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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from James O'Fallon to Thomas Burke
O'Fallon, James, 1749-1794
April 01, 1779
Volume 14, Pages 49-50

[From Executive Letter Book.]

Fishkill, April 1st, 1779.

Dear Doctor:

The first intimation I had of your long-expected return to Philadelphia, was from the proceedings of the Executive Council of Pennsylvania against Major Gen. Arnold, circulated in pamphlet, which this morning I chanced to peruse at the D. Q. M. General's, where I found your name on the Roll of a Committee of Congress, instituted for the purpose of making inquiry into that Officer's conduct.

Though I addressed two letters to you, by Military hand conveyances, while in Carolina, which yet remain unacknowledged, I could not, nevertheless, from a thousand heartfelt incentives of real gratitude, veneration and esteem, at this time, refrain from congratulating you on your much-wished-for return, and to designate, though in language of far less energy than my real feelings, how sincerely I am your well-wisher.

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Shortly after your departure, I have been one of those in the Medical line whom Congress honored with the Commission of Sen'r Physician and Surgeon in the Military Hospitals. I flatter myself that, since my first ingress to the Department, it will be avowed by my superiors, and the whole army who know me, that I have not by any means disgraced your first recommendations of me; nay, that I have sedulously endeavored, when I commanded, to restore the then lost credit of the Hospitals. They really are now upon a respectable footing, at least in the middle department, where the Hospital Officers have been better chosen. In that department our prescriptive duties are reduced to a uniformity, by the exhibition of a tolerable Pharmacopœia, and excellent regulations, on the British Plan, for Hospital Government.

In the Eastern department, I know, and in the Northern, I am told, every thing is carried on, as in the beginning, with wild anarchy and uproar. I have been at Quaker Hill, in Connecticut, and here since November last. I shall soon dissolve the Hospitals under my inspection at this post, and proceed to Head Quarters where Dr. Shippen actually is to receive orders. If the public service will allow it, I propose going to Philadelphia, where I have some business, where, no doubt, I shall do myself the pleasure of waiting on you. I can not request a line from you here, as I expect to set out for Middlebrook in a few days. Major Murphy and a few other Carolina Officers called on and dined with me this day. I find you have never been less popular in that Brigade than you are now popular. Firmness and Integrity will ever stand the test of Time. It is similar to the Jewish system of the Earth's permanency—“Generatio preterit, generatio advenit: terra autem in eternum stat.”

The Inhabitants hereabouts are all Yorkers. I mean not to reflect nationally, but their manners to me are abhorrent. I long to leave and get clear of the oddities. They are, for the most part, a damned generation. As a member of Congress, I must solicit your forgiveness for swearing. I dare not write thus to any New Light Delegate. But you are a philosopher, and therefore more merciful than religious.

I am, with distinguished regard and respect, my Dear Sir,
Your very sincere and assured friend,