Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to Richard Caswell, 22 June 1779

To Richard Caswell

Wmsburg June 22d. 1779


The Washington and Caswell Gallies belonging to this Commonwealth originally built for the protection of Ocracock Inlet in conjunction with others proposed to be built by your State being so much out of repair as to render it necessary to incur a considerable expense to refit them for Service, their condition and future station were submitted to the consideration of our General Assembly. Our Trade through that inlet to and from South Quay has from experience been found inconvenient and therefore of itself has got mostly into a different channel, so that the little remaining there from this State will not justify the Expense of keeping those Gallies any longer at their present Station. We are uninformed whether you were diverted from your purpose of building the additional Gallies to act in conjunction with ours by a similar Want of importance in the trade, or of necessaries to build Gallies. If the latter, and you think the Washington and Caswell may be made to answer your purpose, we are authorized by the General Assembly to offer them to you at such fair estimation as may be agreed on between us, I apprehend without difficulty. I shall be obliged by your Answer to this; as early as convenient, as we are directed, if you should not want them, to dispose of them otherwise for the Service of this State.

I have the honor to be your Excellency’s most obedt & mo: hble Servt,

Th: Jefferson

RC (NcDAH); in a clerk’s hand, signed by TJ. Addressed: “His Excellency, Richard Caswell Esqr. Governor of North Carolina.” Endorsed: “Govr. Jeferson 22d. June 1779.” Enclosed in TJ to Richard Caswell, 30 June 1779, q.v.

On 19 June the General Assembly resolved: “That the Governor be desired immediately to make an offer to the State of North Carolina of the Washington and Caswell gallies now in that State, at a fair valuation; and that if the said offer should not be accepted, that he order them to be dismantled, and the materials, guns, ammunition, &c. brought over to this State for the use of the navy, and the hulls to be disposed of for the best price that can be had” (JHD description begins Journal of the House of Delegates of the Commonwealth of Virginia (cited by session and date of publication) description ends , May 1779, 1827 edn., p. 58).

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