Order by Privy Council of Great Britain committee concerning the petition from inhabitants of the northern counties of North Carolina concerning the election of General Assembly representatives
Great Britain. Privy Council
Volume 04, Pages 1161-1163
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At the Council Chamber Whitehall the 14th of July 1748.
By the Right Honourable the Lords of the Committee of Council for Plantation Affairs.
Whereas his Majesty was pleased by his Order in Council of the 3rd of December last to refer unto this Committee the humble Petition of Peter Payne Maca Scarborough, Simon Bryan, Caleb Wilson, Benjamin Hill and Stevens Lee in behalf of themselves and the several Inhabitants of the Precincts or Countys of Chowan, Perquimons, Pasquotank, Currotuck, Bertie and Tyrrell in North Carolina complaining of an Act passed in that Province in 1746 entituled “An Act for the better ascertaining the number of members to be chosen for the several Countys within this Province to sit in General Assembly and for Establishing a more equal Representation of all his Majesty's Subjects in the House of Burgesses.” The Lords of the Committee did on the 15th of January last take the said Petition into their Consideration, and being informed that the said Act was under the Consideration of the Lords Commissioners for Trade & Plantations their Lordships thought it proper to referr the said Petition to the said Lords Commissioners to examine into the same together with the said Act, which they have accordingly done, and made their Report thereupon to this Committee, whereby it appears that the said Lords Commissioners have been attended upon this occasion by an Agent in behalf of the Petitioners to sollicit the repeal of the said Act, and by another Agent in support thereof, but that the Agent for the Petitionrs was not able to prove the several Allegations of the said Petition for want of due evidence, and had therefore desired that the necessary Directions might be given for transmitting such Evidence duly authenticated under the seal of the Province. And the said Lords Commissioners having thereupon proposed that a Copy of the said Complaint should be transmitted to the Governor of the said Province for his Answer, and that the necessary Directions should be given for examining Evidence on both sides as likewise for transmitting authenticated Copys of all such papers as should be judged necessary in this Affair
The Lords of the Committee upon Consideration thereof are hereby pleased to order that a Copy of the said Petition of complaint (which is hereunto annexed) be transmitted to Gabriel Johnston Esqre Governor of the said Province who is hereby required to return to this Committee his Answer hereunto in writing with all convenient speed. And the Lordships do hereby further order that the Complainants or their Agents be at Liberty to take Copys of all records in any of the Public offices in the said Province touching the matters complained of as the said complainants
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plainants or their agents shall think necessary to support the said Petition of Complaint and that the same be delivered to the Complainants or their Agents signed and authenticated in the usual manner under the seal of the Province upon paying the usual Fees for the same. And that free Liberty be also given to all such Persons as the said Complainants or their Agents shall name as also to all such Persons as the said Governor shall name to make Affidavits before the Chief Justice and Judge of the Court of Admiralty of the said Province or either of them of what they know touching the Premises particularly as to the Practice of the said Province with regard to a Majority of the Assembly's being present before any business could be proceeded upon, and likewise with regard to the number of Representatives sent by each of the Northern Countys to the General Assembly from the year 1696 to the year 1746, and that such Chief Justice and Judge of the Admiralty Court or either of them do summon before him or them such Persons as the Complainants or their Agents shall name, as likewise such as the said Governor shall name, and take their Affidavits and examine them upon such interrogatorys as shall be exhibited for that purpose, which the said Governor is to signify to the said Chief Justice and Judge of the Admiralty Court as soon as may be. And that the Complainants or their Agents do deliver unto the said Governor Copys of such Affidavits or Depositions as shall be made or taken in this Matter on their Part, as also that the said Governor do deliver unto the said Complainants or their Agents Copys of his Answer and of such Affidavits or Depositions as shall have been likewise made on his part within the space of three months after the receipt of this Order As also that within thirty days after receiving each others proofs the said Governor do in like manner exchange with the said Complainants or their Agents the replys that shall be made by Affidavits or Depositions before they be transmitted to their Lordships, and that the whole matter be returned to this Committee under the seal of the said Province within the space of six months from the time that order shall be served upon the said Governor of the Province of North Carolina.
And their Lordships do hereby further order that the said Government do transmitt to this Committee the Minutes of the General Assembly of the said Province in November 1746 with the names of such Members as were present at their meeting, the names of such as were sworn afterwards, and the whole number present during the continuance of that Session, and also attested Copys of some of the writs issued for calling Assemblys antecedent to the year 1736, if the same form has been constantly observed, and if there has been any variation in the form of those
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writs, then to send copys of such as have so varied, and also copys of the Returns upon such Writs together with a copy of the order of the Palatines Court in the year 1796 directing five members to be chosen for the Northern Countys. And that the same be properly authenticated under the seal of the said Province and transmitted at the same time with the aforementioned proofs and Depositions. Whereof the said Governor of North Carolina, the Chief Justice, and Judge of the Admiralty Court, and all others whom it may concern, are to take notice and govern themselves accordingly.