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It has been my misfortune, among several hundreds to have been sued and even to have had Judgements obtained against me, in consequence of which I find the sheriff has a very valuable plantation of mine to be sold, which I at sundry times endeavoured to do, both at Public and Private Sale in order to satisfy my Creditors, but all my endeavour proved fruitless, therefore it would be needless for me in such a case to ask a Friend the favour, as I might naturally expect a Denial, therefore I would just leave the matter to yourself to act in whatever way you think proper, tho at the same time I could most heartily wish that I could command money in order to close the matter, as it gives me pain to be dunned at any time. . . .

Bee finally announced in the public prints, June, 1784, that having been reduced to poverty through the sale of his real estate by the sheriff for a thirteenth part of what he might formerly have had for it at private sale, he was now prepared to go to jail to convince his creditors--after which he hoped to be left in some peace of mind.

The assembly in 1791 provided for the gradual calling in of the loans made to the citizens under the act of 1785 and for the retirement of the paper money.32 But in the following years measures occasionally prevailed for delaying the redemption; and there was almost constantly a dread among the conservatives that the radicals might again get the upper hand and, if unchecked by state or federal constitutions, do great mischief to the commonwealth.

Local concerns, however, were overshadowed after 1787 by problems directly connected with federal relations and policy, while in some cases, such as those of paper money, tariff and public debt, the former local problems were quickly handed over to the central government. It was quite natural under the circumstances, that the political factions which had grown into existence while the state government was managing nearly all of the public business should continue in life, and, after a brief period of transition and partial reorganization, should transfer the general application of their points of view and predilections to the affairs of the federal gov


The need of more efficient central control in the United States had been felt by the Carolina planters immediately upon the ending of the British war. An expression of this, for example, was a pamphlet attributed with probable justice to Christopher Gadsden.33

32 Act of February 19, 1791, in Cooper and McCord, Statutes at Large, V. 166-167.

33 Observations on the Importance of the American Revolution. . . The lower half of the title-page of the copy in the Charleston Library is torn off and missing. The pamphlet was apparently written in 1783 or 1784.


The author of this expressed gratification at the successful close of the American revolt, and urged the advisibility of preserving peace. To this end he thought firm government necessary, and especially sound policy in finance. Congress, he said, must be trusted with the power of securing supplies for the expenses of the Confederation and the power of contracting debts, and "this power must not be capable of being defeated by the opposition of any minority in the States "; everything depends upon the preservation of a firm political union, "and such a union cannot be preserved without giving all possible weight and energy to the authority of that delegation which constitutes the Union". In conclusion, to drive home his contention, he pictured the consequences to be expected if the policy were not adopted. He lamented the rise of clashing interests,35 and foreboded that in the absence of any strong central control these would break the union, and in that event the whole work of the Revolution would miscarry, the movement for liberty in all future efforts would be discouraged, and the present epoch would but open a new scene of human degeneracy and wretchedness.

In 1784 the Charleston newspapers from time to time advocated strengthening the Union, on general principles, and in 1785 they regretted New York's veto of the plan to empower Congress to levy import duties. Concrete local developments promoted nationalism especially among the planters. To improve their method of rice culture they were abandoning the earlier system of irrigating their fields from reservoirs of rain-water, and were clearing and embanking great tracts of river swamps which could be flooded and drained at will through the rise and fall of the tide.30 For this work they needed large supplies of capital on loan and they were embarrassed by its dearth. The financial crisis of 1785 forced the planters, and the merchants also, to face the situation squarely and to realize that the achievement of political independence by the United States had not made South Carolina financially self-sufficient. It made them see that economically their commonwealth was still in a colonial condition, in need of steady backing by some strong financial power. England was no longer available; but they saw that the Northern commercial states could be made a substitute. At the same time it was seen that a political alliance with the Northern conservative interests would partly safeguard the Carolina conservatives from injury in case the radicals should locally get Observations on the Importance of the American Revolution, p. 18. Ibid., p. 85.


Cf. Mrs. St. Julien Ravenel, Life and Times of William Lowndes, pp. 22, 23. AM. HIST. REV., VOL. XIV. -35.

into control. On the whole in this period the conservatives of the Charleston district appear to have dreaded the rule of their local opponents as the worst of threatening evils, and to have welcomed the restriction of the state's functions in large part because it would reduce the scope of the possible damage to be wrought by the radicals in their midst in case they should capture the state machinery. For a number of years, therefore, most of the leading planters on the coast, and many of the merchants, not only favored the remodelling of the central government as accomplished in 1787– 1789, but favored also the exercise of broad powers by Congress under the Constitution.

