Deposition of John Wynns concerning the election of North Carolina General Assembly representatives
Volume 04, Pages 1170-1172
The Deposition of John Wynns of Bertie County Gentleman, aged forty-one years, being sworn on the Holy Evangelists, Deposeth and Saith, that ever since the year one Thousand seven hundred and Twentynine, he the said Deponent hath been acquainted with the practise and usuage of the General Assemby of North Carolina, & that the several Precincts now called Counties in that part of the said Province called Albemarle were always till November one thousand seven hundred and forty six represented in the said Assembly by five Burgesses from each of the said Precincts or Counties, except, Edgcomb, Bertie Tyrrell & Northampton which have been under different Regulations by Acts of Assembly, and that, that part of the Province called Bath County was represented in the General Assembly by two Burgesses from each Precinct or County, and further this Deponent saith that the Towns of Edenton, Bath Town, Newbern and Wilmington have been represented by one Burgess from each of the said Towns, and this Deponent further saith that a Majority of the Burgesses chosen for the several Counties and Towns in this Province hath been always deemed & held necessary to make a Quorum of the House of Burgesses, and that he never knew nor heard that less than such a Majority of the Burgesses ever did proceed on Publick Business untill November one thousand seven hundred and forty six, and this Deponent further saith that he hath known the Governor because there hath not met a Majority of the Members of the House of Burgesses prorogue the Assembly from time to time, till such a Majority did meet and sometimes dissolved them for the same reason, and this
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Deponent further saith that he has known the Governor prorogue the Assembly several times when there has been more than twenty of the Burgesses met, and gave for reason in his Proclamation for the Prorogation that a Majority of the House of Burgesses had not met, and particularly in the year one thousand seven hundred and forty one this Deponent was chosen a fifth Burgess for Bertie in the room of Thomas Bryant deceased and went to Wilmington in September the same year to which time and place the said Assembly had been prorogued and he the said Deponent and Mr. John Dawson another Burgess for Bertie County were delayed in their Journey by Floods of Water and Freshes in the Rivers, so that they could not get to Wilmington till three days after the time to which the Assembly had been prorogued, and that there were met when this Deponent arrived at the said Town of Wilmington, Twenty one Burgesses besides this Deponent, and the said Dawson, and the same day being Friday the Governor prorogued the Assembly till the Monday following because there was not a Majority of the Burgesses met, and on that day there came two other Burgesses from some other part of the Province, with which as soon as the Governor was acquainted, he ordered the House to attend him, made a Speech and recommended several Publick Affairs to their Consideration: & this Deponent further saith that in June one thousand seven hundred & forty six, two new Counties were made by Act of Assembly, to wit the Counties of Granville and Johnston by which there was an addition of four Burgesses more than before that time had been the Representative of the Province, & further this Deponent saith, that in June one thousand seven hundred and forty six at Newbern the House of Burgesses passed a Bill for fixing the place for the seat of Government etc three Times, & appointed Bath Town for the Place for the seat of Government & sent the said Bill to the Upper House for their Concurrence, and the Council thereupon sent a Message to the House of Burgesses insisting that they should strike out Bath Town and incert Newbern in the room thereof upon which the Question was put in the House of Burgesses and was carried in the Negative whereupon the Assembly was by his Excellency the Governor prorogued to Wilmington to meet in November following and further this Deponent saith at the close of the said Session held in June one Thousand seven hundred and forty six he this Deponent and other Burgesses was conversing with Mathew Rowan Esqre
one of the Members of his Majesties Council concerning the affairs of the Province, & that the said Mr. Rowan said that unless the Burgesses would consent to fix the seat of Government at Newbern they might depend there would be no Business done, for tho' the Majority of the Burgesses lived at the North, the Council were at
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the South, and they could put a Negative. And this Deponent saith that he never knew of any Confederacy among the Northern Burgesses not to meet at Wilmington in November one Thousand seven hundred and forty six, but has heard several of them complain of being harassed with frequent Prorogations to distant parts especially Wilmington, and that all their Designs for the Publick good had been so often interrupted by the Council because the Burgesses would not settle the Seat of Government in a place inconvenient to the greatest part of the Inhabitants of the Province, that they had little hopes of doing any good for their Country by going at that time, & also that it was a very unseasonable time of the year, that going at that particular time would be of great prejudice to them, for it was at the time of killing their Beef and the Pork season coming on.
Edenton, 13th April, 1749.