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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from Cornelius Harnett to Richard Caswell
Harnett, Cornelius, 1723-1781
October 04, 1778
Volume 22, Pages 985-986


Philadelphia, 4th October, 1778.


By this express your Excellency will receive the $400,000 mentioned in my last. Should there be a necessity for a further supply for marching the 3,000 militia to South Carolina, I could wish you would be pleased to mention it to your Delegates, and unless the temper of Congress should suddenly change, I believe it may be procured. Congress has found it absolutely necessary to continue the embargo until the last day of January, finding it almost impossible to supply the army and French fleet with bread unless it can be taken out of the hands of ingrocers and monopolizers. A request is accordingly made to the States for this purpose, which the President sends on by express. How far this may affect our State, I know not. No supply of bread is, however, expected from that quarter.

As the General Assembly is to sit the next month, I could wish, with my colleagues, to receive their particular commands. We find from experience that requisitions from States come with much greater certainty of success through the channel of their Governors than by a bare requisition from the Delegates, not having an instruction from authority to produce. I therefore hope your Excellency will be attentive to this circumstance.

The circumstances of the enemy still, in the opinion of Congress, seem to indicate an evacuation of their ports on the Continent. ’Tis imagined some of their troops will go to the West Indies, some to Europe and some to Halifax or Quebec. That the French are already in possession of the Island of Dominica we have pretty good authority for. It is also believed that an attack on Jamaica is also intended. We hope the French and Spaniards will cut out work

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enough for the enemy at a distance from these States, which will at least give us a breathing spell.

A large foraging party have been landed in West Jersey some time. The States have no army in that quarter to oppose them. The French fleet still remains at Boston. Lord Howe is too strong for them at sea. We do not hear of any new instructions received by the British Commissioners. Whether Britain will acknowledge our independence or not, seems therefore doubtful as yet.

I take the liberty to enclose the last newspapers and shall be happy in receiving a line from you. I have the honor to be, with great respect,

Your Excellency’s most obedient and very humble servant,
His Excellency Governor Caswell.