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all persons concerned may have free Recourse at due orseasonable times.
“10. That a fitt person for Clarke when Vacant, be recommended by each Court to the Governor for his Approbacon in whose hands the said Reccords to be kept.
“11. That all writts, Warrants & Proceedings at Law shall be in his Maties Name. It having been practiced in ye Government ever since the first writing of the Law booke, And being his Royall Highness Speciall pleasure & Order."
The promulgation of the laws and the more definite instructions for the administration of justice must have given general satisfaction, for in their communications with the governor the justices seem to have been in doubt on many points, and a delay in forwarding copies of the laws seems to have given them considerable anxiety. In a letter of June 8, 1677, the magistrates of New Castle write: "We likewise humbly desier that the sending of the Law booke may not be forgot, there being great occasions for the same."'2
It may be interesting at this point to give a brief account of the most important civil suit fought out in the territory on the Delaware at this early date, involving the title to Tinicum Island. It was here, as we have seen, that the Swedish governor, John Printz, established the seat of government, building a blockhouse, church and private residence called Printzhof, the island having been granted to him in 1643 by Queen Christina "for a bouwery" as a reward for his services.3 After the Dutch conquest his daughter, Jeuffro Armgart, wife of John Pappegoya, the successor of Printz as governor, was on her petition, permitted in 1656 "to take possession and cultivate the lands of her lord and
1 VII Pennsylvania Archives (2d Series), 783.
3 VII Pennsylvania Archives (2d Series), 494; Hazard's Annals of Pennsylvania, 70.
father."1 Jeuffro Armgart as agent for her father sold the property on May 29, 1662, to Joost De LaGrange who paid one half of the purchase money and entered into possession. Trouble occurred at once over payment of the balance. In the latter part of 1662 a bill of exchange given by LaGrange was protested, Jeuffro Armgart recovered judgment and an appeal was taken. Printz died in 1663 and Jeuffro's power to act for her sisters was disputed. In the meantime the English conquered the New Netherlands, LaGrange died and his widow married Andrew Carr who obtained a patent for the island from Governor Lovelace in 1669. While the Carrs were abroad, looking after an estate they had inherited, Jeuffro Armgart returned with powers of attorney from her sisters and brought suit for the balance of the purchase money at the court of New Castle. The case was adjourned or appealed to the court of assizes at New York, where it was tried on October twelfth, 1672. Some of the papers were in “high” and some in "low" Dutch and the services of an interpreter were required. The defendants' attorney, Mr. Ryder, protested that Captain John Carr's letter of attorney from Andrew Carr was not sufficient to authorize him to defend the suit and moved for a continuance, which was refused. The case was sent to the jury, who brought in a verdict for the plaintiff for the full amount of her claim upon which judgment was entered. In the month of January following the governor and council issued an execution directed to Captain Edmund Cantwell, high sheriff at New Castle, who was directed to seize
1 Hazard's Annals of Pennsylvania, 219, quoting Albany Records, Vol. XVII.
2 Hazard's Annals of Pennsylvania, 400, quoting Albany Records, Court of Assizes, Vol. II, 293-300.
the land and goods of the Carrs, particularly Tinicum." The latter island was to be appraised and if found of less value than the debt, the plaintiff was to be given possession and a further levy made on other property of the defendants. Jeuffro Armgart was accordingly restored to possession of the island which she sold to Justice Otto Ernest Cock. The new owner was, however, not to rest in quiet possession. Arnoldus De LaGrange, son of Joost, when of age returned to America and settled at New Castle where he subsequently became a justice of the peace. Shortly after his return he presented to Governor Andros a petition for equitable relief against the judgment of the court of assizes, setting forth his infancy at the time of the trial and other defects in the proceedings.No answer to the petition is recorded but at the last session of the Upland court before the transfer of the territory to Penn held June 14, 1681, suit was brought by LaGrange against Cock which was postponed to the next court “by reason that there's noe court wthout Justice Otto whoe is a party.”3 The case was finally tried at a court held at Chester 22, 6 mo. 1683, where LaGrange was represented by Abraham Mann and Cock by John White as attorneys in the suit. The plaintiff declared as heir at law and the defense was that part of the purchase money had never been paid. The verdict of the jury as entered on the record is :
“The jury finde for ye Plaint and alsoe give him his costs of suite and fforty shillings damage; the Plaint paying to ye
1 V Pennsylvania Archives (2d Series), 627. A second execution was issued in 1675 by Governor Andros, V Pennsylvania Archives (2d Series), 666. In Records of Court of New Castle, page 53, is a suit by the sheriff against the auctioneer for the amount realized at a sale under this execution.