In the years 1786-1788, even the radicals of the Charleston district largely approved the strengthening of the Union, partly perhaps because they saw that commerce depended upon efficient government, and partly because some of their leaders, notably the brilliant young Charles Pinckney,37 had ambition for careers in national affairs. The South Carolina delegates in the Federal Convention, all of whom were from the Charleston vicinity, all favored the new Constitution; nearly all of the lowland members of the state legislature in 1788 voted for the call of a state convention with power to ratify it; and in that convention the delegation from Charleston voted solidly aye upon the motion to ratify. For the time, therefore, at least upon the question of federal relations, the Charleston factions were largely at peace. Commodore Gillon, for example, in the debate in the House of Representatives found himself an ally of C. C. Pinckney and David Ramsay.38

The opposition to the federal plan of 1787 came from the distant interior of the state, but as its chief spokesman found one of the aristocratic conservatives of the coast, in the person of Rawlins Lowndes. The uplanders had had experience within the state of living under a government which, by reason of their having a minority in the legislature, they could not control; and they dreaded a similar arrangement in the federal system. Lowndes, also, was impressed with the prospective danger that a coalition of northern interests might use the federal machinery for the oppression of South Carolina with her peculiar needs; and he pleaded with his fellow slaveholding planters to adopt his view, but without success.

Not to be confused with General Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, who like his brother Thomas was a conservative and a Federalist. To distinguish him from his cousin Charles Cotesworth, Charles Pinckney was nicknamed "Blackguard Charlie" by the conservatives.


as J. Elliot, Debates, third ("second") ed., IV. 253-317.

In his

Lowndes was not even elected to the state convention. absence Patrick Dollard from the interior was the sole spokesman of the opposition to the ordinance. He said:39

My constituents are highly alarmed at the large and rapid strides which this new government has taken towards despotism. They say it is big with political mischiefs and pregnant with a greater variety of impending woes to the good people of the Southern States, especially South Carolina, than all the plagues supposed to issue from the box of Pandora. They say it is particularly calculated for the meridian of despotic aristocracy; that it evidently tends to promote the ambitious views of a few able and designing men, and enslave the rest.

The coast delegates were solidly deaf to this declaration, as they. had been to Lowndes's arguments, though some of them, patricians and plebeians, were destined after a short experience under the new government to reverse their position and champion the doctrines which they now rejected.

Elliot, Debates, IV. 336-338.



Father Pierre Gibault and the Submission of Post Vincennes, 1778. AFTER George Rogers Clark had obtained possession of Kaskaskia and the other French settlements on the Mississippi, in July, 1778, he realized that his position was precarious as long as the British held the posts on the Wabash River, the channel of communication between Canada, Detroit and the Ohio. His company of soldiers was too small to risk a bold advance upon Vincennes, and he was obliged to consider means of securing the village by persuasion. The story of the mission of Father Gibault to Vincennes is well known, and Clark's own narratives are counted among the few classics of the literature of Western history.1 The documents given below, collected from several archives, and now printed for the first time, supplement those famous narratives. Although they contain information on other matters of interest, this short introduction will be limited to the question of the submission of Vincennes, in July, 1778, because the interpretation of the documents in their relation to that event, offers some difficulties.

Ever since Judge John Law wrote in his Colonial History of Vincennes that to Father Gibault "next to Clark and Vigo, the United States are [more] indebted for the accession of the states comprised in what was the original Northwest Territory than to any other man ", the honor of securing the submission of Vincennes has been unanimously assigned to the parish priest,3 while his associate and the part he took in the enterprise have been almost forgotten, and no attempt has ever been made to estimate the value of his services.

Like the historians, the British officers in the West believed, from the first, that the chief instrument in the winning of Vincennes for the Virginians was Father Gibault. Lieutenant-Governor Hamilton of Detroit wrote, on August 8, 1778: "I have no doubt that by this

1 His letter to George Mason, November 19, 1779, and his Memoir of a later date are printed in the appendix to W. H. English, Conquest of the Country Northwest of the River Ohio, vol. I.

2 A translation of a part of Gibault's long letter of June 6, 1786, is printed in Shea's Life of Archbishop Carroll, pp. 469-470; see also note to no. II., below.

3 Winsor, The Westward Movement, p. 120, is satisfied with a statement that the submission was obtained by both Father Gibault and Laffont.

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