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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from Adam Boyd to Richard Caswell
Boyd, Adam, 1738-1803
January 21, 1780
Volume 15, Pages 321-322

(From Executive Letter Book.)

Wilmington, 21st January, 1780.


Knowing the distress of the Troops, I have just now made a bargain for four hundred and fifty-seven pair of Shoes, on condition that your Excellency approves of the purchase and will please to give me an order on the sheriff of New Hanover for the amount, to be paid out of the taxes, this order to be sent so as to have the money ready by next Monday week; and if I cannot comply with these terms, then the bargain is to be void. Both large and small buttons being also very much wanted, as there are none with the clothes, I have agreed on the same conditions for a quantity of them. The price of shoes is £12 the pair, and of buttons 20 dollars the double dozen (that is one dozen large and one dozen small,) to which is to be added the expense of this Express, perhaps 60 dollars. I must beg leave to assure your Excellency that shoes sell here at 40 or 50 dollars the pair, and buttons of same sort are selling daily at 30 dollars the single dozen, and I fancy such a quantity of either of those articles cannot be conveniently got in time to supply the troops any where else I have consulted Col. John B. Ashe, who is the only continental officer here, and he thinks, as I do, that they will be a great relief to the Troops. I must farther observe that I do not mean to make any charge for transacting this business, unless it is my expenses, which cannot be much. Should your Excellency approve

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of it, I hope you will favor me with an order on the sheriff by this Express, who goes in on purpose. The sheriff has promised to get me the money in two or three days after receiving your Excellency's order. Some wagons are returning empty to Halifax, but I shall prevail on Mr. Toomer to detain one of them 'till I can receive your Excellency's answer.

Below is an amount of the whole, for which, if your Excellency thinks proper, I would be glad to receive the order. Had I, or could I command the money, I really would most cheerfully advance it, but few continental Chaplains are so rich.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, Sir,
Your Excellency's very huml. Servt.,
Gov. Caswell.

P. S. Shoes, £5480; Buttons, £900.

Part or all the Shoes may be got without the Buttons, and the Buttons without the Shoes. Prices of everything here rise daily, from the high prices in So. Carolina, and partly from an idea that at the ensuing Session of Assembly a farther emission of money will be agreed on. There are several other articles in this Town which I know are wanted in the brigade, and which I would purchase if I had money, and that may be had by an order on the Sheriff. Col. Ashe offered the owners of the Shoes an order on a man who owed him money, and he to trust to the public for pay; but the Col's. debtor had a month's credit, and they refused it. I have got a Soldier from Col. Ashe and a public horse from Mr. Toomer, so the expense of this express will be less, I hope, than I mentioned. I have given him for his expenses 40 dollars. I need not again observe that if I cannot pay the money on the last day of this month the owners of the Shoes will look upon themselves disengaged from their Contract.

Your Mo. ob.
A. B.