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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from Robert Morris to Alexander Martin
Morris, Robert, 1734-1806
October 17, 1782
Volume 16, Pages 427-428

[From Executive Letter Book.]

Office of Finance,
17th October, 1782.


Since the receipt of your Excellency’s favor of the 20th August last I have received Copies of a Correspondence between yourself and Colonel Carrington on the subject of Specific supplies. The Disposition which you have expressed (in your Letter to me, and which indeed breathes thro’ your whole Correspondence) to promote those plans of regularity and economy which Congress have adopted command my sincere acknowledgements.

I perceive there is a difference of opinion between the Officers of the Continental & your State on the receiving Specific supplies which I attribute principally to some misunderstanding of the matter. The Specific supplies called for by Congress on their several Resolutions on that subject are undoubtedly receivable (and ought above eighteen months ago to have been received) on the requisitions which were made at the rate for that purpose mentioned. Such as it may now suit any State to deliver on those requisitions, ought, in like manner, to be carried to Account. But it is very

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clear that they cannot be received on account of the subsequent money requisitions. The several quotas of the eight Millions asked for last year to supply the current expenditures of the year 1782 must be paid in Cash or what is equivalent to it in my Notes or Bank Notes. I cannot consent to receive anything else. It is by this means alone that economy can be established, order restored and confusion that parent of fraud (too apt to introduce itself into public accounts) banished and destroyed.

I am inclined to think as Congress have determined to have all accounts settled and Liquidated to the end of 1781, your State would rather choose to attend only to the money requisitions & leave the further Delivery of Specifics to a Liquidations in the old accounts, but if not, there can be no doubt but the Specifics will be received, and in such case I will give the Gentlemen whom I shall appoint as receivers of Taxes in your State Instructions how to dispose of them, but I must again repeat, Sir, that I will not accept one particle of them in abatement of the State Quota for the year 1782.

Before I close this letter I must take the liberty to mention a matter which suggests itself from one of your Excellency’s Letters to Col. Carrington. You tell him you will continue the prohibition against sending certain things out of the State in order that he may purchase for the United States on better Terms.

Now, Sir, while I feel it my duty to require Justice for the United States it is equally my duty to take care that equal Justice be done to the several States, individually considered as well as the Individuals which compose them. I am, therefore, to request that all such restrictions be taken off. They sour the people’s mind, destroy the Spirit of Industry, impair by a rapid, as well as certain Progress, the public wealth of the State and producing a dearth of things embargoed eventually enhance the prices far more than they could have been increased by any other mode. Whereas, perfect freedom makes the People easy, happy, rich and able to pay Taxes, and the Taxes, when paid, can be expended amid a plenty of products, and consequently be extended to advantage. I say a plenty products, because I know that liberty, to dispose of them to the greatest advantage, will encourage Men to raise them and produce a plenty.

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Your Excellency will, I hope, excuse reflections which arise from an ardent desire to promote the general welfare and happiness of all the Inhabitants of the United States.

I have the honor to be,
Yours, &c.,