From the Seventy-Six Association
Charleston South Carolina. April 26. 1813.
Pursuant to a Resolution of the Seventy Six Association, we have the honor to enclose a Copy of an Oration delivered before that Society on the 4th of March last—In discharging this pleasing duty, we would not do justice to our Individual feelings, did we omit to express our good wishes for your health & happiness.
|James Jervey.||Standing Committee.|
|Tho: Bennett Junr|
|Robt Y. Hayne|
RC (MoSHi: TJC-BC); in Jervey’s hand, signed by Jervey, Bennett, Elliott, Cohen, and Hayne; at foot of text: “Thomas Jefferson Esqre”; endorsed by TJ as a letter from “Jervey James Etc” received 15 May 1813 and so recorded in SJL. Enclosure: Benjamin Elliott, Oration on the Inauguration of the Federal Constitution. Delivered in Concert Hall, Charleston, March 4, 1813, by appointment of the ’76 Association (Charleston, 1813), lauding the resilience and sacrifices of the revolutionary generation; asserting that the superiority of the republican form of government derives from the sovereignty of the people; highlighting the positive effects of American freedom of the press and religion; condemning the British practice of impressment; boasting that in twenty-four years the United States Constitution “has produced a Washington, an Adams, a Jefferson, and a Madison—each of whom would have given dignity to any, the most enlightened nations, in the most enlightened age. In fifty three years the British constitution has produced—what? An Insane Idiot” (p. 24); and concluding that a secure American republic is “forming the mightiest empire that ever gemmed the globe” (p. 25).
James Jervey (1784–1845), attorney, banker, and civic leader, was educated at the College of Charleston, studied law, and was admitted to the bar in 1805. He was clerk for the United States District Court of South Carolina from about 1810 until 1839. In the latter year Jervey became president of the State Bank of South Carolina, which he had served intermittently as a director since 1815, and he led the institution until his death. He was also a director of insurance companies, copartner with his son Lewis Jervey in the firm of James Jervey & Son, and an active participant in local social and charitable organizations, including the Associated Library Society, the Protestant Episcopal Society for the Advancement of Christianity in South Carolina, and an orphanage (Alexander S. Salley Jr., “The Jervey Family of South Carolina,” South Carolina Historical and Genealogical Magazine 7 : 36–8; Charleston Carolina Gazette, 11 Oct. 1805; Charleston City Gazette & Daily Advertiser, 28 Apr., 25 June 1810, 3, 9 Mar. 1815, 29 Oct. 1822; Charleston Southern Patriot, 4, 11 Apr., 2 May 1845; Greenville Mountaineer, 11 Apr. 1845).
Thomas Bennett (1781–1865) was a merchant, mill owner, planter, and public official. First in partnership with his namesake father and later on his own, he operated rice and lumber mills in the vicinity of Charleston. Through marriage Bennett obtained several plantations. By 1850 he owned 260 slaves, and ten years later his estimated wealth exceeded $275,000. First elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives in 1804, Bennett completed five additional House terms, 1808–17, with service as Speaker from 1814–17, and he was intendent (mayor) of Charleston, 1812–13. He was elected to the state senate in 1818 but resigned his seat two years later when he was chosen for the governorship. Bennett was a Republican who opposed the slave trade before his term as governor was disrupted by the turmoil surrounding the alleged slave conspiracy of Denmark Vesey. Four of the accused bondsmen were members of Bennett’s household. During the Nullification debate, Bennett strongly supported the Unionist position. He served a final state senate term, 1837–39 (BDSCHR description begins Walter B. Edgar and others, eds., Biographical Directory of the South Carolina House of Representatives, 1974– , 5 vols. description ends , 4:54–6; Michael P. Johnson, “Denmark Vesey and His Co-Conspirators,” WMQ description begins William and Mary Quarterly, 1892– description ends , 3d ser., 58 : 915–76, esp. 937–8; Washington Globe, 5 Nov. 1832).
Charles Elliott, attorney, was called to the Charleston bar in 1810 and remained in the city until at least 1816 (John Belton O’Neall, Biographical Sketches of the Bench and Bar of South Carolina , 2:600; Abraham Motte, Charleston Directory and Strangers’ Guide [Charleston, 1816], 29).
Philip Cohen (ca. 1781–1866), merchant and auctioneer, was a lieutenant in the South Carolina volunteers beginning in 1809. His extensive involvement in Charleston public and philanthropic affairs included a founding membership in the Hebrew Orphan Society in 1801, a seat on the city board of health, 1819–23, and service as a commissioner of the Marine Hospital, 1826–33. Cohen was a leader of the State Rights and Free Trade Party and supported Nullification as a delegate to the state’s Nullification Convention, 1832–33. His description of the civic and religious life of Jews in Charleston was published in Hannah Adams, The History of the Jews from the Destruction of Jerusalem to the Nineteenth Century (Boston, 1812), 2:217–20 (Barnett A. Elzas, The Jews of South Carolina From the Earliest Times to the Present Day , 134, 143–4, 145, 189; Thomas J. Tobias, The Hebrew Orphan Society of Charleston, S.C. Founded 1801 , 4, 33; Nelson’s Charleston Directory, and Strangers Guide for the Year of Our Lord, 1801 [Charleston, 1801], 67; Philadelphia Banner of the Constitution, 15 Aug. 1832; Baltimore Niles’ Weekly Register, 22 Dec. 1832; Elzas, The Old Jewish Cemeteries at Charleston, S.C.: A Transcript of the Inscriptions on Their Tombstones. 1762–1903 , 61).
Robert Young Hayne (1791–1839), attorney, public official, and railroad president, was born on a South Carolina rice plantation. He was educated privately in Charleston and later studied law under Langdon Cheves. Admitted to the bar in 1812, Hayne held volunteer officer’s commissions during the War of 1812. He sat in the South Carolina House of Representatives, 1814–18, with service as Speaker in the latter year, and he was attorney general of South Carolina, 1818–22. From 1822 until 1832 Hayne served in the United States Senate, where he was an outspoken opponent of protective tariffs who defended state sovereignty and the doctrine of Nullification in a series of celebrated debates with Daniel Webster in 1830. Hayne resigned his Senate seat to become governor of South Carolina in 1832, serving until 1834 and threatening to deploy militia against federal troops during the Nullification Crisis. He also sat in the state’s Nullification Convention, 1832–33, and served as its president in the latter year. Hayne was mayor of Charleston, 1836–37. Hoping that rail lines would unify the interests of southern and western states, from 1837 until his death he was president of the Louisville, Cincinnati, and Charleston Railroad Company (ANB description begins John A. Garraty and Mark C. Carnes, eds., American National Biography, 1999, 24 vols. description ends ; DAB description begins Allen Johnson and Dumas Malone, eds., Dictionary of American Biography, 1928–36, 20 vols. description ends ; BDSCHR description begins Walter B. Edgar and others, eds., Biographical Directory of the South Carolina House of Representatives, 1974– , 5 vols. description ends , 4:271–4; Theodore D. Jervey, Robert Y. Hayne and His Times [1909; repr. 1970]; Charleston Southern Patriot, 28 Sept. 1839).
On this day the same committee of the Seventy-Six Association sent a copy of the enclosure to President James Madison (Madison, Papers description begins William T. Hutchinson, Robert A. Rutland, John C. A. Stagg, and others, eds., The Papers of James Madison, 1962– , 31 vols. Congress. Ser., 17 vols. Pres. Ser., 6 vols. Sec. of State Ser., 8 vols description ends , Pres. Ser., 6:246).
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