Letter from Joseph Leech to Abner Nash
Leech, Joseph, 1720-1803
Volume 15, Pages 69-71
COL. JOSEPH LEECH TO GOV. ABNER NASH.
Newbern, Sept. 5th, 1780.
On my coming home yesterday from Kingston, saw Col. Cogdell, who told me he had dispatches from Congress for your Excellency, but could not get an Express to carry them to Hillsborough. Not knowing but they might be of Considerable Consequence just at this time of the Assembly's siting, have got one of the drafted Militia, Elijah Fisher, to carry them immediately up, promising also to keep him employed on his return, going up & down to Kingston with corn and such other articles as are wanted to be carried by water for the Army. As hands are not to be hired at this time for that purpose, I am obliged to employ some of the decrepped for that purpose, as there is constant employ for one boat, and hope your Excellency will approve of it. I have sent up 9 hhds. of rum & 14 Casks Coffee already to Kingston for the use of the Army, and shall send more rum, Coffee & Corn by the
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boat this trip, (as she is now in town,) with the remainder of the 400 stand of arms and Pistols that come from Martinique with the Marquis of Britany; upwards of three hundred stand were sent up with the Saddles, (& I think the bridles,) in 4 waggons that went from Collins yesterday Morn, that are at Kingston, I suppose, by this time. The 4 waggons had just returned from Duplin Court House, where they left their corn & rum that they were carrying from Newbern for our Army, not knowing where further to Carry it. Doct. Guion's Schooner, Capt. Church, has just come up to town from St. Eustatia, which place he left the 24th of August; says Capt. Gurling's Schooner was taken out of St. Martins, with 2 Ships, Capt. Brown & Lewis mounting 20 guns each, two brigs, and 2 Schooners, all Americans, by 7 Sail of English Frigates, and that the Americans in St. Eustatia were in daily Expectation of the same fate, and were in great confusion, getting their Effects ashore, & some stripping their Vessels upon sight of some English passing by. I am sorry for your Loss in Capt. Curling, but he had got all his cargo on shore at St. Martins, except his Lumber, and was in some hopes of buying his Vessel again of the St. Kitts Merchant that bought her, when Capt Church Left her at St. Kitts. By the proceedings of the English at the Dutch ports, & church sayed the same is Expected at St. Croix, the Dutch certainly must declare war agst. England. Capt. Church says that he heard in Staten that the Dutch in Europe demanded every third man from the Merchant ships, before they would be cleared out, to fit out their men of war. Eight or ten prisoners, that were mostly the tory's from Bladen, & Mr.Gordon & Mr. Vail's negroes, made their escape last Night from our Gaol; amongst the Tory's one by the name of Lewis, that a Lieut. Commission was found on him, was one. I shall keep sending up to Kingston the remainder of what the Marquis brought in, with the remainder of the rum, Coffee, &c., for the use of the Army, as fast as I can, as the further it is up the country the less land Carriage it will take to the Army.
I am, Your Excellency's most obedt. Hum. Servt.,
P. S. The Bearer carries up Letters from Staten for Mr. Hawkins, in which perhaps there may be the News of the times there. Capt. Church carried out a quantity of tobacco & stock for Mr. Hawkins.
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Before I got to town yesterday Capt. Moore had gone back to Core Sound, and had stoped 12 six weight of powder for the freight of 42 bbls or Cask, & 2 horn Saddles he brought in his Vessel from Martinique of the Marquis's stores, saying that he was entitled to 25 pc. Cash for his freight, which I think is too much, which is more than even 25 per Cask for the powder, but he says that 2 of it he kept for his part of the Saddles. The Bills of Lading says he is to have Customary freight; if he is not gone before this Express comes back, I should be glad your Excellency would direct me what to do. I have some thoughts of sending a writ to Core Sound for the powder, in your Excellency's name. As it is shipped on act. of the United States, I am told he said he wanted a draft on Congress or continental money for the freight, but that would have been out of my power to have given him had I been at home.
The rest of the Marquis' articles were brought by the Eagle packet, Capt.G. House; no freights to be paid, as she belongs to the United States.