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Full text of "Address of Joseph M. Morehead, esq., of Guilford, on the life and times of James Hunter, "general" of the Regulators, at Guilford battle ground, Saturday, July 3, 1897"

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Chapel Hill, N. C. (University.) 


Thanks, hearty thanks for your e.Kcellent address. I think you have 
hit the nail plump on the head; have a clear, strong and truthful statement 
of the men and measures of the War of the Regulation. 

Yours truly, 

Kemp P. Battle, (LL. D.) 

"Accept my thanks for copy of your admirable speech on James 
Hunter. It is very interesting and instructive." 

Walter Clark, 
Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of North Carolina. 

" This will prove strangely stirring reading to those unacquainted with 
Southern history as well as to the citizens of North Carolina, where Hunter's 
life was spent." — Librarian General D. A. R. in The American Monthly, 
Washington, D. C. 

"A historical paper of great value, written in terse English. The au- 
thor makes it very plain that the uprising of the so-called Regulators was 
legitimate." — North Carolina Christian Advocate. 

The War of the Regulation has not received justice at the hands of 
historians. Major Morehead establishes the justice of the movement by the 
testimony of its enemies." — Webster's Weekly. 

" Dear Major : —Your speech on James Hunter is a vivid picture of 
the stirring times preceding the Revolution. You have entered into the life 
of that period in your oration, and you write almost like a cotemporary. I 
thank you most sincerely for the book. It is a genuine contribution to the 
literature illustrating the heroism and glory of North Carolina patriots. 
Yours Truly, 

Geo. T. Winston," (LL. D.,) 

Pres. University of Texas. 

"The principal address by the Vice-President of the Asiociation, Major 
Joseph M. Morehead, is more than interesting; it is an admirable historical 
document, telling the story of the Regulator's Movement, * * and 
how this crystalized into the patriotic revolt and co-operation with other 
colonies, which culminated in the Revolution and independence of all the 
colonies. A second enlarged edition has been published. We know of 
no publication which gives in the same space so much valuable information 
or a better idea of the events that led up to the American Revolution." 
Wilniinorton {N . C.) Star. 

'The address contains much historical information and has been 
sought by many of the literary institutions of the Union. In a most inter- 
esting and forcible style this information is collected and condensed for the 
historian who will appear atno distant day and demand the historical justice 
due the Old North State." — Judge David Schenck, L. L. D., President 
of Gtiilford Battle Ground Co., in annual address. 

"Calm and judicial in style and spirit, it is a singularly strong and 
lucid address. It will necessitate the writing of what has not yet been 
written, the history of North Carolina." — J. D. Hufham, D. D., and 
author of Baptist Historical Papers, etc. 

This pamphlet, which is handsomely printed, is sold for the exclusive 
benefit of the Hunter Memorial Fund by Wharton Bros., Booksellers, 
Greensboro, N. C. Price 50 cents. 





Life and Times of James Hunler, 


Guilford Battle Ground, 

Saturday. Julv 3, 1897 


Second Corrected and Enlarged Edition. 

Published through the patriotic liberality of 








Ml/ CouhTf/men! Let us recall a few leading facts of 

North Can Una's Provincial history. In 1765-6 the stamp 

f^<t: troubles arose and ended in the coast counties of the 

)vince; the actors therein being the British governor, 

rd Tr. an, on the one part and the Sons of Liberty on 

: .lat of < \q patriots. The abuses of the people that caused 

the Regulation trouble were existant to an extent at that 

■lie, and grew and enlarged for the six years thereafter, 

culminating in the Battle of the Alamance in May, 1771. 

Oppression on the part of government and the consequent 

unrest of the people continuing, the Revolutionary War 

is ushered in at the Battle of Moore's Creek, February, 


Til'- life and labors of James Hunter cover this period, 
Ml ;. review of these necessitates a review, to an extent, 
the Regulation. 

We use the expression, a life of Washington, as syn- 
ohv nous with that of a history of the American Revolu- 
• n; and a correct life of James Hunter will be found to 
ntain a true history of the war of the Regulation — its 
oism and sacrifice — and fixed determination to resist 
"anny clad in the prestige and paraphernalia of lavv. 
Colonel James Hunter, the father of the subject of this 
-ketch, moved from the North of Irehind and settled first 
•' Virginia. Thence he removed to and settled near Mad- 
am, North Carolina, about the year 1740. Among the 
colonists accompanying him were the Martins, afterwards 


of honorable name and fame throughout the cokmy and 
State, and also the McFarlands. Previous to his arrival 
in North Carolina James Hunter, the elder, had married a 
Miss Martin, the aunt of James and Alexander Martin. 
From this union sprang the North Carolina patriot, who, 
according to Governor Josiah Martin, was '' the General " 
of the Regulators — James Hunter, Jr. \ 

'' General" Hunter was born on the 8th of April, 1740, 
and was the eldest of nine children — three girls and six 
boys From these sprang the Hunters, Daltons, Elliipg- 
tons and many others of the State's most reputable aid 
staunchest citizens. General Hunter himself married .a 
Miss McFarland, daughter of an immigrant, and left a nu- 
merous progency. \ 

Born of an ancestry possessed of ample means and hail-\ 
ing from the Highlands of Scotland, and breathing from his. 
infancy up the elixir of life brewed among the noble Hills \ 
of Dan, James grew up to be an intelligent, self-respecting, \ 
bold, darkly-red-headed Scotchman who knew his rights 
and maintained them. Possessed himself of good property 
and something to lose by rebellion, he was a conservative, 
sensible man, ordinarily of few words, admirable self-con- 
trol and of untlinching courage. Letters left behind him, 
the uniformly intelligent course of his life, and above all, 
the stand he took among his fellows, and the great control 
he exercised over them, abundantly attest both his intel- 
lectual and moral stamina. 

At about the age of twenty-five, according to the writ- 
ten statement of Dr. R. H. Dalton, a grandson still living, 
he is first heard of away from his comfortable home in 
command of a company against the Cherokees in some of 
their murderous forays along the frontiers. At about this 
period, 1768, Lord Tryon, British governor of the prov- 
ince, together with the legislature and judges, moved by 


unholy ambition and unfaithfulness to duty as ruler, had 
caused and allowed the oppression of the central and west- 
ern sections of the province to become well-nigh intolera- 
ble. So true was this that very many if not most of its 
best and bravest men, especially those least able to bear 
outrageous taxation and most liable to wrong at the hands 
of unscrupulous officials, determined to find redress for 
the same peaceably if they could, and finally forcibly if 
they must; which also they did. 

The causes that led to the confederation of the Regula- 
t(M-s were, First: The want of a circulating medium suf- 
ficient in volume for the needs of the province; England 
prohibiting the colony from emitting a currency that all 
knew to be essential to its progress. Second: Extravagant 
taxation by the governor and the legislature, and the fail- 
ure rightfully to apply and account for the taxes raised. 
Third: Religious intolerance. Fourth: The peculation 
and extortion upon the people of officials from the Chief 
Justice down. (Col. Rec, 8, 395-6.) 

I can do the truth of history no greater service than 
point honest inquiry to the prefatory notes of the Colonial 
Records of North Carolina by the late gifted and patriotic 
Saunders. (Vols. 7, 8, 9 and 10.) 

From these rather recent reproductions of the originals 
in the British archives and elsewhere, a few extracts will 
prove that from the beginning to the end of these troubles 
right and justice were on the side of the Regulators, their 
enemies being their judges. We quote first from Lord 
Tryon himself. 

In a letter misleading, explanatory and. apologetic upon 
its face, he writes the home government in England and 
says : 

'' To say that the insurgents had not a color for their 
shewing dissatisfaction at the conduct of their public offi. 


cers would be doing them an injustice; for on a prosecution 
in the Superior court carried on by the Attorney General 
by virtue of my directions, both the register and clerk of 
the court were found guilty of taking too high fees." (C. 
R. Vol. 7, p. 884.) 

The officer here found guilty of extortion and corruption 
in office was the infamous Edmund Fanning. An advisari 
was taken by the court and the culprit never punished, 
though three regulators, "all that were tried,"* were con- 
victed, fined heavily and imprisoned; and Fanning was 
advanced by Tryon. 

Governor Josiah Martin succeeded Tryon in the gover- 
norship of the province in August, 1771, just after the 
battle of the Alamance, fought on the 16th of May pre- 
ceding. Governor Martin, though commissioned several 
months previously, failed, because of sickness, to arrive 
within the province until the 11th of August, Meanwhile 
the battle had been fought and Tryon had gone to New 
York. On the 15th, four days after his arrival in New 
Berne, Martin wrote the home government in regard to the 
recent suppression of the Regulators and Tryon's connect- 
ion therewith as follows: "The ability and address with 
which that gentleman has acquitted himself leaves me 
nothing to lament on the public account, but for myself I 
feel sensibly in being precluded all share of the honor at- 
tending this very seasonable and glorious exertion of the 
loyal spirit of this province, so happily directed by Mr. 
Tryon to secure respect to the laws and to give vigor and 
stability to his Majesty's government, &c.," (vol. 9, 16-17.) 
But the next August, 1772, Martin visited Hillsboro and 
Guilford, the " hot-bed " of the Regulators, according to 
Tryon, and on the 30th of that August he wrote home to 
this effect: "My progress, my Lord, through this coun- 

*Col. Rec, 7, 885. 

try has opened my eyes exceedingly with respect to the 
commotions and discontents that have lately prevailed in 
it. I now see most clearly that they have been provoked 
by insolence and cruel advantage taken of the people's 
ignorance by mercenary, tricky attorneys, clerks and other 
officers, who have practiced upon them every sort of ra- 
pine and extortion ; having brought upon themselves their 
(the people's) just resen tment they engaged government 
in their defence by artful misrepresentations, so that the 
vengeance of the wretched people aimed at their heads 
was directed against the constitution; and by this strata- 
gem they threw an odium upon the injured people that by 
degrees begot prejudice which prevented a full discovery 
of their grievances. Thus, my Lord, as far as I am able 
to discern, the resentment of the government was craftily 
worked up against the oppressed ; and the protection, 
which the oppressors treacherously acquired, where the 
ignorant and injured people expected to find it, drove 
them to acts of desperation and confederated them into 
violences, which your Lordship knows induced bloodshed, 
and, as I verily believe, necessarily. 

"Inquiries of this sort, my Lord, I am sensible are in- 
vidious ; nor would anything but a sense of duty have 
drawn from me these opinions of the principles of the past 
troubles of this country." (vol. 9, 330-610.) 

Earl Dartmouth, then Secretary for the Colonies, replied: 
"I have not failed to give attention to the remarks you 
make upon the state of the back settlements, the temper 
and character of the inhabitants and your own opinion of 
the origin of these discontents, which produce such disa- 
greeable consequences; and I must confess to you that I 
see but too much reason to believe that those deluded 
people would not have been induced to involve themselves 
in the guilt of rebellion without provocation, Rut it is 

neither fit nor necessary for me to recur to transactions of 
so disagreeable a complexion, not doubting that the late 
Governor had examined into and redressed their griev- 
ances," etc. Whereas the late Governor had done noth- 
ing of the kind. 

One of Tryon's three Superior Court Judges, who was 
first to recommend bayonets and bullets, and declare the 
paralysis of the civil arm, and who condemned to speedy 
death the unhappy prisoners taken at the Alamance, is 
accredited with the authorship of the Atticus letter 
(Moore's History of North Carolina, vol. 1, page 100; Col. 
Rec. vol. 8, page 718). This letter was written November, 
1771, after Try on had left the province. It was addressed 
to Tryon, now Governor of New York, and from it we 
make these extracts : " Your active and gallant behavior 
in extinguishing the flame you yourself had kindled does 
you great honor." 

"It seems difficult to determine in which your Excel- 
lency is most to be admired, for your skill in creating the 
cause or your bravery in suppressing the effect." 

Governor Josiah Martin had been instructed to issue, 
upon his arrival within the province, writs for the election 
of a new legislature to succeed that of the spring preceed- 
ing — 1771. He assembled the old legislature, however, 
under the advice of Tryon and Hascell of the Council 
(vol. 9, p. 17). It devolved upon this body to meet the ex- 
penses of the war it had just waged — that is, pay them- 
selves largely — which it was believed no other would. 
Governor Martin's language on the point is this : " It 
was however necessary to keep that to provide for the 
present exigencies ; since it is universally agreed that a 
future assembly would not have been found to do it." 
fvol. 9, 76) Many — " a majority " — (vol. 9, 17) — of this leg- 
islature had been at the battle of the Alamance and had 

accompanied Tryon in his tour westward enforcing the 
oath of loyalty, &c. 

Having assembled at New Berne, then the seat of gov- 
ernment, on Nov. 19th, 1771, they requested of the Gov- 
ernor a general pardon of all offences of all Regulators 
with an exception of three individuals only, and went to 
work perfecting the identical measures advocated by the 
Regulators so long and so ineffectually. (Journals of the 
assemblies of 1769 and '70-'71.) 

Grovernor Martin having arrived in New Berne in 
August and remained there till November and having been 
in communication with Tryon only before his arrival he 
was of course imbued with their ideas and views and in 
fact party spirit between Tryonites and Martinites, soon 
to become bitter, had not yet arisen. Nevertheless he 
had learned the true cause of the recent war, for in his 
address to the legislature of Nov. 19th, '71, having con- 
gratulated them — " that tranquility and good order have 
succeeded tumult and violence, which during some time 
had disturbed so fair a part of this province — " he says — 
•' I most heartily congratulate you gentlemen on this event; 
and I take the first occasion to recommend to you in the 
most earnest manner to consider of an effectual means to 
prevent future evils of a like nature; to this end it appears 
to be necessary to give all force and vigor to tiie laws ; to 
obviate all just grounds of discontent to the people that 
shall be found to exist ; to give them the fullest evidence 
that is possible of the just administration of the public 
finances ; to corect as far as human prudence may all man- 
ner of abuses ; and above all things to give every facility 
to the administration of justice." (Col. Rec. vol. 9, 101-2.) 
Taking no umbrage at this the legislature promise in reply 
— "to provide effectual means to prevent future evils of a 
like nature ; and we shall rank amongst the first objects of 


our attention the several matters which your Excellency 
has recommended as necessary for the attainment of that 
end/' (vol. 9, 104.) 

These declarations of Try on, of his judge, of Governor 
Martin, the confessions of the home-government and the 
actions of this legislature establish beyond cavil the right- 
eousness of the Regulator's cause. 

