Documenting the American South Logo
Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Advanced Search Options
Letter from the Lords Proprietors of Carolina to Seth Sothell
Carolina. Lords Proprietors.
May 12, 1691
Volume 01, Pages 367-371

[B. P. R. O. Colonial Entry Book. No. 22. P. 177.]

London May ye 12th 1691


Your Letters directed to each of vs and all of ye same tenour of the 21 of Octber Wee have recd and are well pleasd to finde you write that you will submitt to our Instructions for the govermt and that you never denyed so to doe

Wee hope you are to knowing and to wise a man to claime any power In Carolina but by virtue of them for no proptor single by virtue of our patents hath any right to the Govermt or to exercise any Jurisdiction there vnless Impowered by the rest nor hath any seaven of ye Proptors power to bind any one in his priviledge or property vnless by agreemt among ourselves wch agreemt is contained in Our fundamentall Constitutions

-------------------- page 368 --------------------
bearing date the 12th of January 1681 those being the onely constitutions agreed or signed to by all the eight proprietors and If any proprietor shall come into Carolina and take upon him govermt grant comissions and traine and exercise men any otherwise then pursuant to the rules and Instructions for Govermt apointed by the rest of ye proprietors it is by the Laws of England high treason as wee are well Informed and If any Governor of Carolina shall without Consent of Our Deputys Impowered by vs or rules from vs take vpon him to Impower Judges and other Magistrates It is a very high misdemeanour in the person granting and also in the prson who accepts and executes such Office and all any such Officer shall doe is voyd erroneous and at his perill and any man In Carolina that shall take vpon him to act as Deputy that is not duely Impowered by vs or by rules from us is answerable for all he shall doe by vertue of any such pretended power of Deputy We are Informed that Mr Joseph Blake haveing a deputation vnder ye hand and seale of Mr. Archdale you have notwithstanding putt him out from being Deputy and put in Mr Berrisford in his roome of yor owne choice and that Mr. Berrisford acts as Deputy Wee hope this Information is not true for we can never aprove yor so doeing and shall be obliged to vindicate our owne rights therein for wee will never allow that any Governor vpon any prtence whatsoever shall turne out a Deputy that is so apointed to bee vnder hand and seale of any Proptor that tending towards a rebellion to ye crowne arbitrary power in himself and the outeing of the rest of the Proptors of their rights

Wee knowe not what to say to ye protestation of our Deputys vntill wee are truly Informed of ye matter of fact, they sayeing you positively refused to governe by our Instructions or rules of Goverment and you affirm the contrary for If you did refuse to governe by our Instructions wee think they did like wise and honest men to act with you and wee have a very good Character of the honesty prudence and truth of severall of them, but we shall suspend our judgemt of that matter untill yor arrivall in England and that wee have proof of the allegations on both sides We do not aprove of any reflections upon you for Actions in Albemarle and shall be very ready to shew our resentmt thereof as soon as you have cleard yorself from the misdemeanors and opressions layd to yor charge by the Inhabitants of that County wch misdemeanors are vizt

1 That you seizd upon two persons that came into Albemarle from Barbadoes pretending they were Pyratts although they produced cockets and clearmts of their goods from the Governors of Barbadoes and Bermudas

-------------------- page 369 --------------------

2 That you kept these prsons in hard durance without bringing or pretending to bring them to tryall In weh hard durance Richard Humphrey one of them dyed of grief and ill vsage.

3 That the sd Richard Humphreys made a Will before his death and left one Thomas Pollock his Executor whom you would never admit to prove the sd Will, though often required by the sd Pollock to permit him to prove it before you nor would not so much as suffer the Court to attest that ye said Pollock had offred the Will to prove but took all ye goods into yr owne hands and converted them to yr owne vse

4 That the sd Pollock haveing sett vp his name to come for England to complaine of yr Injustice you Imprisoned him without shewing any reason or permitting him to see a copy of his mittimus

5 That you have for bribes withdrawne accusations that were for felony and treason

6 That you did unlawfully Imprison one Robt Cannon

7 That you did arbitrarily and vnlawfully detaine from John Stewart one negro and seven pewter dishes

8 That you did Imprison George Durant upon prtence of his haveing said some reflecting words of yorself and did compell him to give you a bond for a sum̄e of money while he was in durance and did afterwards on prtence of ye bond seize upon all the estate of the said George Durant without any process or collor of law and converted the same to yor owne vse.

