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Remonstrance of Tobias Knight—27 May 1719

Depositions – Tobias Knight—27 May 1719

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After Captain Ellis Brand Commander of his Majesty ship the Lune [Lyme] declared that having rec’d Information of Twenty Barrels of sugar and Two baggs of Cotten lodged by Edward Thache at the house of Tobias Knight he asked the sd Knight for those goods they being part of the Cargoe piraticaly taken in the ffrench Ship and that the sd Knight with many asserverations possitively denyed that any such goods were about his plantation but yet the next day when he the sd Capt Brand urged the matter home to him and told him of the proofs he could bring as well by the persons concerned in Landing the sd goods as by a Memdm in Thaches pocket Book he the sd Knight owned the whole matter and the piratical Goods afsd were found in his Barn covered over with fodder

At a Court of Admiralty Continued and held at the Capital the 13th day of March 1718 [Virginia’s records for this proceeding have been lost—this NC Council record contains the only surviving transcripts] Whereas it has appeared to this Court Mr Tobias Knight Secty of North Carolina hath given Just Cause to suspect his being privy to the Piracys comitted by Edward Thache and his Crew and hath received and Concealed the Effects by them piratically taken whereby he is become an accessary

Its therefore the opinion of this Court that a coppy of the Evidence given to this Court so farr as they relate to the sd Tobias Knight's Behaviour be Transmited to the Governor of North Carolina to the end he may cause the said Tobias Knight to be apprehended and proceeded against pursuant to the directions of the Act of Parliament for the more effectual suppression of Piracy

And then the sd Tobias Knight did remonstrate to this Board in answer thereto as followeth



North Carolina


To the Honble Charles Eden Esqr Govr and the rest of the member of the Honble the Council now sitting


The Humble remonstrance of Tobias Knight Esqr Secretary of this province and a member of this Board in answer to the several Depossitions and other pretended Evidences taken against him at a Court of admiralty holden at the Capital of Verginia the 12th day of March 1718 First the sd Tobias Knight doth averr and doubt not to make it Evidently appeare that he is not in any wise howsoever guilty of the least of those Crimes which are so Slyly malitiously and falsely suggested and insinuated against him by the sd pretended Evidence the which to make more apparent to your Honours the sd Tobias Knight doth pray your Honours first to Consider as to the Evidence themselves they being such as Contradict themselves or as ought not to be taken in any Court of Record or else where against the sd Tobias Knight or any other white man for first Hesikia hands master of Capt Thaches Sloop Adventure seems to sweare possitively in his Depossition that the sd Thache went from Ocacoch Inlet at his returne into this Country from his last voyage with a present to the sd Tobias Knights house when by the same depossition he acknowledgth that to be out of the reach of his knoledge he being all the time at the sd Inlet which lyes at above thirty leagues distance from his house and further the sd Tobias Knight doth pray your Honours to observe that the aforsd Hesikias hands was (as he has been well informed) for some time before the giveing of the sd Evidence kept in prison under the Terrors of Death a most severe prosecution and that there doth apparently appeare thro' out the whole Evidence more of Art mallice and designe against the sd Tobias Knight then truth secondly as to the four next Evidence pretended to be given against the sd Tobias Knight under the name and pretext of foure of Capt Thaches men is utterly false and such as the sd Tobias Knight humbly conceives ought not to be taken against him for that they are (tho cuningly couched under the names of Christians) no other the four Negro Slaves which by the Laws and customs of all America Aught not to be Examined as Evidence neither is their Evidence of any Validity against any White person whatsoever and further that the sd Negroes at the time of their giveing the pretended Evidence afsd (as the sd Tobias Knight is informed) was upon Tryal for their own lives for the supposed piracy by them Committed on Board the sd Thache and that what they did then say was in hopes of Obtaining mercy tho' they were then Condemned and since Executed so that had they been never so Lawfull Evidences the sd Tobias Knights debarred from his right and benifit of an Examination of them.

