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Minutes of the North Carolina Governor's Council, including a deposition, a remonstrance, and correspondence concerning Tobias Knight's business with Edward Teach
North Carolina. Council
May 27, 1719
Volume 02, Pages 341-349

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[Council Journal.]

North Carolina ss
At a Council held at the House of ffred Jones Esqr May 27th 1719
Present the Honble Charles Eden Esqr Governor Capt General & Admiral
Thomas Pollock Esqr Lds proptrs Deputy
William Reed Esqr Lds proptrs Deputy
ffra ffoster Esqr Lds proptrs Deputy
ffred Jones Esqr Lds proptrs Deputy
Richd Sanderson Esqr Lds proptrs Deputy

In pursuant of an order of Council dated April the 4 1719 Tobias Knight Esqr Secty of this province and a member of the Council attended this Board to make answer to the several Depossitions and other Evidences mentioned in the aforsd order which sd Depossitions and Evidences were read in the following words Copy of several Depossitions and other Evidences given before the Court of Admiralty Constituted by Commission under the Great Seal for hearing and determining Piracy for the Colony of Verginia the 12th day of March 1718 for the tryal of James Blake, Alias Jemmy and other pirates late of the Crew of Edward Thache        late master of the sloop Adventure Comand by Edward Thache being sworn and Examined Deposed that he was on Board the sd Sloop Adventure at the takeing of Two ffrench Ships in the month of August last past and that all the prisoners at the Barr were on Board the Said Sloop and bore armes under Thache at the time of the sd Piracy That Thache plundered one of the ships of some Cocoa and the other brought in with him to North Carolina haveing first put her Crew on Board the ship first mentioned that soone after Thache's arrival at Ocacock Inlet he went in a periangor with foure of the prisoners by name Richd Stiles James Blake James White and Thomas Gates to Mr Tobias Knight Secty of North Carolina carrying with him a present of Chocolate Loaf Sugar and Sweet meats being part of what was taken on Board the ffrench ships above mentioned and that upon Thaches return from Mr Knight the Deponant Sawe divers goods brought in the pariangor which Thache sd he bought in the Country but the Deponant afterwards hearing that one William Bell had been robbed and understanding as well by common report as by discourse with sd Bell what kind of Goods he had been robbed of the Deponant knew them to be the same which Thache had brought on board his sloop but durst not discover to the sd Bell who had robbed him

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The four prisoners being asked whether they knew of the robbery of Bells Periangor acknowlegeth that the Same time in September they went from Ocacock in a periange with Edward Thache to the house of Tobias Knight Secty of North Carolina and carried in the said periangor three or foure Caggs of Sweet meets Some Loaf Sugar a bagg of Chocolate and Some boxes the Contents of which they did not know that they got to the sd Knight house about Twelve or one a Clock in the Night and carried up the caggs and boxes afsd which were all left there except one cagg of Sweet meets which was carried back in the periangor that the sd Knight was then at home and the sd Thache staid with him til about an hour before the break of day and then departed that about three miles from the sd Knights house at a place called Chesters landing they saw a periangor lying near the shore upon which Thache ordered them to rowe up towards her saying he would goe a shore to Chesters house but when he came up with the said periangor (in which were a white man a boy and an Indian) Thache asked them for a dram and immediately Jumped into the periangor and after some dispute plundered her carying away with him some money one cask of pipes a Cask of rum or Brandy Some Linen and other things and then the sd Thache Comanded the sd prisoners to rowe away for Ocacock Inlet instead of going a shore at Chesters as he at first gave out he intended.

