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Letter from Archibald Maclaine to George Hooper
Maclaine, Archibald, 1728-1790
May 29, 1783
Volume 16, Pages 962-963


Wilmington, 59th May, 1783.

My Dear Sir:

Since I wrote you from Hillsborough by Col. Thackston,I attempted everything I possibly could to make some reform in our public affairs; but there are so many bad men in the Assembly, and so many unconstitutional members, that it was beyond the power of any single man, & I was very slenderly supported. Many well-disposed men, very injudiciously, thought it best to give way at present, & let the violent cool by degrees; but I know that a warm and well directed opposition would have been successful. While I was there (for I left it three days before the close of the session) it was remarkable, that the most exceptionable business was always brought forward in my absence; & it is as remarkable that most of the mischief

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was done in the Senate, of which I was not a member. These are convincing proofs what a few men of ability and firmness could do. Mr. Iredell is so fully convinced of the necessity of stepping forward, that he is determined upon it & I hope he will be able to awake the supineness of Mr. Johnston. Your brother too is seriously alarmed and it is no wonder. Executions are stopped for a year, if the defendant gives security; & unless such security is refused we cannot sue for debts, without an oath that the debtor is about to leave the State.

An Act of pardon and oblivion is passed; totally different from the bill which I drew up. P. Mallett & two scoundrels are excepted by name. I believe Dunbibin sends a copy; but I have inclosed the substance of the exceptions, which includes almost every one. None however are in a worse situation than they were before the passing of this Act; & it is remarkable that the preamble will defeat the villainous intention. It is there mentioned to be from a sincere desire of complying with the articles of peace, or something to that purpose; which must be construed in the most likely manner. In truth the articles are sufficient. I would however have you and your brother & Mr. London here immediately. I defy the devil to injure you.

There are some clauses of an act passed which expressly militate against the 4th article of the treaty. There are some protests upon that and other occasions which I must have published, with some animadversions upon the public bills; & as our printer will have his hands full, I shall be obliged to send to Charlestown; but I suppose that can be done after you leave it. At present I have not leisure to prepare the business.

Kitty is in better spirits than when I left her, & if you were once quietly settled I should not fear the restoration of her health. I have purchased red wine in NewBern sufficient to serve her & much more; so you need not look out for any. I expect it every day.

I have not time to say more than that I am yours,


I have left my letter for Mr. Alexander open, & could wish that Mr. London would send a copy of it by the sea route to Mr. Burgwin.