Tax me not without my say.

Tell me not what I must do.

Tis the Fall of my Travail! (Haiku)

The war in South Carolina not only had strong ties to the other colonies, but to Great Britain and France as well.

The Loyalists (Royalists, Tories).  South Carolina, as was the case for many of the colonies, probably all, was fiercely divided amongst supporters of both sides.  I appear to have Loyalists in my own family, although these are often exceeding difficult to document.  What is obvious and documented is the fact that we have several South Carolina Loyalists with one of my family surnames (Gill) who did not flee the country, but instead hid out in the hinterlands (across the river in rural Georgia!).  I believe these people were all in my family.  Because our history has dealt so harshly with Loyalists, I shall attempt to here play the contrarian and describe the setting from both sides. There is a separate section on Loyalists, most of which is duplicated here.

Why Were Some of Our Ancestors Loyalists?

Recall, dear reader, just to play the contrarian (I was a college debater, which will come through sooner or later.  I will debate any side of any issue for the pure fun of it!), that the "Patriots" were the rebels, opposing what at the time was arguably the most liberal government on the planet!  The English colonists in north American had unparalleled freedom and economic opportunities.  In point of fact, English Common Law was nearly unique in history.  It was extremely liberal, and the "common man" (if not the woman) had defined rights.  Perhaps we can get a genuine historian (which I am not) to weigh in here.  In Ireland and Wales, and therefore it is presumed Celtic Law, not only did the common man have defined rights, but women had well defined rights too.

Moore, p29 states: "Research by Robert S. Lambert indicates that the prime source of Loyalist strength in South Carolina was the newcomer, whether from the British Isles or Virginia, and the back country had more of them in 1773." (FOC) This is consistent with my own family, which had both, and the younger ones seem to have been Loyalists, while the older seem to have been patriots.  And, yes, this is backwards from what some have stated in print.  Certainly in my (FOC) family, Moore's view is consistent with the records I have found.  Moore continues: "In addition, upland regions at that time had no real quarrel with London, while the mere mention of Charleston could stir old wounds (FOC- this definitely rings true.).  Lambert estimates that one-fifth of South Carolina's free population could have been classified as Loyalist during the struggle that followed.  But, he cautions, as a result of the ebb and flow of war these same individuals may have aided the patriot cause, too.  Lambert sees two high points of Loyalist sentiment: at the outset of hostilities when initial choices were being made and again in 1780 when British troops invaded the state." (ibid p29)

English.  Colin Nickerson of the Boston Globe (Boston Massachusetts), wrote an excellent article 19 April 1999 on Loyalists who fled to Canada.  He states: "The Loyalists sought peace, order, and good government - not the American dream of life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness."  "Most had not so much opposed the goals of the revolution - tax relief, more democratic representation, home rule - than the violent means.  Many had simply feared that replacing monarchy with a revolutionary republic would cost them the cherished liberties guaranteed by English common law."  (read your English history on that one! -FOC).  Now I (FOC) ask you, do these statements not make you think about our cherished "DAR" and "SAR?"

The Irish were Patriots to a man (woman and dog!):  The Irish, recalling their long battle with the invaders who conquered Britain from the Celts, called England after the Angle invader aristocracy, tended to be unanimously patriots. For the history deprived, the Irish, Welsh, and Scots (The Scots, or Scotti, were Irish immigrants to what we now call Scotland c600 AD) were the last remnants of the Celts (The pronunciation is Kelt, the earliest written reference, of which I am aware, is Greek Keltoi, and they definitely do not know how to pronounce it up here in Boston!  -grin), as they were pushed off the continent of Europe by more or less continuous invasions from the East, and nearly right off the British Isles, as we now call them, by successive invasions of Germans and Norsemen.  The Irish,  who have been labeled as the "1keepers of Western Civilization," through the dark ages after Rome fell, remember this ancient feud, and were patriot to a man (and woman).  They still hate the "English."  The term "English refers to "Angles" (Anglish), who were the aristocracy of the invited German (Saxon) warriors.  The common warriors were Saxons, from Saxony.  Thus, Anglo-Saxon, pretty well means German invaders of Celtic England.  They actually were invited in by the Celts to hold off the Vikings (and they are pronounced "Vick"-"ings").  This, by the by, is the heart and soul of the issue of "Northern Ireland."  It is only couched in the modern day symbolism of Catholic versus  Protestant (Church of England).  It is in reality Celt versus German (and Viking) Invader!  The English have been trying since c600 AD to obliterate all the Celts.  They conquered the Scots and Welsh, and the Irish, but the Irish rebelled and threw them out.