9 That you did vnjustly take from one John Tomlin his plantation.

10 That you did vnlawfully detaine the Cattle of George Mathews and refused to deliver them although there was an order of court for it

11 That you took the plantation of John Harris vpon prtence of a sale of the same to you by the said Harris although you knew the sd Harris was vnder age

12 That you vnlawfully seizd vpon ye estate of one Mowberry

13 That you did by yr power as Governor and proprietor seize upon severall mens estates without process of law and did severall other vnjust and arbitrary actions for weh misdemeanors and other opressions, the Inhabitants of Albemarle Imprisoned you with intent to send you prisoner to England and there to accuse you but you Intreated them not to send you to England but that you would submitt all to be determined by the next Generall Assembly who accordingly gave Judgement agt you In all the forementioned particulars and compelled you to adjure the Country for 12 months and the Govermt for ever which proceeding of yorself and the people is in our opinion prejudicial to the prerogative of the Crown

-------------------- page 370 --------------------
and the honor and dignity of vs the proptors Wherefore as in duty bound and for our owne vindication Wee are resolved to have this matter thoroughly inquired into that wee may take such course for the prventing such disorders for the future as shall apeare most fitting for the asserting of their Matys prerogative, the peace of the province the just libertys of ye people and vindication of ourselves But are vnwilling to proceed therein untill we have first spoken with you Wherefore desire and require that you come speedily for England that wee may have a full and clear Information of all matters and bee thereby Inabled to know how to proceed and If you shall refuse or delay to come Wee cannot avoid thinking you guilty of all the misdemeanors layd to yor charge and shall be constrained for our own vindications and to shew our abhorrence of the Injustice and opression practiced by any of our number to lay the whole matter before the King and pray his mandamus for yor apearance here to answere what shall be objected agt you weh we hope you will not compell vs to wee being vnwilling to make you a publick shame or to bring you vnder a prosecution wee ourselves cannot stop when once begun.

Our Deputys had orders from vs not to call any Parliamt in Carolina without directions from us vnless some very extraordinary occasion should require it Wherefore wee cannot blame them for following our Instructions nor can wee aprove of yor Incourageing the people to petition for a parliament or calling one because they did petition, tumultuous petitions being prohibited by Act of Parliamt here with a severe penalty upon such as shall break that law and we know not how farr such ill example In Carolina may Influence his Majties subjects In his other American plantations, but since you write that the Inhabitants have Intentions to depute 2 persons for our better Information of all matters wee have directed our Deputys to consent to the calling of a Parliat for that purpose, for any Parlamt called by you with consent of such deputys as are not duely Impowered by vs wee cannot allow to be a Parliamt nor can wee tell how to justify our own consenting to any acts made by such Assembly.

Wee here Inclosed send you copie of some Articles vnder the hands and seales of the proptors in 1672 to weh my Lord Clarondon sett his hand and seale and to which any that claime vnder him are bound Wee have no thought nor Intentions to doe you wrong or Injury, but on the other side wee shall not permitt ourselves to be Imposed on nor his Majtys Subjects that live under our Governmt to be opressd or unjustly dealt with by any prsons whatsoever and shall much rather surrender our Governmt to the King than suffer it If it bee not to be remedyed other

-------------------- page 371 --------------------
ways for wee have no other Interest to keep the Governt in our owne hands, but that wee may be able to assure the people they shall not be oprest by ye Governt and thereby Incourage them to goe to Carolina to take our Land and pay vs the rent, for it is not our Intentions to make profit by the Governt ourselves or to suffer any Officers vnder vs to opress ye people by extragant fees and grow rich by the rune of ye people Wee rest yor affectionate friends

To Seth Sothell Esqre
CRAVEN Palatine