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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from Henry Laurens to Richard Caswell
Laurens, Henry, 1724-1792
July 23, 1778
Volume 22, Pages 976-977


Philadelphia, 23rd July, 1778.


As I have nothing public in charge for your Excellency, I must request you, sir, to indulge me in this private, for the cover of six marine commissions, instructions and bonds, and of a letter to Captain Cottineau.

The Captain applied to me in York town, for a commission for his own ship, and for one or two which he said he intended to equip and to form a little squadron. Congress is not inclined to grant commissions for vessels in distant States unless special descriptions are previously laid before them. Your Excellency will be capable of judging of the propriety of Captain Cottineau’s pretensions and will act as you shall think for the benefit of the public. At this critical moment ’tis highly probable demands will be made on your Excellency for all that remain after Captain Cottineau shall be supplied.

I am told that no less than twelve prizes lately taken are advertised for sale on Tuesday next, at Egg Harbor. Vice-Admiral Count d’Estaing has captured a much greater number at Sandy Hook, some of them armed vessels and some very valuable, but we have not learned particulars.

The Admiral, finding his large ships of too great a draught of water for the bar of the Hook, after lying several days in view of the British squadron within, sailed, as we are informed, for Rhode Island, where he must be content to play a smaller game than that which he originally had in view. If General Peget and his garrison shall be compelled to surrender, the thing will not be very inconsiderable.

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I take the liberty of enclosing to your Excellency two of the latest newspapers.

I am anxious that Congress should resolve to hold no conference with men who have dared to tempt them with bribes of gold, and I trust that, through the endeavors of some diligent patriots in the House, those men will be compelled to return the bearers of their own impeachment; will be held up to the severe resentments of their much injured countrymen, and their names transmitted to posterity in characters which will render their memory infamous. I have the honor to be, with great esteem and respect, sir,

Your Excellency’s obedient servant,
His Excellency Governor Richard Caswell, North Carolina.