- Henry Smith was accused by Mary Jones of rape, and the court investigated the circumstances of the attack so the governor could be informed. They considered that the rape came to be known, not out of Mary's defiance, but because of an unexpected accident--the suspected murder of Eliza. Carter's bastard child. Henry Smith, the reputed father, was counted an accessory as was Jean Hill, who assisted in the illegal private birth. Attempting to prove that Smith had given physic to the pregnant Eliza. Carter, Jean Hill requested that Mary Jones be brought to testify. Although Mary was legally free, Smith had taken her to an island, where as his prisoner, she had no opportunity to complain or get justice. Jean Hill unexpectedly demanded that Mary Jones be brought to court, and it was then that Mary "cried and grievously complained" against Smith for keeping her as a servant when she was free. Smith pleaded the many faults of his servant, saying she ran away. Mary said she "hid from his cruelties of whipping, beating, laying neck and heel, and the like for taking bread or hominy to satisfy hunger and speaking truth." When the allegations were debated, it was discovered that among other things, she was grievously beaten for saying that Smith raped her in an old house. Mary had not intended to accuse Smith of rape; in fact she mentioned it only as it related to the beatings. Mary Jones passed by her rape as if she were unaware that Smith could be punished for the crime. The court considered the report to be free from malice and required that Mary be questioned about the rape. They asked why she had not spoken of it, and she said she told Eliza. Carter that same night. The next morning when Smith again attempted to rape her, she spoke of it, but received only punishment from her master and was called a "lying whore." Eliza. Carter confirmed the words of Mary Jones. Then the court inquired if "the country" had heard any such reports. Several persons said they heard talk about Smith and his maid looking for a colt in a tobacco house, where he raped her. Nothing happening, after a time the report was "laid aside." The court next considered Henry Smith's reputation: he fathered two bastards, frequently committed adultery with his first wife's sister, broke his wives' hearts, cruelly used his first wife, kept "a whore, Eliza. Carter against his present wife," so cruelly beat and maimed his wife that she had to seek relief for herself and her children, grievously used his servants by hard work and "tyrannical blows and whipping," and kept them so lacking in food and clothing that they had to seek relief. He also was suspected of causing the death of one or two old men by his cruelties. He was proved to be a liar, giving threats and contempt for the court; he was a persuader and suborner of weak and yielding people. Smith had "the mark of God's desertion by his pride and arrogance," for he was not at all humbled by the many judgments of God including the death, drowning and loss of his animals and the burning of his house. The court concluded that Smith could be guilty of rape, found that Mary's reputation was better than Smith's, and felt the manner of the rape's discovery supported their judgment.
The court then debated whether the length of time might be a hindrance to the case, but considered the "incapacity of the person ravished, the fear and dread she lived in, the many punishments she suffered and also for speaking of the rape had no relief." Parts of Virginia were so remote that victims could not easily protest. The court committed Henry Smith to prison, where he would remain till the governor would be informed and give his directions to either bind Smith over to the next court or let him be dismissed with censure.
Mary Hues complained to three justices that Henry Smith had raped her; she requested relief and protection. Upon questioning, her answers agreed with other witnesses concerning the circumstances. Mary Hues confirmed her charges in court, and Henry Smith denied it. He presented a deposition of a person who stayed at the house the same night and who said he did not hear Mary Hues cry out or see anything. Mary said she was so frightened and astonished at the rape that her memory was affected, but if that person stayed at the plantation that night, she was sure it was in an "outer house" and not in the house where Smith raped her. She cried out so loud that she woke Smith's daughter, who mentioned it the next day. Mary said she tried to report it, pretending to go to her mistress to inquire about her indenture--she could make the entire trip on one Sunday--but Smith would not permit her to go. To speak of it was to bring her more suffering, for she remembered how Smith had beaten her for asking for shoes when she was barefoot in the frost and snow. When she said she was going for justice he terribly beat her, and when she complained to the court, she was given small relief, was sent back to Smith and was again subjected to his tyranny. Roger [Myles] told her that German Gillet thought it would be best to say there was nothing done to Smith for raping Mary Jones--that she was only recorded as a prostitute. So Mary Hues didn't know what to do; she hardly dared to speak of it, for fear that Smith would find out, but she finally resolved to complain. The court considered the complaint, the circumstances and the deposition of Eliza. Nock, who affirmed that Smith attempted to rape her, but "the time and place did not serve him to overcome her resistance." They considered that this was the same man that raped Mary Jones, and that the charges were aggravated by the discovery of his attempt on Eliza. Nock. They concluded that Mary Jones complained as soon as she could safely do so, and that Mary Hues, in continued danger and in fear of Smith, had to wait till she was secured by a public officer. The court concluded that Smith was guilty of the rape of Mary Hues and ought to be secured as a felon.
