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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from Cornelius Harnett to Richard Caswell
Harnett, Cornelius, 1723-1781
September 15, 1778
Volume 13, Pages 218-220

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[From Executive Letter Book.]

Philadelphia Sept. 15th 1778.


The Delegates of the State wrote you a few days ago, that they had at last obtained a grant of the remaining 400,000 dollars, to complete your draft for 500,000. This was an object which on my arrival I had much at heart to accomplish; fearing the General Assembly might have been induced to have disbanded the new raised Troops for want of money—or emitted Procl. money for the purpose of paying them off, neither of which was, I hope, done. Had our State been represented in Congress at the time of Mr. Blount's arrival, I am well convinced the money would have been sent. I am happy to find that Mr. Burke and Mr. Hill are appointed for a year. By that means I hope the State will not again meet with such usage.

Should your Excellency think proper to instruct your Delegates on matters relative to the State, especially such as may not occur to us, I should be happy. I find when Governors recommend any measure to the Delegates of their States, it generally has greater weight with Congress than when propositions are made by them, without any letter or instructions for such purposes.

As soon as the 400,000 dollars can be procured from the Treasurer, I shall in conjunction with my Colleagues send it forward by some safe conveyance, in the most expeditious manner. I must take the liberty once more to press your Excellency to forward as speedily as possible the State's accounts and vouchers. I am daily told that No. Carolina has received more money from the Continental Treasury in proportion, than any other State in the Union. In vain do I tell them that we never had a Military Chest established in our State, or a Pay Master; that the expence of drawing out a considerable part of our Militia to quell a very dangerous Insurrection in the very heart of our Country, another very expensive expedition against the Cherokees; the raising, paying, clothing and subsisting Ten Continental Battalions, for a considerable space of time, has been defrayed out of the Treasury

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of our State. To this they only answer why don't you produce your accounts? I wish this may be done, as I am confident the Continental Treasury must be largely indebted to us. I hope the Gentlemen who are or may be appointed to state these demands, may be careful to procure every necessary voucher for the charges made against the Continent, which must be sent on with the accounts. If your Excellency should in future think it necessary to establish a Military Chest, Pay Master, Commissary, &c. you will be pleased to mention it to your Delegates, perhaps it may be necessary, more especially should another requisition, for men be made this winter against the spring, which may happen should the enemy be determined on another Campaign; this is the opinion of some.

By the Newspapers enclosed you will find Genl. Sullivan on the 29th August gave the Enemy a severe check on Rhode Island before his retreat. This enabled him to cross to the main with all his baggage & stores without molestation. The French Fleet are in Boston Harbor, and Lord Howe with a superior Fleet having been lately joined by 6 or 8 sail of the line, being a part of Admr. Byron's Squadron, are cruising off that place. We are told another fleet is hourly expected to reinforce the Count DeEstaing. I wish they may not be intercepted by Lord Howe, before a junction is formed with the Count.

If I can persuade Mr. Burke or Mr. Hill to relieve me, my intention is to return home before the winter sets in too severe.

I am with great respect, your Excellency's most ob. huml. servt.

P. S. A very great noise has been made in Congress by the Virginia Delegates relative to a Cap Harper driven into Currituck by Goutrage. And an attempt is now making to recommend to the State to make restitution to Virginia, this matter has been pushed by the Virginia Delegates, and altho' they have been assisted by the Gentlemen from New York &c. they have hitherto failed in their attempt. I hope your Excellency will enquire into the matter, and see that the persons who took the vessels out of the Inlet be brought to punishment. The Bill of Costs of the Court of his Excellency's Admiralty is exorbitant, more of this in my next.

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Genl Sullivan acquaints Congress that by accounts received by Deserters, and (which is more to be depended on) accounts from persons on Rhode Island, the enemy had 1061 killed and wounded in the late action, 321 of which were killed and mortally wounded on the field. This seems to account for the enemy's suffering our Army to make good their retreat, with all their stores and baggage, without Molestation, tho' equal in numbers before the action.