WILLIAMSBURG, September 30, 1773.
Advertisments On serious Consideration of the present State of our Practice in the General Court, we find it can no longer be continued on the same Terms. The Fees allowed by Law, if regularly paid, would barely compensate our incessent Labours, reimburse our Expenses, and the losses incurred by Neglect of our private Affaires; yet even these Rewards, confessedly moderate, are withheld from us, in a great proportion, by the unworthy Part of our Clients. ... after the 10th day of October next we will not give an opinion on any Case stated to us but on Payment of the whole Fee, nor prosecute or defend any Suit of motion unless the Tax, and one Half the Fee, be previously advanced, excepting those Cases only where we choose to act gratis;" and we hope no person whatever will think of applying to us in any other Way. To prevent Disappointment, however, in case this should be done, we think it proper to give this farther Warning, that no such Application, either verbal or by Way of Letter, will be answered or attended to in the smallest Degree. We should feel much Concern if a Thought could be entertained that the worthy Part of our Clients could disaprove this Measure. Their Conduct has been such as calls for our Acknowledgments, and might merit Exemption from this Strictness, were such Exemptions practicable; but they will readily perceive this would defeat the Purpose, and that no Distinction of Persons can by any means be attempted. We hope, therefore, from their Friendship, a cheerful Concurrence in this our Plan, since the Requisition is such only as their Punctuality would of itself prevent. JOHN RANDOLPH. EDMOND PENDLETON. JAMES MERCER. THOMAS JEFFERSON. PATRICK HENRY, Junior. GUSTAVUS SCOTT.
Virgina Gazette (Purdie & Dixon) September 30, 1773
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The General Court was the supreme court of the colony. The justices heard appeals from the County Courts, civil cases involving more than L10 or 2,000 pounds of tobacco and all criminal cases excepting slaves accused of capital crimes. The General Court met twice a year in Williamsburg beginning April 10 and October10. These prominent attorneys are warning their clients to pay their fees before October 10, when the General Court will open.
Sources: Rankin, The General Court of Colonial Virginia, p1-3