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Aprill the 26th, 1652.*

The MS from

[From a MS.+received from Edmund Raudolph, Esq. which the laws • which was once the property of Sir John Randolph, of this session who transmitted it to his son Peyton Randolph, Esq. were printed, after whose death, it was purchased, with his library, library of Conby Thomas Jefferson, Esq. from whom it was borrow- gress,at Washed by Edmund Randolph, Esq.]

is now in


For Henrico County-Mr. Wm. Hatcher.

Charles Citty County

S Coll. Edward Hill,
Capt. John Bushopp.

* This was the first assembly held in Virginia, after the convention made between the commissioners of the parliament of England, and the burgesses of the several counties and plantations in Virgi nia. It will readily be perceived, that the mode of doing business, in the assembly, during the period of the commonwealth, materially differed from that adopted for a series of years before. This, no doubt, arose from the unsettled state of the government, and the want of a due separation of its powers. The house of burgesses exercised legislative, executive and judicial functions. The Governor was appointed by them, sometimes for one year, sometimes for two; the members of council were either chosen by the burgesses, in the first instance, or approved by them on the nomination of the governor; and they had the appointment of all the officers of government. There were no constitutional limits to the several departments of the government. The house of burgesses being in possession of all power, granted it out as they thought proper, and resumed it at pleasure. After exercising, in effect, the power of appointment to all offices, since the abolition of the monarchy, in England, they solemnly declared, "that they had in themselves, the full power of the election and appointment of all officers in this country." (See the resolution of the house of burgesses of the 1st of April, 1658, in their contest with the governor, as to his right to dissolve the assembly, p. 502) And by the 1st act of March the 30th, 1659, intituled "An act for takeing the power into the assemblies hands," they declare that "the supreame power of the government of this country, shall be resident in the assembly."

In compiling the acts of this, and a few succeeding assemblies, the foregoing MS. will be generally used; but, in some few in

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stances, selections will be made from two other MSS. embracing the same period:-one is a manuscript volume purchased by Mr. Jefferson from the executor of Richard Bland, dec'd, and will be distinguished by the following initials, Bl. MS.-the other is a manuscript in Mr. Jefferson's own hand-writing, and will be noted thus Jef. MS.-the manuscript generally used will be called Rand. MS.

* Originally called "Nansimum." See ante pa. 321.

This should be "Warwick County." See ante pa. 249.

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(Mr. Hugh Guinne,
Mr. Fra. Willis.

Glocester County*

Lancaster County*--

The oath administred to the Burgesses:


YOU and every of you shall swear vpon the holy Oath of BurEvangelist, and in the sight of God to deliver your opinions faithfully and honestly, according to your best vnderstanding and conscience, for the generall good and prosperitie of this country and every perticular member thereof, and to do your vtmost endeavor to prosecute that without mingling with it any perticular interest of any person or persons whatsoever.

JOHN CORKER, Cl. Dom. Com.




of Virginia

ament be known.

for one year.

AFTER long and serious debate and advice taken Provisional for the settleing and governing of Virginia, It was government vnanimously voted and concluded, by the commis- till the pleasioners appointed here by authority of parliament and sure of parliby all the Burgesses of the severall countys and plantations respectively, vntill the further pleasures of the states be knowne: That Mr. Richard Bennett, Esq. Gov. chosen, be Governour for this ensuinge yeare, or vntill the next meeting of the Assembly, with all the just powers and authorities that may belong to that place lawfully: And Secretary of likewise that Collo. William Clayborne be Secretarie of State, with all belonging to that office, and is to be next in place to the Governour, next that the Councill of State be as followeth, (vizt.) Capt. John West, Coll. State. Sam. Mathewes, Coll. Nathaniel Littleton, Coll. Ar


Council of

This is the first time the names of Gloucester and Lancaster counties occur. When or how they were formed, does not appear.

Their powers, to be prescrib. ed by the par

liament in England, the known laws of England, and the grand as

sembly of Virginia.

Comm'rs. of

sen by the

counties chohouse of bur


Election of all officers to be made by the burgesses. Present election to be by governor and comm'rs, but not to be drawn into precedent.

goll Yearly, Coll. Tho. Pettus, Coll. Humph. Higgi-
son, Coll. George Ludlow; Coll. Wm. Barnett, Capt.
Bridges freeman, Capt. Tho. Harwood, Major Wm.
Taylor, Capt. ffrancis Epps and Leiv'tt. Coll. John
Cheesman, and they shall have power to execute and
do right and equall justice to all the people and inha-
bitants of this collony according to such instructions as
they have or shall receive from the Parliament of Eng-
land and according to the knowne lawe of England;
And the acts of Assembly here established; And the
said Governour, Secretary and Council of State are to
have such power and authorities and to act from time
to time, as by the Grand Assembly shall be appointed
and granted to their severall places respectively for the
time abovesaid: of which all the people which inhabitt
or be in this country are hereby required to take notice
and accordingly conforme theinselves therevnto. God
save the Common-Wealth of England and this coun-
trey of Virginia.
(Rand. MS. Jef. MS.)

May 2d, 1652.*

IT is resolved, That the commissioners of the severall counties be chosen by the House with this proviso, That if any just complaint be proved against any chosen they shall be suspended the next session of Assembly.

May 5th, 1652.

IT is agreed and thought best for the government of this country by the Governor, Council and Burgesses that the right of election of all officers of this colony be and appertain to the Burgesses the representive of the people, and it is further agreed for the present by the Burgesses in remonstrance of the confidence that they have in the said comm'rs. that the present election of all officers not already constituted be referred to the said Governor and commissioners and that this their election be not precidental to any succeeding Assembly. (Jef. MS.)

Jef. MS.-This clause is inserted in Rand. MS. also, but without date, except that it follows the oath directed to be taken by the burgesses, at the session commencing the 26th of April, 1652: The subject matter seems more properly to point out this place for its insertion.

May 6th, 1652.

WHETHER the Governour and Council shall be Governor & members of this Assembly or no: Generally voted council to be they shall be, taking the oath the Burgesses take.

members of assembly.

(Rand. MS. Jef. MS.)

The names of the Burgesses for the severall Plantations,
November the 25th, 1652.


Henrico County-Capt. Wm. Harris.

Charles Cittie

James Cittie

Lower Norff.

Surry County*

Isle of Wight County-Mr. Charles Reynolds.

Warwick County

Nansemund County

Elizabeth Citty

(Capt. Hen. Perry,
Capt. Dan. Llewellin,
Major Abraham Woode,
Capt. Woodlife,
Capt. Charles Sparrow.
Mr. Rob. Wetherall,
Mr. Wm. Whittaker,
Mr. Abra. Wattson,
Mr. Hen. Soane.

Mr.Wm. Thomas,
Mr.Wm. Edwards,
Mr.Geo. Stephens.

York County

(Lev'tt. Coll. Mathews,
Mr. Wm. Whittby.

Coll. Tho. Dew,Speaker,
Mr. Peter Montague.
Left. Coll. Cor. Lloyd,
Major Thomas Lambert,
Mr. Charles Burrowes.

Mr. Peter Ransome,
Mr. Theo. Hone.


Capt. Step. Gill,
Mr. Wm Gouge,
(Major X'pher Calthrope.

*This is the first time the name of Surry county occurs.

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