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Letter from Samuel Osgood, Walter Livingston, and Arthur Lee to Robert Morris
Osgood, Samuel, 1748-1813; Livingston, Walter, 1740-1797; Lee, Arthur, 1740-1792
May 23, 1786
Volume 18, Pages 622-623

[From Executive Letter Book.]

Board of Treasury, May 23rd, 1786.


We have received your letter of the 18th Inst., in answer to ours of the 12th. We immediately conferred with the Delegates of the State of North Carolina on the subject of your proposition which in our opinion was an eligible one excepting in two points, the first confining the Inspection to the Sole judgment of your Agent; the second, computing installments of payment from the date of the Bill of lading, not from the delivery of the Tobacco to your Agent. As the price you Offer (though a fair one) was greatly below the price at which Tobacco was purchased in North Carolina, we wished to have the sanction of the Delegates to our proposed agreement with you that no difference might hereafter arise as to the proper Credit the State should have with the United States on Account of this Negotiation. On examining the Law of their State relative to the Purchase of this Tobacco, they did not conceive themselves empowered to give this Sanction, and as the Act merely directs that the Tobacco purchased by the State should be Shipped to such ports in Europe, the West Indies or elsewhere as the Board of Treasury should advise, we have judged it most advisable to confine ourselves at present to the directions of the Act till we can learn the Opinion of the Governor and Council of the State on your proposition. In the mean while we have advised the Governor and Council to Ship it from time to time in Coasting Vessels to this port or Philadelphia taking care not to send any that is damaged or of a very inferior Quaily. The danger and delay attending the loading

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of Vessels in North Carolina will we presume induce purchasers to give in the price of Tobacco very nearly the difference, if the Coasting Freight is to have it delivered at this Port or at Philadelphia; besides, its being under our immediate Eye a more determined Contract can be made for it than under the present Circumstances. When we wrote to you on this Subject we presumed the Honorable the Delegates of North Carolina would have no scruples in giving their sanction to any agreement we might enter into, or we should not have asked you for the propositions as to the purchase. We shall, however, advise you from time to time of the arrival of the Tobacco, and of the Governor's opinion as to the terms you offer, not doubting it will be more eligible to you to receive the Tobacco at the Ports we have mentioned than in North Carolina, provided the Terms are as agreeable.

We are Sir,
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Your obedient Humble Servants,