|Pages 75-92||Pages 109-130|
| CHAP. II. |
An ordinance for appointing sheriffs.
|WHEREAS by an act of assembly made in the twenty second year of the reign of his late majesty king George the second, intituled An act prescribing the method of appointing sheriffs, and for limiting the time of their continuance in office, and directing the duty therein, it is among other things enacted, that every county court of this dominion shall annually, between the last day of June and the last day of August, present to the governor, or commander in chief of this colony for the time being, a list or recommendation of three persons named in the commission of the peace for their county, one of which persons so recommended shall thereupon be commissioned by the said governour or commander in chief to execute the||Preamble.|
|office of sheriff of that county for the next ensuing year; and whereas John earl of Dunmore, his majesty's lieutenant and governour general of this colony, hath withdrawn himself from the seat of his government, and commenced hostilities against the good people of this colony, hath also, by his proclamation, declared martial law to be in force in the colony, and refuseth to grant commissions for executing the office of sheriffs, according to the directions of the said recited act, whereby justice is and may be greatly delayed and hindered.||reciting the withdrawal of lord Dunmore from the seat of government; his hostilities; & proclamation of martial law; and refusal to grant commissions to sheriff.|
|For remedy whereof, Be it ordained, by the delegates and representatives of the several counties and corporations within the colony in the present general convention, and it is hereby ordained by the authority of the same, That upon the expiration of the office of sheriff of any county in this colony, the court of such county, instead of recommending three persons to the governour or commander in chief, to be by him commissionated to the office of sheriff, shall, and they are hereby empowered and required to nominate and appoint one of the persons named in the commission of the peace for their county to execute the office of sheriff of their said county for one year; and the person so nominated and appointed shall have all the powers and authorities, and shall perform and execute the said office in as full and ample manner, as if appointed by commission from the governour or commander in chief of this colony, according to the direction of the said recited act. And the person so nominated and appointed, before he enters upon his office, shall take the oath of office, and enter into bonds with sufficient security, agreeably to the laws now in force. And if any person shall refuse to accept the said office, the court shall proceed to appoint another in the room of the person so refusing, who shall give the like bonds and security, and take the oath of office as aforesaid.|| Courts to appoint sheriffs,
instead of recommending to the governor. |
Their powers and duties the same as if commissioned by the governor.
Vacancies, how supplied.
|Provided always, That so soon as the executive powers of government in this colony are restored to their proper channel, and other sheriffs shall be appointed pursuant to the said act of assembly, that the persons who may be appointed to the office of sheriff by the county courts in manner aforesaid shall cease to execute the said office, and the powers hereby given shall be revoked.||Powers of sheriffs, thus appointed, to cease, on restoration of executive power.|
|WHEREAS it is found that an ordinance to the last convention, intituled An ordinance for providing arms and ammunition for the use of this colony, is insufficient, in this time of imminent danger: Be it therefore ordained, by the delegates and representatives of the several counties and corporations within this colony and dominion of Virginia, now [assembled] in general convention, and it is hereby ordained by the authority of the same, That the committee of safety for the time being may, and they are hereby required to contract, upon the best terms they can, with such gunsmiths, or others, as they may approve, for manufacturing or supplying such quantity of arms as they shall judge proper for the defence of this colony.||Committee of safety authorised to contract for a supply of arms.|
|Provided, That such contract for rifles shall not be made to continue longer than the first day of July next, and for muskets longer than twelve months from the passing of this ordinance.||Limitation of contracts.|
|And for the more speedy and effectual providing of powder, Be it farther ordained, by the authority aforesaid, That the committee of safety may, and they are hereby required to contract with proper persons willing to manufacture the same on the publick account, and to erect, or cause to be erected, one or more powder mills, at the publick expense, at such places as the said committee of safety may judge to be free from danger, and conveniently situated with respect to the colony in general.|| |
Provision for a supply of powder.
