Nullification Crisis and Worcester v. Georgia



Date Written

Jan. 10, 1833

Ornan Eastman was 36 years old when this was written.
The recipient, William Reed, was 56 when it was received.

Ornan Eastman died 41 years, 3 months, 14 days after writing this.
It was written 190 years, 8 months, 23 days ago.
It was a Thursday.

Augusta, Ga.
January 10, 1833

My Dear Sir,

I have just seen a letter from Messrs. Worcester & Butler1 dated Jany. 8 and addressed to the Attorney General of this state, informing him that they have forwarded instructions to their counsel to withdraw their case, and prosecute it no farther before the Supreme Court of the United States. The understanding is the Governor is ready to give them an unconstitutional pardon. It is said that he has long been anxious to do it but has been waiting for them to present a petition. He feels that he is in a very critical situation and is extremely anxious to save both his own popularity and the state from bloodshed. The good people in this state, who are opposed to “South Carolina nullification,” are anxious to have the missionaries released, for since the President’s Proclamation they begin to fear that the laws of the union will be execrated and as they are committed to fight, they feel that they may all be compelled to take arms.

A good man and a decided friend of missions said to me today, that he verily believed that if the President should send an army to release the missionaries they would be obliged to travel over ten thousand corpses. He thinks they may now be released without any sacrifice of principle and the state be saved from war. Moreover, all the union men in this state will be decided against the nullifiers in S. Carolina. But if the case goes on, this state will be compelled to unite with South Carolina, which will greatly strengthen their forces. I understand letters have been forwarded almost simultaneously and without concert to the Presidential Committee from Charleston, Columbia, and this city on this subject. The political excitement in this state and Carolina is very great, and although I am no politician, it is hardly possible to avoid discussion on the subject. Br. Talmadge of this city, said he was at Columbia, S. C. last week and saw the Nullifiers, old men and boys marching about the streets with cockades on their hats as a token of bravery, even old Dr. Cooper among them though 70 years old.

But if I proceed, I fear you will think I have forgotten the business of my agency. You have heard before this of our arrival and visit in Charleston and Savannah. I spent the most of last week in Bryan & Liberty Counties, Ga. Spent two or three days with Mr. Clay2, who desired to be remembered affectionately to Mrs. Reed and yourself. We arrived here on the 8th, and shall probably leave for New Orleans about the 16th where we shall probably spend most of the month of February, and should be happy to receive letters. We have been much favored thus far on our journey. Mary is much pleased with the new scenes through which she is called to pass and will speak for herself as to what she anticipates. My best respects to Mrs. R. and Miss H.

Yours Most Sincerely,
O. Eastman

P.S. A letter signed by several respectable men was dispatched from this city yesterday to the missionaries urging them to petition for a pardon.

[The letter is finished by Rev. Ornan Eastman’s wife and William Reed’s grandniece, Mary Reed Eastman]

Augusta Ga.
Thursday 10th Jan. 3 o’clock

My Dear Uncle,

The interest of the proceeding communication will I hope account for my presuming to write again. But I had really feared that my northern friends had become so ceremonious since I saw them, it would be presumptuous to send another letter, before I received an answer to my last. However, I am in a land of Nullifiers, & will claim the privilege of asserting my own rights to nullify all the laws of ceremony which interfere with my notions of kindness & propriety & beg leave to use my pen to fill this blank space.

I have not heard from Marblehead since I left New York, & the only letter except from New York & Amherst was one received from Lucy A. & Mr. W. dated 11th Dec. which did not reach us till last eve. It must have lain in the office in Charleston several days, but I cannot account for it—for it was mailed only Jan. 7th & with 3 others directed to Augusta. We know not by whom. We hope others have been sent & will in due time will reach us. We do long to hear from you all at home, but except want of letters, we have had everything to make us happy while among strangers. At Savannah we spent a week at Mr. J. Cumming’s & then Mr. Eastman went to Liberty & Bryan Counties, & I passed the next week at Mr. Ralph Kings.

I wished very much to accompany him and see some of the plantations in Georgia, but there are no public houses in the country, the plantations are all off the stage road 2 or 3 miles, & it was important for Mr. Eastman to visit several families within a circuit of 40 miles. He wrote to apprise Mr. Clay of his intended visit & was there 2 or 3 days. Mr. Clay sent spent an evening with me in Savannah, & said he regretted we could only remain a week longer, as he hoped I should visit him or at least see where he lived. Mr. Eastman thinks if there had not been a gentleman going out with Mr. Clay he would have invited me to accompany him, but there were several visitors at his home that week & the next week they meant to see me. He sent his respects particularly to Marblehead friends.

I spent a day at Mr. Blodget’s & he accompanied us to the boat when we sailed from L. Wished to be remembered to you & the other friends at Marblehead. I have often met with those who know some of my friends, & for the time I forgot I am 1,000 miles from you. We left Savannah Monday morn & arrived at Augusta in 32 hours—250 miles—After the first two days in L. it was quite warm, & we seldom saw any fire after breakfast. I wore a summer dress all the time & the 3 first days of January. We sat with open windows, & it was too warm to walk comfortably at noon except in the shade. On Sunday, it was oppressively, warm although we were in the largest, & most airy church I ever saw. We are now visiting Mr. Caitlin, whose wife is a sister of Mr. Bruinsmade, whom I saw at yr. home, and who has gone to [?] la. Mr. C. shew me his card last eve & when I saw yr. name and Tyler’s as references you don’t know how my eyes were cheered & refreshed. Even the name filled me with gladness.

I had calls yesterday & spent the day with some very agreeable ladies, others have called today, and invited me. Yesterday the weather began to grow cool, & today it is cold. We had 2 or 3 spells of snow this morning of about 5 minutes each, but the sun now shines bright. The people here say until the last 2 last winters, they have rarely seen snow & it has never covered the ground. We have talked much of seeing Mr. Worcester, but there is now reason to believe he will have returned to his family before we reach Milledgeville & we shall be willing for such reasons to love the pleasure of seeing him. Mr. E. saw Miss Grant & Eliza Hulbard at Mr. Clay’s, Miss S., made herself a life member of Tract Society at Boston.

I met at Savannah 2 young ladies (Misses Bayard) who have offered themselves and their property to the A.B.C.F.M. to spend their lives in its service but have not been accepted, much to their disappointment, they are very fine ladies in piety and in love of doing good. I thought they had the spirit & heart of Miss Sara Coit but were younger.

Give much love for me to Aunt & Mother & all at home. I am going to answer Lucy A’s letter before we leave Augusta & hope soon to have a great many more to answer.

Your very affectionate,

Scans of Letter