Letter from Colonel Woodford: Some prisoners taken by Lord Dunmore, and permitted to go on shore on parole, decline returning, Representation from Charles Lynch: He has discovered rocks greatly impregnated with saltpetre in the upper parts of the country, Prisoners parolled by Lord Dunmore should be compelled to return

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Saturday, May 18, 1776.

The President laid before the Convention a Letter from Colonel Woodford, advising him that some of our friends who had been taken prisoners by Lord Dunmore, and had been admitted to go on shore on their parole, had declined returning agreeably thereto; which was read, and ordered to be referred to the Committee on the state of the Colony.

Mr˙ Mercer, from the Committee of Safety, laid before the Convention a Representation from Mr˙ Charles Lynch, setting forth, that he had discovered rocks greatly impregnated with Saltpetre in the upper parts of the country, from which, with some assistance from the publick, he could collect very considerable quantities of Saltpetre; which being read,

Resolved, That the Slaves, now prisoners in the publick Jail, be delivered to the said Charles Lynch, to enable him to carry on the making of Saltpetre at the rocks mentioned in his representation to the Committee of Safety, and the sum of £50 be advanced to him; and that he be at liberty to draw on the Treasurer for any further sum, not exceeding £500, which he may find necessary for carrying on this business with alacrity; provided he give bond, with sufficient security, for the repayment of what he shall so receive and draw for, together with the reasonable hire of the Negroes and Powder, at the price of six shillings per pound, out of the first he shall make, to be delivered at New-London, if required.

And it is further Resolved, That if the said Charles Lynch shall find it convenient to spare any of the said Slaves, now, or in future, that he be at liberty to forward them to the Manager of the Lead Mines, there to be employed for the publick use; and that the Commanding Officer of the troops in the City of Williamsburgh be desired to furnish a proper guard to convey the said Slaves to the Commanding Officer of the Militia in the County of Charles-City, and that the

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Commanding Officers of the Militia of the several Counties through which the said Slaves are to be conducted, do also furnish such guard in their respective Counties.

Mr˙ Digges, from the Committee of Privileges and Elections, reported, that the Committee had, according to order, inquired into the information touching the election of Delegates for the County of King William, to them referred, and that it appeared to them, from the poll taken at the said election, by Owen Gwathney, Gent˙, Sheriff of the said County, that at the close thereof the number of votes stood as follows: For William Aylett 8, Richard Squire Taylor 3, Carter Braxton 39; and it also appeared, from the testimony of the said Owen Gwathney, that some time before the poll was closed Mr˙ Aylett declined standing a candidate, and made a publick declaration to that purpose, desiring Mr˙ Braxton might be elected; that, after Mr˙ Aylett' s resignation, he made proclamation several times for the freeholders to come in and vote before he closed the poll; that it further appeared, from the testimony of Benjamin Temple, that he, with many others who had voted at the election, applied to Mr˙ Aylett during the poll, and desired he would decline in favour of Mr˙ Braxton, which he accordingly did, and the people seemed generally well pleased that Mr˙ Braxton should be returned a Delegate, but that there was not a sufficient number who had not voted to have elected Mr˙ Braxton; and in case the poll had been continued, most of them would have voted for Mr˙ Taylor; that Mr˙ Dandridge Claiborne had been proposed as a sub-Delegate, but on hearing Mr˙ Taylor was a candidate, declined; that the poll was kept open as long as any person would come in and vote, and that the Sheriff, before he closed it, made publication several times for the freeholders to come and vote; and that, in any event, Mr˙ Taylor would have been elected; that it further appeared, from the testimony of Drury Ragsdale, that after Mr˙ Aylett declined there was a sufficient number, in his opinion, to set Mr˙ Braxton before Mr˙ Aylett; that many who did not vote after Mr˙ Aylett' s resignation looked on it to be unnecessary, considering Mr˙ Braxton as elected of course; that the poll was kept open a considerable time after the people declined going in to vote; that the deponent informed many, while the poll was taking, of the consequences of leaving Mr˙ Braxton out; that, for some time after the poll was began, Mr˙ Braxton' s friends were backward in giving their votes, but afterwards they exerted themselves to promote his interest; that the deponent, with Mr˙ Fox, the day after the election, was making a calculation how many persons were at the election who did not vote, and they made the number about forty-two, which would mostly have voted for Mr˙ Braxton and Mr˙ Aylett; but that, in any event, Mr˙ Taylor would have been elected; that it also appeared, from the testimony of James Quarles, that he did not vote at the election, on account of Mr˙ Aylett' s resignation; that he thought, until the day of the election, that Mr˙ Taylor offered only as a sub-Delegate, and many people in the Lower Parish thought as he did; that it further appeared, from the testimony of Archibald Govan, that he did not vote at the election, thinking Mr˙ Braxton could not get a sufficient number of votes to elect him; but in case he had voted, it would have been for Mr˙ Braxton; that on Mr˙ Aylett' s resignation in favour of Mr˙ Braxton, the people, in general, seemed to be well pleased; that before Mr˙ Aylett resigned, Mr˙ Braxton had not friends enough to set him before Mr˙ Aylett or Mr˙ Taylor; but some were of a different opinion; but that, in any event, Mr˙ Taylor would have been elected; and that the Committee 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 William Aylett and Richard Squire Taylor are duly elected Delegates for the said County of King William.

Ordered, That the Sheriff do amend the Certificate of the election of Delegates for the said County of King William, agreeably to the foregoing Resolution.

The Convention then, according to the Order of the Day, resolved itself into a Committee on the state of the Colony; and after some time spent therein, Mr˙ President resumed the chair, and Mr˙ Blair reported, that the Committee had, according to order, had under their consideration the state of the Colony, and had come to the following Resolutions

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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:

Resolved, That the Ninth Regiment of Regular forces, raised for the defence and protection of this Colony, and stationed in the Counties of Northampton and Accomack, be augmented, agreeably to the recommendation of Major-General Lee, by the addition of three Companies, to be raised in the said Counties; and that the Committee for the County of Northampton do proceed to appoint a Captain and the Subaltern Officers to one Company, and the Committee for the County of Accomack two Captains and the Subaltern Officers for two of the said Companies.

Resolved, That such of our friends as, having been made prisoners of war by Lord Dunmore, have been permitted by him to go on shore upon their parole, agreeably to the usage of nations, and decline now to return according to their engagement, ought to be compelled so to do; and the Commanding Officer is required to demand the same of Lord Dunmore, on his part.

On a motion made, Resolved, That this Convention will, on Monday next, again resolve itself into a Committee, to take into their further consideration the state of the Colony.