William Bell of the precinct of Corratuck being sworne and Examined deposeth that being on Board his periangor at the Landing of John Chester in Pamticough river in North Carolina in the night of the 14th of September last a large periagor passed by standing up the river that a litle before break of day the same periagor returned and rowed on Board the deponant That a whiteman that he since understands was Edward Thache entered the deponants periangor and asked him if he had anything to drink to which the depont answered it was so dark he could not well see to drawe any whereupon the sd Thache called for sword which was handed him from his owne periagor and Commanded the deponant to put his hands behind him in order to be tyed Swearing Damnation seize him he would kill the deponant if he did not tell him truly where the money was. That the deponant asked him who he was and whence he came to which the sd Thache replied he came from Hell and he would carry him presently That the Deponant laid hold of the sd Thache and struggled with him upon which he called to his men to come on Board to his assistance and they came and laid hold on the deponant his son and an Indian he had with him then the sd Thache demanded his pistols and the deponant telling him they were locked up in his chest he

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was goeing to break it open but the deponant intreated him not to doe soe for he would open it but tho he permitted the deponant to unlock the Chest he would not suffer him to put his hands therein but took the pistols out himself that the sd Thache having got the deponants periangor out into the midle of the river rifled her took away £66 10s in Cash one peice of Crape Containing 58 yards a box of pipes half a barrel of Brandy and Several other goods the perticulars are mentioned in an account the deponant now delivered into court that perticularly the deponant was robbed of a silver cup of remarkeable ffashion being made to screw in the midle the upper part resembling a Chalice the Lower a Tumbler which cup the deponant is imformed has been found on Board Thaches Sloop that when the sd Thache and his Crew had taken what they thought fit from the deponant they tossed his sail and oares overboard and so rowed downe the river That the sd Thache in Beating the deponant broke his sword about a Quarter of a yard from the point which broken peice of the sword the deponant found in the periangor and now produces in Court and the deponant Verily beleave Thache had inteligence of his haveing money otherwise he woud have passed by in returneing from as he did in goeing to Mr Knight without concerneing himself with the periangor and the deponant further saith that within Two hours after he had been thus robbed he went to complaine to the Governor of North Carolina who sent him to Mr Knight then Chief Justice upon which the sd Knight gave him the Warrant or hue & Cry which he now produces in Court and that notwithstanding the deponant did particularly discribe the periangor and the men by whome he was thus robbed and did repeat as near as he could the Language the whiteman used to the deponant and declared that the other foure were Negroes or White men disguised as such and that the sd periangor had passed by the same night toward his house or Bath Towne yet the sd Knight did not discover to the deponant that any such periangor had been at his house or that he knew of Thaches being in the Country

Then was produced a Letter from the afornamed Tobias Knight directed to Capt Edward Thache on Board his sloop adventure which Letter was proved to have been found among Thaches papers After his death and by comparrison of the hand with other papers apears to be the writeing of the sd Tobias Knight which sd Letter was read and is as followers


Novr 17th 1718

My ffriend

If this finds you yet in harbour I would have you make the best of your way up as soon as possible your affairs will let you I have something

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more to say to you than at present I can write the bearer will tell you the end of our Indian Warr and Ganet can tell you in part what I have to say to you so referr you in some measure to him

I really think these three men are heartily sorry at their difference with you and will be very willing to ask your pardon if I may advise be ffriends again, its better than falling out among your selves

I expect the Governor this night or tomorrow who I believe would be likewise glad to see you before you goe, I have not time to add save my hearty respects to you and am your real ffreind

And Servant
T. KNIGHT

After Captain Ellis Brand Commander of his Majesty ship the Lune declared that having rec̄d Information of Twenty Barrels of sugar and Two baggs of Cotten lodged by Edward Thache at the house of Tobias Knight he asked the sd Knight for those goods they being part of the Cargoe piraticaly taken in the ffrench Ship and that the sd Knight with many asserverations possitively denyed that any such goods were about his plantation but yet the next day when he the sd Capt Brand urged the matter home to him and told him of the proofs he could bring as well by the persons concerned in Landing the sd goods as by a Memdm in Thaches pocket Book he the sd Knight owned the whole matter and the piratical Goods afsd were found in his Barn covered over with fodder

