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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from John Sevier to Richard Caswell
Sevier, John, 1745-1815
October 28, 1786
Volume 18, Pages 775-777

[From Executive Letter Book.]

Mount Pleasant, Franklin, 28 October, 1786.


Our Assembly have again appointed Commissioners to wait on the parent State who I hope will cheerfully consent to the separaration as they once before did.

It gives us inexpressible concern to think that any disputes should arise between us, more especially when we did not in the first instance pray the Separation, but after the same was done by act of your Assembly, we humbly conceived we should do no wrong by endeavoring to provide for ourselves, neither had we the most distant Idea that the Cession Act would be repealed, otherwise matters might not have been carried to the length they are. The propriety of the Repeal we do not pretend to scrutinize as respecting the policy of your State, but permit us to say, that in our opinion we discover many embarrassments both parties are likely to labor under, in Consequence of the Repeal. We cannot suppose that Congress will consider herself well treated by North Carolina, and we doubt thereby become in some measure Inattentive.

The late Indian Treaties in the South seems deeply to concern each party, especially now we find Congress have ratified the proceedings, and we have called on your State to carry the same into effect, so far as respects the same. We do not pretend to discriminate the Motives that induces that Body to enter into these measures, but beg leave to say that in our opinions, that had the Deed or Deeds been Executed Agreeable to the Cession Act, that then

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our Lands in the Westward would have been secured under the conditions of that Act, but under the present circumstances the Greatest part of our Western Country lies in a very doubtful and precarious situation. I hope your Assembly will take under their serious Consideration our present Condition, and we flatter ourselves that August body will not demerge into ruin so many of their late Citizens who have fought and bled in behalf of the parent State; and who are still ready to do so again should there be an Occasion. Our local and remote situations are the only Motives that induce us to wish for a Separation. Your Constitution and Laws we revere, and consider ourselves happy that we have had it in our power to get the same established in the State of Franklin, Altho' it has Occasioned some confusion among ourselves. We do in the most candid and solemn manner assure you that we do not wish to separate from you on any other terms but on those that may be perfectly consistent with the Honor and Interest of each party. Neither do we believe there is any among us who would wish for a Separation did they believe the parent State would suffer any real inconvenience in Consequence thereof, & would be willing to stand or fall together under any dangerous Crisis whatsoever.

We cannot be of the opinion that any real advantages can be obtained by a longer connection; our Trade and Commerce is altogether carried on with other States, therefore neither party is benefitted on that Head. And whether it can be suggested, that the business of Government can be extended from five to eight hundred Miles distance is a matter I leave to your own good sense to Judge of, and further it cannot be supposed that the Inhabitants who reside at that distance are not Equally entitled to the blessings of Civil Government as their Neighbors, who live East, South or any other point, and not one fourth of the distance from the Seat of Government; besides the incomparable Advantages of the Roads and other easy communications, that you have on the East of the Apalachian. However inconsiderable the people of this Country may appear at this day, reason must inform us that the Time is not far distant when they will become as Consequential in Numbers if not more so than most of the Eastern States, and when your Excellency will be pleased to view the many Advantages arising from the fertility of our Soil and the Moderate and Salutary Climate, you cannot I presume differ in sentiments on this head.

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We will admit that our importation is not so flattering but our Exports equal to any; as to our present Abilities, we must Confess, are not so great as could be wished for, but happy for us we have the parent and many old and Experienced States to Copy after.

As to my own part I have always considered myself happy while under the Government of North Carolina and highly honored with the different appointments they have been pleased to confer.

I heartily wish your Legislature had either not repealed or never passed the Cession Act for probably it may occasion much Confusion, especially should your Assembly listen too much to prejudiced persons; tho' this I have no right to suggest, but fear we may have sufficient quarrel on our hands without any among ourselves.

I am Authorised to say there is no set of people can think more highly of your Government than those who want the separation, and they only want it to answer their better Convenience; and tho' they want to be separated in Government wish to be United in Friendship and hope that mutual good offices may never fail between the parent and Infant State, which is the sincere wish and desire of

Your Excellency's
Obedt. Hble. Servant,