Accordingly there mett Col. Edwd Moseley, Col. Henry Bonner Mr Chas Westbeere, Mr Arthur Williams, Mr George Winn, Mr Gabrill Burnham, Mr Jeremiah Simons, Mr Chas Sawyer Mr Caleb Sawyer, Mr Samuell Swann, Mr Charles Denman, Mr Richard Skinner, Members of Assembly who took the Oaths and subscribed the Declaration by Law appointed for their qualification. Which oaths &c were administered by Mr Ayliffe Williams appointed so to do by a Dedimus from his Excellency the Governor.
Ajourned to 9. of the clock to morrow morning.
Met according to Adjournment.
Present as before.
There appeared Doctor Patrick Maull Member for Beaufort and Captain William Downing Member for Chowan, who took the oaths and
Present Dr Patrick Maull & Capt. Wm Downing.
Adjourned to 9. of the Clock to morrow morning.
Met according to Adjournment.
Present as before.
There appeared Mr John Harrold Member for Bertie, Mr Zebulan Clayton and Capt. Richd Sanderson Members for Perquimons, who took the oaths and subscribed the Declaration by Law appointed for their qualification
Present Mr John Harrold, Capt. Richard Sanderson and Mr Zebulan Clayton.
Adjourned to 9. of the Clock to morrow morning.
Mett according to Adjournment.
Present as before.
Mr Thomas Lowther Member for Curratuck appeared who took the Oaths and subscribed the Declaration by Law appointed for his qualification. Present Mr Thomas Lowther.
The Clerk received the following letter from his Excellency the Governour which he read in these words vizt:
November 8th 1733.
I have given myself the trouble to write a Paper for the use of the present Burgesses, which I will send to be read in their House, or cause to be read to them in the Council Chamber forthwith, as they like best.
Notifie the above & send me an im̄ediate Answer.I am your humble servantGEO. BURRINGTON
To Mr Williams
Clk. of the Assembly.
To which the Burgesses made Answer they were ready to wait on his Excellency. And immediately went to the Council Chamber Where the Governour made the following Speech (vizt)
I am sorry you are deprived of the oportunity of serveing your King and Country at this time for want of a sufficient Number of the Council to make an Upper House.
Some weeks after the dissolution of the late Assembly, I was shewn by the Clerk of the said Assembly, a Report from a Committee signed by six Members, and approved by that House, tho' I am informed but few Members were then present, and so great noise in the House while the Paper was reading, that it was impossible for the Members, not in the Secret to understand or comprehend the same; this Report containing several matters layd down or suggested which I look upon as very injurious to me and my character, as well as extreamly false, and scandalous in themselves, I think myself obliged in vindication of my reputation to make some answer to them.
The first Article concerning what money the King's Quit Rents ought to be paid in, will certainly be fixed by the Lords of Trade and Plantations and His Majesty's most honoble Privy Council in England. Because there is not any appearance that an Assembly here will act conformable to His Majesty's Instructions on that Head.
The Committee were much mistaken in giving it as their opinion that the Bulk of the Trade of this Province is carryed on by Vessels under Fivety Tons Burthen; the contrary plainly appears by the respective accounts of the several Collectors, and naval Officers; Whatever the Committee might read in old printed Laws of Virginia; the smallest Vessell that enters and clears in that Government pays 20s sterling Governour's dues, a Pistole to the Collector besides Permits, which generally come to 7s 6d and the Naval officers Fees are the same, or very near, Ships above a hundred Tons, Pay a Moydore to the Collector, about the same to the Naval Officer, and 30s sterling to the Governour. And all disinterested Persons do allow that the Port charges are much higher in Virginia, then in this Province, difference of money considered; Further Mr Gale Collector at Roanoake assured me, he has offered forty masters of Vessells belonging to the New England Governments to pay all their Port charges in his District, for a Bill payable there, of so much mony as Vessels belonging to this Government pay in that Country, and that no one of those Masters would ever imbrace his proposal. That the Committee will not admit a well known truth that 20s worth of Goods bought in England, being sufficient, to pay all the Fees due to the Collectors, and Naval Officers in this Province, for entring and clearing a ship, I cannot help but I am able to produce several accounts and receipts of things I have purchased, for which I have pay'd in the Province Bills more than 20s for what cost but one in England. The Committee say the Complaint of the House is, that four times more is taken then by Law appointed this I deny, for the Officers take the Bills as all other Menr Mosely would not suffer, if it were unlawfull, or oppressive to the Country; What is wrote in the last part of this Paragraph of a Declaration made by an Officer of my introduceing the practice &c of taking four for one, the Officer (vizt Mr Edmund Gale) denys, and the said Declaration fathered upon him, was the Ofspring of a Member of that House noted for leaseing. The time mentioned a day or two after my Arrival, being then and long after extreamly busied, was too short a time for me to be apprized of the nature and Value of the Bills then newly emitted. For my own part I received no Fees in many weeks after my comeing into the Country.