· VII Pennsylvania Archives (2d Series), 799. 3 Records of the Court at Upland, 189.
Deft Thirty & seaven pounds & Tenne Shillings, according to an agreement between ye Plaint and Deft produced & read in this court & alsoe delivering ye Block House & pticuters in ye same agreemt mentioned. Judgmt is thereupon awarded."?
Here we have an early, if not the first, example of a conditional verdict so popular afterwards in Pennsylvania when an equitable defense was raised in an action of ejectment. Execution issued on this judgment and LaGrange was put in possession. Less than a year afterward he sold the island to Christopher Taylor, the first register general, one of whose descendants left a will that gave rise, in the nineteenth century, to litigation as long and stubborn as that we have recounted.? The Printz mansion was destroyed by fire in 1822 but it is said that on the site ancient bricks of a foreign make and pale yellow color have been found which were once a part of this venerable structure.3
It would seem from the above proceedings and from an order of Governor Andros of July 17, 1678,4 that lands were regarded as liable for debts, contrary to the common law where the creditor's only remedy was by writ of elegit under which one half of the rents could be taken. Penn's first legislation subjected lands to execution to a limited extent, but not until 1700 was the
1 Chester County Records quoted in Ashmead's History of Delaware County, 280; see, also, Memoirs Long Island Historical Society, Vol. I, 189.
2 Hart v. Hill, 1 Wharton's Reports, 124 (1835); Tinicum Fishing Co. v. Carter, 61 Pennsylvania Reports, 21 (1869); 77 Pennsylvania Reports, 310 (1875); 90 Pennsylvania Reports, 85 (1879).
3 Smith's History of Delaware County, 31.
4 VII Pennsylvania Archives (2d Series), 797. In the case of a decedent, Andros seems to have solved the question of title by directing that the purchaser should have “a new pattent for his title."
5 III Blackstone's Commentaries, 419.
whole land made liable where no personal property could be found.1
That land was subject to seizure for debts under the Dutch rule is indicated by the following extract from the minutes of Jacquet's court, February 14, 1657:
"Isack Allerton has had seized by the Court Messenger subject to the decision of the Hon ble Council, the immovable property belonging to Peter Hermausen here on the river."2
From such records as have escaped destruction we are enabled to present a fair outline of the actual practice in these primitive tribunals, presided over by laymen and unembarrassed by the conflicting arguments of professional lawyers. An adequate notion of the crudity of the proceedings can be conveyed only by examples from the records which were kept in the most informal fashion. Sometimes the entries are limited to the names of the parties and the judgment, while in other instances there is a summary of pleadings and evidence. While the names of common law actions, such as debt, case and replevin, are used there is little to indicate that judges or parties had more than a very vague conception of their scope and distinctions. Thus, there is an entry of "an action of the Case for twoo peeces of marrish & ye hay thereon mowed."3 Appeals to New York were frequent and were sometimes specially allowed by the governor, as would appear from the following example:
"By the Governor
“Upon the request of Hans Pieterson, concerning several Judgmts of the Courts of New Castle & Upland in Delaware in a case between the sd Pieterson & Do Lawrentius Carolus,
1 Presbyterian Corporation v. Wallace, 3 Rawle's Reports, 108 (1831) at page 141.
2 New York Colonial Documents, Vol. XII, 160.
3 Records of the Court of New Castle, 355; see, also, Jegou v. Wright, Upland Records, 140.