Letter from Richard Caswell to John Sevier
Caswell, Richard, 1729-1789
Volume 20, Pages 617-619
GOVERNOR CASWELL TO JOHN SEVIER.
(From Executive Letter Book.)
Kinston, 23d February, 1787.
I was favored with your letter of the 28th of October on the subject of a Separate and Independent Government on your side of the Appalachian, which I did myself the honor of laying before the General Assembly. Their Resolutions and determinations on that subject I had flattered myself it would be in my power to have forwarded
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you Copies of by this Time and by my son Winston, who goes out to your Country on business of mine, but the printer who undertook to Compleat the public business in his way at Fayetteville has not furnished me; it must therefore suffice that I acquaint you for the present that the Assembly, from the representation of persons from among yourselves, was induced to believe that it was proper for the people to return to subjection to the laws and Government of North Carolina, that they are not yet of strength and opulence sufficient to support an independent state, that they, the Assembly, wish to Continue the benefits and protection of the State towards them until such time as their numbers and wealth will enable them to do for themselves when they, the Assembly, are free a separation may take place. In the mean Time the most Friendly intercourse between the Citizens on the Eastern & Western Waters is strongly Recommended, and as the people Westward of the Appalachian have received no benefit from Government for the two years last past they are willing to exempt them from the payment of the public Taxes. Thus Sir, you have in substance as far as I recollect, the amount of the proceedings of the Assembly, save the appointment of Civil & Military Officers for the three old and a new County, the Brigade to be Commanded by Evan Shelby, Esqr.; in the Civil department Judge Campbell is Reappointed & the Representatives Carried out Commissions for the County officers, Civil & Military. I have no doubt but a new Government may be shortly established if the people would unite, submit to the former Government and Petition for a separation, this I think the only Constitutional Mode & I firmly believe if Pursued wil be a means of effecting a separation on Friendly Terms which I much wish and I cannot say but I have my own satisfaction in view, as I expect, if Life & Death and strength last to lay my bones on the Western Waters. Twelve Months will bring about a Release to me from public employment & it is my intention then to visit that Country once more and if I can find a place to secure an agreeable private retreat for the remainder of my Time I mean to establish it as the place of my residence. I wish you and your friends to consider the propriety of these measures and if you think proper to adopt them you will, I think, answer your views with respect to a new Government and come a shorter way to obtain the same than by divisions among yourselves for there will be greater Obstructions in your way than those occasioned by the mere opinion of the people here—these
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are my Candid sentiments, I may be mistaken, but time will evince the propriety or otherwise of my observations.
I am with much Esteem & respect, Sir, Your most obedient and very humble servant,
P. S. My son Winston who delivers you this may stand in need of your Countenance, any civilities you are pleased to extend towards him will always be acknowledged by Yrs., &c.