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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Message from Thomas Burke to the North Carolina General Assembly
Burke, Thomas, ca. 1747-1783
July 07, 1781
Volume 22, Pages 1039-1040


State of North Carolina,
July 7th, 1781.

To the honourable the General Assembly.


A mutiny of the whole Squadron of the Light Horse under the command of Col. Guilford Dudley, except one private man, has pointed out to me a very great and dangerous defect in the militia law which I esteem it my duty to present to the General Assembly.

The provisions made for holding a Court Martial on offenders for mutiny and desertion when on actual service requires that the officers composing the Court should all be of the same regiment with the offender. In the present case all of the officers are

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offenders, and, in the present State of our militia, it is to be feared that such cases may happen more than once, for they have been little accustomed to obedience or any regular discipline.

An amendment of the law is very necessary, as well for discipline of our militia, as the due punishment of this offence and is so essential that on it must in all probability depend whether the Whigs or the Tories of this country shall enjoy the advantages arising from this long and wasteful war.

Negotiation may finally secure the freedom of the State; nothing but military success can keep the enemy from extending over it a temporary Dominion, which will expell and ruin every Whig, and leave the Tories only, on the return of peace, to the enjoyment of property and liberty.

I have the honor to be with the greatest respect,
Your very obedt. humble servt.,