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Letter from Benjamin Hawkins and Hugh Williamson to Alexander Martin
Hawkins, Benjamin, 1754-1816; Williamson, Hugh, 1735-1819
January 28, 1783
Volume 16, Pages 736-737

HONS. B. HAWKINS AND HU. WILLIAMSON TO GOV. MARTIN.
[From Executive Letter Book.]

Philadelphia, January 28th, 1783.

Sir:

After passing an Ordinance for regulating the Post-Office the Southern States have at length obtained a Resolution of Congress “That the Postmaster General be directed to continue the Southern Post to Savannah in Georgia, and that the Superintendent of Finance furnish the money necessary for the purpose.”

By our Confederation Congress is not permitted to raise a revenue out of the profits of the Post Office. But that Office should maintain itself in the time of Peace, it doubtless will; with the addition of many by-posts. At present it would pay its own expence from Boston to Petersburg. But the further continuation will prove a tax on the Treasury of near two thirds of the expence of post riders. Under the British Government for similar reasons the post did not ride on Southern roads more than once a fortnight. He is now ordered to ride once a Week; and if we have industry & wisdom enough to promote the trade of our Country it is hoped that our own commercial correspondence may support the post in a few years at the present rates paid for Letters. In the meanwhile as we have observed, the post will be a tax on the Treasury & though we have been attentive as in duty bound to promote the post, it is equally our duty to express our fears that the post may soon be discontinued, unless some attention is had in our State to regulating both the ferries and the post roads.

In order to accommodate the large trading towns it is necessary that the post should cross the broad ferry at Edenton. We presume that the broad ferries near Bath and Edenton may readily be

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shunned, by crossing at Washington. The causeway at Wilmington is said at present to be absolutely impracticable. We presume that Government will think proper to interfere in this matter and cause the bridges and roads to be properly repaired. With respect to the expense of ferries, as far as it relates to individuals it is not our duty to make any remarks; but we hope that the County Courts will enable the Post to pass at the antient Peace price, and if the Courts have at present no such power we flatter ourselves that the General Assembly will give them such power; or will take the necessary steps on the subject. For, at a time when Letters are carried & delivered at the antient Peace price, which is the case at present, the public have a right to expect that the Post shall be enabled to travel at the antient Price. It is not safe or just that the public service should suffer by the arbitrary taxation of individuals. If the post should suffer or should be impeded by the neglect of Government he doubtless must change his rout or be absolutely discontinued.

We have the honor to be, &c.,
BENJAMIN HAWKINS,
HU. WILLIAMSON.