The Governor having received information that the legality of a Commission for the qualification of Public Officers issued by him to the Justices of the Peace for the County of Beaufort in virtue of the Powers and authority vested in him by his Majesty's Commission under the great Seal of Great Britain, had been wantonly drawn into question, and treated with great indignity at the last Inferior Court held for that County, required the attendance of the Justices then making the Bench and the Deputy Attorney General attending the said Court to give their testimony before him in Council.
On this day accordingly appeared Mr Barrow and declared that agreeable to the commission of His Excellency five Magistrates met and qualified the Clerk, administering to him the Oath of Government and Office. That some Writs were then issued, one against Mr Palmer (and some others). When the Court came the Clerk qualified over again, and took security. This action being called which was for false imprisonment, it was pleaded in abatement,
Mr Moses Hare: that he remembered a Commission of His Excellency for qualifying public Officers being mentioned; the way it came about there was one McKinnie brought a suit against Mr Palmer, Mr Edwards pleaded in abatement that the Clerk was not qualified according to Law; and it was the opinion of the Court that he was not: being asked if the Governors Commission was treated with any indignity? he does not remember that it was.
Mr Thomas Bonner: that he did not know anything was said about the Commission except on trying a cause between Mr Palmer and Mr McKinnie, Mr Edwards who was Mr Palmers Lawyer made use of some words signifying that the Clerk was not properly qualified under that Commission and the Action should abate and that he did not remember that His Excellencys Commission was treated with any indignity.
Mr Henry Bonner: that there was a Commission he understood and four or five Magistrates assembled and the Clerk qualified; at next Court it was said the proceedings were not agreeable to Law.
Mr John Patton: that there was a suit brought by one McKinnie against Mr Palmer who employed Mr Edwards. The method he took to clear Mr Palmer was by asserting the Clerks qualification under that Commission was unconstitutional. Being asked whether the Governors Commission was treated with any indignity? answered that he did not remember that it was.
Mr. Ormond Deputy Attorney General: That some time before the sitting of the Court one McKinnie applied to him to bring suit against Mr. Palmer, he told Mr. Fowler he must qualify before he issued the Writ, which he did under His Excellency's Commission—That on the tryal Mr. Edwards who was concerned for Mr. Palmer pleaded in abatement “that the Writ was issued by Mr. Fowler who at that time was not qualified so to do. That a Commission of the like nature, or similar to that of His Excellency's (mentioning that of Oyer and Terminer) had been disputed and disallowed of by the General Assembly of this Province; And by the direction of the Law the Justices were to be Qualified before they entered on the execution of their Office.” That he observed to the Court that was not a place to dispute the authority of the Governor's Commission, that they were Justices appointed by the King and ought to obey the
His Excellency communicated to the Receiver General and Surveyor General His Majesty's Instructions relative to the future mode of granting Lands in this Province dated at St. James the third of February 1774, and desired they would report to him what vacant Land might be found the Settlement and improvement whereof would tend to the public Interest and welfare.
It was the opinion of this Board that John Tillman's name be added to the Commission of the Peace for the County of Craven.