|And be it farther ordained, by the authority aforesaid, That the saltpetre and sulphur purchased, ro to be purchased, for the use of this colony, be subject to the disposition of the committee of safety, for the purposes last mentioned.||Salt-petre & sulphur at disposal of committee of safety.|
|WHEREAS an ordinance of the last convention, intituled An ordinance appointing a committee of safety, for the more effectual carrying into execution the several rules and regulations established by this convention for the protection of this colony, did expire on the meeting of this convention, and it is necessary that a new committee be appointed for the purposes aforesaid: Be it therefore ordained, by the delegates deputed to represent the several counties and corporations within this colony in the present convention, and it is hereby ordained by the authority of the same, That Dudley Digges, the hon. John Page, Paul Carrington, Edmund Pendleton, James Mercer, Thomas Ludwell Lee, William Cabell, Richard Bland, Joseph Jones, John Tabb, and Thomas Walker, esquires, be, and they are hereby appointed and declared a committee of safety throughout this colony; and they, or any six or more of them, shall have and exercise all the powers and authorities given to the committee of safety in and by the said recited ordinance, or any other ordinance or resolution of convention, from and after the passing hereof, until the end of the next session of the general convention, or for one year, in case the convention should not meet within that time.|| Ordinance for appointing Committee of Safety, revived, and
What number may act.
|And be it farther ordained, by the authority aforesaid, That the said committee of safety shall have full and ample powers, during the recess of convention, to direct all such measures and military operations as in their judgment shall be necessary for the publick security.||General powers.|
|And be it farther ordained, That the said committee of safety shall and may appoint one assistant clerk, when they shall think the same necessary, who shall have such allowance as shall be thought reasonable by the general convention.||May appoint assistant clerk.|
|And whereas the time of continuance of the officers in the service of this colony, and the manner of resignation, have been doubted, Be it declared, and ordained,||Continuance of officers in service,|
|That all officers now or hereafter to be appointed shall continue in service so long as the regiment to which they belong shall be kept up, and that no officer hath or shall have right to resign but with [the] consent of the convention or committee of safety of this colony.||and their mode of resignation declared.|
|Provided, An [Any] officer willing to resign may do so at the expiration of the time for which the private men are or shall be enlisted, on giving the like previous notice of such intention as is required of such private men.||How officers may resign.|
|And be it farther ordained, That Thomas Everard and James Cocke, esqrs. shall be, and they are hereby appointed commissioners, to examine, state, and settle such accounts as shall be referred to them for that purpose by the committee of safety; each of which commissioners shall be allowed such salary as the convention, or committee of safety, shall determine.||Thomas Everard and James Cocke, appointed commissioners to audit accounts referred to them by committee of safety.|
|WHEREAS, by reason of the expiration of an act of general assembly, for improving the staple of tobacco, and preventing frauds in his majesty's customs, the people in this colony may be subjected to great difficulties for want of a certain mode of making tobacco payments for levies, or other debts, and sundry disputes may arise between them and the officers or creditors, which may increase the convulsions in the colony, already too much convulsed by the unhappy disputes with Great Britain;||Preamble, reciting expiration of tobacco inspection law.|
|For remedy whereof, Be it ordained, by the delegates and representatives of the people of this colony, now met in general convention, and it is hereby ordained by the authority of the same, That it shall and may be lawful for any person who shall be indebted for levies, or other demands payable in tobacco, to discharge the same by good, sound, and||Tobacco debts, how discharged.|
|merchantable tobacco, leaf or stemmed, tied up in bundlers, and clear of trash and dirt; and if the collector or creditor shall refuse to receive tobacco tendered in such payment, on account of its not being clean, sound, or merchantable, it shall be referred to two judicious neighbours, to be chosen one by each of them (or if one shall refuse to nominate, the other may choose them both) who, being sworn to give an impartial judgment, shall determine the point between the parties; and if they disagree, they shall choose a third person, who shall be sworn in like manner, and his judgment shall be final. The payments of levies and rents to be made on the plantation of the debtor, with a reasonable allowance, in cases of rents, for the charge of carrying the same to the next inspection; in other cases, at the place appointed by contract.|| Quality of tobacco, tendered in payment, to be determined by
Payment of rents, and levies, to be made on plantation of debtor, &c.
