The Passover

The Passover

In the early of 1776 a combination was entered into by the Tories and Indians for a general massacre of the Whigs residing along the frontiers from North Carolina to Georgia. The Tories set up peeled poles at their houses, around which white cloth was wrapped. These were called passovers.

On June 20, in accordance with previous arrangements, the Indians commenced the work of death among the Whigs, but the Tories sat under their passovers in safety. To this, however, there was one exception. Capt. James Ford, who resided on the Enoree River at a place called the Canebrake, was killed while sitting under his passover. His wife was also killed and his two daughters taken captives. It is supposed that the Indians were instigated into the commission of these horrible atrocities by the arts of John Stuart and Richard Parris, agents of the British Government, and that this work of savage butchery along the frontiers constituted a part of a grand scheme for the overthrow of the patriots in the Province.

But the simultaneous appearance of a British fleet before Charleston and the outbreak of savage fury upon the frontier was insufficient to dampen the ardor of the Republicans. The dwellers upon the sea coast met and repelled the invaders at Fort Moultrie, and we shall soon see how the hardy backwoods men dealt their blows upon their insidious enemies. But the spectacle is melancholy. The poor untutored Indians, delighting in carnage, listens to the suggestions of the foreign mercenaries and becomes the victim of the cupidity and ambition of a lordly aristocracy. The British, though normally Christian and the representatives of a great and Christian Nation, so far forgot the better principles of humanity as to engage in their service the tomahawk and scalping knife of a barbarous race to retain within the sway of their illegal exaction a brave and generous people. Here the intelligent and conscientious Loyalist in South Carolina ought to have seen his error. He ought now to have been convinced of the fact that the British Government had no proper sympathy for British subjects on this continent. That the Parliament would not be at the trouble to know the wants of the people and would not condescend to recognize their rights; and hence incapable of legislating for their benefit.