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North Carolina was this year in a state of great commotion. The Governor and the Assembly were at open war, and each party used their utmost endeavour to destroy the other. Governor. Martin, we have already observed, was obliged to seek refuge on board a ship of war in Cape Fear river. This disafter did not damp his ardour in the service of
government, nor restrain his attempts to reduce the province of North Carolina to obedience. He had received intelligence, that a squadron of men of war with seven regiments, under the conduct of Sir Peter Parker and Lord Cornwallis, were to depart from Ireland on an expedition to the southern colonies in the beginning of the year, and that North Carolina was their first if not their principal object. This encreased his confidence, and rouzed him to attempt something in the mean time. He also was informed that Gen. Carleton with a small detachment, was on his way from NewEngland to meet him at Cape Fear. He had formed a connection with a body of desperate renegades, who had lately been considered as rebels, and enemies to the provincial establishment, who went by the name of Regulators, and have been taken notice of in this hifa tory. Having assembled a number of these and some Highland emigrants, he thought to accomplish the reduction of the infurgents, even independent of the expected force. That colony was deemed the weakeft in America, except Georgia ; and the two parties we have mentioned were numerous, active, and daring, and the former as well as the latter were zealoufly attached to the cause of government. The Highlanders were considered as naturally warlike, and the Regu . lators, from their situation and manner of living, to be much bolder, hardier, and better marksmen, ihan
those who had been bred to other courses, and in more civilized parts of the country. The Governor sent several commiflions to these people, for the railing and commanding of regiments, and granted another to one Mr M‘Donald to act as their General. — Along with the commission he sent also a proclamation commanding all persons upon their allegiance to repair, to the royal standard, which was erected by General M‘Donald about the middle of February. Governor Martin, had not well considered the character of eitber the General or troops he was now employing, though they were desperate and wicked to an extreme, and capable of the most daring actions, when there was no immediate, danger, yet being unprincipled, and having fixed the object before them, and being under no discipline, they were by no means to be trusted --All causes were alike to them, unless their own interest, which did not appear to be more connected with the cause of government than with that of the colonists. Their after conduct declared that they were not to depended upon. They were in general a sort of free-booters, who delighted more in the plunder that attended commotions than in the defence of any cause whatsoever. Their manner of war was against those who had no arms of defence, but when they met with force they were ready to fy, unless when they were furrounded and could not get away. Such were the men,' by means of whose af. listance Governor Martin thought to reduce the pro. vince of Carolina to obedience.
This new general and his new raised army were not long till they were brought to a trial of their prowess; for upon the provincials receiving advice of their
assembling at a place called Cross Creek, BrigadierGeneral Moore was immediately ordered to march against them at the head of a provincial regiment which he commanded, with such militia as he could collect, and some pieces of cannon. He marched within a few miles of them, and took possession of an important poft called Rockfort Bridge, which, as he was much inferior to them in strength, he immediately entrenched and rendered defensible. He had not been many days in this station, where he was receiving and waiting for succours, than General M‘Donald
approached at the head of his army, and sent a letter to Moore, inclosing the Governor's proclamation, and recommending to him and his party to join the King's standard, by a given hour next day, or he must be under the necessity of considering them as enemies.
As Moore knew that the provincial forces were marching from all quarters, he protracted the negoci. ation, in hopes that the tory army, as they were called, might have been surrounded.
In his final answer he declared, that he and his officers considered themselves as engaged in a cause the most glorious and honourable in the world - the defence of the li. berties of mankind; he reminded the emigrants of the ungrateful return they had made to the kind reception they had met in the colony; and the General, with some of his officers, of an oath they had taken a little before, and upon which they were permitted to come into the country, that they only came to see their relations, without any concern whatever in public affairs. In return to the proclamation he fent them the test proposed by the Congress, with a .proffer, that if they subscribed it and laid down their arms, they should be received as friends ; but if they
refused to comply, they might expect consequences similar to those which they had held out to his people. In the mean time Mr M‘Donald perceived the danger he was in of being enclosed, and abruptly quitting his ground, endeavoured with considerable dexterity, by forced matches, the unexpected passing of rivers, and the greatelt quickness of movement, to disengage himself. It is thought to have been the scheme of this
party to bring Governor Martin, with Lord William Campbel, and General Ciinton, who had by this time joined them, into the interior part of the country, which they judged would be a means of uniting all the back settlers of the southern colonies in the royal cause, of bringing forward the Indians, and of encouraging the well-affected to Thew themselves in all places.
The provincials were however so close in the pursuit, and so alert in cutting the country and seizing the passes, that M‘Donald at length found himself under the necessity of engaging one Colonel Caswell, who with about 1000 militia and minutemen had taken possession of a. place called Moore Creek Bridge, where they had thrown up an intrenchment. The royalists were by all accounts much superior in number, being about 3000 strong; even M‘Donald himfelf after the battle confeffed that they were 1500,The emigrants began the attack with great fury; but M’Leod, the second in command, and a few more of their bravest officers being killed, at the first attack, they suddenly lost all spirit, fled with the greatest precipitation, and, as the colonists affirm, deserted their General, who was taken prisoner, as were nearly all their leaders, and the rest totally broken and disperfed. It is often the fate of the Highlanders, when
they meet with a steady resistance, and lose
of their chiefs, to make a precipitate flight. Their fury is violent, but it is foon over; and if the troops whom they engage can stand their first attack, they will be very ready to conquer them, or at least to put them to flight.
This victory greatly elated the Carolinians. They had shewn that their province was not fo weak as was iinagined; for though their force in the engagement was not considerable, they had raised 10,000 men in the space of ten days. But what was still more flattering, they had encountered Europeans, who had held thein in the most sovereign contempt, both as men and soldiers in the field, and had defeated them with an inferior force.
· Had the zeal of this people been kepr dormant till their forces had arrived from England, it is highly probable that the fouchern colonies would have confiderably felt the impression of the insurrection of the Regulators and emigrants. But now their force and spirits were so entirely broken, their leaders being sent to different prisons, and the rest stripped of their arms, and watched with all the eyes of diftrust and suspicion, that no future eífort, could reasonably be expected from them. Governor Martin appears to have had more zeal than discretion for the cause of government, and seems to have been totally ignorant of the temper and dispolition of the colony he governea-tor as he was informed of the destination of troops from Ireland to the southern provinces, lie ought to have waited till their arrival, when his emigrants and Regulators could have done some service: But the method which he took was an effectual one to arm the province, and have thein in readiness when