Isaac Hayne, an American revolutionary officer, born in South Carolina, Sept. 23, 1745, executed in Charleston, S. C, Aug. 4, 1781. In 1780 he was a senator in the state legislature. On the invasion of the state by the British, he served in a cavalry regiment which kept the field during the final siege of Charleston. Being included in the capitulation of that place, he was paroled on condition that ho should not again serve against the British while they held possession. When in 1781 the fortunes of the British began rapidly to decline, he and all others in his situation were required to join the British standard as subjects. His wife and several of his children lay at the point of death from smallpox, but his expostulations were unheard, and he went to the city, after obtaining a written pledge from the military commandant of his district that he should be allowed to return. This pledge was ignored in Charleston, and he was told that he must either become a British subject or go to prison. He subscribed a declaration of allegiance to the royal government, but only under protest against the advantage taken of him at such a moment. Thus enabled to return to his family, he maintained his pledge of neutrality.
But when, by the continued success of the Americans, the British were driven from all quarters, and nothing remained to them but Charleston, they resolved to require military service of all who had given their parole. Hayne then went to the American camp, and was commissioned by the governor as colonel of a militia regiment. In July, 1781, he made an incursion to the Quarter House, a precinct within five miles of Charleston, and captured Gen. Williamson, who had gone over to the British. It was feared that Williamson would be hanged as a traitor, and the British commandant at Charleston ordered out his entire force in pursuit. Hayne's party was surprised and scattered, and he himself captured. He was taken to Charleston, and after a brief examination by a board of officers, without any trial, and no witnesses being examined, he was condemned to be hanged by the joint orders of Lord Raw-don and Lieut. Col. Balfour. He protested against this summary process, which was illegal, whether he was regarded as a British subject or as a captive who had broken his parole. The citizens and ladies of Charleston united in petitioning for his pardon; but Rawdon and Balfour were inexorable.
A respite of 48 hours only was allowed him in which to take leave of his children, at the end of which period he was hanged. This vindictive measure was discussed with great ability in the British parliament, and while both Rawdon and Balfour justified it, each was solicitous to attribute it to the agency of the other. Lord Rawdon (earl of Moira) published a justification of his conduct, which was analyzed and criticised by Robert Y. Hayne in the "Southern Review " for February, 1828.