powered by google
Documenting the American South Logo
Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Advanced Search Options
Acts of the North Carolina General Assembly, 1770 - 1771
North Carolina. General Assembly
December 05, 1770 - January 26, 1771
Volume 25, Pages 519a-519f

-------------------- page 519a --------------------
LAWS OF NORTH CAROLINA—1770.

At an Assembly begun and held at New Bern, the Fifth Day of December, in the eleventh Year of the Reign of our Sovereign Lord George the Third, by the Grace of God, of Great Britain, France and Ireland, King, Defender of the Faith, &c., and in the Year of our Lord One Thousand Seven Hundred and Seventy; being the first Session of this present Assembly. William Tryon, Esq., Governor.

CHAPTER I.
An Act for preventing Tumultuous and riotous Assemblies, and for the more speedy and effectually punishing the Rioters, and for restoring and preserving the public peace of this Province.

Whereas of late many seditious Riots and tumults have been in divers Parts of this Province to the disturbance of the Public Peace, the Obstruction of the Course of Justice, and tending to subvert the Constitution, and the same are yet continued and fomented by Persons disaffected to his Majesty's Government. And whereas it hath been doubted by some how far the Laws now in Force are sufficient to inflict Punishment adequate to such heinous Offences.

Be it therefore enacted by the Governor, Council and Assembly, and by the Authority of the same, That if any Persons to the Number of ten or more, being unlawfully, tumultuously and riotously assembled together, to the disturbance of the Public Peace, at any time after the first Day of February next, and being openly required or commanded by any one or more Justices of the Peace or Sheriff to disperse themselves, and peaceably to depart to their Habitations, shall to the number of ten or more, notwithstanding such Command or request made remain or continue together by the space of one Hour after such Command or request, that then continuing together, to the number of ten or more, shall be adjudged Felony and the Offenders therein and each of them, shall be adjudged Felons and shall suffer Death as in Case of Felony and shall be utterly excluded from his or their Clergy, if found guilty by a verdict of a Jury or shall confess the same, upon his or their Arraignment, or will not answer directly to the same, according to the Laws of this Province, or shall stand mute or shall be outlawed, and every such Justice of the Peace and Sheriff within the limits of their respective Jurisdictions, are hereby authorized, impowered and required on Notice or knowledge of any such unlawful, riotous and tumultuous assembly to resort to the Place where such unlawful, riotous and tumultuous Assembly shall be, of Persons to the number of Ten or more and there to make, or cause to be made such Request or Command.

And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, that if such Persons so unlawfully, riotously and tumultuously assembled, or ten or more of them, after such Request or Command made in manner aforesaid shall continue together and not disperse themselves within one Hour, that then it shall and may be lawful to and for every Justice of the Peace or Sheriff of the County where such Assembly shall be, and also to and for such Person and Persons as shall be commanded to be aiding and assisting to any such Justice of the Peace or Sheriff, who are hereby authorized, impowered and required to command all His Majesty's Subjects of this Province of Age and Ability to be assisting to them therein, to seize and apprehend such Persons so unlawfully, riotously and tumultuously continuing together, after such Request

-------------------- page 519b --------------------
or Command made as aforesaid, and forthwith to carry the Persons so apprehended before one or more of his Majesty's Justices of the Peace of the County where such Persons shall be so apprehended in Order to their being proceeded against for such Offences according to law. And that if the Persons so unlawfully, riotously and tumultuously assembled or any of them shall happen to be killed, maimed or hurt in the dispersing, seizing or apprehending, or endeavouring to disperse, seize or apprehend them, by Reason of their Resistance, that then every such Justice of the Peace, Sheriff, under Sheriff and all other Persons being aiding or assisting to them or any of them shall be free discharged and indemnified, as well against the King, his Heirs and Successors as against all and every other Person and Persons of for and concerning the killing, maiming or hurting of any such Person or Persons so unlawfully, riotously and tumultuously assembled.

And be it further enacted by the Authority aforesaid that if any Persons to the Number of Ten or more, unlawfully, riotously and tumultuously assembled together to the disturbance of the public Peace, shall unlawfully and with Force at any time after the first Day of March next, during the sitting of any of the Courts of Judicature within the Province, with an intention to obstruct or disturb the proceedings of such Court, assault, beat or wound or openly threaten to assault, beat or wound any of the Judges, Justices or other Officers of such Court, during the continuance of the term or shall assault, beat or wound or openly threaten to assault, beat or wound, shall unlawfully and with Force hinder or obstruct any Sheriff, Under Sheriff, Coroner, or Collector of the public Taxes in the discharge or execution of his or their Office or shall unlawfully and with Force demolish, pull down or destroy or begin to demolish, pull down or destroy any Church or Chapel or any Building for religious Worship or any Court House or Prison or any Dwelling House, Barn, Stable or other Outhouse that then every such Offence shall be adjudged Felony, And the Offenders therein their Leaders Abettors and Advisers shall be adjudged felons and shall suffer death as in due case of felony and be utterly excluded from his or their Clergy, if found guilty by verdict of a Jury or shall confess the same upon his or their arraignment or will not answer directly to the same according to the Laws of this Province or shall stand mute or shall be outlawed.

