The inhabitants of the West were by no means out of accord with Jefferson's opinion of them — that they were already able to take care of themselves, whether against the East or the Spaniards. At the Falls of Ohio, there was initiated a movement that looked to concert of action for independence along the frontiers more immediately concerned — Kentucky, Franklin and Georgia. That stalwart of stalwarts, George Rogers Clark, lent his influence to the movement, though intending himself to stand in the background. The open lead was taken by Thomas Green, a Georgian, who during the year 1785‑6 had been active in promoting the organization of the territory around Natchez into a county to be called Bourbon, under the authority of the State of Georgia.
Georgia, by act of Assembly of February 7, 1785, had appointed Green and eleven others justices of the peace to organize the county, in an effort to establish her claim to the Natchez district under her colonial charter which extended her boundary westward to the Mississippi river, and under the definitive treaty of September 3, 1783, with Great Britain, which fixed the southern boundary of ceded territory at the thirty-first parallel of latitude. Spain resisted the claim and the effort of Georgia was to colonize the district. Spain contended that, by right of conquest in the capture of Natchez by Galvez from the British in 1779, she was entitled to hold as far north as latitude thirty‑two and a half degrees. The efforts of Green, lieutenant-colonel of the county, and his associates, inadequately supported by the state authorities of Georgia, were abortive. A number of the inhabitants of the Watauga-Holston Settlement emigrated to the Natchez district at this time.
Baffled by Miro, Green sought safety among the friendly Chickasaws, from whose country he wrote a letter (Sept. 10, 1785) to Col. Anthony Bledsoe, of the Cumberland Settlement, stating that the Spaniards would not give up Natchez, but were reinforcing the garrison, and warning him that the encroaching tyrants were claiming "as far as the Tennessee if not farther." In July, 1786, Green was p127 at Nashville, from which place he wrote an appealing letter to Governor Telfair, of Georgia, urging that relief be sent to the American settlers around Natchez. "If not, they wish to be given up to Congress, who are sure to relieve them."1
Shortly afterward, Green turned up at the Falls of Ohio (Louisville) where he learned of the Jay proposal, which he saw afforded an opportunity to unite and rally the western people to resist all Spanish schemes.2 No doubt Green hoped and purposed that one result would be a restoration of Bourbon county. From the Falls he wrote to the Governor of Georgia a letter (dated December 23, 1786) in which he denounced the Continental Congress on account of its attitude toward the opening of the Mississippi to navigation, and threatened a revolt against national authority and hostilities against the Spaniards.
By William Wells, the bearer of this letter, there was also sent another document which was to be shown en route to Georgia through the State of Franklin, the purpose being to enlist the sympathy and support of Sevier and his friends. This document purported to be a "copy of a letter from a Gentleman at the Falls of Ohio to his Friends in New England" dated December 4, 1786; and patently was meant to engender and deepen resentment against the leadership of the East in Congress. What had actually occurred in Congress was magnified by the time the news reached Kentucky, and Jay's proposal was there understood to be a treaty consummate, as the document shows:
The late commercial treaty is shutting up, as it is said, the navigation of the Mississippi for a term of twenty-five years, has given the Western Country a severe shock, and struck its inhabitants with amazement. To sell and make us vassals to the merciless Spaniards is a grievance not to be borne. . . . Shall one part of the United States be slaves while the other part is free? Human reason will shudder at the thought and free men despise those who could be so mean as to contemplate so vile a subject . . . .3
Our situation is as bad as it possibly can be; therefore every exertion p128 to retrieve our circumstances must be manly, eligible and just . . . .
We can raise twenty thousand troops this side of the Alleghany and Appalachian Mountains; and the annual increase of them by emigration from . . . other parts is from two to four thousand.
