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Letter from Joshua Teague et al. to Herman Husband
Teague, Joshua; Crosson, Abraham; Wainscot, Isaac; Harrison, Joseph; Hunter, James, ca. 1735-ca. 1783
September 14, 1769
Volume 08, Pages 68-70

[From MS. Records in Office of Secretary of State.]
To Harmon Husbands

Salisbury Sepr 14th 1769

Sir,

Agreeable to the Resolutions of the Committee, held at Jos. Teagues last month; of putting in force the Laws against such Officers, as had transgress'd the same: about 6 or 7 of us, attended at Salisbury Genl Court, for that purpose; when to our astonishment, we found the Grand Jury to be composed of our most inveterate Enemies & of such as had been our greatest Oppressors; no less than five of the old Shers on the Jury: in fine there are not above 2 or 3 on it, but what are limbs of the Law, however we were resolved at all Events, to try what Justice could be obtained, as we have been so often referr'd thereunto by the Govr, and others of the first Rank in the Province, who had so repeatedly urged us, to take legal steps, assuring us that we should every where obtain, the highest Justice, & one particular Gentleman had always told us, he would be there & see us have Justice, so Relying on those promises, & being Conscious to ourselves, that the Law was in our favour, against our Enemys, who had repeatedly broke it: Besides the Cries of the people were so great, & repeated for Justice, and we well knowing that the oppression was so great, that we durst hardly return home, before tryal made; as we were nominated for that purpose by the people. In order therefore to proceed, we apply'd to Mr Hooper Deputy Attorney Genl. (whom Mr McGwire Delegated) who appeared well pleased with our Designs, & assured us he would do everything in his power for us. Accordingly he drew up a Bill of Indictment against Col. Frohock for Extortion, in taking £2 5s of the Widow Coo, for the Cost of an Indictment, & the Bill found Ignoramus; the King prov'd by the Oath of Joseph Harrison, that

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the said Harrison paid the Money to one Linville, a Sub-Sheriff for the use of Col. Frohock; Jno Dunn proved that he got the Receipt from the Widow some time ago, in order to procure redress for her, but had lost it, but that it was for £2 5s; Abram Crosson proved, that when the Col. was about to make out the Bill of Cost against the Widow, he asked sd Crosson what circumstances the Widow was in, who answered in very Good, & had money by her; if that be the Case sd the Col. then I must double the Bill. However the Jury found the Bill ignoramus, and soon after some of the Jury, came to us and wondered we would lay in such Complaints without better proof, notwithstanding this disappointment we kept up our spirits, our oppressors coming us to ever & anon, and begging we would make up with them in behalf of the Country, promising to return the Money they had illegally taken, & withal to lay in no more Complaints, as they hated to be recorded for Extortioners. Next Day we laid in a Complaint against William Frohock, Sub-Sheriff as follows, viz, That one Mook had taken out an Infr Court Writ, for one Bools, but that immediately on serving said Writ, (for 7 pounds) they compromised the matter, & paid the Cost to the amount of fifty four shills; we produced the Receipt, & proved by the Qath of Josh Harrison, however evident as this was, no Bill was found; we next brought in a Bill against Col Frohock as follows, viz, One Robins took out a Writ for one Robins and immey the matter was agreed upon, which Robins wanted to pay the Cost, & after paying the Lawyer, & Sherr, their Respective Demands, then going to the Col. as Clark, to know his demand he asked & received, 16s 6d on payment of which he gave to Robins a Receipt, which was produced and proved, by the oath of Thos Frohock, but this met the same fate with the others, & turned out NO BILL. On this we signified to the Chief Justice, that the Jury were combined against us, who sd he was sorry for the Occasion, but that there was no help for it, especially at this Time; we told him now it would exasperate the Country, who were now fully become sensible of their Oppression, to see themselves thus debarr'd of Justice, and pass unnoticed, when groaning under the weight of their Oppressions; He begged of us to be quiet, & still, & to advise the people to be so, & to try some other Time, reminding us that, that Jury would not be there always; we likewise acquainted the D. Attory Gen. that we were creditably informed, that the now acting Jury, were not the Jurors chosen by the Court, this information we Procd from one of
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the Magistrates, who came to us. & told us, they were not the men appointed for that purpose, for said he I was on the bench, when the appointment was made, & was myself nominated, but when I came & offered my service I met a refusal. We next apply'd to one of the Burgesses, who agreed with the sd Justice, saying it was true to his knowledge. However to leave no stone unturned, whereby to obtain Justice, we now resolved to laying a Complaint against the Col. wherein he had confessed lately, he had taken too much, & had paid back 11s 0d of the money, the Complaint stood thus, Elijah Teague took out a General Court Writ for one James, & on serving the Writ they immediately agreed, & the Writ return'd agreed, Joshua Teague went immediately to Frohock before execution, to pay of the Cost, who demanded & Recd £4 2s. 4d; hereupon the Jury sent for the Case Book, but as there were a plenty of Clarks, & Sherrs among them, well acquainted with drawing up such Bills, this was likewise thrown out, on the old score NO BILL. So we concluded to return home, & then left them congratulating each other on their happy success, & Deliverance. Thus you see my dear friend we can get no redress in what is calld Courts of Justice, & seeing our Crafty & cruel Oppressors, are so combined together, that we think it impossible to obtain the least shadow of Justice, among them; as you may plainly see, they take the power of the Court in their own hands, & try it themselves, or at least deprive us of the Benefit of bringing our matter to any Issue, and now Sir we apply to you as a Representative, to see if you can get any Redress, from that Quarter, as for the present mode we expect none from it, & let us begg of you & the rest of that respectable Body, not to be afraid to alter the present form; for we are sure none can be worse than the present; for we are confidant, that it takes more in this County, to prevent the poor oppressed people to obtain Justice, than it woud take under an honest Admin to support it. And we remain Sir

Your very huble Serts
JOSHUA TEAGUE
ABRAHAM CROSSON
ISAAC WAINSCOT
JOS. HARRISON
JAs HUNTER
A true Copy