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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from Guy Carleton, Baron Dorchester to Elias Boudinot
Dorchester, Guy Carleton, Baron, 1724-1808
August 17, 1783
Volume 16, Pages 867-868

[From Executive Letter Book.]

(N. B.—The following correspondence is that referred to in the foregoing letter.)

New York, 17th August, 1783.


The June packet lately arrived, has brought me final orders for the evacuation of this place; be pleased Sir, to inform Congress of the proof of the perseverence of the Court of Great Britain in the pacific system expressed by the provisional articles, and that I shall lose no time, as far as depends upon me, in fulfilling his Majesty’s commands.

But notwithstanding my orders are urgent to accelerate the total evacuation, the difficulty of assigning the precise period for this event is of late greatly increased.

My correspondence with General Washington, Governor Clinton, and Mr. Livingston, your late Secretary for foreign affairs early suggested the impediments tending to retard this service. A Letter to Mr. Livingston of the 6th April, two more to General Washington of the 12th May and 10th June, with several to Governor Clinton, stating many hostile proceedings within the sphere of his authority, are those to which I refer. Copies of some of these Letters I enclose tho’ I am doubtless to presume the Congress to be informed of all transactions material to the general direction of their affairs.

The violence in the Americans, which broke out soon after the cessation of hostilities, increased the number of their countrymen who look to me for escape from threatened destruction, but these terrors have of late been so considerably augmented, that almost all within these lines conceive that the safety both of the persons & their property depend upon being removed by me, which renders it impossible to say when the evacuation can be completed. Whether they have just ground to assert that there is either no Government within your limits, for common protection, or that it secretly favors the Committees in the Sovereignty they assume, and are actually

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exercising I shall not pretend to determine, but as the daily Gazette and publications furnish repeated proofs, not only of a disregard of the articles of peace, but of barbarous menaces from Committees formed in various Towns, Cities, & districts, and even at Philadelphia, the very place which the Congress had chosen for their residence, I should shew an indifference to the feelings of humanity, as well as to the honor and interest of the Nation I serve, to leave any of the Loyalists that are desirous to quit the Country, a prey to the violence they conceive they have so much cause to apprehend.

The Congress will hence discern how much it will depend on themselves, and the subordinate Legislatures to facilitate the service I am commanded to perform, since by abating the fears they will thereby diminish the number of emigrants. But should their fears continue and compel such multitudes to remove, I shall hold myself acquitted from any delay in the fulfilling my orders and the consequences which may result therefrom; and I cannot avoid adding that it makes no small part of my concern, that the Congress have thought proper to suspend, to this late hour the recommendations stipulated by the Treaty and in the punctual performance of which the King and his Ministers have expressed such entire confidence.

I am Sir, your Excellency’s most Obedt., &c.,
His Excellency Elias Boudinot, Esquire.