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The scene of chief interest in the political history of Southr Carolina now shifts to the federal Congress—to the debates upon the initial policies of the government, and their influence upon the sentiment of the members and the public. The senators from South Carolina during the first sessions were Ralph Izard and Pierce Butler, who accorded in their policies for a year or two, but then drifted apart. Butler was impetuous in disposition, and likely to denounce all persons, the administration included, who opposed his views. Izard was somewhat more magisterial in temperament. Butler had acted with the conservatives in 1783-1784, and had supported the new federal Constitution in 1787-1788. But a brief experience in Congress brought the beginning of a thorough change in his attitude. On Jugust II, 1789, he wrote from New York to James Iredell of North Carolina, who had been a close friend :"
I find locality and partiality reign as much in our Supreme Legislature as they could in a county court or State Legislature. ... I came here full of hopes that the greatest liberality would be exercised; that the consideration of the whole, and the general good would take place of every object; but here I find men scrambling for partial advantages, State interests, and in short a train of those narrow, impolitic measures that must after a while shake the l'nion to its very foundation. ... I confess I wish you [i. e., the state of North Carolina] to come into the confederacy as the only chance the Southern interest has to preserve a. balance of power.
William Maclay, the caustic senator from Pennsylvania, observes in his Journal that Butler was himself the personification of sectionalism, bent upon the selfsame narrow policy for local advantage which he censured so flamingly in others. The development of Butler's general attitude, it may be remarked, was closely paralleled in the case of all the leading Georgia politicians of the period, while Izard's policies were those of almost the whole group of South Carolina conservatives.
After Butler through denouncing the tariff and tonnage bills
"G. J. McRee, Life and Correspondence of James Iredell, II. 264, 265. For other letters of Butler to Iredell, see ibid., II. 44, 87, 403 and 406.
? Journal of William Maclay, edited by E. S. Maclay, pp. 71, 72 et passim.
*Cf. L. B. Phillips, “ Georgia and State Rights", in the Annual Report of the American Historical Association for 1901, II. 26 et passim.
had drifted into the opposition, Izard's chief working associate in Congress was his son-in-law William Smith,* a representative from South Carolina for nearly a decade in the Lower House. These two, aided vigorously after 1794 by Robert Goodloe Harper, were apparently the chief agents in holding the South Carolina conservatives firmly to the nationalistic policies and to the Federalist party alignment.
The chief issue in the First Congress promoting the doctrine of broad construction on the part of the South Carolinians was that of the assumption of state debts. South Carolina, together with Massachusetts and Connecticut, was laboring under a heavy debts incurred during the war and still undischarged. The desire to have this assumed by the central government was a federalizing influence in the state. William Smith, furthermore, bought up a quantity of state notes, and passed the word around among his Charleston friends that there was probably money to be made by all who would enter the speculation. This of course increased the enthusiasm with which “ assumption” was locally favored.
There was little discussion in the state, it seems, over the first two presidential elections. George Washington was the obvious choice for the presidency, and South Carolina gave him her eight electoral votes in each case. At the first election she gave her remaining eight votes to John Rutledge, a citizen of her own whom she was delighted to honor; and in 1792 her electors cast seven votes for Adams and one for Burr. George Clinton, the regular Republican vice-presidential candidate at the time, was little known in the state; and the Republican party had not yet acquired firm organization.'
In 1792 affairs in France reached a crisis in their course which caused the Revolutionary government there to declare war against all the neighboring monarchs of Europe and to proclaim a worldwide crusade to establish its doctrines of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity. This propaganda was promptly extended to the United States, and Citizen Genet, its chief emissary, began his work in the
* Sometimes called by his full name, William Loughton Smith, but signing himself apparently always without the middle name.
5 Some four million dollars in the case of South Carolina.
Letter of David Campbell, a relative of Smith, to the editor, in the Charleston City Gazette and Daily Advertiser, October 3, 1794. The period was one of much speculation throughout the country.
'The narrative of the Jeffersonian and Hamiltonian party origins, written from the Federalist point of view, was published in a pamphlet preserved in the William Smith collection in the Charleston Library and attributed to William Smith. It is entitled The Politicks and Views of a Certain Party (1792).
The South Carolina Federalists, 11.
733 city of Charleston in April, 1793. Some of the local radicals, as we have seen, had already been disposed to be hostile toward Great Britain, and to adopt populistic policies in domestic affairs. The French agitation now greatly strengthened these tendencies. The enthusiasm for France and Democracy was for a time very great. Two societies, the “ Republican" and the “ French Patriotic”, were promptly formed at Charleston, and like the many similar organizations at the time in the other cities and towns of the United States, drank multitudinous toasts with great acclaim to liberty and equal rights and to the perpetual friendship of France and America. S Many of the young men particularly were captivated by the enthusiasm; and the military and naval commissions offered by Genet were eagerly accepted by adventurous characters among the citizens.
But there were those who welcomed neither Genet nor the ideas which he represented; and the ardor even of many of the enthusiasts was soon chilled by President Washington's disapproval of Genet's deeds. In some cases, that of Robert Goodloe Harper for example, the reaction was so strong as to carry young men all the way from rampant democracy to fast conservatism and steady membership in the Federalist party. By the end of 1793 the people of South Carolina were in well-defined Francophile and Francophobe factions.11 The conservatives had control of the South Carolina house of representatives. On December 2, 1793, that house resolved, unanimously, that a committee be appointed with full powers to send for persons and papers and ascertain the truth of a report that an armed force was levying in the state by persons under foreign
* E. g., S. C. State Gasette, September 22, 1793 ; Charleston City Gazette and Daily Advertiser, February 9, 1795; American Daily Advertiser (Philadelphia), July 31 and September 4, 1793.