But the plea of Tryon and the legislature and of their 
apologists to this day is by way of confession and avoid- 
ance. Admitting the justice of the people's complaint and 
the lawfulness of their proceedings at first, the allegation 
is that the association or confederation had degenerated 
into an uncontrolable, dangerous mob despising all law an<l 
order, and that having changed their originially righteous 
into unrighteous purposes they ought to have been sup- 
pressed by arms. 

In reply we ask had their original grievances been re- 

On the contrary their lawful assembling of themselves 
and respectful petitionings'to the Governor, the legisla- 
ture and the court had been met with only criminal or 
designed neglect and the most tyranical denunciations. 
According to Governor Martin's statement, and as the rec- 
ords show, their unredressed wrongs had been greatly 
aggravated by cruelty and insolence. 

But had the organization degenerated into a mob subject 
to no control and upon wild and mischievous purposes 
bent? Had it become, as is charged in the latest and com- 
pletest History of the State, " an intolerable nuisance ? 
An impediment alike to legislation and the administra- 
tion of public justice" (Moore, vol. 1, p 127.) Of this 
court to the administration of '' public justice " by which 
the Regulators finally put an end after years of forbear- 

*Colonial Records, 8, 7^-81. 


ance, Mr. Moore himself says, that the records of Hills- 
boro court are witnesses — " of eternal shame resting upon 
this court? (p 118). "They allowed Governor Tryon 
with his loose morals and bad passions to sully the repu- 
tation of a court that might have been illustrious for rec- 
titude as it was for the real learning of its judges" (119). 
That there is " proof positive that on the name of" — two 
of the three members of the court — "should lie the odium 
of an infamous defeat of justice" (119). And it may be 
added that the third, according to the evidence, was the 
most thoroughly and naturally hated judge of the three. 

There certainly is intelligent purpose and there is method 
in the madness that would impede the so-called administra- 
tion of justice by a court of which there was '• })roof pos- 
itive " that it was corrupt; and where peaceable remedy 
has failed, mankind justify and applaud resort to violence. 

In this connection let us observe, that so late as the fall 
of 1770, at the most exciting period of the disruption of 
the court at Hillsboro, James Hunter urged Judge Hen- 
derson, then upon the bench, to proceed with the long de- 
layed causes of the Regulators and assui-ed him of his own 
personal safety. Certainly no indignity was offered the 
judge, which would seem to be proof that Hunter and 
others still had the crowd well in hand. 

However, this charge of intolerable demoralization is 
fully disproven by proceedings had at Salisbury on March 
7th, 1771, about two months only before the battle. This 
was a meeting of the civil officers of Rowan county and 
the Regulators. I reproduce in full the papers then and 
there drawn up between the parties. ' 

" We, the subscribers, officers of Rowan county, now 
met at Mrs. Steel's, with a committee of the people called 
Regulators, now assembled at the meeting for a redress of 
grievances of officers' fees and disputes, to-wit : Mr. 


James Hunter, Daniel Gillespie (and others) to receive the 
proposals that shall be offered by the several officers for 
the approbation of the people, who are desirous of nothing 
more than justice and peace with every person whatsoever ; 
and that all debates hereafter may subside, now the sev- 
eral officers hereto subscribed do here agree to settle and 
pay unto any and every person within the county any and 
all such sum or sums of money as we or our deputies have 
taken through inadvertence or otherwise over and above 
what we severally ought to have taken for fees, more than 
the law allowed or entitled us to receive, without any 
trouble or law for the recovery of same. And it is further 
agreed by the committee that when any debate may arise 
that all persons within this county do give in their de- 
mands to such person as shall hereafter be appointed by 
the people in each neighborhood to see the same and to 
be determined by the several gentlemen jointly and unan- 
imously chosen between the parties, to-wit: Matthew 
Locke, Harman Husbands, James Smith, James Hunter, 
Samuel Young, Thomas Pearsons," (and others ;) " and 
their determination to be final end to all differences what- 
ever, and that they meet at John Kimbrough's on the third 
Tuesday of May next. Given under our hands this 7th 
of March, 1771. John Frohawk, C. C, William Frohawk, 
D. S., Griffith Rutherford, S. , Thomas Frohawk, C. S. C, 
Alexander Martin," and others. 

In a letter to Tryon from Salisbury of March 18th, 
Alexander Martin says of these proceedings (vol. 8th, 
535): ''This proceeding we expect will have more effect 
upon their minds than all the formalities of law whatso- 
ever, as they would suggest that they had had injustice done 
them. They want, they say, to converse with the officers 
who have taken their money to satisfy them for what (this 
is surely refisonable) and they will all be quiet again. 


This we have undertaken to do, and time must produce 
the effect. If our hopes and wishes be not too sanguine 
perhaps this may be the foundation of putting an end to 
all future tumult and disorder." This is signed by John 
Frohawk and Alexander Martin. 

The Regulators " urged very hard and strenuously " 
(vol 8,620) to be led against troops then within the town and 
if from that fact it be inferred that our brave forefathers 
then and there intended to force justice at any cost, to 
their everlasting honor be the fact promptly admitted. 
But, as we see, they were restrained, and with a perfectly 
legitimate and praiseworthy end in view, their proceedings 
were had decently and in order. They had neither lost 
their moorings, nor were they sailing without a compass.* 
James Hunter was present and still in charge. Of Hunter 
some twelve months later, March, 1772, Governor Josiah 
Martin wrote home : •' Huntei" was a most eggregious of- 
fender ; he was the leader of the insurgents in arms, and 
was called their general and has appeared from the begin- 
ning a ring-leader in sedition. He is said to have a better 
capacity than his associates, who pay him implicit obedience 
and treat him with a respect savoring of enthusiastic rev- 
erence " (vol. 9, 269).t 

Daniel Gillespie was there, whose whole life attests the 

t Note —The above reference is good reading. Col. Sanders regarded 
Rednap Hou ell as "head and front of the movement" — (Vol. 8, pref. 
2G), in which I think him mistaken. Martin's opinion seems to be clearly 
sustained by the general facts, and certainly is by Caruthers, who got his 
information from the Regulators themselves. (See Life of Caldwell, page 
103). Hunter was their 'leader in arms, "and in both council and in camp 
was "■ a ring-leader in sedition." Howell effectually ridiculed Fanning & 
Co., in his verse, but Husbands was preeminently the agitator, while 
Hunter was the man of action of them all. See Howell's own statement 
(Life of Caldwell, 130.) 

*In 1776 overzealous Whig officials outraged common prudence (vol. 10, 
78(5). So did Wm. Fields in 1771 (vol. 10, 1019). See Hunter's admirable 
letter. He went to Salisbury, in '71 to establish rule for chaos. 


firm, wise and judicious conservatism of the man. He was 
afterwards in the convention that framed the State and 
adopted the Federal Constitution''' and was an elder in one 
of Dr. Caldwell's churches, as James Hunter was a mem- 
bi-r and afterwards an elder in a church of his own build- 
ing. The Regulators here appointed on their committee 
their old leaders. Hunter, Person and others. It is true, 
and we joyfully proclaim it abroad, thatastime had elapsed 
between 1765, the beginning of these troubles, and 1771. 
and as their repeated peaceable and lawful' efforts had failed 
them, these brave men had proven themselves equal to the 
emergency and had risen with the necessity for stronger 

Had Tryon done his duty at this juncture — March, 1771 
—by Alexander Martin, Hunter, and others, law and 
order coupled with justice would have instantly reigned 
and left him no excuse for polluting with the blood of 
patriots the pure waters of the Alamance. The Regula- 
tors were endeavoring after an equitable and just system 
of government for the community; arbitration, the last that 
was left them. 

But personal prefFerment at the hands of the King was 
the end Tryon had in view and the wise efforts of these 
good men were to bear no fruit. As proof of this and as 
a vivid picture of Tryon's imperious spirit I cite his reply 
to Alexander Martin and Frohawk: 

"Mew Berne, 5th day of April, 1771. 
"I have received your letter of the 18th of March respecting your nego- 
tiations and agreement with the Insurgents. If you have abused your 
public trust it is your duty to give satisfaction and make restitution to the 
injured. As for my own part I entertain a just abhorence of the conduct 
of that man who is guilty of extortion in the execution of his public char- 
acter. The mode, however, of your agreement with the Insurgents, includ- 
ing officers who are amenable only for their public conduct to the tribu- 

*Life of Caldwell, p. 171. 


nals of their country, is introductory to a pract/ce most dangerous to the 
peace and happiness of society. On the 18th of March last it was deter- 
mined, with the consent of his Majesty's council, to raise forces to march 
into the settlement of the Insurgents in order to restore peace to the coun- 
try upon honorable terms and constitutional principles. This measure is 
not intended to impede nor has it the least reference to the agreement be- 
tween you gentlemen and the Regulators, though it is expected in the exe- 
cution of it more stability will be added to our government than by the 
issue of the convention ratified at Salisbury. I am, gentlemen, &c., 

Wm. Tryon." 

Though brilliantly caustic that, aimed in part at a man — 
Alexander Martin — destined thereafter repeatedly to be 
speaker of the Senate, many times to fill the gubernatorial 
chair of North Carolina, and later to become a Senator of 
these United States, if was, nevertheless, under the cir- 
cumstances, unconscionable and heartless. 

But, if we grant any and all alleged increase of violence 
and demoralization, still the effort to base Tryon's anxiety 
for war upon these is hollow pretense. Before Husbands' 
"insinuation" at New Berne in Dec. 1770; before the dis- 
ruption of the court at Hillsboro, or even before Judge 
Moore had pronounced the courts powerless in the Spring 
of 1770, the character of this man and his bloody purpose 
were apparent and fully understood by the Legislature. 
At a council of war held at Hillsboro so early as the sum- 
mer of 1768, Try oil being absent because of temporary 
sickness, it was determined to pardon all Regulators, a few 
leaders excepted, and take their bonds for their good beha- 
vior. Upon hearing this Tryon asked for or demanded a 
reconsideration of their finding; and suggested in its stead 
instant wai". The court reconsidered, but rejected the sug- 
gestion of war. The same proposition from the same source 
was again rejected even by his council, the second and last 
time this body ever thwarted his will, I believe. 

The people's resistance to wrong was the occasion, but 
the cause of this war lav in the breast of an ambitious and 


tyranical ruler, the subserviency of his legislature, its quasi 
hostility to the new-comers in the West and in its passion 
based on offended dignity. 

Tryon was the creature of his age and environments. 
The King and ruling classes of England at that time had 
no proper regard for the rights or even the lives of the 
the common people. Within this century, as I remember, 
the great lawyer, reformer and humanitarian, Sir Samuel 
Romily, found them being driven daily in herds to the gal- 
lows — one of them at least, and a woman, for the trifling of- 
fence of stealing a pocket handkerchief. 

Mr. Moore affirms: "No fact is more discreditable in 
our history than the ascendency which Tryon then demon- 
strated over men who should have been wise enough to 
have scorned him as he deserved." (Vol. 1, p 123.) 

If, as he says, the governor was false and tyranical, the 
court guilty of "infamous" servility from the bench and 
the speakers of the assembly — "John Harvey, Richard 
Caswell, John Ashe and many other brave and reverend 
men," (122,) were obsequious to "degradation," surely the 
people were justified in refusing obedience to their ruin- 
ous mandates and ought, had the power been theirs, to have 
driven them from the province. 

Naked charges like the above, however, are well calcu- 
lated, though true, to affix to the memory of these, in many 
respects great and noble men, an obliquy they do not de- 
serve. Be it remembered that they, like their fathers be- 
fore them, were the born subjects of Great Britain one 
hundred and fifty years ago; and thus to measure them by 
the standard of to-day is of course to hold the individual 
responsible for the infirmities justly chargeable to the age 
in which they lived. These charges are quoted and thus 
reproduced here in vindication of other North Carolinians 
who rose superior to their age. 


In this connection we cannot but see in the war of the 
Regulation another proof that the liberties of any people are 
safest in the hands of its great middle classes — both as re- 
gards their maintenance intact and their perpetuity. Com- 
pelled to personally supervise and attend to their several 
private occupations in life, these men are strong in body 
and healthful in mind and spirit and frequently in morals 
beyond others; and being moderately circumstanced they 
have something to loose but feel keenly and quickly the 
abuse of government. On the other hand not having 
yet attained to court circles they are tempted by neither 
powerful appeals to cupidity nor ambition to stoop to either 
the frowns or blandishments of power. Of those promi- 
nent among the Regulators Rednap Howell was an in- 
structor of youth and an intelligent man for his times ; 
Herman Husbands was a country preacher of unusually 
clear and strong mind, exceedingly impatient and restive 
under oppression and the owner of a comfortable country 
home abundantly sufficient for his own and his family's 
necessities. Of William Batler I know little else than 
that he was a brave and thoroughly sincere man, and the 
brother of Gen. John Butler, of Orange ; James Hunter 
was an early type of that excellent and influential class 
of citizens — the planters of Western and Central Xorth 
Carolina — who, with their successors, gave the State an 
enviable reputation for intelligent conservatism in politics, 
manners and morality — the freest and the purest of men 
— and who established on their fertile acres hospitable 
homes, where they lived and reared their families. 

There was criminal failure properly to legislate for the 
province throughout these cruel years, responsibility for 
which devolved upon the governor or legislature — one or 

Into the justice of the charge that the Regulators were 


an "impediment to legislation" of the times, let us now 
inquire. The small coast county of Pasquotank, with 
a population of 433 white men eighteen years of age. had 
five representatives in the lower house of the legislature. 
Orange and Rowan combined — the home of the Regulators 
we may say — extending from about Raleigh westward in- 
definitely across the mountains, with a like population of 
6.487, had four representatives. Chowan, with a popula- 
tion of 571, had five; Currituck, with 709, had five; Per- 
quimans, with 455, had five, and Tyrrell, with 594, had 
five (C. R. Vol. 7, pp. 146, 283, 539). 

