Letter from Farquard Campbell to Richard Caswell
Campbell, Farquard, ca. 1730-1808
Volume 11, Pages 403-405
LETTER FROM FARQ'D CAMPBELL TO GOV. CASWELL.
[From Executive Letter Book.]
Baltimore Maryland March 3th 1777.
Considering the many obligations you laid upon me while under your immediate authority I acknowledge that I ought to have long ago transmitted to you an account of my unhappy circumstances. But two motives suggested to me the propriety of deferring it till now. Notwithstanding the intimacy that subsisted between you and me, and the place I held in the management of public affairs, so unmercifully has my character been handled of late, and so
-------------------- page 404
industrious were the efforts of some men to blacken it, that I sometimes concluded a letter from me in banishment, and captivity and branded with all the infamous epithets that party zeal could invent would have been no compliment upon you. It is, an old saying that men's dispositions frequently change with the times. Indeed it is more than I can say by experience with regard to yours—for had others treated me with equal civility, my situation as prisoner should have been extremely comfortable. Still it is very difficult for a man under the frowns of fortune to rid himself of some apprehensions, which confirms the truth of the above observation, and I, for one, have found it notoriously verified in in several of my acquaintances. Besides I have been long since in expectation of having the pleasure of giving you the history of my captivity in person. But these ho es are now quite blasted by conduct of the Continental Congress—we petitioned the Convention of North Carolina for permission to return home, promising to live inoffensively with our families without prejudice to the interest of the States, offering them all the obligations of our honour and interest as security for the performance of that promise. But Mr. Hooper plainly told us, that they never took our affair under consideration. For my own part, I offered both Mr. Hooper and Mr. Burk to mortgage my estate as security for my peaceable behaviour, provided they would permit me to enjoy the company of my family, which overture however reasonable had no manner of effect. Congress had not the least objection to extend our parole to North Carolina, nay some avowed the propriety of it, but the motion was disapproved by the Delegates from that State, who assigned the instructions of their constituents as a sufficient reason for so doing. Now I cannot conceive what danger there can be in granting me, and indeed all of us the indulgence on the above mentioned terms; My person and property in their power, and if I transgress it is the easiest thing maginable for them to seize both, is it to be supposed that any man in his senses would pledge all that is near and dear unto him, for the performance of a promise he intended to violate, when there is not the slenderest probability that he can have it in his power to extricate himself from the mischief to which such a breach of faith would inevitably render him obnoxious. I appeal to any man of sense whether such a supposition can reasonably be
-------------------- page 405
admitted. I hope you have known me long enough to be satisfied, that I will not or cannot entertain a scheme so disgraceful to my reputation, and so prejudicial to my interest—And as for such of my fellow sufferers as you are a stranger to, you may rest assured that difference in political principles has not rendered them wholly blind to their own interest. To you therefore as the most conspicuous man in the State, and as a man whose candour and integrity I have already experienced, I apply for a hearing in this matter. Far be it from me to beg any favour of you which it will be inconsistent with your duty to grant—I should be sorry to claim your friendship on any other terms, than such as are honourable to you as well as to myself. Conscious therefore of the honesty of my intentions and feeling myself that you are sensible of this likewise, I hope your interest will not be wanting to render my application successful—If any of the Gentlemen in power look upon me as peculiarly dangerous, I will cheerfully mortgage all my property to satisfy them with respect to the security of my promises; and more reasonable terms it is impossible for me to propose consistently with my principles and conscience. I have, jointly with the other prisoners in this department, subscribed the enclosed memorial; which, by my advice, they have committed to your protection. Be pleased to write me concerning the result of the application, directing to me at Frederick Town in Maryland, which, whether the memorial have the desired effect or not, will greatly oblige
Your most ob't. humble servt.,
His Excellency Richard Caswell. Gov. of the State of North Carolina.