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Letter from Archibald Maclaine to Edward Jones
Maclaine, Archibald, 1728-1790
November 14, 1788
Volume 21, Pages 504-505


Wilmington, 14th Nov., 1788.

Dear Sirs:

I was much pleased with the intelligence in yours of the 9th respecting the number of Federalists in the Assembly. If a Convention is called I think they will multiply.

We have reports here of a money bill and an instalment bill. The latter or one of that kind has actually passed into a law in S. Carolina, and I am apprehensive it will have bad effects on the Federal interest; for it is expressly in the face of the Constitution which that State has adopted. If there is (which I think probable) any intention to bring forward a money-bill the measure must originate with Tom Person; but he never produces his budget till he is pretty certain he has sufficient strength to support it. I flatter myself that he will find his party too weak for such a pernicious measure; for independent of Willie Jones’s intention, relative to depreciation, that gentlemen however lost to all sense of public virtue in other

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respects, never can act a part so contradictory to his avowed sentiments in public life.

I cannot conceive what Steele’s bill is. I introduced one for the admission of attornies two years ago at Fayetteville; and though it had the approbation of every gentleman of the bar, who was in the assembly, it was rejected, I believe in the Senate. Col. Davie introduced another last year at Tarborough. Upon examination then perhaps Mr. Steele’s bill might be amended.

Notwithstanding what you say to the contrary, I have not much hopes that the disqualifying acts will be repealed; yet I am glad that an attempt will be made, without coming from this quarter.

I do not know what Pugh Williams can allege against the commissioners, of the jail, but negligence in enforcing the payment of the taxes. Something of this is true; but on the other hand, they have to my knowledge, applied frequently without success, to the county court clerks, for certified accounts of the sums due by the sheriffs. When these were sent, it was often without the names of the sheriffs who were liable. I think the laws are defective. No measure can be adopted without a majority. Their own avocations frequently at a distance from Wilmington, engross their attention. I think there should be an amendment empowering them to appoint one of their own number, or some other person, treasurer and superintendent of the work with authority to call in, and sue for the taxes, allowing him a reasonable commission for his trouble, and obliging him to give security.

Though I have written so much it has been done with great labor. My head is confusion itself. I have had a slow fever all night, and it has not yet left me. So obstinate is my complaint, that I am trying new remedies almost every day. All hopes of going to New Bern are vanished and poor Josh. Wright is little better than I am. If I can get something better I must take exercise.

You have enclosed Potts’s answer to my application. I have requested Mr. Hooper to persuade him to a search, but am fearful that it will not avail.

I am Dear Sir,
Truly yours,

Mr. Evans does not set off till to-morrow, if I find myself better I will endeavour to sketch off a bill for the academy; but I fear it will be too late.