That is to say, Orange and Rowan combined had four 
representatives to a population of 6,000, while the five 
small counties above had 25 representatives to a popula- 
tion of 2,000. In the Upper House or Council the West 
seems to have been ignored. To strengthen earnest men 
in the legislature too weak to force reform of abuses ever 
promised but never fulfilled, to remove officials ever repri- 
manded but never displaced, and to stop the levying of 
cruelly extravagant taxes, under an unfair system (vol. 8. 
14-17 Pref. Notes), that had grown simply beyond their 
ability to meet it, the Regulators entered into a solemn 
compact to stop the payment of all taxes other than "what 
were agreeable to law and this of course could not be 
known till the public accounts were settled." (Vol. 8. 637 and 
elsewhere.) '''This finall}' resulted as the Regulatorshad fore- 
seen and intended it should, but unfortunately too late for a 
number of themselves. In January, '71, Cornelius Harnet, 
a most influential member from Wilmington, chairman of 
committee on grievances, reported: "That the several 
officers of this province by extorting, exacting and receiv- 
ing greater fees than the law allows is a very great griev- 

*Taxation for debts already paid; see Pref. Notes, vol. 7., 12, 13 and 
17, and vol. 7., 983, and Appendix, A. 


ance ; and unless prevented in the future may be of dan- 
gerous tendency." That the taking fees on certain bills 
"in either house of the assembly is a grievance and not 
warranted;" that the method of prosecuting certain causes 
in the courts " is a very great grievance and tends only to 
enhance and increase the fees of attorneys, sheriffs, clerks, 
&c."; — "that the Regulators by obstructing the sheriffs of 
the frontier and other counties, by rescuing goods taken 
by distress for public taxes and their opposition to the 
courts is a grievance detrimental to society and manifestly 
tends to distress the peaceable and loyal subjects of the 
province who are compelled to pay the taxes for the sup- 
port of the government." And Mr. Harnet recommends 
that "their leaders be compelled by Law to answer for 
their conduct." "Concurred in" 

Thus so late as Jan. '71, Cornelius Harnet says and the 
legislature say the proper course for the legislature to pur- 
sue is to redress the people's wrongs, and that then the 
courts will assume their wonted sway. (Vol. 8, 388-9.) 

In connection with this deliverance of the legislature of 
Dec. 1770, and Jan. '71, hear that of Tryon in his address 
the fall before. For three years he had urged in vain a 
remedy — to use his own language — " for expelling that 
cloud which has ever obscured the public accounts of the 
province. The community will then cheerfully pay the 
public levies, satisfied they are fjiirly adjusted and applied 
to the service intended." (Vol. 7, 88.) " The plan I laid 
before you for the public funds, if accepted by the legisla- 
ture, will produce the happiest effect to this country ever 
experienced; though the only act passed in the session. 
But this blessing is not to be obtained for this country 
while the treasurers, late sheriffs and their sureties can 
command a majority in the lower house." (Vol. 7, 140.) 
These are declarations of both the legislature and of Tryon 


that an adequate and the proper remedy for pacifying the 
Regulators was — justice at the hands of their rulers ; that 
war was unnecessary; and being unnecessary it was there- 
fore criminal. 

To this legislature of '70 -'71 that finally made war upon 
the people, the Regulators had elected Husbands from 
Orange, and Thos. Person from Granville — the last cer- 
tainly as good a man as the province contained. Soon 
after the assembly met. Person was bitterly attacked ; he 
was vindicated however and the charges pronounced to be 
malicious, and the prosecutor saddled with the costs (after- 
wards remitted however.)* 

Two days afterwards Husbands was also arraigned be- 
fore the house on the charge of libel, for the publication of 
a caustic letter, bearing the signature of James Hunter 
and addressed to Judge Moore, all by predetermination as 
Tryon's address shows. A jury speedily assembled, pro- 
nounced the publication to be "no libel." (Vol. 8, 494 and 
511.) But Husbands was expelledf nevertheless for an 
insult, among other things they said to the legis]ature§ for 
insinuating that if under these circumstances they im- 
prisoned him the Regulators would release^ him. 

Such would seem the ability of the Regulators to im- 
pede and such the manner in which they " impeded " legis- 

From the strangely inconsistent course of conduct pur- 
sued by Judge Maurice Moore throughout these years the 
inference is drawn (Moore's History Vol. 1, p. 131, Note), 

*Ashe attacked Person, October 1769, (vol. 8. 118.) 

tCol. Rec, Vol. 8, 269. 

JCol. Rec, Vol. 8, 500— "Only view of Regulators was to release." 
their imprisoned representative. Tryon knew, 20th Feb. they had dis- 
persed and had forced a quasi vote of war, before there was any purpose 
on the part of the Regulators to march to New Barne. 

^Col. Rec, Vol. 7, 629, Legislative dignity vindicated. 


that theirs was indeed a bad cause and that the Regula- 
tors themselves were the " host of scoundrels " the Judge 
pronounced them to be. As we see it the recorded events 
of the period, as transmitted and now in hand, seem to 
show this inference to be based upon false premises, and 
most unjust to the Regulators ; and that if the course of 
Judge Moore reflected unfavorably upon any one it was 
upon himself alone. 

" His sympathy for their distresses classed him as a Reg- 
ulator," (Moore's History, vol. 1, p. 100). That he, "their 
best friend in all the province, should have conceded the 
necessity for Governor Tryon's coercive measures is the 
most pregnant circumstance in all that unhappy year in 
vindication of the stern policy so recently adopted," (Vol. 1. 
p. 131) Let's inquire into the correctness of this. Tryon 
writes: "28th of April, 1766, I have suspended Mr. 
Maurice Moore from the office of assistant Judge for the 
district of Salisbury for his intemperate zeal and conduct 
in opposition to the Stamp Act. The commission of assis- 
tant Judge I have given to Mr. Edmund Fanning." (vol. 
7, p. 199). Who qualified in March, 1766, (191). Fan- 
ning declining to serve longer in March, 1768, (vol. 7, p. 
698), Judge Moore had been reinstated upon the bench 
Tryon writing March 12th, 1768: " The former gentleman 
(Moore) I suspended during the late disturbances in the 
colony. His proper conduct and behavior since that 
period and the British act of grace subsequent to those 
troubles induced me with the approbation of my council to 
reinstate Mr. Moore in his office." (Vol. 7, p. 697). 

The disturbance in Orange increasing and "being ascribed 
to me as its author and incourager " — as the Judge says, 
he declared (Aug. 1768), "I have been calumniated before 
but never so capitally as in this instance. 1 assure you it 
gives me much concern in spite of the consolation a clear 


conscience gives me. I never knew or ever in my life, as 
I know of, even saw any man or men engaged in this un- 
lucky affair, except Hunter and Howell, and I made you 
fully acquainted with the advice I gave them." (Wheeler 
101). This was addressed to Fanning. 

At a Superior court for Rowan Judge Moore presided 
with the other two Judges Tuesday, September the 6th, fol- 
lowing. (Vol. 7, 838) On the 13th we find this entry in 
Tryon's journal: "Maurice Moore, Esq., is appointed Col- 
onel Commandant (with rank of Colonel) of a Troop of 
Gentlemen Volunteer Light Dragoons." (Vol. 7, 829). 
Thence they marched to Hillsboro and we find: " Hills- 
boro Camp, 23rd — Colonel Moore's Light Dragoons — in 
King street, opposite Headquarters," (Vol. 7, 834). On 
the next day, the 24th, Judge Moore takes his seat upon 
the Superior Court bench when Edmund Fanning and Wil- 
liam Butler, Hunter and other Regulators were arraigned 
before the court with what result is known and read of all 
men. (vol. 7, 843). Col. Moore had sat in the council of 
war on the 22nd and 28rd. (Vol. 7, 842(. 

In March, 1770, he announces the paralysis of the civil 
arm of government, in a letter to Tryon, in these words: 

" This is an evil, Sir, no civil process can remedy — the 
reason is obvious, none such can be executed — I have 
therefore recommended to the sheriffs to petition your 
Excellency and the assembly at its next meeting on this 
subject, and I wish it may not be found necessary to re- 
dress them by means equal to the obstinacy of the people 
who have given occasion for it." (vol. 8, 192). 

This to the tyrant, the weight of whose "iron fists" he 
had himself felt for two years, and whose anxiety for war 
upon the people he had witnessed at Hillsboro in 1768, 
being himself a member of the council of war then and 
there held, (vol. 7, p 84:^). He wrote February 22nd, 


1771, " signifying his desire to be present at the court 
(soon to be held) when the Insurgents are to be tried." 
(Tryon's letter, February 27th, 1771, vol. 8, p. 694). 

In June, 1771, the court were found "waiting (at Hills- 
boro) to try the persons taken in battle (Alamance). 
Twelve of fourteen tried were capitally convicted as trai- 
tors and two acquitted," who " established their innocence, 
one day being given." (Atticus Letter). (8, G50). 

In December, 1770, a committee of seven — "Messrs. 
Howe, Johnston, Maurice Moore (and four others) were 
appointed to prepare an address in reply to His Excel- 
lency's — Governor Tryon's — speech and report." (8,306). 
"Mr. Maurice Moore informed the House that the said 
committee had prepared the same, which he read in his 
place and delivered in at the table," (8, 311), being its au 
thor it is inferred. This address concludes in this lan- 
guage, Tryon having been granted a leave of absence from 
the province by the King : 

" Your approaching departure from your government is 
a circumstance truly detrimental to the interest of the 
province, and is justly to be lamented. It is a misfortune 
peculiar to this country that as soon as its governor has 
become acquainted with its constitution and the temper of 
its inhabitants he is, by some ill-fiited means or other, re- 
moved from us. Nothing, sir, on this afflicting occasion, 
can afford us consolation but the firm reliance that the 
well-known benevolence of your disposition and friendly 
concern for the welfare of mankind will dispose you to use 
the influence your merit and station justly entitle you to 
in favor of the constitutional liberties of North America in 
general and the interests of this province in particular. 
Your steady and uniform endeavors to render every ser- 
vice to this country have a just claim to the warmest re- 
turn of gratitude and respect; and whithersoever you may 


go you have the united and unfeigned wishes of this people 
for the peace and happiness of yourself and family." (Vol. 
8, p. 311) 

This was followed the next fall, Tryon having left to as- 
sume the government of New York, by the Atticus letter, 
regarded as unsurpassed invective. 

Notwithstanding the facts that Judge Moore personally 
read and delivered in the above address, and is believed 
to have written it, still the committee was as such partially 
responsible therefor; but his friends claim that the con- 
ception and publication of the letter were his exclusive, 
personal acts. We give a single extract : 

"You (Tryon) took the field in September, 1768, 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 ap- 
prehensive 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 an 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." 

Remembering the prompt assistance as colonel com- 
mandant of volunteer Dragoons, judge upon the civil bench 
and judge in the council of war, rendered by the writer in 
this campaign of '68, and at Hillsboro in June, '71, we 
confess to astonishment at this public excoriation of Tryon. 
It came too late, however, either to help the dead or blacken 
their memory. 


In consequence of Judge Moore's letter to Governor 
Josiah Martin so late as January 9th, 1776, suggesting 
accommodation between England and the colony on certain 
terms, (vol. 10, p. 395.) (Martin's reply, vol. 10, p. 398) 
Martin in a letter home declares Moore to be "whimsical" 
in politics and that " caprice and fickleness " were charac- 
teristic of the man (vol. 10, p. 400), As to the correct- 
ness of Governor Martin's estimate of Judge Moore's char- 
acter, the reader will form his own conclusions from the 
facts in the case. 

A. number of good men, " in no wise connected with the 
Regulators," assigned as a reason for Hunter's pardon, 
chief of the Regulators, that he was humane and compas- 
sionate. (Vol. 9, p. 86). The Regulators, a large body of 
wronged and long deceived men, embracing every element 
of society, whipped a few of their oppressors, taking the 
life of not one; but to pass the "infamous" Johnson bill, 
to shoot down and hang the heroic and the helpless was 
reserved for the more aspiring and powerful few. (Life of 
Caldwell, pp. 163, 166 ) 

Criticisms of the patriotic labors of Mr. J. W. Moore are 
here thus candidly indulged in, because Mr. Moore's work 
is entitled a History of North Carolina. Being the latest 
and most complete history of the State extant, it will be 
accepted as authoritative. It, therefore, becomes impor- 
tant that its errors be corrected, if any such it contains. 

Finally, if it had in fact become necessary to suppress 
with arms these desperate men, the responsibility therefor 
devolved upon those who administered the fearful correct- 
ive. They and those under their control were virtually 
the legislature as then constituted ; and that the necessary 
physical as well as political power to have redressed all 
grievance was theirs is manifest. For only five years be- 
fore this, their own dignity and interests being menaced, 


they had promptly set at naught Tryon's authority and im- 
prisoned his person (vol. 7, p. 172);* and a little later on 
had driven his successor from his capital and the province. 

It were a suicidal and most ungracious folly for any 
North Carolinian wantonly to reflect upon those Revolu- 
tionary leaders to whose noble efforts the State is so largely 
indebted for both its freedom and honorable fame. Nev- 
ertheless their treatment of the Regulators was an outrage 
and here to justify the guilty is to wrong the innocent and 
equally meritorious, and to deprive the present generation 
of a lesson to which it is entitled. 

In this controversy men must take sides. They cannot 
justify both the Regulators and those who made war upon 
them. Efforts at different times and upon different grounds 
so to do have failed. 

Dr. Caruthers with the light before him (0. N. S., p. 
31, Series 1), '■ vindicates Caswell, Ashe," and others, upon 
the grounds of their ignorance of that true state of affairs 
which, in his opinion, justifies the Regulators. These gen- 
tlemen, under parliament, possessed and tenaciously held 
to the power, and so voluntarily assumed responsibility 
for the conduct of the affairs of the people of the province. 
They had ample opportunity to have correctly informed 
themselves, and if they were in fact ignorant, ignorance 
under the circumstances was only less criminal than wilful 

Caruthers says : " The conduct of these patriotic men 
in aiding the governor to put down the Regulators admits 
of ample vindication. Of course they could not be ex- 
pected to know the imposition practiced upon the people 
further back, and therefore they were justified in lending 
their co-operation." 

*Col. Rec, vol, 7, p. 127. 


Let's inquire how this was. Mr. Ashe was speaker of 
the Provincial Lower House in 1765, when Tryon assumed 
the governorship. From October, 1766, to January, 1771, 
Messrs. Harvey and Caswell successively held that posi- 
tion. Throughout these years Harvey, Caswell, Harnet 
and others continuously sat in the legislature, and a part 
of the time with Thomas Person. Person was an able, 
courageous, an<l from his wealth and other causes, influen- 
tial man. He was a Regulator and the representative, 
from Granville, of the Regulators.* The Nutbush papers 
Avere issued from Granville June 6th, 1765 (Vol. 7, p. 90). 
These published papers, together with the published "ad- 
vertisements " of the Regulators following on year after 
year, clearly set forth the gi-ievances of Person's constit- 
uents. From these facts alone the plea of ignorance will 
not be entertained. 

But we are not left to inference. The stench of corrup- 
tion and oppression in this country had reached England. 
Upon his appointment to the governorship Tryon received 
instructions from England to this effect, (7, 139): 

"You are hereby strictly enjoined and required forth- 
with to cause fair tables of all fees legally established within 
the province under your government to be fixed up in evey 
public office within your said government (not effected 
April 12th, 1772, 9, 279), — and also to publish a procla- 
mation — expressing our indignation at these unwarrantable 
and dishonorable practices and strictly enjoining and re- 
quiring all public officers whatever from receiving other 
than lawful fees." 