I acknowlege that the rated Commodities before the year 1715, were then equal to Proclamation money, tho' somewhat sunk in Value since, but the adding rice to the former rated Commoditys at 11s per hundred, as intended by the Assembly in 1731, before any Act passed to make the same merchantable, and the Officers to pay 10. per Cent for collecting, what they could not in all likelyhood sell, would be their ruin, for in the draft of the Act, nothing is said in what condition the rice is to be delivered for Fees, and People for anything I can see therein might have paid it in the Hulls (if the Bill had passed) in which condition it had not been of more Value then Oats, Therefore I still say that Assemblys intended settlement of Fees would not have amounted to above one third of Proclamation Money.
I have many strong reasons still to believe that taxing Mr Little the Chief Justice and his Assistants with Perversion of Justice was a Calumny invented by wicked men, on the contrary have heard Mr Little much applauded by great numbers, for his impartial behaviour in the Office he executes, and much praised, and admired for his excellent knowledge in the Law; And as to his Assistants it is agreed by all unprejudiced men, they are the best that ever sate in this Province with any Chief Justice, and I affirm I have not heard of any Complaint made against Mr Little or the Assistants, but by the late Assembly, and Mr Ashe, I can say more, not the least reflection on any of their Proceedings. Weak and fallacious are the reasons the Committee give why they did not think proper to proceed to charge Mr Little before me in Council, because the Allegations they had to produce against him must have been entered on the Council Journals, and if myself and the Council had not acted becoming our duty it would have been matter of just complaint,s Little or any one of his Assistants, it must be judged a very extraordinary matter for a Member of the Upper House to slight those with whome he sate, and lay his Complaints before the Lower House.
I do not think it necessary to make the Burgesses of this Country the Judges of my differences with Mr Smith, they will be heard in another place, certainly it must be thought impertinent in the Assembly to mention the said Smith in the Answer to my speech in the manner they did, The Articles against me he signed and delivered to the King doubtless will be inquired into, and Smith's villanys in due time set forth and detected, in the mean while I declare to all men on my own knowledge, that Smith is a stupid inconsiderate blockhead, a perfidious creature, a Promise breaker, a horrible lyar, a most ungrateful wretch that has not one good quality in him, and what the Committee say in respect to his taking Fees the contrary has been proved in the Depositions taken in support of my Answer to the Articles of Complaint he delivered against me, and are entered in the Council Journals May 17th 1732. The value Smith's pretended friends in this Country have for him is sufficiently manifested in the respect they shew him at this time, when for want of better accommodation he is forced to live in an Ale House, and eat and drink upon Tick like a poor sailor out of imployment. When the men who have so grosly imposed upon this fellow have no further occasion for him, they will laugh at and slight him, and then he may find time to ruminate on, and repent his past wicked conduct and vile Deportment.
