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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from John Forster to Richard Caswell
Forster, John
June 08, 1777
Volume 11, Pages 491-492

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[From Executive Letter Book.]

Wilmington, June 8th, 1777.


As the Assembly, when they were last convened, thought proper to continue me as a Commissioner for manning and fitting out for a cruise the armed Brigantine, General Washington, in this river, I very cheerfully accepted of an appointment, the execution of which would, I conceived, be so very serviceable to individuals in general, and the public in particular,—tho' at the same time I confess I expected a considerable supply of money for that purpose, or at least an immediate payment of the large sums I am already in advance for the public; but as neither has been done, (for want I believe of money in the Treasury) I have been debarred giving the assistance that my duty required in this affair, as I find it impracticable to get officers or ship men even at the great pay of ten and twelve pounds per month for sailors, without advancing something considerable to them.

It will at least require the sum of two thousand pounds for immediate and necessary supplies, without which it will be needless to attempt any thing further as to this ship. I have since my settlement at Newbern, advanced upwards of one hundred pounds, and promised the payment of one hundred and fifty pounds more,—these sums added to the balances of what accompts I have already passed will make the debts due me by the State upwards of two thousand pounds currency, which is more than my circumstances will admit the want of. I can't but express my surprise, and with reluctance I do it,—that by Resolve of Assembly I find an assistance is given the Pennsylvania Farmer and King Taminy, of which the Washington is utterly deprived,—that is,—the Captains of the Independent Companies are ordered from time to time to supply the two former vessels with men from their respective companies, until the Commissioners shall be enabled to ship a sufficient number of men for the use of those ships,—tho' we are not allowed the protection of Independent Companies in this quarter of the State, yet I presume it is almost needless to say to your Honor and the Council, that an Artillery Company, (as idle perhaps as the Independents may be), are stationed here, out of which the Washington

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might receive such number of men, as would be of utility to the public in that station. From those circumstances, I dare say, you, on reflection, will not blame me for declining an undertaking, (should not those difficulties be removed) that will neither serve the public, or reflect the least spark of honor on me as a servant of the people.

With the utmost respect I am
Your Honor's most obt. humble servant,
The Hon'ble. Rich'd. Caswell Esqr.