On the 15th of August, 1765, Tryon writes home that 
"they (the legislature) did not enter into an examination 
of their public funds ; I shall, however, recommend again 
the necessity for such an enquiry." (7, 107). 

* Saunders. 


At the meeting of a new assembly, October, 1766, in his 
address Tryon recommends "a remedy to prevent future 
neglect and embezzlement of sheriffs," &c., (7, 294). No- 
vember of that session the House appointed Caswell, Per- 
son and Harnet a committee to settle these accounts ; they 
were not settled, however, but the bill for building the 
Palace was enacted and further taxes laid for the same. 
This in November, 1766; and the following January (1767) 
Tryon writes that through the "embezzlement of sheriffs 
and deficiency of currency"* two-thirds of the taxes 
levied were never applied to the purpose for which they 
were laid. 7, 433). 

At a session held December 5th, 1767, he urges in his 
address, "The necessity for making as well your public 
funds as the embezzlement and irregularities practiced by 
several collectors of the province for some time past a prin- 
cipal object of your important inquiries; and I humbly 
submit that no provisions will be found against these abuses 
as long as a jealousy exists of the Chief Magistrate, &c." 

On the re-assembling of the legislature, October 1769, in 
his address the governor re-submits a remedy for "expell- 
ing that cloud which has ever obscured the public accounts 
of the province. The community will then cheerfully pay 
the public levies, satisfied they are fairly adjusted and ap- 
plied to the services intended." (8, 88). Here in his ad- 
dress to the legislature the governor adopts the ideas and 
almost the identical language of the Regulators in their 
repeatedly published complaints; if he had not in hand a 
copy he certainly had in mind their papers, as doubtless 
did the several members; he tells these men to do justice 
by the people and then the Regulators will " cheerfully 
pay" those taxes which by preconcert among themselves 

*Col. Rec, 7, 570; 7, 792; 8, 651. 


they had quit paying for the identical reasons h6re en 
dorsed by the governor. Finally in dissolving this assem- 
bly November 6th, 1769, declaring his great disappoint- 
ment at their non-action in this matter, he says : 

"The plan I laid before you for your future funds, if 
adopted by the legislature, will produce the happiest effect 
to this country ever experienced; though the act should 
be the only act passed in that session. But this blessing 
is not to be obtained for this country while the treasurers, 
late sheriffs and their surities can command a majority in 
the lower house." &c., (Vol, 8, 140). 

On the 5th of December, 1770, in his address to a new 
legislature — Caswell now being speaker — Try on address e 
them again in this language : " I offer in the most urgent 
manner for your consideration abuses in public funds and 
general complaint against public officers and offices." (Vol. 
8, 282). The justice or injustice to the legislature of the 
governor's charge of complicity with late defaulting 
" sheriffs and their sureties," who filled the province, in no 
wise affects the question of their knowledge or ignorance 
of the abuses so frequently and earnestly called to their 
attention. But, like other facts here cited, it precludes 
the possibility of ignorance on their part.* 

The vindication of those leaders who made war at Ala- 
mance upon their wronged fellow subjects, must be based up- 
on other reasons than the necessity of the situation or their 
own mistake of the facts or their fear of British governors.f 

*Col. Rec. vol. 7, p. 570. Vol. 8, 114 "■ abuses cry aloud." 
tBut query; had Tryon been governor in 1776, would his " diplomatic" 
friends been whigs or tories? See resolve of affection and confidence, Dec. 
'73, vol. 9, 787. Tryon was prompt, gracefully to retreat when necessary, 
as bold to advance when allowed. The Sons of Liberty utterly humilia- 
ted him in the fall of '65 and spring of '66; so did the legislature Nov. '66, 
but when they attempted tliis again in Nov. '69, their discomfiture was 
complete, (see Journal, vol. 8. 86.) They never kicked again. Tryon was 
the hypnotist of the age. 


The offensive vaporings of Hermon Husbands, if such 
there were, and the publication of a cruel slander, upon a 
good man, if you please, do not excuse a grave and respon- 
sible body, clothed with power, for making war upon the 
homes, the wives and thelittle ones of a wronged community. 

The fact is that in Tryon's approach lay the presage of 
evil for the province, wholly devoid of compens;ition. His 
vanity subjected the country to debt and to taxation that 
took from the plow the work-horse of the poor and stripped 
from the back of his wife her "homespun dress."(0. N. S. 
vol. 1, 22.) John Harvey (vol. 7, 570) declared it was 

The influx into central and western North Carolina, at 
that time, of a most desirable population, Baptists, Scotch- 
Irish and German, Lutheran and Presbyterian and Quakers, 
was unprecedented perhaps in the history of any colony. 
This Tryon declared it to be, and to it his ambition put an 
end and drove away many excellent men by his war upon 
the people, (Vol. 8, 654). In the first address to its assem- 
bly by this adroit, aggressive, bold, bad man he section- 
alized the province and sowed seed of dissention that bore 
unhappy fruits for nearly a century. Foreseeing he fore- 
told the rapidly approaching consequences of the heavy 
immigration just spoken of; he excited the fears and jeal- 
ousies of the then all-powerful East, political and religious ; 
and to these are due largely that abuse and neglect that 
nurtured the Regulation. 

On the 3rd of May, 1765, Tryon, Lieutenant-Governor, 
recommends to his legislature amendments to a previous act 
"making provisions for an Orthodox Clegry" in this lan- 
guage, (7, 42) : 

"In this instance I must more particularly address my- 
self to the members of the church of England; and desire 
them to reflect on the little prospect there appears of its 


ever being established, if they but a little while longer 
suffer their pursuasions to lay under a general neglect ; I 
ground my opinion on the increasing number of sectaries 
in the province, who in a short period of time may be in a 
majority in all assemblies," etc. 

While claiming to be a friend of toleration, he says of 
the sectaries : 

" I must inform them that I never heard toleration in 
any country made use of as an argument to exempt dis- 
senters from bearing their share of the support of Estab- 
lished religion," etc. 

This Orthodox Clergy bill, that afterwards aroused bit- 
ter bickerings,* was promptly enacted, but not in its feat- 
ures exactly as recommended. 

In a letter home (7, 105), August, 1765, Tryon says: 

" I proposed that the salaries for the clergy should be 
paid by the public Treasurer (that is by the province) as 
that would be a stronger inducement for young clergymen 
of merit to come over to the colony. However, as the 
present law has provided a very summary law to obtain 
the salary, I am of opinion payment by vestry is in no 
ways objectionable. But this reasoning was not attended 
to, as the majority in the assembly were the representa- 
tives of the lower counties." 

They apprehended, I suppose and correctly, that Bap- 
tists, Lutherans, Presbyterians and Quakers would never 
pay their assessments and so their safer plan would be to 
bind themselves for their own respective parishes only. 

This overwhelming majority thought, however, that a 
negro slave capitally convicted by the court and hanged 
by the sheriff should be paid for by the province, as was 
done. (7, 686 and 8, 475.) There were few or no negroes 
in the west. 

*Appeiidix B. 


That Tiyon and his satelites had manufactured a senti- 
ment that kept many in ignorance and that led to gross 
error of judgment in this matter is true. This appears in 
many ways (9, 610)* and is evident from the fact that 
this so-called War of the Regulators was a purely sectional 
affair. Craven, Beaufort, Onslow, New Hanover, Duplin 
and Dobbs appear to have furnished Tryon's command, 
reinforced by "an artillery company of sailors raised at 
Wilmington." (8,j]649).t (See "Line of Battle," Vol. 8, 
583.) The " Eastern counties," as Tiyon calls them, were 
not represented, Tryon says, because the Northern Treas- 
urer would not honor his drafts for "bounty" (8, 650). 

Tryon ordered Clerk Fanning, Colonel commanding, to 
raise but two hundred militia from " the Orange regiment" 
(8, 704), and he excused Clerk, Colonel Frohawk, of Rowan, 
from command in this language: 

Wilmington, 30th March, 1771. 
Col. John Frnliav'k : — I am willing to attribute your late conduct with 
respect to the Regulators to motives of the preservation of your property 
and a consciousness of having, in the execution of your office, taken fees 
not warranted entirely by law. Sensible of the embarrassment you must 
be under as the commanding officer of the Rowan regiment of militia 
under such a situation, T am ready to excuse your taking an active part 
in the expedition now forming against the insurgents. "J 

General Waddell enjoyed the distinction, doubtless 
justly, of being the best fighter within the Province.^ In 
his march eastward to join Tryon he failed of his purpose 
for these reasons : 

"General Waddell's Camp, Pott's Creek, near Salisbury, 

*Jo8iah Quincy's diary. 

tColonial Records, 8, 553, " Whatever lower counties do " — get no sol- 
diers here " — Bute county. 

JWhy this letter will not reflect upon Ashe and Harvey, the best men 
in the State, and Caswell and other leaders who, though cognizant of all 
the facts, had yet clothed this unscrupulous tyrant with his power, will 
be difficult to explain away. 

IjPref. notes, Colonial Records, Vol. 9, page 54. 


10th of May. 1771. — By a council of the officers of the 
Western Detachment considering the great superiority of 
the insurgents in number and a resolution of a great part 
of their command not to fight, it was resolved that they 
should retreat across the Yadkin," which was promptly 
done." (8, 608.) 

Upon the presence of Col. Moses Alexander and that of 
Capt. Thomas Polk, of Mecklenburg, with this command 
the following may throw some light : 

New Bern, 10th March, 1771. 
CoJ. Moses Alexander — I have come to the resolution, by consent of mycoun- 
cil, to march a body of troops from the regiments of militia of this govern- 
ment It will be necessary that several commissaries should be appointed 
for the service ; and as you acquitted yourself very much to my approba- 
tion in the late Hillsboro expedition, I am induced to make you the offer 
of being commissary to the Mecklenburg, Tryon and Rowan detachments, 
to supply the same with ammunition, provisions and about fifty camp 
kettles ; at the same time observing that it would be very agreeable to me, 
could you make it so to yourself, that Capt. Thomas Polk should be equally 
interested and concerned with you in the undertakidg. " (Vol. 8, p. 698.) 

Later these gentlemen were " appointed joint commis- 
sioners for supplying the troops under General Waddell." 
(Vol. 8, p. 074.) 

As affecting the Wake militia, such as had obeyed or- 
ders, we find the following : 

"Detachment from Wake county that joined the army 
yesterday ordered to attend the sheriff of the county and 
to assist him in levying all the fines due from the body of 
militia that appeared at the general muster at Hunter's 
Lodge on Monday, the 6th instant, without arms; and also 
to support the sheriff in levying all the taxes due in the 
said district, excepting from those who have entered them- 
selves volunteers in His Majesty's service against the 
Insurgents," (Vol. 8, p. 577). 

Attention cannot be diverted fram the culpable com- 


plicity of those gentlemen by abuse of Tryon. Though 
an ambitious, despotic tyrant, Tryon seems sincerely to 
have entertained "just abhorrence'' of these peculations 
practised upon the people, although he tolerates such. 
His sin was ambition,* as his urgent appeal for the ap- 
pointment to the governorship first of North Carolina and 
afterwards of New York show; and his evident desire for 
war and subsequent parade and exaggeration of feats per- 
formed before the home government clearly establish the 
same. (Vol. 8, pp. 694-54.) 

The old scheme of rendering Husbands odious, by the 
application to him of "blatant," "demagogue," &c., with 
the issue confessedly in his favor, and then seeking by as- 
sociation to cast reflected odium upon all Regulators will 
neither longer succeed nor escape detection under present 
light. Nor will the commingling of merited praise and 
adulation with unjust and hurtful criticism of the Regula- 
tors confuse the mind and prevent a righteous decision. 

Having adduced adequate cause and praiseworthy mo- 
tive for the course pursued by a large body of men, why 
assign their course to "one base and designing man?" 
Moreover, having previously claimed for North Carolina 
(Moore's History, Introduction, Vol. 1, p. 16), that " the 
first blood shed in America to resist British tyranny was 
at the battle of Alamance," the author is estopped from 
justifying the murder of the patriots who fell upon that 
field. With this proud and just claim for North Carolina, 
how can w^e reconcile the subsequent statement that "upon 
the heads of his opponents, not Tryon's lies the guilt of 
the blood of Alamance?" Moore's History, Vol. 1, p. 

* Appendix C. Tryon's character. 

tNoTE — The Regulators had drunk "damnation to King George;" and 
in his appeal to the legislature of 1770 71 Tryon based it on the ground 


The legislature knew that they themselves, the governor 
and his judges were responsible for the condition of affairs; 
otherwise their rejection of the governor's petition for 
money with which to suppress "an host of scoundrels" who 
with strong arm had silenced the courts of the country is 

With the original records of the time or authentic copies 
of the same at hand intelligent readers will not believe 
that "Col. Wm. Dry," of the Council and collector of the 
port at Brunswick; that "Gen Thomas Person," that "Gov- 
ernor Alexander Martin" and others of their standinf** 


were the "tools of one base and designing man, (Moore's 
History, Vol. 1, p. 124 and 131). Nor was Hunter ever 
his "Lieutenant." 

Of this base man it is recorded: "He had been arrested 
May the 2nd and notwithstanding all his sermons and 
speeches urging the people to resist their oppressions, we 
have his own confessions of what a craven hearted wretch 
the noisy demagogue was. 'It came into my mind that if 
I made Col. Fanning some promise he might let me go. 
So on my motion he was sent for and came to see what I 
wanted. Says I, if I may go home I will promise not to 
concern myself any more whether you take large fees or 
not. It took with him and after humming a little he re- 
peated what I must promise, which as near as I can re- 
member was to this effect: You promise never to give 
your opinion of the laws nor frequent the assembling of 
yourself among the people, nor show any jealousy of offi- 
cers taking any extraordinary fees and if you hear others 

that they were the enemies of the "Constitution;" and in his address after 
the battle announced that the "fate of the Constitution had depended on 
the success of that day." Herein lies the sole possible apology for their 
crime, for in common with all America at that time our people were at- 
tached to the crown— the Regulators alone excepted. 
*Vol. 8, 525; Vol. 7, 9'1; Vol. 7, 914. 


speaking disrespectfully or hinting any jealousies of that 
nature of officers, that you reprove and caution them and 
that you will tell the people you are satisfied all the taxes 
are agreeable to law and do everything in your power to 
moderate and pacify them. All of which I promised.' " 
(Moore, Vol. 1, p. 117). 

