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title:“Deposition in a Lawsuit over Cargo of the Ship General Washington”
authors:George Mason
date written:1783-9-29

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Mason, George. "Deposition in a Lawsuit over Cargo of the Ship General Washington." The Papers of George Mason. Vol. 2. Ed. Robert A. Rutland. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1970. 789-90. Print.
Virginia Journal & Alexandria Advertizer

Deposition in a Lawsuit over Cargo of the Ship General Washington (September 29, 1783)

Fairfax County, ff. [29 September 1783]
GEORGE MASON, Esq; of Gunston-Hall, in the said County, made oath before me, that a certain suit hath been lately brought against him as per copy of the writ hereunto annexed, in Fairfax County Court, by Hooe and Harrison and Company, late owners of the ship General Washington, which he is desirous to remove into the General Court, by writ of certiorari; as he does not expect impartial justice in the said County Court of Fairfax, for the following reasons: Because the said suit is founded upon a claim for freight of goods from Europe, which were not delivered according to the bill of lading, and several of the Justices of the said court being merchants and concerned in vessels, are interested in disputes of a similar nature, and some of them, as the deponent is well informed, are parties to or interested in a suit brought upon the same principles and now depending in the General Court:
Because the juries in the said County Court are generally composed of inhabitants of the town of Alexandria, and consequently partly merchants and ship owners, interested as above mentioned, who are endeavouring to introduce and establish new (and in the deponent's judgment) unjust and dangerous customs and principles with respect to freight of goods imported from other countries, which the deponent believes was one of the principal views of the plaintiffs in bringing the said suit against him:
And because, about two or three years ago the Justices of the said County Court of Fairfax, the members present being mostly resident in and about the town of Alexandria, laid a levy of about thirty odd thousand pounds of tobacco upon the people, for no certain or avowed purpose whatsoever, which the deponent, when it came to his knowledge, conceiving to be altogether illegal and oppressive, complained loudly of, and talked of lodging an information against the said Justices before the Governor and Council. He afterwards exerted himself to prevent any local or improper application of the said sum of tobacco and to cause it to be placed to the credit of the County at the laying of the next year's levy, whereby any further levy upon the people at that time was prevented, and petitioned the Assembly upon the subject, stating the facts and praying that an act might pass limiting the power of the County Courts in laying levies to a certain reasonable sum of tobacco or money, and disqualifying the members of any Corporation Court from acting as Justices of a County Court, which proceedings, although the deponent had no other motives than to prevent oppression and to discharge his duty as a Magistrate and as a good citizen, have created such prejudices against him among the people in the town of Alexandria, of whom the juries are chiefly composed, and among some of the Justices of the County Court, that he hath good reasons to believe he bath very little chance for common justice in the said County Court of Fairfax.1
Sworn this 29th of September, 1783, before H. Ross.

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