At a Court of Admiralty Continued and held at the Capital the 13th day of March 1718 Whereas it has appeared to this Court Mr Tobias Knight Secty of North Carolina hath given Just Cause to suspect his being privy to the Piracys com̄itted by Edward Thache and his Crew and hath received and Concealed the Effects by them piratically taken whereby he is become an accessary

Its therefore the opinion of this Court that a coppy of the Evidence given to this Court so farr as they relate to the sd Tobias Knight's Behaviour be Transmited to the Governor of North Carolina to the end he may cause the said Tobias Knight to be apprehended and proceeded against pursuant to the directions of the Act of Parliament for the more effectual suppression of Piracy

And then the sd Tobias Knight did remonstrate to this Board in answer thereto as followeth

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North Carolina

To the Honble Charles Eden Esqr Govr and the rest of the member of the Honble the Council now sitting

The Humble remonstrance of Tobias Knight Esqr Secretary of this province and a member of this Board in answer to the several Depossitions and other pretended Evidences taken against him at a Court of admiralty holden at the Capital of Verginia the 12th day of March 1718 First the sd Tobias Knight doth averr and doubt not to make it Evidently appeare that he is not in any wise howsoever guilty of the least of those Crimes which are so Slyly malitiously and falsely suggested and insinuated against him by the sd pretended Evidence the which to make more apparent to your Honours the sd Tobias Knight doth pray your Honours first to Consider as to the Evidence themselves they being such as Contradict themselves or as ought not to be taken in any Court of Record or else where against the sd Tobias Knight or any other white man for first Hesikia hands master of Capt Thaches Sloop Adventure seems to sweare possitively in his Depossition that the sd Thache went from Ocacoch Inlet at his returne into this Country from his last voyage with a present to the sd Tobias Knights house when by the same depossition he acknowledgth that to be out of the reach of his knoledge he being all the time at the sd Inlet which lyes at above thirty leagues distance from his house and further the sd Tobias Knight doth pray your Honours to observe that the aforsd Hesikias hands was (as he has been well informed) for some time before the giveing of the sd Evidence kept in prison under the Terrors of Death a most severe prosecution and that there doth apparently appeare thro' out the whole Evidence more of Art mallice and designe against the sd Tobias Knight then truth secondly as to the four next Evidence pretended to be given against the sd Tobias Knight under the name and pretext of foure of Capt Thaches men is utterly false and such as the sd Tobias Knight humbly conceives ought not to be taken against him for that they are (tho cuningly couched under the names of Christians) no other the four Negro Slaves which by the Laws and customs of all America Aught not to be Examined as Evidence neither is their Evidence of any Validity against any White person whatsoever and further that the sd Negroes at the time of their giveing the pretended Evidence afsd (as the sd Tobias Knight is informed) was upon Tryal for their own lives for the supposed piracy by them Committed on Board the sd Thache and that what they did then say was in hopes of Obtaining mercy tho' they were then Condemned and since Executed so that had they been never so Lawfull Evidences the sd Tobias Knights debarred from his right and benifit of an Examination of them.

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Thirdly as to the Depossition of Wm Bell I shall only observe to your Honours that there is nothing in it can Effect the sd Tobias Knight save that it is therein cunningly Suggested that Edward Thache was at the sd Tobias Knight house that night in which he was robbed which the sd Tobias Knight has good reason to believe was rather an Artfull and malitious designe of those that drew the sd Depossitions for that had it been true it was Impossible to have been within the reach of his knowledge and besides the sd Bell upon his Examination the day after he was robbed had in Suspission one Smith Undey Fiteing Dick and others and hath since the date of that Depossition Vizt on or about ye 25 of April last past declared that he doth verily believe that the sd Thache never was at that time at the sd Tobias Knights house for the truth of which the sd Tobias Knight doth humbly refer to the Examination and Depossitions of Mr Edmund Chamberlain

