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Case of Fraud Against Roger Wolcot

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Source Name Image(s)
CollectionNew-York Historical Society: William Thompson Papers view image
Document Information
Date December 29, 1784
Author Name William Thompson (primary) Location: Hartford
Recipient Name Joseph Howell (primary)
Summary Describes case of fraud against Roger Wolcot, who altered a note from the Paymaster General, and sold shares against the note. Request for deposition on the incident of fraud to be used in county court against Wolcott. Enclosed a copy of the testimony given in November regarding case of fraud. Discussed losing property and reputation.
Document Format Autograph Letter Signed
Document Notes [not available]
Content Notes [not available]
Related Persons/Groups Joseph Howell; William Thompson; Benjamin Ray; Roger Wolcot; Paymaster General; magistrate; bondsman; attorney; ;
Related Places Hartford; Hartford County; Connecticut; prison; county court; ;
Keywords note; certificate; bail; deposition; merlet; ;
Key Phrases satisfaction to acquaint you; pecuniary punishment; knaves; alteration; paymaster General's certificate no 27974; office; November last; to be examined; case; neighbor; daughter; sold; auction; share; complaint; magistrate; apprehended; examined; testimony; woman; magistrate; altered toe note with fraudulent intent; ordered to prison; bail; appearance for trial; supreme court; cause; bonds; forfeited; non appearance; circumstances; against him; he has hardly a chance of escaping corporal punishment; stand trial; forfeiture; bonds; public reparation; bondsman; laws of this state; criminal prosecution; action against him for private damages; county court; January; implicit confession of guilt; effrontery; defense; civil suite; mitigate the damages; attorney; damages; written deposition; oath of a magistrate; competent authority; facts; circumstances; note; office; record; deposition be certified; sealed; adjourned country court; trouble subject; post; public interest & credit; to refresh your memory; copy; certificate; signed; November; offender; man; property; family; severer mulet; discovering; alteration in the sum from; artful manner; note; defrauding; alarmed; deface it by drawing a line of ink crosswise upon the fact of it; assurance; detect the author of the knavery; recover my money; fraud and injury; property; reputation; risque; risk; damages; repay; season; gentlemen; identity; time; sum; assistants.

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Hartford December 29th. 1784
[Marginal note: #12/MIT]
I have now the Satisfaction to acquaint you, that
I am in a likely way to bring to pecuniary Punishment, one of
the Knaves that were concerned in the Alteration and uttering of
the Pay Master General's Certificate No. 27.974 in favor of Benjamin
Ray, which you will doubtless remember I brought to your Office
on the 25th. of November last to be examined -- The Case is as
follows - (One Roger Wolcot of this State, procured a Neighbour
to find the altered Note, by his Daughter (little known) to be sold in
this City at Auction, by promising them a share of what it sold
for ) on Complaint to a Magistrate, Wolcot was apprehended and
examined, and upon Testimony of the Woman, it appeared so
plainly to the Magistrate, that he altered the ^Note with fraudulent Intent,
that he was ordered to Prison, unless he gave Bail for Two hundred
pounds, for his Appearance for Trial before the Supreem Court,
which is now fitting, but the Causee is not yet come on -- he
found Bail -- but it is expected that the Bonds will be forfeited
by his non Appearance -- the Circumstances being so strong
against ^him that he has hardly a chance of escaping corporal
Punishment, if he should stand Trial -- and only by neglecting
to appear, the Forfeiture of the Bonds will be all the public
Reparation he, or rather his Bondsmen, will be subjected to, by
the Laws of this State, -- but besides the criminal prosecution
above recited, I have commenced an Action against him for
private Damages, to be tried at a County Court in January --
and altho his non Appearance on the criminal Suit may
be taken as an implicit Confession of Guilt, yet he may
have the Effontery to make a Defence in the civil Suit, in
order to mitigate the Damages -- therefore my Attorney informs
me, that in order to my recovering adequate Damages, it
will be necessary to produce your written Deposition, taken
upon Oath before a Magistrate, or other competent Authority,
setting forth the Facts and Circumstances that arose on my
bringing the Note to the Office to be compared with the Record, -
and that the Deposition be certified by the Magistrate, and
sealed up, and directed to the adjourned County Court, to be
holden at Hartford in Hartford County and State of Connecticut
on the fourth Tuesday of January AD 1785 -- I must
therefore intreat the Favor of you, and the other Gentlemen
Assistants in the Office, who were present on the 25th of Novemb
last, to take the Trouble to give your Depositions jointly or
severally, relative to the Subject, in the manner above desired — and that you would be pleased to forward the same by the Post, under Cover to me, early enough to answer
my Purpose; and as it affects the public Interest of Credit,
I suppose you can get the Letter franked, but if not, don't
fail to send it without -- -- -- To' refresh your memory
I send a Copy of the Certificate you signed the 25th November,
the purpose of which ought to be expressed in the Depositions
and in order to subject the Offender (who is a Man of some
property and Family) to the Severer mulet, it may be
requisite to add some circumstances, not contained in the
certificate, which actually took place, if you remember
them - namely that upon your discovering (the alteration
in the Sum, from 8 4/90 Dollars to 800 Dollars, and the
artful manner in which it was executed, you was greatly
surprised, and very much alarmed for the consequences)
and to prevent the note effectually from defrauding
any Body you began to deface it by drawing a Line
of Ink crosswise upon the face of it - and (as it appeared
to me) was unwilling to let it go out of the office again
- but upon my making myself known, and giving you
the strongest assurance that I should make no other use
of it than to detect the ^ author of the knavery and recover my money, you
permitted me to take it away with me - and further, if you
had at that Time any Thoughts about destroying the tattered
note, (to prevent Fraud and Injury), it will be best to express
it in the Deposition - because every Circumstance that tends
to prove any Risque I may have run, of losing my Property,
or Reputation, must enhance the Damages I sue for - but
far be it from me to ask wish any thing should be inserted
in the Depositions but what is strictly true - whatever
charge you may be at, I will cheerfully repay as soon as
I know what it is - - In full perswasion that
you will be so obliging as to comply with my present
Request, in the properest and most authentic Manner
and Form, and in due Season for the purpose - I am
Your most obedient
very humble Servant
Wm Thompson
Joseph Howell Jun. Esq
Assistant Commissioner of
Army Accounts
or either of the Gentlemen
Assistants in the Office
PS: If Mr. Howell should be absent the Deposition of one or
more of the Gentlemen who were present 25th of November last
may serve to prove the Identity of the Note exhibited at that
Time, the Sum for which it was given at first and the atten
tion thereof, and other Circumstances that can be recollected