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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
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Letter from William Hooper to Sir [President of the Provincial Congress of North Carolina?]
Hooper, William, 1742-1790
October 29, 1776
Volume 10, Pages 871-872

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[From MS. Records in Office of Secretary of State.]
Letter from William Hooper, Delegate from North Carolina to the Continental Congress, to the Congress at Halifax.

Philadelphia, Oct. 29th, 1776.

Honoured Sir,

By my worthy Colleague Mr Penn, I do myself the honour to transmit a resolution of the Continental Congress which bears immediate relation to the State of North Carolina. The Congress having been informed that the Armed vessels belonging to the Enemy have lately quitted the River of Cape Fear, and have proceeded to the Northward, have bestowed their thoughts upon the practicability of fortifying that entrance into your State, and excluding the British Men of War. The importance of such a measure must weigh as powerfully with you as with them, I am well assured that nothing will be wanting on your part to carry it into Execution with all possible dispatch. As this is the only Port in the State of North Carolina, into which the Enemies can introduce ships of any considerable force, should they be prevented here, we shall have nothing to fear from any forces which they may send against us in the ensuing Winter. The Harbour of Cape fear will furnish a Secure receptacle for our own trading Vessels, and those of foreigners who from this advantage may be induced to prefer ours to the ports of other States. The Privateers of the several states, as well as the Continental armed Vessels will carry any prizes which they make to the Southward, into No: Carolina when they are apprized of the protection which they and their Captures will receive, and by these means we shall be supplied with the many articles of which we now feel the most pressing necessity. We are aware of the scarcity of heavy Cannon in your state & have therefore procured a recommendation to you to apply to South Carolina to aid you in that respect. We flatter ourselves that it may produce the effect we wish, as it will be nothing but a reciprocal Civility and what North Carolina is well entitled to for the ready and ample succour afforded to South Carolina when in imminent danger from its Enemies. Our own Guns Small as they are may be made useful and I know not how more essentially. The Continental Troops will be employed in this service, & the Expence arising from the hire of negroes to perform the most laborious part of the operation will be considerable,

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but must appear contemptible when weighed against the publick emolument which will result from it.

You will observe that this is to be executed at the Expence of your own particular state; a recommendation of a similar kind went to South Carolina, in consequence of which they have erected very great & very expensive fortifications at their own cost. It becomes Economy in you to bear this Expense yourself, rather than by making it Continental, expose yourself to pay your proportion of the large fortifications which have been or may hereafter be erected in the Eastern States. Your proportion only of the Connecticut forts would amount to as much as the whole of those proposed for your colonial security. In this case therefore it will be political (at least for us) to suffer each state to bear its own burdens.

Should the Convention think it proper to apply to the Continental Congress for the Assistance of an Engineer to execute this proposal, I shall upon being informed thereof immediately take the proper steps to procure one and send him on.

I am Sir With great Respect
to Your self & the Convention
Your's & their most Obedt
Humble Servant
WILL. HOOPER.