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AGITATION IN NORTH CAROLINA

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It is a duty to publish every testimony of reprobation of the unhappy issue of that public measure which claimed the attention of our late Convention and to record also our unequivocal applause of the virtue, patriotism and exertions of the Eighty-two [83] Statesmen, whose wisdom and character we trust will yet preserve all that we conceive precious in this life, to ourselves and future generations. . . . this small, but wise and firm band, struggling against a torrent of popular phrenzy, excited evidently to extinguish whatever hope remained to restore public faith, revive commerce and promote agriculture, supplicating your Excellency to employ all constitutional means and influence in your power, to convince the adopting states, . . . that a considerable part of her most respectable citizens are still attached to a federal system, from persuasion, that from it alone they can expect exemption from domestic insurrection, defence from foreign invasion, and continuance of the blessings of peace & general prosperity.10

Governor Johnston answered this on September 3: "I am well assured that the citizens of this state, were at no time averse to a federal government, but the professed system appearing to many not so perfect as they could wish, and believing that amendments might more certainly be obtained by postponing the ratification till the proposed amendments were considered by a general convention, they adopted the measures which you so highly disapproved: These measures were opposed by the minority, who offered reasons in support of their opinions, which I flatter myself, on a cool and deliberate investigation, will have the weight and influence, which it is to be lamented they had not at an earlier period.' Outside Federalists were more outspoken; even the charitable, or at least just, Washington on August 17 considered the result of the first convention "unaccountable"; 12 but on October 22 he told Lincoln: "The constant report is, that North Carolina will soon accede to the new Union." 13 The election for the legislature showed gains for the Federalists; and the publication of the debates in the convention also assisted in public enlightenment, Iredell's arguments being especially effective.

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CALLING OF THE SECOND CONVENTION

THE NEW General Assembly met on November 3, 1788. Governor Johnston's address made plain the dilemma in which the state was likely to be placed: "The first object which calls for your serious attention is the proceeding of the late Convention . . . and the situation into which the State will be cast on the meeting of the Congress . . . as this State will not be represented . . . and her interest may be eventually affected by their proceedings; you will consider of the best method to obviate any inconvenience which

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may arise from the particular circumstances of the situation, and direct such mode of communication as may appear most eligible until the new Constitution is altered, so as to meet the approbation of the people of this State, and they become united with the other States." 14

He did not speak directly upon the question of a second ratification convention, but the matter came up quickly. The House on November 15, after refusing a conference on the subject, defeated a call by 55 to 47; but the Senate voted one by 30 to 15 on the 17th, and the convention was so inevitable that the real fight was over its date. The Antifederalists, under Willie Jones, strove to put it off as far as possible. Evidently they had hopes that the initial operations of the new Union might not be such as to insure its success. At that time, too, the complete failure of the efforts for a second national convention was not so evident as it became by the first of the new year; and the state was pledged by its first convention to wait and see what Congress might do about the proposed amendments. On the other hand, there were the advantages, already pointed out, of assisting in the first legislation, and also in the consideration of amendments by Congress. There were, however, as explained by a letter from Edenton on January 28, 1789, other reasons than the wait-and-see one for the delay. The legislature did not adjourn until the middle of December, and laws in the state then did not become active until the end of the session, so that the earliest possible date of the election would be about February 10, and March 20 that for the meeting of the convention. If ratification resulted, then the legislature would have to meet in special session to provide for the elections, and such session could not gather before May 1: ". . . it chances to be an agreed point in this State, that a special meeting of the Assembly is not to be effected at any time. between the middle of April and the first of October," the climate and nature of the crops explaining this. This letter gave as a reason why Federalists might welcome the delay the expectation that the new Congress "will soon evince that we have much to hope and nothing to fear from the operations of the new government," producing a reaction favorable to ratification.15

In this contest the Antifederalists won, the date being fixed at November 21, 1789. The legislature appointed five delegates, all Antifederalists, to attend a second national convention, if one was held. The legislature also refused to repeal the stay and tender law. Southerners from other states continued to regret the postponement of the convention and to point out the sectional need of the presence

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A SECOND CONVENTION

473 of the state's members in Congress. Senator Butler's letter to Iredell on August 11, 1789, is a sample of this (see p. 234). J. F. Grimké wrote to General Harrington from Charleston on January 16, 1789: “I. .. am sorry to find confirmed the disagreeable News relative to your not calling a Convention before November next, a long & distant period before you can even begin to give Us (the Southern States) your Interest in Congress; before which I make no doubt the Middle States will have laid the ground-work of a strong opposition to these States, for they will be found more similar in Interest than the Eastern States to Us & therefore there will arise more competition & consequently more Jealousy, . . ." 16

