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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from Hugh Williamson to Alexander Martin
Williamson, Hugh, 1735-1819
August 04, 1784
Volume 17, Pages 90-91

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[From Executive Letter Book.]

Princeton, 4th August, 1784.


Your Excellency has been very unfortunate in the means you employed for conveying intelligence. Yours of the 20th May came to hand 10 or 12 days ago & not sooner. Of course the Philadelphia printers had copies of it from other news papers before we could send them a manuscript. Inclosed is Master Rivington's veritable Gazette, not Gazette of verity, in which you will observe the speech is reprinted. Had the Executives of other States at an early hour recommended those generous and manly sentiments which you have proposed to the General Assembly much confusion might have been prevented in the United States, and those vagabonds would properly have been considered of little importance who like flies on the political wheel have, poor Devils, in vain attempted to retard the progress of Liberty.

The definitive Treaty has indeed been strangely delayed but we have not received a single line from one of our Ministers on that subject since (I think) the 7th of April. We knew that the extraordinary political Phenomenon, the absolute want of a Ministry in England for near seven weeks, delayed all negotiations. Our last account stated that negotiations seemed to go on seriously. There is reason to believe that the definitive Treaty was signed at Paris on the 27th May, near 20 Days might be required for ratification in the Several European Courts concerned, before which no publication could be made. We however may daily look for a copy to be ratified here.

The reasons which induced Congress to adjourn to this place have been fully explained in a public Letter from the Delegates. Concerning our future motions I cannot even give you conjectures, except that I suppose we shall leave this before Winter, because I think we cannot continue here with any degree of comfort during the Winter. Invitations for going to different places crowd thick upon us. I have written to the Post Master General respecting the

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Letters which are detained in the office at New Bern. Should you have received these Letters before this comes to hand I shall be obliged to you for an exact Copy of the endorsement on each of those Letters. If they are still detained you will be so good as to cause a friend in New Bern to take a Copy of the whole superscription & send it to the Delegates. If the Post Officers are clearly culpable we shall know what measures should be taken, if the detention arises from some ambiguity, in the words of the ordinance, the ambiguity must be removed. If the name of a member of Congress is on the Letter of one of our public Ministers, or if it is to the Governor of a State it should doubtless be free provided it is said by the inscription to be free or to be on public service. But there have been several complaints of Letters detained in the first of these predicaments merely because they had not also the marks free or public service on them. In all such cases however a Habeas Corpus has issued.

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