Letter from Cornelius Harnett to William Wilkinson
Harnett, Cornelius, 1723-1781
Volume 11, Pages 825-827
HON. CORN. HARNETT TO W. WILKINSON ESQR.
York Pennsylvania Dec 28th 1777
Your favour of the 25th Ulto. come to my hand this moment. I am sorry to hear of the death of our friends Mabson, Waldron & Cray. I have not received one line from Hooper or MacLain God knows when, I beg you will make Interest with one or both of them to write to me. God send our Assembly may have wisdom
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enough to fortify their Seaports, this policy has been adopted by every State in the Union except No. Carolina, the rediculous jealousy betwixt No. & South has, I fear hitherto prevented it, had this been done two years sooner, Our State would have been as well Supplied with Necessaries from abroad as Charles Town, which of late has been the great mart for the supply of the Southern and Middle States. I send you papers & refer you to them for news. I beg you will not publish any of my Scrawls they are not written for the press—besides I some times mention to you some matters which are not proper to lay before the Public; since I have seen extracts from my letters published in the Wilmington paper; It has made me very Cautious in giving my Opinion to my friends under my hand.
Our Grand Army are in hutts for the winter about 20 Miles from Philadelphia in Order to Cover the Country from the Ravages & devastation of the Enemy. It is hoped we shall be able to open the Campaign early in the spring with Vigour; should the several States exert themselves to fill up their Batalions, we promise ourselves to have a formidable Army in the field well provided & well dissiplined. I wrote you some time ago that I was sorry you had meddled with Kennon's Bills, you had better send them on, the longer they remain behind, the greater will be the difficulty in receiving payment. I would not at present choose to put my money to Interest. Mrs. Harnetts receipt shall be sufficient for any sum not exceeding my proportion which you may think proper to pay her. I have not heard from Mr. Mitchell about Jackey, I desired he would send him to me, or let me know where I could send for him, I am sure he will not be safe at Burlington this winter, I must have him with me unless you contradict it in your next. His bord and schooling will be expensive to you any where in this Country, I think you had better let him come home with me in the Spring. I desire that you will be explicit on this subject. I find you make a poor hand in the rum way. Jamacia Spirits sell here at 80s, brown sugar 10s, Coffee 12s–6, Lo. Sugar 22s–6. I shall take it as a favour if you will send me by the first waggon coming to this Town—12 gallons Jam. rum I Loaf Sugar 12 lb brown & 12 lb Coffee, these articles would be a very great acquisition, the sugar and Coffee Mrs. Harnett will supply you with. Perhaps Col. Long can put you in the way to send these articles forward,
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or some Colonel or other Officer in the Army; as recruits will no doubt be coming forward daily, pray do not neglect this matter. Tell Mrs. Harnett (for I forgot to mention it to her) that 2 or three Gallons of Pickled Oysters would be the greatest rarity she could send me I have not tasted one since I left home—also a few dryed fish of any kind a dozen or two, if they even stank, they would be pleasing, I am heartily tired of eating the flesh of four footed animals, we can get very little else in this plentiful Country that you have so often praised & indeed bragged off. Believe me it is the most inhospitable scandalous place I ever was in. If I once more can return to my family all the Devils in Hell shall not separate us. The honor of being once a member of Congress is sufficient for me, I acknowledge it is the highest honor a free state can bestow on one of its members. I shall be careful to ask for nothing more, but will sit down under my own vine & my own Fig tree (for I have them both) at Poplar Grove where none shall make me afraid except the boats of the British Cruisers. I wish you the Compliments of the Season. Remember me particularly to all my friends, I have many left yet in my old age, tho' perhaps very few in my own Town, I love them notwithstanding, as well as ever; & may perhaps (in the Course of God's Providence) have it in my power to convince them that I deserve their Confidence. I do not blame them for their neglect of me, it proceeded from that noble independent Spirit, I have for so many years been Contending for, at the risque of my own domestic ease, my private fortune, and what is much more valuable my health. What I have said is not intended to be shewn to any person. It is not my wish to remind any person of matters which have been long since done away. I am wt. sincere regard
Your real friend & Obedt Servt.
What is become of Capt. Allen—you have blamed me for writing you short Letters, this I hope is long enough, if not, let me know: I have from this reproof of yours been led to mention old affairs only to endeavour to fill up the sheet.