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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from David Campbell to Richard Caswell
Campbell, David
March 18, 1787
Volume 20, Pages 641-643

(From Executive Letter Book.)

State of Franklin, Caswell County,
March 18th, 1787.

I was honored with yours of the 23rd of February for which I beg of you to Accept of my most cordial Acknowledgments. The Majority of the People of Franklin proclaim, with a degree of enthusiastic zeal, against reversion to your State, indeed I am at a loss to conjecture whether your Assembly wishes us to revert; if so, why did they treat the old faithful officers of this Country with so much Contempt: Officers who have suffered in the Common Cause, who have been faithful in the discharge of the trust reposed in them, have been displaced without even the formality of a Trial. Misrepresentation by a few Mal-contents might have been the cause of such proceedings, but surely it was a most impolitic step. If the old Officers, who were the Choice of the People and under whom they have long served, had been continued, I doubt not but all things would have been settled here agreeable to the most Sanguine wishes of your General Assembly. Such infringements on the Liberties and Privileges of a free People will never be attended with any Salutary Consequences. I also blame the Law which passed in your Assembly to enable the People here to hold partial Elections; if it was intended to divide us and set us to measuring one another, it was well concerted; but an ill planned Scheme, if intended for the good of all. The great number of Warrants which issue from your Entry taker’s Office without the Composition money being paid, is a very

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great evil, & will tend exceedingly to embarrass this Country, but I understand your Assembly have put a stop to such unfair proceedings. You mention if the people here could be brought to make a General Application to the Legislature of No. Carolina the desired object might be easily brought about. Human nature is the same in all Countries, to expect to bring a People Cordially & Unanimously to adopt even the Most Salutary Measure is not to be Expected and they will most assuredly be refractory to doubtful & exceptionable plans.

The People here, for I have been in Public Assemblies and made it my business to collect their Sentiments, dread the Idea of a Reversion. They, say, if No. Carolina is in earnest about granting them a Separation why not permit them to go on as they have begun and not involve them in inextricable difficulties by undoing the work of two or three years Past. They made offers by their Agent which they think was favorable to your Country but they rejected it with Contempt. I mean the Bill Offered by General Rutherford to your Assembly in behalf of this people. What Conditions say they would No. Carolina extort from us, were we under their laws and immediate influence? Indeed my mind is filled with a degree of painful anxiety for this people. The Sword of Justice and vengeance will I believe, be shortly drawn against those of this Country who attempt to overturn and violate the Laws and Government of Franklin, and God only knows what will be the event. If any Blood is spilt on this Occasion the Act for Partial Elections from your Country will be the cause of it, & I am Bold to say the Author of that Act was the Author of much Evil.

That your Excellency may not be in the dark about the Spirit and Determination of a Great Majority of these People in Supporting, Maintaining and Defending their beloved Franklin, I shall give you a brief and Concise detail of what has transpired here since the fate of our Memorial and personal application to the Legislature of North Carolina has been announced to us: Pains was taken to collect the minds of the people Respecting a Reversion, many who were formerly lukewarm are now flaming patriots for Franklin, those who were real Franklinites are now Burning with enthusiastic zeal, they say North Carolina has not treated us like a Parent but a step Dame; She means to sacrifice us to the Indian Savages; She has broke our old Officers under whom we fought and bled, and Placed

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over us many men unskilled in Military Achievements and who were none of our Choice. The General Assembly has been convened, steps were taken for our Internal Security with a degree of unanimity never before seen in a deliberative Assembly. A Treaty is set on foot with the Indians. The Land Office opened to the Tennessee from the So. Carolina side of French Broad & Holston Rivers. Did not interfere with the No. side where your office was opened. Cautiously avoided interfering with the Rights of Congress.

You may judge from the foregoing whether these people are in earnest or no. You must not conclude we are altogether unanimous: but I do assure you a very Great Majority, perhaps Nineteen twentieths, seem Determined to Persevere at all hazards.

I make no doubt but your Excellency will use your influence to bring Matters to a friendly and advantageous issue for both Countries, nothing that the love of Humanity can inspire me with shall be wanting on my part. Your requesting a Correspondence does me the highest honor. I feel myself inspired with a friendship for you such as can be but Seldom felt by those who have never seen each other; I wish you every happiness during your National Embassy; great expectations are raised in the minds of thinking men from the Deliberations of so venerable an Assembly.

When it suits your Public and Private Concerns I shall be happy to see you in the State of Franklin, where your Name and Character are much revered.

I am, with the highest Sentiments of Esteem,
Your Excellency’s Most Obedt. Humble Serv’t.,