We have taken all the goods belonging to the Spanish merchants of post Vincennes and the Illinois, and are determined they shall not trade up the river, provided they will not let us trade down it. Preparations are now making here (if necessary) to drive the Spaniards from their settlements at the mouth of the Mississippi. In case we are not countenanced and succored by the United States (if we need it) our allegiance will be thrown off, and some other power applied to. Great Britain stands ready with open arms to receive and support us. They have already offered to open their resources for our supplies. When once re‑united to them, 'farewell, a long farewell to your boasted greatness.' The province of Canada and the inhabitants of these waters, of themselves, in time will be able to conquer you. You are as ignorant of their country as Great Britain was of America. These are hints; if rightly improved, may be of some service; if not, blame yourselves for the neglect.4
The acidity in the closing sentences is biting because distilled from the grains of truth, as Roosevelt shows in his treatment of New England's attitude toward the West at this time.5
The feeling in 1786 was so strong as to produce much talk of a separation of the Eastern and Middle States from the Southern, should the latter win the freedom of the Mississippi at the expense of the commercial interests of the East in the Spanish West Indies.6
This statement that Great Britain stood ready to receive and support the Westerners may not be lightly treated as whole-cloth fiction. America's representative at the court of George III, in a letter received by Congress in September, 1786, had warned Congress to guard against British influence in the Western Country.7
In fact Spain, Great Britain, and France, all alike, deemed it not "impossible that American settlers in the great valley of the Mississippi might be won to accept another flag than that of the United p129 States." Gardoqui had the assurance and audacity in 1787 to suggest to Madison, that the Kentuckians would make good Spanish subjects. A British diplomatic agent, appointed in 1786, was making observations which led him to report to his government: "Nature seems to have pointed out a plain line of division between the eastern and western parts of this continent — that wonderful range of mountains [the Alleghanies] will probably one day or other be the line of partition, when the Western Country shall have attained a degree of strength and population competent to separate establishment, or be driven to the expedient of seeking support from some other empire more capable of contributing to its progress and protection."8
Grayson, of Virginia, in a letter to Madison, gives one of the reasons for this persistent cupidity: "If the federal government remains much longer in its present state of imbecility, we shall be one of the most contemptible nations on the face of the earth."
Madison foresaw clearly what would be the effect of the concession to Spain, and the drift affairs would take:
"Figure to yourself the effect on the people at large on the western waters, who are impatiently waiting for a favorable result of the negotiations of Gardoqui, and who will consider themselves as sold by their Atlantic brethren. Will it be an unnatural consequence if they consider themselves absolved from every Federal tie, and court some protection for their betrayed rights? Their protection will appear more attainable from the maritime power of Great Britain than from any other quarter; and Britain will be more ready than any other nation to seize an opportunity of embroiling our affairs. . . . I should rather suppose that he [the Spanish minister] means to work a total separation of interest and affection p130 between the eastern and western settlements, and foment the jealousy between the Eastern and Southern States."9
Even McGillivray, leader of the Creek Indians, appreciated the situation when he reported to the Spanish authority the flow of population into the district of Natchez: "The Americans will certainly attempt to establish a new State in that country at the risk of a war. The authority of Congress is but weak even in the heart of the States, and those that are settled at the distance of •five or six hundred miles from the seat of government despise its mandates."
This disesteem of Congress was not diminished by its own attitude toward the navigation of the Mississippi. And so far as the State of Franklin was concerned, the issue injected into its politics by the appearance of the Green letter, continued to agitate the people during the whole of the after-history of the Commonwealth.
The national authority had already affronted the new‑state adherents by carrying to consummation, by ratification, the treaty of Hopewell, which had been negotiated in studied disregard of the treaties that the Franklin authorities had entered into with the Cherokees. The North Carolina Assembly had just failed to register a protest against such action; and Cocke had brought back with him the details of his fruitless mission to secure the recognition of Franklin. The North Carolina legislature, on January 6, 1786, passed an act, the purpose of which was to put an end to opposition to her government in the West. In its preamble it was recited that "divers persons within the counties of Washington, Sullivan, Greene and Hawkins, who had withdrawn themselves from their allegiance to this State, have returned thereunto, and have expressed a disposition to continue peaceful subjects of the same." It was then provided that all offenses committed by any persons against the sovereignty of North Carolina, be pardoned "and buried in total oblivion," with restoration to full privileges of citizenship; "provided that where any decisions have been had [by Franklin authority] respecting property, which are incompatible with justice, the person or persons injured shall have his or their remedy at common law."10
It was further stipulated that all persons who were in office, civil or military, on April 1, 1784, should be continued therein, but that offices and appointments, the exercise of which are considered to be p131 a resignation of former offices under North Carolina, should be deemed vacant.
