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Letter from Archibald Maclaine to George Hooper
Maclaine, Archibald, 1728-1790
June 14, 1784
Volume 17, Pages 144-147


Wilmington, 14th June, 1784.

My Dear Sir:

Upon my return home the 10th, I found yours of the 14th of May, and yesterday Mr. McLeod delivered your last of the 5th instant.

As I write by post I cannot give you a full account of what passed at the Assembly. It would be too voluminous. Early in the session a grand committee among other things, reported the necessity of bills to repeal such laws as might tend to contravene the 4th and 6th articles of the treaty, and to reduce into system the treason and confiscation acts. Both houses concurred unanimously with the report. Notwithstanding this the bills were warmly opposed even by some of those who had consented to them on the committee. At the head of these were Nash & Blount; destitute of principle, & swayed only by motives of interest. We did not venture at that early period to put them on their passage, and in the mean time a bill of banishment was introduced in the commons, and in the senate, a bill for selling confiscated property. The latter was so exceptionably framed (it was indeed a job to inrich a few) that on the last

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day of the session it was laid over. The other was entirely altered by a committee of both houses. All the names in the confiscation acts were in it; but such as were known to be dead, and a few others, were struck out. A long list however was added. Among these Rutherford named only four;—Booth Boole, Giffard, & the two Kers. The old Brigadier was quite outdone by Tim Bloodworth, who, (as Rutherford himself expressed it) meant to depopulate New Hanover county. Bloodworth pretended instructions from his constituents for what he did, expressing his regret for being obliged to name so many good men; but his duty obliged him to it. This was on the committee. Ben. Hawkins who is more improved than any young man I know, and one of the most honest and judicious in the State, placed the conduct of Bloodworth & his instructions in a proper point of view & made both appear perfectly ridiculous. Yet most of the names in his list were received. Among these were F. Brice, J. Burgwin, G. Hooper, T. Hooper, Thos. Cobham, L. DeRosset, J. Crudenpin, S. Campbell, D. Sutherland, and Isaac DuBois. Several violent people cried aloud against the insertion of some of these, & I was told that W. Blount mentioned you in particular. London & Jewkes were mentioned, & the first man in the State took no little pains to have Mallett inserted. Mean & base beyond expression; but his motives were easily discoverable. On the other hand, he did every thing he could to prevent your name and your brothers from appearing. I believe he wished to serve his friends, but his character was concerned in this. He has however renewed his offers to serve you.

There was an amendment added to this bill by Mr. Johnston in pursuance of the committee, which contained a pardon to all who were not named, and a restoration to all rights, &c. The bill was rejected in the Senate by a great majority;—some voting against it as having too many names, and others, because there were too few. Had a very few been left out, I could have wished the bill to pass, tho' it is unconstitutional. The country would have been quiet, & several of the banished persons would probably have been permitted to return in a session or two. I was not indeed in the least apprehensive for you. A very powerful party composed of both sides was in your favor; & I did not apprehend any difficulty with your brother Thomas, & little with respect to Cobham; but there are very

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large sums due to J. B. & he is looked upon as a dangerous rival in trade. This might have been attended with some difficulty, perhaps danger, I therefore think it best that the bill was rejected.

I propose immediately interesting my friends in this & the neighbouring counties to procure constitutional instructions for next assembly, in which I do not fear success in the principal object of them. I am sure you will have in your favor, in this county three to one. The annual Assemblies are altered from April to October which is much more suitable to the people in general but makes no alteration with respect to the lawyers. We have a general election in August, & we meet at New Bern. I scarcely expect your brother & Mr. Johnston, as it will interfere with their circuit courts. Mr. Hay will unquestionably represent Sampson county (late part of Duplin) & I shall probably offer myself once more. We have ceded to Congress the country from the Alleghany Mountains Westward. We have altered the descent of lands which go to all the sons equally; destroyed intails & the benefit of survivorship in joint tenancies, & put the half blood upon a footing with the whole—passed the necessary acts for impowering Congress to levy the 5 pr. ct. duties & other taxes & to make some alterations in the confederation, &c., and done away assessments, except in towns,—lands pay by the quantity.

I want immediately to have the acts of your last session & to know what is done in Georgiw with respect to British debts.

Your account of Rose's conduct gives me a very bad opinion of him; but as you say your law has no retrospect to former settlements, I do not know what his scheme will avail him. I am sure ours has none; & I do not suppose he alleges that he was overreached, or out witted.

Mr. McGwire who expects to leave this country soon is desirous of settling all his accounts. He says he has one unsettled with G. & T. Hooper, which he believes is very nearly balanced. As you have the leger, I wish you to give me a sketch of the account by which I can apply to the Journal for particulars.

I found Mr. Rowan's journal some time ago and will send it to him.

I had an application some time ago for your lot (the title of which is now in me) & offered it for £200, provided the gold was paid

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down. I was offered half that sum. But I am not solicitous to sell it soon. I know it will rise in value, tho' perhaps you had better have £200 than wait for an advance. It would suit Mallett extremely well, & I am persuaded that he cannot procure such another spot for his purpose. When he applies to me, I shall know how to manage him.

Are Cruden & Brown mad? Do they mean to go to war with Spain? Unquestionably they can have no authority for what they do. Indeed their seizing the transports, &c., is a proof that they have not.

I am sorry that we shall not see Kitty as soon as I expected. I hope you will make it up by coming together. I have not time to add.

Yours affectionately,

However clever & designing you have represented a certain lady, she wants ballast. After a great deal of what I had reason to expect she spoiled it all by telling me that my sweet little Poll was the very picture of me. This came upon me so unexpectedly, that I very bluntly exclaimed,—O good God! She's the picture of her father. My love to Kitty and the little ones, & compliments to Mr. Alexander.