bushels of Chatham County wheat to Fayetteville, the best market of that day, and sell it for forty shillings, or five dollars in cash, was thought to be “doing a first-rate business.” That it would have brought much less at home or in Orange is a matter of course, whether sold in the ordinary course of trade in open market, or by the Sheriff under execution. What an opening for gainful oppression this state of things gave creditors in general, and county officials in particular, may easily be seen—a regular harvest-time for court-house rings and court-house cliques.

But it was not the lack of currency alone that made the extortions of county officials bear hardly upon the frontier counties. The grievance was still further heightened, in communities where almost all debts were small, by the mode of collecting them. Under the law, at that time, all sums over forty shillings were sued for and recovered in Courts of Record, thereby creating an immense business for

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those Courts, with Clerks' fees and other costs to correspond, so that the extortions of county officials, to use the language of Judge Haywood, “fell with intolerable weight upon the people.”

But the benefits of the Provincial Government were unequally distributed, as well as its burdens, and the East was still the favored section. Every member of the Council or Upper House of the Legislature, without a single exception, was from the East, while to the Assemby five Eastern counties sent five members each, other counties in the Province sending only two. The Public Treasurers were from the East, and so were the Judges, unless Henderson be considered an exception, and the Attorney General; and generally, all the patronage of the Government went to the East.

And so too, in the matter of the expenditure of the public revenues, as in their collection, the East was still the favored section. The seat of Government, always in the East, was finally fixed permanently at Newbern, and the famous Palace there built. Fort Johnston, on the Cape Fear, was also a continuous drain on the public treasury, as for a time also was Fort Granville at Ocacock.

In a word, the Government was essentially in the interest and for the benefit of the East to such an extent, as has been well said, that nothing more was left for the East to ask or desire. This condition of affairs, however, did not tend to beget much affection in the hearts of the people in the back counties, new comers as they were into the Province, for the Provincial Government.


The first recorded mutterings of the troubles that grew into the War of the Regulation were heard in Granville County, and were contained in the Nutbush paper of the 6th of June, 1765. The next were heard in Orange, and are to be found in the papers of the summer and fall of 1766. Tryon, indeed, says the troubles “began in Anson and spread to Orange;” but in this he evidently referred to events occurring in 1768.

The men at the back of these papers gave themselves no special name, but met simply as inhabitants of the county. To outsiders

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they were known as “the mob.” Their purpose was by means of appeals to the county officers and members of the Assembly, first to ascertain the law and the facts and then to get redress, if any they were entitled to, and upon this basis matters stood until March, 1768. Up to that time no violence was contemplated and none committed.

Unfortunately, these peaceful efforts came to nothing, failed most ignominiously, it might be said, though meanwhile the county officials continued their exaction of unlawful fees, and the Sheriffs continued to collect taxes to pay a debt, for the payment of which more than the amount due had already been collected.

In March, 1768, hopeless of results from mild measures, an organization of a more pronounced character was formed, its members being known to themselves, as well as to outsiders, as Regulators, at which time, it may be said, the era of force and violence began.2 While still preferring and adhering to the peaceful procedure by appeals, etc., their agreement as Regulators was to pay no taxes save those they were satisfied were agreeable to law and applied to the purposes intended by law, and to pay no fees not allowed by law, and the Sheriffs were informed that any man who attempted to collect fees and taxes, save as above specified, would do so at the risk of his life.

In spite of all warnings, however, the sheriffs seized a mare, saddle and bridle for taxes, and carried them to Hillsboro, whereupon some sixty or seventy Regulators repaired at once to Hillsboro, fired into Colonel Fanning's house, and rescued the mare. For participating in this rescue, two men were arrested on the night of

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30th April, and the next day carried to Hillsboro. By the morning of the 3d of May some 700 and more armed Regulators were in the town to compel the release of the prisoners. But by this time, however, the prisoners had been released on bail, and the Governor's secretary, who had brought the proclamation of the 1st of May, went to the Regulators' camp and read it to them, delivering, at the same time, a verbal message from the Governor to the effect that he would protect them against the extortions of any officer in the county, provided they would disperse and go home, which they proceeded at once to do, saying that all they wished was liberty to make their grievances known. The Governor, however, afterward, on the 21st June, repudiated this message, saying that the extent of what he authorized his secretary, Mr. Edwards, to declare on his behalf, was that the Regulators should desist from any further meetings, should allow the Sheriff and other officers to execute their duties without molestation, etc., and that only by a strict adherence to those directions could executive clemency be looked for. And thus was added another ignominious failure to accomplish redress by peaceful measures.

