Documenting the American South Logo
Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from William Sharpe to Richard Caswell
Sharpe, William, 1742-1818
August 05, 1778
Volume 22, Pages 760-761


Salisbury, 5th August, 1778.


Your favor covering a commission which your Excellency honored Colonel Lenoir, Major Winston and myself with for holding a treaty with the Cherokee Middle and Valley Settlement Inians, came to my hand early in May and was immediately communicated to the other two gentlemen, who were of opinion with me that the proposed treaty could not be held consistent with the honor of government, unless the then session of Assembly made further provision, and in consequence thereof that your Excellency would give us further advice.

However, it appears that nothing was done. I therefore take the liberty to inform your Excellency that it was our opinion that before another treaty is held a penal law is necessary for the punishment of those who violate the articles of the former; otherwise we may be upbraided by the Indians for giving what they call lying talks on that occasion.

If we are under such disadvantages as not to be able to support the veracity and dignity of government, we think it better to refrain from treating.

Another circumstance that is discouraging is the small sum which government hath proposed to enable your Excellency to hold the treaty. Considering the present enormous price of beef, flour, wagon hire, tobacco, whisky and many other things which may be necessary

-------------------- page 761 --------------------
in order to support the character of government with those people, if we had proceeded to hold a treaty our just and reasonable claims have amounted so far above one thousand pounds that doubtless might have surprised the Legislature.

I can assure your Excellency on my own part that the sole motive for dealying the treaty is the preservation of the honor and interest of government.

As the fall of the year is the most convenient season for holding a treaty (which I conceive exceedingly necessary), and the Assembly has unexpectedly met, perhaps such measures may be adopted as may enable us or any that your Excellency may think proper to appoint, to hold the treaty. If so, with due submission, I mention the propriety of your Excellency’s addressing a talk to those people by way of introduction to the business and sending therewith a white wampum belt, that (according to this figure) may reach from you to their beloved men. Sir,

Your most obedient humble servant,
Governor Caswell.