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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from Cornelius Harnett to Richard Caswell
Harnett, Cornelius, 1723-1781
September 14, 1779
Volume 14, Pages 205-207

[From Executive Letter Book.]

Philadelphia, 14th Sept., 1779.


The reinforcement of Troops arrived at New York in Adml. Arbuthnot's Fleet amounts, by the best accounts which can be procured, to about 3,000. A number of Transports are fallen down below the City, and it is supposed they are to take on board about 4 or 5,000 Troops destined either for the West Indies or the

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Southern States. Congress seem inclined to send the No. Carolina Brigade on for the defence of the Carolinas & Georgia. The Officers are in a most deplorable situation for want of Clothing, none having been sent on of any consequence for their relief. The Delegates of our State are therefore reduced to the necessity of applying to Congress for a sum of money to purchase necessaries to supply their wants; whether they will be able to attain such supply they are not yet certain. Should the Enemy intend an incursion into the Southern States, your Excellency must know, much better than I can pretend to inform you, how deficient our State is in the Article of Arms, field-pieces, &c. Perhaps an application from the General Assembly at such a crisis to Congress might be successful.

Congress have determined on putting a stop to any further Emissions of paper money, and throw themselves on the Several States for Taxes and loans of money to enable them to carry on the War. A draft of a circular letter is prepared, which, together with the resolutions of Congress, will be transmitted by the President to your Excellency in a few days. It is believed that the Salvation of the Country depends entirely on the exertions of the several States to supply the Continental Treasury. Spain is at open Hostilities with Britain, and will no doubt soon acknowledge the Independence of these States. No official account of the Court of Madrid's intentions has been as yet received in Congress.

It is supposed Spain has had her eye on the Floridas. I think she has, and from thence am induced to believe she will make some advantageous offers to the United States, provided they will guarantee those provinces to her at the conclusion of the War. This is a matter which may require great deliberation, and the question may turn upon this point, whether it may be more for our advantage to have the Spaniards or the English for our neighbours. The Independence of America is, we think, secured by Spain's entering into the War, and nothing remains for us to do but to keep a good army in the field and support the public credit, and this depends solely on the patriotic exertions of the several States; but it is needless for me to dwell on this great subject, as it will be so fully and judiciously discussed in the Circular letter which your Excellency will very soon receive.

I take the liberty to enclose a few of the last papers. I have

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not been favored with a line from you since my arrival, which has given me concern.

I have the honor to be, &c., &c.,
Gov. Caswell.