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until a place for holding the same is fixed on as before directed ; be therefore that the sheriff for the county of Pittsylvania shall have authority & power & he is hereby required to notify & hold the sd election for the county of Henry as well of a place for holding courts as aforesaid as for making their first choice of representatives to serve in General assembly, in like manner & subject to the same penalties & actions as are before presented in the case of the election for the county of Pittsylvania.
DRAFT OF A BILL FOR ALTERING RATES OF COPPER COIN.
V. S. A.
(Nov. 7, 1776.) For rendering the half penny pieces of copper coin of this commonwealth of more convenient value & by that means introducing them into more general circulation ; be it enacted by the General Assembly of the commonwealth of Virginia that from and after the passing of this act the said pieces of copper coin shall pass in all payments for one penny each of current money of Virginia. Provided nevertheless as was heretofore provided by the laws that no person shall be obliged to take above one shilling of the said copper coin in any one paiment of twenty shillings or under, nor more than two shillings & six pence of the said coin in any one paiment of a greater sum than twenty shillings.
In the HOUSE OF DELEGATES,
Thursday, Nov. 28, 1776. Mr. Jefferson, from the Committee of Privileges and Elections, reported that the committee had, according to order, had under their consideration the petition of ARTHUR UPSHUR, to them referred, and had agreed to the following report and resolution thereupon ; which he read in his place, and afterwards delivered in at the clerk's table, where the same were again twice read, and agreed to. Your committee find that the said ARTHUR UPSHUR having several vessels on the stocks, cleared one of them out for the British West Indies on the 20th day of July, 1775, but that the said vessel was not launched until the 26th day of August; that on the 2d day of September, when the storm happened, the said vessel had no part of her loading on board ; that the said vessel sailed after the roth day of September to one of the foreign West India Islands, with a load of Indian corn; that on the 2d day of October following the Committee of the county of Accomack proceeded to inquire into the matter, and on such inquiry declared the said UPSHUR had violated the continental association by sending out the said vessel and ordered his case to be published in the Virginia Gazette ; that after the return of the said vessel, the said UPSHUR (as appears by the minutes of the said committee) denying that he had intentionally violated the said association, voluntarily submitted the matter again to the determination of the committee, who, at a session held on the 8th day of January, 1776, upon farther enquiry, were of the opinion that he had violated the said association ignorantly, but that, having behaved obstinately, and ill afterwards, he ought to be fined, and they accordingly fined him 100 £, which sum the said UPSHUR deposited with a member of the committee. Your committee farther find, that the said petitioner hath conducted himself, both before and since the said transaction, as a friend to the American cause.
'On Nov. 7th the House of Delegates gave leave for the introduction of this bill, and named Jefferson and Fleming to "propose the same," which was done the same day. On Nov. 8th it was read for a second time and on Nov. 21st was rejected.
? From the Virginia Gazette, Dec. 13, 1776.
Resolved, that though the committee of Accomack were actuated by the best of motives, yet they erred in proceeding to impose the fine upon the petitioner, and that therefore the said fine ought to be restored to the said petitioner by the person with whom it was deposited.
Resolved, that the said petitioner having violated the association through ignorance, and having in other respects conducted himself as a friend to the American cause, ought to be restored to
a the rights of dealing and intercourse with his country.
A BILL FOR THE TRIAL OF OFFENCES COMMITTED OUT
OF THIS COMMONWEALTH.
V. S. A.
[Dec. 5, 1776.] For the punishment of Treasons, misprisions of treason or concealment of treasons, felonies, robberies, murthers & confederacies hereafter to be committed out of this Commonwealth.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Virginia that all treasons, misprisions of treasons, concealments of treasons, felonies, robberies, murthers & confederacies hereafter to be committed in or upon the sea, or in any haven, river creek or other place by land or by water not within the body of any county of this Commonwealth, shall be enquired, tried, heard, determined & judged in such counties and places in this Commonwealth as shall be limited by the Governor's commission or commissions to be directed for the same in like form & condition as if any such offence or offences had been committed or done in or upon land : and such commission shall be had under the seal of the Commonwealth directed to any three or more judges of the General Court, from time to time and as oft as need shall require to hear & determine in such offences after the common course of the laws of this Commonwealth, used for treasons, misprisions of treasons, concealments of treasons felonies, murthers, robberies, & confederacies of the same, done and committed upon the land within this Commonwealth.
