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Proceedings on the Case of a Challenge from James Murdock to Lord Stirling


Friday, February 10, 1775, 4 o' clock, P˙ M.

The House met: Present, Peter Kemble, Esquire, the Earl of Stirling, John Stevens, Esquire, the Chief Justice, Richard Stockton, Stephen Skinner, and Daniel Coxe, Esquires.


Mr˙ Coxe in his place acquainted the House that he had received information that James Murdock, of the City of Perth Amboy, Surgeon, had presumed to send a challenge to one of the Members of this House, sitting as the General Assembly of this Colony, and moved the House that the said Member be called upon to produce the Letter containing the said challenge;

Whereupon, by order of the House, the said Letter was produced, and is in the words following, viz:

MY LORD: It is needless to repeat your Lordship' s behaviour last night. Mr˙ Murdock now desires of your Lordship time and place to have the satisfaction of a gentleman. I am your Lordship' s most obedient servant,


Friday Morning.

Superscribed "This to Lord Stirling."

Resolved unanimously, That the said Letter is a most audacious insult to Lord Stirling; and that sending the same to him during the sitting of the General Assembly of this Colony, is a daring contempt of the authority, and a manifest violation of the rights and privileges of this House.

Ordered, therefore, That the Speaker do issue his Warrant, directed to the Sergeant-at-Arms, commanding him to apprehend and bring the said James Murdock forthwith before the House, to answer for the said contempt.

The House being informed that James Murdock was attending at the door in custody of the Sergeant-at-Arms,

Ordered, That he be brought in.

And on his appearance before the House, and the said Letter being shown to him, he acknowledged that he wrote and sent the same as directed, and that he meant it as a challenge; but said he had done it in the heat of passion; that he was sensible he had done exceedingly wrong, and was sorry for his indiscretion; and that he was ready to make such farther acknowledgments as the House should be pleased to direct.

Ordered, That the Sergeant-at-Arms withdraw with the said James Murdock, and that he remain in his custody till farther orders.