The difference in the bearing of the two men — Hus- 
bands and Wm. Butler — under the trying ordeal here 
spoken of was indeed striking, and certainly not to Hus- 
band's credit. Fanning, who had with great secrecy, in 
the night-time arrested the two, confined them within the 
Hillsboro jail, intending to hurry them off to New Berne, 
but during the night becoming alarmed he offered to release 
them upon bail and was anxious for them to give it and 
thus release himself of their dangerous custody. Hus- 
bands at once embraced the offer, but as he himself relates 
unwilling to involve his friends, Butler paused awhile and 
said, "1 have but one life and freely can give that up for 
this cause, for God knows our cause is just.;' "They had 
exceeding hard work," Husbands continued, "before But- 
ler would consent, when they told him very seriously that 
if he went to New Berne he actually would be hanged ; 
and he did not consent at last till Fanning promised to 
clear him at court without cost." 

But all's well that ends well. The letter handed Tryon 
by Hunter containing the resolve to " fall like men if nec- 
essary," contained also this earnest prayer: " We pray you 
Sir, do not drive us to despair." 

Tryon was then at the head of troops. He was but too 
anxious to, and he Avas allowed to disregard this prayer. 
Tryon drove the Regulators to despair and in consequence 
of that act his Royal Master lost fairest America, thanks 
be to God, the disposer of all human events ; and three 


cheers for the glorious Regulators and their heroic chief- 
ain, "General" James Hunter. 

Meanwhile, before the Revolution and only eighteen 
months after the battle of the Alamance, through his own 
effecting, chiefly. Hunter in the sincerity and truthfulness 
of private correspondence with a "loving friend and brother 
sufferer," was enabled to declare of his own home and sec- 
tion at least : "The country is as much master now as 

Thus, my countrymen, I have endeavored first to refute 
an elaborate defence of Governor Tryon and his co-adju- 
tors, to which very great publicity has been and continues 
to be given. And then it has been my purpose to estab- 
lish the criminality of their assault upon the Regulators 
out of their own mouths 

This effort to establish what is believed to be the truth 
is made with singleness of purpose. It will ever remain 
a cherished memory that last fall I had the honor and the 
very great pleasure of personally supervising the erection 
upon these grounds of a noble monument to the true man 
and patriot, Wm. Hooper, of New Hanover. It is the 
cherished hope of my life, and let all make it our fixed re- 
solve, that hard by Hooper's another monument shall rise 
aloft. Upon its bronze face let us inscribe: James Hun- 
ter, "General" of the Regulators. And beneath this to 
his eternal honor, "The people are as much master now as 
ever." Thus will we teach the ages anew that time rights 
many wrongs and that truth crushed to earth will rise 

It was a bold deed personally to have delivered into 
the hands of the British Governor, Tryon, a letter con- 
taining this sentence: "But will nothing propitiate but 
our blood, we are determined at all events to ffill like men 
and to sell our lives at the dearest rate." (C. R., 7, 812.) 


Hunter, however, was always spokesman for the Regu- 
lators, when practicable, either alone or accompanied by 
one or more attendants. In every instance so far as ap- 
pears, his presence commanded respectful and courteous 
treatment, whether at the hands of the governor, judges 
or others. 

A handsome man, of commanding figure and a gentle- 
man, his bearing seems to have been such at all times as 
to have commanded the respect of superiors in office as 
well as the '* implicit obedience and respect savouring of 
enthusiastic reverence" of his followers. (7, 810.) 

Though the Regulators were sadly scattered upon the 
Alamance and although that conflict was fatal to a number 
of its brave men, so it was not to their heroic cause and the 
general measures urged by them.* The restlessness of 
both the Regulators and of the people at large continued 
till merged into the Revolutionary war in 1776. 

As to the relief of the particular homes and counties of 
the Regulators, this was practically achieved within the 
eighteen months following the battle. That this was 
effected chiefly through the admirable temper and splendid 
courage of James Hunter I believe to be easily demon- 
strated. What he could not enforce for want of physical 
power, he accomplished through address. 

In entire consistency with their course from the begin- 
ging " we," Hunter says, " petitioned the new Governor 
to visit the up-country soon after his arrival within the 
province." Governor Martin was a royalist and true to 
the King and the trust imposed upon him; but he appears 
also to have been a man of upright and disinterested pur- 
poses, and while to worthy motives, his just and righteous 
course at this time is ascribed, still he wanted peace ; and 
beyond doubt he believed, and with reason, that the most 

*Appenclix D. 


direct manner of securing this was by granting justice to 
the Regulators particularly and to the people at large. 
His information in the spring, 1772, had been that Hunter 
had returned from his hiding ; had openly visited his 
county seat without molestation and was planning "anew 
to wound the peace" of his country, he had been advised 
by his Chief Justice in August " that if the peace and quiet 
of the country is the object in view it would be wiser to 
pass a general amnesty without making any further stir 
concerning the criminality of the Insurgents." (Vol. 9, 
p. 334.) A letter from the sheriff of Guilford, of October 
18th, had informed him that "the spirit that raised the 
late dangerous insurrection " was not totally extinguished 
there ; that " officers are odious to the people" and that 
" their hearts seemed much inclined towards Hunter, one 
of the outlawed leaders of the insurgents," (Vol. 9, p. 36); 
and in a letter of November 6th, written in Maryland, 
whither he had gone to see Butler, in the privacy of this 
correspondence between "loving friends and brother suf- 
ferers," James Hunter says : "Morris Moore and Abner 
Nash have been up to see me, to try to get me in favor 
again and promised to do all they could for you, and I 
think they are more afiaid than ever." 

But before entering upon his labors here let's take a 
retrospective glance at this able, respected and greatly 
feared leader and patriot. 

Throughout the trying seventeen years, between 1766 
and 1783. no incident of his life reflected once upon his 
consistency of character, his candor or his courage. How- 
ever, it may have been, or appear to have been with 
others, his name appears upon no paper that reflects upon 
these. That Tryon's "army" was not annihilated in 1768 
was evidently because " our ministers " both wrote to and 
"visited us," (Vol. 7, p. 716 and Vol. 8, p. 15). Though, 


with the lights before them and from the character and 
subsequent course of these ministers we are convinced 
they did what in their opinion ought to have been done 
under the circumstances, the wisdom of their course is 
to-day a question. Tryon's shameful mastery of the lead- 
ing men of the province was progressive from 1766 to 
1771. John Harvey alone had the courage to confront 
him'^"; and he had been supplanted in the speakership, 
" through Tryon's procurement (Moore's Hist. p. 166, note), 
by the elevation of Col. Caswell to the chair," " whose 
rare, good character defends him from any suspicion of 
wilful guilt in that and every other transaction" distaste- 
ful to a British governor, (9, 340, Martin's letter, Sept. 5, 
1773.) So had Hunter's friends, as he did, resented this 
interference (Hunter withdrew from Caldwell's congrega- 
tion — Caruthers) and confronted Tryon at that time justice 
might have been secured without bloodshed. 

That Hunter was supported by compatriots loyal to the 
people as himself is true, but as regards his efficiency and 
trying personal experience he stood pre-eminent among 
his fellows. From the benefit of every general pardon 
issued by royal authority, with a single exception, between 
1766 and the close of British rule in 1775 his was the 
distinguishing honor of having been excluded, his name 
not infrequently appearing among the first upon the list. 
On the 30th of Oct., 1768, at Hillsboro, Tryon demanded 
the surrender of his person with those of twelve others; 
just before the battle of Alamance it was again demanded ; 
on the 9th of June following he was again outlawed, with 
only three others, and a reward offered of £100, and 
1,000 acres of land for his delivery, "dead or alive;" and 
finally when the lower house of assembly, Dec, 1771, 

*Col. Rec.,vol. 8, p. 698. Tryon thanks Harvey for " kind present " 
that winter. 


failed to exclude his name and those of three others from 
a pardon, that fact was occasion for a conflict between the 
houses that lasted till British rule in North Carolina was 
no more ; and Hunter died fifty years thereafter with a 
British halter around his neck. 

Neither rewards offered, threats nor insidious appeals l!] 
to personal vanity, by the tender of personal promotion «^ 
and peferment swerved him from the path of duty indi- ^ 
cated by his own self-respect and his obligations to the^ 
rights of man. The Revolutionary war having assumed j* 
tangible shape early in 1776, Governor Josiah Martin is- )^ 
sued commissions to certain leading men of the Regulators,v^ 
naturally supposing that they were still sore over their 
brutal treatment at the Alamance. Martin urged these 
to embody those over whom they exercised influence and 
with them meet him and the Highlanders at Fayetteville. 
Of gentlemen thus and then commissioned, both Swain and 
Caruthers say that Martin was mistaken in his men as 
regarded " Paul Barringer and the Messrs. Hawkins, 
senior and junior," for they were true Whigs. 

This is equally true of James Hunter and others, and in 
the failure to include their names with those designated 
lies a possible injustice. The eyes of the country — British 
and American — were upon Hunter, as appears from many 
sources at that time ; Col. Wm. Purviance, then on duty 
and watch at Wilmington, hastened to inform the authori- 
ties that there were at "X Creek, Feb., 1776, not two 
hundred of the old Regulators. The insurgents consist 
principally of Highland banditti,"* &c.; and a member of 
the Provincial Congress in a letter of the same date says 
of prisoners captured with Fieldsf ('' a small body," L. C. 
178,) " Hunter was not among them." 

*Col. Rec, vol. 10, p. 468 ; 100 at Moore's Creek, vol. 10, p. 491. 
t Appendix. E. 


Though Hunter is charged directly with threatening to 
raise men and to disperse the Whig Congress at Hillsboro, 
Aug., 1775, (Ms. Hist. 198) the authority cited is against 
the charge, (life of Iredell, 261-2). " There has been a 
conference held with the chiefs of the Regulators — we ap- 
prehend no danger from them, (10, 243.) 

Thus in February, 1776, Hunter was invited to fight, 
and settle an old score with men who had slaughtered his 
friends and attempted his own life but a few years before, 
and who had been greatly offended because Martin had 
condemned both themselves and Tryon for their abuse of 
the Regulators, (9, 350 — "silent, indignant and painful 
emotions " — Martin). 

Previously to this he had been told that the government 
was threatened w^ith trouble abroad and the evils of a dis- 
tracted front set forth. Now, as ever, however, the effort 
to divert him from public wrong by the tender of personal 
aggrandizement proved futile. Meanwhile, between the 
years 1771 and 1776, time had wrought great changes in 
the relations of both persons and parties within the prov- 
ince. And the Regulator was courted by another former 
enemy than the British. 

The assiduity with which it was sought to win or de- 
stroy Hunter is proof conclusive of the high estimate 
placed upon the man and leader. 

In March, 1768, the bearer of lawful and urgent peti- 
tions, he represented his people before Tryon at New 
Berne, then the seat of government. Accompanied by a 
single attendant, Rednap Howell, Hunter mounted his 
horse at Madison, and without shelter from storms or 
night, without bridges, without a road, and through a 
wilderness, he pushed his way three hundred miles to the 
sea-coast. To induce sensible men, possessed of their 
ordinary faculties, to undergo labors of this kind, the 


consideration compelling tlieni thereto, in order to be ade- 
quate, must be real and weighty. Incidents at times 
speak volumes. 

In September, 1768, when Tryon arbitrarily, falsely and 
deceptively rejecting all overtures for relief and peace, de- 
manded the surrender of the people there assembled, a 
night for consideration was asked. The next morning 
Tryon's messenger returned and " brought a message signed 
by James Hunter, saying the Insurgents had dispersed 
and he didn't know what they intended to do." 

The statement that Hunter commanded at Alamance is 
without foundation so far as I can find and believe. It 
may have grown out of the report published at the time, 
that when Tryon, during the negotiations, suddenly and 
contrary to his agreement* fired upon the people, armed 
and unarmed, 3,700 of the 4,000 present immediately left 
the grounds, while Hunter with only three hundred men 
fought till the close of the engagement, (vol. 8, p. 647). 
It seems from the proofs that there was no intention on 
the part of the people to engage aggressively here in 
battle at all. Certain it is, had any of the experienced 
frontiersmen of that day then present proposed to make 
the attack it would not now be a mooted question as to 
whether there was or was not any organization of their 
forces. Handicapped by the opposition or timidity of in- 
fluential friends, many of the brave people were led to 
hope still for justice without blood-shed. But they were 
resolved and prepared to defend themselves. The battle 
lasted two hours according to Tryon, (Vol. 8, p. 609, 616). 
There were probably 150 men killed and wounded. 

The result of the affair was the scattering of the leaders 
to the four winds. John Gillespie, ''the Fearless," was 
forced to cross the mountains, literally fighting his way as 

*Life Caldwell, pp. 149 and 153. 


he went. The wherabouts of the heroes, Rednap Howell, 
Husbands, Butler and Hunter were unknown, though pub- 
lication for their arrest was made in adjoining provinces, 
(vol. 9, p. 14). 

I here append a newsy and exceedingly interesting let- 
ter from Hunter to William Butler, written Nov. 6th, 1772. 
This letter is kindly furnished me by the venerable Mrs. 
Mary C. Dalton, of Iredell county, grand daughter-in-law 
of James Hunter: 

November 6th, 1772. 

Dear Friend: — Sorry I am that I have not the good fortune to see you. 
I took this journey into Maryland with no other view but to see you, Har- 
man and Howell, as I reckoned you were afraid to come and see me, but 
have had the bad fortune to see none of you only Howell, whom T saw 
in Augusta county on the head of James river. I expect you have seen 
Harman by this time, as he has gone with his family to the Red Stone. 
But I would not have you publish it. 

