Tag Archives: The Virginia Gazette
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Patrick Delany on the Severity of Theft Laws

This was published in 1767 in The Virginia Gazette.  It is taken from “Eighteen Discourses and Dissertations upon various and interesting Subjects” by Patrick Delany, D.D. and Dean of Down in Ireland.

Delany was an Irish clergyman and described by A Compendium of Irish Biography as “an eloquent preacher, a man of wit and learning.” He was educated at Trinity College, Dublin, which he entered as a sizar, rising to be Senior Fellow. He became well known as a preacher at St. Werburgh’s, attracting the attention of Lord Carteret, then Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. Exchanging the Fellowship for the office of Chancellor of Christ Church, Dublin, impoverished him in the late 1720s, but in 1731 he married Mrs. Margaret Tenison, “a rich Irish widow, and again found himself in a position to gratify his hospitable disposition and indulge his literary tastes.”

"Eighteen Discourses and Dissertations upon various and interesting Subjects" by Patrick Delany, D.D.

“Eighteen Discourses and Dissertations upon various and interesting Subjects” by Patrick Delany, D.D.


On Theft

I cannot help observing with concern, that the laws of our land, in the case of theft, are the most unrighteous and unequitable that can be imagined.

Here, the stealing of a cow, or a sheep, is death by the law! Now, what can be more unrighteous, or absurd, than that the life of a man should be estimated by that of a cow or a sheep? And, besides this, it is putting the highest and the lowest guilt upon a monstrous foot of equality: A man must go to the gallows for stealing a sheep, and he can only go thither for murder, and with this advantage that be hath sometimes a better chance of escaping in the latter case.

Is not this reviving all the cruelty and iniquity of Draco’s laws, where death was the punishment of the lowest crimes, as well as of the highest?

Published weekly in Williamsburg, Virginia between 1736 and 1780, The Virginia Gazette contained news covering all of Virginia and also included information from other colonies, Scotland, England and additional countries. The paper appeared in three competing versions from a succession of publishers over the years, some published concurrently, and all under the same title.

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Rules for Kings in 1773

The Virginia Gazette was the first newspaper published in Virginia and the first to be published in the area south of the Potomac River in the colonial period of the United States. Issues have the following subtitle: “Containing the freshest advices, foreign and domestick.

Rules for Kings

The conceptions of Kings are commonly as far above the vulgar as their conditions; for being higher elevated, and walking upon the battlements of sovereignty, they sooner receive the inspirations of Heaven. The greatest potentates of the earth are but weak, penetrable things; and, though somewhat refined and kneaded down from that coarser fort of stuff which goeth to the compositions of the citizens of the world, yet they are so much the more brittle ware, only they differ in their office, which nevertheless makes them to have far less to hope for than to fear.

How poor is that Prince, amidst all his wealth, whose subjects are only kept by a slavish fear, the gaoler of the soul. An iron arm, fastened with a screw, may be stronger, but never so useful, because not so natural as an arm of flesh, joined with muscles and sinews: So loving subjects are more serviceable, as being more kindly united to their Sovereign than those which are only forced on with fear and threatening.

Published weekly in Williamsburg, Virginia between 1736 and 1780, The Virginia Gazette contained news covering all of Virginia and also included information from other colonies, Scotland, England and additional countries. The paper appeared in three competing versions from a succession of publishers over the years, some published concurrently, and all under the same title.
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Arming Slaves: Gov. Josiah Martin’s Denial

Lieutenant-Colonel Josiah Martin (23 April 1737 – 13 April 1786) was the last Royal Governor of the Province of North Carolina (1771–1775). Martin was born in Dublin, Ireland, of a planter family well established on the Caribbean island of Antigua, third son of his father’s second marriage. His elder half-brother Samuel Martin (1714–1788) was secretary to the Treasury in London. Another brother Sir Henry Martin (1735–1794) was for many years naval commissioner at Portsmouth and Comptroller of the Royal Navy. Sir Henry was father of Thomas Byam Martin.

The following letter was wrote by his excellency governor Josiah Martin, to the honourable Lewis Henry De Rossett, esquire, in answer to an information given him of his having been charged with giving encouragement to the slaves to revolt from their masters. As the substance of this letter is truly alarming, his excellency therein publicly avowing the measure of arming the slaves against their masters, when every other means to preserve the king’s government should prove ineffectual, the committee have ordered the said letter to be published, as an alarm to the people of this province, against the horrid and barbarous designs of the enemies, not only to their internal peace and safety, but to their lives, liberties, properties, and every other human blessing.

