Claypool's Rebellion

Documents from Calendar of Virginia State Papers

To his Excellency Thos: Nelson Esqr. Governor &c and the Hon'ble Council of Virginia
Hampshire County

The petition of John Claypole, Thos: Denton, David Roberts Jun'r Mathias Wilkins, and George Wilkins, Inhabitants of Cacapon in the County of Hampshire

Humbly Sheweth
That your petitioners living in an obscure and remote corner of the State, are precluded from every Intelligence of the State of affairs, either by Public Papers or from Information of Men of Credit and Veracity, and at the same time infested by the wicked Emmissaries or pretended Emmissaries of the British who travel through all parts of the Frontiers, and by Misrepresentations and false news poisoned the Minds of the Ignorant and credulous Settlers: That your petitioners, from narrow and confin'd notions, & Attached too strongly to their Interests, conceived the Act for laying the enormous Tax of Eighty Two Pounds paper Money on every hundred pounds of their property, rated in Specie) and a Bounty for the recruits of the Continental Army, and the Law subjecting them, at the same time to be draughted for the said Service, and the further Act. for Cloathing the Army, as unjust and oppressive after paying such a high tax on their Assessed property, and those wicked and designing men by their artfull insinuations & false Intelligences industriously propagated to delude & seduce your petitioners; too readily prevailed on them to oppose the Execution of the said Acts, and take up Arms in defence of what those wretches called their Liberty and property. But your Petitioners Humbly shew that they never concocted or conspired the destruction of Government, or the hurt of any Individuals, further than to defend themselves when attacked or compelled to yield obedience to those Laws. And when your petitioners were made sensible of their Error, by the Gentlemen from the Adjacent Counties, who marched a body of men sufficient to have put alt the disobedient & deluded crew to the Sword, but from motives of humanity & prudence attempted the more mild method of Argument to dispel the delusion, and .bring them back to their duty, your Petitioners, ready to receive information, and open to correction, readily gave up their Arms and engaged to deliver themselves to Justice and submit to the Laws of their Country when called for; which they have since done and stood their Trials in the County Court of Hampshire, and were by that Court adjudged to stand a further Tryal before a Special Court of Oyer and Terminer, appointed to meet at that Court House on the Tenth Day of July last, but the Gentlemen nominated as Judges by the Hon'ble Board failing to attend, the prosecution was postponed. And your petitioners were then Informed by a Proclamation under the hand of the County Lieutenant, that the Executive, ever prone to adopt the most lenient measures to penitent offenders, offered pardon and Indemnity to all those concerned in the late insurrection, if they would return to their duty, and behave as good Citizens in future. And your petitioners impressed with a deep Sense of the gracious Intentions of your Excellency and the Hon'ble Board, towards the Ignorant and deluded, were encouraged to sue for pardon; & that the same Act of grace might be extended towards them, since they humbly conceive their Conduct has been more Consonant to the Duty of good Citizens, who conscious that they have Transgress'd against the Laws of their Country, readily delivered themselves to Justice and to Tryal by their Peers, to suffer the punishment due to their crimes, tho' committed thro' Ignorance and misguided zeal; Whereas those who have availed themselves of the said Proclamation, tho' equally guilty, did not come in until their safety was insured to them by the promise of pardon.

Wherefore, your Petitioners humbly hope, from the known Clemency of your Excellency, and that Equianimity that governs the Councils of the Hon'ble Board, that they will be graciously pleased to pardon their past offences, and include them in the Act of Indemnity so mercifully held out to offenders under the like circumstances, and they engage, on the Faith of honest Citizens to Act a true and faithful part to the State in future, if they are released from further prosecution, and restored to the privileges of other Citizens: which your petitioner John Claypole is more encouraged to expect, from a letter of Genl: morgan's to your said Petitioner, wherein he promises to procure his pardon, on his returning to his Allegiance and becoming a Good Citizen; this he humbly conceives his behavior has done since be was convinced of his Error, and freed from those mistaken prejudices that seduced him from his duty - Wherefore, in deep Contrition for their past misconduct and sincere promise of conducting themselves as good citizens for the time to come, they humbly pray for Pardon, and that the Hon'ble Board will save their innocent wives and children from ruin and misery, which they must necessarily be involved in, for the crimes of their deluded Husbands and Parents, And your Petitioners shall ever pray &c."

PETITION OF CITIZENS TO THE EXECUTIVE for the pardon of John Claypole, on account of his previous good standing as an "Honest Peacable well meaning man."

Numerously signed, the following names appearing among the signatures - Vandeventer, Ruddell, Hutton, Bullett, Bird, Hite, Van Meter, Randall, Vause, Lynch, Ashby, Harris, Shanklin, and many others.

Claypool's Rebellion: Primary Documents