To influence the return of the inhabitants of the western counties to allegiance to North Carolina, taxes due and unpaid since 1784 were released. But, on the other hand, steps were taken for the removal of inhabitants who had settled on the hunting grounds of the Cherokees, as North Carolina conceived them to be.
The last clause in the above act, in relation to vacant offices, was purposely shaped to exclude Sevier and other leaders of Franklin who had continued faithful to her fortunes. It produced great dissatisfaction and called for a vigorous protest from Judge David Campbell, who, in a letter to Governor Caswell, said:
The majority of the people of Franklin proclaim, with a degree of enthusiastic zeal, against a reversion to your state. Indeed I am at a loss to conjecture whether your Assembly wished us to revert; if so, why did they treat the old faithful officers of this county with such contempt — officers who have suffered in the common cause, who have been faithful in the discharge of the trust reposed in them, have been displaced without the formality of a trial. Representations by a few malcontents might have been the cause of such proceedings, but surely it was a most impolitic step. If the old officers, who were the choice of the people under whom they have long served, had been continued, I doubt not that all things would have been settled here, agreeable to the most sanguine wishes of your general Assembly; but such infringements on the liberties and privileges of a free people, will never be attended with any salutary consequence. I also blame the law which passed in your Assembly, to enable the people here to hold partial elections. If it were intended to divide us and set us to massacreing one another, it was well concerted, but an ill‑planned scheme if intended for the good of all . . . .
The people here — for I have been in public assemblies, and made it my business to collect their sentiments — dread the idea of a reversion. They say if North Carolina is in earnest about granting them a separation, why not permit them to go on as they have begun, and not involve them in inextricable difficulties by undoing the work of two or three years past.
They made offers by their agents which they think were favorable to your country, but they rejected them with contempt. I mean the bill offered by General Rutherford to your assembly on behalf of this people. What conditions, say they, would North Carolina extort from us were we under their laws and immediate influence? Indeed my mind is filled with a degree of painful anxiety for this people.11
p132 The concurrence of all these circumstances tended only to demonstrate to Governor Sevier and his followers that the time had come for the use of force to stay the undermining influences and to establish the sovereignty of Franklin within the borders. Judge Campbell, in the same letter, did not mince words in declaring this purpose to Governor Caswell:
The sword of justice and vengeance will, I believe, be shortly drawn against those of this country, who overturn the laws and government of Franklin, and God only knows what will be the event. If any blood is spilt on this occasion, the act for partial election from your country will be the cause of it; and I am bold to say the author of that act was the author of much evil.
That your Excellency may not be in the dark about the spirit and determination of a majority of these people in supporting, maintaining, and defending their beloved Franklin, I shall give you a brief and concise detail of what has transpired since the fate of our memorial and personal application to the legislature of North Carolina has been announced to us: Pains were taken to collect the minds of the people respecting a reversion. Many who were formerly luke-warm are now flaming patriots of Franklin; those who were real Franklinites are now burning with enthusiastic zeal. They say North Carolina has not treated us like a parent, but a step-dame. She means to sacrifice us to the Indian savages. She has broken our old officers under whom we fought and bled, and placed over us many men unskilled in military achievements, and who were none of our choice.12
The General Assembly has been convened and steps taken for our internal security with a degree of unanimity never before seen in a deliberative assembly.12a A treaty is set on foot with the Indians; the land office opened to the Tennessee from the south (Carolina) side of French Broad and Holston rivers; did not interfere with the north side where your office was opened; cautiously avoided interfering with the rights of Congress.
You may judge from the foregoing whether these people are in earnest or no. You must not conclude we are altogether unanimous; but I do assure you a very great majority, perhaps . . . nineteen-twentieths, seem determined to persevere at all hazards.
I make no doubt but your Excellency will use your influence to bring matters to a friendly and advantageous issue, for both countries.