|& And be it farther ordained, That, where the vestries shall not have compounded with their ministers for his receiving money in lieu of tobacco for his salary, according to a late act of assembly, in such case the collector of the parish levy shall convey the tobacco so to be received for levies to the house of the minister, who shall receive the tobacco so brought, from time to time, until his full salary of sixteen thousand pounds of tobacco, with the allowance of four per cent. for cask, and four per cent. for shrinkage, with the usual expense for transporting the same to the nearest publick landing on some navigable river, is fully paid; and the residue of the tobacco so to be received shall by the collector carefully prized up into hogsheads, and sold, according to the directions of the last mentioned act. But this is not to extend to or affect, such counties or parishes where by law the inhabitants are allowed to pay their levies at a certain price in money.||Salaries of ministers not compounded for in money, to be paid in tobacco, at his house.|
|And be it farther declared, and ordained, That the several vestries shall be empowered to levy for the coltor [collector] of their several levies such additional allowance for his trouble in collecting the tobacco in manner aforesaid as to them shall seem reasonable, according to the extent of the parish; and shall also allow the minister two shillings and sixpence for every thousand pounds of tobacco by him received for his salary as aforesaid, for prizing up the same.||Additional allowance to collectors.|
|And whereas five of the members of the vestry of the parish of Frederick, in the county of Frederick, have||Vestrymen of Frederick|
|resigned their said offices, and another of the members being dead, there doth not remain a sufficient number to hold a vestry for the purpose of electing others to fill up the said vacancies, by reason whereof the maintenance of the poor, and other parochial affairs in the said parish, are wholly neglected: Be it therefore farther ordained, That it be, and is hereby recommended to the several members of the said vestry, who have so resigned their offices, to resume the same, and upon their so doing, or so many of them as with the resuming members will make a vestry, that such resumption be entered in the vestry book, and from thenceforth the vestrymen so remaining shall have the same power to act in all things pertaining to the said office as if they had never resigned the same.||parish, in county of Frederick, requested to resume their offices.|
|And be it farther ordained, That if a sufficient number of the said resigning members, as, with the others, will make a vestry, shall not agree to resume their offices within two months from the passing hereof, that then the said vestry shall be dissolved, and the freeholders and housekeepers of the said parish, at such time and place as shall be appointed by the sheriff of the said county, shall proceed to elect twelve able and discreet persons, in the usual and accustomed manner, to be vestrymen of the said parish; and the persons so elected, having taken an oath before the county court well and truly to execute their office as vestrymen, and subscribed to be conformable to the doctrine and discipline of the church of England, shall be, to all intents and purposes, the vestry of the said parish.|| If a sufficient number to form a vestry refuse to resume their
offices, the vestry dissolved, & a new one elected. |
|WHEREAS, by the extreme badness of the weather, and other unavoidable accidents, the freeholders, and others qualified to vote at the election of committees for several counties and corporations in this colony, were prevented from assembling at the times and places directed by an ordinance passed at the last convention, iutitled An ordinance for regulating the election of delegates and ascertaining their allowances, and also for regulating the election of committee-men in the several counties and corporations within this colony, and for other purposes therein mentioned, by means whereof no committees have ben, or can now be regularly chosen, to act in such counties and corporations, until the next election:||Preamble.|
|Be it therefore ordained, by the delegates reputed to represent the several counties and corporations within this colony in the present general convention, and it is hereby ordained by the authority of the same, That the freeholders, and other qualified to vote for committees in such counties and corporations as have not chosen committees pursuant to the said recited ordinance, shall, and they are hereby required to meet at the respective places by the said ordinance appointed, as soon after the passing this ordinance as publick notice can be given, and deliver into the chairman to the last preceding committee, or in case of his absence, or refusal to act, to the clerk of such committee, or in case of his absence, or refusal to act, to one of the delegates of such county or corporation, a list of twenty one persons, qualified as by the said recited ordinance is directed,||County committees to be elected, where not already done.|
