William Ayers can migrate from terrorist to university professor. Jane Fonda can give spiritual aid and comfort to the enemy and still remain an A list actress. Even the Ft. Hood shooter is not discussed with reference to treason. The functionaries of justice now call him perpetrator of “workplace violence.”
[Note: This article was originally posted on December 13th, 2011. The IFNM website was attacked by hackers and many articles are now gone from the archives. As a public service, IFNM is now reposting said articles.]
Without dispute, the greatest news story of 1771 in the American Colonies would have to be the chronicle of the North Carolina “Regulators.” Nothing else comes close in terms of sheer newsprint, and from the perspective of New England — already the seat of many violent riots against crown officials — the iron-fisted conclusion of that struggle must have felt a bit ominous for those considering opposition to royal governors.
In the backwoods counties of North Carolina, the regulators claimed that corrupt sheriffs and newly-minted urban lawyers were fleecing them with fees, and forcing long distance court appearances. By all accounts their cause was very popular and on several occasions, in the six years prior to 1771, they delivered up mob victories, breaking up courts, and dragging corrupt officials through the streets, but in May of 1771, Governor Tryon, facing a larger army of Regulators, beat them back and forced their surrender.
One of their leaders, Benjamin Merrill, heard these words pronounced during his trial for High Treason:
“…I earnestly beseech you to employ the short time you have to live, in a manner suitable to your unhapppy condition; that so, after having satisfied the offended justice of your country, we may yet piously hope, that you will obtain forgiveness at the throne of GOD..
I must now close my afflicting duty, by pronouncing upon you the awful sentence of the law; which is, that you Benjamin Merrill, be carried to the place from whence you came, that you be drawn from thence to the place of execution, where you are to be hanged by the neck; that you be cut down while you are yet alive, that your bowels be taken out and burnt before your face, that your head be cut off, your body divided into four quarters, and this to be at his Majesty’s disposal; and the Lord have mercy upon your soul.”