Governor Caswell had not waited for this spur to action. Above p133 all other men of North Carolina, he had the politician's instinct and had sensed that a storm of indignation would break across the Alleghanies. The cumulation of so many acts adverse to them could but irritate the people of Franklin; and he knew that North Carolina was utterly unable to send troops across the mountains to subdue Sevier and his indignant people. It cannot be doubted that Caswell stood with General Rutherford in the latter's efforts in behalf of the Westerners.
He felt that oil must be poured on the troubled waters. Fortunately again for the Commonwealth over which he presided no man in her borders was as capable as he to do the pouring.
As early as February 23, 1787, Caswell had written to Judge Campbell, respecting the defeat of the western memorial which Campbell had advocated:
Your reasoning on the necessity and propriety of establishing the independence of the people of the western waters from this government, to unprejudiced minds and those as well-informed of the situation of those people as myself, would, if persons from amongst those very people had not represented circumstances and things in a different point of view13 I have no doubt, have had its proper weight and brought about its deserved object. But for the present, it is presumed, they will return to the laws and government under which they first settled that country. For my own part I have been perfectly satisfied from my acquaintance with that country in the year 1781, that nature never designed that settlers there to be longer under the same government with the people here, than their numbers, abilities, and opulence would enable them to support a government of their own. This, I am also satisfied, may early be effected if those can be brought to agree among themselves and make general application to the legislature hereafter, returning to the former government and agreeing to certain reasonable stipulations, somewhat similar to those held out by the State of Virginia to the Kentucky District. In full confidence that you would not hesitate in returning to the former government, the General Assembly again elected you to be judge of the Washington District, and I have the honor to enclose herewith the commission. I expected to have seen Col. Outlaw before he left Fayetteville and conversed with him further on the subject of a separate government, but he did not return . . . until he had set out.14
On the same day, Caswell wrote a letter of like tenor to Sevier. p134 After expressing his belief in the feasibility of a friendly separation, he says: "I have my own satisfaction in view, as I expect, if life and strength shall last, to lay my bones on the western waters. Twelve months will bring about a release to me from public employment, and it is my intention to visit that country once more; and, if I can find a place to secure an agreeable retreat for the remainder of my time, I mean to establish it as the place of my residence."15
Caswell repeated the same flattering assurance of a purpose "to lay his bones on the western waters" in a letter to Evan Shelby, the new brigadier-general of Washington District under North Carolina. Shelby replied: "I would be much rejoiced if, as you mentioned, you would think in earnest to come and live among us. You might do much here."16
At the time Caswell was appealing so adroitly to the western folk, Colonel Joseph Martin was exhibiting a letter, the writing of which he had evidently inspired, for propaganda purposes, from Governor Patrick Henry, of Virginia.
Henry, in this communication, asked Martin to appeal to the people of Franklin to come to an understanding with North Carolina. "Strictest union is required to defeat the efforts of Spain to deprive the western people of the navigation of the Mississippi. Why are they in such a hurry to separate? I know the history of their improper treatment when they were given up to Congress. But that proceeding has been given up and atoned for. It was certainly wrong; but, as it is not persisted in, why is the resentment springing from it continued? Why do not the people imitate our Kentucky friends?17 The people are unable to support government: for how can they do it when even Virginia finds it a burden almost too heavy to bear?"
p135 If rival propaganda was rife in the borders of Franklin in the beginning, turmoil and strife soon followed in the wake.
Commissions for the newly appointed Carolina officials were sent into the territory by Governor Caswell, his son Winston being the messenger. Along with the commissions came copies of the executive proclamation ordering the settlers off the hunting-grounds of the Cherokees — as Carolina, not the Franklin, officials conceived those grounds to be. This was a mistaken step, as well as brutum fulmen. As has been noted, the number of settlers in that region was great. To handle them would require a force far beyond the ability of the parent State's entire militia, not to speak of her civil officers west of the mountains. The proclamation could, therefore, only do harm. It tended only to solidify and make desperate the people in Greene county and the region below it. No one could be found to accept a commission and hold office under North Carolina, in that section, General Evan Shelby confessed.18 There, at least, the people were cemented in loyalty to the new State, and there was no conflict of jurisdictions.
