Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The History of South Carolina, From Its First European Discovery to Its Erection into a Republic >> Chapter XII >> Page 129

image of pageExplore Inside

Page 129

History | S. Babcock & Co. | 1840
Drayton, John Neufville, and Thomas Corbett, three gen-
tlemen forming a select committee which had been ap-
pointed for this very object. These despatches presented
abundant evidence of a determination on the part of Eng-
land to coerce America by military force. This evidence
was sufficiently confirmed by the affair of Lexington,
which happened on the same day, and which, when the in-
telligence reached Carolina, awakened the most lively
feelings of indignation and revenge. A fierce spirit of
freedom was kindled in every bosom, and all statutes of
allegiance were considered as repealed on the bloody
plains of Lexington.
The Carolinians were unprovided, but not unpre-
pared, for war. They knew the strength of Britain
her fleets, her armies, her wealth ; they knew their
own poverty, their want of numbers, and the vast ex-
tent of coast and frontier, which, in the event of war,
they were obliged to defend ;´┐Żbut they breathed nothing
but defiance. Arms and ammunition they chiefly wanted,
and they resolved upon the only measure which could
yield them a supply. This measure was an overt act of
treason. Twelve hundred muskets were in the royal
magazine. That very night, when intelligence of the
battle of Lexington was received, the arsenal was entered
by persons disguised and unknown, and emptied of all
its contents. The provincial congress was again as-
sembled. On the second day of its meeting, it was
unanimously resolved that an association was necessary.
The parties to this instrument, which was signed by
Henry Laurens, as president, pledged themselves to be
ready to sacrifice life and fortune to secure the freedom