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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from Samuel Johnston to James Iredell
Johnston, Samuel, 1733-1816
April 20, 1776
Volume 10, Pages 498-499

[Reprinted from Jones' Defence of North Carolina, P. 279.]
Letter from Samuel Johnston to James Iredell.

Halifax, 20th of April, 1776.

“Dear Sir,

“We have not yet been able to agree on a Constitution. We have a meeting on it every evening, but can conclude on nothing. The great difficulty in our way is, how to establish a check on the Representatives of the people, to prevent their assuming more power than would be consistent with the liberties of the people; such as increasing the time of their duration and such like. Many projects have been proposed too tedious for a letter to communicate. Some have proposed that we should take up the plan of the Connecticut Constitution for a ground-work but with some amendments; such as that all the great officers, instead of being elected by the people at large, should be appointed by the Assembly; but that the Judges of our Courts should hold their offices during good behaviour. After

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all, it appears to me that there can be no check on the Representatives of the people in a democracy, but the people themselves; and in order that the check may be more efficient I would have annual elections.

“The Congress have raised four new regiments making in the whole six, and three companies of light horse. They are about striking a large sum of money for paying them. General Lee promises us a visit soon. I want much to see that original.”