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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from Archibald Maclaine to Thomas Burke
Maclaine, Archibald, 1728-1790
Volume 16, Pages 199-200

[From Executive Letter Book.]

Wilmington, 19th, 1782.

Dear Sir:

I very sincerely rejoice in your escape from the hands of those desperate assassins who, unable to enslave their Country, turn their malignant designs against those who are its support.

It was some disappointment to me that you had not the perusal of an enclosure in my letter to Colonel Martin as it showed the case of a poor woman in this town, who, with her son, is likely to be loser by those who are for seizing everything as British property. The son had been a Clerk to a Merchant here and some orders were sent here from Charlestown in discharge of his wages.

My letter was addressed to Colonel Martin in his private capacity, from a motive of delicacy, as I had taken the liberty to call in question the propriety of ordering the families of Absentees to leave the State.

A Mr. Dougald Campbell, of Cumberland County, came into this Country about the beginning of the War, and left most of his property in Britain and Ireland. Consequently, he has since been much distressed. He tells me he has power to draw on both Kingdoms, and his papers, I believe, show that he has. As it was original by and and is still his intention to reside in this Conntry, he must, to enable him to make provision for his family, fall upon some method to draw at least part of his property from Europe. Otherwise, he will be under the disagreeable necessity of going where that property is.

He understands that General Greene permits or connives at some traffic with the British Garrison, though probably for the better supply of the Army, and he thinks if he could be permitted to bring goods from Charlestown he could sell his bills there among his acquaintances who know his circumstances.

Whether this may be consistent with good policy, I cannot take upon me to assert, but to me there appears nothing improper except perhaps in the precedent to permit a Citizen to draw his property out of the hands of the Enemy.

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Mr. Campbell seems to think that a flag from you permitting him to go to Charlestown and a letter to General Greene might tend to effect his purpose if it should be approved.

For my own part, I am of opinion that the letter alone would be sufficient and the other superfluous as he can have it there.

Mr. and Mrs. Campbell will wait on you with this, and will carry a letter from Mr. Rowan, who has been intimately acquainted with them since they came to the Country.

It may not be amiss to add that Mr. Campbell, though he is a Scotchman (and he is but half a Scotchman, for his better-half is Irish) has behaved himself so well, that amidst all the fury and violence of the times, he has avoided censure.

I need not endeavour by any arguments to prevail with you to oblige persons of worth and distress, as I know you will do for them whatever is consistent with your duty to the public.

Mr. Campbell wished for permission to bring out goods, only because there is no probability that he can procure money for his bills.

I am, with very sincere respect and esteem,
Dear Sir,
Your Excellency’s
Obedient Servant,