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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from John Sevier to Richard Caswell
Sevier, John, 1745-1815
May 14, 1785
Volume 17, Pages 446-449

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[From Gov. Caswell's Letter Book.]

State of Franklin, Washington County,
14th May, 1785.


Governor Martin have lately sent up into our Country a Manifesto, together with letters to private persons, in order to stir up Sedition and Insurrection thinking thereby to destroy that peace and tranquillity which has so greatly subsisted among the peaceful Citizens of this Country.

First in the Manifesto, he charges us with a revolt from No. Carolina, by declaring ourselves independent of that State.

Secondly, that designs of a more dangerous nature and deeper die seem to glare in the Western revolt, the power usurped over the Western vacant Territory the Union deriving no Emolument from the same, not even the part intended No. Carolina, by the Cession, and that part of the Revenue is seized by the new Authority, and appropriated to different purposes intended by your Legislature.

His Excellency is pleased to mention, that one reason we have assigned for the Revolt as he terms it, is, that the goods were stopped from the Indians that were to compensate them for the Western Lands—and that the Indians had committed murders, in consequence thereof. He is also pleased to say he is well informed to the contrary, and that no Hostilities have been committed on that account, but on the other hand provocations are daily given.—the Indians, and one of their Chiefs murdered with impunity. In answer to the charge relative to what his Excellency is pleased to call the Revolt, I must beg leave to differ with him in sentiments on that occasion, for your own act declared to the world, that this Country was ceded off to Congress. And one part of the Express conditions was, that the same should be erected into one or more States. And we believe that Body was candid, and that they fully believed a new State would tend to the mutual advantage of all parties—that they were as well acquainted with our circumstances at that time, as Governor Martin can be since. And

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that they did not think a new Government here would be led away by the pageantry of a mock government without the essentials, and have nothing among us but a shadow as represented. But if Governor Martin is right in his suggestion, we can only say that the Assembly of No. Carolina deceived us, and were urging us on into total ruin—and laying a plan to destroy that part of her Citizens who she so often frankly confessed, saved the parent State from ruin. But the people here, neither at that time nor the present, having the most distant idea of any such intended deception, and at the same time well knowing, how pressingly Congress has requested cessions to be made of the Western Territory ever since the 6th of September and 10th of October in the year Eighty. These several circumstances together with a real necessity, to prevent anarchy, promote our own happiness, and to provide against the common Enemy—that always infest this part of the World, induced and compelled the people here to act as they have done innocently thinking at the same time, your acts tolerated them to the separation. Therefore we can by no means think it can be called a revolt, or known by such a name. As to the second charge it is entirely groundless, we have not by the act whatever laid hold of one foot of the vacant land, neither have we appropriated any of the same to any of our use or uses, but intended everything of that nature for a further deliberation, and have to be mutually settled according to the right and claim of each party.

As to that part of seizing the Public Money it is as groundless as the former, for no authority among us whatever, has laid hold of or appropriated one farthing of the same, to our uses in any shape, whatever, but the same is still in the hands of the Sheriffs and Collectors. And on the other hand, we have passed such Laws as will both compel and justify them in settling and paying up to the respective claimants of the same all which will appear in our acts—which will be laid before you, and you will fully evince to the Reverse of Governor Martin's charge in manifesto.

Every time we suggest that the Indians have committed murders in consequence of the delay of the goods, it is denied, though near forty people have been murdered, since the Cession Bill passed, some of which in our own Counties and the remainder in Currituck path, and it is evidently known to be the Cherokees, and their frequent talks prove

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they are exasperated, at getting nothing for their Lands, and in all probability had the goods been furnished, no hostilities would have been committed.

The murder committed with impunity, alluding to Major Hubbard's killing a half breed which Gov. Martin calls a Chief (but never any such thing among the Indians) we can't pretend to say what information his Excellency has received on this subject more than the others nor where from. This we know, that all the proof was had against Hubbard and that ever can be had—which is, the Indian first struck, and then discharged his Gun at Hubbard before the Indian was killed by Hubbard. As Governor Martin reprobates the measure in so great a degree, I can't pretend to say what he might have done, but must believe, that had any other person met with the same insult, from one of those bloody savages—who have frequently murdered the wives and children of the people of this Country for many years past, I say had they been possessed of that manly and soldierly spirit that becomes an American, they must have acted like Hubbard.

I have now observed to your Excellency the principal complaints in the Manifesto, and such as I think is worth observation, and have called forth such proofs as must fully evince to the reverse of the charge and complaints set forth.

The menaces made use of in the manifesto, will by no means intimidate us. We mean to pursue our necessary measures, and with the fullest confidence, believe, that your Leglslature when truly informed of our cool proceedings will find no course for resenting any thing we have done.

Most certain it is, that nothing has been transacted here, out of any disregard to the parent state, but we still entertain the high opinion and have the same regard and affection for her, that ever we had, and would be as ready to step forth in her defence as ever we did, should need require it.

Also our Acts and Resolves will evince to the world, that we have paid all due respect, to your State, first in taking up her Constitution and then her Laws together with naming several new Counties and also an Academy after some of the first men in your State.

The repeal of Cession act we can't take notice of, as we had declared

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our separation before the Repeal. Therefore we are bound to support it, with that manly firmness, that becomes freemen.

Our Assembly sits again in August, at which time it is expected Commissioners will be appointed, to adjust and consider on such matters of moment as will be consistent with the honor and interest of each party.

The disagreeable and sickly time of the year, together with the great distance from New Bern as also the short notice, puts it out of the power of any person to attend from this quarter at this time. Our Agent is at Congress, and we daily expect information from that quarter, respecting our present measures and to be advised thereon.

We are informed, that Congress have communicated to your State respecting the Cession act. Be that as it may, I am authorized to say nothing will be lacking in us to forward every thing that will tend to the mutual benefit of each party, and conciliate all matters whatever.

I have the honor to be with great regard and much respect, your Excellency's
mo. ob. humb. Servt.,