*Cf. “ The Mangourit Correspondence in Respect to Genet's Projected Attack upon the Floridas, 1793-1794 ", in the Annual Report of the American Historical Association for 1897, pp. 569-679; and “ Correspondence of the French Ministers to the United States, 1791-1797", id. for 1903, vol. II., both edited by F. J. Turner.
10 In a debate in Congress, March 29, 1798, W. B. Giles taunted Harper with having declaimed with fervor in 1792 and 1793, in favor of the Rights of Man. Harper replied at once : “ He owned he partook of that enthusiasm which at the time raged in America ; because he was deceived. He then believed the French had been unjustifiedly attacked but he now found they were the first assailants. ... He then believed that the principal actors in the (French Revolution) were virtuous patriots, but he had since discovered that they were a set of worthless scoundrels and mad-headed enthusiasts, who in endeavoring to reduce their fallacious schemes to practice, have introduced more calamities into the world than ages of government will be able to cure." Charleston City Gazette, April 19, 1798.
11 A similar state of affairs prevailed in Savannah, as witness conflicting resolutions adopted in public meetings and reported in the Georgia Journal and Independent Federal Register, January 11 and 15, 1794.
authority. On December 3, Robert Anderson, chairman of this committee, directed Colonel Wade Hampton to summon William Tate, Stephen Drayton, John Hambleton, Jacob R. Brown, Robert Tate and Richard Speake, to appear before the committee at once, using compulsion, if necessary, to bring them, and to search for papers relating to their recited purpose. In accordance with orders Hampton seized Stephen Drayton and carried him 130 miles to make appearance at Columbia. Drayton then employed Alexander Moultrie as attorney to sue the members of the committee for $6000 damages. The house resolved that members were not suable for actions taken in the house, and it summoned both Drayton and Moultrie to appear and receive reprimand for violating the rights of the house. These men refused to appear, and Moultrie in protest against the proceedings published a pamphlet giving the whole narrative from his point of view.12
Another contretemps is related in a public letter addressed by M. Carey to his brother vrais sans culottes, and published in the South Carolina Gazette, July 26, 1794. Upon the arrival of the vessel of the Republic L'Amie de la Liberté at Charleston after a cruise in neighboring waters, her officers and crew learned that Colonel Jacob Read had called them in open court a lawless band of pirates. Carey then accosted Read at the door of the State House and demanded his reason for such accusation. Read replied that he did not consider himself bound to answer for his language in court to unknown and insignificant characters. Carey then called Read a liar and a scoundrel and gave him his address; but next day Read filed a complaint against him and Carey was bound over to keep the peace. Read now took offense at the Gazette for publishing Carey's. letter and challenged one of its editors, Timothy, to a duel; but the affray was prevented by an officer of the law.
In Charleston and the plantation districts the coolness toward democratic theory and the reaction against it were promoted by the news from the French West Indies. In Hayti particularly, the application of the doctrine of inherent liberty and equality to the negro population had led to an overwhelming revolt of the blacks under Toussaint L'Ouverture, and had brought great disaster to the whites. Haytian refugees flocked into Charleston, as well as into New Orleans, Norfolk, Philadelphia and New York, furnishing whether audibly or silently an argument for firm government. A view which prevailed throughout the decade was expressed by Na
2 An Appeal to the People, on the Conduct of a certain Public Body in South Carolina respecting Col. Drayton and Col. Moultrie, by Alexander Moultrie (Charleston, 1794).
thaniel Russell, writing from Charleston, June 6, 1794, to Ralph Izard at Philadelphia :13
We are to have a meeting of the citizens on the uth inst when I hope some effective measure will be adopted to prevent any evil consequences from that diabolical decree of the national convention which emancipates all the slaves in the french colonies, a circumstance the most alarming that could happen to this country.
Another consideration against thoroughgoing democracy in the state was that it would lead to a redistribution of representation14 in the legislature in such a way that the up-country would acquire control of both houses and be able to enact legislation of any sort it desired, regardless of the opposition of the plantation interests which at this time and for a few years longer were still confined to the coast. The Jeffersonian movement, however, combining the principles of individual rights and state rights, welcomed from the beginning by the Charleston radicals, and vigorously organized by Charles Pinckney with Pierce Butler, Thomas Sumter and Wade Hampton as his colleagues, had strength enough even in the lowlands to keep the Federalists in fear of losing all their Congressional representation at each recurring election.15
The theme which furnished the most active partizan discussions in 1794-1795 was of course the Jay Treaty. William Smith addressed his constituents in a pamphlet in the spring of 1794 to vindicate his conduct in Congress from the slander of his opponents. He repelled the charge of advocating the cause of Great Britain or vindicating her piratical conduct, but he said that on the other hand he had been no more friendly toward France, for the French government had been no more friendly toward us. He said that he leaned toward Great Britain in the matter of commercial relations for the reason that friendly connection with British trade was vastly the more important to the United States and especially to South Carolina. Smith mentioned the news of the Jay Treaty in a postscript to his pamphlet, but gave it no full discussion. The popular
13 MS. among the Ralph Izard papers in the possession of Mrs. Hawkins Jenkins, Pinopolis, S. C.
1 On this general theme see W. A. Schaper, “Sectionalism in South Carolina ", in the Annual Report of the Amer. Hist. Assoc. for 1900.
" E. g., anonymous letter to the editor, Charleston City Gazette and Daily Advertiser, October 10, 1794, supporting William Smith for re-election, and conveying “ an electioneering whisper" to the partizans of the old representation, the funded interest and the system of energy and power. The plan he proposes is for the Smith supporters to keep the opposition divided as it now is ween several ambitious Republicans and win by casting a plurality of votes.
18 An Address from William Smith to his Constituents (Philadelphia, 1794).