About the 1st of July, 1768, Tryon went to Hillsboro, and, apparently bent on bringing matters to a violent issue, on the 1st of August sent the Sheriff out to collect taxes for the year 1767. No taxes being collected, the Governor, on the 13th of August, wrote the Regulators a letter, saying the prospect was so alarming that he peremptorily required at least twelve of their leading men of the first property to meet him at Salisbury on the 25th, and execute a bond for £1,000 that no rescue of Husbands and Butler (the persons arrested on the night of 30th April) should be attempted. His purpose in going to Rowan was to enlist troops, he said, for the protection of the Hillsboro Court, to be held in September, and, armed with the letter of the Presbyterian pastors, he seems to have had no difficulty in getting as many men as he wished. With these troops he marched into Hillsboro on Monday, the 19th of September, 1768, and there encamped until the 2d of October following. There were

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present also detachments from two other regiments, one from Orange and one from Granville. This military display saddled an additional debt of £20,000 on the Province. How little real necessity Tryon thought there was for it all, appears from his dispatches. On the 16th of June, 1768, he wrote to Earl Hillsborough that the troubles had subsided for the present, the Regulators intending to proceed by petition to him; that no mischief had hitherto been done, and that the taxes could be collected without any obstruction, if only the prayer of the Colony for currency should be granted.

In view of these warlike preparations of the Governor, it was agreed among the Regulators that Butler and Husbands should not appear at Court, lest they be arbitrarily dealt with, but that all others should be free to go to Court, well armed or not as they pleased, but that they should not use the arms or be guilty of any violence unless first attacked, and that if they could not offer terms acceptable to the Governor, “to return home and leave him to fight the air.”

On the first day of the Hillsboro Court, 22d September 1768, some 3,700 Regulators encamped about half a mile from the town, and sent to Tryon, saying they desired to lay aside all methods of redress for their grievances save by a due course of law, and that if the Governor would issue an amnesty proclamation for all past offences, they would, for the future, confide in his favor and assistance to execute the laws against exactions and extortions. Tryon not acceding to this, the Regulators quietly dispersed and went home, leaving the Governor, as they said they would do, “to fight the air.” They did not abandon their peaceful purposes, however, for on the 29th October the Sheriff wrote to the Governor that he had just made a tour through the county; that the people submitted to the collection of taxes, and were ready to comply with and be obedient to the laws. And thus the battle of Alamance was postponed for near three years, an exhibition of perhaps more than the usual patience of the average North Carolinian under such circumstances; but then it must be remembered that the great body of the Regulators were comparatively new-comers in the Province.

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Nor did matters proceed to extremities during the balance of the year 1768, nor during the year 1769, with one exception, for the Governor having dissolved the Legislature of 1768, there was hope of better things from one fresh from the people; and sure enough, after the election, it was found that some forty-five new members, the whole number being eighty, had been returned to the Assembly. The abrupt termination of that body, however, by Tryon, because of certain obnoxious resolutions in regard to the power of the British Parliament to tax the Provinces, brought the session to such an early close as to blast all hopes of remedial legislation.

The exception referred to was a severe whipping given to the Sheriff of Orange, who had attempted to levy an execution. This, however, as Governor Tryon expressly says in his dispatch to the home government, was the act of individual Regulators rather than of their organization, and was almost universally condemned by them. Nor was there serious trouble during the first part of the year 1770. But peace was not to prevail, except as the price of abject submission to Fanning and Tryon. So, in July of that year, as if to add insult to injury, Tryon forced Fanning, the convicted extortioner, upon the county as a member of the Assembly, in spite of the fact that he had become so odious to the county that the people would no longer send him to the Assembly. This he did by erecting the little hamlet of Hillsboro into a borough by special charter, with authority to send a member to the Assembly. Possibly, however, that was natural enough, for Fanning was Tryon's righthand man, was the introducer and father of the bill to build the Palace, and was also the chief executive officer of his escort on the notoriously extravagant expedition to the Cherokee boundary line; and this, too, was done, so far as appears, without any evidence that Hillsboro had the number of families required by law for that purpose.

