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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from Thomas Burke to Lewis Henry De Rosset
Burke, Thomas, ca. 1747-1783
November 27, 1781
Volume 19, Pages 887-888


James Island, Novr. 27th, 1781.


Mr. Hepburn has informed me of the kind concern you have taken in my misfortune for which I sincerely thank you, but I must beg leave to trouble you a little further and request your Interposition, either with Genl. Lesly or the Coll. Commandant, to whomever the application may be proper, in order to obtain my parole to return home if there be no prospect of an exchange in which I might be inserted.

I persuade myself that I have no personal Enemies because I am not conscious of having been influenced in my public character by private pasion or resentment, nor of having ever injured an Individual, and though I have pursued steadily and Strenuously, an object which you may remember, appeared to me very early, to be of the utmost importance to the Happiness of mankind in general and of this County in particular; yet I hope my Conduct, when

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examined either by my friends or my Enemies, will not be found to be altogether unworthy of Esteem, and as it has always been public and Conspicuous it can not be difficult to obtain Just Ideas of it. This Consideration makes hope that the British Officers have not received any unfavorable Impression Concerning me, and without Such I persuade myself that they have no wish to add to my Calamity by keeping me from a family which has much occasion for my assistance, when my detention can be of no advantage to their part of the War. Of this last Truth I persuade myself they must be by this time fully convinced. They must have found that neither I nor any individual was Essential and I think that they cannot doubt that my being at home as an inoffensive private man can do them no Injury and therefore I am induced to hope that your Intercession may prove successful.

While I am making this request for myself I cannot forget my unfortunate fellow prisoners, nor do I think your humanity will deem the trouble too great to Solicit for them also. One of them is Lt. Col. Lytle who was on parole when taken, wounded and plundered, and yet is still detained, tho’ his treatment has been often represented, and is still disregarded. The next in rank is Captain Read, a very deserving officer and a good man, who was my aid de Camp and ought to be attached to me as well in any favorable Circumstance of my Captivity as he has been in this more inauspicious. Another is my Secretary Mr. John Huske, abstracted from the merit of this worthy young Gentleman, I think myself bound in honor to pay every attention to his Circumstances. Two other Gentlemen are Continental Officers who had the Misfortune to be accidentally at Hillsborough, and one Gentleman, Mr. Thomas, was inoffensively in his own lodgings and in no Military posture or Character. The rest are Continental Soldiers or Peacable Inhabitants. The former I meddle not with; the latter as they are mere harmless Citizens on whose labor the Subsistence of their families depends, I venture to hope that humanity will plead successfully for their enlargement to their homes, especially as many of them are in the predicament which excludes exchange, vizt.: not having been in arms when Captured.

I am, &c.,