The next Article is very unaccountable and such stuff as I never read before, but when examined and answered will be found to reflect on the Composers themselves, and not on me; Who is it that finds the Country labours under oppression and Perversion of Justice, No Man in the Country has made known any such thing to me, till the sitting of the last Assembly; It is not said in this part of the Report, such and such things were done by a Governour of a Province, nor the Province nor Governour named, but craftily ushered in with When the Governour of a Province would be Arbiter of his own differences &c. The Goods next mentioned by what follows are a Mare of mine and a Colt foaled on my Grounds, that a man who worked upon my Plantation att Cape Fear, sold to Capt. Hugh Blaning for fivety Pounds in Bills (£5. sterling) but the said Captain being assured by several People that ther Harnetts; In August 1732. I was att Cape Fear and being informed by Captain Blaning and others of the sale aforesaid after some discourse, he (Blaning) was fully satisfied, and convinced the said Mare and Colt were my Property, and delivered them to my People, altho' Mr Ashe did much persuade him to the contrary, As appears by an attested writing of the said Blaning's. At the time when this happened, I was within a few miles of the Place, where Mr Ashe lived, but Mr Ashe did not lett me know then, that he had any claim to this same Mare and Colt neither did he make the least mention of his pretentions before the October Court following, then he was pleas'd to tell me in the Council Chamber (most of the Members then present) that my Servants had mark'd two Mares belonging to him, which surprized me because our Lands were far distant, after some questions he told me he claimed the Mares my workman had sold Blaning, he had bought them he said of the said Workman, to which I answered if he pretended a right to those Mares, I would try the cause with him next Court, and give security so to do, and employ'd a Lawyer (vizt Mr Osheale). The next day Mr Ashe had the impudence to produce to the Court an information against me as a Criminal, for taking up and misbranding the Mare & Colt, which I was informed the Court said they had no Power to take Cognizance off, as brought in that manner, but my Lawyer at the same time acquainted the Court, and Mr Ashe then present, that he was impowered by me, and would try the cause in any manner Mr Ashe pleased, as to the right of the Mares, but Mr Ashe declared he did not intend to proceed in that manner, but to sue for a Tort, as he expressed himself, and gave it under his hand But Mr Ashe's information that he delivered to the Court, being very vile and scandalous, my Lawyer brought it to me, and I complained to one of the Assistants of the abuse, who thereon issued a warrant to take up Mr Ashe, who refuseing to give Bail, was committed, but about an hour after his committmt he was brought before the Chief Justice by an Habeas Corpus, and admitted to Bail, and the sum mentioned in the Recognizance very small, considering the greatness of his Offence, these goods as they are called, were never in Mr Ashe his possession, therefore the writers of the Report are guilty of a falsehood, in setting down that they were.
And now for the House that was burnt
When I was formerly in this Country, I purchased ten thousand acres of Land on the N. E. branch of Cape Fear River, in two parcels of five thousand acres each, and paid near 20. years quit rents for the same, andr Edward Moseley, Sir Richard Everard then Governour of this Province did sign one Patent for five thousand acres dated the 30th July 1725, but could not be prevailed upon to sign the other, before he certainly knew I was appointed Governour of this Country by the King, so that the second Patent bears date the 6th of April 1730; Mr John Porter Junr was the Deputy Surveyor who survey'd the said Lands for me, there was with him when he made the survey Mr William Flavel another Deputy Surveyor, and one Mr John Worth, who survey'd the said Lands as directed, but some years after this, Contrivances were set on foot, to take away from me the best part of the first five thousand acres, & accordingly Mr John Porter Junr did obtain a Patent in the name of Roger More Esqre for himself from Sir Richard Everard for one thousand acres of the said land, being all within my Bounds, and the marks fixed by him and Mr Flavell the other Surveyor, Mr Samuell Swann, one other Patent within my Bounds also of six hundred, of which Mr Moseley has a part; These two men Mr Moseley's nephews, & Mr Roger Moore himself a Patent for 640. Arcres within my Bounds, but this last Gentleman was so fully convinced of my right to that land that he delivered up his Patent to me, But to return to the House that was burnt on my Land; Being at Cape Fear in 1731. it was the common discourse among the People that lived in those parts how basely these men endeavoured to defraud me of my Land, and that Mr John Porter and Mr Samuell Swann, were endeavouring to sell those lands belonging to me, they had repatented, but no man