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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from Richard Caswell to the Craven County Justices of the Peace
Caswell, Richard, 1729-1789
February 06, 1778
Volume 13, Pages 29-30

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[From Executive Letter Book.]

Newington, 6th Feb., 1778.


About ten days ago I received a letter from Gen. Washington, informing me of the distressed situation of the Army in general, and those of this State, immediately under his command, in particular for want of clothing and recommending in the strongest terms to this State the relieving their distresses by a speedy supply. I was happy in purchasing a considerable quantity of clothing from some French gentlemen in Newbern, but all I could procure from them, is far short of what is immediately necessary for our own troops at Head Quarters. I found on inquiry that Messrs. Savage and Westmore, of Edenton had purchased of the same French merchants sundry goods very useful for the army, towit, Blankets, Stockings and Osenburgs, and had lodged them with Mr. Singleton in Newbern. Whereupon I wrote by express, to those gentlemen that I would perform their contract with the French merchants so far as related to those goods and allow them the usual commission on the purchase provided they would relinquish their claim to the public, and in the mean time I desired Mr. Singleton to detain the goods in his hands, 'till he heard further from me, which he promised to do.

I have this day received an answer to my letter from Messrs. Savage and Westmore, and also a letter from Mr. O'Conner, both of which I enclose you, and as it will not be in my power to take the advice of the Council until the last Monday in February instant, when the board is to meet, I submit it to you gentlemen whether under our present unhappy circumstances you will not think yourselves justifiable in ordering those articles in Mr. Singleton's possession to be seized for public use. I am informed that Mr. O'Conner is at Newbern making other purchases, if this is true, I fear he is one of those leeches who are sucking our blood to enrich themselves, and then spue it up into the possession of our enemies, as there are too many of those sort of creatures employed. I hope you will think with me, that it is absolutely necessary to give them some check, especially in those particular

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articles we so much want. Whatever you shall think proper to do in this business be pleased to communicate the same to Mr. James Green, Jr., who will inform me by express. I am with great respect, gentlemen, your most obedient servant.