Documenting the American South Logo
Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from Archibald Maclaine to George Hooper
Maclaine, Archibald, 1728-1790
March 12, 1783
Volume 16, Pages 943-946


Wilmington, 12th March, 1783.

My Dear Sir:

I have received yours of the 8th instant by Gaillard with the articles mentioned in your bill of parcels, excepting one hoe which is missing, the cask having lost its head. Owing to the bad package of the small keg, & perhaps partly to its being put into the case, I have remaining only 13 wine glasses, and three small cups.

I am much pleased to hear by a person who certainly knows, that the bills will be paid. But it is unlucky that I lately parted with two sets

-------------------- page 944 --------------------
of 300 dollars each, which I should not have done, if you had thought they would have been of any service to you. Indeed I was always firmly persuaded that they were good, and astonished (especially since the capture of Lord Cornwallis) that any other person should think other wise. Mallett once offered me a very low price for those which I sent you. As soon as I can procure a safe conveyance to Newbern by a person who will return here I can have a set of bills for 300 dollars, which I will immediately send you. This is all I can depend upon, but if I can upon reasonable terms procure any others I will do it. Grainger who I suppose is now with you had some certificates, but as he is connected with Blount, I question whether he will part with any bills, even if interest is due to him. You can however sound him, & if you can strike a bargain, I will receive them here (provided he has them not with him) and oblige myself to pay him the value in a very few months. If however he should sell his land, he will not be in want of money.

When Grainger left this, the notice I had was so short, that I could not write you as fully as I could wish. In one of your letters which I answered, you seem to be apprehensive of an act of banishment. That there are persons among us who would promote such persecutions, I have no doubt. That there will be some of them in the Assembly, is highly probable; but I have not the least reason to believe that such a scheme will be adopted. I have good grounds to expect that there will be many sensible & more moderate men in the Assembly. The public has been grossly robbed and abused and the facts are notorious. Individuals of the best characters, and the most unexceptionable political conduct, have been persecuted and ill treated. Of the most violent of the men in power, those of any understanding are loud against persecution. Even Judge Williams, though one of the most violent has borne testimony in the seat of Justice against the multiplied enormities that have come before the court; and he has done it with warmth and indignation. I do not therefore upon the whole see that you can take any previous step (the session of Assembly is so near) at present. We could not possibly send to the Governor and have an answer in time; and in truth I have no expectations from him, whilst the pulse of the public remains suspended. Whether the restriction you are under of not purchasing, is in reality a disadvantage you are the best Judge; but

-------------------- page 945 --------------------
unless you could procure articles of a very ready sale, I should think purchasing would be dangerous at this time; and probably many of your speculators may be taken in. But in all events, I should think it would not be difficult to cover your transactions with the name of some unexceptionable person, which probably would not occasion much expence.

Yesterday evening our election ended here, when J. A. Campbell was chosen senator, Tim. & Thos. Bloodworth commoners for the county & your humble servant for the town. I had twenty seven votes to eight, tho’ many of the people from apprehensions of persecution declined voting, & several were set aside because they had mustered in the town company under Campbell. Even Mr. Hill was denied a vote though he offered to prove that every time he was under arms he had been taken out by a file of men. He has determined to sue the sheriff, merely to establish the right, and to determine this grand constitutional question whether a freeman is to be disfranchised without a trial by his peers. However, I am persuaded that this matter will be set to rights by the Assembly.

The violence, the chicane, and the brutality of Walker, Tom Bloodworth and their commissaries, were excessive; & had not my friends as well as myself attended very close, many of those who voted would have been frightened away. T. Maclaine, J. Huske, & Chevers attended almost constantly; but Captain Read was my principal champion. When the ballots were numbered though there was no noise, nor disturbance, perhaps there never was an election that gave more universal satisfaetion. Walker however says he intended to petition. But though I question whether he is in earnest, I am prepared for him. I will have such a return by the sheriff, and such a cloud of depositions, as will do his business at once. Besides his petition cannot be received, for as a receiver of public money, he is not eligible. The principal men of his few voters, were Player & Jacob Williams. Tim Bloodworth is actually treasurer at this time, and his attempt to accept of a seat, is a most unparalleled piece of impudence. He thinks by resigning and settling his accounts, to take his seat; but he is mistaken. He is not eligible, in express words. Campbell is a well-disposed, but weak man. He will not however be brought into violent measures. Tom Bloodworth now has an indictment hanging over him for extortion in

-------------------- page 946 --------------------
his office of marshal of the admiralty. I have a precedent for having him suspended from his office; which at least will lessen his influence.

These fellows have been busy poisoning the minds of the people, whilst our gentry who opposed them have never thought of doing it effectually. Jack Ashe, the evening before the election, declared himself a candidate for the Senate; Tom Jones and young Sam Ashe for the commons. Grainger was also a candidate for the senate, & went to Charleston to sell land, & only five or six days before the election. Those of them who are here have promised to pursue a different method, & Jones goes to contest the right of Tim Bloodworth’s election.

I have been thus particular with you, as I know it will be a satisfaction to know on what my opinions are grounded. I have not heard yet who the members are for the neighboring counties; but I shall probably hear before my letter is closed, who are returned for Onslow, and perhaps for Brunswick. I ought to have mentioned that you cannot possibly come within the meaning of the resolve of Congress with respect to British subjects; & I am persuaded that the Governor does not regard you in this light; but still from your agreement with Governor Matthews, you appear in Charlestown as a British merchant. I have no doubt however, when I get to Hillsborough, & have a few friends to back me, of winding him to my purposes, if I should find it necessary; But the Assembly is my grand dependence, & their acts must include numbers.

You will receive a letter with this from Kitty.

We are all as usual.

Yours affectionately,

I should tell you that all the Judges will be at Hillsborough the beginning of this session; & I have great dependence on their influence & advise.

I send a keg (in which was packed the glass, earthern ware, &c.,) with 14 pieces of smoked beef, part of a barrel which I was obliged to treat in that manner. You have all the good pieces.