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The Official Papers of Francis Fauquier

To the Board of Trade

Wmsburgh, Augst. 1st 1765

My Lords
Since my Letter of the 14th of June to your right honorable Board, the little Carpenter has been down here, sent by his Nation, to see what Justice the Government here were disposed to give them for some of their people who had been murdered by some white men in Augusta. On his Arrival I summoned every Member of the Council now resident in the Colony. . . .

I am now to beg the Favor of your Lordships to intercede with his Majesty to pardon two persons condemned for Murder. One name Francis Kennedy. ... The other is the Case of an Indian Woman named Abigail Briggs tried at the general Court before me and the Council. On the Tryal it appeared that the prisoner and the Deceased a Negro, were fellow servants in the same house, that they were in the Kitchen no one else being present. That a Quarrel ensued and blows given, that the Mistress alarmed with the Noise and the blows went down Stairs, and saw the Negro Man lying dead, knocked on the head with the pestle of a Mortar which was of Wood: which the prisoner acknowledged, and said she took it up as the first Thing she could lay her hands on, to defend herself against the Assault of her fellow Servant. The Negro was old, the Kitchen of Stone, and it was not clear whether the Skull was fractured by the blow or the fall. He had the Character of being quarrelsome she of being a quiet woman. She had been held over from the preceeding Court, her Mistress then not caring to appear against her. Upon the whole my Lords I am fully perswaded, that had she been a white woman, the Jury would have altered their Verdict to that of Manslaughter. The Gentlemen on the Bench with me were of my Opinion. I am with the greatest Respect My Lords Your Lordships most Obedient & devoted Servant.

Fran: Fauquier

To the right honble. the Lords of Trade &ct.

From the Board of Trade

Whitehall Novr, 8 1765

His Majesty having been graciously pleased upon our humble Intercession to extend His Royal Mercy and Pardon to Francis Kennedy and Abigail Briggs the two Persons whom in your Letter of the 1st of August 1765 you mention to be under Sentence of Death for Murder, We herewith inclose to you attested Copies of the Warrants to the Recorder of London for inserting their Names in the next General Pardon that shall come out for the poor Convicts of Newgate. We are Sir Your very loving Friends,

Dartmouth J. Dyson
Geo. Rice Wm Fitzherbert
John Roberts  

Francis Fauquier Esqr. Lt. Govr. of Virginia

Enclosure: Warrant for Pardon

[10 October 1765]

George R.
Whereas Abigail Briggs an Indian Woman was at a General Court held in Virginia in America, tried for the Murder of a Negro Man her fellow Servant & being convicted thereof had Sentence of Death passed upon Her for the Same. And Whereas We have thought fit upon a Representation of Her Case transmitted by Our Lieutenant Governor of Virginia, to our Commissioners for Trade & Plantations, and which They, Our said Commissioners, have caused to be laid before Us, to extend Our Grace & Mercy to Her and grant Her Our Free Pardon for the said Crime, Our Will and Pleasure Therefore, is, That You cause Her the said Abigail Briggs to be inserted for the Said Crime in Our first and next General Pardon that shall come out for the poor Convicts of Newgate. And for so doing This shall be Your Warrant. Given at Our Court at St. James's the Tenth Day of October 1765 in the Fifth Year of Our Reign.

By His Majesty's Command
H S Conway