The two men who stood highest in authority in the two rival governments, Governor Sevier and General Evan Shelby, were intent upon bringing peace to the distracted country, if practicable. The approach was made by Shelby, and Sevier replied in a letter (Mount Pleasant, February 11, 1787) that was tinged with deep resentment toward Tipton and the other western members of the Carolina Assembly, but marked by amiability toward Shelby, who was, however, addressed as "Esquire," and not as "General."19
p136 Tipton, however, was for pressing the issue and saw to it that the North Carolina court was opened in February at Davis's in pursuance of the act he had introduced and piloted through the Carolina Assembly, thus bringing conflict with the courts of Franklin held at Jonesborough, •ten miles below.20 Courts were also opened in Sullivan and Hawkins counties.
The spring session of the Franklin General Assembly met at Greeneville early in March; and a progressive and aggressive policy was adopted. Countering the removal proclamation, the Assembly passed an act to open a land office for the entry of lands south of the French Broad river, the lands to be sold at forty shillings per hundred acres, the first ten shillings to be paid in cash, two years' credit to be allowed for the remaining thirty shillings.
An act was passed to punish any person who should perform any official act under the authority of North Carolina, the first offense by a fine of five pounds, the second by a fine of ten pounds and one year's imprisonment, with power and discretion in the governor to set a guard over the offender, the cost of the guarding to be a charge upon the property of the offender.
Governor Sevier was empowered to enlist and call out a militia force, each man to receive as compensation •four hundred acres of land, ostensibly for an Indian campaign, but, as the North Carolina adherents feared, to be used in case of need to put down opposition to Franklin.21
p137 By another act, taxes were laid on polls, one shilling; and on land, six pence per hundred acres, on payment of which, for the first year, the lands were to be exempt for three years. Thus was to be parried the blow sought to be delivered by North Carolina in the release of her taxes for the years 1784‑1786.
The mood of the people at the spring Assembly was ugly — marked by bitterness and rancor, as their differences came to open rupture.22 "The misunderstanding has at last teemed an open dispute," wrote a correspondent from Franklin, who continued his account:
"The people here condemn a certain Col. Tipton for being the instigator of our unhappiness. They have lately hanged him in effigy, with a will in his mouth. A very extraordinary will, indeed! It bequeathed his ignorance, his perjury, his folly, and his ambition to be divided among his friends, and a wooden sword to the most deserving of them."23
The onslaught on Col. Tipton by the hot‑head element of the Franklinites could only have the effect to further embitter and determine him to oppose the new‑state party, even though it was yet predominant. This fact, however, was over-stated by the same writer when he said: "Col. Tipton has lately attempted to hold an election for a captain by the authority of North Carolina; only three or four were found to adhere to that State."
Much of the animosity toward Tipton was based on the fact that he had undertaken to speak for the western folk in the Carolina Assembly, without their authority, and contrary to their will. On him fell the blame for "the indignity with which the Assembly p138 loaded our men in office for acting in concurrence with the sense of our good citizens."24
The superior court of Franklin met at Jonesborough on the first Monday in April. George Middleton Clarkson was tried for murder, found guilty and hanged on the 13th at Jonesborough. This was the first legal execution in Franklin, or on what is now Tennessee soil, of which we have record.25
Added to the other elements of unrest were the efforts of pestiferous persons to bring the antagonism to the Spaniards to open outbreak and an attack on New Orleans. At this time, March, 1787, John Sullivan, describing himself as "late Captain Fourth Regiment American Light Dragoons," wrote from the Georgia frontiers a bombastic letter:
"Being a soldier of fortune as I profess, practical war is now my pursuit. From Natchez to Kaskaskia, from Pittsburg to St. Mary's river, they are prepared to pour forth 50,000 veterans in arms in defense of the commercial rights throughout the navigable rivers of the southern part of the empire. The states of Georgia, Franklin and Kentucky, confederated, the county of Bourbon, the settlements of Cumberland, all abound with seeds of war . . . The harvest is ready for the hook, and the hook for the harvest."26
In September the same plotter wrote to a comrade in arms urging him to come west and secure lands on the Tennessee river, as there would soon be work cut out for men of that region. "I want you much — by God, take my word for it, we will speedily be in possession of New Orleans!"27
In May, Sullivan, or one of his ilk, wrote from Nashville to a friend in Georgia, predicting that in the space of ten years "we shall have mustered at least 60,000 men capable of bearing arms. Is it probable that we shall suffer our lands to lie without cultivation or our produce to perish on hands from want of a river by which our products may be carried to a market? Is it probable we shall suffer a few Spanish soldiers to seize our boats? I think not!"28
p139 The unrest in the West caused by agitators such as Green and Sullivan, gave the Congress no little concern. The North Carolina delegates communicated, March 30th, to that body, sundry papers tending, with other proofs, to show discontent in the Western Country at the supposed surrender of the Mississippi river, and hostile machinations against the Spaniards. The documents were referred to the committee on foreign affairs with instructions to report thereon.29
1 For details respecting this interesting phase of western history see Burnett's Papers Relating to Bourbon County, American Historical Review, XV, 66, 297.
