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Minutes of the North Carolina Governor's Council [Extracts], with comments by Edmund Porter
Porter, Edmund, ca. 1685-1737; North Carolina. Council
January 20, 1732 - January 21, 1732
Volume 03, Pages 519-524

Extract of the Council Journal of North Carolina relating to Mr Porter's not being fit to sit at that Board with Mr Porter's observations thereof.

North Carolina—ss.

Extract from the Council Journal 20 Janry 173½

His Excellency the Governor further asked the Advice and Opinion of the Council whether so bad a man as Mr Porter was proved to be should be continued a Member of Council within this Province.

Thereupon the Council were unanimously of Opinion that the said Edmond Porter was not fit to sit at this Board

(Vera Copia)
NATH: RICE. Secretary.

The above Copy will discover the previous question put by the Governor on the 20 of Janry 173½ which led some of the Council vizt: Mr Jenoure, Mr Halton Lovick and Edmond Gale to prejudge me, and althō it Says it was the unanimous Opinion that I was not fit to sit at the Council Board; Mr Ashe Mr Harnett and Mr Rowan (of his Majesties appointment) did vote against my suspention, as appears by the several Inclosed Depositions

Observations per E. PORTER.

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North Carolina—ss.

Extract from Governor Burrington's charge against Edmond Porter Esqre in the Council Journal 21. Janry 173½.

He hath behaved at the Council Board with so much Insolence to me that the Council hath taken Notice of his rude Behaviour in these Minutes and have entered it as there Opinion that he is too bad a Man to sit at the Council Board &c:

Copia Vera.
NATH. RICE. Secretary.

This paper will confirm that prejudging which was made on me the 20 day of Janry 173½ after which the next day the Governor and the same four prejudging Councellors proceeded to a second Judgment and then to suspention of me as Member of Council.

Observations per E. PORTER.

Extracts Relating to Cap: Burrington's Suspending Mr Porter.

After the Governor on the 20th of January had pronounced sentence of of suspention on E. Porter as Judge of Admiralty the following Entry was made in Council which by permission of the Clark I took from the rough after his Excellency had left departed the room.

Vizt: His Excellency the Governor further asked the advice and opinion whether so bad a man as Mr Porter should continue to sit as a member of Council within this Province, thereupon the Council are of opinion that the said Edward Porter was not fit to sit at this Board; the Governor thereon gave Mr Porter time to the last Tuesday in March next, but at the Instance of Mr Porter the same is to be heard to-morrow four of the Clock in the afternoon.

A True Copy Test

To the above entry and opinion, assented vizt Joseph Jenoure, Robert Halton, John Lovick and Edmund Gale: the other members dessenting vizt Mr Ashe, Mr Rowan & Cornelius Harnet.

After the aforesaid Prejudging me, the Governor the next day brought on my Trial for a further Judgment as will appear by the following Proceedings


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Thursday Eleven a clock att night

I complain against Mr Porter as a Member. of Council.

1th Because he has made it his whole Endeavour ever since my arrival to perplex and obstruct all proceedings in Council by raysing unnecessary disputes and cavils.

2thly That when his opinion has been asked upon affairs of the greatest consequence wherein the Peace and quiet of the Province has depended he hath asserted direct falshoods with an Intention to embarras and perplex the administration.

3ly He hath behaved at the Council Board with so much insolence to me that the Council have taken notice of his rude behaviour in their Minutes and have entered it as their opinion that he is too bad a man to sit at the Council Board.

4ly That the Council having upon a very full examination of the vile behaviour as Judge of the Court of Admiralty given their opinion that he deserves a suspention from that office and he being suspended accordingly I think it cannot be proper to continue him a member of Council when as such he must sit as a Judge in the Court of Chancery for this Province.

5ly That he being a person of very ill fame and character and now under many prosecutions and indictments not only for his barbarous proceedings as a Judge but for Tumults, Riots and other disorders I think it would be a reflection on his Majestie's Council here to have such a proffligate person sit with them, and therefore ask the opinion and advice of this Board whether the said Edmund Porter ought not to be suspended from being a member of his Majestie's Council for North Carolina.

According to my promise I now send you a charge & design to give in & lay before the Council to morrow every man present att the Council day knows how long I satt here (viz) from morning to nine att night. I am Sir

Your humble servant

Edmund Porter Esqr

No Carolina.

Friday following Thursday 11 'oth clock at night.

