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Letter from Thomas Burke to Alexander Leslie
Burke, Thomas, ca. 1747-1783
January 18, 1782
Volume 16, Page 178

TO GEN. LESLIE FROM GOV. THOS. BURKE
[From Executive Letter Book.]

January 18th, 1782.

Sir:

You will please to recollect that I wrote you on the 30th of last, requesting a parole within the American lines and informing you that my person was in great danger from the refugees who were exceedingly licentious and to whom persons of my political character are peculiarly obnoxious, and, therefore, that if granting my request was inexpedient it would be necessary to remove me to some place where my person might be safe. You were not pleased to answer that letter, and I found myself still exposed to men who are but too well known to be little restrained by moral principles and whom I had seen commit even murders with entire impunity. Deeming it exceedingly probable that these might conceive some violent design against me, and knowing that fear of punishment would not restrain men who felt themselves secured even from discovery, I felt every hour during sixteen days all the apprehensions of assassination. As my representation to you had not procured your notice so far as even to induce you to answer me, I saw no prospect of being delivered from my dangerous situation, and I concluded that such neglect of my personal safety would justify my withdrawing my person. But though I carried this resolution into effect, I do not thereby intend to deprive you of the advantages which my capture, by the rights of War, entitle you to. I purpose returning to my Government, and there to expect an answer from you to the following proposition:

I will endeavor to procure for you a just and reasonable equivalent in exchange for me, or if that cannot be effected, I will return within your lines on parole, provided, you will pledge your honor that I shall not be treated in any manner different from the officers of the Continental Army when prisoners of War.

This proposition will, I hope, be satisfactory, and will leave you no doubt that in withdrawing, I had no dishonorable intentions.

I am, &c.,
THOS. BURKE,