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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from Thomas Burke to Benjamin Harrison
Burke, Thomas, ca. 1747-1783
March 23, 1782
Volume 16, Pages 556-557


State of North Carolina, Halifax, March 23d, 1782.


Your letter of the 19th of this month, inclosed with Copies of the Proceedings of the Court of Admiralty, and of a letter from Mr. Waller, one of the Judges of the Court, came to my hands last night.

Upon perusing those papers, I am inclined to think the principle on which I have interposed in behalf of this State has been Mistaken.

The Insult offered to the dignity of this State Consisted in the Violent Seizure and removal of the Vessel after her having been duly Surrendered and reported to the Officer of this State, while She was under his orders, and while the Question which belonged only to the Military Sovereignty of this State, viz.: whether She should be admitted as a flag or not, was under Consideration. Her papers, her passengers, though principally Intrusted to this State, were by this means intirely removed out of our power, and we must appear to all foreign potentates as utterly unable to give the usual protection in our own ports to Vessels which may arrive within them, and we must feel ourselves in the degraded predicament of being obliged to rely on the Maritime Courts of the Neighbouring States for taking Care of our most Material Interests, Vizt., those of Sovereignty and Commerce.

I consider the person offending as no more a Subject of one State than another, but having removed into yours after committing the

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offence, the Subject of his Violence was within yours, agreeably to my mode of reasoning.