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[Picture of John Wickham]

Picture of John Wickham, the attorney who defended Aaron Burr in his trial for treason

Letter from John Wickham (1763-1839) to his uncle Edmund Fanning (1739-1818)

John Wickham, the attorney who defended Vice President Aaron Burr in his treason trial, began his career serving in a Loyalist regiment raised by his uncle Edmund Fanning.
Quarters, Flushing Fly (Long Island) 12th April 1783

My Dear Uncle,

It affords me the greatest Pleasure to hear of your Welfare, and Success at Home: although I have been disappointed in my Expectations of seeing You in America.

Had I imagined You would have remained so long in England; I should have often troubled You with Letters; but since the Receipt of yours of the 7th of June last, wherein You directed me not to write to You any more, as You should soon join the Regiment;

I have been in constant Expectation of your Arrival, untill Letters by the January Packet were received from You: since that Time no Opportunity has offered till the present.

The agreeable Intelligence of your having succeeded in placing our Regiment on the British Establishment has made the Officers very happy, and they in general express a most grateful Sense of their Obligation to You, for your generous Exertions in their Favour.

Ever since I joined the Regiment I have been perfectly pleased with my Situation (except the Inconveniences I have in common with the rest of the Officers suffered from L[ieutenant] C[olonel] G[eorge] C[ampbell] which are now over as I hope).

I have endeavoured to make myself fully acquainted with my Duty as an Officer, and have maintained the most perfect good Understanding with all the Officers; but have particularly cultivated the Acquaintance of those from whom I could receive the most Improvement, and who seemed highest in your Esteem.

As I suppose it is probable that our Regiment will soon be reduced, I am desirous to know what Profession You shall think most proper for me to apply to.

I hope I am free from that Indolence so commonly contracted in the Army, which would disqualify me from entering with Advantage upon any other kind of Life; but could I have a good Prospect by continuing in it, I should be very well satisfied with a Military Life.

So much is the Disposition for Persecution received of late in this Country, that I have Reason to think no Person who has born Arms in the British Cause can remain among them: at least for the present.

Should You think it much to my Advantage, I believe I might receive sufficient Assistance from my Father to pay the Difference for a Lieutenancy in the Regiment.

There have been two Instances of Mortality in the Family since You left America. Uncle Thomas FANNING died last Fall, and I was affected with the deepest Concern when on my Arrival from Charles Town, I received the melancholy News that Uncle William was no more.

That you may long continue to enjoy Life & Health with every other Human Felicity is the earnest wish of him who is with unalterable Sentiments of Gratuity, and Respect, Dear Uncle

Your dutiful & affectionate Nephew
John WICKHAM



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