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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from Patrick Henry to Richard Caswell
Henry, Patrick, 1736-1799
March 14, 1777
Volume 11, Pages 428-429

[From Executive Letter Book.]

Williamsburg, March 14th 1777.


Authentic advices from the Cherokee country leave no room to doubt a war with part of that nation this spring. The Dragging-Canoe's party is now 4 or 5 hundred warriors, and they are separated from the rest of the nation with sentiments of determined hostility to the United States. The old men and chief warriors, we are told, are averse to war; and in order to cultivate this good inclination, we are endeavouring to treat at the great Island of Holston, with the Chiefs many of whom express a desire for such a measure. Our Commissioners who attend for that purpose, have it in charge from me to signify to you the time and place of this Treaty, in order that you may cause your State to be represented there, if it is thought necessary. I have ordered four hundred men under Col. Shelby to be assembled from the more interior counties, to guard the frontier and to remain on the defensive for the present, lest offensive measures might defeat the intended negotiation, and unite the whole nation against us. Indeed an

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expedition at this time would meet with great difficulties on many accounts but more especially on account of provisions. I heartily wish the people of your State would cooperate with us in the scheme of defence, and, in case of an expedition lend us their aid. Should they attack the Indians while we are endeavouring to treat, 'twould defeat our purposes and complete the scheme of the enemy's agents, which is, to unite all the towns in the British King's interest. On the contrary, if our views in the treaty can be answered, we may so divide the nation, that the disaffected party may be prevented from doing any thing.

I have the Honor to be, Sir,
Your mo. obt. hble. servt.
His Excellency Richard Caswell.