Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Joscelyn: A Tale of the Revolution >> End Matter >> Notes

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Novel (Romance) | The Reprint Company | 1975, 1976
Transcription EXPLANATORY NOTES315
Kennedy's Ford on the Enoree River" three miles to the west of Broad
River (Drayton, I, 363). He was an active loyalist leader in the conflict
of late 1775.
114.11 "Congaree": A large river in central South Carolina formed by
the confluence of the Saluda and the Broad.
116.5 "Regulators and Scovilites": Simms provides an explanatory
note on this topic on p. 273 of the novel. The Regulators were a group
of mostly respectable landholders in the South Carolina back country
who banded together in the years 1767-1769 in a sort of vigilante body
for self-protection, first against outlaws such as horse thieves and
murderers, and second against a segment of the back country popula-
tion known as the "lower people," who, though not exactly criminals,
were vagrants, ruffians, petty thieves, loafers and other social undesir-
ables. In 1768, to combat the increasingly unbearable outrages of the
outlaws, Governor Montagu commissioned two companies of rangers
made up of Regulators; these effectively purged the back country of
the criminals by late that year. But the landholders' conflicts with the
"lower people" were not so quickly and satisfactorily dealt with. In the
absence of adequate supervision by the royal authorities, the Regulators
had assumed the responsibility of providing government for these
people even to the point of enforcing morals and personal industrious-
ness by whipping and other painful means. Several of the victims of
these excesses sued the Regulators in the Charleston court, and some of
the Regulators were actually convicted. The Regulators then brought
the wrath of the royal government down on themselves by defying
official attempts to take the convicted persons into custody. As a
result, early in 1769 a Moderator movement arose among the "lower
people" to combat the illegal excesses of the Regulators. This group
was led by Joseph Coffell (often spelled Scovil or Scoffel), a man of
very questionable character, who was appointed the group's leader by
Governor Montagu. A dangerous confrontation between the Regulators
and the Coffellites (or Scovilites) occurred in March 1769, and would
almost certainly have culminated in a battle except for an unexpected
and somewhat dramatic turn of events. Almost at the last moment,
Richard Richardson, William Thompson and Daniel McGirt arrived
at the scene and by their personal intervention averted a civil war.
Richardson and Thompson at this time were the two men of greatest
stature in the back country. Both had been sympathetic with the
Regulators' desire for law and order but had remained aloof from the
actual conflict. As a result, they still commanded enough respect from
men on both sides to enable them to persuade the opposing forces to
put down their arms. After this confrontation the excesses abated and
the judicial reform act of 1769 established a system of courts and law
enforcement which satisfied the needs of the back country population.
Simms' statement in this passage and in the note on p. 273 that the
South Carolina Regulators generally became whigs while the Scovilites