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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from Samuel Johnston to Anthony Bledsoe and James Robertson
Johnston, Samuel, 1733-1816
January 29, 1788
Volume 21, Pages 442-444

[From Executive Letter Book.]

Edenton, 29th January, 1788.


I am this day favoured with your letter from Hillsborough and lament with you the deplorable situation of the Inhabitants of Davidson

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and Sumner Counties, and am very sorry the Assembly passed over the Consideration of that important Business so little to your Satisfaction. As I was not present I am a stranger to the motives that influenced their Conduct in this particular. Was my power of relieving your distress equal to the very anxious wishes I have for your safety & happiness, they should be of a very short duration, all I can do for you shall be done. I will lay your case with the Letters I have this day received relating to it before the Council of State at their first meeting. I will also send copies of these Letters to our Delegates in Congress to make such use of them as may be proper, and Congress will no doubt apply to the Resident from the Court of Spain for an Explanation of the Conduct of Col. McGilvery if he is actually an Officer of his Catholic Majesty.

My ignorance of your particular situation & the grounds of your disputes with the Indians, renders it a matter of great delicacy to offer you advice who are possessed of so many superior advantages of information. Your situation appears to me to be nearly similar to that of others who have made a settlement among, or in the Neighborhood of Savage Nations. From the early settlements in the Eastern parts of this Continent to the late & more recent settlements on the Kentucky in the West the same difficulties have constantly occurred which now oppress you, but by a series of patient sufferings, manly & spirited exertions and an unconquerable perseverance, they have been altogether or in a great measure subdued & these dangers and difficulties which were opposed to security & tranquility are in the Eastern parts of the Continent now only known from History or tradition. The same means which have succeeded so effectually with others I flatter myself will have a similar influence on your affairs, as I am convinced from the knowledge I have of several of the Inhabitants of Nashville that they are not more deficient in Wisdom & Virtue than the first settlers of this and other parts of America. Was I to hazard an opinion on this occasion, I should suppose that the safest Line of Conduct in your weak and defenceless situation would be by every means in your power to cultivate a good understanding and friendly intercourse with the Savages till you acquire greater strength by an accession of numbers. I will consider it a very great obligation if you will procure for me a good Chart or Map of our Country beyond the Mountains. I have never yet seen any that was tolerably Accurate. I hope to have the pleasure of meeting you

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at Hillsborough in July, in the mean time I beg you will believe me with great

Respect, Yours, &c.,