Committee of Safety requested to report a list of the Armed Vessels now fitting out for the use of the Colony, with their condition

v6:1525

Thursday May 16, 1776.

A Petition of George Wray, John Jones, Alexander and George Graham, and Henry Sinclair, was presented to the Convention, and read; setting forth, that some time in the month of October last, the Committee of the County of Elizabeth-City, for better securing the Town of Hampton from the attacks of the enemy, thought proper to stop up the navigation of Hampton River, by sinking some vessels in its channel, which measure was first communicated to the Committee of Safety, and by them approved; that their vessels were taken by order of the Committee for the said County of Elizabeth-City, and praying to be allowed for the same whatever should appear reasonable.

Ordered, That the said Petition be referred to the Committee of Publick Claims; and they are to report the same, together with their opinion thereupon, to the Convention.

A Petition of Benjamin Bucktrout was presented to the Convention, and read; setting forth that, at the instance and persuasion of several principal gentlemen of the country, he hath erected a Powder-Mill in the City of Williamsburgh, and prepared every necessary utensil for the same, with much cost and labour; that he entered upon the business from a regard for the publick good, and always determined to make an offer of it to the country should it succeed, and sustain the loss of his time and labour should it fail; that he hath brought the said Mill to perfection, and fitted it in all respects for use, and now begs leave to offer it to the publick on such terms as shall be thought reasonable.

Ordered, That the said Petition be referred to the Committee of Propositions and Grievances; and that they report the same, together with their opinion thereupon, to the Convention.

Ordered, That Mr˙ David Mason, Mr˙ Riddick, Mr˙ Robinson, and Mr˙ Thoroughgood, be added to the Committee of Privileges and Elections.

Ordered, That Mr˙ Mercer, Mr˙ McDowell, and Mr˙ Bullitt, be added to the Committee of Propositions and Grievances.

Ordered, That Mr˙ McDowell and Mr˙ Bowyer be added to the Committee of Publick Claims.

Mr˙ Henry, from the Committee of Propositions and Grievances, reported that the Committee had, according to order, had under their consideration the Petition of John Ballendine, to them referred, and had come to the following Resolution thereupon; which he read in his place, and afterwards delivered in at the Clerk' s table, where the same was again twice read, and agreed to:

Resolved, That the Petition of the said John Ballendine be rejected.

A Petition of John Ballendine and John Reveley was presented to the Convention, and read; setting forth, that they have jointly contracted for a very valuable Iron Mine, below the Seven-Islands, and within a mile of James River, convenient to a constant stream of water, sufficient for a blast furnace, near the said Mine, and have also discovered and engaged some valuable Coal Mines, near the said river, conveniently situated for extensive works of that nature; and, being themselves well acquainted with various branches of the Iron business, and knowing the great necessity for promoting such works at this juncture, they hope the Convention will contribute such assistance as will enable them to prosecute the said undertaking to advantage.

Ordered, That the said Petition be referred to the Committee of Propositions and Grievances; who are to report the same, together with their opinion thereupon, to the Convention.

Ordered, That Mr˙ Madison, Mr˙ Rutherford, and Mr˙ Watkins, be added to the Committee appointed to prepare a Declaration of Rights, and such a plan of Government as will be most likely to maintain peace and order in this Colony, and secure substantial and equal liberty to the people.

v6:1526

Ordered, That Mr˙ Washington be added to the Committee appointed to prepare an Ordinance to encourage the making of Salt, Saltpetre, and Gunpowder.

The Order of the Day, for the Convention to resolve itself into a Committee on the state of the Colony, being read,

Ordered. That the same be put off till Saturday next.

Resolved, That the Committee of Safety be desired to lay before the Convention a list of the armed Vessels now fitting out for the defence of this Colony, with a state of the condition they are in, and an account of the Cannon, Arms, and Ammunition, provided for them.

Mr˙ Cary, from the Committee of Privileges and Elections, reported, that the Committee had, according to order, examined into the cases of Josias Rogers, William Bliss, and David Ramsay, prisoners, confined in the publick Jail, and had agreed upon a Report, and come to the following Resolutions 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:

It appears that Josias Rogers was a mate in the Roebuck ship of war, which had taken a vessel bound from Cape François to Philadelphia, into which he was put as prize-master; that the sailors rose against him, and, the vessel running on shore, he was taken prisoner. That William Bliss was a soldier in Captain Pickett' s company of Provincials; and that he had deserted to Lord Dunmore, and returned again. That David Ramsay was a sailor in a vessel belonging to Joseph Scott, in the County of Nansemond, which was taken by the enemy; that the said David Ramsay was afterwards employed by the Provincial prisoners, who were put on board that vessel, to provide them with fresh provisions, and that the said Ramsay was active in procuring such provisions, and, having a pass from Anthony Lawson to come on shore in quest of some vegetables, he was taken and sent to Jail.

Resolved, That the said Josias Rogers is a prisoner-of-war, and that this Resolution be communicated to the Commanding Officer.

Resolved, That the said William Bliss appears to be guilty of desertion, and that he ought to be delivered over to the Commanding Officer, to whom the Resolution should also be communicated.

Resolved, That the said David Ramsay be discharged.

Adjourned till Saturday, ten o' clock.