Pinckney, Henry Laurens | South Carolina Public Radio


“P” is for Pinckney, Henry Laurens [1794-1863]. Legislator, congressman, editor. In 1816, Pinckney was elected to the South Carolina House where he served until 1828—and again from 1830-1832. He was chosen Speaker three times. As editor of the Charleston Mercury, he made the newspaper one of the most influential states’ rights and proslavery organs in the South. An ardent supporter of nullification, he was elected to the U.S. Congress in 1832. As a congressman, he introduced a series of bills—labeled the “gag rule”—that said Congress “ought not” to interfere with slavery in the District of Columbia and that abolitionist petitions to Congress should be tabled immediately without any discussion. Hard-line nullifiers and fire-eaters were irate at any suggestion that Congress could have any say about slavery and defeated Henry Laurens Pinckney’s bid for re-election.