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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from John Cooke to Richard Caswell, including related account
Cooke, John
June 29, 1778
Volume 13, Pages 176-179

[From Executive Letter Book.]

New Bern 29th June 1778.

Dear Sir:

Nothing but absolute necessity would have induced me to trouble your Excellency upon business at a time, when I know you have so many persons making constant application for your service as Commander in Chief. From the benevolence of your heart as well as the circumstances attending the occasion of this intrusion, joined to the claims of a friend, who always heretofore, and hopes always hereafter to be looked upon as such by you, I take the liberty of requesting you will indulge me in dispatching the bearer of this as soon as possible, (I should have said convenient) I have not now time, and if I had, it would be rather impertinent in a letter to your Excellency in an official character, to mention every circumstance relating to an unhappy dispute which has arose between the late purchasers of a schooner, now called the Race Horse taken up at sea by Capt. Pinkham without any human being or living creature on board, libelled in the Court of Admiralty, and condemned as a Derelict and sold as such by the Marshall of the Court of this Port to Messrs. Richard Blackledge & Co for the use of the persons who found her at sea, of which I am one of the number. Since she has been sold she has made a

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trip to South Quay, and returned safe with a load of tobacco for Capt. Cottineau, and in her second voyage thither for a freight, was known by a sailor who had formerly been in her several voyages from Virginia. He lodged an information with the friends of one Bass Tanner and Compy, who I believe were the former owners, and the Collector at this instance stopped her at South Quay until the Marshall of the Court of Admiralty attached her. The property is to be tried at Williamsburg the 10th of next month, and the owners think it necessary I should attend the trial. I have therefore agreeable to the instructions of the Attorney General of Virginia to request that your Excellency will certify that Christopher Neale is Deputy Secretary in this State under James Glasgow Esq., and the due faith &c. should be given to his certificate with respect to the enclosed printed copy of the Admiralty law. That Lewis Welch and James Parratt are Justices of the Peace and duly authorized &c. as such in the County of Carteret at Port Beaufort. I have enclosed your Excellency the instructions of the Attorney General to me with the Commission to take depositions, by which it appears that the time and place must be distinctly ascertained and as Mr. Welch and Parratt have not, (altho I sent them the instructions) dated the deposition of Pinkham at Port Beaufort, agreeable to my appointment with Bass Tanner & Compy that they might give their attendance, I want a certificate that these Magistrates live in Port Beaufort. If you please Sir, let the certificate with respect to the Admiralty Laws being a true copy, be annexed to a distinct and separate seal from the other, about Capt. Pinkham and Capt. Eason's deposition and the account herewith sent. The first is to be made use of to show that the schooner was condemned agreeable to the directions of our Acts of Assembly, and the other will come in play upon a suit to be brought for damages for the detention of the vessel, repairs &c. in case they should recover her. The account of Capt. Eason which is sworn to I wish to be annexed to Pinkham's deposition. I have sent your Excellency and Mr. Glasgow all the papers respecting this matter, for your perusal that you may form an opinion how they ought to be authenticated, which go from this State. Please to send them back by the express.

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At the request of Mr. Gormand and Doctr Hasten I have also sent to your Excellency a Copy of Mr. Batchelor's will certified to be such by Mr. Neale and must request that your Excellency will have the Copy properly authenticated to enable Mr. Ashton who is in Pennsylvania to qualify as Executor. I want the State Seal also annexed to that Copy, and have enclosed money for the payment of the several services to be performed. A memorandum of the expense of each respective service will oblige me. As I have not time to copy what I write I hope your Excellency will excuse this scrawl, especially as I rose before day was well broke to write in a hurry. It was my intention to have done myself the honor of accepting Capt. Caswell's polite invitation to dine at Kingston on Saturday next to celebrate the anniversary of Independency in company with your Excellency, but business has so turned up, that I cannot enjoy that pleasure. I have no news to communicate to your Excellency except what is contained in the following extracts from Capt. Eason's letter, dated at Beaufort the 27th June 1778.

“By a vessel arrived yesterday from Charles Town we have an account of a 10 or 12 Gun Sloop (Privateer from Augustine) being taken off Charles Town Bar, and carried in there last Sunday one of the ships belonging to Massachusetts State, that went to Charles Town lately; she went out on purpose and fortunately came across thro' a Decoy.” Mr. Neale had not time to copy the Law, but has carefully examined the printed Copy with the original and annexed his certificate thereto which your Excellency will find on page 64. My best wishes are always for the health and happiness of your Excellency & family, and you may believe me when I subscribe myself your huml servt,


If your Excellency is acquainted with any Gentleman in Williamsburg as I am an entire stranger there, a line to them would oblige.


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Mr. Cooke's acct for the papers specified in the above letter. John Cooke Esq.— Dr.

To Testimonial to Mr. Bachelor's will.
The Governor for the use of the State.
His Secretary for testimonials 5 shillings, Seal 2 shillings 8 pence.
To ditto papers relative to schooner Race Horse. 2 a 27 shillings 8 pence each.