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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from Samuel Johnston to Joseph Martin
Johnston, Samuel, 1733-1816
April 12, 1788
Volume 21, Pages 462-464

(From Executive Letter Book.)

Edenton, 12th April, 1788.


I am very much concerned to find from your Letter of the 24th of last month which is now before me that some of the people in your Neighborhood have been drawn into a dangerous Riot, and that the

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lives of some Citizens have been lost, in consequence thereof I am determined to make a strict enquiry into the matter & for that purpose shall summon the Council to meet at Hillsborough during the sitting of the Convention, in the meantime I would recommend to you and the other Officers of Government to preserve peace and good order by Mild & conciliatory measures, & assure the people that I will do everything in my power to protect & support the good & faithful Citizens in the full enjoyment of all their Lawful Rights & Privileges, at the same time that I will exert the whole powers of Government to bring to Condign punishment all such as shall presume to violate the laws and disturb the peace of the State, and this I hope to effect by a proper Exertion of the Laws without endangering the life of any one good Citizen but if any number of men shall enter into a Combination to oppose the execution of the Laws means will be immediately adopted to convince them that there is no power in the State, superior to the Laws.

You will do everything in your power to cultivate a good understanding with the Indians & prevent by all means any Hostilities or Insult from being committed on them by the Citizens of this State; if the Indians should become the aggressors which I think there is little reason to apprehend, proper steps must be taken to counteract them, but I would not advise to take arms on every vague Report on any Injury or outrage committed by outlaws & vagrants and I fear that it some times happens that the crimes committed by our own people are charged to the Indians. Should the people in that part of the Country wantonly involve themselves in an Indian War without any real necessity, but with a view to harrass and drive them from their settlements I cannot promise them any assistance from this side the Mountain; on the Contrary, if they should unavoidably be led to take up arms to defend themselves they may promise themselves every thing from the known justice of the Assembly. As there is every reason to believe that the Cherokees entertain a disposition to continue in peace with us it has not been thought necessary to appoint any commissioner to Treat with them at this time, if the States of South Carolina & Georgia should think proper to call upon this State to assist them with our Councils in treating with the Creek Indians, I shall Consult the Council of State with regard to the appointment of a Commisioner for that purpose and will at the same time lay your pretensions before them. I have given

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Capt. Irvin a draught on the Treasury for £15 for which he is to be accountable & to lay his claim before the next Assembly.

I am, &c.,