October 28, 1795
Pendleton County, Washington District,
September 25, 1795
Messieurs FRENEAU & PAINE,
I KNOW the public curiosity has been on tiptoe to learn the manner in which the frontier district of South Carolina would receive the celebrated treaty of the celebrated Jay.We did not burn his effigy we are too dignified for such business. But were the original among us, I would not insure him but at a very high premium.
On the receipt of Jay’s treaty, the plot being completely developed, my “pulse beat high” indeed. I had attentively watched and marked every step of our executive, from the moment of Jay’s and King’s diabolical attempt to ruin us with France, by the imputation on the ambassador. I plainly perceived things were not as they should be. But, after the open, the candid, the generous manner in which Mr. Dallas had explained the conversation between Mr. Genet and himself (the report of which did not warrant even a shadow of ground for Jay’s and King’s representation) I then plainly discovered the cloven foot the whole of a base and wicked attempt to alienate us from our tried and best friends. From this period, taking in the President’s proclamation of neutrality, (from which we may date all our distress and confusion) in a very particular manner Mr. Madison’s provisionary resolutions, and afterwards Mr. Jay’s marked appointment did I form any judgment the conclusion from all which satisfied me, that without some convulsive effort in the body politic, the views we had so fondly formed of the rising happiness and greatness of our infant empire must vanish like a dream. No man than myself ever entertained a more exalted idea of the excellency of the character of the President but on the appearance of his proclamation of neutrality, not withstanding the division in men’s minds, I did not hesitate to pronounce, that Washington had placed an extinguisher on his head! From that moment, all things, interesting to us as a nation, went wrong but Mr. Jay’s British Pandora box his friendly treaty crowned the whole! My motto, written on the heart, is Nil Desperandum. All my hopes are founded on an earnest expectation that the good sense of the Republic of France in particular, (of Holland, and of all the other states immerging from the chaos of slavery and the dregs of monarchy) must be strikingly convinced and impressed with these sentiments: that the hearts of the whole people of America vibrate in strict unison with their own that the imbecility in our government, and the defect in our constitution respecting forming treaties, a short time will correct and that we shall, altogether, form such an union as must give freedom and happiness to the whole world! I say, on receiving Jay’s treaty, a few of the most watchful amongst us immediately flew together. The result of our meeting was to wait a few days in expectation of information from our fellow citizens in Charleston but being disappointed (we have since found by the neglect of the post) and our patience exhausted, a meeting of the district was called. We assembled on the 22d of last month. After discussing the treaty, general Pickens, general Anderson, the Rev. Mr. Reese, Mr. Calhoun, and myself, were appointed a committee to take it fully into consideration, and to report thereon to the several brigades at the approaching reviews by the Governor.
Tuesday, Sept. 15th, was fixed for our first review, that of col. Moore’s regiment. Unhappily, our much respected governor was prevented from attending, by the present temporary sickness in our country a kind of Influenza fever he was consequently detained in Abbeville. Col. Moore’s regiment went through the several evolutions with much more exactness than could have been expected from the shortness of their practice the adjutant general expressed himself surprized and pleased. After passing the line, in review, gen. Anderson ordered the regiment to form a column by the right, the right in front, when he informed them that he was deputed by the committee chosen to consider of Mr. Jay’s treaty, to communicate to the regiment a report of their resolutions, which, having read and made several spirited and judicious observations, the questions of adoption and rejection were put.The approvers of the resolutions were to remain covered, and when the word was given not a single had moved. On the reviewing ground, a Liberty Tree was erected, with the Cap of Liberty, and the Colours of the United States, and an inscription on its base expressive of the general detestation of the treaty. The utmost order was preserved throughout the day, with a little exception. The people were thrown into the utmost ferment by a confidential report of the President’s having ratified the treaty. But on the assurance of the improbability, by those who thought it impossible, the people were cooled and the whole terminated to the satisfaction of the citizens in general to the honor of col. Moore, major Farrar the brigade inspector, majors Hamilton and Nicholson, and the officers and men in general.
On the 21st col. Martin’s regiment was reviewed in the Fork of [Krower and Tugaloo?] (the governor not yet arrived) Col. Manning declared great satisfaction at the promptness of their discipline, and the great order and regularity observed. At the close of the day, general Anderson ordered the men to form, as before at col. Moore’s review, and read to them the resolves prepared by their committee, on the treaty of amity, &c. They were received with the highest approbation, and to a man, adopted by the regiment.
Col. Clarke’s, the third and last regiment, will be reviewed tomorrow, the 26th: from which we have the best ground for expecting no less proficiency in military discipline and orderly conduct as citizens, than unanimity in reprobating a treaty, which the more we investigate, the more are we excited to new emotions of rage and indignation. When (next week) the two reviews of Greenville county are over, and the sense of the district will then be taken, the resolutions will be sent to you for publication.
On the day following col. Moore’s review, the Franklin Society met, together, to express (more at large than could be possibly brought forward to the whole district) their sentiments of Mr. Jay’s treaty a copy of their proceedings I have in charge, as corresponding secretary, to convey to your press, with a most urgent request, that you will immediately give their resolves not only to their fellow citizens of Charleston, but to those of the United States in general.