2 Ib., 334.
3 Dip. Corres. of U. S. A. 1783‑1789, II, 233‑51; Green, The Spanish Conspiracy, 73, 385. Wells was engaged to make this tour by an interested group at Louisville, twelve in number. Chief contributors to his expenses were: George Rogers Clark, Thomas Green, Richard Brashears and James Patton.
4 This part of the letter appears in Cal. Va. St. P., IV, 242, and was transmitted by Arthur Campbell to Gov. Randolph, Feb. 16, 1787, with the statement that "great pains were taken to circulate copies in Franklin, giving them an air of secrecy." See also, Secret Journals of Cont. Cong., IV, 323; Western Annals, 282; Ford, The United States and Spain in 1790, 13.
5 Winning of the West, IV, Chap. III.
6 Monroe to Madison, Sept. 3, 1786.
7 Bloodworth to N. C. Assembly, N. C. St. Rec., XXII, 902; Dip. Corr. of U. S. A. 1783‑89.
8 Phineas Bond Report, Am. Hist. Assn. Rep. (1896) 649. "It is an undoubted truth that communications are held by Lord Dorchester with both the Vermonters and the insurgents of Massachusetts, and that a direct offer has been made to the latter of the protection of the government of Great Britain. . . . Here is felt the imbecility, the futility, the nothingness of the federal powers. New Hampshire has already shown herself kindred to the revolters; Connecticut is not free from infection. . . . That Great Britain will be in readiness to improve any advantage, which our disarrangements may present, for gaining her lost dominions, we are not in doubt. . . . A Mr. Bond, formerly of Philadelphia, has lately arrived as consul for the Middle States, and it is said that others are to be sent for the Eastern and Southern States, and thus the scheme of communication will be complete." Cal. Va. St. Papers, IV, 195.
9 Madison to Jefferson, Aug. 12, 1786.
10 Acts 1786, ch. 23; N. C. St. Rec., XX, 641.
11 March 18, 1787, N. C. St. Rec., XX, 641.
12 The reference is to the displacement of the Franklinites in North Carolina's effort to re‑establish her governmental authority.
12a Ramsey printed a copy of a land warrant issued by Franklin State for land in Caswell county, Apr. 20, 1787. Annals, 402.
13 This reference is to John Tipton in the senate and White and Stuart in the house of commons of North Carolina.
14 North Car. St. Rec., XX, 616.
15 North Car. St. Rec., XX, 617.
16 Ib., 646.
17 Cal. Va. St. Papers, IV, 374. Governor Henry's reference to Kentucky was not altogether fortunate, since at this time (January 6, 1787) an influential element in a gathering at Danville "reflected the current aspiration when they voted that immediate separation from Virginia would tend to the benefit of Kentucky." Winsor, Westward Movement, 351; and in the fall of the same year, Samuel McDowell wrote that the "convocation of the District of Kentucky yesterday (Sept. 22) came to a solemn vote on the business of separation from Virginia, and thirty‑two out of thirty-four were in favor of the separation." It is not to be doubted that Kentucky would have pursued the same course that Franklin did had Virginia passed a cession act like that of North Carolina in 1784.
