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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from Robert Williams to the North Carolina Council of Safety
Williams, Robert
June 20, 1776
Volume 22, Pages 745-746


Beaufort, Carteret County, June the 20th, 1776.

Respected Friends:

The 16th instant I found a few lines from James Coor, dated 7th of June, left in a public house in Beaufort. I expected a matter of so much importance would have been forwarded with more expedition and care. John Easton received the letter to him the day before, and sent Express immediately to my house 20 miles, that’s the Distance. But he knew not there was any letter for me,

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and I wondered to receive orders or intimation at second hand, however went to Beaufort the day following; and went home the same evening, dissatisfied with the laconic contents of my friend Coor’s epistle, giving account indeed of my letter being laid before you, and that £500 was ordered for the present into John Easton’s hands to carry on Salt works. But ’tis not so Expressive as I could wish, as I know not upon what terms I am going to neglect my own Business which is not trifling, to begin great works when the Season is far advanced, and but every requisite wanting in a place they are very difficult to procure.

The resolves of the Congress I had before, and I do not consider myself as acting under that Capacity but as director & Superintendant at 16 shillings per diem works are carried on and the Overlooking of the people necessary. I am glad you propose John Easton as Commissioner, as he will be of great secrvice and necessary assistance to me; has exerted himself a great deal already, but I will never agree that any other man shall share in the bounty or to keep more Cats than Catches mice.

I brought my Circumferentor and Chain down and with John Easton and others, went and laid off ten acres and 40 ps. on Gallant’s Neck, viz: 82 Po. on front and 20 poles back. There is good clay there but does not go so deep as I could wish. However, what we may want in depth I will add in the Surface of my reservoir parts, and it will exale the faster. I have sent people off for Easton’s Tun Timber, advertised for spades and have some promised. Have engaged men to make wheel barrows & raft down Plank. Have ordered nails to be made. Easton is now sending off to New Bern for Pork, &c. Every thing that is possible shall be done. But if I was much younger and had a back of steel, the Season is too far advanced to do great matters. Would have declined it altogether, but as I had offered my services, was afraid the public would have blamed me for not using my endeavours. I have already travelled 200 miles, on the occasion. Neglected my own business of rice planting, to my evident prejudice of about £80. Perhaps you will blame me for such strong inclination of being of Public service; as in general Charity begins at home.

I am with due regard your assured friend,
To the Council.