Pinckney, Maria Henrietta | South Carolina Public Radio


“P” is for Pinckney, Maria Henrietta [d. 1836]. Writer. The eldest daughter of Charles Cotesworth Pinckney and Sarah Middleton, Maria Pinckney is notable for writing a defense of nullification entitled The Quintessence of Long Speeches, Arranged as a Political Catechism. She published the “Catechism” in Charleston in 1830, two years after the General Assembly had issued Calhoun’s “Exposition and Protest.” In her tract, Pinckney posed a series of 34 questions and answers designed to summarize the southern case for nullification, which she defined as “the Veto of a Sovereign State on an unconstitutional law of Congress.” She did not believe that South Carolina’s assertion of her sovereignty would lead to civil war. In it “hour of peril,” Maria Henrietta Pinckney called on South Carolinians to follow the example of “the patriot band who achieved the Revolution” of 1776 and their descendants.