Things have taken a mightly turn in our unfortunate country, This 
summer our new governor has been up with us and given us every satis- 
faction we could expect of him and has had our public tax settled and 
has found our gentry behind in our, the public tax, 66443-9 shillings, be- 
sides the parish and county tax, and I think our officers hate him as bad 
as we hated Try on only they don't speak so free. He has turned Col. 
McGee out of commission for making complaint against out-Iawed men — 
and he has turned out every officer that any complaint has been supported 
against. In short I think he has determinated to purge the country of 
them. We petitioned him as soon as he came, and when he received our 
petition he came up amongst us and sent for all the out-lawed men to 
meet him at Wm. Field's, told us it was out of his power to pardon us at 
that time because he had submitted it to the King and the King's instruc- 
tion was to leave it to the governor, council and assembly to pardon whom 
they saw fit. But assured us he had given strict orders no man should be 
hurt or meddled with on that account, which made us wish for you all 
back again. Though some are of opinion Harman will not be pardoned I 
am of a different mind. The country petitioned for you, upward of 3,000 
signers, his answer was that he would recommend it to the assembly and 
freely gave his consent that nothing might be left to keep up the quarrel. 
He came to see us the second time and advised for fear of ill designing 
fellows to go to Hillsboro and enter into recognizance till the assembly 
met, which eleven of us did. He bemoaned our case and regretted that 
the indemnifying act had put it out of his power to give ua full redress. 
Our enemies I believe would be glad to see you three pardoned for some of 
them have gotten severely whipped about your being kept away, and I think 


the country is as mucli master now as ever. The out-lawed men since 
they came home are very ill-natured and whip them wherever they find 
them, and the governor thinks it no wonder they do not take the law of 
them. There is a great deal of private mischief done. The people want 
you back and I think you would be quite safe though we can be better 
assured when the assembly breaks up: it sits December 10th, when it is 
allowed that an indemnifying act will pass on all sides. *Our governor 
has got Fanning to forgive the pulling down of his house and he has pub- 
lished it in print advertisements all over the country. The governor has 
published a statement of the public accounts at every church and court 
house in the province for seventeen years back in print, with the sheriffs' 
names and the sum they have in hand for each year, and a. great many of 
their extortionate actions— a thing we never expected— to the great grief 
and shame of our gentry. If you should go to that far country I wish 
you would come and see us first; and let me assure you, you need not go 
on that account. Morriss Moore and Abner Nash have been up to see me, 
to try to get me in favor again and promised to do all they could for you, 
and I think they are more afraid than ever. I have now some good news 
to tell you, which I heard since I left home. I met John Husbands on 
his way to Maryland to prove his father's debt, which the governor told 
him if he would, in order to prove that Harman was in his debt he should 
have all his losses made up and told me that McCollough was come and 
was in our settlement; and was to have a meeting at my house the next 
Monday by a message from the King. Jeremiah Fields, and others, had 
been with him to know what it was, but he refused to tell them, he came 
to my house, only said he had tidings of the gospel of peace to preach to 
us all and was much concerned that I was not at home for he had particu- 
lar business with me. I am much troubled, dear brother, that I had not 
the good fortune to communicate my thoughts to you by word of mouth, 
for I have so much to tell you that I could not write it in two days. The 
out-lawed all live on their places again and I think as free from want as 
ever. I came home in ten months after the battle, entered a piece of vacant 
land adjoining my old place and rented out my old place. I add no more 
but subscribe myself j^our loving friend and brother sufferer, 

James Hunter. 

P. S. — Your friends are all well and desire to be remembered to you. 

It was upon his return after this "ten months" absence 
that Hunter openly and publicly visited without molesta- 
tion his county seat, which act of audacity so aroused the 
ire of Governor Martin. But, as we now know, Martin 
was soon to meet in council, this "ring-leader in sedition 

*Col. Rec. vol. 9, p. 877. Legislative act indemnifying themselves, dis- 
allowed by home government. 


and the rebel" was not out-classed. Martin's letter of the 
following August, (1772), in which he so severely animad- 
verts upon Tryon and his co-adjutors shows that Hunter 
and his friends had things pretty much their own way at 
their meeting; so does also the condition of affairs in 
Guilford and adjoining sections set forth in Hunter's letter 
and elsewhere. This was right and as the justice of the 
situation required. But there were others than the gov- 
ernor with whom the Regulators had to deal, the council 
and co-adjutors of Tryon. And their hostility Hunter 
seems to have anticipated, for he declares in his letter that 
he was greatly moved because he could not have communi- 
cated "my thoughts to you by word of mouth;" and when 
speaking of pardons promised he says: "we can be bet- 
ter assured when the next assembly breaks up." It so 
turned out, in fact, that the council so late as March, 1774, 
defeated finally any act of pardon whatever, in its bicker- 
ings over Hunter and two or three of his friends. 

These we cannot but observe were dangerous times in 
which Hunter was braving alone the risk and urging the 
interests of all. 

The next legislature, assembled Dec. 4th, 1774, and the 
last royal body assembled April, 1775, were stormy, and 
soon dissolved and had little time to bestow on the suffer- 
ing Regulators. When, however, the first provincial 
Whig congress met at Hillsboro, Aug., 1775, and when 
upon motion of Col. Caswell, speaker of the assembly of 
1771, Samuel Johnston, author of the " infamous Johnston 
bill " of that session, was made president of the congress, 
they resolved the first day of the sitting, that, 

" Whereas, it is manifest that endeavors have been used 
by the enemies of America to persuade several of the in- 
habitants of this province who were engaged in the late in- 
surrection, that they remain still liable to be punished 


unless pardoned by his Majesty, and that pardon can only 
be allowed upon condition that they shall take up arms, 
etc., for their King. 

" Resolved, therefore, that the late Insurgents and every 
one of them ought to be protected from every attempt to 
punish them by any means whatever ; and that this con- 
gress will to their utmost protect them from any injury 
to their persons or property which maybe attempted on 
the pretence of punishing the late said insurrection or 
an}' thing in consequence thereof." 

In other words these good and true and wronged men 
w^ere pardoned when they were needed. All of which 
reminds us of the ludicrous haste of a late congress, De- 
cember, 18'95, who, when stirred by the growl of the Brit- 
ish lion, pardoned certain Confederate officers. 

The coincidence is striking, and how entirely natural it 
woukl have been for self-respecting Regulators to have 
spurned this enforced "Christmas gift" (D. B. H.) some 
may now be enabled the more easily to apprehend and 
fully to appreciate 

Colonel Caswell, both Tryon's and Martin's trusted 
champion, it would seem, (Moore's History 1, 166; C. R. 
9, 339 and 10, 232), was in command of troops at Alamance. 
Of a section of Mr. Johnson's bill the home government, 
in its instructions, back, said : " Which said clause ap- 
pears to be irreconcilable with the principles of the consti- 
tution, full of danger in its operation and unfit for any 
part of the British empire," (8, 516). In additional in- 
structions to the governor of North Carolina of May, 1772, 
this language is used : " That he do not under any pre- 
tence whatever give his assent" — to any bill in the future 
— "unless the same shall appear to be entirely free from 
the objections" contained in this Johnson bill, (9, 289). 
Why this congress of unquestionably able and earnest 


men should have appointed as missionaries to the Regu- 
lators Col. Caswell and Judge Maurice Moore is at first 
glance unaccountable. The love of liberty and fixed hos- 
tility to England of these self-respecting " back-country- 
men" alone must have saved the congress from the con- 
sequence of its folly. The long settled English East, con- 
tent in the consciousness that the province was run in its 
interests,* both as regards political power and material 
advancement, was culpably indifferent to the welfare and 
ignorant of the character of the younger Scotch and Ger- 
man West. Compelled now to court the West, to this ig- 
norance must be attributed the blunder. Chickens come 
home to roost. 

Naturally the spirited but intelligent and patriotic Hun- 
ter found himself at this juncture in a position more or 
less embarrassing. There is evidence that he hated and 
doubtless he denounced foes both foreign and domestic, 
but none that he was ever for one moment untrue to his 
country, r^ It must have been with sincere regret, alike 
natural and honorable, that he turned his back upon Gov- 
ernor Martin, the friend of his people in their hour of 
need, but now become the enemy of mankind. 

Hunter was an ardent Whig during the Revolutionary 
war. His home — Guilford county — the " hotbed " and 
the "heart of the settlement of the Insurgents" (7, 827), 
was severed from Orange and Rowan in 1770 "to weaken 
by dividing the Regulators." "The erecting of Guilford 
county out of Orange and Rowan was, in the distracted 
state of this country, a truly political division, as it sepa- 
rated the main body of the Insurgents from Orange and 
left them in Guilford," says Lord Try on at the time, 
(8, 516). Dr. Caldwell's two Guilford congregations of 
Buffalo and Alamance virtually constituted the country 

*Pref. Notes Vol. 7, pp. 17-.20 


for fifty miles across. With the correct history of these 
excellent people no man was ever mora familiar than the 
conscientious Caruthers f He succeeded Dr. Caldwell in 
the pastorate of both these churches. After stating that 
many of these men were Regulators and took part at the 
battle of the Alamance, Dr. Caruthers aflirms : "Yet not 
one of them took sides with the loyalists during the war, 
but were all active and efficient Whig?." (Old North 
State, Series 1, p. 29). 

Dr. Caruthers states this as a matter settled by his own 
investigation, and is of opinion that the same was true of 
the great Presbyterian bodies extending from the Virginia 
line on the north to Mecklenburg, the home of the Black 

Of the German element the late Rev. G. Will. Welker 
says: "In the war of the Regulation they were in full 
sympathy with those who resisted the oppression, and the 
Germans of Orange and Guilford were in that disastrous 
fight on the Alamance. Before and during the war of the 
Regulation some Germans became prominent and made 
themselves felt in the events happening about them. 
Barringer, of Mecklenburg; Forney, of Lincoln, and Goert- 
ner, of Guilford." (8, 730, Col. Rec.) Barringer and 
Goertuer were certainly Regulators, and all three Revolu- 
tionary soldiers, (8, 727). " Nothing better shows the 
character and patriotism of the Germans of the Reformed 
church than their conduct when the rally to arms was 
made by the Continental congress," etc., (8, 733). 

" When the Revolutionary war came," says Dr. R. H. 
Dalton, "he (Hunter) entered as Major in Col. James 
Martin's regiment, his cousin;" and that "afterwards he 

tLife of Caldwell, p. 16G — 'frequently related to me by surviving Reg- 
ulators." Caruthers came to Guilford in 1819; was co-pastor with Dr. 
Caldwell and his successor. See Wiley's centennial address at Alamance. 


fought the Indians in several expeditions, and some of the 
battle scenes are fresh in my mind now," (1878). 

Rutherford, of Rowan; Polk, of Mecklenburg, and James 
Martin, of Guilford, raised a considerable force in the 
midwinter of 1775 and 1776 — December (State R. 11 — ) 
and with others destroyed the tory Scovillites in upper 
South Carolina, (Moore's Hist., 1, 200).* To this service 
in the early part of the war under James Martin Dr. Dal- 
ton may have referred ; but as "Col. James Martin with a 
large whig force was on his way from Guilford" (Moore's 
Hist., 1, 204; to suppress the Highlanders and Tories at 
Fayettevillc in Feb. 1776, the reference was more proba- 
bly to that expedition. 

From the above statements of Dis. Caruthers and Wel- 
ker and others and the showing made by Mecklenburg, 
Rowan and Guilford, "the heart" of the Regulation, 
Moore's history seems to be in error in the declaration 
that the Regulators "had no part in the liberation of the 
colonies," (1st, p. 137). To a certainty Hunter was at 
the battle of Guilford C. H., where the presence of the 
Governor, Col. Caswell, would have brought with it great 
moral influence. 

Dr. Dalton gives this interesting and important incident 
of the battle: "At the battle of Guilford when the order 
for retreat came, my grand-father failing to hear it and 
seeing the men beginning to fall back he thought they 
were running away, and seizing a musket he was beating 
them back, when Col. Martin came up and explained. He 
was often laughed at for that." James Martin in his peti- 
tion for pension sets forth Hunter's presence at Guilford 

Hunter represented Guilford in the Legislature from 
1778 to 1782 inclusive; — a course dictated doubtless by 

*Col. Rec. vol. 10, p. 408. 


public policy and at the instance of others; for from the 
known facts of his history, before, during and after this 
time an active life in the field would have been much 
more congenial to himself personally. 

As soon as the battle of Guilford relieved the country 
of the British and left the people untrammelled they 
elected, Feb. 1782, Daniel Gillespie to the sheriffalty; and 
his brother John, "The Fearless" and James Hunter fol- 
lowed him successively in that responsible position. After 
having repeatedly presided as one of the special court 
Hunter was made treasurer of the county and so con- 
tinued, I believe, till his county of Rockingham was estab- 
lished. (Minute docket for the Court of Pleas and Quar- 
ter Sessions for Guilford ; 1781 to 1788). Men's neigh- 
bors know them; and endorsement by these is the highest 
commendation of character; there were no stauncher 
Whigs nor better men in this section of country than the 
Regulators. Regulators, like Sons of Liberty, fought on 
the high and righteous principle of no representation, no 
taxation ; the difference in the situation of the two being 
in their favor — and the Regulators fought also for re- 
ligious liberty. 

Dr. Dalton, from whose manuscript, written in 1878, 
we quote, was a grandson of James Hunter, fifteen years 
of age at the time of the death of his grandfather. We 
extract the following interesting anecdotes of Hunter's 
declining years : 

"Every one was on tiptoe to hear from New Orleans, 
supposed to be in great danger of being sacked by Pack- 
ingham and our little army captured, which was com- 
manded by General Jackson. Suddenly a man well 
mounted flung open the big gate, and without taking time 
to shut it, came galloping down the hill towards the yard 
gate ; and as he came my grandfather recognized him as 


Alexander Strong Martin and exclaimed, ' It is Alex. 
Martin ; bad news, I fear.' " In an instant Martin pulled 
up at the gate and waving his hand cried out : ' General 
Jackson met the british below New Orleans, killed Pack- 
ingham and 8,000 of his men without losing but one man. 
In the twinkling of an eye the old gentleman sprang to 
his feet, jumping, curveting and lamming the floor with 
his cane, exclaiming: 'Damn the British; I knew if 
Andrew Jackson ever met them he would give them hell; 
hurrah for A.ndrew Jackson ! I always knew he'd be a 
great man some day.' I w^as so alarmed that I jumped 
out upon the grass, while my grandmother ran out beseech- 
ing Ward and brother Sam to hold him, which they did, 
but not till he had broken his cane and exhausted him- 
self. In the next moment he was lying on my grand- 
mother's bed exhausted and scarcely able to breathe ; and 
I left for home in great trepidation to tell the news. Poor 
grandmother was greatly troubled, fearing that he had 
lost his religion. 

"Andrew Jackson had lived and studied law at Guilford 
Court House and hunted fox with my grandfather several 
years, and they were very intimate and friendly." 

