This revolutionary war "Association for Public Defense" was a solemn promise to risk what Thomas Jefferson would later call "our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor," rather than give in to Parliamentary claims to rule over them without their consent. Throughout the colonies, the Associations became the enforcing arm of the actions taken to resist Parliamentary taxes and to raise new "Provisional Governments" in individual states. The men from "the District East of the Wateree" who signed this Association early in 1776 agreed to a statement drawn up by the South Carolina Provincial Congress: "The actual commencement of Hostilities against this Continent by the British Troops in the bloody Scene on the 19th of April Last, near Boston, and the Increase of arbitrary Impositions from a wicked and despotic Ministry--and the Dread of Insurrections in the Colonies, are Causes sufficient to drive an oppressed People to the use of Arms. We therefore Subscribers, Inhabitants of South Carolina, holding ourselves bound by that most Sacred of all Obligations, the Duty of good Citizens toward an injured Country and thoroughly convinced that under our present distressed Circumstances, we shall be Justified before God and Man, in resisting Force by Force, Do unite our selves under every Tie of religion and of Honour and associate as a Band in her Defence, against every Foe; Hereby solemnly engaging that, when ever our Continental or Provincial Councils shall decree is necessary, we will go forth and be ready to sacrifice our Lives and Fortunes to secure her Freedom and Safety. This obligation to Continue in full Force until a Reconciliation shall take place between Great Britain and America, upon constitutional principals - an Event which we most ardently desire. And we will hold all those Persons inimical to the Liberty of the Colonies, who shall refuse to subscribe this Association."
Courtesy of the South Carolina Department of Archives and History.