|to serve as a committee for such county or corporation, until the next general election; which several lists shall be fairly counted by the person receiving the same, in the presence to so many of the preceding committee as may choose to attend, and publications shall be made of the several persons having a majority of votes, who are hereby declared to be duly elected a committee to serve as aforesaid. And the said committees shall have the like power and authority, and be governed in their proceedings by the same rules and regulations, as directed by the said recited ordinance, and in case of the death, resignation, or removal, of any member of a county or corporation committee, already or hereafter to be elected, such vacancy shall be supplied by the choice of the rest of the committee.|
|Provided, and be it farther ordained, That in the county of Norfolk, the courthouse being lately destroyed by the enemy, the election of a committee for that county may be at any other convenient place therein, as shall be appointed by the person undertaking the management of such election, any thing in the said recited ordinance to the contrary notwithstanding.||Election in Norfolk, at what place.|
|Whereas the time appointed for the general election of committees is, from experience, found inconvenient: Be it ordained, That from and after the passing of this ordinance, the time for making general elections of committees, for the several counties and corporations in this colony, shall, and the same is hereby declared to be on the court days of the respective counties and corporations in the month of October annually.||Time of election of committees altered.|
|And be it farther ordained, That so much of the said recited ordinance as relates to the fixing the time of electing committees shall be, and the same is hereby repealed.|
|And whereas, by the said recited ordinance, no provision is made for reimbursing the county and corporation committees for any expense they may be put to in employing messengers to summon persons before them, despatching and forwarding expresses, and other necessary expenses upon the publick service: Be it ordained, That the chairman of the respective committees incurring such expense shall certify the same to the committee to safety, who are hereby empowered to issue their warrants, from time to time, to the treasurer, for the payment thereof; and that the allowance to the||County committees reimbursed expenses of expresses, &c.|
|clerks of the several committees be paid in like manner by the treasurer, instead of being levied by the county court, as formerly directed.|
|And whereas the election of the present committee of [for] the county of Caroline was not made agreeable to the afore-recited ordinance: Be it ordained, That the said committee of the county of Caroline be, and the same is hereby dissolved.||Committee of Caroline dissolved, the election being irregular.|
|And be it farther ordained, That the former committee to the said county shall proceed to the choice of three of their members to judge of the qualifications of voters; and that the freeholders of the said county, at such time as shall be appointed by the late chairman, of which publick notice shall be given, shall proceed to the elections of another committee, pursuant to the directions to the first recited and this present ordinance.|
|And be it farther ordained, That the chairman, clerk, or delegate, shall cause publick notice to be given of the time appointed for such election, at every parish church in his respective county or corporation, two several Sundays before the day of such election.||How a new election made.|
|WHEREAS the most dangerous attempts have been made, by some persons in this colony, to subvert the rights and liberties of the inhabitants; and whereas, by a declaration of this convention, a humane disposition towards such offenders has fully been manifested, who, notwithstanding, have failed to avail themselves thereof, and return to that duty which they owe both to this country and the rights of mankind; and whereas it is become necessary to declare what are and shall be considered as offences, to the end a regular mode of punishment may be established, and equal right and justice administered to all persons within this colony.||Preamble.|
|Be it therefore ordained, by the delegates of the people assembled in general convention, and it is hereby ordained by the authority of the same, That if any white person, or persons, who have been in arms against this colony, shall fail to surrender himself, or themselves, to the committee of safety, within two months from the publication of this ordinance; and if any white person, or persons, shall hereafter aid or assist the enemy, by enlisting soldiers, giving intelligence, or furnishing them with arms, provision, or naval stores, or shall bear arms against this colony; all and every such person, or persons, so having borne arms, or hereafter offending in manner aforesaid, shall, upon being convicted as hereafter mentioned, be liable to be imprisoned, or otherwise confined in such manner as the committee of safety may direct. And proper persons shall be appointed by the committee of safety to take possession of their estates, both real and personal, and to cultivate the same to the best advantage, and pay the profits thence arising into the hands of the treasurer of this colony for the time being, to be disposed of towards satisfying the just debts of such delinquent, to be ascertained by the committee of safety; and the residue for the publick use, in such manner as the said committee shall think most for the advantage of this colony. And the principal estates shall be subject to the future determination of the convention.|| White persons, who have been in arms against the colony, failing
to surrender themselves to the committee of safety, or aiding the enemy, how punished.
