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CARROLL, Charles, of Carrollton (1737-1832). Signer, Maryland. Autograph letter signed ("Ch. Carroll of Carrollton") to unidentified, Annapolis, 28 January 1779. 4 pages (2 leaves), folio, each leaf silked on the verso, small chips along edges, closed tears at creases.
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CARROLL, Charles, of Carrollton (1737-1832). Signer, Maryland. Autograph letter signed ("Ch. Carroll of Carrollton") to unidentified, Annapolis, 28 January 1779. 4 pages (2 leaves), folio, each leaf silked on the verso, small chips along edges, closed tears at creases.

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CARROLL, Charles, of Carrollton (1737-1832). Signer, Maryland. Autograph letter signed ("Ch. Carroll of Carrollton") to unidentified, Annapolis, 28 January 1779. 4 pages (2 leaves), folio, each leaf silked on the verso, small chips along edges, closed tears at creases.

"OUR PUBLIC CREDIT IS A STRONG & ROBUST BODY"

A lengthy, wide-ranging wartime letter addressing problems of public finance, diplomatic tensions with Spain, scandals over war contracts, and the war in the South. "I begin to hope that the Finance scheme will have more extensively beneficial consequences than I at first apprehended...But if Congress is forced to continue to emit & throw vast sums of money into circulation...it will check in a great degree the pernicious practice of counterfeiting" and "prove...that our Public Credit is a strong & robust body capable of resisting very rude shocks and this experiment, or feeling of the People's pulse, (the monied people I mean) may lead to farther experiments of still greater use to the Public at large." Unwilling to raise taxes to pay for the war, and getting very little from the States, Congress issued some $76 million in Continental bills of credit in 1777 and 1778.

Turning to diplomacy, he says "The cession of Florida to Spain deserves much consideration...Will it comprehend East & West Florida?" Carroll thinks that Spain will join the war on the side of America and France even without any Florida concessions, since it was so much in their interest to prevent "the reunion of these states with Great Britain..."

On recent military setbacks in the South, he writes, "I am sorry for the disaster of our general Howe; Lincoln I hope will be able to check their progress of the enemy, and prevent them from reaping much advantage from their late conquest." Benjamin Lincoln replaced Robert Howe as commander of the Southern department, but Howe was still commanding troops in Georgia when the British captured Savannah. "Perhaps the late duel may teach the members of Congress better manners...formerly very coarse expressions have been used in that Assembly: I never knew them to produce any good..."

This likely refers to the duel between Howe and Christopher Gadsden, who harshly criticized Howe's conduct in the field. Howe's pistol ball grazed Gadsen's ear, while Gadsden deliberately misfired to end the affair. Turning then to the ongoing scandal over the operations of Hortalez & Cie., which bitterly divided members of Congress, Carroll thinks "the Lees should be recalled, and Izard also, and Dean should be detained in America to have them face to face, unless Congress is thoroughly convinced that all his transactions and his whole conduct are perfectly justifiable." An exceptional letter.

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