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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from John Williams to Allen Jones
Williams, John, 1731-1799
February 01, 1779
Volume 22, Pages 989-990


Halifax, February 1st, 1779.

Honorable Sir:—

Permit me, through you, to signify to the Honorable House of Senate my resignation of the office of Delegate for this State in the Continental Congress.

When I was called to this important trust by the suffrages of my fellow citizens I was truly sensible how unequal I was to the execution of it. My private feelings, however, gave way to the public sense, and I did not think myself at liberty to decline that share of the public councils which the Legislature of my country had thought proper to assign me. To have refused might have been imputed to

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a reluctance to have stepped forth into a distinguished point of view, lest a distinction should mark me for the resentment of our enemies, or that I wished to reap the fruits of the active councils and endeavors of others, in peace and retirement, without making any sacrifice of my own personal ease or interests to obtain them.

I had been happy if my exertions had been any proportion to the weight of my duty imposed upon me. I can only say, that whatever defects have marked my public conduct, they are not to be attributed to indolence or inattention; my heart has ever glowed with the most enlarged wishes for the full completion of the object of the American contest, and my best powers intended to have a share in effecting it.

It is with reluctance that I now ask leave to retire, not to a state of inactive inattention to public affairs, but to a more confined sphere of them, when I may have an opportunity to exercise my talents upon subjects not so inadequate to them as my late employment, and when, from their requiring less enlarged abilities, I may have a greater probability of being useful.

This, my own private affairs, the particular situation of my family, and the duty I owe my connections in domestic life, urge too importunately for me to resist. The expense to which I was necessarily exposed while in Pennsylvania to support myself becoming the character of a Delegate of this respectable State, and the injury the property I hold in this country necessarily suffered in my absence from the want of a personal attention, if private motives would avail, plead strongly for this measure.

But what you, sir, of the members of the House will anticipate, the ease with which my place may be supplied by a character more equal to the office and who will do greater honor to the appointment renders a further apology unnecessary. I cannot quit my seat, however, without bearing the fullest testimony to the abilities and integrity of my colleagues and congratulate the Assembly upon the happy choice they have made. I have the honor to be, with great esteem, sir,

Your most obedient and very humble servant,
The Hon. Allen Jones, Esq.