The Humble Memorial of Cuchet Jouvencal in behalf of Blake Baker
That Mary Hurst and John Lane severally sold sundry Tracts of Land lying and being in the County of Halifax in North Carolina to Blake Baker Esqr, in order to enable them to support and educate their children, to purchase Slaves (without which Lands are of little Value) and to put Stock upon such other Lands as belonged to them
That the said Mary Hurst and John Lane (each of them respectively) petitioned the Governor Council and Assembly in North Carolina to pass an Act to confirm the sale of the said Lands, and that other Lands should be settled in lieu thereof to the same Uses.
That after the said Petitions were referred to the said Governor Council and Assembly the said Mary Hurst and John Lane (agreeable to the course prescribed by the Laws of said Colony) gave notice in writing in all the Churches & Chapels in the Parish of Edgcombe or County of Halifax setting forth their intention of applying to the said Governor, Council and Assembly for an Act to Authorize them in the Disposal of the Lands therein mentioned that if any Person had just Cause to object to the same they might be at Liberty to offer their Reasons against passing the said Act:
That the said Advertisements were for three Sundays successively read in all the said Churches or Chapels or Places of Public worship, and that during the time the said Petitions were under the consideration of the said Governor, Council and Assembly there was not the least objection made to the said Mary Hurst or to the said John Lane's having an Act passed to authorize them in the disposal of the Lands they were entitled to under the will of Barnaby McKinnie late of said Province.
The Complainants being silent during the time that Mary Hurst and John Lane applied to the Assembly for an Act to authorize them in the Disposal of the said Lands, and also till the said Blake Baker paid his money for the purchase of the same, gives a very unfavourable Opinion of his Conduct and his afterwards applying to the said John Lane, to join with him in opposing the Royal Assent being given to the said Act of Assembly, plainly shews that he acted from bad Principles, and that if he had any Right or Title to the said Lands in remainder he would have applied to the Assembly before the passing of the said Act. About a year after passing the said Act of Assembly, the said Claimant got some Neighbours of his who were then in the Commission of the Peace to View Lands which he told them were assigned as an Equivalent for the Lands Mary Hurst and John Lane sold to the said Blake Baker and upon his information, they gave it as their Opinion that the Lands shewed to them were not equal in Value to those that were sold to the said Baker, and that those in remainder would be much injured thereby, but as this was a private Transaction, without Notice and contrary to the Rules prescribed by Law, and by the usuage of the Colony, as conceived, nothing of this nature ought to be permitted to be read in Evidence,
The respective Governments in the Colonies, have always discouraged the Intail of Lands which were not improved as the Quit rents and Provincial Texes could not be properly collected from such Lands, and also that the Owners of such Lands could enjoy little or no benefit from them, and in North Carolina there is a Law, entitled an Act for cutting or Docking the Intail of small Estates, which empowers such Persons as have small Estates in Fee Tail, to obtain a Writt from the Secretary's office, directed to the Sheriff of the County, where the Lands lye, commanding him to summons twelve men to enquire the Value of the Land, and if it should be found not to exceed £50 Sterl. in value, then the Intail may be barred by pursuing the method therein prescribed.
In England by Law there is a power of Docking the Intail of Lands, but in Carolina there is not any Law (except as above) for Docking of Intails, but in all Cases of this nature, application must be made to the Governor, Council and Assembly.
Therefore your Memorialist (in behalf of the said Blake Baker) humbly prays your Lordships will be pleased to take the Premises into Consideration, that the said Complainant be required to lay before your Lordships the Papers or Records upon which he grounds His Title, under the Will of the said Barnaby McKinnie, and if he fails in this Particular, that his complaint may be dismissed. That as the steps the said Complainant took with respect to the valuation of the Lands which were assigned by the said Mary Hurst and John Lane as an Equivalent for the Lands sold to the said Blake Baker, were irregular, without Notice, and contrary to the Usuage of the Colony, your Memorialist prays, that what was done therein may not be permitted to be read in Evidence, and as the said Mary Hurst and John Lane, and also the said Blake Baker, have in all Respects acted agreable to the Customs and Usuage of the said Colony, in cases of the like nature, and that the said Governor, Council and Assembly have acted upon full Information, and agreeable to the Rules of Justice, and the Usuage of the said Colony, your Memorialist furthur prays that your Lordships will be pleased to recommend it to His Majesty to Grant the Royal Assent to the said Act of Assembly.
And your Memorialist will ever pray etc.