THE FIRST SESSION OF CONGRESS AND THE
OUTSIDE STATES

THE CONDITIONS due to the failure of Rhode Island and North Carolina to ratify were often in the minds of the national legislators and administrators. In the previous portions of this study are various evidences of this. There were considerations involving the influence of acts upon the attitude of these states as well as the question of their legal relations under the acts. The hope that the proposed amendments would induce ratification was openly expressed. Their connection with the continued efforts to settle the accounts between the states and the nation was involved; as well as whether they were still under the general postoffice. Belknap queried of Postmaster General Hazard on April 20, 1789: "What will become of North Carolina and Rhode Island? Do they not owe money to the Continental treasury? and, if so, how is it to be paid? How will you manage your post-office matters with them, if they still continue to excommunicate themselves?" 17 Hazard replied on May 2: "I shall go on in the old way with them till I receive new orders." 18 Evidently no new orders were given, and Lear for the President on October 12 wrote the postmaster at Providence, Rhode Island, that the President "never interferes in the appointment of any Officers whose appointment does not by Law come under his immediate cognizance. Mr. Osgood must act as he pleases in the appointment of his deputies." 19 In the matter of accounts, North Carolina appointed two men, of whom Williamson was one, to act as the state's commissioners. The consideration of Rhode Island accounts also proceeded, and the payment of invalid pensioners in that state was taken over by the general government.

In all the laws, such as the judicial and revenue ones, that called for local operations the extent was carefully limited to the states already in the Union. Although neither the tariff nor the tonnage law made any exception in favor of the outside states, the act to regulate the collection of duties, after specifying the districts and ports in the eleven states, declared:

And whereas, The States of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations and North Carolina, have not as yet ratified the present Constitution of the United States, by reason whereof this act doth not extend to the collecting of duties within either of the said two States, and it is thereby become necessary that the following provision with respect to goods, wares or merchandise imported from either of the said two States should for the present take place:

Sec. 39. Be it therefore further enacted, That all goods, wares and merchandise not of their own growth or manufacture, which shall be imported from either of the said two States of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, or North Carolina, into any other port or place within the limits of the United States, as settled by the late treaty of peace, shall be subject to the like duties, seizures and forfeitures, as goods, wares or merchandise imported from any State or country without the said limits. 20

This was a concession, and a similar one was made as respects tonnage on September 16, but limited in time: ". . . all the privileges and advantages to which ships and vessels owned by citizens of the United States, are by law entitled, shall be, until the fifteenth day of January next, extended to ships and vessels wholly owned by citizens of the States of North Carolina, and Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. . . . all rum, loaf sugar, and chocolate, manufactured or made in the states of North Carolina, or Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, and imported or brought into the United States, shall be deemed and taken to be, subject to the like duties, as goods of the like kinds, imported from any foreign state, kingdom or country, are made subject to." 21

This would seem also to have given for the time to ships belonging within the two states that were outside the Union the right of registration and coasting trade, except that they could not have belonged to any of the custom districts wherein the licenses had to be granted. Vessels owned within the two states continued to trade to and from them and the rest of the United States; but this was probably not considered as coasting trade, and no instances have been noticed where vessels so owned attempted to trade between two other states. The time limitation was probably considered as a spur, or even as a threat; but it was possible to view it as an expression of belief that the need would pass before then.

Unfortunately the status of the two states does not figure in

OUTSIDE STATES AND NATIONAL ENACTMENTS

475

the tariff and tonnage discussions; and no debates are given on the liberalizations except that on Benson's resolution to desire Rhode Island to call a convention, which will be considered later. The act to regulate the collection of duties was first reported by a committee in the House on May 8, taken up ten days later, considered entirely unsatisfactory, was recommitted or dropped, and an entirely new bill introduced on June 29. The provisions respecting duties on goods from North Carolina and Rhode Island seem to have been essentially the same in both bills.

The history of the tonnage-exception bill is less evident. On August 28 a bill was reported in the House, seemingly having to do only with the regulation of Potomac River trade and possibly some ports in Maine. This came up for a third reading on August 31, at which time a petition from Williamson in behalf of tonnage freedom for North Carolina vessels was read, and the bill with this petition, and also one from the masters of Sound packets plying between New York and Rhode Island, was referred to another committee. This committee reported on September 2 no changes in the bill, which was then sent to the Senate on September 3. There on September 10 it was postponed.

On September 8 petitions from Providence, Newport, and three other Rhode Island towns were presented in the House. That from Providence was adopted in town meeting on August 27. It pointed out the probability of early reunion and asked exemption from foreign tonnage and impost "for such Time, and under such Regulations and Restrictions, as Congress in their Wisdom shall think proper." 22 James Manning and Benjamin Bourne were appointed to take the petition to New York. Manning had been a member of the Old Congress and was president of what was then Rhode Island College and is now Brown University. Bourne was to be Rhode Island's first representative. On their return they made a hopeful report. On the receipt of these petitions, the House referred them to the same committee that had reported, unmodified, the earlier bill. They reported a second bill "for suspending the operation of part of the Tonnage bill" the next day and it was sent to the Senate on September 11. There it and the earlier bill were referred to a committee headed by Morris, which reported an amendment on September 12, by which the tonnage freedom was granted until January 15, 1790, rum, sugar, and chocolate exempted from the free trade, and Rehoboth in Massachusetts made a port until January 15. That town, or the part of it that is now Seekonk, was just over the state line from Providence, and convenient for handling

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