Documenting the American South Logo
Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from William Clajon to Horatio Gates
Clajon, William
September 21, 1780
Volume 14, Pages 632-633


21 September, 1780.


Had not the exhausted State of the Treasury compelled me to stay here, I would now be with you, and doubtless would be very useful. A Man who is so well known to you, that you cannot mistake the exact Degree of Confidence which it is proper to repose in him, would certainly be advantageous at this Juncture; and I will do whatever is practicable to join you with the utmost expedition.

You have failed in a Scheme which the Faults committed by several under your command rendered abortive; but you have lost no Reputation. You ought to know that Genl. Sullivan is in Congress, and that within, as well as out of the House, he defends you against those who would put an unfavorable Construction upon your having retreated to Hillsborough. I wish I knew the Particulars, that I might explain them, and silence

-------------------- page 633 --------------------
Fools for Malignity would have depreciated you had you been successful.

The Disaster our Arms have met with, may invigorate the Southern States, who will know the true Cause; and your Friends in Power hope that Danger will awe Faction and enforce Discipline.

I shall apply again this Day for a special Order upon the Treasurer, who promises that this Week my Warrant will be paid. Oh that I were with you! My last was by Col. Kosciusko, who is now, as I suppose, at Hillsborough.

My anxiety for you urges me to neglect nothing which can assist me in joining you, but the State of our Finances is the true Removal of all public Business and the Remedy is daily removed by the Operations of Congress, who do not foresee the Consequences. The Resolve of the 18th of March fixes the value of our Currency at Forty for One, and the Exchange is now Seventy Three for One. They declare that they will not make the Depredation Lower, and yet, they have indirectly established it by a late Resolve at about Sixty for One. They have ordered that Extra Rations will be paid at the Rate of Five Dollars each in the New Currency and that a further Allowance will be made if that be insufficient. If Lord North had the supreme Direction of our Affairs, he could do nothing more efficacious to ruin our Credit. Is Treason or Ignorance the Cause of such Measures? When we compare the Reduction of the 18th of March and the Allowance of 5 Dollars for each Ration with the Value of Rations in 1776, we find that Congress have not adopted a Salutary Method; that others as inefficacious must be consequent upon this to remedy its pernicious Effects, and that an absolute Bankruptsy and a total Stop of Supplies will at last be the Issue, unless the public Credit be re-established by the joint Efforts of knowledge and Virtue. What will be the Issue of this Campaign? What would become of our Confederation if the British Navy and Army were not awed by our Allies?

May you be Successful, and once more Save our Union!
I am, with the most Respectful Attachment, Sir,
Your most humble and Most obedt. Servant,

Philadelphia, Septr. 21st, 1780.