would buy them (because it was very well known no one had any real title to them but myself) tho' those Lands are very good, and commodiously situated, during the time I remained at Cape Fear word was sent me that Mr John Porter would raise a logg house as an affront to me upon my Land; upon which I gave him notice that if he did, I should cause it to be fired, sometime after, I was at that place, and finding a logg House of five unbarked green pine loggs in height, without either Chimney, plaistring or other labour used in building Houses, I ordered my Negros to fire the covering of this House or Hog sty, the loggs being quite green, would not burn, it is a very common Practice for the People in this Province to burn their Houses, as being a cheaper way then pulling them down, But what struck most upon me in the Affair of this Logg House, was the fate of a former Governour who was also one of the Lords Proprietors at the same time, I mean Seth Southwell Esqre who being surprized on his own Plantation and clap't into a Logg House, by the late Mr Pollock r Moseley contrived the method to defraud me of the Lands above mentioned, and that his Nephew John Porter has often times declared he gave his Uncle Moseley a very good Negro for his management in that affair, what Mr Moseley had of his other Nephew Mr Samuell Swann I have not yet heard, but so far have I been from any unwillingness to try this affair in a legal way, that I began the suit myself, to this I add that I have often declared, in the most publick manner that I scorned to take any advantage by being a Governour in matter of right or property, that if any man had a personal difference with me, when ever I was desired would cross the line of this Government with him, and give any satisfaction could be demanded of a Gentleman. I observe upon what has been abovesaid that Mr Ashe and Mr Moseley his uncle are men of surpriseing conduct and ingenuity, that out of their own detestable frauds and crimes, can find matter to accuse & caluminate me.
I now proceed to the remainder of the Paragraph Article by Article.
No Persons have been called from Cape Fear to this place upon trifles as suggested, some have been summoned upon weighty matters by order of Council, and but very few, (an Assembly has nothing to do in such matters) there hath been but one trifling Fee to the Marshall added to the former since I came into the Country, and I believe that not paid As many People in this Province had been imposed upon by Surveyors some years since, who had on their own Authority without warrants survey'd much Land; about a year after I came Mr Rice the Secretary laid Warrants on some of those Lands, upon which the matter was argued in the Council, and it was the opinion of the Council, the former Possessors were intruders, so Mr Rice had the Land; As I know not of any People turned out of their legal Possessions, nor no man has complained but in respect to Mr Rice, nor the Committee given one instance of such proceedings as they suggest, I look upon that Article as put in to swell the Paragraph; When was that time, when none were admitted to take up Lands unless they would pay 2s 6d silver for every fifty Acres, I affirm and can prove by hundreds of men, and my own Secretary, that I have received for that Fee all sorts of Provisions dead or alive, and many sorts of goods, or anything that was offered (Bills excepted;) some Cash I have received but in the space of near threes 6d has been certainly paid them for every fivety Acres of Land taken up (not purchased.) When I was Governour for the Proprietors, the then Secretary received it of me, no man complaining; Sir Richard Everard had the same, and all Governours before us, as far as I can be informed; The Assembly that sate in 1731. thought 2s 6d too small for that Fee, therefore in the draft of a Bill for payment of Quitt Rents and Officer's Fees they augmented it to three shillings, yet the other Fees were all left as they stood before. Lands are taken up in this Government at one third of what the Charges arise to in the neighbouring Countrys, and the Fees accrueing to the Governors here, are the most inconsiderable of any Government belonging to the King; and altho' the Committee are pleased to say the Fee taken for Lands is not warranted by any Law; yet I am sure it is as lawfull for a Governour to receive it as any other Fee whatsoever. I know not what the Committee mean about free People being taken up by the Magistrates &c. if it doth not refer to the Negro children bound apprentices by the Justices in Bertie Precinct, the first knowledge I had of that matter I received from the late Assembly, and having inquired thereinto am informed that several free Negroe and Molatto Children were bound Apprentices, pursuant to an Act of the 5th of Queen Elizabeth, which said Act is continued in full force here, by an Act entituled an Act to preserve the Queen's Peace within this Government; I have no Power to set aside the Proceedings of the Precinct Courts, if any one is injured there, they may apply themselves to the General Court for redress.
