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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from Alexander Martin to William Bryan
Martin, Alexander, 1740-1807
September 21, 1782
Volume 16, Pages 711-712

[From Executive Letter Book.]

Salisbury, September 21st, 1782.


Your Letter of the 5th was handed me by Express. Your information respecting the difficulties of procuring Cattle is truly distressing to me; as General Greene, Congress and Mr. Morris, the Financier, look up to this State for the support of the Southern Army. Congress are daily calling for our part of the Army revenue. The Assembly have not levied any. I am tired out with

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apologizing, and am at last reduced to Silence. South Carolina and Georgia have overdone their part in supplies, they are exhausted in every kind of that nature. Supplies must be had or money to purchase them. We have in the State abundance of Cattle which would answer the immediate purpose of the revenue demanded, was the same properly called out, this the Assembly have neglected and flung the whole burthen on the executive.

The Delegates write me this State stands in a very unfavorable light with Congress for our neglect or rather refusal to comply with their requisitions on the above subject. The Specific Tax is a mere Nullity, and will almost sink itself in the collection, and the public derive little or no benefit from it. If the Assembly have not done their duty, and the Executive for want of support cannot do theirs, the fault will not be at my door.

However, I have more favorable accounts from Wilmington and Edenton Districts where some contributions of Cattle have been raising and are raising in the manner I have proposed. 300 head went forward from Cross Creek a month ago. I hope to have the Complement shortly from that quarter. If the Assembly will provide no other way to collect supplies of this kind, but by Impress ment they must expect it will be executed at last, however disagreeable, by the Army itself, who immediately feel & are in Distress. I flatter myself you will make the most of this business until the sitting of the Assembly, who perhaps will see the necessity of making an Act for levying on every District and County of the State a number of Cattle, under certain regulations and relieve me from a task as disagreeable to me as to the rest of my fellow Citizens. If something is not done shortly, South Carolina will be abandoned by General Greene, and he must subsist his army where he can find the means. I am told a great many cattle are near Mattamuskeet, belonging chiefly to disaffected persons. These might be laid hold of to a very good purpose, should their property be condemned by a County Court, or if not a warrant might be levelled against them justly, who have given no support to the War.

I am Sir, &c.,