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SPEECH OF HIS EXCELLENCY, J. RUTLEDGE.
Honorable Gentlemen of the Legislative Council,
Mr. Speaker and Gentlemen of the General Assembly :
I think it my duty to pay this tribute of applause to those brave troops who, in repelling the formidable British armament which at tacked them on Sullivan's Island, vainly flattering themselves with an assurance of easy conquest, displayed firmness and intrepidity that would have reflected honor on Roman veterans; and I must heartily congratulate you on their heroic behavior. It is an auspicious presage of what may be expected from the valor of our other troops, when theirs shall be the post of danger, as it demonstrates that men, animated by an ardent zeal for the sacred liberties of their country, and trusting in the Divine support, are capable of the most glorious achievements.
The Cherokee Indians having committed such barbarous acts of hostility as threatened desolation to the frontier settlements, at a time when the enemy lay in view of this town, and an attack on it was daily expected, a considerable force was immediately sent into that nation to obtain satisfaction for their cruel outrages, by acting with the greatest vigour. Our people have behaved with much spirit. It has pleased God to grant very signal success to their operations, and I hope, by His blessing on our arms, and those of North Carolina and Virginia, from whom I have promises of aid, an end may soon be put to the war.
Since your last meeting, the Continental Congress have declared the united colonies free and independent States, absolved from allegiance to the British crown, and the political connection between them and Great Britain totally dissolved an event which necessity had rendered not only justifiable, but unavoidable. This declaration, and several resolves of that honorable body, received during your recess, shall be laid before you. I doubt not you will take such measures as may be requisite, in consequence of them. A well-regulated militia being essential to the preservation of our freedom, I am persuaded you will think, with me, that your time cannot be better employed than in framing a law for making such improvements in the militia as may produce the most beneficial consequences.
It is not improbable that, at the season appointed for the meeting of the next Assembly, the business of legislation must yield to that of a different nature, and it behoves us to employ the time of the enemy's absence in making the best preparations for defence, and enacting such laws as the present exigencies demand. I have, therefore, thought it for the public service to call you together now, that you may deliberate on these matters, which tend to the interest and security of the State.
I shall propose what, in the course of your session, appear to me, and be happy in receiving your advice on, and concurring with you, in any that may effect these important objects.
- John Rutledge
- Documentary History of the American Revolution Consisting of Letters and Papers Relating to the Contest for Liberty, Chiefly in South Carolina, from Originals in the Possession of the Editor, and Other Sources, 1776