My Lords and Gentlemen,
I send you by her Matys Command the enclosed printed Copy of an address of the House of Lords concerning Complaints of many Inhabitants of the Province of Carolina & Merchants trading thither, against the Proprietors of that Province which you will please to consider of & to report your Opinion what Method is proper to be taken for the Relief of her Matys Subjects in Carolina & the protecting them in their just Rights
Recd 9th April 1706.
Read 10th do 1706.
It is ordered by the Lords Spiritual and Temporal in Parliament assembled, that the Lord Keeper of the Great Seal of England, do give Order, that the address of this House, presented to Her Majesty, relating to the Province of Carolina, and the Petition therein mentioned, with
The humbre address of the Right Honourable the Lords Spiritual and Temporal in Parliament assembled.
We your Majesties most dutiful and Loyal Subjects, the Lords Spiritual and Temporal in Parliament Assembled, beg leave to inform your Majesty, that a Petition from Joseph Boone merchant, in behalf of himself, and many other Inhabitants of the Province of Carolina, and merchants of London trading thither, having been presented to this House, complaining of very great Abuses and Oppressions under which your Majesties Subjects in that Province do at present labour, and which tend to the utter destruction of that Plantation, and particularly of two Acts lately passed in the Assembly there, the Ratifications of which have been signed and sealed in England by the greater part of the Proprietors of the said Colony. We thought ourselves obliged to cause the said Acts to be brought before us; and having at the request of the Lord Granville, Palatine of the Province, and of the Lord Craven, one of the Proprietors, heard Councel and Defence of the said Acts, and examined Witnesses in Relation to that matter, the House proceeded to enter upon a particular consideration of the two Acts: And it appeared to us, that by the first of the Acts complained of, a Commission consisting of Twenty Laymen, was erected with Power in an arbitrary manner, to remove & turn out any Rectors or Ministers of the Church of England from their Benefices for any Immorality or Imprudence or for incurable Prejudices or Dissensions between such Rectors or Ministers and their People, only by delivering a Writing to them, or leaving it at their Houses, or fixing it upon the church doors, whereby it should be declared that they ceas'd to be Rectors or Ministers of such Parishes. The other Act directly asserts that by the Law of England, all Members of Parliament are obliged to receive the Sacrement according to the Rites of the Church of England; and does therefore enact, that no man who shall be chosen a member of the Com̄ons House of Assembly in Carolina, shall be permitted to sit there, who has not received the Sacrement in such manner, within a year before his Election, unless he will swear he is of the Profession of the Church of England, & did not abstain from the Sacrement out of dislike to the Manner and Form of the Administration used in the Church of England, and has not for a year passed been in Communion with any Church, that does not conform to the Church of England,
The House having fully and maturely weigh'd the Nature of these two Acts, found themselves obliged, in Duty to Your Majesty, & in justice to your subjects in Carolina (who by the express words of the Charter of Your Royal Uncle, King Charles the Second, granted to the Proprietors, are declared to be the Liege-People of the Crown of England, and to have Right to all the Liberties, Franchises & Priveleges of English-Men, as if they were born within this Kingdom, & who by the words of the same Charter, are to be subject to no Laws, but such as are Consonant to Reason, and as near as may be, agreeable to the Laws and Customs of England) to come to the following Resolutions.
First. That it is the opinion of this House, that the Act of the Assembly of Carolina, lately pass'd there, and since sign'd and seal'd by John Lord Granville, Palatine, for himself, & for the Lord Carteret, and the Lord Craven, and by Sir John Colleton, four of the Proprietors of that Province, in order to the ratifying of it, entituled, An Act for the Establishment of Religious Worship in this Province, according to the Church of England, and for the erecting of Churches for the Publick Worship of God, and also for the maintenance of ministers and the building convenient houses for them, so far forth as the same relates to the establishing a Commission for the displacing the Rectors or Ministers of the Churches there, is not warranted by the Charter granted to the Proprietors of that Colony, as being not consonant to Reason, repugnant to Reason, repugnant to the Laws of this Realm, and destructive to the Constitution of of the Church of England.
Secondly. That it is the opinion of this House that the Act of the Assembly in Carolina, entituled, An Act for the more effectual preservation of the Government of this Province, by requiring all persons that shall hereafter be chosen Members of the Comons House of Assembly, and sit in the same, to take the Oaths, and subscribe the Declaration appointed by this Act and to conform to the Religious Worship in this Province, according to the Church of England, to receive the Sacrament of the Lords Supper, according to the rites and usage of the said Church lately pass'd there, and sign'd and seal'd by John Lord Granville, Palatine for himself and the Lord Craven, and also for the Lord Carteret,
May it please your Majesty
We your Majesties most dutiful Subjects, having thus humbly presented our Opinion of these acts, we beseech your Majesty to use the most effectual methods, to deliver the said Province from the Arbitrary Oppressions under which it now lies, and to order the authors thereof to be prosecuted according to Law.
At the same time we represent to your Majesty, how much the Powers given by the Crown have been abused by some of your subjects, justice requires us to acquaint your Majesty, that it appeared to the House, that some of the Proprietors absolutely refused to join in the Ratification of these Acts.
We humbly beg permission to inform your Majesty, That other great injustices and oppressions are complained of in the Petition but the nature of the Fact requiring a long Examination, it was not possible for the House to find time for it so near the conclusion of the Session; and therefore we presume with all Duty to lay the Petition itself before your Majesty at the same time we present this our address. We cannot doubt but that your Majesty who from the beginning of your Reign, has shown so great concern and tenderness for all your subjects, will extend your compassion to these distressed People, who have the misfortune to be at so great a distance from your Royal Person, and not so immediately under your gentle administration.
