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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter John Whitaker to Richard Caswell
Whitaker, John
July 15, 1787
Volume 20, Pages 747-748

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(From Executive Letter Book.)

Halifax, 15th July, 1787.

Dear Sir:

I am to inform your Excellency that my situation with respect to the State prisoners are truly distressing. If I comply with the sentence Must sink a Considerable Sum out of my private property or they must starve, for no one can be employed to Cook & carry their Victuals to the Gaol on what is allowed by law; now Sir, this leaves me in a very dangerous situation. I can assure your Excellency that I have had no other Resource but my private property for to support them, ever since I had charge of them, & now is run out, for corn has never been less than 48s per Barrel and bacon 1 6d per lb. and can’t be got for that at present, which has cost from 4s to 4 6d per day ever since I had them. Should have been happy had it been in my power to waited on your Excellency on this subject, as it is otherwise must submit my case, as well as the prisoners, to your better judgment, for I can assure your Excellency that it is out of my power to supply those men without something in the Cash way; should you think it advisable to give me a small warrant on the Treasury for that purpose I will Execute a Bond for accounting for it to your Excellency without delay. Permit me Sir, to drop a hint or two relative to the prisoners Confinement, now Sir, it is no secret that the Clamour of the people are Abated concerning those Men and are convinced of the impropriety of their Confinement at this late day, certain it is that the imprisonment of some of these men must operate against the State than otherwise; no doubt of the justness of their Sentence, but humanity Shudders at their Confinement, Especially when they are like to starve; that nothing would give more Satisfaction to me than the suspension of those persons if not entirely for a few months until such times provisions could be procured; if your Excellency should not think advisable to suspend the popular part of them, altho’ it is equally hard if not harder on them, there is a part in my opinion might be suspended as they are beneath

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the notice of the State. Let me once more pray your Excellency to grant such relief as to you may seem just and Meet.

While I remain, very Respectfully, your
Most Obedt. & very hum. Servt.,