To Capt. Burrington Governor of North Carolina
My Lords Commissrs for Trade & Plantations command me to acknowledge the receipt of your letters of the 1st July and 4th Sept. last with the several public papers you therein mention to be inclosed.
My Lords observe the complaints you have made against Mssrs. Ashe, Porter & Smith for obstructing His Maj. service and that you apprehend they may make some complaints against you.
No such complaints have as yet been lodged in their Lordships Office but by Mr Porter which their Lordships having had under consideration command me to transmit to you the inclosed copies thereof And at the same time I am likewise directed to send Mr Porter a copy of what you have writ to my Lords Commissrs by way of complaint against him and that my Lords may be enabled to make a judgment of the true state of this affair they further command me to acquaint you that their Lordships expect you to return to them such depositions and proofs in your own behalf as you shall think convenient giving Mr Porter at the same time full liberty or any other persons concerned to make Affidavits before any Judge or other Magistrate concerning the subject matter of said complaints & that such Judge or Magistrate be likewise injoined to summon such persons as the Complainants respectively shall name in order to give their testimony in this affair That you interchange with Mr Porter true copies of the proofs and affidavits so soon as they shall be made which he is likewise directed to observe on his part And that twenty days be allowed to make your and his reply by Affidavits or otherwise to be in like manner interchangeably communicated & afterwards transmitted hither without loss of time.
In this manner My Lords will have the whole matter properly laid before them and as you renounce any favor from their Lordships and demand at the same time their justice I am to acquaint you that you and every one else may be assured they will ever meet that from their Lordships in every affair that may come under their consideration.
Until this affair shall in the manner proposed come before their Lordships my Lords do not take upon them to judge between Mr Porter and yourself yet they cant help observing that Mr Porter stands acquitted by het old Councillors and only condemned by those whom you have nominated for new ones.
Upon this occasion I am to remind you of that part of your Commission whereby you are empowered to appoint Councillors whenever the Council shall be reduced under the number of seven to which number and no further you have liberty to appoint As there is some doubt whether there were not seven Councillors in the Province under your government at the time you took upon yourself to nominate My Lords expect you will send an exact account thereof by which it will appear how far you have observed your instructions.
I am further to acquaint you upon this subject that you have not the liberty of altering the rank in which His Maj. has been pleased to place the several Councillors in the first Article of your Instructions as you
My Lords have read & considered the several transactions between yourself the Council and Assembly and command me to acquaint you that they think it might have been advisable not to have recommended so many things as you did to their consideration at once especially as you represent the Assembly not so ready to dispatch the matters laid before them as you could have wished.
My Lords observe that you proposed in one of your speeches that the Assembly might as they saw occasion send a Deputation from their Body to advise with you altho' you may have proposed this in order to facilitate the business of the Province yet as it is a very unusual practise you will do well for the future to avoid any such thing as well as the joining in any conference which the Council and Assembly may have together as you have the honor to represent His Maj. person and as such are one of the three parts of the Legislature of the Province You have a negative on all their public proceedings and therefore cannot in the least intermeddle in debating or voting in either Council or Assembly or in any Conference between them.
Upon this occasion my Lords cant avoid observing the great irregularities you have committed in your commerce with the Lower House but particularly where you compare one of their members to a thief who to prevent his being discovered sets the house on fire and escapes in the smoke As every Member of the Assembly has an undoubted right to propose whatever he judges for the service of the Province this proceeding of yours looks too much like intimidating the Members of the Assembly and therefore my Lords are of opinion that a more cool behaviour in you may not only be a good example to both Houses but may prevent any complaint against yourself upon this head.
My Lords having referred several questions upon the Acts of this Province to His Maj. Council for their opinion in point of law an answer to that part of your letters must yet be deferred for some time But I am now to acquaint you with respect to that part of your letter where you ask the opinion of the Board whether the Receivers of His Maj. Quit rents may not accept of an equivalent for Proclamation money that you are steadily to adhere to your instructions upon all occasions and therefore whenever any Act shall be passed It must be enacted that His Maj. Quit Rents be punctually paid in Proclamation money And if it shall appear that there is not money sufficient to answer the said payments
I am likewise to inform you that the Grand Deed of 1668 from the Lds. Proprietrs which you mention as pleaded by the people against paying any higher Quit Rent than is paid in Virginia can only be understood as temporary letter of Attorney from the Lords Proprs revocable at their pleasure as in effect it was many years ago when they directed their Governor Mr Eden to grant no Land without reserving one penny per Acre However as the paying 4 shillgs Proclamation Money per hundred Acres as well as paying all Officers fees in the said Currency & registring all Grants of Land are by your Instructions made the terms upon which His Maj. has been graciously pleased to declare he will remit the payment of the Arrears of quit rents His Maj. Officers may soon have directions to collect the said arrears unless the people do speedily think fit to comply with His Maj. terms which are calculated for their advantage and for quieting them in their possessions.
My Lords observe some disputes you have had with the Assembly about the appointing a Clerk to that House and find by the Minutes of Assembly that they have taken no notice of the Commission you gave to Mr Williams and have appointed him their Clerk by their own authority But I must remind you of your 14th Instruction by which you are not to allow the Assembly any greater privilege than is enjoyed by the House of Commons in this Kingdom where that Officer is appointed by His Majesty. You therefore must take care not to give up this point wherein His Maj. prerogative is concerned.
As to that part of your letter which relates to the dispute between the Chief Justice and the Assistant Judges My Lords desire you will send copies of the Commissns you have given to the Chief Justice and the Assistant Judges that they may judge of the several powers thereby granted to them.
My Lords likewise desire to know how the matter stands with respect to the power claimed by the Assembly of chusing the public Treasurer of the Province & what has been the constant practise and by what authority Mr Moseley was originally appointed for altho' he is styled Public Treasurer by several of the Laws yet it dont appear to their Lordships how or when he was made so.
In answer to what you say with respect to the allowance not being sufficient for holding Courts of Oyer and Terminer I am commanded to acquaint you that whenever your instructions mention money Proclamation money is always thereby intended unless any other currency is particularly mentioned.
My Lords Commissrs having thoroughly considered the settlement of the Boundaries between your Province and South Carolina before your Instruction relating thereto was concluded are of opinion that you should put that instruction in execution and the rather because they cant think of advising any alteration therein upon hearing one party only.
When the Attorney and Solicitor Genl shall have made their Report concerning the Laws of your Province my Lords will then be able to give an opinion upon the Act for Biennial Assemblies but so long as a doubt remains concerning the force of that Law you ought not to make any alteration in the Assembly And whenever any alteration shall be thought necessary it will be more proper to be done by an Instruction than by an Act of Assembly.
In answer to that part of your letter wherein you desire the opinion of the Board whether the Proprietors of such plantations as are gained to your Province of Virginia are not to renew their Patents in North Carolina I am commanded to acquaint you that they are not obliged to renew their Patents but only register them.
You acquaint my Lords in your last letter that Warrants have been given to several people in the time of the Lords Proprietors to take up land and settle to the Southward but no Patents have been issued in pursuance thereof upon which you desire the directions of the Board Upon this occasion my Lords desire you will send them a distinct account of that affair a list of the several Warrants with the dates of them to whom given upon what consideration what quantities of land are thereby intended to be granted what Quit Rents are thereby reserved whether any of those Lands have been taken up and whether the particular quantities of land and the situation thereof are specified in the said Warrants.