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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from Richard Caswell to William Blount
Caswell, Richard, 1729-1789
March 01, 1787
Volume 20, Pages 628-631

(From Executive Letter Book.)

No. Carolina, Kinston, March 1st, 1787.


I have the honor to acknowledge the rec’t of your favor of the 30th Decr., 12th & 28th January & 5th & 10th of February, all which arrived at this place near the same time and a few days past with a packet of Newspapers. For these letters & several prior to their dates permit me to thank you.

Agreeable to yours of the 28th Decr., I have written to the several Naval Officers to furnish Attested Copies of Accot’s of the exports of Articles of the Growth and Manufacture of this State for the years 1785 & 1786, & also of the shipping in which such Articles were exported and to what nation they belonged; these returns I directed to be made to me to the end that one Copy may be furnished the delegates in Congress, one Copy to the deputies in the proposed Convention and one Copy lodged with the Executive for the use of the General Assembly.

Mr. Dowse, altho’ he was by your Letter introduced to me and every mark of respect shewn him by an early introduction of his business to the Assembly, was not so complaisant as to either take his leave of me or give me the notice of his leaving the Town. It is true I was absent from Fayetteville about ten days, in which Time his business had been before the Committee, and the day before he left that Place I returned there & the next day as he drove out of

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Town I saw him from the door of the house in which I lodged, he made his Bow but did not inform me that he was then set out for New York, nor did I know it till several days after; thus Sir, I account for not writing by Mr. Dowse. You have discovered by the powers the Assembly have given the delegates to dispose of our public Tobacco that Mr. Dowse was mistaken in the Idea he had taken up of the intentions of the State; your suggestions I presume were well founded, as ’tis possible he might have heard some important members not unthinkingly express themselves to the effect he mentioned, & you know ’tis easy for a man Disposed to Derogate from the Consequence, Credit or Dignity of a State to find out from the bulk of our Assembly sufficient matter dropt by such members as you have directed to go upon. I am really sorry to learn that you have amongst you those who can dwindle to such low subterfuges to answer their purposes in keeping the State of No. Carolina from her Right, in common with her sister States, of having a president chosen in order from her delegation and it gives me pain for the feelings of Gentlemen, Circumstanced as our Delegates must be on such an occasion. I do not wonder you have determined to return when your half year’s tour is out. I presume by this time Mr. Ashe is on his way & will arrive before you set out; Mr. Burton from whom I have just heard, will go on in a few days; Mr. Macon has resigned, so that Mr. Hawkins, Mr. Ashe and Mr. Burton I expect will Compleat the service of this year.

I have written to the late Commissioners for purchasing the public Tobacco to furnish me with a Return agreeable to your advice, that is of the particular places of delivery, the quantity and quality at each place, & if it has not been lately reweighed & reinspected at the ports of delivery to have the same done and signified in their Respective returns, and as soon as those Returns come to hand they shall be forwarded to our Delegates in Congress; in the mean time I think they may be in a great measure governed in their proposals for the sale of the Tobacco by the return Certified by me to the Board of Treasury. I cannot conveniently have recourse to the Copies of my Letter on that head to the Board or I would not give you the trouble of calling for the account there.

I am sorry you are still uninformed of the proceedings of our last Session of Assembly & more so that I cannot even now give you the satisfaction of knowing their General transactions. I have a list of

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the Laws passed and if I can find it I will enclose it to you. Hodge undertook to print the laws at Fayetteville where, according to a statute lately enacted, the originals were by order of the Assembly left for that purpose, so that I have not been able to get a sight of more than two which were immediately published, one for appointing deputies to the proposed Convention at Philadelphia of which I enclose you Copy, & the other for establishing a Court of Oyer for the Tryal of Persons charged with frauds on the Treasury; this I believe I also forwarded a Copy of requesting you would apply to the War Office for the Muster Rolls, which request I beg leave to repeat as the Commissioners, to-wit: Thos. Person, Wm. Green & Matthew Lock, cannot regularly proceed on a reinquiry into the Justness of the accounts passed by the former Commissioners without the Muster Rolls or authenticated Copies.

The Court of Oyer is over, what business remains unfinished was adjourned into the Superior Court to be held next Month at Halifax. At Warrenton Benj. McCullock, John Sheppard, John McNees, John Price, William Faircloth, Thos. Butcher, Jas. Holmes McCarthy, Mann Phillips, & two or three others whose names I do not recollect, were Convicted of Frauds & Misdemeanors; Mr. McCullock fined in £4,000, Price and Faircloth I believe in £1,000 each, McNees and Sheppard in £400 each & others in proportion; all except McCulloch & Sheppard to stand in bail, McCullock imprisoned 12 Mos., Sheppard 9 Mos., Sheppard I am told was released from the pillory on the application of old Mrs. Hawkins & other ladies who petitioned in his behalf.

Mr. Willie Jones declines going to the Convention, I shall be under difficulties in supplying his place, I fear. Dr. Williamson I have in view & who instead of myself I know not, I do not think I can go, but if I do perhaps I may visit the delegates at New York, but suppose you will be come away before May. I do not recollect that I have any thing in this Time further to say but my best respects attend you and my other friends at Congress. Mr. Hawkins you informed me has arrived, I was really glad to hear he was so; I have, and always since I knew him, had a warm affection for him and notwithstanding the opinion that some hold respecting his conduct as a Commissioner under the authority of Congress, in the late Indian

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treaties as Delegate of No. Carolina, I am sure he will discharge his duty to his Country in a becoming manner.

I am Dear Sir, with sentiments of the Greatest esteem and regard,
Your most obed. & very humble Servant.,