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Session of Virginia Council of State, 12 June 1778

Virginia Council of State

MS (Virginia State Library).

Friday June 12th 1778

present
John Page Esquire Lieutenant Governor;
Dudley Digges Nathaniel Harrison &
Thomas Walker James Madison jr
Esquires

It appearing from satisfactory Information respecting the Case of Toby a negro man Slave belonging to Benjamin Wilkins,1 now under Sentence of Death by the Court of Prince George County for Burglary that the said Toby is a proper object of Mercy the Board do advise the Lieutenant Governor to grant a pardon in the said Toby’s favour And a pardon issued accordingly.

The Board being of Opinion that a Serjeant & Eight Men will be a sufficient Guard over the public powder in Hanover they do advise the Lieutenant Governor to give orders for the present guard to be reduced to that number & orders were given accordingly.

The Board having purchased a large Cargo of Goods in compliance with a late Resolution of the general assembly,2 it is become indispensably necessary, not only for the Reception of the said Cargo, but to prevent the Confusion that would arise from its being sold by the Commissary of Stores, to appoint some able & discreet person to take charge & dispose of such Articles as are to be sold to the Inhabitants at large & Robert Prentis esquire of this City3 offering his Services on this occasion & to furnish four Storehouses for the Reception & safe keeping of the said Cargo & other Cargoes that may be purchased under the said Resolution the Board do agree in consideration of the abilities of the said Robert Prentis & the convenience & fitness of the Storehouses aforesaid to employ him in the said business giving him as a full allowance for his trouble therein at the rate of thirty five pounds per Month & fifteen pounds per Month as rent for his Houses so long as they shall be used by the public; engaging to give him three Months notice before they discontinue the use of them. (Bond executed)

Adjourned till Thursday next 10 oClock.

Signed  John Page
Dudley Digges
Thomas Walker
Nathl Harrison
James Madison

1Little is known about Benjamin Wilkins (d. ca. 1798) except that he owned fourteen slaves and 583 acres in Prince George County in 1782 (Prince George County Land Tax Book, 1782, p. 15, in Virginia State Library).

2On 30 May 1778 the following resolution was passed:

“Whereas, it is represented, that certain cargoes of goods, containing many articles necessary for the army, and others, which are not necessary for them, are offered for sale to the Governor and Council, who doubt whether a purchase of the whole, including such unnecessary articles, may be approved,

Resolved, That they be empowered and advised to purchase the same, or any other cargoes of a like nature, if to be done on terms which they think reasonable; that such parts thereof as shall be necessary for the use of the troops raised by this Commonwealth, be disposed of for their use, as by law heretofore directed, and such others as are unnecessary and improper for them, be sold in such parts of the country, and on such terms, as the Governor and Council may think most for the general good, not giving a preference to any person in the sale thereof” (Journal of the House of Delegates description begins Journal of the House of Delegates of the Commonwealth of Virginia; Begun and Held At the Capitol, in the City of Williamsburg. Beginning in 1780, the portion after the semicolon reads, Begun and Held in the Town of Richmond. In the County of Henrico. The Journal for each session has its own title page and is individually paginated. The edition used, unless otherwise noted, is the one in which the journals for 1777–1781 are brought together in one volume, with each journal published in Richmond in 1827 or 1828, and often called the “Thomas W. White reprint.” description ends , May 1778, pp. 29, 33).

The cargo in question is described more fully below in Henry to Laurens, 18 June 1778 and n. 5.

3Robert Prentis, a member of a prominent Williamsburg mercantile family, had sold guns and supplies to the army in 1776. He had been the clerk of Receiver General Richard Corbin in 1775 and later was one of the commissioners appointed to rent or sell Lord Dunmore’s estate. In 1778 he was a delegate from York County in the General Assembly. His life dates have not been found, but he was still living in Williamsburg in 1805 (Journal of the House of Delegates description begins Journal of the House of Delegates of the Commonwealth of Virginia; Begun and Held At the Capitol, in the City of Williamsburg. Beginning in 1780, the portion after the semicolon reads, Begun and Held in the Town of Richmond. In the County of Henrico. The Journal for each session has its own title page and is individually paginated. The edition used, unless otherwise noted, is the one in which the journals for 1777–1781 are brought together in one volume, with each journal published in Richmond in 1827 or 1828, and often called the “Thomas W. White reprint.” description ends , October 1777, p. 116; May 1778, pp. 5, 33, 52–53, 63, 66; Journals of the Council of State, I, 281; III, 343; Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, XIII [1905–6], 424; XXVIII [1920], 63; XXXII [1924], 250–51; Rutherfoord Goodwin, A Brief & True Report Concerning Williamsburg in Virginia [3d ed.; Richmond, 1940], p. 270; William Armstrong Crozier, ed., Williamsburg Wills [Virginia County Records, Vol. III, New York, 1906], p. 29).

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