Your Majesty is fully sensible of what great consequences the Plantations are to the Crown of England and to the trade of your Subjects and therefore we rest assured, that, as your Majesty will have them all under your Royall Care, so in particular, you will be graciously pleased to find out and prosecute the most effectual means for the relief of this Province of Carolina.
To the Right Honourable the Lords Spiritual and Temporal in Parliament assembled.
The humble petition of Joseph Boone Merchant on behalf of himself and many other Inhabitants of the Province of Carolina, and also of several Merchants of London, trading to Carolina and the neighbouring Colonies of her Majesty in America.
Sheweth to your Lordships,
That the late King Charles the second by his Charter under the Great Seal of England, bearing date the twenty fourth of March 1663. Did grant to Edward Earl of Clarendon, then Lord High Chancellor of England, George, Duke of Albemarle, William Lord Craven, John Lord Berckley and others their Heirs and assigns to make Laws for the good Government of the said Colony, with the advice, assent and approbation of the Freemen of the said Colony and the greatest part of them, so as the said Laws may be consonant to Reason and as near as conveniently be agreeable to the Laws and Customs of England. But all these priviledges with others in the said Charter, are granted with an express saving of the Faith, allegiance and sovereign dominion due to the King his Heir and Successors, & saving the right, title and interest of English Subjects then planted within those Limits if any be
That for the better peopling the said Colony express provision is made in the said Charter for a Toleration and Indulgence to all Christians in the Free exercise of their Religion.
That in the yeare 1669, the Lords Proprietors of the said Colony, settled the Method of the Government of the said Colony in several articles which were called and so agreed to be, the Fundamental Constitutions of the said Colony, whereby the said Colony was divided into four Estates (viz) The Lords Proprietors or their Deputies, Landgraves Cassiques and Freeholders who are to make up their General Assembly or Parliament, which is the Legislature of the whole Colony, the Lords Proprietors or their Deputies being in the nature of Sovereign, the Landgraves and Cassiques being the Nobility who have an Hereditary Right of Session there, the Freeholders representing the commons who are to be chosen by the Freeholders from among themselves by a Majority of Voices.
That in the said Fundamental Constitutions there is an express Provision, that no person should be disturbed for any speculative opinion in Religion, and that no person should on the account of Religion be excluded from being a Member of the General Assembly or from any other Office of the Civil Administration, the greatest part of which Fundamental Constitutions and this Provision among others were in the yeare 1689. Confirmed by the Proprietors any every person to be afterwards admitted into any Office or Place of Trust, was to swear to the Observation of them.
That the said Charter being made soon after the time of the happy restoration of King Charles the Second and the reestablishment of the Church of England by the Act of Uniformity, many of the Subjects of
That in the year 1703 when a new General Assembly was to be chosen, which by the Constitution is to be chosen once in two years, the Election was managed with very great partiality and Injustice, and all sorts of people, even servants, Negroes, Aliens, Jews and Common sailors were admitted to vote in Elections.
That the Ecclesiastical Government of the said Colony is under the Jurisdiction of the Lord Bishop of London; but the Governor, and his Adherents, have at last, which the said Adherents had often threatened, totally abolished it; for the said Assembly hath lately passed an Act, whereby Twenty Lay Persons, therein named, are made a Corporation for the Exercise of several Exorbitant Powers, to the great injury and oppression of the People in general, and for the exercise of all ecclesiastical Jurisdiction, with absolute Power to deprive any Minister of the Church of England of his Benefice not only for his immorality, but even for his imprudence or incurable Prejudices and Animosities between such Minister and his Parish; and the only Church of England Minister that is established in the said Colony, the Reverend Mr Edward Marston hath already been cited before their Board, which the Inhabitants of that Province take to be a high ecclesiastical Commission Court, destructive to the very Being and Essence of the Church of England, and to be had in the utmost detestation and abhorrence by every man that is not an enemy to our Constitutions in Church and State.
That in the said General Assembly another Act was passed to incapacitate every Person from being a Member of any General Assembly, that should be chosen for the time to come, unless he had taken the Sacrament of the Lords Supper according to the Rites of the Church of England, whereby all Protestant Dissenters are made Uncapable of being of the said Assembly, and yet by the said Act all persons who will take an Oath, that they have not received the Sacrament in any Dissentingth of April, when it then stood prorogued to the 10th of May following, and yet this Act hath been ratified by the Lords Proprietors here in England, who refused to hear what could be offered against it, and contrary to the Petition of above One hundred and seventy of the chief Inhabitants of the said Colony, and of several eminent Merchants trading thither, and though the Commons of the same Assembly quickly after passed another Bill to repeal it, which the Governor rejected.
That the said Grievances daily increasing, your Petitioner Joseph Boone is now sent by many Principal Inhabitants and Traders of the said Colony, to represent the languishing and Dangerous Condition of the said Colony, to the Lords Proprietors thereof, but his humble applications to them have hitherto had no effect.
That the Ruin of the said Colony would be to the great disadvantage of the Trade of this Kingdom, to the apparent prejudice of her Majesty's Customs and the great Benefit of the French, who watch all opportunities to improve their own settlements in those parts of America.
Wherefore your Petitioners most humbly pray your Lordships to take the deplorable State of the said Colony into your consideration, and to provide such reliefe for it, as to your Lordships in your great Wisdom shall seem proper
And your Petitioners shall ever pray &c.