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Petition from some inhabitants of North Carolina concerning George Burrington's misdeeds as Governor
No Author
Volume 03, Pages 121-124

[B. P. R. O. Am: & W. Ind: Vol. 22. p. 127.]

Mr Burrington was formerly appointed Governor of North Carolina by the late Lords Proprietors but afterwards for his ill conduct removed by them, his mal-practices were such that complaint was forced to be made against him, & a petition was presented supported by a number of Affidavits, a short Abstract of some of which we beg leave to set forth.

Affidavit of Mary Badham of Carolina, That 14th of May 1724 Mr Burrington at that time Governor came to Deponts about 12 at night & threatened to ruin her husband, swore he would have ye Secretary &

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Judge of ye Province in Goal, would lay them in irons & tye on neck and heels, would kill the Secretary whom he damned, and the lowsy Acts of the Assembly, did they pretend to bind him by Laws, did they think he would mind 'em, no, he swore he would not, he was Governor and he would do as he pleased, Depont says, she never heard of any reason for this, only their supporting Mr Dunstan's Commission & maintaining ye Acts of ye Assembly.

Note.—Mr Dunstan was Naval Officer, & the Governor pretended he could turn him out, & would put one Goffe in his place, tho' a person disabled by a particular Act of Assembly.

Affidavit of Wm Badham Clerk of ye Royal Court. That Govr Burrington in presence of depont and several others called the Chief Justice a Rogue & a Villain (tho' deponent & he believes every one else present thought him a very honest man) said he hated the Chief Justice tho' he had never seen him, would slitt his nose and cropp his ears, That about May 1724, Mr Dunstan applied to Depont for a Writt to arrest Mr Goffe, Depont asked the Chief Justice if he should grant one, who said it was a thing of course & could not be denied, that in a few days after Mr Burrington asked depont by what authority he granted writts, depont told him as Clerk of the Court & told him the Chief Justice said he could not refuse it, upon which he fell into a great passion, doubled his fist, held it up, depont expected he would have struck him, and swore with many asservations, he said the Secretary wanted to be Governor, but he would have him in iron before to-morrow night & depont too, and then how like Doggs they would look upon one another, as for the Chief Justice he said he had frighted him out of Town already and would put him in Prison.

Affidavit of Mrs. Sara Gale, wife of the Chief Justice. That on Sunday morning 25th of August 1724, hearing a great noise at the door as if somebody were breaking in, got up & looking out found it was Govr Burrington, he broke the windows and swore he would burn the house, he would have the dogg her husband by the throat and threatened to fetch a Barrell of Gunpowder and blow up the house, swore he would do her husbands business.

Affidavit of Wm Little Esqre that Governor Burrington threatening the Chief Justice with Irons and abusing him very much, one of the Company a relation of the Chief Justices with great modesty begged the Governor to forbear upon which the Governor threw a glass at him called for his sword & some disorder happened.

Affidavit of Robt Forster Gent That 18th April 1724, deponent being in the room where the Council satt, Governor Burrington called deponent

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out and asked him to go in and take Coll West by the nose and he would bring him off but deponent told him he would not take a member of the Council by the Nose in Council for the world.

Upon these affidavits and several others then lodged with the Lords Proprietors now in their hands, Mr Burrington was removed, and he has now lately been heard to declare that if he gets over them Governor again he will be the destruction of all those that had any hand in the removing him who were all the principal people of the Country, notwithstanding they did it upon so just an occasion, and the better to enable him to accomplish such his intentions has, as we are informed represented the present Members of the Council who are Richd Fitz Williams, Christopher Gale, Jno Lovick, Edwd Moseley, Francis Forster, Richd Sanderson, Robt West, Thos Pollock Jno Palis, Edmd Gale, Jno Waley & Roger Moore Esqrs as unworthy and unfitt Persons, tho' they are really the most considerable inhabitants of the Province & for that reason chose by the late Proprietors to be the Council of that Country, who with the Governor compose the Court of Equity, determine matters of property, and have otherwise considerable power and therefore ought to be men of the best Estates & understanding, but Mr Burrington instead of these has recommended some others to be Members who may better suit his purposes, for we are told that all the Persons at present named by Mr Burrington and through his false suggestions recommended by ye board of Trade to His Majesty to be the Council of Carolina are of so mean circumstances that put them all together their Estates in that Country won't amount to £1500, and those whose names have come to our knowledge are of such vile Characters and poor understandings, that it is the greatest abuse imaginable upon the ministry to recommend such to them, Edmd Porter we are told is one, he was formerly sent over to England from Virginia to be tried for his life for some notorious facts committed by him, and after he got off from this, was concerned in the Scotch Rebellion, for which he fled to Carolina, another of them is Mathew Rowan no inhabitant of the Country, but only sent over thither to build a ship or two for some persons in Dublin & is now run away with one of them loaded with ennumerated goods contrary to the Acts of Trade Cornelius Hart is another, he keeps a little punch house, and if the names of the others were known it is to be presumed they would be found to be all of this kind, his whole aim being to gett a sett of Persons that will go into any measures he shall propose and Mr Burrington not forgetting his old grudge against the Chief Justice and some other officers, has as we are informed very much misrepresented them and made as if their posts were of considerable value, tho' in fact not any

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one of them has ever been worth £100 a year, nor has near so much been made of them as can easily be shewn.

For these and many other reasons too tedious to mention, and the daily Instances Mr Burrington gives of his mad extravagant behaviour, it is humbly hoped that his Majesty in tender regard to so many of his poor Subjects in that remote part of his Dominions, who have proposed to themselves great felicity by their being more imediately under his Royal Protection than heretofore will be pleased to enquire into the former conduct of this Gentleman when he was Governor, before he be permitted to go over thither in that quality again.