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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from Thomas Burke to Francis Nash
Burke, Thomas, ca. 1747-1783
August 16, 1777
Volume 11, Pages 562-563

[From Executive Letter Book.]

Philadelphia, Aug. 16th, 1777.

Dear Sir:—

Yesterday Lieutenant Col. Patton delivered me a paper signed by the field Officers of your Corps. It relates to the promotion of Col. (now General) Hand, and has in it the following paragraphs: “The merit of Gen. Hand, for what we know, may be very great and justly entitle him to the favor of Congress; but we believe him to be unknown to almost every person in North Carolina, except to Dr. Burke:—and such partiality for a country man, as we are informed, in preference to the Officers of the State he represented, whose prior claim to preferment from their long and many services, we humbly think, from Duty, demanded his support, we feel not only as a wound to ourselves, but consider it a reflection on that State which appointed us, and a stab to Military

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honor throughout the Colony in general.” Col. Patton on delivering it, declared that it had your approbation, and as it contains a scandalous charge of partiality, in the discharge of my duty, I cannot prevail upon myself to pass it over without particular notice. And considering the terms on which we have always stood with each other, the knowledge that you have of my private as well as public character, I can not be persuaded you would give sanction to an aspersion so injurious and dishonorable, and which you cannot believe to be just.

I think no man knows better than you, that Partialties have never found place with me. I must therefore desire to know from yourself, whether Col. Patton's declaration was right or not?

Among the names to this paper I am surprised to find Sumner, Polk, Hogun, Clark, Patton and Lytle, gentlemen of whom from my knowledge of them I had conceived an opinion particularly favorable.

Their behavior in this instance has determined me to forego all particular attention to them. I hope they will so distinguish themselves that their merit alone will be sufficient for their promotion, without standing in need of any assistance which I could give.

I shall be glad of your answer as soon as possible and am &c—