Elliot’s Debates: The Convention of the State of South Carolina
Elliot’s Debates: Volume 4
List of Delegates to the Congress of 1765
OVUM REIPUBLICÆ.The Congress of 1765.
[From Garden's Anecdotes, Second Series.]
South Carolina is literally one of the Nine primitive Muses of American Liberty. “Before the thirteen wereshe is.” We most never forgot that the parent of the revolution, the very Ovum Reipublicæ, was the Congress which convened in New York, in 1765. But nine colonies were represented, as four were overpowered by the royal party, But South Carolina beat down the strong opposition of the crown and was the only one, south of the Potomac, that sent a delegation. This was the achievement of General Gadsden. In this primeval council, our members were far from being insignificant. Three committees only were appointed, and of two the sons of Carolina were chairmen. Mr. Lynch (father of the patriot who signed the Declaration of Independence) was chairman of the one to prepare an address to the House of Commons, and John Rutledge (who was then but twenty-six years of age) of that for the house of lords This Convention of sages was the parent plant of our present confederacy of republics. Thus was South Carolina among the aboriginal founders of the Union.
Delegates to the Congress of 1765.
Massachusetts, 3James Otis, Oliver Partridge, Timothy Ruggles.
Rhode Island, 2Metcalf Bowler, Henry Ward.
Connecticut, 3Eliphalet Dyer, David Rowland, William S. Johnston.
New York, 5Robert R. Livingston, John Cruger, Philip Livingston, William Bayard, Leonard Lispenard.
New Jersey, 3Robert Ogden, Hendrick Fisher, Joseph Borden
Pennsylvania, 3John Dickinson, John Morton, George Bryan.
Delaware, 3Jacob Kolloch, Thomas M’Kean, Caesar Rodney.
Maryland, 3William Murdock, Edward Tilghman, Thomas Ringgold.
South Carolina, 3Thomas Lynch, Christopher Gadsden, John Rutledge.
Nine colonies, and twenty-eight delegates.
Extract from the official Journal of the Congress of 1765.
Met in New York, on Monday, 7th of October, 1765. After having examined and admitted the certificates of appointment of the above members, the said committees proceeded to choose a chairman by ballot; and Timothy Ruggles, Esq., of Massachusetts, on sorting and counting the votes, appeared to have a majority, and thereupon was placed in the chair.
Resolved, nem con., That John Cotton be clerk to this Congress, during the continuance thereof.
Resolved, That the committee of each colony shall have one voice only, in determining any questions that shall arise in the Congress.
After meeting regularly every day, with the exception of the Sabbath, they concurred in a declaration of the rights and grievances of America, and appointed the following committees, on Saturday, 19th October, 1765:
Upon motion, Voted, That Robert R. Livingston, of New York, William Samuel Johnston, and William Murdock, Esqrs., be a committee to prepare an address to his majesty, and lay the same before the Congress on Monday next.
Voted also, That John Rutledge, of South Carolina, Edward Tilghman, and Philip Livingston, Esqrs., be a committee to prepare a memorial and petition to the Lords in Parliament, and lay the same before the Congress on Monday next.
Voted also, That Thomas Lynch, of South Carolina, James Otis, and Thomas M’Kean, Esqrs., be a committee to prepare a petition to the House of Commons of Great Britain, and lay the same before the Congress on Monday next. After having attended daily, the last meeting was held on Thursday, 24th October, 1765.
Voted, unanimously, That the clerk of this Congress sign the minutes of their proceedings, and deliver a copy for the use of each colony and province.See “Principles and Acts of the Revolution.”
It is to be regretted that the few speeches here published constitute all of the able debates in the South Carolina Convention which could be procured. The discussion commenced on the 14th of May, and, it is understood, was continued with brilliancy eight days; Judge Burke, Mr. Bowman, Dr. Fayssoux, and others, disclosing the abuses and misconstructions of which the Constitution was susceptible; Judge Pendleton, General Pinckney, and Hon. J. Pringle, among many other distinguished members, enforcing the expediency and necessity of its adoption.
“This acceptance and ratification was not without opposition. In addition to the common objections which had been urged against the Constitution, South Carolina had some local reasons for refusing, or at least delaying, a final vote on the question. Doubts were entertained of the acceptance of the Constitution by Virginia. To gain time till the determination of that leading state was known, a motion for postponement was brought forward. This, after an animated debate, was overruled by a majority of 46. The rejection of it was considered as decisive in favor of the Constitution. When the result of the vote was announced, an event unexampled in the annals of Carolina took place. Strong and involuntary expressions of applause and joy burst forth from the numerous transported spectators. The minority complained of disrespect; unpleasant consequences were anticipated. The majority joined with the complaining members in clearing the house, and in the most delicate manner soothed their feelings. In the true style of republicanism, the minority not only acquiesced, but heartily joined in supporting the determination of the majority. The Constitution went into operation with general consent, and has ever since been strictly observed.”Ramsay’s History of South Carolina, vol. ii. p. 432.