"So Called Scots-Irish:" Ed Adams researched this misnamed people for his own Adams line, and agreed to let me add this to the discussion.  I have modified, and added to, Ed's original document - responsibility for mistakes added herein is mine alone! Ed is descended from Samuel Adams (of Botetourt Co., VA - date and place of birth unknown), and his father-in-law, William I. Adams (b. circa 1717-23 in Antrim County, Ireland - also of Botetourt Co., VA) who came from Ulster. Here is the story of Ulster:

The Ulster Plantation is modern day "Northern Ireland," which is part of the United Kingdom and the subject of much news over attempts to bring peace to this violence torn region. The Ulster Plantation was formed in the early 1600's by King James I of England (who was also James VI of Scotland).  What we today call "Northern Ireland" dates to c600 AD, and perhaps earlier, when Vikings overran this part of Ireland, and the fragmented Irish kings were unable to completely repel them.  These legends survive as oral tradition in modern day Ireland.  England since the time of the Normans had been unable to subdue the Irish - yet refused to withdraw from the island - for fear of giving its strong enemies - such as Spain and France - a friendly foothold, so close to its borders.

Elizabeth's soldiers - just prior to her death - subdued, in a very bloody fashion, an Irish rebellion in the north. James declared the property of rebel chiefs as forfeited to the crown, and offered to Scottish Presbyterians the opportunity to settle in the Ulster provinces. This solved multiple problems (in the short term) for James. The Scottish lowlands were horribly impoverished and overpopulated.  Scottish noblemen wanted more grazing lands for sheep herding. The Irish were Catholic, and James wanted protestants to secure his borders.  Hundreds of thousands of Scots settled in Ulster. Conditions were harsh, filled with war and famine.

Between 1700 and 1800, hundreds of thousands of these Scots came to America. They were called "Scots-Irish" (note by FOC, the Scots humorously refer to Scotch as only "the drink," not to themselves.  This is stated with a mandatory twinkle in the eye.) to distinguish them from the native, Catholic Irish. They were not Irish, but did come to America via Ireland.  At the time of the Revolution, they represented about 10% of the population. They were poor, rugged and courageous settlers, who carved the frontier and bore the brunt of the Indian attacks on the colonies.

There are many reasons for immigration from Scotland to Ulster. The reason would typically depend on the time of their migration. The principal move of Scots to Ulster began when James I of England (also James VI of Scotland) made it policy to settle Scots in Ulster. His decision was an attempt to deal with a multitude of domestic troubles. Landowners in Scotland wanted fewer tenants. Crime and theft in the lowlands was becoming rampant as the clan orders were breaking down, food supplies dwindled. He also was faced with Irish Catholics who would not submit to English rule. His "solution" was to settle Scot Presbyterians in Ulster. This would free up tenancies, give land to Scots and create a counter force to the ever troublesome Irish.

However, Northern Ireland proved a temporary home for many of the Ulster Scots. Most did not receive land as promised. Conflict with the Irish was constant (even though the Scotti migrated out of Ireland to what is now Scotland c600 AD!). In 1700, the English mercantile policies effectively destroyed the woolen industry of Ulster, and a huge number of Scot-Irish migrated to America.  Given this mixed background, one might expect the Scot-Irish to do anything in the revolutionary war, as opposed to "real" Irish, who were patriot to their dogs.  The real Irish were Catholics, having been converted from Druidism to Catholicism by Saint Patrick beginning in 433.

Germans.  Moore states that the Germans living on the west bank of the Congaree (the river running north south by modern day Columbia) were "a hot bed of Loyalism," because they feared their land grants might be annulled if they sided with the patriots.  I believe many, if not all, of these Germans (called "Dutch "in the early records, for "Deutch," which is German for German) were very poor back in Germany, seeking an economic chance, and protestant, seeking escape from tyranny by the Catholic majority in their region of their homeland.  They had strong incentive to fit in, and were grateful to the English King for providing this chance. (Moore, p28 & 29)

