Your Committee to whom was referred sundry petitions from the Inhabitants of Washington, Sullivan and Greene Counties:
Impressed with a sense of the sufferings of those people during the Anarchy which has long prevailed among them, beg leave to suggest the necessity of extending to them the benefits of Government and protection: and that they be Assured they will neither be discarded or neglected by their brethren on this side the mountains: but that they shall remain secure in regard to Liberty and property;
Your Committee are Farther of Opinion that the numbers and wealth of those Counties will by no means enable them as yet to support a separate Government; and that therefore, the Legislature of North Carolina cannot accede to a separation at this period without at once abandoning a Considerable number of her wealthy Citizens to ruin and distress:
It appears to Your Committee that some designing persons in that Country have so far deluded many of the Citizens as to make them wish a separation under an Idea that they, by the Act of Cession passed in June, 1784, were forever severed from this Government and its protection, and would be an emancipation from Slavery. This notion pervaded the minds of a majority for some time, while led on by a blind infatuation: But when they had time to reflect, they clearly discovered that they were equal partakers with the rest of the State in the mild influence of its Constitution and Laws, and were equally represented in its Counties.
Your Committee beg leave to represent that while Anarchy prevailed in the Counties of Washington, Sullivan and Greene, various Acts were done under the authority of the supposed State of Franklin, which were not strictly Right and Consonant to the Laws of this State, and the persons promoting the same have become highly reprehensible; but as Great Contentions and Animosities would arise among the different Classes of people in that Country, should those offences be punished,
Your Committee beg leave to suggest the necessity of passing an Act or Acts of Oblivion, so as to Conciliate and Quiet the minds of those who may have through Blindness or Passion, acted thus unguardedly: Provided, the said act or Acts do not extend to confirm
Your Committee beg leave to report as their Opinion that the Citizens of Washington, Sullivan and Greene be required to pay the arrears of taxes due from them, previous to the commencement of the interregnum of Government in that part of the State, and that they be released from the payment of any taxes which have become due for the years 1784 and 1785, since that time until the Year 1787:
Your Committee are induced to make this last recommendation from a conviction, that during that Period the people were much Oppressed, and as they enjoyed none of the benefits of Government they Ought not in Justice to be loaded with its burthens.
Your Committee beg leave to recommend the most Friendly intercourse between the Citizens of this State on the eastern and western waters, but above all that the faction and discord which have too long prevailed, may be no longer suffered to have an existence in the Western world:
This your Committee conceive is to be effected by extending friendly protection to those whose habitations are west of the Apalachian Mountains.
Your Committee beg leave to suggest that although a separation is at this time is impracticable, yet whenever the wealth and Numbers of the Citizens on the western waters so much increase as to make the same necessary, that then we are free to say a separation may take place upon Friendly and reciprocal terms and under certain compacts and stipulations.
The foregoing report was read, amended and concurred with as amended.
Read and Concurred with.
Report of the Committee on the petitions of the Inhabts. of Washington, Sullivan & Greene.