This Day (We Have the Votes Edition)

Published:June 25, 2012 by Brendan Wolfe

On this day in 1726, the elite group of advisers known as the governor’s Council met to consider the health and affairs of its own ranking member, Edmund Jenings. The governor, Hugh Drysdale, was mortally ill at the time, and upon his death, the senior councilor would assume the role of acting governor, so a lot was at stake. And Jenings’s fellows were worried he was too old and, to be honest, too strange-acting to take on that responsibility.

Upon conferring with one another, the councilors declared Jenings to be “by reason of the insanity of his mind and memory a person altogether incapable of administering the Government.” As it happened, next in line for the job was Robert “King” Carter, Jenings’s great rival, who used the opportunity to gobble up most of Jenings’s land, slaves, and his estate, Ripon Hall.

When he was informed by the Council that they had the votes to force his departure, Jenings reportedly “fell to crying.”

IMAGE: The governor’s Council meeting room (Bill Barber, Colonial Williamsburg)