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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from Robert Smith to Thomas Burke
Smith, Robert
August 09, 1781
Volume 22, Pages 556-557

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Edenton, 9th Aug., 1781.


On my parting with you at Wake I promised I would examine into the real State of Matters here and give you the earliest Intelligence. Since I came home (last week) I have made it my business to do so, and on Enquiry find no Person hath on hand, or engaged any quantity of Tobacco worth Notice. The Impressment at Pitch Landing and the Destroying the Tobacco at South quay hath in their effects ruined the Trade of this Place for the present. I say in their Effects for I mean not to hint by either or both (the individuals suffered) the trading men were ruined, this was not the case, but some were hurt, some disgusted and all confoundedly frightened, so that so far as I can learn, they have ordered all the Vessels to return to other Ports. This Prevents their being anxious about procuring Tobacco, knowing it may at any time be impressed. Your Excellency may believe me, trade will never wear a clear Countenance while this cloud hangs over her Head. I hope the sweet Gale of Peace may soon drive it to the region from whence it was produced; that Commerce may again smile like the lovely Nymph who never was refused. There is but one vessel now here setting out and not one sea vessel in the Harbour which has never been the Case before, since I came to Edenton. Did the Salvation of the State depend on it, One of the Vessels ordered by the Assembly could not be fitted out; no cannon, no military stores. The Commissioners have applied in Virginia without success. They sent down the Galley some time ago which was taken and brought u pthe Galley the Tories ran away with from Boiter. The rascals carried away all her materials but forgot to set fire to her. I fancy they were in too great a hurry. They had fitted her out it seems with intention to plunder on the Sounds, but were sooner overtaken than they expected. Gen’l Gregory occupies the Post at the Great Swamp not having a sufficient number of Men to maintain his former Station, various and vague are the accounts from Virginia, not worth writing.

I shall pay due attention to your Memorandums when I have it in my Power, but every thing has been hid away here in such a Manner I really believe it would not be harder for the Enemy to find them than the real owners. The intolerable Heat of the Weather and the

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slender State of my Health prevents me at present from making search, but I mean to have an Overhaul ere long. Should any thing of importance happen this way shall not fail to write you.

I have the honor to be
Your Excellency’s Most Obedient Servant,