After parting with your Excellency at Windsor I came up here where I have been best Part of Two Days on some Business I had here. I congratulate you on the Arrival of the Fleet and wish we may be benefitted by it, which will greatly depend on our being able to prevent the return of Lord Cornwallis back through our State. We are informed He was on the North side of James River last Sunday, but you will, of course, have the best intelligence. A young Man of the Name of Sawyer, who did Business for Nathaniel Allen and some other of the Edenton merchants, had it seems, rode up Mr. Charles Johnson’s only riding Horse from Edenton. Sawyer was not at Home and last evening some Gentlemen, one of them of the Name of Vaun, I was told, impressed this Horse for the Light Horse service, alleging that he (Sawyer) was a Speculator and it was no Matter. I would not trouble your Excellency on so trifling a Matter only to show how impossible it will ever be to do any business while such a Temper prevails amongst the People, and while a Man cannot send his Clerk or go himself about his necessary affairs without running the risk of having his Horse impressed. This beast is not fit for service, but of the most gentle kind, being, I am told, ruptured. Should he be discharged Mr. Hanse Bond, at Halifax, could send him to Mr. Johnson. This brute is a favorite of his, tho’ I confess I would not give much money for him.
I beg your Excellency’s pardon for taking the Freedom I have done, and have the honor to be Sir,
Letter from Robert Smith, 4th Sept. 1781.