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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from Joseph Martin to Samuel Johnston
Martin, Joseph, 1740-1808
March 24, 1788
Volume 21, Pages 459-461


Long Island, 24th March, 1788.


The confusion of this country induces me to lay before your Excellency by Express, our present situation which is truly alarming. I must beg in part to refer to the different Papers accompanying this; also the Bearer, Capt. Irvin. I sent Saturday last to Sevier & his party requiring them to lay down their Arms, and submit to the Laws of North Carolina, but can get no answer only from Colo. Joseph Harding which I forward. Tho’ I know that on Friday last they met in Convention to concert some plan, the Bearer of my Express

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informs me that he understood that Sevier had gone towards French Broad River since the 10th Instant; that Col. Cannady with several others had gone the same way to carry on an Expedition against the Cherokee Indians which I am well assured wish to be at Peace, except the Chickomoga Party which could be easily drove out of that Country if your Excellency should recommend it. I am somewhat doubtful that Sevier and his party are embodying under the colour of an Indian Expedition to amuse us & that their object is to make another attack on the Citizens of this State, to prevent which I have ordered the different Colonels to have them men in good order until I could hear from your Excellency at which time I hope you will give me directions in what manner to proceed in this uncommon & critical situation for which I shall wait till the return of the Express before I shall take any decisive steps.

Private papers are in circulation in many parts for the People to assign in opposition to the Laws of this State Setting forth that the Taxes are heavier than they can bear; that the Poll Tax is four Dollars, &c. I must beg that you will furnish me with the Acts of the Assembly for the years 1787 & 1788; also to order matters so that the Bearer be paid for his services, as I find it a very difficult matter to employ men of candour in such business owing to payment, &c., &c.

Should the Franks still persist to oppose the Laws of this State would it not be well to order General McDowall to give some assistance as a few men from there will convince them that North Carolina is determined to protect their Citizens which the Leaders of the Rebel party assure the people that North Carolina will not interfere, that we are to settle the dispute among ourselves. My opinion is that if a few men from Burk were to come over that they would then be convinced & give up without further opposition. I find that South Carolina and Georgia have appointed Commissioners to treat with the Creeks & Cherokees, and intend to apply to the Executive of this State to appoint one also. If you have not yet proceeded to the choice of one & think me adequate to the task, I shall endeavor to deserve your good opinion. I can say nothing in favour of my abilities only Experience having had that honor conferred on me at four different Treaties and have been Indian Agent 10 years. If a Commissioner is already chosen perhaps you may think proper to direct me to attend as agent as I now fill that Commission & cannot think that the Cherokees can be drawn out in a Treaty without my assistance.

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I flatter myself I have more influence with them than any other person, all which I submit to your Excellency.

I am, &c.,