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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from Robert Bignall to Alexander Martin
Bignall, Robert, ca. 1730-1787
October 10, 1781
Volume 22, Pages 526-527

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Tarbobough, Oct. 10th, 1781.

His Excellency, Alexander Martin, Esquire, Governor, &c., &c.

By express.


I am just informed of the Arrival of a little Schooner at New Bern from Martinique with 570 French Musketts and 1,000 lbs. Gun Powder. The Marquis of Bretigney had arrived at Martinique before this little Schooner left it, and taught the Owner to believe that he might obtain two half Joes in Gold for each Muskett as soon as he should arrive in Carolina, but from what he has heard of the Scarcity of Gold in this Country, I am told he will barter them for Tobacco, for which Purpose I am going down to morrow and expect to purchase, but how they will be paid for I know not, but make no manner of Doubt that your Excellency will see that my Contract is complied with. I have not near as much Tobacco in my Hands as will pay for them, and should that be given for Arms I shall have no Stock left to carry on Trade with, and we owe some considerable Debts. The 7th September his Excellency Gov Burke wrote me that he was impowered by Act of Assembly to purchase, borrow, or impress Tobacco for the Purpose of procuring Arms and military Stores, and requested me to purchase all of those Articles I could and that he would see that my promises should be complied with; also to impress all the Tobacco at this Warehouse, at Washington and wherever else I could discover any. I accordingly wrote his Excellency informing him the quantity of Tobacco at this Place and to whom it belonged, but did not impress it as I knew it could not be got away for want of water in the River which is still the case; but I know it will be sent away as soon as Possible and should your Excellency find it absolutely necessary that this Tobacco should be impressed the sooner the better. Here is upwards of 100 hhds. besides what I have in my hands as Commissioner of Trade; but this disagreeable task of impressing I must request Your Excellency will not be put on me. Indeed I think it may be done with more propriety by some other Person, as it is probable I may have it to pay away, and can then receive it from the Person who

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impresses it. Should I purchase those Arms and Gun Powder I will immediately inform you of the Contract.

I am with due Esteem,
Your Excellency’s most obedient Servt.,

Should Governor Martin not be at Bute Old Court House, I beg this may be sent him immediately.