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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from Alexander Martin to Benjamin Hawkins, Abner Nash, and Hugh Williamson
Martin, Alexander, 1740-1807
January 21, 1783
Volume 16, Pages 729-730

[From Executive Letter Book.]

Hillsborough, January 21st, 1783.


I have not yet received the definitive Treaty, a Copy of which I have seen in the papers; but an exemplification of the provisional under the great Seal of Congress. The Treaty with the King of Sweden came to hand but lately.

I informed you from Wilmington that our General Assembly failed to make a Session in October last, which has postponed to the

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annual meeting many important objects of Legislation. The impost on Merchandise I make no doubt will then be granted.

Your endeavours to fix the Seat of Empire in Maryland do you great honor. Tho’ the two federal towns to be erected at first reflection seemed to give general disgust, as the Court of America must be ambulatory and their Archives constantly on the wing, which must create great confusion, and support little dignity; but perhaps in time by these means the generous and princely offers of Maryland may be accepted, and Annapolis be the fixed Capital of the new World.

I have received no resolutions of Congress respecting the West India Trade prohibited by the King of Great Britain, but in British Bottoms. The Virginia Assembly I am told have passed an Act prohibiting West India ships from trading in that State until the restriction be taken off. I wish the Continent to be uniform in their determinations on this Subject, that resolutions and that recommendations shall come from Congress for this purpose, previous to any State taking the lead, otherwise different Interests may divide the States and all may not act together for the general good. As it is likely from your information there will be no Commercial Treaty, something ought speedily to be done in retaliation, with the British Shipping and Commerce, with which our ports are daily filling. General Caswell is settling the public accounts, but with what dispatch I know not. Until he has finished this business, they can not be ready for the inspection of the Continental Comptroller. I am sensible with you that this great default in our Continental Accounts must lessen the importance of the State; I am not able to remedy the evil, to my great regret. I hope we shall be able to give some more account of this matter to the Financier at the next Session of Assembly, & not before; to whom you will still please to appologize for the delay.

I am Gentlemen, &c.,

Additional Notes for Electronic Version: Richard Dobbs Speight was not elected to the Continental Congress until April of 1783.