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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from Jean Baptiste Petry to Richard Caswell
Petry, Jean Baptiste
September 25, 1786
Volume 18, Pages 748-750

[From Executive Letter Book.]

Charleston, 25th Sept., 1786.


I did myself the honor to write to your Excellency on the 17th and 27th of July last; the first respecting the payment of the advance made by the Government of Martinico to the State, and the Second begging you to Order and enforce the execution of my Sentence against Xavier Martin, heretofore the Attorney of J. J. Coulougnac,

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deceased, and detaining and disposing of the property trusted in his hands for his private Interest.

This last letter, very Interesting to the Family of the deceased, has arrived at NewBern, and was forwarded by me to the care of the Post Master for his safe and Speedy Conveyance to your Excellency. If it has not yet come into your hands, I hope you will be so kind as to order a strict enquiry about it. Xavier Martin, as I understand, has applied to the Maritime and Mercantile Court to have his Salaries fixed, and they have made it 285 pounds upon his bare word. This irregular proceedings I cannot account for, from a Court whose Jurisdiction he has declined six or seven months ago in claiming mine, which belongs to, and which he knew that I had tried this defraud with Frederick Rheinsward, which this Claim of Salaries is a Dependence from. I claim from your Excellency the full exercise of any functions in this affair, and the Authoritive Power of the State to put into Execution my Sentence against the said Martin, in the same mode and Manner that a sentence of any Court in the Country should be; and I beg you will notify the Honorable the Supreme Court before which, I am informed, this Claim of Salaries is to be brought, that the Cognizance of it belongs to me as Vice Consul of France. Recognized and admitted by the State, this claim of mine might be supported, if necessary, by an Act entitled, “An Act for protecting and encouraging the Commerce of Nations Acknowledging the Independence of the United States of America.” In my sentence of the 8th of February it is expressed, we preserve to the said Martin the right to prosecute J. J. Coulougnac for his Salaries at the rate of fifty guineas a year, which he says has been promised to him; or to justify to us more fully that such Sum has been granted to him before me as his judge. He asks but for fifty Guineas and the Court of Admiralty grants him three times the sum.

I am, Sir, desirous to deserve the approbation of your Excellency as to not trust you with the reasons that I have to ask proof of any Salaries being promised to Martin by J. J. Coulougnac. This Gentleman, before he set off for the Journey during which he died, left some instructions about his affairs, wrote by him, with his Attorney at New York, of which there is an extract concerning Martin.

“As soon as the Sr. Martin shall give in his accounts he shall be returned to New York and must dismiss him, not having been satisfied

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with his doings. He stands indebted to me for recovery of Money, of 589 pounds New York Currency, and moreover for his private Account of 44 pounds. I must observe that Mr. Martin has not been employed by me but was to have his board and Lodgings, having got him here out of the greatest distress, and having paid for him his debts in the Tavern, where he was detained as he could not pay. I then took him with me by mere commiseration. I have cloathed him with my own clothes from his head to his feet. In consequence he is my Debtor for his Account Current and if it was Necessary to make a sacrifice of it, because it could not be reimbursed, I would like better to take this resolution. He has not taken care of my Interest which I have trusted him with in his travel, which he has prolonged 16 months to live,” &c.

Coulougnac f. with Paraphe.

New York, 29th Sept., 1785.

This Sir, which I would not mention in my Letter of the 27th of July last, will shew you the Character of Martin who delivers and disposes of the property of his Benefactor; who dares to say before his Judges that Salaries have been promised to him and flees Successively from the Justice which he has claimed, to the Justice which he has declined. Martin has been paid since the day he set off from New York till the day that he left off the Business of J. J. Coulougnac, at NewBern for all the expences he brought in for his Account to him and me. When Martin shall have fulfilled the Contents of my Sentence & delivered the very produce he bought on his Account current, then he may apply to me or to Mr. De la Forest, at New York, to have any Salaries if he has sufficient proofs that some have been promised to him, and either of us shall imitate the commiseration of J. J. Coulougnac in rendering him Justice; and if he is not satisfied with it he may apply to a Parliament in France.

Mr. De la Forest wrote to me Sir, on the 2nd June last, that he had received but 121 26-96 Dollars and he was to receive about 300 more in two weeks afterwards & two in December, on Account of the repayment of the Advance made by the Government of Martinico to the State.

I am with great Regard Sir,
Your Excellency's mo. humbl. & ob. Servt.,