Hunter had built a church near his home in which all 
were welcome to preach, " provided they asked permission 
and for the key." On one occasion an Ironside occupied 
the pulpit, Hunter not knowing him to be such. "A large 
congregation was present to hear the champion, and the 
old Colonel took his seat, as usual, just in front of the 
pulpit. After reading the text, singing and along prayer, 
Davis opened first on the Roman Catholics and dealt them 
crushing blows ; and that delighted my grandfather, as 
was evident from his manner and the interest manifested 
in the argument. Next he belabored the Episcopalians, 
at which he was also pleased. Then the Methodists were 


dealt with in awful terms of vindictiveness and ridicule ; 
the old gentleman smiled with approval and had evidently 
concluded that Davis was a very great man. Unfortu- 
nately, however, after leaving the Methodists he imme- 
diately pitched into John Knox and his followers, and was 
beginning to immolate the whole concern, when suddenly 
grandfather sprang to his feet, brandished his cane and 
exclaimed in a loud voice : " Come down from there, you 
lying scoundrel, you vulgar wretch, or I'll maul you out ;" 
and suiting the action to the word he was advancing with 
uplifted arms when old man Crump, sitting near, seized 
the stick, and while they were struggling for it, the holy 
man slid down from the pulpit and escaped. 

" Grandfather's home was a lovely place, where I spent 
much of my time. My first impression of him was when 
he was old, but even then he was a fine looking man, 
fully six feet tall, and erect, though he walked with a 
cane. The Irish brogue was distinct in his enunciation, 
which was earnest and at times fluent. He was a strict 
Presbyterian and held family prayers morning and night 
with reading a Bible chapier and singing with my grand: 
mother. His habits w^ere temperate, though I have seen 
him take a glass with his friends. His library was large 
and miscellaneous, and in the absence of company he was 
generally reading. I never saw him dressed otherwise 
than in black broad-cloth ; his linen was always clean and 
fresh looking. Kindness and benevolence were striking 
traits of his character, as was manifested by the lamenta- 
tions of the poor at his death. His funeral was preached 
by Father Paisley, who married me, assisted by Mr. Pick- 
ard, of Orange, and it was the largest congregation I ever 
saw on such an occasion. Right under Father Paisley 
sat Thomas Henderson, Col. James Martin, Theophilus 
Lacy and Thomas Searcy." 


Born on the 8tli of April, 1740, after a long and stirring 
life, in the eighty-first year of his age, honored by all, 
surrounded in his peaceful home by sorrowing friends and 
kindred, still bearing about his neck a British halter of 
fifty years wearing, yet "soothed and sustained by an un- 
faltering trust," " like one who wraps the drapery of his 
couch about him and lies down to pleasant dreams," James 
Hunter sank to rest. 


The introduction into the Legislature May, '65 (Vol. 
7, p. 50) of a bill to make judgments of the courts and 
taxes— that is all debts public and private— solvable in 
"commodities" abundantly attests without further citation 
the distressing scarcity of money— "coin or currency"— 
within the province. But read— "Petition from a commit- 
tee of both houses of the Assembly to the King, Humbly 
showeth that by the resolves of both Houses of the As- 
sembly, we represent to your Most Sacred Majesty the 
present distressed condition of this colony for want of a 
currency to answer the purpose of paying the internal 
taxes and for a medium in trade. The distresses of the 
poor inhabitants of this colony will be inexpressible, as 
they will not have wherewith to pay the internal taxes 
and other considerable debts; neither is it in their power 
by any of the produce of their lands to obtain gold and 
silver to answer any of those purposes." Feb. '68, (vol. 
7, p. 681.) 

And yet under these circumstances, at the bidding of 
Tryon this legislature taxed the people, November, '6 6 
to "build the finest edifice in America" at that time ; the 
next summer, '67, Tryon, "escorted" by an army with all 
the pomp, and expense of glorious war, for which at that 
date there was no pretence of necessity, marched forth to 
run a line with a compass. In this he had been previ- 
ously limited by the legislature to the expenditure of only 
100 pounds and the employment of three commissioners; 
that December, '67, they voted Tryon £10,000 additional 
to the Palace, his wicked and unauthorized expenditure, 


in running the line ; declared "distress almost to ruin 
seems to be our inevitable lot" from scarcity of currency; 
acknowledge their "high obligation conferred upon us by 
your Excellency for superintending in person" the run- 
ning of the line, which his three commissioners ran 
wholly independently of himself and army, and they 
closed by decLiring "we are very glad to be informed that 
your Excellency was pleased with the conduct of the 
officers and soldiers that composed your "escort" (vol. 7, 
p. 576). 

Though thus straightened for money, still in July, '65, 
the Regulator's "Grievance was malfeasance of officials"; 
(vol. 7, p. 89). But in the spring of '68 taxation had 
superseded all other grievances and by Advertisement 
No. 4 the Regulators determined to pay no more taxes 
(vol. 7, p. 671), In April, '68, we read "Their greatest 
resentment is against you (Fanning) as being one of the 
Assembly who taxed them", (vol. 7, p. 710). 

On June 16th Tryon wrote Lord Hillsboro "under these 
circumstances" (as described above) they refused to allow 
the sheriffs to sell them out of house and home, (vol 7, 
p. 792). 

In August the Regulators declared to the sheriff of 
Orange: "We want no such house (the Palace) nor will 
we pay for it," (vol. 7, p. 798). 

Notwithstanding all the above, that summer (of '68) 
Tryon and his legislature imposed another enormous tax 
upon the people by levying war upon them and marching 
across the province against them for refusing to raise 
money which both had just declared was not within the 
colony to be raised. Wicked taxation, under the circum- 
stances, was the straw that broke the camel's back. 



"I am convinced the happy establishment of our religion" 
(the Church of England), "will be the only foundation on 
which the future prosperity of this colony can depend." — 
Tryon's address to legislature, May, '65, (7, 65). Tryon 
joins Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, (7, 164). 

" We have laid a more firm and permanent foundation 
than any other colony can boast of" (8, 13). 

Tryon may be "justly called the nursing father of the 
church in this province." — Rev. Mr. Morton, June 9, '67, 
(7, 424). " New light Baptists are very numerous in this 
parish. , . . They lately offered me the use of their 
meeting house, where I propose to officiate once in two 
months. . . . The most illiterate among them are their 
teachers, even negroes speaking in their meetings." — Rev. 
Mr. Barnet, Brunswick, February 3rd, '66, (7, 164). 

"The clergy had never any regular and certain estab- 
lishment till the act of May, '65, . . . This act entitled 
the ministers to receive <£133, &c., per annum and " obliged 
the vestry to supply them two hundred acres of good land 
and to build a mansion house and convenient outhouses," 
&c. " By the said act the ministers are entitled to certain 
fees mentioned therein for marriages and giving certificates 
thereof and for funeral sermons." — Tryon, (7, 490). The 
fees where dissenting ministers performed the marriage 
ceremony was secured to the encumbent also. (Prefatory 
Notes, 8, 44). 

"By this law" (Orthodox Clergy Act of May, '65), "pre- 


sentation is given up to the crown" (to Tiyon) "which has 
freed us from the insolence and tyranny of vestries, and a 
shorter and much easier method is appointed for the re- 
covery of our stipends by law," &c. "The British parlia- 
ment has put an entire stop to our paper coinage, or rather 
the juggling of our paper currency" (parliament prohibited 
North Carolina from issuing her own money), ''consequently 
our legal encouragement will grow daily better and better, 
and in a few years I expect to enjoy a little more of the 
society of my brethren of the Society" in England, which 
also he did soon and forever, and very largely because of 
this act of parliament. Newbern, 10th of July, '65, Rev. 
Mr. Reid (7, 99). 

Presbyterian ministers attacked for marrying people, 
Jan. ,'67, (7, 432). — Presbyterian Preacher of Meek., '69. — 

Read (10; ifrrrj. /^/"p^/YJ 

Presbyterians of Tryon county : " By the 8th and 9th 
sections of this act our ministers are forbidden to marry 
with rightful publication of bans, a privilege which a mil- 
lion of our fellow professors in America now enjoy and 
whose ancestors have enjoyed ever since they settled on 
this continent; neither was it ever taken from dissenters 
in America until it was taken from us by this act of which 
we complain" (8, 80). 

Even a C of E. parish " will starve me, for none like 
the inducted parson," (because, as Mr, Taylor said, they 
had had unworthy men put over them, 9, 21). — Rev. Mr. 
Crump, March, '69 (8, 13). 

" The people of this country, from the variety of secta- 
ries on one part and a . . . neglect of religion on the 
other, are uneasy under the provisions of this clergy bill 
passed in '65." " Some vestrys idly imagine the power 
of presentation is still in them . . . ; I propose to 
bring this matter to trial" (by the court) "that they may be 


convinced of the obstinacy and error of their course, since 
I find in some parishes candid argument would not avail.'' 
" I recommend" (Mr. Fiske) •' to sue the church wardens 
and vestry for his salary. His parish is full of Quakers and 
ana-Baptists; the first no friends, the latter an avowed 
enemy of the Mother Church. It is certain the pre-emi- 
nence the Church of England has obtained over the sec- 
taries by legislative authority has drawn upon her their 
jealousies." " Presbyterians and Quakers are the only tol- 
erated sectaries under any order or regulation ; all others 
are enemies to society and scandals to common sense." — 
Tryon to Sec, March, '69, (8, 15). 

Rev. Mr. Morton writes that he started from Newbern 
to "My new mission in Mecklenburgh." He got to the 
Cape Fear country, where and when he was "discouraged 
from proceeding any further. There I was well informed 
that the inhabitants of Mecklenburgh are entire dissenters 
of the most rigid kind ; that they had a solemn league and 
covenant minister settled among them; that they were in 
general greatly averse to the Church of England; that they 
looked upon the late law for the better establishment of the 
church as oppressive as the stamp act, and were determined 
to prevent its taking place there by opposing the settlement 
of any minister of the C. of E. that might be sent among 
them. In short, it was very evident that I could be of 
little service to the honorable Society in Mecklenburgh and 
declined embroiling myself with an infatuated people to 
no purpose." So he returned to Tryon and was sent to 
Northampton county, August 25, '66, (7, 253). 

Rev. Mr. Drage writes from Salisbury, Rowan county, 
February, '71 : " Two-thirds of the people are of the C. 
of E.'' (he must have meant the village), "the others a mot- 
ley mixture, but the most distinguishable are Irish Dissent- 
ers. . . I found the C. of E. members disheartened. . . . 


Irish Dissenters have the power of deciding all elections 
to their views. . . . then they would not qualfy, (so 
there would be no vestry) — this had been practiced the 
year before, and they declared they could keep out the 
church b}^ this means, had done it and always would ; and 
the Dissenters have told the separate Baptists, who were in 
a declining way since my arrival and really not under the 
Act of Toleration in the manner they act, that they are as 
legal congregations as the C.of E.,and have nothing to pay 
to the support of the church. I can't send for my family, as 
there is a year's salary due me from the parish and no vestry 
to assess it, and have little expectation but it will be the 
same the current year, as there is no probability of a 
vestry." — Theodorus Swaine Drage (8, 502). 

" They say they have opposed England in endeavoring 
to invade on their civil rights; they also shall and have a 
right to oppose any intrusion on their religious rights, a 
maxim dangerous not only to this country, but to the 
whole back frontier of America, principally settled with 
sectaries, and is deserving of attention of government be- 
fore power is added to inclination." — Drage (8, 180), March, 
'70. " The opposites have treated my person with no 
incivility, but they are bitter against my cause." 

Perquimans "abounds with Quakers who will neither 
hear nor contribute," &c. — Rev. Mr. Pettigrew, February, 
'76 (10,496). 

" It is a great pity but an American Episcopate were 
established, if it tends to no other purpose than to take 
cognizance of the behavior of the clergy, some of whom, I 
am sorry to say, are the greatest scandal to religion we 
have."— Rev. Mr. Taylor to Sec, August, '71, (9, 21). 




The Earl of Hillsboro was the friend of Tiyon and his 
patron before the throne in furtherance of his ambition. 
In October, 1769, Gov. Tryon being in bad health had re- 
tired from the coast to the hill country in a neighboring 
province. There relieved of the labors and worries of 
office in the freedom and candor of communication by let- 
ter with his friend he says (vol. 8, p. 54) that his respite — 
"allowed me to reflect on the motives that led me to this 
continent. These I shall candidly state to your Lord- 
ship in the hopes that they may be laid before His Maj- 

One grand principle of my offering my services in 
America flowed from a wish to be placed in a situation in 
which I might render my public services more beneficial 
to my Royal Master than my station in the Guards would 
probably allow me to do in time of peace. 

Another motive was, if happily I could by a diligent 
discharge of my office ai^swer.the purpose of it, I flattered 
myself it would recommend me to the King's indulgent 
consideration in the military line. 

The first of these I have amply obtained by his Maj- 
esty's most gracious approval of my public conduct signi- 
fied to me by both your Lordship and the Earl of Shel- 
burn. The fruits of the latter I can only hope for from 
His Majesty's most gracious favor, but upon that I must 


entirely depend as the Earl of Halifax told me (see T's 
letter to H. April, .'65, (vol. 7, p. 3) while Secretary of 
State on my departure from England, that he had it in 
command from the King to assure me I should receive no 
prejudice in my military rank while engaged in his ser- 
vice in America. If, therefore, in His Majesty's goodness 
I might be appointed one of his aides-de-camp, or receive a 
regiment through his royal bounty, in either case I should 
be gratefully happy. But if a regiment should be my 
fortune my unwearied duty would be exerted to keep it 
as well disciplined and appointed as the company of Gren- 
adiers I reluctantly resigned to Col, West. 

Permit me, my Lord, to request the favor of you to lay 
this letter at his feet and support it with your Lordship's 
good offices, which will infinitely oblige yours," &c. 

Herein we learn unmistakably that promotion in a mili- 
tary line, Tryon being a soldier by profession, was the 
ultimate end and aim of his earthly aspirations and the 
goal toward which all his efforts tended. This accounts 
for his military march, parade and display in running the 
Cherokee line in '67. The wholly unnecessary extrava- 
gance here indulged in, in the face of his own and the 
legislature's known and oft declared poverty of the pro 
vince can find no other solution. This letter accounts 
also for his prayer at Hillsboro in '68 for war; upon which 
he failed to enter at once solely because he was not al- 
lowed so to do. It accounts for and explains his declar- 
ation Feb. '71, that if not furnished evidence "to ground 
military operations upon," "I shall speedily return to 
England where my military services may be required," 
war between Spain and England at that time being immi- 
nent (vol. 8, pp. 693-694); and here we discover the true 
cause of his strenous, unwearied and unprincipled but suc- 
cessful efforts to bring about war in the session of '70-71. 


One of the most influential representatives of the 
Church of England in this country declared that though 
willing his parishioners could not pay "the smallest sala- 
ries established," because the money with which to pay 
them was not to be had in the colony (vol. 7, pp. 495-496); 
the legislature declared it was "impossible" for the people 
to pay the taxes for the same reason; Tryon did the same 
and begged the King for a currency, yet he and his truc- 
ulent legislature piled up taxes wickedly extravagant, and 
because the brave Regulators refused to have their plow 
horses and cattle sokl for taxes war was waged against 

Why? Manifestly not to raise money, for this was not 
to be had. 