After these various failures to obtain redress by peaceable measures, extreme measures, as might have been expected, were again resorted to, and the last half of the year 1770—that is to say, after the indignity put upon them by forcing Fanning upon the county

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as a representative from the so-called “borough” of Hillsboro, the man so cordially hated by it—witnessed more scenes of violence than had occurred in all the preceding years. The Sheriff of the county was severely beaten, Colonel Fanning's house was torn down, the court-house seized in open Court, its proceedings interrupted and its attorneys beaten, Fanning among the number, after being dragged from the building by the heels. Judge Henderson was, indeed, allowed to remain upon the bench, but only upon the supposed understanding that he would try the cases in which the Regulators were interested, and which had hitherto hung fire, an understanding, however, as the Judge frankly admits in his letter to the Governor, that he had no intention whatever of carrying out, and, accordingly, that night he left town by a “back way.” On the next day the Regulators again took possession of the court-house, the Judge having abandoned it, put one of their own men on the bench and held a mock court, called the docket and made various entries expressive of their sentiments in the premises, some of them by no means guarded in language. These entries, as originally made, are to be seen in the Court records in Hillsboro to-day. At the March term of the Court in 1771 the Regulators again appeared, but so did not the Judges, who said they dared not appear.


Meanwhile Tryon was maturing his plans for the Alamance campaign. Its outlines began to develop as early as March, 1770. On the 13th of that month Judge Moore, writing from Salisbury to Tryon, advised him that, as civil process could not be executed in that district, appeal must be had to the other arm of the Government. This was followed by a meeting of the Council on the 9th of April, in which it was advised that the Legislature be called as soon as possible, as nothing could be done without that body; that meanwhile the Sheriffs be notified by proclamation to appear before the Legislature and recite their grievances. The April meeting of the Council was followed by another on the 18th of October, when the Attorney General formally advised the use of military force, and the Council

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advised that the several Colonels be directed to say what number of men could be depended on from their respective regiments to make a campaign into the Regulators' country. In due course of time the Colonels reported, the Legislature met, the Western Sheriffs told their tales of woe, and Johnston introduced his bloody bill, but still the Legislature, according to Judge Iredell, was of “regulating tendencies,” and possibly Tryon might have failed at the last moment had it not been for a letter printed in the Gazette of that date, signed James Hunter, but which it was alleged Husbands wrote and published. The letter severely reflected upon Judge Maurice Moore, who was also a member of the Assembly, and upon this pretext Husbands was formally expelled from that body on 20th December, 1770. Meanwhile, Husbands, being threatened with arrest for the libellous letter, as if in aid of the Governor's line of policy, though doubtless without any such intention, declared that in such an event the Regulators would come down in force and release him. Husbands, after his expulsion, was arrested by the Governor, and thereupon the Regulators did assemble and began their march to Newbern to release him. The Grand Jury, then in session, however, refused to find a true bill against Husbands, and thereupon Chief Justice Howard discharged him, much to Tryon's dissatisfaction. The Regulators, being notified of Husbands' release, disbanded and went back home. But it was too late; the mischief was done beyond recall, and the Legislature, under the pressure of the threatened attacks—threats that, opportunely enough, were first heard the day before the Assembly met—on the town of Newbern, where they were assembled, passed the Johnston Bill, a bill that, for the time at least, did more harm than a book full of remedial statutes could have undone. This bill was entitled “a bill for preventing tumults and riotous assemblies, for the more speedy and effectual punishment of the rioters,” etc.

Its main provisions were: 1. That if any persons to the number of ten or more should assemble together unlawfully, tumultuously and riotously, and should so continue assembled after the first of February, for the

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space of one hour after being required by a magistrate or Sheriff to disperse, should be adjudged guilty of felony, and suffer death, if found guilty.

2. And if such persons so unlawfully assembled should continue together for one hour after such request to disperse was made, it should be lawful for the magistrate and sheriff to arrest them in order to their being proceeded against according to law; and that if any of the persons so assembled should be killed in the attempt to disperse or arrest them, the Sheriff or magistrate, and all others aiding them, should be held harmless therefor.

3. That if any persons so unlawfully assembled should, after the first day of March, obstruct or disturb the proceedings of any Court, assault or openly threaten to assault any Judge or other officer of such Court during continuance of the term, or should obstruct any collector of the public taxes, or should unlawfully destroy or begin to destroy any building for religious worship, court-house, prison, dwelling-house, barn, stable or other out-house, they should be adjudged guilty of felony, and suffer death, if found guilty by a verdict of a jury.