The Answer of Edmund Porter to the Complaint of His Excellency

Geo: Burrington Esqr Governor &c:

His Excellency exhibiting a charge against me setting me forth as a very heinous person, and yet alledging no particular facts, urged me

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(that I might acquit myself and convince the world that I merited not such Titles as in the charge are given me) to an immediate answer, which I shall make in as few words as I can, hoping no advantage may be taken of any slip which may happen in a thing so hastily conceived and delivered.

1. As to the first charge, I observe it is so general (no particular fact being alledged against me) that I know not how to answer to it otherwise, than that it will serve to be applyed to any of the Council who differing from the Governor in opinion shall raise disputes thereon

2. As to the 2nd I also observe that the generality of the charge admits no charge.

3. As to the 3 charge I observe that it is also very general saving as to the notice the Council have taken of my Behaviour and the opinion they have already before any charge exhibited against me, delivered thereon and entered in Council which plainly shews that they vizt Such of the Council as have so done have prejudged me, How far this conduces to their Qualifications of being my Judges in the present case I shall leave to others to Judge.

4. I must patiently bear the harsh terms the Governor is pleased to bestow on me in this Article and as to the proceeding of the Governor in my case as Judge of the Admiralty and the opinion of the Council as to my meriting a suspention from that office I shall only say that I thought it hard considering how unavoidably I was detained from appearing sooner (being frozen up with my vessel far from Edenton and not possible to come to it any otherwise than by water which detained me till Wednesday last in the afternoon from my Plantation) that I should so immediately on my very first appearance be pressed to a hearing and that after examination of the Evidence of the Complaints against me I was not allowed time to produce those in Defence, this I expected because (as I moved last night) I remember well it was the method observed in the complaint between Sir R. Everard and Mr Lovick against each other. But of this I shall take more particular notice at another place. As to the reason given by his Excellency that because I am suspended as a Judge of the Admiralty it is not therefore proper I should be continued a member of Council, I beg leave to observe that supposing I were fully convicted of the Charges against me as Judge of the Admiralty, yet those facts were all done before my being in the Council I would therefore beg leave to make this Query Whether after I am nominated by his Majesty of his Council in this Province and qualified according to law, Facts done before, nowaies respecting that office may

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be exhibited against me and allowed as sufficient reasons for turning or throwing me out of Council. And if the Governor and Council shall be of that opinion I hope it may be a standing rule and that others may be also examined as to past actions of their life before their being in Council as well as me

5. As to the fifth Article I must observe as before the generality of the charge and the language bestowed on me (as yet I hope one of his Majesty's Council) by his Excellency, in the present case my Judge, at least one of my Judges, As to the Prosecutions, Indictments &c: against me, I beg leave to say that others have been indicted before me, and that every one accused is not to be concluded guilty and therefore this is no reason for suspention or for throwing on me such hard names, if it were it would be an easy matter to make the most innocent person deserve it and to have bestowed on him the titles of one of ill fame and character and a proffligate person

To conclude as your Excellency hath been pleased to suspend me as Judge of Vice Admiralty I think it a most insupportable grievance that after I put in my first paper yesterday praying reasonable time to make answer to the complaint of Mr Little your Excellency not only overruled the same But my second paper produced on the Board your Excellency in great heat threw into the fire thō I told you it related to my defence.

Delivered at the Council Board this 21st day of January 1731. Humbly praying that this my answer be entered in the Council Book.

Signed E. PORTER.

Answer to Governor Burrington's charge.

Mr Edmund Porter praying us to commit to writing what he remembered to have heard the Governor say after having suspended him from being one of his Majesties Council in North Carolina. We do declare and give under our hands that on January the 21th 173½ at Edenton in the Council Chamber, after His Excellency George Burrington Esqre Governor had put the Vote to the Council then sitting whether they consented to the suspension of Edmund Porter Esqr and the Majority of the Council vizt Joseph Jenoure Robert Halton, John Lovick and E. Gale Esqrs consenting to his suspension (those who dessented being John Baptista Ashe, Mathew Rowan & Cornelius Harnet Esqrs) immediately thereon we heard the Governor say he doubted not but he should have him sending some very humble messages quickly, the other vizt Mr Porter answered, he would be cut to pieces for it, the Governor replyed,

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he might not perhaps come at first himself, but he would be sending his wife.


The above is the hand writing of Mr Gale a Member of the Council appointed by His Majesty.

We the Subscribers do hereby testify and declare that we were present in Council on or about the 30 of March 1733 when Mr Edmund Porter delivered to his Excellency a Paper of which the within is a true Copy, he having given us the same to be read before he put it in, desiring our Notice that if there should be occasion, he might have our Testimony thereon


18th July. 1733