Wlliam Gilmore Simms
South-Carolina in the Revolutionary War >> III. >> Page 167

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Page 167

Reviews/Essays | Walker & James, Publishers | 1853
of their loyalty. These were not merely lukewarm in regard
to the revolution, but positively hostile to it. At first, as is
the custom with the commercial population, they remained
in quiet, watchful of events. The first movements of the
popular party in South-Carolina had been so warm and vio-
lent as to render them cautious. The successes which fol-
lowed the first conflicts in which the Carolinians were engaged,
tended still farther to make them careful in concealing their
sentiments ; and it was only when the State was threatened
by an overwhelming force—when her resources were particu-
larly low—when her troops were cut up by a two years
struggle in Georgia and on the frontiers—for Georgia was the
battle-field which opened the way to Carolina, and the forces
of the latter were wasted in fruitless contests in the sparsely
settled regions of her Southern sister, whom her fields had
yet to supply with provisions all the while—it was then, when
in her worst condition, and the enemy upon her in all his
strength, that the loyalty of the foreign merchants of Charles-
ton to the British monarch found courage to manifest itself,
and take open part against the movement. On the subject
of the strength and feeling of this party, the native Caro-
linians—with whom the whig movement wholly originated,
and who were chiefly professional men and planters—entirely
deceived themselves. They neither guessed their feeling or
their numbers. They took for granted that those who did
not openly declare against them were for them, and they
themselves, by their resolution and activity, were enabled to
supply the deficiency of numbers. No such deficiency ap-
peared, as we have seen, at the first blush of the revolution.
When, in 1776, the battle of Fort Moultrie was fought, there
was no lack of troops in Charleston. When the British took
Savannah, Carolina could send her forces into Georgia, to
grapple with the enemy, who had proved too much for the