Ordered that Henry Smith be committed into the sheriff's custody and remain there till the governor could be informed and direct whether Smith should be presented as a felon to the court at James City or otherwise censured.
Some inhabitants reported that Henry Smith's servants called Old John and Rich. Webb died from the cruel treatment given them by Smith. Evidence showed that Smith often beat Old John with a whip made from a bull's penis; Old John's age prevented him from working like the other servants. He was "so hunger starved for want of food" that he would take bread or hominy, for which he was beaten. For fear of punishment, he would hide or go away. Once he was brought home by Jno. Watts; at that time he had a bruise on his side that his master had given him with a bull's pizzle. He was most unreasonably whipped that way, and complained that it would be the death of him. About a month later he died in an old tobacco house, having received no care or regard. Evidences indicated that Rich. Webb was also abused by his Master Smith and died. The court referred this information to the governor.
Contrary to the court's order, Henry Smith took Jean Powell to his plantation on the island. Ordered that Smith produce Powell at the next court to declare her consent in going to dwell there. The sheriff was to fetch Powell at Smith's cost.
William Nock and Rich. Chambers complained that their master Henry Smith had agreed to give each of them a set of smith's tools when they were freed, but that the ones they were using would be completely worn out in a year. Smith, under questioning, admitted the agreement. It was ordered recorded that Henry Smith would provide each of them with a complete set of smith's tools including bellows, anvil and vice.
Joanna, wife of Henry Smith, had in three general courts complained that she had received no relief from her perverse husband. This compounded her daily grief, misery and sickness. She petitioned for a yearly sum of money from her husband and to be away from his clamorings. The court considered her weakness and infirmity caused by her husband's abuse and found he willfully neglected her, and that in trying to destroy his wife, he brought about his own ruin. Ordered that Smith pay 30 pounds per year to maintain his wife, if approved by the governor. To secure her life and to recover her health, she was given permission to go to her friends in England, thus preventing Smith's alleged cruelties which hastened his first wife's death.
Henry Smith, for three courts, had many complaints against him. The court gave judgment according the power given them and referred others to the governor. Nevertheless, Henry Smith had sent a needless petition of appeal to the governor, trying to harm the reputation of the court.
Henry Smith had given great trouble to the court for the past two sessions by his many wicked actions, lying in prison before he would give security to perform the orders. The court therefore desired one of the commissioners to go to the governor, present him with copies of the proceedings, and receive his commands regarding the case.
The court requested Col. Scarburgh to go as soon as possible to the governor after the court records were transcribed. He was to inform the governor about how Henry Smith and his attorney Tankard demeaned themselves against the dignity of the court and the governor. Scarburgh was to ask for censure fitting the reputation of justice and for direction in the case.
The court by two former orders had asked for the release of the estate belonging to the orphans of Joseph Matrum. Because of the cruelties of Henry Smith, who married their mother, they were forced to rely on the charity of others. Their estate had suffered because of Smith, who was to be accountable to the sheriff. Smith pretended that the only proof of the estate owned by the children was by the word of their mother, "who having lost her husband and other children in the time of visitation in London" was the administrator but had no inventory. The court on behalf of the orphans took the mother's testimony on the estate left by her former husband and ordered that 2/3 of the estate be set apart and used for the orphans. Smith pleaded that a wife's testimony was not to be admitted against her husband in civil cases. The court noting that Smith was a "notorious liar and scandalous person" recorded that, in this case, the wife was competent evidence for the children. Formal inventories were prevented in those "pestilential times in England," so the inventory was now ordered. Smith's evasions were condemned and the former order was confirmed.
Henry Smith hired by the year a "litigious fellow called Tankard, who audaciously pretended to teach the court." He showed a law book and cited the manner of proceeding on criminals; the trial should take place where the act was committed. He tried to apply it in the case of Matrum's orphans, which was a civil, not criminal case, and which could be tried in any court--especially in the county where the estate was. The court mentioned this "trivial and impertinent plea" so the governor could know their proceedings.
Since Tankard had shown "much arrogance or ignorance, or both" and urged the plea, the court would wait with his punishment until the governor was informed of his other behavior. The court consulted about the best course to take with Smith. They recited the crime; he was charged of rape, suspected of murdering his servant, and acted insolently to the court. Such crimes should be ruled on by the governor, whose opinion was to be sought as soon as possible. Tankard, who was standing by, interrupted the court and told all the people that this would come to nothing. The judge of the court told Tankard that "he would have him thrown over the barn if he used such words there," but Tankard was not yet punished for prejudicating the governor, who had not yet been informed.
The difference between Ann Cooper and Henry Smith was delayed because Smith had not complied with orders. The next court would investigate the time John Cross spent in Smith's service along with goods due. Smith was to give accounts where evidence was not clear and to pay all costs of the delay. (p. 102-109)