4. That the Attorney General or his deputy might prosecute any person who should be charged with any of the offences above named since the first day of March last, or should at any time thereafter commit them in any Superior Court in the Province, or in any special Court of Oyer and Terminer, and all proceedings therein had should be as valid as if had in the county or district where the offence was committed, any law, usage or custom to the contrary notwithstanding; provided, nevertheless, that no person guilty of any offence mentioned in this act, although convicted thereof in a different district from that wherein such an offence was committed, should be subject to any other or greater punishment than he might have been had this act never been made.

5. That if any indictment should be found or presentment made for any offence before mentioned, it should be the duty of the Judge to issue a proclamation, to be put up at the court-house and each

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church and chapel in the county where the crime was committed, commanding the person named therein to surrender himself to the Sheriff of the county wherein the indictment was found, within sixty days, or be held guilty of the offence charged, as if he had been convicted thereof by due course of law; and it was made lawful for any person to kill such offender with impunity; it was also provided that the estates of persons so killed should be forfeited to the King and sold by the Sheriff at public sale.

6. That if any number of armed men should oppose any military force of the Governor, raised by this act, and should refuse to lay down their arms and surrender themselves when required so to do, they should be considered traitors and dealt with accordingly.

The authorities in England were so shocked at the bloody features of the bill, that instructions were sent forbidding any Governor to approve such a bill in the future. Such an act, they said, was a disgrace to the British statute books. But that did not bring back to life either poor Few or the men killed in battle, for, by the time the act had reached England and been considered there, it was too late to prevent its operation here.

This act was passed, doubtless, in consequence of the opinion of the Attorney-General, who had officially advised the Governor and Council that the acts of the Regulators amounted in law only to riots and misdemeanors. The ex post facto bloody Johnston act, however, transformed them into capital felonies, punishable with confiscation of property and loss of life.

That Tryon credited the first rumors of intended attacks on the town may be doubted, especially the one that the Regulators were on their way down to prevent Fanning from taking his seat, but he saw in them, whether true or false, his opportunity, and he set to work to make the most of it. The Pitt and Craven regiments were accordingly detailed for the protection of the legislative body and the peace of the Government, even before the Legislature met, and in time the town was intrenched. In a word, the sensibilities of the Legislature were well worked upon, and the Johnston act was the result.

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It seems by no means certain, however, that it would have been passed but for Tryon's industrious working up of rumors of attack.

With this act upon the statute book, Tryon proceeded to carry out the plan he had so long been maturing. An army was raised, not without some difficulty, however, for there was, to say the least, no eagerness among the people to go as enlisted men; indeed, it would seem that from more than one regiment he failed entirely to get any volunteer recruits in the first instance, and, according to Tryon's own statement, it was only the 40 shillings bounty and the 2s. 6d. per diem that enabled him to get his men at the last.

In spite of Tryon's advice to make up the quotas demanded by him by draft, there were no troops from the Albemarle section and counties adjacent, as Tryon states, owing to the refusal of the Northern Treasurer “to honor his warrants payable to the Colonels of these counties to enable them to give each soldier forty shillings bounty and furnish necessaries for the expedition (without which credit no men could have been raised);” as the Southern Treasurer had done. It certainly does not speak well for the personel of the enlisted men of Tryon's army that their inducement to service was 40s. bounty and 2s. 6d. a day per enlisted man, and that without it they would not have enlisted.

The Northern Treasurer, saying he knew no authority under the law for such warrants, refused to honor them. The other Treasurer, however, either being more complaisant in carrying out his Excellency's wishes, or gifted with a power of seeing further into the mill-stone of authority than his colleague of the Northern district, yielded so far as to issue £6,000 in Treasurers' notes. These notes, of course, were cheerfully taken, for in the condition of affairs, anything that had the semblance even of an official promise to pay by the Government was readily current. Even counterfeit notes passed without sufficient question.

And thus a new debt of £40,000, the cost of the Alamance campaign, was saddled upon the already over-burdened Province. How

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different the result would have been had sturdy Republican John Starkey been alive and still Treasurer!

