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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from Alexander Martin to [Alexander?] McLain
Martin, Alexander, 1740-1807
October 03, 1782
Volume 16, Pages 714-715

[From Executive Letter Book.]

Guilford, October 3d, 1782.


I am favored with your Letter by Express, in which you are pleased to inform me, you have it in orders from General Leslie to make application to me in behalf of such of the people now at Charles Town as were formerly inhabitants of this Country that they be permitted to return and be received.

General Leslie surely could not be serious in such an application (however friendly the powers at War, and flattering the prospects of peace may be) that Leave should be granted by public authority to a number of British Subjects to return to this State, possessed

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with all their former prejudices against our independant Government, and here permitted to reside, while hostilities are daily prosecuting between Britian and America. Whatever were the motives of these people to desert us I could never justify their admission to the Legislature and the good Citizens of this State on any kind of policy at this situation of our affairs; while I feel for the imprudent, the fearful, the misguided, and other harmless characters. General Leslie is too well acquainted with business of this important nature to transact the same by verbal messages, to which I can pay no attention. I must therefore consider the application made in no other light than that the General being worried with the frequiet solicitations of a Number of these people now in distress, who must be very troublesome as well as bothersome to him, is glad to rid himself of their importunities on any pretence whatever. Your Flag Vessel I do not consider as a subject of seizure, but any merchandize imported and traffic made thereof, by the Maritime Laws is a lawful prize. I shall however order your Vessel to be released by the Naval officer and those who seized her. You will therefore please to leave Wilmington as soon as you have possession of your Vessel, taking with you all the persons by you imported, who are British Subjects, as the subject matter of your flag at present is totally inadmissible.

I am, Sir, &c.,