I have been favoured with your public Letter of the 26th of September last and with several preceding that date. Not having immediate opportunities of conveyance, the post being generally inaccessable to me, I was under the necessity to decline returning your answers as often as I wished or you expected. Your Letters I was ready to communicate to the Legislature had they met in October, the time of their last adjournment; but to my mortification I had not the honor, as they failed to make a Session, and I have lost sight of an Assembly until the anniversary meeting in April next.
We are sorry the imprudent eagerness of the American Merchants for the British trade have caused the same to be laid under restrictions derogatory to our National Honor & Commerce, and are only sorry that Congress did not interpose in time. I can pledge you this assurance that the Executive of this State would have used their utmost endeavours to carry the resolutions of Congress into effect on this subject, until fully aided by the Legislature.
Having called for a return of the Continental money in the hands of the different Treasurers, I send on a report of the same, that there are about one million and a half of pounds in their possession.
I beg your information whether this money is to be sent to Congress or to be destroyed, or whether a Commissioner may not be appointed to see the same done in the State, the latter I think would be more advisable.
I make not the least doubt had the Assembly met, the import he recommended by Congress would have again been taken up and an Act passed in its favor, tho’ somewhat different from the former.
Perhaps Congress may be dissatisfied with the mode of our Land Office being opened, as we have made them no cessions of any part of our western Lands. We have made provision for our Continental Line on Cumberland, and the Territory reserved for this purpose isDavidson, the residue of the Land to the Northward and westward is opened for the entry of any Citizen of this or the United States, who will pay to the entry taker £10 per Hundred in Specie, Specie Certificates of the State, or currency at 800 for one, restricted however to 5,000 acres. Had the Chartered bonnds of this State extended to the Northward & Westward of the Ohio I believe we should have been equally liberal with our Sister State of Virginia in making a Grant thereof to Congress—but we can not think of parting with any on this side of the Mississippi as our bounds are small in comparison to Virginia until our own internal debt is paid, which is immense, and this Land seems to be the only proper means by which this can be effected. No doubt we are railed at for want of generosity, but I know not for what reasons; a farmer holding and possessing a larger plantation than his neighbour, with equal right may be called upon to abridge it, and cede a part thereof to his neighbours;—agreed, but proper satisfaction must first be given him—and what will be adequate in this our case will be difficult to ascertain. I can venture to say there will be no cession of any Lands worthy of acceptance, as the principal Lands will be entered before this reaches you.
I have just heard of the evacuation of New York and the definitive Treaty being signed & received by you, I beg your early information on these subjects.