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Letter from Archibald Maclaine to George Hooper
Maclaine, Archibald, 1728-1790
August 23, 1783 - August 25, 1783
Volume 16, Pages 975-978


23rd August, 1783.

My Dear Sir:

I received yours yesterday afternoon, sitting upon Mr. Hill’s piazza (with others) waiting to attend the remains of our old acquaintance to the water. He died early yesterday morning and was carried to Brunswick for interment. From the state of his health for some time past, and his obstinate quackery, upon the principles of his friend Cobham, I predicted this event, though I did not expect it so soon. Claypoole and Fergus were called in, about four days before his death, when the stomach was totally debilitated and convulsed, and rejected every thing he could swallow. Had I pursued the same method of cure in the spring, it is probable I should have been relieved from all my cares.

Considering how few tolerable people we have here, the town could not well spare Mr. Hill; but setting aside the loss to his family, I shall be the greatest sufferer. The whole business of Wilkinson’s estate devolves upon me, and as I cannot possibly attend to the minutiæ of it, I must employ some person for that purpose; and in the mean time rent out, as soon as possible, the estate during the minority of Jack Wilkinson.

I certainly should not have delivered your letter to Mr. Hill, had he been capable of receiving it. Nothing but a blind resentment could have induced you to write it. Could it have been delivered the purport of it must have gone abroad, and possibly have done me some disservice. It would certainly have injured others in your situation, and would probably have tended to prevent a recovery of your property here. I should feel myself as much hurt as you do, did I not most cordially despise the object of your resentment. The man is insensible to friendship and wholly a stranger to delicacy. There would have been neither difficulty nor danger in acquainting me with what he might think was his duty, which would have been a sufficient hint for you. While you remained here, he could not with decency have omitted your name; for the degree of criminality

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was not the question. You were one of those who had left this with the British. It is possible, and indeed probable, that he was pleased to have so fair an opportunity of placing you in a humiliating situation; but I am now convinced his principal motive was what I wrote you last post. In that letter I gave you my reasons why I thought so. Every thing I have heard since confirms me in that opinion. I think it somewhat extraordinary because we have one scoundrel who wishes to banish all decent persons, and another who sports with the feeling of humanity to satiate his revenge that you should execrate a whole people, who are in as fair a way to the right as can be expected, considering the ignorance and violence of the times, and the small portion of active virtue we have among us. Unless you wish for an apology to abandon N. Carolina (which I will not suppose) your present business is, not to connect yourself in such a manner with any person, as to make a removal inconvenient. You have some property here worth attending to, and possibly the situation of your family may make a removal necessary. You may possibly think my judgment in the present instance, is warped by prejudice. But I beg you will take a retrospective view of events for a few years, and then consider whether your own inclinations, co-operating (sometimes) with very weak arguments have not betrayed you in many instances into erroneous conduct. As to myself, I am convinced that domestic anxiety does not by any means promote the interest of my family, and no one will question whether it contributes to my happiness.

Kitty is making the necessary preparations for her departure which is undoubtedly necessary at present, unless you were to return here immediately. Your situation must not only be irksome, but be attended with a wasteful expence. Brennan’s cabbin is tolerable but Cruden is expected every hour in a better vessel, by which J. Mackenzie purposes to return. At all events she will take the first conveyance, as the stormy season is approaching; but as Brennan goes to Fayetteville Monday, & must be here before the vessel returns, I question whether it will sail before the week after next. I will take care that your wife shall be properly attended.

Saturday afternoon.

Since I wrote the above I have received a letter from A. Armstrong

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of the 18th wherein he tells me that my letter found him on the doctor’s list, where he still continued; but that he found an express to go to the Governor, and as soon as he returned, the contents should be forwarded to me. Armstrong has wrote fully, and speaks confidently of success, I have seen since morning the Governor’s proclamation of the 28th of July. To prevent mistakes, I have procured a copy for you. It is extremely confused; but upon the whole, I am satisfied it has been issued with the best intention. It consists of two principal heads. The second head commands those who have arrived since the first of May, without leave, to depart & prohibits their return, till the Legislature &c. As the proclamation is grounded upon the act, it must be expounded by it. Those who returned before the first of May, tho’ not permitted to remain, cannot be subject to be removed, coming in since; and as it must if possible, be construed agreeable to law, those alone who were expelled for refusing the oath of allegiance, can be prohibited from returning. London & Brice are safe, having been bailed; but the latter was much alarmed.

Kitty appears desirous of taking Indian Kitt with her. The mortgage of her and a negroe was for a sum much larger than the value of Kitt; & I do not know what became of the negroe. I intend if possible to send in some obligations of Tallon to secure the wench; but I shall think more of it. I think your brother gave some acknowledgement for the mortgage, which I suppose Tallon has.

Sunday, 24th August.

Last night I received a letter from Mr. Rowan in answer to your & mine. He speaks of you and the business upon which you wrote in such terms as you would wish, & expressly offers to give you part of the little property which he has.


I have just had a letter from D. Bain, dated Philadelphia 13th instant. He says, Congress have had intelligence that official accounts have reached Sir Guy Carleton that the definitive treaty is signed; but for some unknown reasons he has not published his intelligence. Probably for want of transports to carry off the garrison.

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Post arrived. No letters, notwithstanding your promise of writing on Monday.

Yours affectionately,