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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from Thomas Burke to Richard Caswell
Burke, Thomas, ca. 1747-1783
April 01, 1777
Volume 11, Pages 437-438

[From Executive Letter Book.]

Philadelphia, April 1st 1777.


I wrote you by an opportunity which went home last week, & now take the liberty of troubling you with a few lines, whose purpose is to inform you of some interesting matters that have come to light since that time. One Molesworth a person of some credit in this city was detected in an attempt to corrupt the pilots and engage several to go to New York in order to bring round the the fleet. These honest fellows received him, & so ordered the business that not the least doubt remains of his guilt, which he found so evident that dissimulation was vain & he confessed it. He was tried by a Court-Martial as a spy, found guilty, and executed. Some of his coadjutors are still in confinement, & some principal conspirators are not yet apprehended, but we have hopes of being masters of them in a short time. Letters from France of the 21st January bring many pleasing intelligences. Some part

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must not yet be communicated. Two millions of livres are in bank in Paris, ready to answer our drafts. France and Spain are exceedingly friendly to us. And twelve thousand stand of arms; twenty tons of gunpowder, a quantity of woolen and sundry necessary articles are arrived at Portsmouth in New Hampshire, in a French armed vessel; many others are on their way, & expected every day. In short, Sir, our prospect begins to clear up, & nothing is wanting but some vigorous exertions this season. I am sorry I can not give you a good account of our army, our recruits come in very slowly, & I fear there is very great abuse in the recruiting department. We have at present our whole attention bent towards the ensuing campaign. We are in a pretty fair way, if recruits do not fail us. Everything in Europe bears the appearance of a war, & I should not wonder if the flame should catch this summer. At all events, so apprehensive is England, that she will not dare to make any vigorous efforts in America. I shall not, Sir, take up any more of your time at present, but shall trouble you again when anything interesting occurs.

I have the honor to be with the greatest respect & esteem,
Your Excellency's most obed't.serv't.,
Governor Caswell.