Having gotten his troops, Tryon, on the last week in April, set out on his march for the up-country, gathering in such reinforcements en route as could be had. Reaching Hillsboro on the 9th of May, he found the condition of the country there and to the westward in a very unsatisfactory condition, as the people everywhere, roused to desperation by the rumors of his intended invasion of their country with an army, were assembling together, under arms and without arms, in great numbers, so that it was not safe to delay action. Tryon thereupon determined to strike the nearest Regulators at the earliest possible moment. These, he found, were embodied near Great Alamance Creek, some twenty-five miles distant, and he straightway proceeded to confront them in battle array, leaving all his baggage and other impedimenta under guard at Hillsboro. The battle took place on 16th May, 1771, but space does not permit any statement of its details here. They are set forth in full in the various documents hereinafter printed. It is sufficient here to say that the Regulators in that battle, ill armed, that is to say, when they were armed at all, and worse officered, numbered some 2,000 men, according to Tryon, while the Government troops, who, according to the same authority, numbered some 1,200 men, had not only the best arms, but amongst their officers all the military talent and experience the Province then possessed, including James Moore and Francis Nash, afterward Brigadier Generals in the Continental Line; Robert Howe, afterward Major General in the same service; John Ashe and Alexander Lillington, Generals in active service in another corps of the Revolutionary army. Caswell, too, was there with whatever military talent and experience he possessed. General Hugh Waddell, the great Indian fighter, Griffith Rutherford, another great fighter, and afterward a Major General being in his command, was only prevented from being in the battle by a large body of Regulators that appeared in his front a few miles from Salisbury on his march with some 250 or more militia from that section to join

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Tryon. His powder train, too, en route from Charleston to Salisbury, had been attacked in Cabarrus County and destroyed by disguised men, from which circumstance the “Black Boys of Cabarrus” derive their name. At a Council of War, held on 9th May, just a week before the battle, Waddell found that the Regulators in his immediate front outnumbered his own forces, and in addition to that, that his own forces were unwilling to fight, being in great part, at least, Regulators themselves; whereupon it was deemed best to return to Salisbury.

The result was as might have been anticipated, for no unarmed, or ill-armed, raw troops will stand long before artillery fire at short range. The Regulators were defeated, dispersed and vanquished. The casualties on the side of the Regulators were variously and loosely estimated at from 20 to 30 killed, and near 200 wounded, and on the side of the Government troops, 9 killed and 61 wounded, according to Tryon's report, which was doubtless not an underestimate. Next morning one Few, taken prisoner in the fight or afterwards, was hung without a trial by order of Tryon, a fact that Tryon announced to his Government in a “P. S.” to his dispatch, dated a month or more after the hanging, as if it had escaped his attention until the last moment—doubtless the first time in history that the official announcement of the hanging of a man was made in a “P.S.” Tryon's statement that the man was an outlaw, even under the Johnston Act, was untrue, it would seem. An Orange County man, and for some offence committed in the county of Orange, he was indicted at Newbern at a Special Term of Oyer and Terminer under the bloody Johnston Act. Under this act, parties who were indicted and after proclamation and advertisement at the court-house, churches and elsewhere in Orange, did not surrender themselves within a certain time, might be outlawed; but when Few was hung, the time allowed by the act for his surrender had not expired. The truth seems to be that Few was a poor, demented wretch, whose wits, tradition says, had gone astray upon the seduction of his sweetheart by Colonel Fanning. Twelve other prisoners were tried

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and convicted, at Hillsboro, of treason, at a Special Court of Oyer and Terminer, and six of them were hung—all the arrangements for their execution being made under Tryon's personal supervision. The place of execution was at a spot now in the inclosure of the residence of Mr. Paul C. Cameron, at Hillsboro.

After the battle, the army subsisted itself upon the stores of the Regulators, as Tryon boasted, wherever to be had, and destroyed and laid waste the houses and plantations of the outlaws. Plantations, too, and other properties were confiscated, and generally everything possible was done to make rebellion odious. After a tour to the westward, the army took up its homeward march.


