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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from Margaret McLean to Alexander Martin
McLean, Margaret
December 11, 1783
Volume 16, Pages 389-390

[From Executive Letter Book.]



Permit me to address your Excellency on a subject in which my happiness is involved.

Mr. McLean a few days past was obliged, by a number of people in town, under the command of a Militia Officer, to go on board the vessel which brought him here, and it is openly said that this measure was executed in pursuance of your Excellency’s orders.

It is not for me, unacquainted as I am with the politics and the

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Laws, to say with what propriety this was done, but surely the common opinion that Mr. McLean had been a Citizen of the State, or owed any obedience to it, is totally without foundation, and since his first arrival in this Country, he always was, not only a British subject, but a British Officer. He left this at a time when all the people in it acknowledged themselves British subjects.

If, however, any part of his conduct has given offence, perhaps it should be remembered to his advantage, that during his stay in the British Garrison at Charleston and the post at this place numbers can testify with how much humanity he treated such Americans as were in distress.

But to waive a matter which may not be pertinent, he came here in full confidence that a peace was finally established, in order to remove his family to Nova Scotia, as soon as the season would permit, and his purpose was to wait upon your Excellency with his passport, which was for some days mislaid, and which I now enclose for your Excellency’s perusal. He was unwilling to give you any unnecessary trouble at a time when he imagined you were engaged with public business.

Mr. McLean had gone on board a British vessel in hopes to get a passage in a short time to Europe, not thinking himself safe in any of the United States when he was banished from one of them. Before he was ordered to be removed, the vessel in which he came here sailed for Charleston.

It remains with your Excellency to determine whether it is consistant with your duty to the public to permit his stay here ’til the winter breaks up under any restrictions that you may think proper.

I am, with respect Sir, &c.,