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Letter from Archibald Maclaine to George Hooper
Maclaine, Archibald, 1728-1790
August 14, 1783 - August 18, 1783
Volume 16, Pages 971-974


Wilmington, 14th August, 1783.

My Dear Sir:

I am now to acknowledge your letters of the 5th and 7th of this month by Conyers, & inform you, which I suppose you know already, that he left the nails, silk and medicines behind him.

I had almost an immediate opportunity to Fayetteville by which I wrote to Mr. Armstrong, inclosing a letter for the Governor. I make no doubt, from Armstrong’s friendly exertions, and the Governor’s disposition to oblige me, but I shall soon receive a favourable reply.

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Your brother sent me by post a small note of F. Moseley to G. & T. H. and Ancrum’s bond for about £110. The latter I know not how to secure, as I am apprehensive the marriage bond will swallow up all that Schaw may leave. I believe however I must bring suit, as it will not be attended with much expence. I have advised Mr. Huske to give in your brother’s property here for taxation, and referred him to Mr. T. Jones for the quantity of land at the Mulberry. The other parcels I know. I think he should send a letter of attorney to Mr. Huske to act for him, and it would be proper to have a joint power from you both for your joint concerns. That from you is not sufficient. I am now preparing to give in for taxation such part of Mr. Burgwin’s property as does not appear to be conveyed to his nephews. The peace has enabled me to set confiscation at defiance.

Yesterday evening, after many formal delays, and a puritanical lecture, not very consistent with ideas of sentimental delicacy, Mr. London and Mr. Brice were admitted to bail.

I never thought you were the object of power, and some observations which I made within a very few days convinces me that you were not; though I believe with you, that you are not the object of any great cordiality; but I am entirely convinced that my good friend does not wish to break with me. I had indeed concluded that the affair originated with Walker; but I am now satisfied that I was mistaken. That worthy gentleman did by no means wish to call in the aid of a judge, he knew that a commitment or bail would be the consequence. His aim was banishment; which with the assistance of his brother Justices, he hoped to effect. Mr. A. has not been able to conceal his resentment. He told me he wished to have seen Cruden; and when I informed him that he proposed returning to take his passage in Jefferson he answered with a very significant look, that he Cruden would not come here again. From this, Mr. A. entered into the subject of John Cruden’s having sent his negroes to Nova Scotia, and said he had been well informed that it was James (not John) Cruden who had been particularly instrumental in that affair. The conclusion was that he would pursue the actors in that business to every part of the world until he had satisfaction. When all these circumstances are considered, and when you also consider the vindictive spirit of the man, can there be a doubt but

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that under the color of putting the laws in force, he issued a warrant to detain a man whom he wished to lay hold of for his own private purpose? Possibly he was doubtful whether he could make it appear that Cruden was really liable, & took this method to detain him until he could make further inquiries. Cruden’s departure accounts for the subsequent remissness of Mr. A.’s conduct.

I plainly perceive that your observations upon a re-establishment here, are the effects of unfavourable ideas conceived about the time of your departure. I am morally certain that what you saw here was the last struggle of impotent wickedness and folly. Finding that nothing could be done in town, the miscreants assembled at Tom Bloodworth’s to the number of about thirty only, and a considerable majority of these, with the colonel at their head, declared against all violent measures, & expressly said that they could not see why the absent might not return, as well as many others present stay here. The want of the definitive treaty, which was their corner stone, will no longer stand in the way. A very few months will enable you to judge of our public conduct, much better than you can possibly do at present.

I could say much more on this subject, but it is needless at present. Your own understanding will suggest to you not to fix on any particular plan for life, unless you can do it to advantage. Mr. Burgwin’s schemes do not by any means meet my approbation—part of them is, to admit one of his nephews at a proper age. I have no idea of so many partners, unless the plan is very extensive indeed; and whatever is intended depends entirely upon one man, who you know is not very steady where a pursuit of new game would promote his own interest. Your own reasons against such a connexion, are very powerful. One of the the persons to be concerned is highly objectionable in his private, as well as his public character. When a person forms connexions in business, he should if possible take care that they be at least not objectionable in point of character; but by all means he should avoid such as may prove disgraceful. Undoubtedly much depends even in point of profit, upon honor and integrity. Much as I wish to see you well settled here, where my own lot is cast, I would rather have you fix at once where you are, than be connected here with a man who would disgrace you, whatever advantages might attend it.

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As you must necessarily continue in Charlestown some time at all events, I am much pleased that your friend Tunns has behaved in a manner so very agreeable to you. I hope you will be able to pursue business so far at least, as to increase, rather than diminish, your little property.

Make my compliments to Major Butler, and tell him from me, that as a member of the Legislature of South Carolina, he is to consider himself in some measure as representing us. Whatever is done there, will have a powerful effect here, and as I have great hopes from the moderation which has hitherto prevailed, I expect that the determinations of South Carolina, & Genl. Washington’s letter to Governor Harrison, will have a powerful effect upon our insensibles.

I have shewn your letter to Kitty, but have not had time to enter into the purport of it with respect to her removal. If her health permits (and I hope it will) I am sure she will not hesitate; but she writes you herself. My sweet Poll has had two or three fits of a fever (owing to a cold) but has got over it. We are so very gracious and she has become so familiar, and so orderly, that I shall miss my agreeable little prattler.

I understood you that Ranaldson was to have in part pay of the chair, a quantity of Verdigris, & the remainder in goods. He has demanded (and perhaps received) the value of £25 in goods.

18th August.

By the above you will perceive that I have done what is necessary for you and your brother. The pardon I will procure in October, if necessary. I shall write you again. In the mean time I send this for your satisfaction. Brice walks about. London is at the sound. At Edenton their resolves drawn up by Iredell, have been such as you would expect from him. Mr. Johnson desires his compliments to you. Kitty’s letter is not ready.


All well, & all laughing.