Fourthly as to the pretended Evidence of Capt Ellis Brand the sd Tobias Knight doth humbly conceive the same ought not to Effect him for had it been true it had and ought to have been upon Oath which is not tho' the sd Tobias Knight doth in the most Solemn manner declare that the sd pretended Evidence is every word false and that the said Brand never did at any time speak one word or mention to the said Knight in any manner whatsoever touching or concerning the sugar mentioned in the said Evidence before the sd Knight first mentioned them to him neither was the sd sugar ever denyed by the sd Tobias Knight to be in his Custody for the truth of which he humbly referrs to the Honble the Governor but further Saith that when the sd Tobias Knight was apprised that the sd Brand had been informed that the sd Sugars had been coniveingly put on shore for the sd Knights use and that there might be found in his Custody Several other things of value belonging to the sd Thache and that the sd Brand did intend to send his people to search his the sd Knight house he did then speak himself to the sd Brand and did acquaint him truly how and for what reason the sd sugars was there Lodged Vizt at the request of the sd Thache only till a more Convenient store could be procured by the Govr for the whole with assurance that the sd Tobias Knight never did prtend any Claim or right to any part thereof and did also at the same time desire the sd Brand if he had any other informations against him he would be so civel as either to come himself or send his Lieut to his house and every lock in his house should be opened to him which he only replied that tho' he had some spightfull things insinuated to him by Evil minded persons whose names he need not mention intimating Mr Maurice Moore Jerimiah Veal and others of that family

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yet he had more Honour than to do any such thing for that ever Since his comeing into this Goverment he had found nothing in the sd Tobias Knights but a great deal of readyness to assist him in the service of the Crowne very much becomeing a Gent and one in his post which Character he should give of him in Verginia in opposition to all the false and malitious storys there suggested against him or words to the same Effect ffifthly as to the Letter that was said to be found of the sd Tobias Knights writeing on Board the sd Thache Sloop the sd Knight doth beleive to be true for that he did write such a Letter by the Governors orders he having advised him by Letters that he had some earnest business with the sd Thache but he doth uterly deny that there was any evil intent in the writeing the sd Letter but that he did verily believe at the Same time that the said Thach was as ffree a Subject of our Lord the King as any person in this Goverment and the sd Tobias Knight doth further say in his owne Justification that when the sd Thache and his Crew first came into this Goverment and Surrendered themselves pursuant to his Majestys Proclamation of indemnity the said Tobias Knight then was and for a long time had been confined to his bed by sickness and that dureing his whole stay in this Government he never was able to goe off from his owne plantation nor did either the sd Thache or any of his crew frequent the sd Knights house unless when they had business at his Office as Secretary or Collector of the Kings Customs neither did the sd Tobias Knight or any of his family contract any acquaintance with the sd Thache or any of his crew nor did deal buy or Sell any with or of any of them dureing their whole stay Save only Two Negroe men which the sd Knight purchased from Two men who had left the sd Thache and had rece'd their pardons and since are gone Lawfully out of this Goverment and Stil Continue in their good Alegiance and the sd Tobias Knight doth aver for Truth that from the time the sd Thache tooke his departure from this Goverment bound to St Thomas's he did never See the sd Thache or any of his people until on or about the 24th of September last past when he came and reported to the Governor that he had brought a wreck into this Goverment and perticularly that the sd Thache was not to the sd Knight knowledge nor to the knowledge of any of his family at or near his house on or about the 14th day of September last past as is most falsely suggested in the afsd Evidence given against him in Verginia for the Truth whereof he refers himself to the Examination and Depossition of Mr Edmund Chamberlaine aforsd all which is most humbly Submited by

Your Honours Most Dutifull and
Most obediant Servant
T KNIGHT.
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Then Mr Edmnnd Chamberlaine was Examined and his Depossition was read & sworne to before this Board in the following words


North Carolina ss

The Depossition of Edmund Chamberlaine Gent taken upon his Examination before the Honble the Governor and Council at a Council Board holden in Chowan the 27th day of May 1719 who being sworne on the Holy Evangilist saith