The Tories (Simms 1844). "While the friends of liberty were active, the adherents of the crown were also active in the colony. These, in many parts of the country, were equally numerous and influential. They possessed, indeed, certain advantages in the discussion, which, in some degree, served to counterbalance the impelling and stimulating influences which always belong to a `movement' party. They carried with them the prestige of authority, of the venerable power which time and custom seemed to hallow; they appealed to the loyalty of the subject; they dwelt upon the dangers which came with innovation; they denounced the ambition of the patriot leaders; they reminded the people of the power of Great Britain -- a power to save or to destroy -- which had so frequently and so successfully been exerted in their behalf in their numerous and bloody conflicts with the Indians, and which might be brought, with such fearful emphasis, upon their own heads.  They reminded the people that the Indians were not exterminated, that they still lurked in numerous hordes about the frontiers, and that it needed but a single word from the Crown, to bring them, once more, with tomahawk and scalping-knife, upon their defenseless homes. Already, indeed, had the emissaries of Great Britain taken measures to this end.  The savage was already shaking off his apathy, scenting the carnage from afar, and making ready for the onset. The assurance, that such was the case, was doing the work of numerous arguments among the timid and the exposed.  Such were the suggestions, appealing equally to their fears and gratitude, which the leading loyalists addressed to the people. They were supported by other suggestions, scarcely less potent, which naturally flowed from their own thoughts. Why should they dare the conflict with Great Britain?  There was no such reason for it as in the case of the northern colonies.  They had known her chiefly by benefactions; they did not conflict with her in shipping or in manufactures; and the arguments for discontent and resistance, as urged by the patriot leaders, did not reach them with sufficient force.  What was the tax on tea, of which they drank little, and the duty on stamps, when they had but little need for legal papers? And why should not taxes follow protection, which Great Britain had not often withheld in the need of a favorite colony, as South Carolina had unquestionably been?

To do justice to the loyalists, or Tories, they were, probably, in the majority of cases, governed by principle, by a firm and settled conviction, after deliberate examination of the case.  They likely would gradually have adopted the opinions of the patriots, given time, and had the course of the latter been more indulgent and considerate. Unfortunately, this was not the case; and the desire to coerce where they could not easily convince, had the effect of making a determined and deadly foe, out of a doubtful foe. That this was the case was shown by history. To some extent, this action was caused by the circumstances, in which, to use the language of a distinguished officer, they "pursued each other rather like wild beasts than men." (Letter of General Greene. See Johnson's Greene.) We shall see something of this history as we proceed in ours.

There was yet another circumstance which tended, in some degree, to give courage to the Tories. It was the somewhat temporizing policy of the patriots. There was still a feeling of doubt, a hesitancy, on the part of the latter, as the prospects grew stronger of a final breach with Great Britain. There were many who still clung to the hope that the differences between the great nation and its North American colony might yet be reconciled; and though the means of such reconciliation was not obvious, they yet fondly cherished the conviction that something might turn up, at the last moment, to prevent the absolute necessity of bloodshed. Of necessity, those patriots who thought thus influenced the rest; those who, looking beyond the moment, saw the true issue, and properly regarded the declared objects of difference as pretexts which must suffice when the better reasons might not be expressed. They dared not openly broach the idea of national independence, which, there is very little question that the noblest of the American patriots everywhere, though secretly, entertained from the beginning. The people were not prepared for such a revelation -- such a condition; and appearances were still to be maintained. Their proceedings, accordingly, still wore, however loosely, a pacific aspect. Though actively preparing for war, the professions of the patriots declared their measures to be precautionary only -- a refuge, an alternative, in the event of greater oppression. They still spoke the language of loyalty, still dealt in vague assurances of devotion to the crown.  But such professions deceived nobody, and least of all the loyalists.  They derived courage from the reluctance of the patriots to embark in a struggle, for the fruits of which, if successful, they evidently longed.  In the interior, the Tories were even more active than their opponents; had already taken arms, and gained advantages, which nothing but decisive movements on the part of the people along the seaboard could possibly induce them to forego. This necessity was apparent for other reasons. In consequence of the temporizing policy already mentioned, the crown was still in possession of most of the shows of power in and about Charleston. The royal governor was still in the city, and in some degree exerting his authority. Fort Johnson, on James' Island, was suffered to remain in the hands of the king's troops for more than three months after the Provincial Congress had ordered a levy of troops, and had resolved on taking up arms.  Two British armed vessels, the Tamar and Cherokee, lay in Rebellion Roads, opposite Sullivan's Island. This force was quite sufficient, under existing circumstances, to have destroyed the town.  But the royal leaders were not prepared for this issue; they shared the reluctance of the patriots to begin a conflict, the issues of which were so extreme. Their policy, like that of the patriots -- influencing it, and possibly influenced by it -- was equally halting and indecisive.  It was sufficiently satisfactory if, by the presence of such a force, the citizens should be overawed and kept from action." (end of quote from Simms 1844, and I have modified it here.  See the full book which I have put on the web site, in the references section.)

