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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Petition from Israel Bourdeaux concerning an exchange of prisoners of war
Bourdeaux, Israel
November 25, 1780
Volume 15, Pages 158-160


To His Excellency Abner Nash, Esquire, Governor & Commanderin-Chief of the State of North Carolina.

The Petition of Israel Bourdeaux, a Citizen of the Independent States of America, and late an Inhabitant of the State of South Carolina:

Humbly Sheweth,

That your Petitioner hath a number of Brothers, Natives of South Carolina & faithful Subjects of the United States, who have, from the First Commencement of the War between Great Britain & America to its present Stage, uni formly and invariably manifested the Firmest Attachment to the Interest and Liberties of America by standing forth in the defence thereof whenever they were invaded by the Common Enemy; that in Consequence of this laudable and unchangable Disposition, and their last Effort against the Hand of Tyranny, produced by a genuine Sense of their Duty to their Country, and the purest Inclination to support her Cause, they have made a complete Sacrifice of property, and two of them have unfortunately fallen and are now in the power & Hands of the Enemy, experiencing every Species of Hardship & Mortification that the Cruelty & Malice of the Enemy can possibly invent & exercise; that one of these two of your Petitioner's Brothers has a Family and a numerous Train of Dependents, who have none else to look up to for Support, which, from his unhappy Situation, he is at this time unable to afford; that he, having his whole property in Trade, his Vessels in port & his Effects removed a little Distance into the Country when Charles Town was invaded by the Enemy, lost the whole at its surrender except his Household Furniture, which remained in

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the Town, but which by a proclamation of the British Commander he is prevented disposing of, even for the purpose of Subsistence; that by these Means his situation is peculiarly hard & distressing; that the Truth of these particulars can be averred by several Persons now in Newbern; that your Petitioner hath in his Possession a Letter from his said Brother informing him that he is “without the Means even of Subsistence,” and is expressive of a desire of being released from a Situation which is by far more deplorable than the generality of People conceive it to be. Your Petitioner humbly conceives that the virtuous but unfortunate Citizens of Charles Town, who are now in the most wretched Captivity, look up to none for Relief and Extrication out of the Difficulties with which they are on all sides encompassed, and in which they are involved from a steady perseverance in their Country's Cause, but to Persons in your Excellency's exalted station & Character, and he may with confidence say your Excellency in particular. Their only Hope is in your Interference whenever an Opportunity of Exchange occurs.

Your Petitioner, therefore, in the most humble & respectful Manner, begs leave earnestly to solicit your Excellency's kind Interposition in behalf of his said Brother, and that your Excellency will direct that one of the Prisoners now in Newbern should go with the present Flag for that purpose. And your Petitioner, with the utmost Submission & Deference to your Excellency, further begs leave to propose Mr. McKenzie, one of those prisoners, as the most eligible Person; but if your Excellency should see fit that none of those prisoners should go to Charles Town in order to be Exchanged, then your Petitioner would pray that your Excellency will give a Permission for Mr. McKenzie to go in the Flag and remain in Charles Town on his Parole until he can be exchanged. Your Petitioner begs leave to mention the Reasons which have influenced him to make this last request: The first is, that your Petitioner is acquainted with the Person and Character of Mr. McKenzie, as well as with his Connections in So. Carolina; that he knows him to be a good disposed and inoffensive young Man, however different he may be from your Petitioner in point of Political Sentiments, and that he firmly believes within himself that he would not do a thing (was it even in his power) injurious to the Country. The second is that Gratitude will

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prompt Mr. McKenzie to use his own Influence & obtain that of his Friends, in alleviating the Distresses of the Citizens in Charles Town that are prisoners, if it appears that your Petitioner hath been in the least instrumental in procuring him this Indulgence from your Excellency.

Your Petitioner rests in flattering Hopes of having one part or the other of the Prayer of his Petition granted,

And shall, as he is in Duty bound, ever pray, &c.

Newbern, November 25th, 1780.