The extent of the Regulation troubles will be better appreciated when it is remembered that the number of men who came into the different camps and took the required oaths of submission after the battle amounted to 6,409. Including, therefore, participants and active sympathizers not sworn, and the women and the children, the population involved must have been at least 50,000—that is to say, the great body of the white people in the territory east of the mountains and west of what is now Wake County. But not even this statement gives a correct idea of the extent to which disaffection had gone. Governor Tryon said as early as 1768 the insurgents throughout the Province considered Orange as the heart of the movement, and waited to see what the result there would be. Had the Regulators triumphed there, thousands in other parts of the Province, he said, would have declared for them, and “civil government in most of the counties in the Province would have been overturned.” In 1771, disaffection had spread to the very Palace at Newbern.

The effect of all these things was disastrous in the extreme to North Carolina. Shortly after the battle, says Judge Haywood, one of the ablest lawyers and greatest judges that ever adorned the bar or graced the bench in this or any other State, and who was almost if not quite contemporaneous with the events of which he speaks, “full streams of emigration began to flow in various directions from

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the misgoverned Province of North Carolina.” In 1772, Morgan Edwards, a noted Baptist preacher and historian, who made a tour through the Province that year, reported that 1,500 families had departed since the battle of Alamance, and declared that, to his own knowledge, a great many more were only waiting to dispose of their plantations to follow them. These people had at first tried peaceable measures for redress of grievances; then violent ones, including an appeal to arms, and had been defeated. Still unsubjugated and still unwilling to submit to oppression, they abandoned their homes and their property, crossed the distant mountains, and, in the wilds of the then unknown West, founded a new State that soon became great and famous.


Assuming that in this day, when, in theory at least if not always in practice, governments are the servants and not the masters of the people, the duty of a government, by redress of grievances, to prevent a rebellion rather than to permit it to come to a head and then to crush it out with an iron hand, will be admitted, it needs only to be added in this connection that it is idle to say the Government had no opportunity to redress the grievances under which the Regulators labored. No advantage was taken of these opportunities, but the oppressions were allowed to go on for seven years, from 1765 to 1771, and then the oppressed and not the oppressors were crushed to the earth. Not a year of these seven long years passed in which the Government did not have ample opportunity to have settled every difficulty without the slightest sacrifice of its authority or compromise of its dignity. Notably was this the case after the 3d of May, 1768, when the Regulators, who had assembled at Hillsboro in large numbers, peaceably dispersed, went home with shouts of joy, upon the simple assurance that the Governor would look into matters and right whatever was wrong. What a mockery Tryon made of righting wrongs we have already seen. And notably was this true for the remainder of the year 1768 and the whole of the year 1769 and part of 1770. Another notable opportunity occurred

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in 1771, when an agreement was entered into between the county officials of Rowan and the Regulators looking to a full settlement of that part of the trouble relating to the extortions of county officials. Instead, however, of thanking Frohock and Colonel Martin, who had been greatly instrumental in bringing about so happy a solution of the long-pending trouble, Governor Tryon, when informed of the facts, sternly rebuked them for their conduct in interfering in matters that were entirely above their jurisdiction, and informed them that he proposed to reconcile matters in a very different way, which was then already determined upon.

It is evident that Tryon did not desire a peaceable solution of matters, for, had he done so, he would have called the Legislature together in the winter of 1768, or early in 1769; nor would he have so abruptly dissolved the Legislature of 1769, nor would he have failed to call a new one early in 1770. At each of these times peace was perfectly possible. But he did not desire peace. Peace and accord with the Regulators was the last thing he wished, and the opportunity to make capital by crushing them out the thing, that above all others, he desired. His eye was always upon the home Government, and his purpose always to use North Carolina as a stepping-block to higher preferment, and soldier-like, he looked to the battle field for promotion. His reward came sooner, perhaps, than he expected, for even before the Alamance campaign, he was translated to the Government of New York—the long-cherished object of his ambition.


1 Indeed, in time, the Regulators when threatening redress by the courts, were met with the mocking taunt that the Battle of Alamance was a Court of Record that had already determined all such matters.

2 The “borrowed name” of Regulators, to use Tryon's sneering words, doubtless came from the South Carolina people “of that ilk.” They, however, had a better fate than their North Carolina brethren, for the government of that Province listened to their complaints, redressed their grievances, and all was well with both government and Regulators. The name of the Sons of Liberty was also borrowed. Colonel Barré having, in a speech in the British Parliament, referred to the Americans who were opposing the Stamp Act as “sons of liberty,” they straightway adopted it, and under that name proceeded to organize themselves into associations throughout the Colonies that became, in time, the active machinery for opposing British oppression.