|No. 4 An Ordinance, by Major General Andrew Jackson,
Governor of the Provinces of the Floridas,
exercising the powers of the Captain-General
and of the Indendant of the Island of Cuba,
over the said Provinces,
and of the Governors of said
Ordinances of Andrew Jackson
Whereas, from the extent of the ceded territories it becomes necessary to make such divisions as will promote the
convenience of the inhabitants, and the speedy execution of the laws: Therefore, and in virture of the authority vested in
me by the government of the United States,
I do ordain,
That the said Provinces be divided as follows:---
All the country lying between the river Perdido, and Suwaney river, with all the islands therein, shall form one County, to
be called Escambia.
All the country lying east of the river Suwaney, and every part of the ceded territories, not designated as belonging to
the former County, shall form a County to be called St. John's.
In each of said counties, and for the government thereof, there shall be established a Court, to be designated a County
Court, and to be composed of five Justices of the peace, any three of whom shall form a quorum, and the eldest by
appointment to the President of said Court, whose jurisdiction shall extend to all civil cases originating in the said county,
where the matter in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars; and to all criminal cases; saving to the parties the right of
appeal to the Governor, in all casesabove the sum of five hundred dollars; and that there shall be no execution for a
capital offence until the warrant of the Governor be first had and obtained.
That the judicial proceedings in all civil cases shall be conducted, except as to the examination of witnesses, according
to the course of the existing laws, or the laws of Spain; and in criminal cases, according to the course of common law;
that is, no person shall be held to answer for a capital or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or
indictment of a grand jury; and in all criminal cases the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an
impartial jury of the county where-in the crime shall have been committed, and to be informed of the nature and cause of
the accusation, to be confronted with the witnesses against him, and to have compulsory process for obtaining
witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defence.
There shall be a clerk appointed for each of said County Courts, who shall receive for his services such compensation
as the Court for which he is appointed, may from time to time, and in each suit, tax or allows; and there shall also be a
Sheriff appointed to each Court to execute the process thereof, whose services shall be compensated by the Court to
which he is appointed in like manner as is provided for the clerk; and the said clerk and sheriff shall give bond to the
presiding Justice, for the faithful discharge of their duties.
Each County Court shall hold quarterly Sessions, and continue the same, until all the business pending therein shall be
disposed of the first session to be held at Pensacola, on the first Monday of August next, for the County of Escambia;
and at St. Augustine, on the second Monday of September next for the county of St. John's, with power to adjourn the
same from time to time.
There shall not be less than ten Justices of the Peace, commissioned for each County, whose jurisdiction shall extend to
all civil cases, not exceeding fifty dollars; saving to the parties, or suitors, an appealto the county Court, in all cases
wherein the matter in dispute shall exceed the sum of twenty dollars; and shall also be authroized, in all criminal cases,
to exact surety for good behaviour, and to take recognizances in cases bailable, for the appearance of the accused
before the County Court.
That the examination of all witnesses within the jurisdiction of the Courts, except when their personal attendance cannot
be procured, shall be conducted viva voce, and in open Court: ---that the parties may conduct their suits in person, or by
such counsel as they may choose, provided that the said counsel, or counsellors, shall have been duly licensed to
practice in the Courts of the said ceded territories by the Governor.
The Alcades shall continue to exercise the powers of Judges of Probate, Registers of Wills, Notaries Public, of Justices
of the Peace, and such other powers appertaining to their said offices, as have not been otherwise distributed; saving
the right of appeal to the County Court in all cases.
That the judges of the said County Courts shall have power to impose such taxes upon the inhabitants of their counties
respectively, as in their discretion, may be necessary to meet and defray the expenses which may be incurred in
carrying this ordinance into effect.
That the said county Court shall have and exercise the powers of directing by special venire, or otherwise, the
summoning of all jurors grand as well as petit.
That the said Courts shall have the power of creating and regulating their process and proceedings, from time to time,
as they may deem necessary, and shall, as soon as convenient, after their organization, prepare and report a fee-bill to
the Governor for his approbation.
That the said Courts shall have and exercise the powers, beyond the limits of Pensacola and St. Augustine, of granting
and recalling licenses or commissions for Inn-keepers, retailers of Liquors of every description, and keepers of Billiard
Tables, and to require of them such surety as they may deem proper, and impose such price for such License, as in
their opinion may be reasonable.
That it shall be the duty of said Courts, in regulating their process and proceedings to confine the parties strictly to the
merits of their cause, and to cause all useless matter as well as unnecessary form, to be expunged from the pleadings,
at the expence of the party introducing the same, so that justice may be administered in the most simple, cheap and
In all criminal cases, the process and indicment shall be in the name of the United States, and there shall be appointed a
prosecuting Attorney for each of the said Counties, who shall receive in each case a reasonable compensation, to be
taxed by the Court.
That the Police of the roads and bridges, without the limits of Pensacola and St. Augustine, shall be under the
immediate direction of the said County Courts. The Police of the City to be exclusively confided to the Mayor and
Pensacola, July 21, 1821
Governor of the Floridas, &c. &c. &c.
By the Governor,
R. K. Call, Acting Secretary of West-Florida.
W. G. D. Worthington,
Secretary, &c. for East-Florida.
St. Augustine, Aug. 20, 1821.