ROBERT WEBB vs. DUNCAN McFARLAND (the Senator from said County) - 1800
April 8, 2011   Contact Myrtle Bridges

Raleigh Register, and North Carolina Weekly Advertiser, (Raleigh, NC) Tuesday, Dec 16, 1800, Issue 61; col D

Another Memorial was presented on Wednesday last, to the Senate of our General Assembly, by Robert Webb, of Richmond County against 
Duncan McFarland (the Senator from said County) retaining his seat, on the ground of his having borne arms against this country in 
our revolutionary war with Great Britain. The memorial was referred, as is usual, to the Committee of Elections, who reported against, 
the Petitioner, without examining into the merits of the petition, as it did not appear the McFarland had been legally notified of this 
second attack. This report was taken up on Friday and disagreed to by the Senate, and the house went into a committee of the whole, General 
Carney in the chair, on the business. The petition being read, and a proposition made for examining witnesses in support of the fact charged, 
Messrs. Whyte and Gallot opposed such an examination, until a previous question was determined, viz: whether Duncan McFarland ought not to 
have received, in the second attack, as well as in the first, thirty days notice, agreeable to the requirement of an act of 1796, in order 
to prepare evidence in his behalf to meet the charges to be brought against him. It appearing to be the opinion of the Committee, that the 
first notice was sufficient, a vote was carried for examining witnesses; and accordingly a certain John Oliver was called to the bar; and 
examined as to what he knew respecting McFarland's having attached himself to the enemies of this country. Oliver answered that he remembered 
having once see McFarland, (and never but at that time) with a party of Tories at McFall's mill, not far from the place where McFarland 
resided, about the time that Governor Burke was made prisoner; that he was armed; but on being asked whether he appeared to be active on 
the part of the enemy, or whether he might not have come there after stolen goods, he could make no positive reply; he acknowledged that 
some time afterwards McFarland was appointed a captain in the American service, and that himself was always a Tory (though he had made 
affidavit that morning before a magistrate, the McFarland had been very active with the enemy). Col. John Speed and Mr. Stephen Cole, 
members of the House of Commons were next called in and examined, first as to the character of the witness, and afterwards as to what 
they knew of the conduct of the fitting member during the war. Both agreed that Oliver lived in the neighborhood of the petitioner, and had 
always been a noted Tory, and Mr. Cole said that he had a bad character, and that when any hogs or cattle were missing, he and his associates 
were always suspected of having taken them. With respect to the fitting member, they seemed to agree in opinion, that he had been "Jack on 
both sides," though they had no knowledge of the fact of his haven taken part with the enemy. Col. Speed said indeed, that he was so firmly 
convinced of it that he would willingly have killed him at the close of the war. The reading of the affidavit which Oliver had made before 
a magistrate, was called for, in order to invalidate his testimony; but this was opposed by Mr. Gaither, who all along supported the petition.

On the question being put, that Duncan McFarland, having attached himself to the enemies of his country last war, is thereby incapable of 
holding his feat by law, it was carried by a majority of a few votes.

The committee then rose, and Gen Carney made his report to the house. The speaker was about to put the question for concurring with the 
report of the committee of the whole, when Mr. Wellborn moved that the Report lie on the table till Thursday next, in order to give the 
fitting member time, if he was able to do it, to rebut the evidence which had been now adduced against him. After some debate, this motion 
was acceded to, and Mr. McFarland, we understand, is gone to his county, in search of the evidence.

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