And be it enacted by the authority aforesaid that such persons to whom such commission or commissions shall be directed, or two of them at the least, shall have full power & authority to enquire of such offences & of every of them, by the oaths of twelve good & lawful inhabitants in the county limited in their commission in such like manner & form, as if such offences had been committed upon the land within the same county; and that every indictment found and presented before such commissioners, of any treasons, misprisions of treasons, concealments of treasons, felonies, robberies, murthers, man-slaughters, or such other offences, being committed or done in and upon the seas, or in or upon any haven, river, creek or other places by land or by water not being in the body of any county of this Commonwealth, shall
be good and effectual in the law; and if any person or persons happen to be indicted for any such offence done or hereafter to be done upon the seas, or in any other place above limited, that then such order, process, judgement, & execution shall be used, had, done & made, to & against every such person and persons so being indicted as against Traytors, felons, murtherers and other offenders aforesaid for treason, misprision of treason, concealment of treason, felony, robbery, murther, or other such offences done upon the land, as by the laws of this Commonwealth is accustomed ; & that the trial of such offence or offences if it be denied by the offender offenders, shall be had by twelve lawful men inhabited in the county limited within such commission, which shall be directed as is aforesaid, & no challenge or challenges to be had for the county ; & such as shall be convicted of any such offence or offences by verdict, confession or process, by authority of any such commission, shall have & suffer such pains of death, losses of lands, goods & chattels, as if they had been attainted & convicted of any treasons, misprisions of treasons, concealments of ireasons, felonies, robberies, or other the said offences done upon the lands.
And be it enacted by authority afore said, that for treasons, misprisions of treasons, concealments of treasons, felonies, murthers & confederacies done upon the sea or seas, or in or upon any haven, river or creek of this Commonwealth, the offenders shall not be admitted to have the benefit of his or their clergy, but be utterly excluded thereof & from the same.
Provided alway, that this act extend not to be prejudicial or hurtfull to any person or persons, for taking any victual, cables, ropes, anchors, or sails, which any such person or persons (compelled by necessity) taketh of or in any ship which may conveniently spare the same, so that the same person or persons pay out of hand for the same victual, cables, ropes, anchors, or sales, money or money-worth, to the value of the thing so taken, or do deliver for the same a sufficient bill obligatory to be paid within months next ensuing the making of such bills, & that the makers of such bills well and truly pay the same debt at the day to be limited within the said bills.
DRAFT OF A BILL FOR SUSPENDING EXECUTIONS FOR DEBT.1
V. S. A.
(Dec. 6, 1776.) Whereas by the expiration of the act for the regulating and collecting certain officers fees, and by the troubles which have since subsisted in this country, the administration of justice hath been in a great measure suspended ; and altho it is thought proper to revive and establish the courts of justice for the purpose of securing & preserving internal peace & good order, of determining disputed rights and titles and of ascertaining just debts and unsettled demands which might otherwise be lost by the death of witnesses or insolvency of debtors ; yet nevertheless it may produce great oppression and ruin to debtors to suffer executions to be levied on decrees to be inforced, during the present limited and uncertain state of our trade, for debts heretofore contracted: Be it therefore enacted by the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Virginia that when judgement shall be entered or decree passed in any court of record for the recovery of money due from the defendant or defendants before the passing of this act, if such defendant or defendants shall give to the said court good & sufficient security for paiment of the money whensoever by a restoration of trade or from other circumstances it shall appear proper to the General assembly to pass an act for levying executions or enforcing decrees for money then such
The system of mortgaging crops in Virginia ; the non-exportation association of the Continental Congress ; the interruption of all trade by the restraining acts; and the outbreak of actual war, threatened to force bankruptcy on the larger part of the planter interest in that State. This class therefore united in opposing the establishment of courts of justice under the new constitution. In hopes of lessening this serious opposition, leave was given by the Burgesses, Dec. 5th, for the introduction of this bill, and Mason, Jefferson, T. Adams, Bullitt, Nicholas, and Braxton were named a committee to do so. On Dec. 6th it was introduced by Mason, and read the first time. On the oth it was read for a second time and committed to the Commitee of the Whole. In the mean time, the planters, not satisfied with this sop, had succeeded in deferring the bills organizing the courts, till the next session ; so those opposed to them united and deferred this bill also. It was never again introduced. The draft is in Jefferson's handwriting.