Nature of the Struggle.  The origin of the American Revolution was intricately involved in the desire of the colonists to control their own political affairs, including the right to vote on taxes, and the desire to end England's interference with trade in and out of the colonies.  Most of the colonists had suffered the hardships of coming to a hostile new land because they had no future at home, and they wanted a chance at a better life.   These were people who were very poor, or third sons who would inherit nothing under the law of primogeniture.

Colonial Trade.  However, the colonies in the eighteenth century were regarded by Great Britain simply as markets for manufactured articles and sources of raw materials.   They were, after all, settled to make money for Great Britain, not to provide a home for misfits, neer-do-wells, and third born useless sons! Commerce in the colonies was controlled and directed by laws intended to give to English merchants all the advantages in trade with the colonies.  Parliament even required that certain America  products could be sold only to England or to a British colony. The list of such products included tobacco, cotton, silk, coffee, indigo, naval stores, skins, sugar and rice, although it was occasionally permitted to send the last three to foreign countries.  The colonists were not allowed to import manufactured articles from any country but England without the payment of heavy duties, nor to make any articles themselves that were made by English manufacturers.  These were not severe penalties for the first few years after the arrival of a new colonist.  After they had begun to build a life, and make their way, these constraints began to annoy.

Smuggling.  In spite of these laws, the colonies traded with the French and Spanish West Indies. This illegal traffic, known as smuggling, was very profitable, and the government paid so little attention to the breaking of the laws that the American merchants regarded them as practically repealed.  Smuggling was permitted by the English ministers because Great Britain was occupied with foreign wars and did not want to irritate the colonists by enforcing the laws. But in 1764, at the close of the French and Indian War (this was French allied with Indians, against the British), measures were taken to break up the trade between the colonies and the possessions of France and Spain in the New World. This sudden enforcement of almost forgotten laws threatened to ruin the merchants of the colonies, and was one of the powerful influences that brought on revolution.  This affected merchants in coastal cities, like Charleston, and was good reason for the older well established folk to foment revolution!  They were about to lose the luxuries to which they had become accustomed.  At first they just grumbled, but the British made many very serious mistakes that caused the grumble to become a roar. One of my favorite alternate historians, Harry Turtledove, has written an alternate history based on the historical authentic King George handling this problem with more aplomb, making all the right calls, and avoiding war.  This book is titled "The Two Georges" (King George, III, and George Washington), and the authors are Dreyfus and Turtledove.  I recommend it.  Turtledove is a master, and his alternate histories are always firmly based upon well researched real historical personalities.  Fiction at its best!

Question of Taxation.  On the political side, the Revolution was due to the determination of the colonists to control their own government. The colonists claimed that in coming to America they had not given up their liberties as Englishmen, but had brought them over with them.  These included the right to make their own laws, the right to trial by jury, and the right to vote on taxes that affected them.   Recall my statements at the beginning that English Common Law was probably the most liberal on the planet.  These very same principles of  English Common Law reside at the core of our present government. The colonists were especially sensitive about the issue of taxation because they knew that for centuries Englishmen had struggled with their kings over this very question. They knew that there could be no real self-government without control of the purse strings, and they were absolutely correct on this point.

The Stamp Act, 1765.  The question of taxation in England became very serious at the close of the French and Indian War.  France had been defeated and had surrendered to England all her territory east of the Mississippi. But the English government believed that France would make an effort to reconquer the lost lands, and to prevent this, British statesmen determined to establish a small standing army in the colonies. Several of the colonies had not responded to appeals from England for aid during the last war (why, imagine that!), and it was feared that they would not help in the future. The national debt of Great Britain had been enormously increased by these wars, and the British considered the standing army "to protect the colonists" should be supported by the colonials.  Hence, in 1765, Parliament passed what was known as the Stamp Act.  It required the colonists to buy stamps, similar to our present day postage stamps, and affix them to newspapers and any legal documents. It was estimated that these stamps would bring in only enough money to pay about half of the expense of the standing army, the rest to be paid by the English government.

Jump to Onset of War (next in the series)
Return to SC Revolutionary War Outline Page
Return to Genweb South Carolina Home Page

1How the Irish Saved Civilization, Thomas Cahill, Nan A. Talese, Doubleday 1995.

Copyright ©1999, Dr. Frank Oliver Clark. These documents may be freely used for private purposes, and included in your own genealogy.  However, this document is copyrighted and may not be sold, nor given to anyone who may attempt to derive profit from same. Please send any errors, corrections, conjectures, updates, etc. to Dr. Frank O. Clark.


Please inform me of errors and corrections, and parts that may be improved.