Proclamation issued by General Gates at Pedee, the 4th of August 1780.
By Horatio Gates, Esq. major general and commander in chief of the army of the United States in the southern department of America, &c. &c. &c.
The patriotic exertions of the virtuous citizens of the United States having enabled me, under the protection of Divine Providence, to vindicate the rights of America in this state, and by the approach of a numerous, well appointed, and formidable army, to compel our late triumphant and insulting foes to retreat from their most advantageous posts with precipitation and dismay, I have judged it most expedient, at this period of my progress, to give assurances of forgiveness and perfect security to such of the unfortunate citizens of this state as have been induced, by the horror of sanguinary punishments, the means of confiscation, and all the arbitrary measures of military domination, apparently to acquiesce under the British government, and to make a forced declaration of allegiance and support to a tyranny, which the indignant souls of citizens, resolved on freedom, inwardly revolted at, with horror and detestation.
And in order to afford an opportunity to real friends of America, to testify the affection and attachment to the cause of liberty, an invitation is held out to them to assert that rank among the free and independent citizens of America, in which their former exertions and zeal had deservedly placed them, and to join heartily, when called upon, in rescuing themselves and their country from an opposition of a government imposed on them by the ruffian hand of conquest. Nevertheless, I cannot at present resolve to extend these offers of pardon and security to such as in the hour of devastation have exercised acts of barbarity and depredation on the persons and property of their fellow citizens; nor to such, as being apprized of the security afforded to them by the army under my command, shall be so lost to a sense of honour, and the duty they owe to their country, as hereafter to give countenance and support to that enemy, who, but for the disaffection of many of the apostate sons of America, had long ere this been driven from the continent.
The inhabitants of this state may rely on the assurance that an army composed of their brethren and fellow citizens cannot be brought among them with the hostile vices of plunder and depredation. Such triumphs, under the colour of protection and support, are left to grace the British arms alone; but they may rest satisfied, that the genuine motive which has given energy to the present exertions, is the hope of rescuing them from the iron rod of oppression, and restoring to them those blessings of freedom and independence which it is the duty and interest of the citizens of these United States, jointly and reciprocally, to support and confirm.
Given at our head quarters, on the river Pedee, this fourth day of August, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty, and in the fifth year of our independence.
By the general command,
CHRIST. RICHMOND, Sec.