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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from Abishai Thomas to Samuel Johnston
Thomas, Abishai
December 15, 1789
Volume 21, Pages 570-573


Hillsborough, 15th December, 1789.


On my arrival at this place I found the Commissioner of the United States and the Comptroller so far advanced towards closing the Accounts which have been acted upon, and the Commissioner so anxious to depart, that it was impracticable for me to wait on your Excellency in person as I designed to have done and in the mean time obtain the necessary information relative to the accounts which go forward, this being the case, I conceived it necessary to write to your Excellency by Express.

When the Accounts and Vouchers which are stated are properly arranged and packed for transportation, and I have taken possession of the Documents relative to such Statement and arrangement, and have as far as is practicable informed myself of the nature and Amount of those not acted upon, I conceive it will next be my duty to go to the different publick Officers in the State to collect such other documents and information, as they may afford in support of our Claims.

I am not capable at present of forming an accurate statement of what may be necessary but such as immediately occur to my mind are the following, viz.: All the Resolves and Proceedings of our several Provincial & State Congresses and Committees of Safety relative to raising, equipping, supplying, and paying men for Continental, Militia and Minute Service; all the Acts of Assembly which have passed for the purpose aforesaid, the Acts and Proceedings of the Governors & Councils during the War, of the State Board of War, & Council Extraordinary, from all which I have no doubt, but valuable information may be obtained more especially with respect

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to Our Claims for Militia services & Supplies and as those claims are in numerous instances not covered by Resolves of Congress; it will also be necessary to collect the Letters and orders of the Generals Commanding and other Continental Officers in the Southern Department, and it may likewise be necessary to collect such Laws as have passed for establishing Boards of Auditors, &c, for liquidating claims, whereby we may be able to shew that we exhibit none but such as we have actually paid, or assumed to pay; if any thing else occurs to your Excellency I must solicit the favour of you to inform me, and from time to time give me such further aid, instructions & orders as you may deem necessary to this service which I shall cheerfully attend to and give you Regular information of my Proceedings in the premises. As the State has honored me with this appointment I propose to relinquish every other pursuit and execute the trust reposed in me to the utmost of my power and abilities.

My Colleague being at present in Congress we cannot avail ourselves of his valuable assistance in this work, as I presume he will have to collect and arrange the Resolves of Congress which may be applicable to our purpose; this being the case and the Assembly having made no provision or allowance for Clerks to assist in case of Necessity makes the burthen fall heavy on our Shoulders, however I enter upon it with alacrity and trust I shall be able when I shall give an account of my Services to exhibit in quantity if not in quality sufficient to justify any one man.

I have not yet written to Doctor Williamson but propose doing it immediately on the receipt of your Excellency’s Answer when I shall be able to more fully inform him of what is doing and what is likely to be done and solicit his assistance in suggesting what may be further necessary.

I enclose to your Excellency some Resolves of the General Assembly relative to the duties and allowances of the Agents; on the last head you will perceive a future Assembly is to judge of and determine what compensation shall be made for services rendered prior to going to New York but in the mean time the business must be done and I am not in a situation (as to my finance) to carry it into execution without some money is advanced me, must therefore solicit your Excellency to grant Warrants in my favour of £50 each to amount of $200 for which I pledge my faith fairly & honorably to account whenever a future Assembly shall call me thereto or

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make allowances for services as Expressed in the Resolve aforesaid. I shall request the Sum in Small Warrants supposing the Treasury not to be in Cash and that I shall have to draw it out of the hands of Sheriffs or Collectors one of whom may not be able to discharge the whole.

I must also take the liberty of requesting your Excellency to take order of payment for this Express. I have contracted to pay his expences and to give him ten shillings per day exclusive for the services of himself and horse. I am not in cash even to advance this small Sum or should not trouble your Excellency on this Occasion as I could have made a charge of it in my Accounts. Since writing the foregoing the Comptroller has suggested to me and has shown me a paragraph of his Letter wherein he suggests to your Excellency the propriety of my going forward with the Commissioner of the United States to Richmond in order to continue the statement of our accounts against the United States so long as he shall continue there which will be until the Month of March; of the propriety of this measure I cannot undertake to judge but shall submit it entirely to your Excellency and conform myself according to your orders therein submitting the following facts to your consideration, viz., that the Comptroller agreeably to the Orders of the General Assembly cannot deliver any accounts or Vouchers to the Commissioner but such as are enlisted and he can take descriptive acknowledgments for same so as to establish the Claims of the State should the Vouchers be lost. The accounts alluded to are not listed or examined, that they amount to a very considerable Sum, the Accounts of Col. Long being among them, and that if the Comptrollers proposal should be acceded to the time of stating those accounts will be continued near three months longer and perhaps save to the State the Amount thus stated Unless Congress should extend the term for exhibiting the Accounts of which we have as yet no information and which Mr. Winder is of opinion will not take place.

If your Excellency thinks it most expedient to the Interest of the State to order me on to this service it is probable I may be able to return about the 15th of March, and it is also probable that with such assistance as your Excellency may think proper & necessary to allow me I may after that time be enabled to collect the necessary information and documents in support of our Claims and be forward with them by the time the Commissioners are at New York

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and will be in readiness to act upon them. If this measure is adopted my foregoing application for money is done away for the present except for a small Sum say £50 which I shall want prior to setting out for Richmond and as the going to, Services to be performed there, and returning will necessarily take up about three months I must solicit your Excellency to grant Warrants in my favour for three months salary, which I presume your Excellency will think with me ought not to be less than the allowance granted for services to be performed at New York, or if your Excellency cannot undertake to fix my salary for this service at that rate, I will agree to draw money on acount to that amount and depend on the justice & liberality of a future Assembly for making me the Allowance. Enclosed is a Certificate of the Appointment of the Agent on which I will thank your Excellency to grant a Commission and if you deem it not necessary to retain in your possession the enclosed Resolves I will thank you to return them as I have no authentic Copy of them.

I have the honor, &c., &c.,