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have been treason. “In times of war,” continued Stevens, “we are left to fight our own battles and defend the homes which we cannot call our own. What have they done toward making our lot in life easier or our condition more happy? Verily, nothing. We are tenants of suffrage paying quit rents for lands which we have cultivated, wrested from the wilderness and bought with our own blood. They seek to deprive us of every liberty dear to man. We are not even permitted to worship God according to the dictates of our own conscience, but must yield our religious consciences and liberties to the Church of England. Such slavery ill becomes the children of men who braved dangers of the wilderness.”
Many of the colonists shared the opinions of Roger Stevens; but few were as outspoken as he. They saw no way to cast off their chains, but by revolution, and no security for the future, but in royal rule and protection. So they resolved to revolt. Their popular assembly declared they would have nothing further to do with the proprietors, and asked governor Johnson to rule in the name of the king. This he refused to do.
“Let us call a convention of the people,” said Roger Stevens, “and choose a governor for ourselves.”
“That would be treason,” one declared.
“No; it would be patriotism. We owe no allegiance to a corporation—a monopoly that seeks to enslave us.” There was a large assembly of men at an old meeting-house which had not been used for years as a house of worship. The men in attendance at this public meeting were typical frontiersmen of the south. Many wore the coon-skin cap and carried their rifles with them. Fire-arms had greatly improved, the last fifty years. The match-lock was scarcely ever seen. The old wheel-lock had given place to the snaphance or flint-lock, which had been improved. In attending all public meetings, men carried their guns from force of habit. The woods were filled with wild game, and their rifles frequently supplied their tables. At the meeting, where Stevens had uttered what, by the royalists, was construed into incendiary remarks, it was determined to call a convention of the people and choose a governor for themselves. The first day of December was appointed by Johnson as a time for a general review of the militia of the province. The same day was chosen by the convention as the time for the election of a popular governor. On learning what the intention of the people was, Johnson countermanded the order for the review, and ordered the arrest of
Roger Stevens and some of the other leaders of the revolt; but the warrants were not served. Friends of Stevens, Bulkley, Campbell, and others named in the warrants went to them and informed them of the governor's designs. These men simply shouldered their rifles, left their cabin homes and set out for Charleston through the forest. It is doubtful if the officers holding the warrants made any serious efforts to capture the malcontents whom they represented as breathing treason. Safely along the forest paths, with their guns on their shoulders, the frontiersmen made their way to Charleston. The militia assembled in large numbers in the public square at Charleston. They were a part of the people, and when the governor ordered their commander to disperse them, he answered: “I obey the convention.” The people then proceeded to the election of a chief magistrate, and James Moore was chosen. Soon afterward proprietary rule was dismissed from the soil of South Carolinia. The royal ear listened favorably to a petition presented by an agent of the colony, in England. The charter of the proprietaries was abrogated, and, in 1720, South Carolinia became a royal province, with Francis Nicholson as royal governor. North Carolinia succeeded in shaking off pro