And whereas it hath been found by experience that there is great Difficulty in bringing to justice Persons who have been or may be guilty of any of the Offences before mentioned: For Remedy thereof, Be it enacted by the Authority aforesaid that it shall and may be lawful to and for the Attorney General of this Province for the time being or his deputies to commence Prosecution against any Person or Persons who have at any time since the first Day of March last or shall at any time hereafter commit or perpetrate any of the Crimes or Offences hereinbefore mentioned in any Superior Court within this Province or in any Court of Oyer and Terminer by the Governor or Commander in Chief for the time being, specially instituted and appointed and the Judges or Justices of such Court are hereby authorized; impowered and required to take Cognizance of all such Crimes and Offences, and proceed to give Judgment and award Execution thereon, although in a different County or District from that wherein the Crime was committed and that all Proceedings thereupon shall be deemed equally valid and sufficient in Law as if the same had been prosecuted in the County or District wherein the offence was committed, any Law, Usage or Custom to the Contrary notwithstanding.

And be it further enacted, by the authority aforesaid that the Judges or Justices of such Court of Oyer and Terminer so commissioned shall direct the Clerk of the District wherein such Court of Oyer and Terminer is to be

-------------------- page 519c --------------------
held to issue Writs of Venire Facias, and the proceedings thereon to be in all respects the same as directed by an Act of Assembly passed at New Bern in January in the year of our Lord One thousand seven hundred and sixty-eight entituled An Act for dividing this Province into six several districts and for establishing a superior Court of Justice in each of the said districts and regulating the proceedings therein, and for providing adequate salaries for the Chief Justice and the Associate Justices of the said superior Courts.

Provided nevertheless that no Person or Persons heretofore guilty of any of the Crimes or Offences in this Act before mentioned altho' convicted thereof in a different county or district from that wherein such Offence was committed shall be subject to any other or greater punishment than he or they would or might have been had this Act never been made.

And to the end that the Justice of the Province be not eluded by the resistance or escape of such enormous Offenders, Be it further enacted by the Authority aforesaid, that from and after the passing of this Act, if any Bill or Bills of an indictment be found or presentment or presentments made against any Person or Persons for any of the Crimes or Offences hereinbefore mentioned it shall and may be Lawful for the Judges or Justices of the superior Court or Court of Oyer and Terminer, wherein such indictment shall be found or presentment made and they are hereby impowered and required to issue their proclamation to be affixed or put up at the Court House and each Church or Chappel of the county where the crime was committed, commanding the Person or Persons against whom such Bill of Indictment is found or Presentment made to surrender himself or themselves to the Sheriff of the county wherein such Court is held within sixty Days. And in case such Person or Persons do not surrender himself or themselves accordingly, he or they shall be deemed guilty of the offence charged in the Indictment found or Presentment made in like manner as if he or they had been arraigned and convicted thereof by due course of Law, And it shall and may be lawful to and for any Person or Persons to kill and destroy such Offender or Offenders and such Person or Persons killing such Offender or Offenders shall be free discharged and indemnified, as well against the King, his Heirs and successors, as against all and every Person and Persons for and concerning the killing and destroying such Offender or Offenders and the Lands and chattels of such Offender or Offenders shall be forfeited to His Majesty, his Heirs and successors, to be sold by the Sheriff, for the best Price that may be had, at public Vendue, after notice by Advertisement ten Days, and the Monies arising from such sale to be paid to the Treasurer of the District wherein the same shall be sold and applied towards defraying the contingent charges of Government.

