Documenting the American South Logo
Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Circular letter from Robert R. Livingston to the state governors
Livingston, Robert R., 1746-1813
March 18, 1783
Volume 16, Pages 747-748

[From Executive Letter Book.]


Philadelphia, 18th March, 1783.


Congress a few days since directed me to transmit to your Excellency a Copy of the provisional Treaty for a Peace between the United States and Great Britain. I should have done it at an earlier day without any particular direction, had not an order passed in Congress for furnishing the Delegates of each State with a Copy that it might be transmitted through them. In conformity to the second direction I have the honor to enclose a Copy, tho’ I have no doubt, that I have been anticipated by that forwarded by the Delegates of your State. Yet Sir, this Letter may not be entirely useless, when it assures you that the conclusion of the Treaty is still very uncertain. My Public Letters are of such a nature as not to free me from apprehensions that Britain still seeks rather to divide her enemies, than to be reconciled to them. Tho’ this suspicion may not perhaps be well founded, yet such conduct is so conformable to the general tenor of British Councils—to the character of the king and his first Minister, that it is at least the part of

-------------------- page 748 --------------------
prudence to be upon our Guard against it. But whatever their intentions may be the Peace must depend upon so many contingencies, that no preparation for another Campaign should be omitted on our part—none is neglected by our antagonist. They have voted one hundred and ten thousand Seamen for the ensuing year. France continues her preparations, and will not close the War ’til she can obtain honorable terms for her Allies; but little progress was made in their negotiations when my Letters were written. Count de Vergennes has thought it prudent to advise Congress of this circumstance, that they might be prepared for every event. I communicate it to your Excellency with similar views. I doubt not that you will avail yourself of this information to urge the State in which you preside to take such measures, that they may not be found unprovided in case our hopes of Peace should be frustrated.

It would give me pleasure to learn the measures that have been adopted in consequence of the requisitions made in my Letters to your Excellency, or your predecessors in office at different Periods relative to my department, and more particularly to receive the account so frequently called for of the damage done by the enemy in your State. I have reason to think had it been furnished in time it might have been of singular use to our Ministers, and perhaps have tended to obtain some relief for the sufferers. It may not yet come too late to be useful. Let me pray your Excellency to take measures for furnishing three authentic Copies by the first opportunity.

I have the honor, &c.,