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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from Richard Caswell to John Sevier
Caswell, Richard, 1729-1789
February 23, 1787
Volume 22, Pages 672-673


Kinston, 23rd February, 1787.


I was favored with your letter of the 28th of October, on the Subject of a Separate & Independent Government on your side of the Apalachian, which I did myself the Honor of laying before the General Assembly. Their Resolutions & determinations on that Subject, I had flattered myself, it would be in my Power to have forwarded You Copies of by this Time, & by my son Winston, who goes out to your Country on business of mine; but the Printer who undertook to Compleat the Public business in his way at Fayetteville, has not furnished me; it must, therefore, suffice that I acquaint you for the present that the Assembly from the Representation of persons from among yourselves, was induced to believe it was proper for the people to return to subjection, to the Laws and Government of No. Carolina that they are not yet of strength & Opulence Sufficient to Support an Independent State, that they, the Assembly, wish to continue the benefit & Protection of the State towards them until such Time as their Numbers & wealth will enable them to do for themselves. When they are, the Assembly are sure a separation may take place; in the Mean Time the most friendly intercourse between the

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Citizens on the Eastern & Western Waters is strongly Recommended; and as the people westward of the Apalachian, have received no benefit from Government for the two years last past, they are willing to exempt them from the payment of the Public Taxes. Thus, Sir, you have in Substance as far as I recollect, the amount of the Proceedings of the Assembly, save the appointment of Civil & Military Officers for three old & a new County, the Brigade to be Commanded by Evan Shelby, Esq. In the Civil Department Judge Campbell is Reappointed, and the representatives Carried out Commissions for the County Officers, Civil and Military. I have not a doubt but a new Government may be shortly established if the people would unite, submit to the form of Government & Petition for a Separation. This, I think, the only Constitutional Mode; and I firmly believe, if pursued will be a means of effecting the Separation on Friendly Terms, which I much wish. I cannot say, but I have my own satisfaction in View, as I expect, if life & Health & strength Lasts, to lay my bones on the Western waters. Twelve months will bring about a release to me, from Public Employment, and it is my intention then to visit that Country once more. And if I can find a place to secure an agreeable private retreat, for the remainder of my Time I mean to establish it as the place of my residence. I wish you and your Friends to Consider the propriety of these Measures, and if you think proper to adopt them, you will, I think, answer your views with respect to a new Government, and come a Shorter way to Obtain the same, than by divisions among Yourselves, for there will be greater Obstructions in your way than those Occasioned by the mere Opinion of the people here. These are my Candid Sentiments, I may be Mistaken, but Time will evince the propriety, or otherwise, of my Observations.

I am with much esteem & respect,
Sir, Your Most Obedient & very humble servant,

P. S. My son Winston, who delivers you this, may stand in need of your Countenance. Any Civilities you are pleased to extend towards him, will always be Acknowledged by yours, &c.,

R. C.
The Hon’ble John Sevier, Esq.