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Letter from Samuel Strudwick to Thomas Burke
Strudwick, Samuel, d. 1797
September 01, 1780
Volume 15, Pages 408-410


Hawfields, 1st Sept., 1780.

Dear Sir:

Give me leave kindly to expostulate with you on your neglect of me and my affairs; when I saw you a little before you went to Halifax, you told me you should return before you set out for the Congress; that you would take my papers a long with you, & make them your study at your leisure hours, for which purpose it was agreed in case I went to Cape Fear before you came back from the Assembly, that I should leave them with Mr. Hog: I remained here till after Christmas, and you it seems returned from Halifax sometime in November, and set out for Philadelphia without advertizing me of it. I continued Ignorant of Both till some days after you were gone, disappointed in my first expectation, I relied on your other promise to be here at the next Superior Court; for you must allow me to remind you that in some letters which passed between us you insisted much on the trouble and expence of an Extraordinary Journey on my Account, and when we discoursed the matter you gave me your word that in all events you would be here at the April Court: But Alas, from the time that we parted at your own house to this present moment, I have not had the Consolation of a single line to assure me of your kind remembrance.

At the Commencement of the last Superior Court I was much distressed: Mr. Iredale, the only resource I had left did not attend the Salisbury Court as he once intended, and delaid coming to Hillsborough till a day or two after our Court was opened: It was uncertain whether the Judges would indulge me with a delay; and

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if They did that very delay would prove highly injurious to me. But two things fell out rather fortunately! Tates & Co. Causes were put off, and Mr. Iredale exerted himself so effectually in Dun's Cause and displayed such Abilities, that he obtained another order for a survey in which All the Judges concurred: Messrs. Johnstone and Hooper were sent for into Court when the Motion was made, But pretended it did not affect their Clients: Tate himself opposed it with all his Eloquence, but in vain; and we were directed to give the tenants in possession ten days notice before we proceeded in the Execution of the Order, which We accordingly did, But after much wrangling and altercation, Tate, Steel, Pickhart and all that were responsible retiring to a small distance scarce out of sight, the Chain was cutt by a Fellow of no property; immediately after which the principal parties came back again to the surveyors, who were too much intimidated to join the links and make a second attempt: Nor will any thing ever prevail on them to resume the work unless they can have a Guard for the Security of their persons. In the mean time I am reduced to the most disagreeable situation: On Saturday one Bowles who has got a new Patent for a small plantation lying in sight of my house where there is an orchard, & some corn planted, came and told me he intended in a few days to fetch away the peaches to distill: On my saying I would not consent to it, he answered he could get a Posse to assist him, which I suppose he will: and it is very probable the other man who has got a Patent for my house will raise another (or the same) Posse, and drive us into the woods. You may be assured I shall not suffer either to execute their designs while I am able to resist them, but they so greatly outnumber all the strength I can muster, that Resistance on my part must prove Ineffectual. In this Dilemna I wish to have your advice how I ought to conduct myself: and whether I have not a Civil action against the man who cut the Chain, as well as a good cause of Indictment: the latter he will probably avoid by getting out of the way before Term, but were he liable to the former, as he is under no apprehensions at present, he might be held to bail, and those whom I suspect of having engaged to indemnify him; may find it a heavier mulct than they intended to impose upon themselves.

I must not omit to inform you that I have found one person to prove the hand writing of Lawson the Father before Judge Ashe:

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and another who has proved the hand writing of both the Lawsons Father and Son before Judge Williams: the Latter who is the most material Evidence will, I hope, be up at our Court, it is no other than Mr. Lathbury, who says he acquainted you three or four years ago that he could extricate us out of this difficulty: but probably your mind has been employed on matters of so much more moment whereon the Fate of Empire has depended, that my trivial concerns could hardly be expected to find a place in it: however if you can now, without neglecting the public, let me conjure you to bestow some small attention to my affairs, which tho' diminutive to those which chiefly occupy you are nevertheless of the last Importance to me. I am with great Esteem,

Dear Sir,
Your very Obedient Humble Servant,

P. S. You will please to remember that we have no Proof of Guises hand writing to the Lease and Release. We have only the proof of the Witnesses hand writing to these Instruments. But we have copies of these Deeds exemplified under the C'ty Seal. We ought to think betimes which of these we are to rely on, and if advisable send the original away – – – for a better probate.

Perhaps you will think Mr. Rutherfords Testimony Material, as he is acquainted with all the Circumstances of the Sale, and knowes the Fact, tho' he did not see the Execution of the Papers.

I should have waited on you personally, but at one time the dread of losing my house, and at another that of loosing my peaches, keeps me almost a Prisoner at home.