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Memorandum from Gabriel Johnston to Enoch Hall and Joseph Anderson concerning the petition from inhabitants of the northern counties of North Carolina concerning the election of General Assembly representatives
Johnston, Gabriel, ca. 1698-1752
April 03, 1749
Volume 04, Pages 1203-1204

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New-Bern, April 3rd 1749.

To Enoch Hall Esqre Chief Justice and Joseph Anderson Esqre Commissioners appointed by the Right Honourable the Lords of the Committee for Plantation Affairs to enquire into the complaint of Peter Payne Mackrora Scarborough and others.

The Memorial of Gabriel Johnston Esqre Governour of North Carolina Sheweth

Imprimis That immediately after the Order of the Lords of the Committee served upon him he served you the said Commissioners with the copy of the said Order on the 22d of February last which service is returned upon Oath and at the same time signified to you under his hand in the following words This order of Council is to be executed on the 28th of March next the day immediately after the General Court for the Ease and conveniency of the Commissioners therein mentioned and at New-Bern as being most central for the partys concerned.

2d. That in consequence of this Notification you have hitherto proceeded and examined several Witnesses on both sides and two Witnesses have appeared one of which is already examined from the neighbourhood of Edenton upon a summons from the Chief Justice on the Governours Part.

3rd. That in all proceedings of this kind as the commission comes first to the hands of the Complainers and is by them served upon the Governour they ought in duty to come at the time and place appointed with their Evidence and Vouchers along with them to maintain their charge against the said Governour.

4th. That it is contrary to all custom and precedents, and indeed to the dignity of their Commission after the Examination is begun and a great Number of Witnesses Examined for the Commissioners to adjourn the said examinations from time to time and Place to Place at the desire of either Party but especially of the Complainers who ought to be always ready to prove their Accusations.

That such an Adjournment would be particularly unjust and unreasonable at this time as an Assembly was begun upon the first Day of your meeting and as the Council and several Members of the Lower House were concerned in the Transactions now complained of and as the Managers for the Governour one of them is a Member of Council and the other Speaker of the Assembly the Governour conceived that this is the most proper time and place for examining this affair fairly and to the Bottom.

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That the Governour is informed that the Agents for the Petitioners have moved you the Commissioners to adjourn this examination first to Bath and then to Edenton the one about forty and the other a hundred miles distance from this place Tho any Witnesses from the most distant parts might with great ease and convenience been brought here as appears by the presence of John Banbury and Joseph Blount summoned by the Governour from Edenton That the plain Design of this Motion appears to be to lay the Governour under a necessity of breaking up the Assembly and to harrass the Witnesses who live in the Southern parts by obliging them to attend at the two distant places and others to which they may move hereafter the examination to be adjourned.

That the examination of the Witnesses in behalf of the complainers has been at their Instance managed in a secret clandestine manner and his Agents have not been admitted to be present at the time of their Examination Whereas the Agents for the Complainers have been always invited to be present while his Witnesses were examined and been earnestly desired to cross examine them. And all persons whatsoever admitted to be present.

For all such reasons the said Governour Protests that you the Commissioners shall not admit or examine any Evidence at Bath Edenton or any other place where the publick affairs will not admit him or his Agents to appear Interrogate and Cross Examine and all Evidence so taken shall be held and deemed Evidence ex parte and of no Force. That all Evidence shall be taken openly before all the people who think fit to attend.

That papers found or said to be found in the Office shall not be deemed Authenticate Evidence and proper Vouchers unless attested by the Secretary And lastly I crave a Copy of this my Memorial and Protestation signed by you the Commissioners.