His Excellency Thomas Burke, Esquire, Governor and Commander-in-chief of the State of North Carolina.
I returned yesterday from Wilmington on my Parole to Chatham County, which prevents my waiting on your Excellency in person. I am desired by the Prisoners to acknowledge the receipt of yours by the Flag, and to thank you for your promised attention to them. Their Case really merits it. Every Article to be sold in Wilmington is at least three Times as high, for hard Money, as usual. It cost me in Three weeks there, for Board and some few Cloathing, £32 Sterling, for which I am indebted, as they all are, more or less. They desired me to solicit you for a Passport for as much Tobacco or any other Article as will discharge their Debts.
Jas. Williams, Chatham, Aug. 22nd, 1781. Request Received 28th; answered 30th.
The request for the Prisoners for a Passport for tobacco cannot be granted, being contrary to an express Resolve of Congress, which cannot be contravened.