Their estates, how disposed of.
|Provided nevertheless, The committee of safety shall have full power and authority to pardon such as have heretofore been or shall be in arms against this colony, or shall otherwise offend as aforesaid, upon being satisfied of his or their repentance, and desire to be restored to the confidence of this colony, and returning to his or their duty; and in all such cases, the said committee of safety shall state the case of each offender to the convention, to enable them to determine what should be done with their estates.||Power of committee of safety to pardon.|
|And whereas it is essential to the peace, the happiness, and safety of this colony, that the continental association should be strictly observed, and that all violators of the same should be duly punished:|
|Be it farther ordained, That from and after the passing of this ordinance, all merchants, traders, or other persons who shall import into this colony any goods, wares, or merchandise, contrary to the said continental||Continental association enforced.|
|association (except in cases allowed by the general congress, or the general convention) shall forfeit the goods, wares, or merchandise, so imported; and if any person, or persons, so offending, shall refuse or fail to deliver up the said goods, wares, or merchandise, so imported; and if any person or persons so offending, shall refuse or fail to deliver up the said goods, wares, or merchandise, when required by the committee of safety so to do; he, she, or they, so refusing or failing, shall forfeit and pay the full value thereof in money; and, in either case, shall, moreover, be for ever rendered incapable of trading in this colony. And if any person, or persons, shall hereafter put on board any vessel, or vessels, for exportation, or shall hereafter export any produce of this colony contrary to the said association, except as aforesaid, he, she, or they, so offending, shall forfeit the cargo, or cargoes, so put on board or exported, or the value thereof; and all and every vessel, or vessels, in which any such goods, wares, or merchandise, shall be imported, or in which any such produce shall be exported, shall be, moreover, forfeited to the use of this colony, and the monies arising therefrom paid into the treasury for the public used.||Penalty for importing goods, or exporting produce, contrary to the association.|
|Provided nevertheless, That no such vessel or vessels aforesaid shall be forfeited, except the value of the goods, wares, and merchandise, therein imported, or of the produce exported, exceed the sum of twenty pounds sterling.||Proviso.|
|And be it farther ordained, That if any person, or persons, shall hereafter, by writing, or otherwise, order any goods, wares, or merchandise whatsoever, to be imported into this colony contrary to the continental association, except as aforesaid, all and every such person, or persons, so offending, shall, upon conviction thereof, be forever rendered incapable of trading in this colony; and every such offender, so convicted, who shall trade within this colony contrary to this ordinance, shall suffer, for every such offence, three months imprisonment without bail or mainprise.||Penalty for ordering goods to be imported.|
|And whereas it is expedient and necessary, the better to determine all offences within this ordinance, and for the more speedy carrying into execution the several penalties and forfeitures incurred thereby, that persons should be appointed to take cognizance of the same: Be it therefore ordained, That John Blair, James Holt, and Edmund Randolph, esquires, or any two of them,||Judges of admiralty appointed to decide on breaches of this ordinance.|
|be, and they are hereby constituted judges to try and determine on all matters relating to vessels and their cargoes; which said judges shall have power to appoint an advocate, clerk, and such other person as they may think proper to act as marshal, who shall, from time to time, execute all process of the said court, to be issued and signed by the clerk thereof. And all witnesses who shall be summoned, and fail to appear and attend the said court, on such day as their attendance was required, shall forfeit and pay the sum of fifty shillings, for which the said court shall have power to give judgment, and award execution thereupon; and the said fines, when recovered, shall be paid to the treasurer for the time being, for the use to this colony.|| |
Advocate, clerk, marshal.
