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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from Thomas Wren to John Adams
Wren, Thomas
April 22, 1787
Volume 20, Pages 663-665

(From Executive Letter Book.)

Portsmouth, 22nd April, 1787.

I had the honor of receiving your favour this Morning and have now to add to the former Intelligence that the man who had solicited Mobray to assist in a Forging is in Custody in our Town Gaol, he went to Mobray repeatedly on Saturday Evening, and was so urgent to have some Notes worked off that he proposed their working all night, for he fixed on going to assist Mowbray saying that he had some Little Knowledge of the Business, (tho’ he appeared in the Habit of Seamen) and added that they must take off a thousand Copies of Such Carolina Notes before Morning & indeed he always spoke of the Notes, Number wanted in this large way. Sir John Carter the brother of William Carter, being come home from a Journey had him apprehended & examined and this matter will now be transacted before Sir John (so far as it can be transacted) as he is the Mayor of the Town. The man says his name is Moore, or rather I think Muir, & and that during the last war he sailed out & in as belonging to an American Port. He was Short & Shy in his answers, but pleaded his cause before Sir John with a language and Sagacity much beyond his Appearance, saying that he could not see

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what the Majistracy of this Country had to do with his Proceedings, as it effected only the country beyond the Atlantic. He offered to deliver up all his papers, Types & Implements, provided they would burn and destroy them before him and set him at Liberty. This was not granted him and his papers that were found about him are all in the possession of Sir John or Mowbray, & will remain, Sir, for your directions. He says he has for these few days lodged at Mrs. Darts on Portsmouth common which is Suburb to this Garrison, so large that Mrs. Dart is not yet discovered tho’ it is probably She may; if any more papers are found at his Lodgings they will be kept with the others. This man has not been Rambling about the Country to meet with a Printer whose appearance he should like, but he came down from London and directly to Mowbray, a Man of Considerable abilities in his trade, & when a small piece of Border Block is wanting he engages to have it down from London in two days, which is as soon as any person could have it and Proves that it was in London ready cut. It is evident to me that he has several associates in London and that he is aiming to be a large dealer, both which Circumstances should, I think, Excite the Attention & Enquiries of our Government. From the Number and Variety of the Notes of the United States which he had in his possession & the large Edition which he meant to Print I think it is probable that he has been employed in America in some Branch of that Department in which he now manifests but too much skill. He is not a Sailor by profession. Care is taken that he does not want good sufficiency of Provisions, but he is not allowed Pen, Ink or Paper, nor any Visitor whatever, except the head Gaoler. Mr. Mowbray was to have sent me up an account left with him, or found on the Man, but if it does not come soon I must Omit sending it till next Post. P. S. Mowbray has sent his paper. Moor, Mure or Muir is a tall, thin man, 5 feet 9 inches high, with dark brown hair tied behind; Native of Scotland, he came from Charlestown in South Carolina in January last in the Ship John, Saml. Purchase, Master, & arrived in London in March; says he was cook of the Vessel but this doubted. Copy of a paper received by Dr. Wren from Mr. Mowbray and mentioned in the Postscript of the preceding Letter.

Ten different wood cuts, which together form the Borders of two notes of North Carolina currency, one of one pound, the other 5 shillings. A quantity of Metal Flowers cast by Mr. William Caslon, Letter

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Founder, Bleiswell Street, London, which will make the same Impression as on the reverse side of the above & other Notes which he wanted to have Counterfeited. The following is a Copy of Mr. Caslon’s Bill found on the person.

London, April 12th, 1787.

Bought of Wm. Caslon.

2℔ 8 oz of Great Primer Flower @1st per ℔
3℔ 13. Small Primer, 1s 2d
2℔ 15 Long Primer, 1s 6d
9 Brevier, 2s 6d
Rec’d for Wm. Caslon

Part of the Long Primer Flowers having been much used supposed to be taken from some printing office, a Card on which are fixed specimen cuts from the originals of the ornament required to go around the reverse sides of the Notes, and Original 5 shillings (suppose Note) North Carolina Currency, the Subscribers Names Obliterated.

Another Ditto No. 17459 Signed J. Hunt, B. McCullock.
A Six penny Note signed J. Hunt, No. 1356.
A five Shilling Charleston note, No. 3004, Subscribers Names cut out.
A 2 shilling note, No. 11849, Signed J. Hunt & B. McCullock.
A 20 Shilling Note.

They appear to be all printed by Thomas Davis of Halifax.