The day has come when North Carolina proves that 
her Regulators fought at the Alamance the first battle of 
the Revolutionary War. 

The records of the period are filled with appeals by 
Tryon and the legislature to the King and Parliament, 
that they be allowed to emit a currency for the colony, 
attended with the most solemn assurances that such was 
an absolute necessity. 

December, 1767, John Harvey, speaker of the assembly, 
says : (7, 570) "Distress almost to ruin seems to be our 
inevitable lot from the great want of a sufficient circulat- 
ing currency." 

In August, 1771, Tryon declared the debt just incurred 
(8, 651) "A load the province is absolutely incapable to 
discharge, unless by a new emission of currency, or an 
aid from Parliament, both of which I must beg leave to 
submit to His Majesty's wisdom." 

In one such appeal in June, 1768, (7, 791-2) Tryon 
represents the hardship of the situation to the people, as 
it actually was; and for the first and last time in his 


career does the Regulators justice and fails to slander 
them. He says, June, '68, "These Regulators declare 
they are not satisfied with the public and county taxes, 
and that it is not in their power to procure specie or cur- 
rency, from its scarcity, to discharge them. Under such 
circumstances they have associated themselves together, 
by solemn oaths, to prevent the sheriffs levying upon 
their goods and chatties. * * * * * * jf 
His Majesty, in his wisdom, shall grant the address of 
this colony for a currency, I pursuade myself the public 
taxes would be collected without any obstruction." Here 
the declaration of the Regulators, that their taxes remain 
unpaid, because money with which to discharge them, 
from its scarcity, is not to be had, Tryon corroborates. 
He corroborates and endorses this plea by his declaration 
that "under such circumstances" they confederated; by 
his appeal for a currency for them and by accompanying 
this with his expressed conviction that if the currency be 
granted, the taxes will be paid and thereby the troubles 

Remembering that this "address of the colony for a 
currency" was steadily rejected by the government at 
Home till the last, manifestly the war of the Regulation 
was intelligent resistance, now. rendered unavoidable by 
and aimed directly at the oppressive policy of the English 
government itself. 

If this War of the Regulation is not entitled to be des- 
ignated a "Revolution," because the original purpose of 
the Regulators was not to "change their form of govern- 
ment," neither was the continuous and falsely so-called 
"Revolutionary" War entitled so to be dignified, from the 
same reason; for to a certainty Revolutionary patriots 
had no purpose of changing their form of government till 
1776 — five years after the war had begun. Here it is 


proven that the War of the Regulation was the beginning 
and the Revolutionary War the ending of one and the 
same war against oppression by the British Government; 
and that for the establishment of our free and glorious Re- 
public Washington and his coadjutors must share the 
honor with James Hunter and his. We are bound this 
day to do the Regulators this simple justice, and our sis- 
ter Colony of Massachusetts, with the glories of her Lex- 
ington must yield precedence to the Old North State and 
her Alamance. 



Letter of the four Presbyterian Pastors to their flocks, 
Aug. '68. (Col. Rec. vol. 7, p. 815.) 

There are "sundry" Presbyterians born in this country 
— "ignorant of the principles and practices of their ances- 
tors, which we can assure them always evinced a zealous 
attachment to the present Protestant succession in the 
present royal family, and a spirited opposition to any 
measure, concerted at home or abroad to shake the present 
happy establishment" &c. "We are sensible the movers 
in the present insurrection have put the cry of King, 
Loyalty, Allegiance into the mouths of their unwary 
adherents; which doubtless was the snare that caught 
you," &c. 

Hassell, Judge and of the Council, under Tryon Aug. gth 
'71 in letter Home. (vol. g, p. 14.) 

"They appear at present" (the Regulators just after the 
battle) "thoroughly convinced of their having been deceived 
and imposed upon by the seductions of a few turbulent 
villains, who had formed a distracted scheme of overturn- 
ing this government." (vol. 10, p. 803). 


Address of Legislature Jan. '73. Harvey Speaker, (vol. 9, 
P- 454-) 

This was an "Insurrection — aimed at the suppression of 
the Constitution of this Province". 

Rowan Dissenters March, '70. "Say they have opposed 
England in endeavoring to invade on their civil rights; 
they also shall and have a right to oppose any intrusion on 
their religious rights." (Vol. 8, p. 180.) 

Tryon's Proclamation, October, '70, (vol. 8, p. 253.) 

Regulators drank "damnation to their rightful Sover- 
eign, King George, and success to the Pretencler." 

Tryon's address to the Legislature, Dec. '70, (vol. 8, p. 286.) 

" Believe me the cause before us is not the cause of an 
individual or opposition merely to administration,- but to 
the Constitution." 

Tryon's address to the army the day after the battle of 
Alamance, May '71, (vol. 8, p. 585.) 

"The fate of the constitution depended upon the success 
of the day." 

In the above we have the concurrent testimony of all 
the parties to the War of the Regulation that it was re- 
bellion against King George, necessarily through the pro- 
vincial government. The plans of these Revolutionary 
patriots were not definitely matured, even so late as '75, 
and of course were not in '68 ; but then, as later, upon re- 
ristance to British oppression they were determined. 

The Presbyterian ministers quoted above were among 
the best educated and most intelligent men of the province. 
They were the country pastors of and lived in the midst 
of their parishioners here addressed, and of course were 


acquainted with their distresses and purposes. Moreover, 
they had both " written to " and " visited " Hunter and his 
eonfrerees, and had discussed with them and endeavored 
to dissuade them from the further prosecution of their de- 

It is incredible that these preachars would have ad- 
dressed the argument and used the language above to a 
mere "peasant's uprising" against petty county officials. 

They "abhorred^' this insurrection because they knew 
it to be a rebellion against " the present royal family " and 
was an effort to "shake the present happy establishment." 
In common with all Americans, the Regulators excepted, 
these pastors were true and loyal subjects at that time to 
King George. 

Their letters show also that they, like the legislature, 
were overreached and deceived hy Tryon's promises of 
relief from England and of his own rectification of malfea- 
sance of officials within the province, for they say, " Breth- 
ren, the remedy for oppression, is within the compass of 
the laws;" and they thank Try on in their letter to him- 
self for having taken the cause of the people into his own 
hands, (7, 813). 

Many of the people, taking this advice given in August, 
'68, tried the "compass of the laws" at Hillsboro court in 
September following, and they went thence under heavy 
fines to jail, while their guilty and convicted oppressor. 
Fanning, backed by Tryon, went scot free. In Septem- 
ber, '69, they again tried the court at Salisbury, and by 
corrupt officials and a packed jury were laughed out of 
court. (8, 68, see Hunter's letter ) 

The next September, '70, they did what, heroes as they 
were, they ought to have done, suppressed forever this 
"infamous" travesty upon a court of justice. 

By '71 all the people of the province everywhere had 


69 N^ 

learned Tryon's character and that hope from Enghmd by 
way of a currency was a hypocritical delusion. He got ^ 
no Presbyterian preachers' letters in his campaign that O 
year ; in grand old Presbyterian Mecklenburg Waddell's ^ 
powder was destroyed, in Presbyterian Rowan Waddell ^ 
met " Regulators " upon ground with which Capt. Alex- ,^ 
ander swore he was acquainted. "The foot appeared to ^ qa' 
him to extend a quarter of a mile, seven or eight deep, ^^ I 
and the horse one hundred and twenty yards, twelve or W 

fourteen deep." From this fact and a '-resolution of a kJ ^ 
great part of his own men not to fight, it was resolved ^^^^^^ 
that they should retreat across the Yadkin, " (8, 608). "^ I 

Every acknowledgement of obligation to Presbyterians ^ ^ 
made by Try on was based upon these two letters written "^ "^ 
in '68, so far as I can discover, except his language,^ , 
8, 527. The legislature of December and January, '70-'71, ^ "^^ 
was of "regulating tendencies ;2l^^^^'^ i^j ^^ ^^^ against i t:::C 
Tryon and for the people when it met, but during the 
session and close together the Johnson Act/ and acts al- ^^^ * 
lowing Presbyterian preachers to perform the marriage Js ^ 
ceremony, and one to establish Queen's College at Char-*V ->» 
lotte,^were passed. In recommending this marriage act^" ^ 
(Mar^ 11, '71) Tryon says, "The attachment the Presby- ^ j 
terians have shown to government merit the indulgence of ^ ^y 
this act" (8, 527). ^Responsibility for each of these has ^ \ 
been laid to the account of Presbyterians. However this 
may have baen^ proof of the charge that the Presbyterian 
church or people, as such, were responsible therefor seems 
to be wholly wanting. Certain it is also that Tryon's as- 
sertion that the preamble to this college act^r its record- 
ing shows that Presbyterian influence dominated the as- 
sembly is not sustained by the proof cited. 

Two Presbyterians at that session represented Meck- 
enburg; if they or any Presbyterians at all as is alleged, 


selfishly sacrificed the people's interest for their own, 
Tryon's subsequent conduct and that of the Home Gov- 
ernment, in connection with these very acts, in due time 
paid them back in their own coin. In March, '71, Tryon's 
recommendation of the marriage act is exceedingly mild, 
(8, 527). In the Spring of '72, the Home Authorities 
recommend that these acts be not allowed, (9, 248) and in 
April, '72, they are effectually disallowed by the King, 
(9, 284). It may be the country is under obligation to 
the Regulators for affording all these gentlemen occasion 
for retaliating upon Tryon and the King and of clearing 
their skirts before America, by becoming rabid rebels and 
giving us our first declaration of absolute independence. 
New brooms make clean sweeps. 

Through the repeated publication of their wrongs by 
the friendly and in fact warmly sympathetic Boston Ga- 
zette the influence of their example was undoubtedly felt 
in Massachusetts (8, 635, 639, 643). 

In this connection, let us say the Quakers as a church, 
but not as individuals however, of course pronounced 
against the War of the Regulation as they pronounce 
against war always. As to the Baptist, democratic and 
ever loyal to the people, then as now they were of and 
for the people. Argument in their favor would be like 
defence of a pure woman against whose character there 
had never arisen suspicion. The recorded, unvaried and 
bitter fulmination of Tryon and of the rectors of the 
Church of England against the Baptists settles conclu- 
sively their honorable position. And would be subse- 
quent apologists or others cannot detract from it. 

The willingness of parties to this regulation con- 
troversy, to fix upon the Church the charge that 
She has ever been found ranged on the side of 
money, place and power as against the people in their 


struggles for their liberties, would seem to find no just 
countenance in the War of the Regulation. It is manifest 
that next to secular oppression ecclesiastical intolerance 
brought on the war. 

The admirable paper of the Presbyterians of Mecklen- 
burg, presented in 1769, containing a bold and palpable 
threat alone proves this, (see 10, 1015-17.) 


William Fields was of little note as Regulator and of 
little more as Tory. He seems to have been made famous 
by Caruthers from the facts that he was the most promi- 
nent of four brothers of little eminence; (Jeremiah vol, 
10. p. 803) left Guilford with "a small force" in Feb., 
'76, to join the Highlanders, afterwards joined and re- 
mained with the British during the war and after the war 
refused to take the oath of allegiance; and was at Guil- 
ford with Gov. Josiah Martin, "probably" (Caruthers.) 
Of his fighting anywhere or at any time I find no recorded 
evidence, or that he was at Alamance. He was a C. of E. 
man (Caruthers) was recommended as vestryman for St. 
Luke's Parish (Salisbury) by the Council in order to hin- 
der "dissenters" from preventing "there being of a ves- 
try," (8, 154). He was possessed, so far as facts enable 
us to judge of little judgment, (10, 1019) and of little 
principle perhaps; (10, 595) was neither at Hillsboro in 
April or September, '68; nor''"in September, '70; nor at 
Salisbury in March, '71, was never outlawed specifically; 
and finally and conclusively was elected to the legislature 
from Guilford in the fall of '71 just after the battle while 
the leaders of the regulation and a number of others not 
leaders were outlawed and fleeing for their lives to distant 
provinces. He took his seat in the legislature in Dec, '71. 

Wholly undue prominence has been given this man see 
"especially the Fields" (Moore vol. 1, p. 137) and he has 
been made to do duty on all possible occasions in futile 
efforts to fix through him the stigma of toryism upon 

til rfoi 


Hunter, the Gillespies and their friends, the Regulators 

As leaders of the Regulators and as soldiers and repre- 
sentatives of the people during and after the Revolution 
it is manifest that Hunter and others of Guilford, Thomas 
Person, of Granville, and Paul Barringer and others from 
Mecklenburg and elsewhere had a very powerful following 
throughout this western section; and had they or their 
friends adhered to the crown, in all probability North 
Carolina would not now be indebted, as she is, to Gen. 
James Moore and Col. Lillington for their noble and most 
important victory of Moore's Creek in Feb., '76. 

Xor would Cornwallis have affirmed officially 10th of 
April, 1781, '• * * I could not get one hundred men in all 
the Regulator's country," &c , (Answer to Clinton's Narra- 
tive — Campbell's Reprint 1866, p 10). 

Lot Id 

I78I. 1897. 


At the Guilford Battle Ground, July 3rd, 1897. 

The Life and Times of James Hunter— A Sketch of the 
War of the Regulation. 


Of Guilford, Orator of the Day. 

Procession will form on the Salisbury road at 

10:30 o'clock a. m. 

In the following order: 

Victor C. McAdoo, Chief Marshal, and Assistants. 

Cornet Band. 

Orator of the Day, Chaplain, Master of Ceremonies, ane 
Distinguished Guests in Carriages. 

Directors and Stockholders of the Guilford Battle 
Ground Company. 

Citizens generally. 

Procession when formed will move to the Grand Stand. 

At the Pavilion. 

Music by the Band— "The Old North State." 
Prayer by the Chaplain, Rev. Horace Weeks Jones. 

Oration Joseph M. Morehead. 

Presentation of the Portrait ok John penn by the Artist 
AND Donor, David L. Clark, Esq. 

Response by Professor J. M. Weatherly. 

Dedication OF "The Schenck Museum." Remarks by Hon. 
Charles M. Stedmanj. 

Unveiling of Penn-Hooper Statue. Short Addresses by 
Distinguished Visitors. 

Music— "The Star Spangled Banner." 

Procession Reformed and March to 


Then to be Unveiled. 

Adjourn to Dinner. 


Master of Ceremonies. 



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