Your letter of the 27th of February, 1785, to his Excellency Governor Sevier, favored by Major Henderson, was laid before the Genl. Assembly of the State of Franklin by the Governor.
We think it our duty to communicate to you the sense of the people of this State. We observe your Excellency’s candour in informing us that the reason North Carolina repealed the Cession Act was because the Sense of Congress was to allow the State of North Carolina Nothing for the land Ceded. The truth of that assertion we will not undertake to determine; But we humbly Conceive the terms on which Congress was Impowered to accept the Cession was fully expressed in the Cession Act itself, consequently every reason existed for not passing the Cession act that could have existed for the repeal, Except that of doing Justice to the United States in General, who, upon every principal of Natural Justice, are equally intitled to the land that has been Conquered by our own Joint Efforts.
We humbly thank North Carolina for every sentiment of regard she has for us; but are sorry to observe that it is founded upon principles of Interest, as is apparent from the tenor of your Excellency’s letter; we are therefore doubtful when the cause ceases which is the basis of your affection we shall consequently loose your esteem.
Sir, Reflect upon the language of some of the most eminent members of the Genl. Assembly of North Carolina at the last Spring session, when the Members from the Western Country were supplicating to be continued a part of your State; were not these their epithets: The inhabitants of the Western Country are the off scourings of the Earth, fugitives from Justice, & we will be rid of them at any rate. The Members of the Western Country, upon hearing these unjust reproaches & being convinced it was the Sense of the Genl. Assembly to get rid of them, Consulted each other & Concluded it was best to appear reconciled with the Masses in order to obtain the best terms they could, & was much astonished to see North Carolina
You say it has been suggested that the Indian goods are to be Seized & the Commisioners arrested when they arrive on the business of the treaty. We are happy to inform you that that Suggestion is false, Groundless & Without the least foundation, & we are Certain you cannot pretend to fault us that the Goods are Stoped by a resolve of the Assembly of your State, and if your State are determined to evade their promise to the Indians, we intreat you not to lay the blame upon us, who are intirely innocent & determined to remain so. It is true, we have declared ourselves a free & Independent State & pledged our honours, confirmed by a Solemn Oath, to Support, Maintain & defend the same; But we had not the Most distant Idea that we should have incurred the least displeasure from North Carolina, who compelled us to the measure, & to convince her that we still retain our affection for her, the first law we enacted was to secure & confirm all the rights granted under the laws of North Carolina in the same manner as if we had not declared ourselves an
You will please to lay these our Sentiments before the General Assembly, whome we beg leave to assure that should they ever need our assistance, we shall always be ready to render them every service in our powers, & hope to find the same Sentiments prevailing in them towards us, & we hereunto anex the reason that induced the Convention to a declaration of Independence, which are as follows:
1st. That the Constitution of North Carolina declare that it shall be Justifiable to erect New States Westward when ever the consent of the Legislature shall Countinance it, and this Consent is implied we conceive in the Cession Act, which has thrown us into such a situation that the Influence of the Law in Common Cases became almost a Nullity, & in criminal Jurisdiction had intirely ceased, which reduced us to the verge of Anarchy.
2nd. The Assembly of North Carolina have detained a Certain quantity of Goods which was promised to satisfy the Indians for the lands we possess, which detanure we fully conceive has so exasperated them that they have actually Committed hostilities upon us, & we are alone impeled to defend our selves from their raviges.
3rd. The resolutions of Congress held out from time to time incouraging the erection of New States have appeared to us ample incouragment.
4th. Our local Situation is such that we not only apprehend we should be separated from North Carolina, But almost every sensible disinterested traveler has declared it incompatibl with our Interest to belong in Union with the Eastern part of the State, For we are not only far removed from the Eastern parts of North Carolina, But Separated from them by high & almost impasable Mountains, which Naturally divide us from them; have proved to us that our
5thly. We unanimously agree that our lives, liberties & Property Can be more secure & our happiness Much better propagated by our separation, & Consequently that it is our duty & unalianable right to form ourselves into a New Independent State.
Legislature of the State of Franklin.
Dated, 22d March, 1785.
Registered & Examined.
No. 1. Tomorrow, 8th D.