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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from Thomas Burke to Richard Caswell
Burke, Thomas, ca. 1747-1783
May 11, 1777
Volume 11, Pages 469-470

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[From Executive Letter Book.]

Philadelphia, May 11th 1777.


A few days ago I received a letter from General Nash, announcing the death of General Moore; at the same time I received some letters recommending Col. Clark for promotion in his room. But altho'. I have a very high opinion of Col. Clark as an active, vigilant, and gallant officer, I can not be satisfied that it is right for me to make a nomination so far out of the usual line, unless I have first your Excellency's assurance that it will be satisfactory to my country. Therefore I have resolved to consult you thereupon, and suspend all proceedings relative thereto, until I shall be favoured with your answer. I will beg leave also to suggest to you, that nothing but the command of my country shall make me nominate any man whose merit as a soldier is even suspected, altho' he should stand first in order; and I believe our State is too jealous of her honor, and too zealous in the common cause, to give me any such command. Truly, Sir, our affairs have suffered very much through the insufficiency of our officers, and I am one, among many in Congress, who am determined, so long as I have the honor of a seat, to keep a very strict watch over them. It shall not be my fault, if worthless drones consume the public treasure. It is but justice to, say that we have some excellent officers, and our Commander in Chief is very justly admired by all the world.

Nothing interesting has happened since my last, except the arrival of a French ship with military stores, which are exceedingly seasonable and important. In short we now only want men; and one vigorous campaign would give our affairs a very flourishing aspect. Our liberty would be established beyond all danger.

We have had no debates of any consequences in Congress except on the Confederation; all those I shall transmit you at once. It goes on very slowly, and I fear, the difficulty of preserving the independence of the States, and at the same time giving to each its proper weight in the public Council, will frustrate a Confederation. Altogether I have had so short a notice of this opportunity that I can not be full on this subject: but as I give the most diligent

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attention to it nothing material will escape me, and you shall be fully informed.

I have the honor to be &c. your Excellency's ob't. serv't.,
Gov'r. Caswell.