18 N. C. St. Rec., XX, 646; XXII, 682; Ramsey 357‑358.
"I have been informed by several gentlemen that you have expressed a great desire to see me. I also assure you that I am as anxious to have the pleasure of seeing you, as I ever had to see any person. I find the country in total confusion and disorder, and the ferment so great that I hardly see where the matter may end. If you will please to take a view of the conduct of the members that were at the Assembly, I presume you see that they have done everything to disorder, and not to reconcile, the people of this country; and have calculated matters, as they expect, on purpose to set friends to cutting each other's throats. However, I trust in this they will be disappointed; and convinced, although we live on the west of the Appalachian Mountain, that we are not such dupes, or fools, that will render us void and destitute of rational understanding.
"I presume, Sir, that though we profess ourselves Franklinites, you are sensible your warmest friends are among that class. Also that those people have on all occasions distinguished themselves as men of spirit and honor. Only reflect for a moment, how disgusting it must be to be treated in the manner they have been, by the vile reprobates at the Assembly, and in all companies wherever they have been admitted. Sound reason will dictate to you that it would be more honorable to die and hang on a gallows, than to tamely submit to such ill treatment without resentment. Permit me to inform you that your cool and candid conduct has gained you immortal honor, and your treatment of us in respect of our new government, will forever endear your real friends to you.
"I shall omit saying more on this occasion, relying that I shortly have the pleasure of seeing you, taking the liberty to inform you that I will do myself the honor to wait on you, at any time and place you will be pleased to appoint and notify me of."
MSS., Tennessee Historical Society.
20 Ramsey, 356. Ramsey gives an extract from the Washington county record which shows that the following were appointed justices: John Tipton, Landon Carter, Robert Love, James Montgomery, John Hammer, John Wyer, John Strain, Andrew Taylor, Alex. Muffet, William Pursley, Edmond Williams, and Henry Nelson. Some of them evidently declined to serve under the appointment. Landon Carter continued in the service of Franklin as entry-taker, and afterward, in behalf of the separatists, contested an election to the Carolina Assembly against Tipton. The effort to convert him was a failure, and this is likely also true of others mentioned.
21 N. C. St. Rec., XXII, 678‑9; Ramsey, 360; Cal. Va. St. Papers, IV, 256.
22 N. C. St. Rec., XXII, 681. A letter of Hugh Williamson to William S. Johnson, of Feb. 14, 1787, shows how little the North Carolina leaders knew of the true situation in the West: "I hope you have heard with pleasure that our counties who formed what is called the State of Franklin are returned to the government of their State. If measures equally lenient had been adopted, and that too at any early hour, with dissidents from other States, I think that our Union need not have been disgraced as it is now by the imperium in imperio." Johnson's Papers, Susquehannah Lands, No. 39. Conn. Hist. Soc.
23 March 2, 1787, Georgia State Gazette, March 24th. The attempt to win over Gen. Evan Shelby took a different trend: "North Carolina had made Col. Shelby a brigadier-general; he accepted the commission but observed that, if they did conjecture he would quarrel with his neighbors for the sake of a d–––––––––––––d commission, they would find themselves mistaken. A few days after he went to Sullivan, where our court of justice was then held, and got married to a young lady by one of our judges and was saluted as a friend of the State of Franklin." Ib.
24 Georgia State Gazette.
25 Letters from the State of Franklin, April 24, 1787, in Ga. State Gazette, May 24th.
26 New York Morning Post, Aug. 1.
27 Roosevelt, Winning of the West, IV, 227, citing State Dept. MSS., No. 150, Vol. III, Sullivan to Major Wm. Brown, Sept 24, 1787.
28 Georgia Gazette, October 20, 1787. The seaboard people were far from sympathizing with the western folk in their purpose to force an opening of the Mississippi. The same issue of the Gazette contained a contribution deprecatory of the efforts of the people on the western waters, describing them as troublesome children of Uncle Sam:
"He'd many children, and we've been told
The following three were pert and bold,
Kentucky, Cumberland and Frank
Who played their Father many a prank."
29 Madison Papers, II, 603, March 30, 1787; Sec. Journals, IV, 343.
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