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Letter from Hugh Williamson to Alexander Martin
Williamson, Hugh, 1735-1819
May 13, 1790
Volume 22, Pages 796-797


New York, 13th May, 1790.

Dear Sir:—

You was long since informed of the part I had taken on the question of assuming the State debts. Hitherto we have opposed successfully, but we have been obliged to support our opposition by the necessity of settling accounts first and assuming afterwards, if we should then be so minded. Uniformity requires that we should promote proper measures for the settlement, and the interest of the State certainly requires it. The committee of which I am a member has nearly prepared a bill for making a final settlement

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and fixing a rule for the quotas. It is proposed that all services shall be charged, including forts and armed vessels, not cruisers. That all the militia shall be charged at special Contiental price, all articles furnished in the same manner. This will naturally cover our expenses for the ship, Caswell and Borety guns. It will also make it necessary for us to look sharp after our militia rolls. Most of them, as you know, have been paid off with depreciated money, and if that money should be valued according to the scale of our State it would be worth little. The other plan will give us a substantial credit. I had weighty objections to admitting charges for forts and galleys, but it appeared that some of the States have already been authorized by Congress to charge their forts; this gave countenance to the claim of other States doing the same. The militia business is clear, for North Carolina must doubtless gain by the proposed regulations on this head.

This scheme, you see, if adopted, will oblige us to restate the whole of our accounts. A painful business, but the play will be worth the candle.

I think we must gain a million of dollars by the difference of system. I promised you formerly that while serving in Congress I should not lose sight of the State’s accounts. You see I have not forgot the promise. As soon as the law passes and Congress adjourns, I think it will be necessary for Colonel Thomas or myself to come to the State to expedite the collecting such new vouchers as may then be thought necessary. I have to request that in case we are hampered in point of time, and one or two clerks should be found absolutely necessary, you will be so good as authorize us to employ them until the meeting of the Assembly. This question, in my opinion, claims the attention of the executive. I have the honor to be, with the utmost consideration, dear sir,

Your most obedient and very humble servant,
His Excellency Alex. Martin.