Letter from John J. Chappell to Seybert Odum regarding hardships of the trade Embargo during the war with Great Britain, 1813

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During the War of 1812, Congress enacted several embargos to restrict trade from New England to Great Britain.  On December 17, 1813, another embargo was raised.  The embargo, which was widely believed to hurt the North more than the South, demonstrated southern political power in national affairs.  This letter was written to Seybert Odum, a deputy surveyor for South Carolina, from John J. Chappell, a State House of Representative and later U.S. Representative. The second page of this letter from Chappell discusses the embargo, showing his support for the measure, although he knows it will hurt the sale of southern cotton crops.


Letter from John J. Chappell to Seybert Odum.  24 Dec. 1813.  Papers of the Odom and Turner Families.  South Caroliniana Library, University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina.


Washington Dec. 24, 1813


            I waited yesterday at the Pension office and find that the documents which I have will not entitle me to have arranged satisfactorily the claim of Mr. Griffin.  It is necessary to have the certificate of the Treasurer something after the form of the copy.  I herewith enclose.  I took this copy from the office that there might be no difficulty in having the matter properly brought before the office.  This certificate you will get from that office at which Mr. Griffin had been last paid his pension by the state.  I suppose at Charleston.  As soon as you send me this certificate I will have it arranged & then instructions will be given by the Secretary of War to the United States agent in So. Car. to pay the pension; However the Clerk here tells me it would

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well to get an order from Mr. Griffin directed to the Secretary of War desiring him to pay the amount of the pension due him to some of his friends or acquaintances, or the money will be paid in So. Car. The order had better be drawn in your favour [sic] and sent on to me, as soon as it is convenient.  It will also be necessary to have proof before the U.S. agent in So. Car. To establish the fact that Mr. Griffin is alive & also that he who now applies for the arrearages of pension is the same [illegible] who was on the pension list of So. Car.  This last proof need not be sent to me—The Treasurers Certificate & the order are what I want.

            You no doubt have heard before this that we have laid an Embargo.  It will try the Patriotism of our fellow Citizens in the Southern States more than any where else.  I hope it will be found that there is enough of the spirit of 76 still remaining to prompt the people to bear any [illegible], when they are calculated to produce the

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good of our Common country.  This measure I feel confident was on loudly called for on principles of Policy.  Tho. I must confess that I had myself rather it had been postponed for a little while longer.  It would then have put the Northern States, on an equality with the Eastern States more than they now are, as it regards the last crop.  The people of the East have sold all this last crop, consisting of provisions which were more calculated to benefit the Enemy than the Cotton of the South.  Whilst the people of the South have the greater part of their Cotton [illegible] on hand.  We must however bear it.  It is better now than never.

            I send you a paper which, after you have read, let your neighbours [sic] see.  I thought I had sent it yesterday to Mr. Patterson of the Court House. Shew [sic] it to him.  The New York address by the Republicans is an excellent exposition of our affairs.  My respects to all friends.  Yours truly

Jno. J. Chappell


Additional Flash Versions:

Chapell Letter 1

Chapell Letter 2

Chapell Letter 3 Chapell Letter 4


Correlating SC Social Studies Academic Standards:

Standard USHC-3: The student will demonstrate an understanding of the westward movement and the resulting regional conflicts.

Indicator USHC-3.3 Compare economic development in different regions of the country during the early nineteenth century, including agriculture in the South, industry and finance in the North, and the development of new resources in the West. (E, H, G)

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