I have the pleasure of informing your Excellency of my arrival here with some muskets for this state. I shipped eight hundred and seventy-eight stand from St. Eustatia. I shall land five hundred stand at Washington; the remainder, which came in another bottom, will be at Edenton. I could not procure any thing on the faith of the state, or by barter for provisions or tobacco, as was expected. They were taught to believe in the West Indies that a bushel of salt would purchase one hundred weight of tobacco, and that two and a half a barrel of Pork. While they entertain this Idea (salt being of little value there) it will be impossible to barter for more valuable articles, the exchange to be in this State, as was suggested by some gentlemen in the Assembly. The
A large supply of arms and Clothing may be had by this from the West Indies, provided we can make remittances. Three thousand stand I am offered, and one thousand suits of clothing.
Should the present plan of importing necessaries still continue to be countenanced by the General Assembly, I shall prepare to remit as much as possible, tho' I doubt vessels cannot be procured. Freighting vessels at the present extravagant prices will not be so advantageous to us as purchasing. If the latter be practicable I must draw on you for money. I will send you the price current of articles for the West India market by the next opportunity.
A Continental Brigantine was cut out from Saley (?) by some British privateers, tho' opposed by the fire from the port. She has since been demanded, but refused. It was suggested that the Captain, ashamed, and some of his men went into the fort and assisted in protecting their vessel. The answer of the Gov. of St. Kitt's to the demand is humorous. He congratulated the Gov. of Saley on the restoration of the Island, seized by the rebel Americans. Part of the French Fleet have arrived at Martinique, but we had no accounts of the Count. Some supposed he had sailed for Europe, others to South America. We had various reports from Europe, which as I recollect I send you. The Dutch have been repeatedly solicited to take part with Britain. They made it as much as possible. It is said they have given for a reason that they did not think the intentions of the British ministry to be to the interest either of Britain or her allies, but manifestly totheir, the necessary Allies. This is credited by some in St. Eustatia. They further report that the Dutch Ambassador has been recalled from the British Court in Consideration of a demand of some vessels carried into the Texel by John Paul Jones. The Gov. of St. Eustatia imagines that the Dutch will take part with Britain. The Grand Convention will be at Versailles in April. The King of Prussia & Empress of Russia have promised their mediation. The British Fleet are in Torbay, and do not expect to put to sea till April. John Paul Jones, who sailed from Breast in a fifty Gun Ship with some frigates, went North about and did infinite damage to the British vessels. He fell in with the convoy from Norway and took the Serapis, a new fifty Gun ship, and the Countess of Scarborough, of 20 Guns; engaged the Serapis two hours, and the whole time they were so near that the Guns touched the opposite vessel. Jones lost one hundred and eighty two men and Pearson 109. Jones' ship run in the next day, and he went with his prize into the Texel, there to right them. Sir Joseph York demanded them, which was so strenuously opposed by the French minister that his demand was refused and repeatedly. Jones was received with every imaginable mark of respect by the Dutch. I expect the pleasure of seeing your Excellency within a few days. Excuse the imperfection of my letter.