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Letter from Archibald Maclaine to George Hooper
Maclaine, Archibald, 1728-1790
June 25, 1784
Volume 17, Pages 148-151


Wilmington, 25th June, 1784.

My Dear Sir:

Having gone over to Lockwood's folly on Sunday, I was agreeably surprised on my return yesterday, to find your wife and

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daughter here. The latter is in perfect health and spirits, & has been my constant companion since I came home, except when we were asleep. Kity appears not so well as when she left us, but her spirits seem to be good.

You must have received both my letters by this time, one by post, & the other by water. By these, you will have a more clear idea of our politics than you could otherwise form; though your intelligence seems to be pretty good. I believe I wrote you that Mr. London was mentioned on the committee, but his name not received as he had been here before the definitive treaty was signed. Jewke's name was rejected, as he had been always here. You are in the same situation as the former; but that was not known to those who would have availed themselves of it. Mallett's name was rejected, because he had been acquitted, & the name of one Murphy, because he had been pardoned by Governor Burke. I told you that Martin offered his further services for you. Perhaps it would be prudent to accept the pardon which he is ready to grant; though I am persuaded that your own conduct, the time of your return here, and your being a citizen of S. Carolina, will be sufficient for you. To this I can add the recommendations & instructions which I know can be easily procured. These must far outweigh the feeble attempts of Bloodworth's party. In truth his influence and interest depend altogether upon joining in the popular cry. In other matters is insignificant.

I do not believe that any thing can be effected against you and others in a similar situation, especially as we are prepared to counteract the designs of violent men. Perhaps it may be otherwise with respect to those who have had large estates, which have been expresely confiscated by act of Assembly, I think there is however some hopes that where such estates belong to real British subjects what remains unsold may be restored; but this is a subject that was very unpalatable last session; though every man of common understanding sees that (exclusive of the injustice of such a measure) the State never will be benefitted by retaining those estates.

Brice is an exception to the rule adopted by the committee but besides that we do not always act very consistently, the folly of his conduct had made him extremely obnoxious. The rule however is a convincing proof that I was right in urging to all my friends, an immediate return. By this, even some of those who were seen in

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a very unfavorable point of view, are now regarded as citizens, against whom there are no objections. Had you returned I am convinced you would have been as easy as most men in the State; but you would probably have been much the poorer for it.

Our assembly unanimously resolved that all acts tending to contravene the treaty of peace should be repealed, and that the treaty should be carried into effect in every part, but the 5th article with good faith. Upon this resolve, but more upon the treaty itself, Mr. Johnston, your brother, & myself have agreed that suits brought for British debts, & by persons who during the war lay under disabilities, may now be maintained. One of the Judges will be decisively against us and we fear that the other two are too contracted in their notions of law to proceed to judgement without a repeal. I have determined to try it if any British creditor applies. I would not for prudential reasons wish to bring suits for the other class, if it could be avoided without danger of losing the debt. I will not however any longer delay calling upon the creditors of G. & T. H. to renew their obligations;—unless I should find upon examination that any of them are violent; in which case, perhaps I may indulge them a few months longer. In the mean time, I should be furnished with your unsettled accounts, as I may have it in my power to get the debts secured, & my brother will have frequent opportunities of seeing the debtors. You know that I have not the leger. I shall certainly to see you when your business will permit; bnt from what I have said; I believe you will be of opinion that your affairs here do not require your presence.

Mrs. Burgwin appears to suffer so much from the warmth of the climate, that the family are preparing to sail for Rhode Island next week. I suppose they will not return before October. Mr. B. seems to think that he cannot possibly get his affairs adjusted here so as to return to Europe before Spring, and laments that his presence in England is in the mean time necessary, especially to promote the business of the house in Charleston. I am persuaded that he will not attempt returning sooner, & that he cannot consistently with his interest here; at the same time I am as fully persuaded that his engagements with you and Mr. A. should oblige him to return in less time. You may judge which he will prefer.

I have sent by Capt. Withers, memoirs of the cardinal de Retz,

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lent me by Dr. Cobham. I have not had time to read a single volume (there are four) and before I went to Hillsboro' I had locked them up so carefully that they could not be found. My business put books out of my head. I should not be concerned for such a trifle had not the doctor told me that the books had been lent to amuse him on the passage. Whether he borrowed them in Charleston or St. Augustine I do not recollect. If in the former you probably know who the owner is. Present my compliments to the doctor, & let him know that he must impute my neglect to the times. I have not usually been so negligent; but our firebrands are ever creating work for me, and taking my attention from my own affairs, which frequently run into confusion.

My compliments of congratulation to Major Butler on the successful issue of his suit. It was a stake worth contending for.

Yrs. affectionately,

I inclose you a copy of the last clause of the banishment bill which would have had a very desirable effect, could we have got rid of a few names. It was drawn by our worthy friend Mr. S. Johnston.

My brother tells me that it was generally talked of when he was in Charleston than Fallon was about leaving the place. Have you secured the money due from him to Wilkinson?

There were about 120 names in the banishment bill; some of them real British subjects; (the governor's Tryon and Martin led the van) some of them very inoffensive characters, & the most of them I did not know.

I should have told you in express terms that there can be no impropriety in your coming here. Burgwin's stay unmolested and unquestioned is a proof of it. At the same time you should know (if I have not already mentioned it) that the Governor wishes absentees to remain so; or if they do come, to stay no longer than may be necessary to transact their business. You see what a poor thing it is. What the devil has he to do with the matter?