Fort Johnston, June 24, 1775

Sir,

 

Josiah Martin

Josiah Martin

I beg leave to make you my acknowledgements for your communication of the false, malicious, and scandalous report, that has been propagated of me in this part of the province, of my having given encouragement to the negroes to revolt against their masters; and as I persuade myself you kindly intended thereby to give me an opportunity to refuse so infamous a charge, I eagerly embrace this occasion most solemnly to assure you that I have never conceived a thought of that nature. And I will further add my opinion, that nothing could ever justify the design falsely imputed to me, of giving encouragement to the negroes, but the actual and declared rebellion of the king’s subjects, and the failure of all other means to maintain the king’s government.

Permit me, therefore, sir, to request the favour of you to take the most effectual means to prevent the circulation of this most cruel slander, and to assure every body with whom you shall communicate on this subject, that so far from entertaining so horrid a design, I shall be ever ready and heartily disposed to concur in any measures that may be consistent with prudence, to keep the negroes in order and subjection, and for the maintenance of peace and good order throughout the province. I am, with great respect, sir, your most obedient humble servant,

Jo. Martin

Published weekly in Williamsburg, Virginia between 1736 and 1780, The Virginia Gazette contained news covering all of Virginia and also included information from other colonies, Scotland, England and additional countries. The paper appeared in three competing versions from a succession of publishers over the years, some published concurrently, and all under the same title.

Source:  The Virginia Gazette, August 31, 1775

In July 1775, a plot instigated by Martin to arm the slaves was discovered. In retaliation, John Ashe led a group of colonists against Fort Johnston on 20 July. Martin was forced to flee aboard the Cruiser while the colonists destroyed the fort. Martin remained off the coast of North Carolina, directing the rising of the Loyalists, whom he supplied with weapons brought from England.

After two attempted invasions during the Carolina campaign to re-establish his administration were turned back, Martin, who was then in ill health due to fatigue, left for Long Island and then England.

He died in London. He is the namesake of Martin County, North Carolina.[


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Riddles in Real Life – 1774

Is it not a Riddle, that a Man who is a Bankrupt, and has delivered up upon Oath all his Effects to his Creditors, shall within a Year, perhaps, be a greater Man than ever, and may be ride his Coach?

Is it not a Riddle, how young People at first setting out in Life, without a Halfpeny (comparative speaking) shall live as if they had ever so large a Fortune, keep Country Houses, Houses, Dogs, &c.

Is it not a Riddle, that a Sovereign, possessed of every Virtue, and does all he can to promote the Happiness of his Subjects, should be insulted, abused, and affronted as he has been?

Is it not a Riddle, how Numbers of our Clergy can answer to their Consciences to neglect their Parishioners in the Manner they do, whose Souls are Committed to their Care, and for whom they must be answerable at the Day of Judgment?

Is it not a Riddle, that when one Man has injured another, it should be looked upon as a Point of Honour, and the Way to retrieve his Character by sending him out of the World, or by making him his Murderer?

Is it not a Riddle, that J. Wilkes should have so much Influence in the City of London as he has?

Is it not a Riddle, how a Man can how and cringe to any great Man, say, do, and swear any Thin he bids him, right or wrong, and yet this Man is looked upon as an honest Man, and all to procure a Place or a Pension?

Is it not a Riddle, when a Man who has been all his Life the greatest Villain, robbed, Cheated, and lived the most debauched Life, and at last executed, yet a Clergyman shall very departed, thank God for taking to himself the Soul of our dear Brother here departed, in sure and certain Hope of Resurrection to eternal Life?

Is it not a Riddle, that a Man who will lie, swear, and commit every Kind of Wickedness, yet if another Man should tell him he lies (when be really does) he must run the Riske of being run through the Body?

Is it not a Riddle, that many of our Ladies, who are modest, sober Women, should admit into their Company Men of the vilest Principles, and worst of Characters, and should prefer the greatest Rakes, for Husbands, to Men of Virtue and Sobriety?

Is it not a Riddle, that a Man should live the most wicked and debauched Life upon Earth, and yet expect to go to Heaven when he dies?

