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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from Thomas Burke to Richard Caswell
Burke, Thomas, ca. 1747-1783
February 04, 1777
Volume 11, Pages 373-374

[From Executive Letter Book.]

Baltimore Feb'y 4th 1777.


I wrote you on my way hither from Hanover Court House in Virginia, suggesting to you my apprehension relative to one Ferns, who appeared to me suspicious. I shall now, as near as I can recollect, recapitulate the matters which dropt from him, (when he had so far indulged in drinking as to be off his guard), lest the letter I wrote should have miscarried.

He was pilot to the fleet under Lord Howe, and brought them into Hudson River, was consulted by the Admiral concerning certain

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expeditions which he had in contemplation which Ferns declared to be unadvisable because of the late season. A communication was carried on between the Tories in every State and New York and a traffic of gold and silver for Continental money. Mr. Cornell aided the adventurers in this traffic. Two from North Car had lately dealt to a considerable amount, and I fancy reside in or near New Bern.

I intend hereafter to trouble you with a letter every post, and shall give my sentiments of the different political principles which I shall perceive to actuate the several States, the measures intended to be pursued, the intelligence we receive and the important decisions in Congress. I find a considerable jealously is entertained of the Northern States, I know not how justly, at present I must refer you to Mr. Hooper who is much better qualified to give you satisfaction on all these matters than I am. Our situation here is unsettled, uncomfortable, and incredibly expensive. These circumstances will I doubt not occasion another adjournment of Congress.

Mr. Hooper takes with him all the newspapers and some copies of the King's speech; you will doubtless see them, and I need not suggest any reflections. They will readily occur to you, and you will foresee greater events than have yet distinguished our struggles. The calamities of mankind are not speedily to be intermitted, and war and fury will rage in several quarters of the globe. I hope, however, the contest will not be very injurious to America.

I have the honor to be, Sir, with due respect and sincere esteem,
Your very obe'd. serv't,
His Excellency Gov. Caswell.