|Provided always, That any witness failing to appear before and attend the said court, as aforesaid, shall, at any time within three months, be allowed such excuse as the said court may think reasonable; and every witness attending the said court shall have the same allowance as a witness attending the general court.||Witnesses, their allowance; and how executed.|
|And be it farther ordained, That in all cases of condemnation made of vessels or cargoes by the said court, the person, or persons, proprietors thereof, shall, if they incline so to do, have an appeal to the committee of safety, on giving bond and security, in the sum of twenty pounds, for duly prosecuting such appeal within thirty days from the time of granting the same; and the determination of the said committee of safety thereupon shall be conclusive. And in all cases where no such appeal shall be desired, the said court shall appoint the marshal to sell and dispose of such condemned vessels and cargoes.||Appeal, to committee of safety.|
|And be it farther ordained, That the judges aforesaid shall, before entering upon the execution of their office, take the following oath, to be administered by the committee to safety, to wit: I do swear, that I will truly and faithfully execute the office of a judge of admiralty, according to an ordinance of convention; and that I will do equal right and justice to all men, to the best of my judgment, without favour, affection, or partiality. So help me God. And the said judge, being so sworn, shall administer the following oath to the clerk and marshal, that is to say: I do swear, that I will well and truly demean myself (as clerk or marshal, as the case may be) in the execution of my office, and that I will faithfully and truly, to the best||Oath of judges of admiralty.|
|of my power, execute all orders of the court of admiralty, without favour, affection, or partialty. So help me God.|
|And be it farther ordained, That the judges, being so qualified, shall meet at such place within this colony as they may think most proper for the execution of their said office, and shall have full power and authority to adjourn from day to day, and from time to time, to such other place as to them may appear necessary. And there shall be allowed and paid to each of the said judges, by the treasurer for the time being, the sum of twenty five shillings per day for each day of sitting in, or travelling to or from, the said court, for their services; and that that there shall also be paid to the advocate, clerk, and marshal of the said court, so much for their services as shall be thought reasonable, in the opinion of the judges of the said court, for each respective capture. And the said judges shall have full power and authority to displace or remove, at any time, such officers of their appointment as to them shall appear necessary.|| Judges, when to meet. |
|And be it farther ordained, That the committee of safety may, and they are hereby required to commission five members of the committee of each county in this colony, to be recommended to them by the respective county committees, to take cognizance of, and determine, all offences, contained in this ordinance, which may arise within their respective counties, except such as relate to vessels and their cargoes; which said commissioners, so appointed, shall take an oath well and truly to discharge the duty of commissioners for their respective counties, agreeably to this ordinance, which oath shall be first taken by the person first named in the said commission, in the presence of the other commissioners, and by him afterwards administered to them. And the said commissioners, or any three of them, shall be and they are hereby constituted a court for the purposes aforesaid, with full power and authority to meet at the courthouse of their respective counties, or such other convenient place as they may think proper; and the clerk of the committee of the said county, and the sheriff thereof, having first taken the like oath of office directed to be taken by the officers of the court of admiralty, shall attend the said court, and in all things perform the duties of their respective offices, in like|| Committee of safety to commission five of each county committee
as judges. |
|manner as is directed for the officers of the court of admiralty, which said officers shall be paid by the treasurer of this colony such reasonable allowance for their services as the court shall direct.|
|And be it farther ordained, That, in all trials pursuant to this ordinance, the commissioners aforesaid shall cause a jury to be summoned, and proceed in the same manner as hath been heretofore observed for the trial of civil causes in this colony; and in case of condemnation, the said court shall appoint commissioners for taking care of and managing the estate of the offenders as aforesaid, in such manner as is herein before directed||Trial to be by jury.|
|Provided nevertheless, The defendant or defendants shall have liberty to appeal, as aforesaid, to the committee of safety, whose judgement shall be final.||Right of appeal.|
|And be it farther ordained, That if any slave, or slaves, shall be hereafter taken in arms against this colony, or in the possession of an enemy, through their own choice, the committee of safety shall have full power and authority to transport such slave, or slaves, to any of the foreign West India islands, there to be disposed of by sale, and the money arising from such sale to be laid out in the purchase of arms and ammunition, or otherwise applied to the use of this colony, as the committee of safety shall judge most proper; and in case such slaves, so taken in arms, or in the possession of an enemy, cannot be transported with convenience to this colony, the same shall be disposed of for the use of this colony, or returned to the owner or owners of such slaves, or otherwise dealt with according to an act of assembly for punishing slaves committing capital offences, as the committee of safety may judge most proper.||Slaves taken in arms, &c. how disposed of.|
|Provided always, and be it farther ordained, That the owner, or owners, of such slaves, shall be paid, by the treasurer of this colony for the time being, the full amount of such sale, or value to such slaves, after deducting the expenses and charge of transportation; which said valuation shall be made by the commissioners in each county aforesaid, and certified to the committee of safety, who shall thereupon grant their warrant, directed to the treasurer for payment of the value of such slave as aforesaid.||Owners to be paid by treasurer.|
|And be it farther ordained, That this ordinance shall be published at the court house of each county, by the sheriff; and at the several churches and meeting-houses in each parish by the clerk or reader, immediately after divine service.||How this ordinance to be published.|
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