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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from Patrick Henry to Richard Caswell
Henry, Patrick, 1736-1799
February 06, 1779
Volume 14, Pages 19-20

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[From Executive Letter Book.]

Wmsburg, Feby. 6th, 1779.


The two ships built at the cost of this State in North Carolina have been vastly expensive. When the project was first set on foot, two gentlemen from your State attended here in order to demonstrate the practicability of protecting our Trade thro' Ocracoke and proposed that Carolina should furnish a force equal to ours in your Sound, to co-operate with it. I've heard it has not been done, but don't certainly know anything about it. I beg leave to refer it to the justice and Equity of your State—whether Virginia ought not to be reimbursed, in some considerable degree, the great expenditures incurred by the adoption of the plan recommended from your Legislature, for protecting the trade of Ocracoke.

I do not enumerate any of the particulars which induce me to made this request, presuming they are better known to you than to me.

Certain prisoners, to the number of seventy, being the officers and crew of the British Ship Tartar, stranded on your coast, and sent here by a Col. Jarvis. The capitulation, it is affirmed by them, is that they go unmolested to New York. The vessel was given up with all her stores, &c., in consequence. No officer attended them, or any person from whom I could be informed of anything I wished to know. They lay me under great embarrassment, as I wish to observe the capitulation. I beg your Excellency will be pleased to call on Col. Jarvis for an explanation of his conduct, which, as it was stated by the prisoners, was wrong. He certainly must know that prisoners sent from one State to this ought to come under your Excellency's Orders, and that to have him lose such a number of people, without a guard in our State, is a dangerous thing. The prisoners say that the vessel, &c., is of vast value, and that Col. Jarvis has got it, and that therefore they expect to be maintained here and to have all the rights of prisoners and the stipulations executed.

I doubt not your Excellency will at once see the impropriety of

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this proceeding and prevent in future anything of a similar nature.

I shall be much obliged by an answer, and beg leave to assure you of the high esteem and regard with which I have the honor to be, Sir,

Your Excellency's mo. obed. Servt.,