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Letter from Thomas Pollock to Charles Eden [Extract]
Pollock, Thomas, 1654-1722
December 08, 1718
Volume 02, Pages 318-320

[From Pollock's Letter Book.]

Dec 8th 1718

Hond Sir

I have herewith enclosed my real sentiments as to the queries proposed by Mr Knight, but must needs acknowledge my weakness in such high

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matters, and want of time, being unwilling to detain the messenger too long: and to answer to what you desire in the postscript of Mr Knights letter, I declare that I never heard any thing of any applications to Verginia concerning Captn Thach, nor nothing of any intended expedition out of Verginia, until I heard that Capt Brand was come in, and that he and Col Moore and Captn Veall were gone to Pamplico.

There seems to be a great deal of malice and design in their management of this affair: wherefore I hope your Honor will be very cautious, and not to give them any opportunity to take advantage, which you no some people are ready and willing to do. And the Statute 11 and 12 King william being that all Governor in the said plantations under proprietors shall assist the commissioners, as is before expressed in the answer, and believing that Governor Spottswood would not act as he does by that old commission to Governor Nicholson; wherefore it is good, in my opinion, to be easy in the matter, and ready to do as the law directs, that they may be disappointed if they expect any advantages by your refusal. And as for the trial of the men, if they will have it in Verginia, it [will] ease your Honor of a great deal of trouble, and take off the odium of it from this government.

I hope your Honor will pardon my freedom, and take it in good part, and if I have erred any way in my opinion, please to attribute it to my weakness and want of a right apprehension of the matter, and not to be the want of sincerity of him who is * * * *

As for the sugars or other goods delivered, or landed to be delivered, to the Governor, to be secured for those that can make appear a right to them it seems to me that they can not be seized or carried out of the government, until by Judgment and condemnation the property be determined to be in the King, the Lords Proprietors or recovered by due course of law by the owner. and it seems to me the goods being in this government, or in some superior government, which is only in England, unless the government of Verginia have a commission from our present King thereanent according to the statute the 11 and 12 King William, which statute was only for seven years, and in the fifth of Queen Anne continued for seven years more and lastly in the first of our present King revived and continued for five years more and to the end of the next session of Parliament.

Then as for Governor Spottswood sending in forces here to apprehend Captn Theach and his men, it seems very dark and strange to me for by the foresaid Statute 11 and 12 of King William the power of trying pirates is only given commissioners to be appointed by the King under

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the great seal of England or the seal of admiralty. So that unless the Governor of Verginia be appointed by Commissioners as aforesaid from our present King thereanent, I know not by what authority he could send in warlike forces into this Government without the consent of the Government. And I should think if he had a commission from our present King to act in this manner, it would have been easy to have expressed it more fully in his power given to Captain Brand, and it would have been reasonable (as I take it) to have sent in a copy of it to the Governor here, that he might have had some guide and directions how to proceed in this matter. For as for King Williams commission to Governor Nicholson, (as I take it) it was determined at farthest in six months after his death, and so I believe can be no sufficient authority for any other Governor of Verginia to act by: and also by the same commission the Governor of Carolina seemed to be of equal power with the Governor of Verginia in the trial of pirates.

And whereas by the King's proclamation all admirals, Captains, Governors, & cet. are commanded only to seize on and take such of the pirates who shall refuse or neglect to surrender themselves according to the proclamation:

Now abeit that Theach and his men have come in and surrendered themselves, according to the proclamation, yet if they have been guilty of piracy after the 5th of January last, whether this may not be accounted a refusing or neglecting to surrender themselves according to the Law intent and meaning of the proclamation.

And as for carrying out such person to be tried in Verginia, unless as is said the Governor of Verginia has a particular commission from the present King, I cannot see how he can legally do it, for, if the act by virtue of the commission to Governor Nicholson, by the same commission the Governor here hath the same power, and the persons being inhabitants of this of this government ought to be tried here, for where two person have equal rights, he that hath the possession ought to have the preferance

I have given my opinion and true sentiments in the matter proposed, according to the best of my knowledge impartially, but must acknowledge my weakness and unacquaintedness in affairs of such high concern, and also want of time, having but little time to peruse the papers and return— * * *