1749 – Births.
Thomas Lynch, Jr. was born in Georgetown. He would later sign the Declaration of Independence for South Carolina.
1776 – American Revolution.
The Declaration of Independence arrived in Charleston. Maj. Barnard Elliot read it to a large, enthusiastic crowd under the Liberty Tree.
Captain Joseph West complained that several of the settlers were “so addicted to Rum, that they will do little but whilst the bottle is at their nose” and “grand abuses that prophanely violate the Sabbath.”
The Continental Congress approved the final wording of the Declaration of Independence. The ideals of individual liberty, first espoused by John Locke (partially in his Fundamental Constitutions of Carolina and Two Treatises of Government) were now clearly expressed by Thomas Jefferson.
John Hancock signed the document that day, and it was sent to John Dunlop’s printing shop where 200 copies were printed. Copies were sent across the country to all major cities in America.
South Carolina signers of the Declaration of Independence
All four South Carolina delegates voted for independence.
- Arthur Middleton, thirty-four years old
- Thomas Heyward, Jr., twenty-nine years old
- Thomas Lynch, Jr., twenty-seven years old
- Edward Rutledge was the youngest signer of the Declaration, twenty-six years old
Dr. David Ramsay gave a public address in celebration of American independence. He stated that “our present form of government is everyway preferable to the royal one we have lately renounced.”
Members of the Union Party “marched sedately to Scots Presbyterian Church” for an Independence Day celebration. The Nullifiers met at the Circular Church and reassembled for an outdoor rally:
Under a splendid Pavilion … from which mere boys of 8 to 12 years old were carried on the backs of servants, completely insensible from drink, while dead drunk seniors staggers and swore up and down the public streets … a complete exemplification of that depravity which the foul doctrine of Anarchy and Nullification is calculated to end in.
1765 – Stamp Act
The Stamp Act Congress convened in New York City. South Carolina was the only southern colony to send representatives:
- Christopher Gadsden – a wealthy Charleston merchant and plantation owner. He was an important figure in South Carolina’s Sons of Liberty and later served in the Continental Army
- Thomas Lynch – a major South Carolina plantation owner and a friend of co-delegate Christopher Gadsden, he later actively supported independence.
- John Rutledge – at 26, Rutledge was the youngest delegate in attendance. He was the provincial attorney general at the time and later served in a variety of pro-independence roles in South Carolina. He was briefly appointed Chief Justice of the United States by George Washington in 1795.
For the first time, the South Carolina men learned of the violent August protests in Boston in which the stamp officer, Andrew Oliver, was hanged in effigy and Sheriff Greenleaf and Lt. Gov. Hutchinson were stoned when they tried to intervene.