Thirdly as to the Depossition of Wm Bell I shall only observe to your Honours that there is nothing in it can Effect the sd Tobias Knight save that it is therein cunningly Suggested that Edward Thache was at the sd Tobias Knight house that night in which he was robbed which the sd Tobias Knight has good reason to believe was rather an Artfull and malitious designe of those that drew the sd Depossitions for that had it been true it was Impossible to have been within the reach of his knowledge and besides the sd Bell upon his Examination the day after he was robbed had in Suspission one Smith Undey Fiteing Dick and others and hath since the date of that Depossition Vizt on or about ye 25 of April last past declared that he doth verily believe that the sd Thache never was at that time at the sd Tobias Knights house for the truth of which the sd Tobias Knight doth humbly refer to the Examination and Depossitions of Mr Edmund Chamberlain

Fourthly as to the pretended Evidence of Capt Ellis Brand the sd Tobias Knight doth humbly conceive the same ought not to Effect him for had it been true it had and ought to have been upon Oath which is not tho' the sd Tobias Knight doth in the most Solemn manner declare that the sd pretended Evidence is every word false and that the said Brand never did at any time speak one word or mention to the said Knight in any manner whatsoever touching or concerning the sugar mentioned in the said Evidence before the sd Knight first mentioned them to him neither was the sd sugar ever denyed by the sd Tobias Knight to be in his Custody for the truth of which he humbly referrs to the Honble the Governor but further Saith that when the sd Tobias Knight was apprised that the sd Brand had been informed that the sd Sugars had been coniveingly put on shore for the sd Knights use and that there might be found in his Custody Several other things of value belonging to the sd Thache and that the sd Brand did intend to send his people to search his the sd Knight house he did then speak himself to the sd Brand and did acquaint him truly how and for what reason the sd sugars was there Lodged Vizt at the request of the sd Thache only till a more Convenient store could be procured by the Govr for the whole with assurance that the sd Tobias Knight never did prtend any Claim or right to any part thereof and did also at the same time desire the sd Brand if he had any other informations against him he would be so civel as either to come himself or send his Lieut to his house and every lock in his house should be opened to him which he only replied that tho' he had some spightfull things insinuated to him by Evil minded persons whose names he need not mention intimating Mr Maurice Moore Jerimiah Veal and others of that family [refers to “The Family” syndicate of Moseleys, Moores, Lillingtons, Swanns, etc.]

yet he had more Honour than to do any such thing for that ever Since his comeing into this Goverment he had found nothing in the sd Tobias Knights but a great deal of readyness to assist him in the service of the Crowne very much becomeing a Gent and one in his post which Character he should give of him in Verginia in opposition to all the false and malitious storys there suggested against him or words to the same Effect ffifthly as to the Letter that was said to be found of the sd Tobias Knights writeing on Board the sd Thache Sloop the sd Knight doth beleive to be true for that he did write such a Letter by the Governors orders he having advised him by Letters that he had some earnest business with the sd Thache but he doth uterly deny that there was any evil intent in the writeing the sd Letter but that he did verily believe at the Same time that the said Thach was as ffree a Subject of our Lord the King as any person in this Goverment and the sd Tobias Knight doth further say in his owne Justification that when the sd Thache and his Crew first came into this Goverment and Surrendered themselves pursuant to his Majestys Proclamation of indemnity the said Tobias Knight then was and for a long time had been confined to his bed by sickness and that dureing his whole stay in this Government he never was able to goe off from his owne plantation nor did either the sd Thache or any of his crew frequent the sd Knights house unless when they had business at his Office as Secretary or Collector of the Kings Customs neither did the sd Tobias Knight or any of his family contract any acquaintance with the sd Thache or any of his crew nor did deal buy or Sell any with or of any of them dureing their whole stay Save only Two Negroe men which the sd Knight purchased from Two men who had left the sd Thache and had rece'd their pardons and since are gone Lawfully out of this Goverment and Stil Continue in their good Alegiance and the sd Tobias Knight doth aver for Truth that from the time the sd Thache tooke his departure from this Goverment bound to St Thomas's he did never See the sd Thache or any of his people until on or about the 24th of September last past when he came and reported to the Governor that he had brought a wreck into this Goverment and perticularly that the sd Thache was not to the sd Knight knowledge nor to the knowledge of any of his family at or near his house on or about the 14th day of September last past as is most falsely suggested in the afsd Evidence given against him in Verginia for the Truth whereof he refers himself to the Examination and Depossition of Mr Edmund Chamberlaine aforsd all which is most humbly Submited by


Your Honours Most Dutifull and

Most obediant Servant




[NC Court added:]

And this Board haveing taken the whole into their Serious Consideration and it appearing to them that the foure Evidences called by the names of James Blake Richd Stiles James White and Thomas Gates were actually no other then foure negroe Slaves and since Executed as in the remonstiances is set forth and that the other Evidences so far as it relate to the sd Tobias Knight are false and malitious and that he hath behaved himself in that and all other affairs wherein he hath been intrusted as becomes a good and faithful Officer and thereupon it is the opinion of this Board that he is not guilty and ought to be acquited of the sd Crimes and every of them laid to his charge as aforsd

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