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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from Benjamin Hawkins to Alexander Martin
Hawkins, Benjamin, 1754-1816
August 16, 1783
Volume 16, Page 861

[From Executive Letter Book.]

Princeton, August 16th, 1783.


Yesterday we received Letters from Mr. Lawrens dated London, June the 17th. Mr. Fox informed him that positive orders for the removal of the British forces from New York were actually dispatched. The fears of the Ministry, respecting the trade of America begin to subside and as Mr. Lawrens observes “Reciprocity appears now to mean enjoyment on one part and restrictions on the other, this change may have been wrought by the sudden and unexpected arrival of divers ships and cargoes from different parts of the United States.” We long foresaw this evil, but it was impossible with effect to offer a check to it, the Merchantile interest about Congress being so powerful and opposed to the least suspension of our immediate free trade with all the world. The natural consequence of such precipitancy, I fear will be unless Congress should be able wisely to interpose, as Mr. Lawrens observed “enjoyment on the part of Great Britain and restriction on ours.” We may well imagine that the British Ministry will studiously avoid entering into any commercial stipulations with us, until they have well weighed all the advantages and disadvantages, attendant thereon, and until it shall be in their power in some measure to dictate such stipulations. It is already known that Mr. Hartley who was sent to treat at Paris about a Commercial Treaty, is only an instrument for gaining time, if I may so express it. It is at least probable that the present British Ministry from some late accounts are in a tottering state, and should the late premier receive the reins which were plucked out of his hand, I apprehend every thing in his power will be attempted to embarrass our proceedings.

We have not received any dispatches from our Ministers at Paris or from any other quarter respecting the definitive Treaty. Inclosed is the Copy of the order of the British King in Council.

I have the honor to be, &c.,
His Excellency Governor Martin.