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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from Samuel Johnston to Thomas Burke
Johnston, Samuel, 1733-1816
June 26, 1777
Volume 11, Pages 504-505

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[From Executive Letter Book.]

Edenton, June 26th 1777.

Dear Sir,

I wrote a Letter which should have gone by Mr. Hewes, but by some means it was forgot. As you will see him, your loss of the letter will be of little consequence.

I have had an opportunity of seeing an experiment of the new Legislature, and am as little pleased with it in practice as I was formerly in Theory and am still of opinion, that though your plan might, for aught I know, be well adapted to the government of a numerous, cultivated people, it will by no means be attended with these salutary ends which were in the contemplation of its framers. The few good men or men of understanding, and business who had inclination or interest to be either of the Legislative or Executive Departments are by no means sufficient to counterballance the fools and knaves, who by their low Arts have worked themselves into the good graces of the populacc. When I tell you that I saw with indignation such men as G-th, R-d, T-s, P-S-N, and your Collegue J. Penn, with a few others of the same stamp, principle leaders in both houses, you will not expect that any thing good or great should proceed from the counsels of men of such narrow, contracted principle, supported by the most contemptable abilities. Hewes was supplanted of his seat in Congress by the most insidious arts and glaring falsehoods, and Hooper, though no competitor appeared to oppose him, lost a great number of votes. Quince for no crime alleged against him, but that he was a man of fortune, was turned out of his appointment of Naval Officer of Port Brunswick, which was filled by a stripling. Persons are recommended as Judges of the Court of Oyer and Terminer in this District, who are scarcely qualified to execute the most inconsiderable Office in the State. The one who is best qualified and was formerly Deputy in the Clerk's Office, has too much modesty to act, conscious of his Incapacity.

I give these as only a few specimens of the hopeful beginning of our new government, omitting to mention a number of acts, which in my opinion are extremely impolitic and ill judged at this time

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The event will show whether I am mistaken. I wish to God I may be. I have resigned my Office of Treasurer of the Northern District and am succeeded by Col. Skinner of Perquimmons County, but though I am now out of Office and totally abstracted from all political concerns, it will always give me pleasure to hear from you.

Please make my compliments to Harnett, who I expect will be with you before this, and believe me with the most sincere respect and esteem

Dear Sir,
Your most obedient servant,