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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from Samuel Osgood and Walter Livingston to Richard Caswell
Osgood, Samuel, 1748-1813; Livingston, Walter, 1740-1797
May 29, 1786
Volume 18, Pages 634-636

[From Executive Letter Book.]

Board of Treasury, May 29th, 1786.



We are honored with your Excellency's Letter of the 3rd April, transmitting an Act of the Legislature of the State of North Carolina, relative to the purchase of 1400 Hhds. of Tobacco for the purpose of applying the proceeds towards the State's Quota of Taxes due to the United States.

On a Conference with the Honorable Mr. Blount on this subject, we concurred in opinion, that if Purchasers could be found for the Tobacco, either here or at Philadelphia, who would pay the amount into the Treasury before the first of January, 1787, it would be more eligible both for the State, as well as the Union, than to ship it in a Foreign Speculation.

Mr. Robert Morris being the Contractor for supplying the Farmers General in France with Tobacco, occurred to us as the most proper person in the first Instance to be applied to for an offer. Enclosed you have Copies of the Correspondence which has passed betwixt the Board and the Gentleman on that subject. On mature reflection we are of opinion, that the Offer made by Mr. Morris was Advantageous for the State, with an alteration in the two points Mentioned in our Letter to him, and if the Honorable the Delegates, would have sanctioned with their opinion, the Price at which he offered to receive the Tobacco, so that no discussion might hereafter

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arise as to the proper Credit betwixt this State and the United States we should undoubtedly have endeavored to close a Contract with him for the purchase. As these Gentlemen however did not deem themselves authorized to take this upon themselves, we have Judged it most prudent in the first Instance to Confine ourselves to the directions of the Act, which authorizes the Board as to the Port of Shipment.

We have therefore to recommend the forwarding of the Tobacco without delay in Coasting Vessels to the ports of New York and Philadelphia, where we presume we shall be able to make Contracts for it with reputable Houses; provided care is taken in shipping it in good order, and of a Quality not too inferior for the Foreign Markets. In the mean while we wish your Excellency and the Council to give your opinion as to the propositions made by Mr. Morris, as it will in a great degree serve for our Government in any Contracts which we may think it advisable to enter into for the sale of it. Though it is out of the strict line of our duty to receive from the States any Species payments whatsoever, but what is pointed out by the Requisitions of Congress, we shall always be disposed to facilitate the payment of Taxes into the Public Treasury from any State as far as we can do it consistently with that General Justice which is due to the different Members of the Union. If therefore the State of North Carolina obtains a Credit in the Treasury adequate, to the Market Value of the Tobacco purchased in pursuance of the Act of which you have favored us with an Extract, we doubt not you will be of opinion, that everything is done in behalf of the State which can be expected.

A doubt however, arises whether this Board are to make the arrangements for the sale of Tobacco, or the Commissioners for it appears by the Act, that altho' we are directed to point out the places to which, and the persons to whom Shipments are to be made, that the Commissioners are to obtain proper Releases for the payment of the proceeds into the Treasury of the United States. We wish to ascertain what were the Intentions of the Legislature in this respect that we may as nearly as possible Act in conformity to it.

With respect however to the Shipment of the Tobacco either to the Ports of New York or Philadelphia, we only mean to advise it in case your Excellency does not think proper to approve of Mr. Morris receiving it in the State; which we confess appears to us

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most eligible, provided that Gentleman will agree to the alterations we have suggested in our Letter. But whether it is ultimately intended for shipment, Coastwise or to Europe, it is essentially necessary that no time should be lost, in forwarding the Tobacco to the destined places of Shipment which appear by your Letter to be Washington, Edenton and Wilmington, and that this Board should be immediately advised at what places, and in what Quantities the Tobacco is Collected and to whom application is to be made for the delivery.

We are with Sentiments of Esteem,
Your Excellency's most Obdt.
And Humble Servants,