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Affidavit of John Baptista Ashe concerning Edmund Porter's suspension from public office
Ashe, John Baptista, d. 1734
April 07, 1733
Volume 03, Pages 506-508


North Carolina—ss.

Pursuant to the directions of the Right Honble the Lords Commissioners for Trade and Plantations in their Letter dated August 16. 1732. I Nathaniel Rice Esqr Secretary of North Carolina Do hereby certify that at the Instance of Edmond Porter Esqr I summoned John Baptista Ashe Gentleman to appear and give Testimony touching matters in some Complaints made by his Excellency Governour Burrington and the said Edmond Porter against each other, thereupon the said John Baptista Ashe appeared and on his Oath on the Holy Evangelists saith That at Edenton in the Council Chamber on or about the 20 day of January 173½ His Excellency Governour Burrington and the Council proceeding to the Tryal of Edmond Porter Esqre then Judge of the Vice Admiralty of this Province on a charge or complaints of Sundry persons exhibited against him by Mr William Little for wrongs done or said to be done by him in the Execution of his said office, both parties being called Mr Porter came in and addressing himself to His Excellency told him that on a voyage he had made to the Southern parts of the Province he had been frozen up a long time in his vessel so that he could not possibly reach home Sooner being as he said but a little before that arrived, that he was unprovided with an answer to his charge wherefore he prayed a little time to prepare one. The Governour answered he would allow him no more time, there passed several words between them, Mr Porter urging and repeating his request, the Governour his refusal or denyal Upon which Mr Porter went out of the Council Chamber and in a very small time came in again with a paper which seemed to be a letter that had been folded up and opened again and offering it to the Governour laid it before him on the table, telling him it was what he had left to be delivered to his Excellency in case by any accident he should have been prevented being at Council (or words as near as may be to that effect) The Governour replyed he would receive no letters from him and taking the letter or paper into his hand, he lifted his hand being about to toss it

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behind him into the fire, whereupon Mr Porter said Sir it relates to my defence (or words to that effect) the Governour said he would serve them so or burn them if there was a bushel of them or words as near as may be to that effect to the best of the Deponents remembrance. The Governour then ordered the Articles to be read: Mr Porter tarried in the Chamber some time, then withdrew, afterwards came in again and made some objections to the proceedings (which what they were in particular the Deponent has forgot) And after this he went out of the Council Chamber and came not again (as the Deponent saw or heard of) during the Tryal: After Mr Porter was gone and the first Article had been read and Evidences heard, the vote being put to the Council, whether the facts in that Article were fully proved or not The Deponent refused to give his Vote for that as Mr Porter had withdrawn and would not appear to answer the charge, his opinion was the Council could not proceed to examine the Evidence because it would be ex parte (as it were) but ought rather if he were guilty of a Contempt or had made default to take the facts proconfesso and this the Deponent gave as his reason, why he would not proceed to give his opinion to the question on each article as it was put vizt: Whether the facts were fully proved or not. After sitting some time (the Council going on in the manner aforesaid) the Deponent went out, while he was out the Governour ordered his peremptory refusal to vote (without reasons given) to be entered in the Council Journal of which the Deponent having notice by a friend he returned and complaining of the injustice of such an act prayed that his foregoing reasons for refusal might be entered, which was allowed of (and since by whose artifice the Deponent shall not say) the words he finds have been purposely as he believes so perverted and entered in the Council Journal as to be rendered unintelligible and made nonsence. After the Governour and Council had gone through with most of the Articles of the charge (as the Deponent was informed giving their opinions or votes to the question put as aforesaid) Mr Porter was suspended. The next day Mr Porter appeared before the Governor and Council to answer a complaint of the Governours against him as a member of Council. The Governour shewed during the Tryal much heat and passion argueing with great eagerness and warmth against Mr Porter and after the Majority of the Council vizt Mr Jenoure Mr Halton Mr Lovick and Mr Gale had voted for his suspension (Mr Ashe, Mr Rowan and Mr Harnet dissenting) the Governour told Mr Porter he doubted not but he should have him sending some very humble messages quickly. Mr Porter answered he would be cut to pieces first to which the Governour
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replyed he might not perhaps come at first himself but he would be sending his wife.

This Deponent further Sayeth, that he has been well acquainted with Mr Porter these seven or eight years that he knows but few persons in the Government whose Estates are greater than Mr Porters. That after Mr Porters arrival in this Province in being in the latter end of Governour Burrington's administration under the Proprietors he observed a very great intimacy and familiarity between the Governour and Mr Porter, as also after Sir Richard Everard was Governour of this Province, Mr Burrington Mr Porter and the Deponent being in the Lower house of Assembly together and very conversant with each other. And upon Proposals during that Assembly of sending home Agents for the Country, the Deponent remembers the said Governour Burrington his proposing Mr Porter and Mr Goffe as two very proper persons for such agency in his opinion, but seemed to dislike Mr Dukinfield who had been proposed by some others

JOHN BAPTISTA ASHE.

Jurat coram me Septimo Die Aprilis 1733
Math: Rice Sec.