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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from Hugh Williamson to Samuel Johnston
Williamson, Hugh, 1735-1819
March 30, 1789
Volume 21, Pages 541-542

[From Executive Letter Book.]

New York, 30th March, 1789.


By a Letter from Wilmington I received a Letter dated the 13th Inst. in which is the following paragraph, viz: “The French Consul of this State who you know resides here, informs me that no vessel from North Carolina will in future be admitted to enter any Port in the French West Indies, unless they clear from the Port where he is, to-wit, Wilmington.”

Tho’ I had no Instructions on this head, I conceived that such a Measure should not be passed over without diligent Attention, since it is probable that more than three fourths of our Vessels bound for the French West Indies pass out by Ocracoke and to oblige those vessels to call at Wilmington would be insufferable.

The present situation of our State is doubtless somewhat singular,

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as we are not formally in the Union and have no Claims under Treaty to definitive privileges. In the meantime knowing that the State is considered by Foreigners as growing into much importance, and that they take it for granted that we shall presently confederate, I presumed that the Representations of a Delegate from North Carolina would not be neglected. Accordingly I prepared a Memorial on the Subject of the late Regulation, which I put into the hands of the Minister of France. I also stated at some length to the Consul General of France my objections to that Measure. I shall not trouble you with a transcript of those papers, for I am sure you will do me the justice to believe that as a Publick Servant, I endeavoured not to commit the honor of the State. I must however in general observe that I never had occasion to converse with those Gentlemen on any subject concerning the Commerical Interest of our State, but they seemed desirous to meet our wishes by promoting our Interest with respect to the regulation in question. I have the satisfaction to observe that you need not apprehend being troubled with the Complaints of our Merchants on that Subject. Our Trade will be permitted to move in its usual Channel till a better one can be formed, and I think the time is not very far distant when the Citizens of our State must profit considerably by Commerical Regulations to which the Court of France will probably agree.

With great Respect, &c.,