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Letter from William Hill to Thomas Person
Hill, William, 1737-1783
April 24, 1780
Volume 14, Pages 803-804

[From Mss. Records in Office of Secretary of State.]

Wilmington, Apr. 24th, 1780.


I was yesterday presented (by James Giekie, Esqr.) with a Summons under your Hand, “to appear before the Committee of Privileges and Elections, to Answer to such Matters & Things as should be alledged against my having a Right to a Seat in the Hnble. the Commons House of Assembly of this State, on a Complaint of an illegal Election.

With all possible deference to your respectable Committee, I beg leave just to say that if there were any illegal Steps taken in the Election I am utterly ignorant of them. The Choice was made without my Privity or Consent, & I knew not that any Person had set me up as a Candidate till near the close of the Poll; however, when I was told that a Majority of Votes were found for me, I determined to attend the House in Order to take my Seat, unconscious & not dreaming of any impropriety or illegally in the Mode of Election. But afterwards Mr. Walker, one of the other Candidates, told me (upon application to him) that he intended to controvert the Matter. And subsequent to this both he and I Qualified as Commissioners of Forfeitures, which by the 25 section of the Constitution disqualifies us both for a Seat in either House of Assembly; at least a Gentleman learned in the Law & a worthy Member of the Senate tells me so. Had this circumstance been officially announced to the Committee, I take it for granted they would not have required my personal attendance, which would put me to the Expense of a Journey to New Bern and back, when no public Benefit could arise from such an attendance. I therefore inclose to you the Clerk's Certificates of my appointment to Office above mentioned, & hope the General Assembly will be of Opinion that a new writ should issue for

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another Election, without putting me to the trouble of a Journey to Answer what this Certif. & the 25 Sec. of the Constitution, above referred to, so fully announces. I beg Permission to add that I Flatter myself that neither the Honble. House nor your respectable Committee will suggest any contempt or the least disrespect on my Part, assuring myself that in an Assembly of the Wisest Men of the State Substance will not be sacrificed to Form. This Certificate I intended to Inclose to the Speaker of the House by my friend Mr. Dry, who sets off for Newbern in a day or two; but your Summons (more properly) makes me address it to you; & that it may the more speedily reach you I forward it by Post.

I am, Sir, the Committee's most
Obedient humble Servant,
Thos. Persons, Esqr., Chairman of the Committee of Priv. & Elec.