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Col. S. A. Jones,
Waynesville, N.C.

My dear Col. Jones:-

Replying to yours of the 21st I beg to say that according to my interpretation of the law, which interpretation was made while I was Attorney General, no convicts are available to work on any of the railroads until the State Prison is made self sustaining, that is to say, it is necessary for the Prison to retain on its farms a sufficient number of convicts to support and pay all the expenses of the Prison before any convicts can be furnished to any of the railroads under the provisions of the several [illegible] authorizing the use of such convicts. The General Assembly makes no appropriation for the support of the State Prison, and of necessity the convicts must earn enough to board and clothe themselves and pay all the running expenses of the Prison before they can be put out on any work that brings in no immediate return.

With much respect, I beg to remain,

Very truly yours,