That he this Deponant hath been for some considerable time past vizt ever since the Later end of August last past to this time a liver at the house of Tobias Knight Esqr in Bath County and that perticularly on or about the 14th of September last past and for several days before and Since he never was absent from the sd Tobias Knight house either by night or by day nor was there any passages or Occurances as this Deponant verily believes kept secret or unknowne to him and further saith that this Deponant did never see Capt Edward Thache nor any of his Crew neither was any of them to his knowledge at the sd Tobias Knights House either by night or by day until on or about the 24th day of the sd last September when as this Deponant is informed he came up to the Governor and reported to him that he had brought a wreck into this Goverment and this Depont doth verily believe that if the said Tache or his Crew had come to the sd Tobias Knights at any time either by night or by day before that time and especialy on or about the 14th of September the sd Deponant must and would have seen them, because at the time there was an Alarme of the Heathen falling upon us and this Deponant was at that time and upon that accompt very watchfull and apprehensive of every thing that stired about the sd house and the sd Tobias Knight was also at that time in so ill a state of health that this Deponant verily believes he could not possibly have gone out of his house to have had such communication with any person as in the sd pretended Evidence is Suggested without manifest danger and hazard of his life neither doth this deponant believe it was possible for the sd Tobias Knight to have had such Communication with any person either within or without his sd house without his knowledge for that his lodging roome was so near to this deponant that he must have knowne thereof and this deponant further saith that he was at the sd Tobias Knights House on the 14th of September when William Bell came and complained that he was robbed and desired a Hue & Cry from the sd Tobias Knight and did hear the sd Tobias Knight Examine the sd Bell whether he would describe the persons to him that robbed him to which the sd Bell replied he could not but said he did violently suspect one Thomas Undey and one Richd

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Snelling commonly called Fitery Dick to be Two of them and the others to be negroes or white men disguised like Negroes Some time afterwards he came again to the sd Tobias Knights and had in suspission one William Smith and others and the deponant further saith that he never did see or know of any presents of any kind to the sd Tobias Knight nor any of his family from the sd Thache nor any of his Crew since his being at the sd Tobias Knights house save only one Gun of about forty shilling value and this Deponant further saith that sometime on or about the 25th of April last he the deponant had discourse with Wm Bell of Corratuck Merchant concerning his being robbed of some money and Goods in Pamlicough on or about the 14th day of September last past by Capt Edward Thache and amongst other things he this Deponant did aske the sd Bell whether he thought the sd Thache was at the sd Tobias Knights house that night he was robbed or whether he thought he knew any thing of it. To which the sd Bell replied that the sd Tobias Knight was a very Civil Gent and his wife a very Civil Gentlewoman and did not think or believe that the sd Thache was there or that he knew any thing of the matter or words to that Effect

EDMUND CHAMBERLAYNE

And this Board haveing taken the whole into their Serious Consideration and it appearing to them that the foure Evidences called by the names of James Blake Richd Stiles James White and Thomas Gates were actually no other then foure negroe Slaves and since Executed as in the remonstiances is set forth and that the other Evidences so far as it relate to the sd Tobias Knight are false and malitious and that he hath behaved himself in that and all other affairs wherein he hath been intrusted as becomes a good and faithful Officer and thereupon it is the opinion of this Board that he is not guilty and ought to be acquited of the sd Crimes and every of them laid to his charge as aforsd

Upon motion of Coll ffred Jones shewing that there is a violent presumption that the will of Capt Thomas Lee dec'd is destroyed or Concealed and haveing in his life time often declare that his Dependance, was only upon the sd Coll Jones in case he should dye to take care of his Children and Affairs and that he had apointed him an Executor to his will praying that this Board would grant Citations directed to Mrs Mary Lee Widow Mr William John Edwards or any others he may think necessary to have Examined tuching the the will of the sd Lee in order that the Children may not be defrauded of their Just rights and this Board haveing Considered of the same doe order Citations to go out according to the prayer of the sd ffred Jones and that the persons concerned attend the sitting of the next Board.