John Goodrich declared guilty of bearing arms against the Colony


Tuesday, June 11, 1776.

Mr˙ Henry, from the Committee of Privileges and Elections, reported that the Committee had, according to order, proceeded to the examination of John Goodrich, who was apprehended on suspicion of his being inimical to the rights and liberties of America; and that it appeared, from the confession of the said John Goodrich, that he went on board the Otter sloop-of-war at Norfolk to pilot her up to Baltimore, in order to destroy some vessels which were building there. It also appeared, from the deposition of James Buchanan, that the deponent, being on board his vessel, the schooner Polly, then on ground on the Swatch, saw a vessel which he took to be a pilot-boat, but was afterwards informed by one of the pilots that it was Captain Goodrich' s boat, and that they were prisoners, for she was a King' s tender; that when Captain Goodrich came up he ordered the deponent to deliver up his papers, which he did to the said Goodrich, who told him his schooner was a lawful prize, and that his master, Captain Wright, was below, and would be in that night, on board whom the said Buchanan must go; that on the same night the schooner was boarded by an armed boat belonging to the said Captain Wright, who put a prize-master and some hands on board the said schooner, and plundered her of all her live stock, and took a gun and couteau from the deponent; that a sloop, supposed to belong to one Lottstrange, ran up the Sound that night, which sloop the said Goodrich saw, and the men on board were desirous of taking, which the said Goodrich opposed, on account of her being an empty vessel, and harassed by the Committees, as the pilots told him the said sloop was not allowed to load, on account of violating the Association; that Captain Wright, the next day, blamed him much for not making a prize of her, supposing there was cash on board; that, when the said schooner was on ground on the Swatch, Goodrichdesired Captain Wright to discharge the deponent and his schooner, as she was old, and could not be got off without much delay, and her cargo was of little value to them, which Wright positively refused, and swore he should proceed round to Norfolk; that the said Goodrich afterwards hailed a vessel belonging to Captain Adderly, and ordered him to bring his papers on board, which the said Adderly did, and delivered


them to the said Goodrich, who told him he should deliver them to Captain Wright, who would determine the matter in the morning; and that the said Captain Wright carried the said Adderly over the bar with him the Tuesday following. That it further appeared, from the deposition of James Anderson, that the deponent, with Captain Harney, and three other boats, boarded Captain Goodrich, who was in the Lilly tender; that, as the said Harney was boarding the said Goodrich, he (the said Harney) flashed his gun at him; and that he heard the said Harney tell the said Goodrich he should not have flashed his gun at him if he had not ordered his crew to fire on the boats; and that the said Goodrich did not deny his having given such orders; that, after he had been on board a short time, he heard the said Goodrich say he was a prisoner, and that he had been so harassed on both sides that he did not value his life; and that it further appeared, from the confession of the said Goodrich, that he was sent by Lord Dunmore as a pilot to Captain Wright to bring him into Ocracock to get provisions; and that the orders given by Lord Dunmore were to seize all vessels loaded with provisions, and carry them to his fleet; and that he (the said Goodrich) had three boats in the service of Lord Dunmore. And that they 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 said John Goodrich is guilty of bearing arms against this Colony, and is also guilty of aiding and assisting the enemy, by giving them intelligence, contrary to and in contempt of an Ordinance of the last Convention for establishing a mode of punishment for the enemies of America in this Colony, whereby the said John Goodrich hath incurred the pains and penalties in and by the said Ordinance declared and inflicted.

Ordered, That the Committee of Safety do take such order respecting the Estate of the said John Goodrich as is directed by the Ordinance prescribing a mode of punishment for the enemies of America in this Colony; that the debt due from the said Goodrich to the country be in the first place discharged, and that they make a reasonable provision for the support and maintenance of the wife and young children of the said John Goodrich out of his Estate; that he be conveyed, under a strong guard, to Charlottesville, in the County of Albemarle, there to be confined till the further order of the Convention, or Executive power; but that this Resolution respecting his removal be not carried into execution until the health of the said John Goodrich will permit it to be done without endangering his life; and that in the mean time he be permitted the use of a room in the dwelling-house of the keeper of the publick Jail, under a guard.

Ordered, That Mr˙ Charles Neilson be sent, under a proper guard, to Staunton, in the County of Augusta, there to be confined until he shall enter into bond, with security, agreeably to the determination of the Committee of Safety.

A Petition of John Ballendine was presented to the Convention, and read; setting forth that he did, at his own risk and charge, import a quantity of Gunpowder for the purpose of removing the obstructions to the navigation of Potomack and James Rivers, but the distressed situation of the country brought many applications to him for that article for the use of the publick, which he readily supplied for the price of 2s˙ 6d˙. per pound, and on the promise of several County Committees to replace the like quantity, at the same rate, when his business required it; that he is now in immediate want of Powder, and praying the Convention will either replace the Powder, at the price he charged for it, or make him such further allowance, in cash, as will enable him to procure it elsewhere.

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

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 to-morrow.

The Convention then proceeded to the consideration of the Amendments reported to the Declaration of Rights; and having gone through the same, and agreed thereto,

Ordered, That the said Declaration of Rights, with the Amendments, be fairly transcribed, and read a third time.


Mr˙ Randolph, from the Committee appointed to inquire into the several offences of the Prisoners confined in the publick Jail, and report what, in their opinion, would be the most eligible mode of delivering them therefrom, reported, that the Committee had accordingly examined into the same, and that it appeared to them, by a certificate from the keeper of the said Jail, that he hath now in his custody Thomas McCluskey and Elizabeth his wife, charged with burglary; Manasses McGahey, charged with murder; Benjamin Higgins, charged with robbery; Thomas Potter, charged with horse-stealing; Habakkuk Pride, charged with murder; Samuel Flanagin, charged with horse-stealing; that the said Thomas McCluskey and Elizabeth his wife, so charged as aforesaid with burglary, and Benjamin Higgins, so as aforesaid charged with robbery, having been ready for trial at the Oyer and Terminer Court which ought to have been held in December last, and at the General Court which ought to have been held in April last, and no prosecution having been carried on against them, have a right, according to ancient practice, to demand a discharge from their confinement; and that the said Elizabeth McCluskey, acting in the presence of and under the coercion of her said husband, is by law absolved from all guilt and criminality in that respect. That the proceedings of the County Court of Loudoun, in the examination of the said Manasses McGahey, so as aforesaid charged with murder, make no mention of any evidence deposed against him. That against Benjamin Higgins, charged with robbery, Habakkuk Pride, with murder, and Samuel Flanagin, with horse-stealing, no proceedings have been transmitted from the Courts of the Counties where they were respectively examined. That Thomas Potter, charged with horse-stealing, appears, by the depositions of several witnesses who were sworn upon his examination, to be innocent thereof. That it further appeared, from the deposition of Elizabeth Hultz, that Mary Howell, who is charged with murder, and now in her way from the County of Berkeley, is guilty thereof. And that they had come to several Resolutions thereupon, which he read in his place, and afterwards delivered in at the Clerk' s table, where the same were again read, as follows:

Resolved, That the said Thomas McCluskey and Elizabeth his wife, Thomas Potter, and Benjamin Higgins, be forthwith discharged out of custody.

Resolved, That some mode of trial be adopted for the delivering of Samuel Flanagin, Manasses McGahey, Habakkuk Pride, and Mary Howell.

The first Resolution of the Committee being read a second time, was, upon the question put thereupon, agreed to by the Convention.

The subsequent Resolution of the Committee being read a second time, was, on the question put thereupon, ordered to lie on the table.

Adjourned till to-morrow, ten o' clock.