Is it not a Riddle, that Provisions of every Kind should be so excessively dear, when Providence always blesses us with Plenty, and we have more than we can consume fairly and honestly?

Is it not a Riddle, that we should encourage sovereign Manufactures to the Prejudice of our own, so as to oblige our Poor to sly to distant Parts for Support?

Is it not a Riddle, that so many of our Clergy, who profess to be Teachers and Disciples of the blessed Jesus, should live so contrary to his Laws and precepts?

Is it not a Riddle, that in a late Middlesex Election 200and odd should be more than 1100 and odd?

Is it not a Riddle, that Tradesmen who can give their Daughters little or nothing should breed them up at Boarding Schools, where they learn nothing but Insolence and Extravagance of every Kind, Love of Pleasure, Dress, and Intrigue, and yet expect that honest young Tradesmen should marry them in Expectation of having notable Wives?

Published weekly in Williamsburg, Virginia between 1736 and 1780, The Virginia Gazette contained news covering all of Virginia and also included information from other colonies, Scotland, England and additional countries. The paper appeared in three competing versions from a succession of publishers over the years, some published concurrently, and all under the same title.

Source: The Virginia Gazette, August 25, 1774


A Parcel of Very Fine Slaves

A Parcel of Very Fine Slaves

The Virginia Gazette was the first newspaper published in Virginia and the first to be published in the area south of the Potomac River in the colonial period of the United States. Issues have the following subtitle: “Containing the freshest advices, foreign and domestick.” It was published weekly from 1736 through 1780.

This resource is quite valuable to anyone researching the internal slave trade within the colonies. Most issues start with news and letters from abroad, but the bulk of the paper was often commercial listings that in some way relate to slavery. This can include estate sales that include human slaves as part of the property or slave auction announcements or offers of payment for the return of runaway slaves.

These examples are all from The Virginia Gazette issue from January 10, 1771:


To be SOLD, to the highest bidder, byvirtue of a decree of Hanover Court, atthe court-house, on Wednesday the 23dof this instant (January)

THIRTEEN LIKELY VIRGINIA BORN SLAVES, consisting of men, women and children of the estate of James Blackwell, (Junior). to satisfy his creditors. Three years credit will be allowed for the greatest part of the money and 12 months for the remainder, giving bond and good security.

At the same time and place will likewise be exposed to public sale, about TWENTY valuable Virginia born SLAVES. men. women, and boys, for ready money,taken by virtue of executions by the sheriff of Hanover.

The Virginia Gazette, January 10, 1771

The Virginia Gazette, January 10, 1771

On Friday the 9th of February, at Mecklenburg court-house, TWENTY-FIVE likely VIRGINIA born NEGROES; among which are several young wenches that have tended in a house; the others are men women and children. They will be sold for ready money, or good merchants notes payable the ensuing April General Court. The title indisputable and will be made so to the purchasers on the day of sale. –FRANCIS WILLS.

PORTSMOUTH, January 2, 1771 — FIFTY choice Virginia born SLAVES will be sold at on Monday the 4th of February next, the time of payment for which will be made convenient to purchasers, and an undoubted title made to the SLAVES, by HUGH M’MEKIN.

To be SOLD pursuant to the last will and testament of Benjamin Du Val, deceased,on the premises, in Henrico County,

ALL the estate of the said Benjamin of a valuable tract of land on creek, containing 386 acres, and 25 bushels of Also a good dwelling house, with all convenient out houses: there are about 80 acres of fine meadow land, some of which will bring good tobacco. Likewise all the stock of horses, cattle, hops, sheep, corn, wheat, fodder, and a very good still that holds 50 gallons, a parcel of carpenter’s tools, a good set of surveyor’s instruments, 6 choice wheat fans with two paddles in each, that work both together, 18 choice slaves, mostly Virginia born; among them a good pair of sawyers, a carpenter and cooper; 4 valuable house wenches and cooks, all the plantation utensils, many other articles to mention. Two years credit will be given for the land and 12 months for all sums above 25 s. to bear interest from the date; but if the money is paid on the day it becomes due the interest will abated.The purchasers must give bond with approved security.

All persons that have any demands against. the said estate,are desired to make them known by the day of sale,and those indebted, to pay off their accounts. The sale begins of Thursday, the 17th of January 1771.  ROBERT DU VAL, Executor. (more…)


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