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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from William Kenan to Richard Caswell
Kenan, William
July 28, 1777
Volume 11, Pages 544-545

[From Executive Letter Book.]

Wilmington, July 28th, 1777.

May it please your Excellency.

Sir:— The situation of this and indeed every part of the country calls forth the endeavours of every virtuous citisen in aid to the approaching distress for the want of salt. I venture therefore to address you Sir, on this most alarming and important subject.

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And as great men dislike the receipt of long letters, I shall briefly say, the common danger excepted, that I can import twentyfive thousand bushels of salt for the ensuing season, if you will give me leave to order the Washington immediately on this business. It is said that your Excellency's powers are restrained in this particular as well as most others. But on this I think differently, and with confidence because, Sir, you have a right to act and do any thing where the safety of the State may require: and I affirm there is no circumstance under which so much or even any danger may be apppehended as the want of salt. The real distress and usual complaint of the commonalty is artfully heightened and invigorated by the cursed Scottish race. This I affirm of my own knowledge, for they are now sneeringly threatening that salt will be at a dollar a bushel at Cross Creek by the last of October, and offer bets on this. Should you think well of my proposal and not doubt your power to execute it, it may be proper to sanctify my opinion with your approbation; in which case I shall be preparing by every expedient to carry the same into execution at the first meeting of the Assembly for better late than never. The Washington's cargo sold in the West Indies would purchase barely four thousand bushels of salt and vessels to bring it in, and such a measure would further encourage foreigners in the salt trade. If I can render my country bleeding with distress on this only score any service by this or any other plan to import salt, I am ardently anxious to do so. There are many proposals on this head in a different way, which I would lay before your Excellency, but they are too long for your perusal, unless you are determined to attempt the importation of salt. If you do, I can effect it and without I fear the want. The Brigantine, Dobbs, will sail in six weeks for Teneriffe for salt and wine. Her outfit and cargo will amount to about four thousand pounds, with every thing new and complete. You may send me by Capt. Vance, or Ingram any sum within your share that you find convenient.

I am with much respect
Your Excellency's mo. ob't. Ser't.,
His Excellency Gov. Caswell.