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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from Richard Dobbs Spaight to Alexander Martin
Spaight, Richard Dobbs, 1758-1802
December 18, 1784
Volume 17, Pages 186-188


Trenton, 18 December, 1784.


Your Excellency's Letter to the Delegation of the 27th of November, enclosing an Act of the Legislature repealing the Act ceding to the United States the unlocated Western Lands, was handed to us Tuesday last by Capt. Craddock together with a Letter to the President of Congress on the same subject, which was laid before that body. I observe in your Excellency's Letter mention is made of the Assemblies having laid a tax to pay their quota of the interest of the foreign loan, but no notice seems to have been taken of the requisition of Congress of the 26th of April last, for the payment of part of the interest on the domestic debt, and for the expences of the Year 1784. I hope the Legislature have not passed over this matter in Silence. It is certainly time that we should begin to make some payment into the Continental Treasury. Of all the

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Specie requisitions that have been made by Congress we have not complied with one even in part, nor do we stand credited for a single dollar.

Nothing can be done at present respecting the appointment of a Commissioner for the settlement of the Continental accounts in our State, as Mr. Morris the financier has resigned. That department is hereafter to be intrusted to a board of treasury to consist of three Commissioners. Congress have several times balloted for them but have not yet come to any choice, next Tuesday is appointed for another trial, but I don't expect we shall make any choice until there are more States represented; having only nine states present. As soon as they are elected we shall have either Mr. Jackson (according to your desire) or some other person sent on to settle the accounts.

Since my last Letter to Your Excellency Congress has resolved that it is necessary to send a minister to the Court of Spain, and a day is assigned for his election. Indeed our affairs with the Spaniards respecting the navigation of the river Mississippi and their claims to the lands between the 31 & 32 degrees of North Latitude demand our earliest attention, and I am only afraid much time will be lost before we agree on the person who shall be sent. The conduct of Great Britain also demands our most serious attention. Congress are at present deliberating on the measures necessary to be taken, and I expect a minister will be sent to that Court. That Nation, so far from delivering up the Western posts according to the Treaty, have by the last accounts from Canada, reinforced the nearest post to the United States and again put their Shipping on the Lakes into Commission and have for that purpose sent back the Sailors, that had been discharged and were pretty far advanced on their route to Quebec. This conduct of Great Britain seems to me to wear a very hostile appearance and ought to put us on our guard. By having a minister at that Court, we can be more readily informed of their intentions, respecting us, or if they meditate anything against us.

From the European intelligence it appears that hostilities have commenced between the Dutch and the Emperor, at least they have done that which the Emperor declared he should consider as a declaration of War; that is, they have stopped some Vessels bearing the

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imperial colors from going up the Scheldt; it is further said, that they have taken the Town of Sluys.

I have the honor to be, &c.,