Friday, January 4, 2008

The Cunningham Mess, part 1:
The Arrest

From The History of South Carolina in the Revolution, 1775-1780, by Edward McCrady, published 1901, Macmillan & Co., ltd., South Carolina, pp. 86-87:


    On the day the Congress met, the 1st of November, it was informed that Captain Robert Cuningham [sic] had been taken into custody and brought to Charlestown. He had been arrested under orders from Major Andrew Williamson upon the affidavit of Captain John Caldwell, charging him with seditious words. Cuningham having been brought before the Congress did not deny that he had used the words with which he was charged; he did not believe, he said, that Captain Caldwell had perjured himself; but though he did not consider himself bound by the treaty at Ninety-Six, he averred "that he had since behaved himself as peaceably as any man, and although he had opinions he had not expressed them but when asked." Upon this frank statement Captain Cuningham was committed to the jail of Charlestown by a warrant under the hand of William Henry Drayton as President; Thomas Grimball the Sheriff was directed, however, to afford him every reasonable and necessary accommodation at the public charge. But he was enjoined not to suffer him to converse or correspond with any person whomsoever, or to have the use of pen, ink, or papers unless by express leave from the Congress. The arrest of Cuningham was deeply resented by the people of the Upper Country, and in connection with another matter, which occurred about the same time, occasioned further trouble and a far more serious disaffection of the people in that region. They were led to believe that the Revolutionists on the coast were intriguing with the Indians to bring them down upon the frontier settlements because the people there hesitated to join them against the King.