And whereas by the great Riots and Insurrections at the last superior Court held for the district of Hillsborough it may be justly apprehended that some endeavours will be made to protect those who have been guilty of such Riots and Insurrections as well as those who may hereafter be guilty of the crimes and Offences hereinbefore mentioned: For prevention thereof and restoring Peace & Stability to the regular Government of this Province, Be it enacted by the Authority aforesaid, that the Governor or Commander in Chief for the time being is hereby fully authorized and impowered to order and command that necessary Draughts be made from the different Regiments of Militia in this Province to be under the command of such Officer or Officers as he may think proper to appoint for that purpose at the Public Expense to be by him employed in Aid and Assistance of the Execution of this Law, as well as to protect the Sheriffs and collectors of the public Revenue in Discharge of their several Duties, which draught or Detachment of Officers and

-------------------- page 519d --------------------
Soldiers when made shall be found, provided for, and paid, in the same manner and at the same Rates and subject to the same Rules and Discipline as directed in case of an Insurrection in and by an Act of Assembly made in the year of our Lord One thousand seven hundred and sixty-eight, intitled An Act for establishing a Militia in this Province.

And for effectually carrying into Execution the purposes aforesaid, Be it enacted by the Authority aforesaid, that it shall and may be Lawful for the Governor and Commander in Chief for the time being to draw upon both or either of the Publick Treasurers of this Province, by Warrant from under his Hand and Seal, for the payment of any such sums of Money as shall or may be immediately necessary for the carrying on and performing of such service, and the said Treasurers or either of them are hereby directed and required to answer and pay such Warrants as aforesaid out of the contingent Fund which shall be allowed in their settlement of the public Accounts.

And be it further Enacted by the Authority aforesaid, that if any number of Men shall be found embodied and in an armed and hostile manner, to withstand or oppose any military Forces, raised in Virtue of this Act, and shall when openly and publickly required commanded by any Justice of the Peace or Sheriff of the County where the same shall happen, to lay down their Arms and surrender themselves, that then and in such Case the said Persons so unlawfully assembled and withstanding, opposing and resisting shall be considered as Traitors and may be treated accordingly.

And be it further Enacted by the Authority aforesaid, that the Justices of every Inferior Court shall cause this Act to be read at the Court House Door, the second Day of each Court for their Counties, and that the Minister, Clerk or Reader of every Parish in this Province shall read or cause the same to be read at every Church, Chappel or other Place of Public Worship within their respective Parishes, once in three months at least immediately after Divine Service, during the continuance of this Act.

And be it enacted, by the Authority aforesaid that this Act shall continue and be in Force for one year and no longer.

Ratified 15 January, 1771.

CHAPTER III.
An Act for founding establishing and endowing of Queen's College in the Town of Charlotte in Mecklenburg County.

Whereas the proper education of Youth has always been considered as the most certain source of tranquility, happiness and improvement both of private families and of States and Empires and there being no Institution or Seminary of Learning established in this Province, whither the rising generation may repair, after having acquired at a Grammar School a competent knowledge of the Greek, Hebrew and Latin Languages to imbibe the principles of Science and virtue and to obtain under learned, pious and exemplary teachers in a collegiate or academic mode of instruction a regular and finished education in order to qualify them for the service of their friends and Country, and whereas several Grammar schools have been long taught in the western parts of this Government, in which many students have made very considerable progress in the languages and other literary attainments, and it being thought by many pious, learned and public-spirited persons that great and singular benefits & advantages would be derived to the Publick, could some one of them receive the encouragement and sanction of a Law, for the establishment

-------------------- page 519e --------------------
thereof on a lasting & permanent basis, wherefore Be it enacted by the Governor, Council and Assembly and by the authority of the same that Messrs. Edmund Fanning, Thomas Polk, Robert Harris, Junior, Abraham Alexander, Hezekiah Alexander, John McNitt Alexander, Ezekiel Polk, Thomas Neal, Wm. Richardson, Hezekiah T. Balch, Joseph Alexander, Waitstell Avery, Henry Patillo and Abner Nash, be and they are hereby formed and incorporated into a Body Politic or Corporate, by the name of the Fellows and Trustees of the incorporated Society, for founding, establishing and endowing Queens College in Charlotte Town and by that name to have perpetual succession and a Common Seal, and that they and their Successors by the Name aforesaid shall be able and capable in Law to purchase, have receive enjoy possess and retain to them and their Successors for ever, in special trust and confidence to and for the uses and purposes of founding establishing & endowing the said College, and supporting a President of the same and the number of three or less tutors, any Lands, Rents, Tenements and Hereditaments of what kind nature or quality whatsoever and also to sell, grant, demise, alien or dispose of the same, and also receive and take any charity, gift or donation, whatsoever to the said College and by the same name to sue implead be sued and impleaded, answer and be answered in all Courts of Record whatsoever.

