Page:The Green Bag (1889–1914), Volume 25.pdf/417

This page needs to be proofread.


The Green Bag

topher and Edward. Of these Charles figures most prominently. His mother was a member of the Society of Friends and, in marrying Charles Lynch, was expelled from the society, her husband, it was said by the elders, not being religi ously disposed; but the two young people were forgiven, at length becoming members of the South River Meeting House. To the eldest of their offspring little of Quakerism seems to have des cended, Charles Lynch, the son, having rather more of worldly desires than his good brethren could wish, as witness the following from the records of South Meeting House, December 12, 1767: Whereas Charles Lynch, having been a member of the Society of the People called Quakers, and having, contrary to our known principles, been guilty of taking solemn oaths, we do testify against all such practices, and the acter thereof from being any longer a mem ber of our Society, till it may please God to convict him of his error and work repentance in him by a Godly sorrow, which is the sincere desire of us. Signed on behalf of the meeting. William Ferrell, Clerk. South Meeting House, 20th of the 12mo, 1767. Charles Lynch was afterwards rein stated, but again turned out with one James Johnson for taking up arms in his country's defense. In the year 1780-81, General Cornwallis sent Colonel Tarleton and his troopers into the Piedmont country of Virginia, where there were many Tories, who gave much trouble to the Revo lutionary party. Frequent conspiracies were put on foot against the Common wealth, thereby occasioning great loss and injury to the cause of the colonists. Seeing that the state could not afford necessary protection, Colonel Charles Lynch, Colonel William Preston, Colonel James Calloway and Captain Robert Adams enlisted as many men as could

be got for pursuit and capture of the marauders. When taken, the prisoners were brought before Colonel Lynch — who had been made judge and jury by his neighbors — who inflicted sum mary punishment by flogging, impris onment, and, in some cases, death, the law thus administered being called in honor of the judge "Lynch's Law." The respectable Tories of the country having been flogged, instituted suit for the infliction of such punishment whereupon the General Assembly, in October, 1872, exonerated the judge of Lynch's Law by the passage of the following act: Whereas divers evil disposed persons in the year 1780 formed a conspiracy, and did actually attempt to levy war against the Common wealth, and it is represented to the present General Assembly that William Preston, Robert Adams, Jr., James Calloway and Charles Lynch, and other faithful citizens, aided by detachments of volunteers from different, parts of the state, did by timely and effectual measures suppress such conspiracy, and whereas the measures taken for that purpose may not be strictly war ranted by law, although justifiable from the imminence of danger: Be it therefore enacted that said William Preston, Robert Adams, Jr., James Calloway and Charles Lynch, and all other persons what soever concerned in suppressing said conspiracy or in advising, issuing or executing any orders or measures taken for that purpose, stand indemni fied and exonerated of and from all pains, penal ties, prosecutions, actions, suits or danger on account thereof; and that if any indictment, prosecution, action, or suit shall be laid or brought against them, of any of them, for any action or thing done therein, the defendant or defendants may plead in bar or the general issue, and give this act in evidence. Thus we see that Lynch law was brought into being from patriotic mo tives alone and, for the time, was a valuable adjunct to the law when Vir ginia was being overrun by a pitiless enemy.