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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
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Deposition of William Herritage concerning the election of North Carolina General Assembly representatives
Herritage, William, ca. 1707-1769
April 05, 1749
Volume 04, Pages 1174-1176

William Heritage of Craven County in the Province of North Carolina Gentleman, aged forty two years or thereabouts, being sworn & examined Deposeth as followeth Vizt

To the first Interrogatory, This Deponent saith that he hath acted as Clerk of the House of Burgesses Ten years and upwards.

To the second Interrogatory. This Deponent saith that to the best of his Remembrance the number of Twenty three, Twenty Four, Twenty five & Twenty six, according as the numbers of Counties increased were deemed a majority in the House of Burgesses before they proceeded to Business.

To the third Interrogatory. This Deponent saith that he believes that there hath been Members Qualified before there was a Majority of the Members met to make a House of Burgesses before November one Thousand seven Hundred and forty six.

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To the fourth Interrogatory, This Deponent saith that Chowan, Perquimons, Pasquotank, and Currituck were represented by five Members each till November one thousand seven hundred and forty six, Bertie represented by five, till the Division of that County and since by three only, and Tyrrell by four when this Deponent was first Clerk in the year one thousand seven hundred and thirty eight, and some time after by five, till November one thousand seven hundred and forty six.

To the fifth Interrogatory This Deponent saith that the said Bill mentioned in the said Interrogatory did pass three times in the said House by a Majority and that Bath Town was the place mentioned in the said Bill for the Seat of Government and keeping Publick offices for appointing Circuit Courts and defraying the Expence thereof and also for Establishing the Courts of Justice and regulating the Proceedings therein the two last times the Bill was sent to the Upper House but believes the first time it went without any place incerted in the said Bill.

To the sixth Interrogatory. This Deponent saith that the Members of his Majesty's Council, which were then met after the Bill in the last Interrogatory mentioned had been read three times in the House of Burgesses did send back the said Bill with a Message to the House of Burgesses to which said Message incerted in the Journal of the said Session for greater certainty this Deponent refers and the question was put which passed in the Negative.

To the seventh Interrogatory, This Deponent saith that the Assembly was prorogued to Wilmington without doing any further Business.

To the eighth Interrogatory, this Deponent saith that there were eight Members of the preceeding Assembly met at Wilmington in Consequence of the Prorogation and saith that seven new Members were then qualified, John Smith, John West, William Eaton, John Swann, Thomas Clark, Edward Jones, and Caleb Granger, and the reason why their names were not incerted in the Journals as usual he doth not know, Mr. Speaker directed the method of meeting to be entered as followeth, (That the Assembly met according to Prorogation.)

To the ninth Interrogatory, this Deponent saith that it hath been usual for the House of Burgesses, when a Member dies, to acquaint the Governour thereof and for him to issue a Writt of Election to choose a new Member in the room of the Member so deceased, but whether they are returnable forty days between the Date of such Writts & return thereof this Deponent saith he knoweth not, because such Writt issues out of the office of the Clerk of the Crown & are generally therein returned.

To the tenth Interrogatory this Deponent saith that he believes His Excellency the Governor did in November one thousand seven hundred

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and forty six issue a Writt for electing a Burgess for the Town of Wilmington in the room of Thomas Clark then Deceased, this Deponent saith he doth not know the day when the said Writt issued, but believes it was issued at the request of the House of Burgesses then met, saith that he doth not know how many days were between the Test and the return of the said Writt, but believes there were not above six days and Caleb Granger was thereupon chosen a Burgess for the said Town, and on or about the sixth day after the request above said the said Caleb Granger was qualified and took his Seat accordingly.

To the eleventh Interrogatory, this Deponent saith that at the passing the Act intituled an Act for the better ascertaining the Number of Members to be chosen for the several Counties 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 Burgess all the Members of that Session were present when the said Bill passed three times, & also at the Ratification thereof and at the passing the Act for fixing a place for the seat of Government three times in both Houses all the Members were present but afterwards Mr. John Haywood and Mr. Joseph Howell absented themselves the night before the last mentioned Act had received His Excellency's the Governor's Assent.

To the twelfth Interrogatory, this Deponent saith that there were fifteen Members present at the passing or ratifying the Act for Ascertaining the Number of Members to be chosen for the several Counties within this Province to sit in General Assembly and for Establishing a more equal Representative of all his Majesty's Subjects in the House of Burgesses, and that there were thirteen Members present at the passing the Act for fixing a place for the seat of Government, and for Keeping Publick offices for appointing Circuit Courts and Defraying the Expence thereof and also for Establishing the Courts of Justice and regulating the Proceedings therein.

Wm HERRITAGE.