Documenting the American South Logo
Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from Robert Bignall to Alexander Martin
Bignall, Robert, ca. 1730-1787
November 02, 1781
Volume 22, Pages 597-598


Tarborough, 2nd Nov., 1781.


Two days past I acknowledge the receipt of your Favour of the 28th inst. covering an order in my Favour on Major Absalom Tatum for Sixty Thousand Pounds weight of Tobacco, which I immediately wrote him to send down to this Place and which I wish may come in time. I am uneasy for fear the Tobacco for the Arms and Powder should not be delivered agreeable to Promise, Boats and Hands to convey it down will, I know, be very difficult to be got, as I have not Specie to pay them. I had in my possession at the Time I made the purchase 160 hhds. Tobacco containing 184,000 Nett, but have not been able to Purchase any since as I have not a Bushel of Salt on Hand. I know of no other public Tobacco at any Place, but believe there may be some at Dailey, on Roanoke, which was formerly purchased by Col. Robert Salter and Mr. Benjamin Hawkins in order to pay Capt. Baritz for Cannon. I also think a considerable quantity of Tobacco was purchased by Col. Robert Salter on this River, for the same Purpose. What became of it I know not. It is possible that Mr. Nathan Kears, of Washington, can give you some account of it. I shall be at Edenton in a Few Days and will make some Inquiry about the Tobacco at Dailey’s. On the 7th September, Governor Burke wrote me to impress all the Tobacco at this Place and Washington and wherever else I could discover any, and to make him a return immediately that he might distinguish between the property

-------------------- page 598 --------------------
of the Speculator and that of the real Merchant who means to export. I think I wrote you that I did not undertake to impress any, but then wrote His Excellency informing him as near as I could the Quantity of Tobacco then at this Place and the Persons to whom it belonged. There is now at this warehouse about 150 Hhds. Tobacco exclusive of what I have notes for. This chiefly belongs to Mr. Richard Blackledge, and Messrs. Blounts. The quantity at Washington I know not. Governor Burke also wrote informing me of a Prize and requested that I would go to the Place where her Cargo was to be sold and to engage for the Public all the Military, Quarter Masters’ and Hospital Stores and Cloathing. All the Cannon with their Apparatus and Ammunition and every other Article that could be useful to the Public, and that he would take care that my promises should be complied with but this Letter came too late to hand, or it is likely I would have made some considerable Purchases for the State. We have not as yet any Accounts of the Arrival of the Marquise de Britegny. As soon as I hear of his Arrival, shall take care to give you the earliest intelligence. I am under the necessity of seeing to the delivery of the Tobacco for the Arms and Powder myself. Not a Person in this part of the State will render the Public the least Assistance. ’Tis therefore, not in my power to attend the General Assembly. About 200 Militia from this and Edenton District are, and have been for some time past at this Place.

I have the honor to be with due respect,
Your most obedient and very humble servant,

Robt. Bignall’s Letter, 2nd Nov., 1781.

To the Honorable Alexander Martin, Esq., Speaker of the Senate, Governor, &c., &c.