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Letter from Benjamin Harrison to Alexander Martin
Harrison, Benjamin, ca. 1726-1791
July 19, 1783
Volume 16, Pages 840-841

GOV. BENJAMIN HARRISON OF VA. TO GOV. MARTIN.
[From Executive Letter Book.]

Council Chamber, Richmond, July 19th, 1783.

Sir:

Your Excellency’s favor by Captain Stokes I have been honored with—Your polite attention to the Executive of this State in laying their recommendation respecting the Cherokees before your Legislature demands my acknowledgements. Permit me to assure you that during my administration nothing will afford me greater pleasure than to communicate freely with your Excellency on all subjects interesting to the Sister States of Virginia and North Carolina. Their peculiar situation seems to point out the propriety of the strictest harmony and firmest conduct; and believe me I shall at all times consider it an object of the first consequence to preserve the one and promote the other.

There is not as yet any regular Commercial Treaty formed between Great Britain and the United States. But I have seen

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an Act of the British Parliament repealing all former Acts that prohibited an intercourse with America. Nor is there a doubt but that American Vessels are allowed to enter and American subjects to trade in that Kingdom under the countenance of Government and the faith of Law. The Legislature of Virginia also at their last Session repealed the Act for the seizure and condemnation of British Goods. The advantages resulting from an extensive and unrestrained Commerce gave birth to this measure: and there is no legal restraint in this State on British Commerce or British adventurers but the payment of a duty to which our own Citizens are subject. But although the General Assembly manifested this disposition to remove every obstruction to Commerce they did not think proper to repeal the several Acts passed during the War prohibiting the return of those who left the State since 1775 and adhered to the enemy: so that those of this complexion are not entituled to those personal commercial indulgences I have before mentioned.—And the Executive to keep up a discrimination perhaps not unwise even in peace have ordered the immediate departure of all coming within certain descriptions, who have intruded themselves into the State since the signature of the provisional Articles and inhibiting their return as well as all others in the like predicament and it is to be authorised by the Legislature.

A very severe indisposition puts it out of my power to be more particular to your Excellency by this opportunity—the subject of Commerce as it respects the two Commonwealths is a copious and momentous one; and I will take the liberty of writing you a friendly Letter on it as soon as health or opportunity permits. The enclosed Letters & papers this moment come to hand, will fully inform you what steps the British Parliament and Government have taken to encourage a trade with us.

I have the honor to be, &c.,
BENJAMIN HARRISON.