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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from Cornelius Harnett to Thomas Burke
Harnett, Cornelius, 1723-1781
October 09, 1779
Volume 14, Pages 347-349


Philadelphia, October 9, 1779.

My Dear Sir:

I had the pleasure of receiving three letters from you while you was on the road, which I answered some time ago. I am happy to find by yours of the 16th Sept. you are in your own House, & sincerely wish you every domestic happiness you can possibly desire. Had Col. Rochester called upon me according to his promise, you would certainly have heard from me by him. Long before I received yours I had congratulated Miss Vining on the Brilliant and successful attempt of Major Lee on Powles Hook, & her Mama and herself present their affectionate Compts. to you. The young Lady promises to write by this Express; fear she will be worse than her word. Spain's declaration against Britain may, as you conjecture, prolong the war. Mr. Jay is appointed Minister Plenipotentiary to the Court of Madrid, & Mr. Carmichael his Secretary; John Adams is appointed Minister Plenipotentiary to negotiate a Peace, Mr. Dana his Sect., and Colo. Lawrence, son of old Mr. Lawrence, Sec'tary to Doct. Franklin. Fifteen millions per month is called for from the Sev. States. Quere: will it be paid? I believe not. The consequences, you must know, will be distressing indeed. The quota of our state is out of proportion, but this could not be avoided.

We hourly expect good news from Georgia; surely the force the Count has with him must soon settle matters in that quarter, should no unforeseen accident intervene. He is soon expected here, which will render this a very active &, I hope, successful Campaign. The No. Carolina Troops were ordered to the southward, but this order has been Countermanded by Genl. Washington, on his hearing of the arrival of Count De Estaing. Many are so sanguine in their Expectations as to believe that we shall be

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in possession of New York & R. Island this fall. God send it may so happen. Sullivan has been very successful in the Indian Country, having destroyed all their Settlements; it is hoped this may prevent the depredations of those Savages for some time. The press stops at 200 Millions, which I believe will be expended in December. Out of the 60 Millions which was heretofore called for from the states, only 3 millions have been received. How the war can be carried on after that period (Dec.) I know not. I do not expect the Treasury can possibly be supplied by the States 15 million per Month; North Carolina, I am confident, can not supply her Quota Monthly. I dread the Consequences, but, as you say, “we must take events as they happen.”

For God's sake come on to relieve me in Nov., but at the furthest the very beginning of December, and make that Domestic creature, Whitmell Hill, come with you. In fact I cannot live here. The price of every necessary has advanced 150 per cent. since we parted; I shall return indebted to my country at least £6,000, and you very well know how we lived. Do not mention this Complaint to any person. I am Content to sit down with this loss and much more, if my Country requires it. I only mention it to you to guard you against difficulties which you must encounter on your return, unless the Gen. Assembly make suitable provision for yr. expenses at least. I know they will be Liberal; they always have been in their allowances to their servants. Could not Hooper, Nash, Johnston, or some such, be sent with you? Believe me, they will be much wanted. I acknowledge it is cruel in me to wish you to return; you have already suffered more in your private Concerns than any man who has been in the Delegation for some time past. But you have this Consolation: that, should you fail of receiving your reward in this world, you will no doubt be singing Hallelujas in the next to all Eternity, Tho' I acknowledge your Voice is not very well Calculated for that business.

Your Sythes shall be purchased and sent as soon as any person applies for them.

Remember me to all your friends; I hope they are mine. Send somebody or other to relieve me, & let me, for God's sake, take my leave of this laborious, disagreeable, & perhaps unthankful Office forever. Adieu, my Friend, & may you be happy. You

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will believe me when I assure you that your happiness will be a very great addition to my own. I know you hate professions; so do I.

I am, Dear Sir,
Your affectionate & obedt. Serv't,

Mr. Jay Draughted the Circular Letter. Hooper & yourself know his manner.

Thosmas Burke, Esq.