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The Effect of Clinton’s Success

From Diary of the American Revolution, Vol II.  Compiled by Frank Moore and published in 1859.

May 14.—Among the many good effects which daily arise from General Sir Henry Clinton’s descent upon the Carolina Sultans, we are told the following: The inhabitants of Hillsborough county, North Carolina, have sent a deputation informing Lieutenant-General Earl Cornwallis that they have taken arms, declared for the restoration of their old constitution, and are ready to march on receipt of his lordship’s commands for that purpose, and carry his lordship’s order into the most perfect effect.

The rebel colonels of the South Carolina cavalry, Messieurs Huger and Horry, having been sent to his excellency General Clinton with a letter, they approached head-quarters, preceded with a white handkerchief on a pole, by way of flag, and communicated to the gentlemen in waiting their orders, which implied a modest proposal of a treaty for an exchange of prisoners, addressed by Mr. Rutledge, the titular governor of South Carolina; to which answer was given that no such character could be acknowledged; and, as their messengers had violated their parole, by venturing into Charleston without leave of absence from their prescribed limits first obtained, they were immediately committed to the custody of the illustrious Mr. Cunningham, provost-marshal; where, having remained a short time as a punishment for their presumption, they were indulged with an order delivered by the Honorable George Hanger for their enlargement, and a hint to fly in the night, and thereby escape with their lives from the fury of the inflamed loyalists, who were already collected in great numbers at Charleston, determined to seize the first occasion of retaliating on the rebels the many murders committed upon their relations by their mock courts of judicature, Mr. Rutledge having signed the death-warrants of several scores of his Majesty’s liege subjects who were by their juries condemned to the cord. These gentry took the hint, and with the rapidity of the winged Pegasus, or the fiery-footed Phlegon, soon in safety reached their appointed district.1


1 Rivington’s Gazette, June 17.