And be it further enacted by the Authority aforesaid that Edmund Fanning, Thomas Polk, Robert Harris Junior, Abraham Alexander, Hezekiah Alexander, John McNitt Alexander, Ezekiel Polk, Thomas Neal, Wm. Richardson, Hezekiah Balch, Joseph Alexander, Waitsell Avery, Henry Patillo & Abner Nash, Trustees and Fellows or a majority of them are hereby authorized, required and directed to meet at the Grammar school in the County of Mecklenburg aforesaid on the 1st day of March next after the passing of this Act then and there to elect, nominate, constitute and appoint by commission in writing under their hands sealed with the common seal of the said College, some learned, pious, exemplary and discreet person to be President of the said College and in like manner three or a less number of Tutors duly qualified for instructing & educating of the students of the said College and from time to time thereafter at the said School until the College shall be erected in the Town of Charlotte aforesaid and then in the Hall of the said College to convene & meet together and under their common Seal to make such Rules, Regulations & Ordinances for the admission or dismission of the President and Tutors of said College and for ascertaining the time of the admission of students or members and also the time of their continuance at College before they shall be entituled to receive the degree of Batchelor and Master of Arts, which said degrees the President of said College for the time being is hereby authorized & empowered to confer at the Public commencement on such as may be thought deserving of receiving the honours of the said Seminary of Learning and in Testimony thereof to give and deliver to the said Student so graduated a diploma under the Seal of the said College and signed by the President and a majority of the said fellows and Trustees. Also for directing the mode of Instruction and the course of studies to be pursued by the several classes, and for the better regulating and well ordering the Morals, Studies and Collegiate exercises of the Students & Members of the said College as to them shall seem requisite and necessary and best calculated to answer the good purposes hereby intended provided always that the said rules and ordinances correspond and be as near as may be agreeable to the Laws & Customs of the Universities of Oxford & Cambridge or those of the Colleges in America.

And provided further that no person shall be admitted to be President of the said College but who is of the Established Church and who upon being nominated

-------------------- page 519f --------------------
& appointed by the Fellows and Trustees as aforesaid or the majority of them shall be duly licenced by the Governor or Commander in Chief for the time being.

And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid that the said fellows and Trustees before they be deemed qualified to enter on the execution of the Trust reposed in them by this Act do before some Magistrate, take the several Oaths of Government, subscribe the Test, and also take the following Oath to wit,

I, A. B. do swear that I will duly and faithfully to the best of my skill and ability execute and discharge the several Trust, Power and Authorities wherewith I am invested by an Act of Assembly, for founding, establishing and endowing of a College in Charlotte and that in all things for the well ordering and Government thereof I will do equal and impartial Justice to the best of my Knowledge, So help me God.

And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, that the said Fellows and Trustees or a majority of them after their qualification as aforesaid shall meet at the School House the first day of March next after the passing hereof, to nominate and elect out of their number a fit and proper person to be Treasurer to the said Society, which Treasurer shall be annually elected on the first Tuesday in March, into whose hands shall be paid all moneys of or belonging to the said School, he first giving Bond and security in the sum of three thousand pounds Proclamation money to the first in nomination of his Brother Fellows and Trustees for the faithful discharge of his Office and the Trust reposed in him, and that the said Treasurer shall annually on the said first Tuesday in March settle his Accounts with the Fellows and Trustees of all disbursements, donations, gifts, bequests, or other charities that may belong or accrue to the said College the preceding year, and upon the said Treasurer's neglect or refusal to settle and pay over to the succeeding Treasurer what money may be in his hands belonging to the said Society the same method of recovery may be had against him as is provided for the recovery of monies from Sheriffs or other persons chargeable with publick monies.

And whereas it will be necessary that a Successor of the Fellows and Trustees should be kept up, be it enacted by the authority aforesaid, that on the death, refusal to qualify or removal out of the Province of the said Fellows and Trustees the remaining Fellows and Trustees, or a majority of them, shall elect, nominate and appoint by commission under the seal of the said College, signed by the said Fellows and Trustees, or a majority of them, other Fellows and Trustees in the room and stead of those dead, removed out of the Province or refusing to act, which Fellows and Trustees so elected, nominated and appointed shall be vested with the same Trusts, Powers and authorities as other Fellows and Trustees, He or they first taking the several Oaths by this Act directed for his or their qualification.

And the said Fellows and Trustees being desirous that some certain revenue be raised for founding, establishing and endowing the said College, Be it enacted by the authority aforesaid, that a duty of six pence per gallon on all rum or other spirituous liquors brought into and disposed of in Mecklenburg County be paid for and during the space of ten years from and after the passing of this Act, by the owners and carriers thereof, for and towards raising a fund for the purposes aforesaid, which said duties shall be collected, accounted for and paid to the Treasurer of the said College in the same manner and under the same Penalties and Restrictions as other duties on spirituous liquors are now paid and collected by Law.

Ratified 15 January 1771.