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RALEIGH, N.C. — A 1708 law book probably stolen from the state Capitol by federal soldiers shortly after the Civil war has been returned to North Carolina. An Indiana University librarian notified the state last month that the library had a book that appeared to belong here. The law book is titled “Report of Divers Cases in Pleas of the Crown Adjudged and Determined; in the Reign of King Charles II.” The rulings it recounts include the prosecution of people involved in the execution of King Charles I, who were charged with high treason. The book was a gift to the Supreme Court library from Raleigh lawyer Quentin Busbee, according to an inscription written with a quill pen inside its front. The book was likely donated by Busbee when he was courts reporter in 1853, said Danny Moody, state Supreme Court historian. An inscription on the book’s title page appears to have been written by the thief, whose identity might never be known. It reads: “Obtained in July 1865 at Raleigh, North Carolina.” At that time, the court’s library was kept on shelves inside the courtroom, which was inside the Capitol. The book, valued at up to $1,500, was donated anonymously to the Indiana University library. It has been placed in the North Carolina court’s special book collection and is housed in a pair of locked, climate-controlled rooms.

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