When I came into this Province I found the Laws disregarded the Courts of Justice stop'd, and indeed Injustice Oppression arbitrary and admiralty Power, had realy overran the whole Province, but since my Arrival the General Court has been duly held; now and then there has been a failure in some of the Precinct Courts, by Mr Rice the Secretary's not appointing Clerks of those Courts in time, or nominating such scandalous fellows, as the Justices would not admit to act, but this no ways effects me. Mr Rice is my declared enemy, and open Maligner, therefore I take not upon myself to answer for his misdoings and neglect, I seriously declare that to the best of my knowledge and memory, neither myself or any man in the present administration of this Government has acted in an arbitrary or illegal manner, for which reason the Committee or any others are desired (if they can) to produce any particulars of such
In regard to the Grand Deed, be it known, that I acquainted the Lords of Trade and Plantations, when they had under consideration what Quitt rents should be paid for Lands thenceforth taken up in this Country, that the Lords Propretrs soon after their own Charter granted by King Charles the 2d had under their hands and common seal, given and confirmed to the Inhabitants of Albemarle (The whole Province of North Carolina being so called at that time) a Deed by which they obligated themselves, their heirs &c to grant Lands in this Country upon the same conditions and terms as then used in Virginia, whereupon their Lordships were pleased to order the Books relateing to Carolina which had been given up by the late Proprietors for His Majesty's service to be delivered to me to examine, that the said Deed or copy (if discovered) might be examined; I desired Colonel Halton to assist me in peruseing the said books, but after three days labour, our search proved in vain for we could not find any Copy of that Deed, or anything relateing to it in a letter to their Lordships of the 1st of July 1731, I wrote among other matters, concerning the Grand Deed (which I forbear to recite because any one that desires a transcript may have it applying to my Secretary) To that part of my letter the late Assembly saw the Answer I received from their Lordship's Secretary. I frankly declare it has always been my own opinion the Grand Deed was good, and ought to remain in force, but I may be mistaken, and the King's Attorney & Solicitor General, or Mr Fane Council to the Board of Trade, a most learned lawyer, may be able to prove it a temporary letter of Attorney or void in itself, since the King's purchase, which will put a final end to the said Grand Deed.
As the Committee are pleased to express themselves surprized at what I wrote in a message to the late Assembly that six times more Cash is carried out of this Country into Virginia to purchase Negros and British Commoditys then is sufficient to pay the King's Quitt rents, after duly considering this Article I don't perceive the least occasion to receed from what I then wrote; but will give some reasons to support my assertion, which I hope will convince the Committee and all others concerned in writing the Report of the truth of what I then lay'd down. Many men of good understanding & knowledge have assured me, that in a year when Mast abounds fivety thousand fatt hoggs are supposed to be driven into Virginia from this Province, and allmost the whole number of fatted Oxen in Albemarle County with many Horses, Cows & Calves, muchr Rowan one of the Council told me that he had sold Irish goods for mony at Bath Town, and received, and caryed to Ireland above one hundred Pounds silver mony in a voyage; Cash is brought into Cape Fear River from the West Indies, and other Places, more then is sufficient to pay the Quitt rents due from that side of the Province. What is meant by heavy burthens on the Traders wants explaination, for I know not what these burthens are. If a Port was opened and a Fort built on Ocacock Island, and a small Garrison kept there, large Vessells might there load and unload in security and small Vessells carry the merchandize about the Country, and then this Province would have equal advantages by their Ports (being never frozen) with any Province in His Majesty's Dominions in North Carolina.
As all the Committee of the late house of Burgesses that sign'd the Report I have now answered, are again chosen, I advise them to consider if they were not grosly imposed upon in being made Tools to sign a Paper the writeing of other Men, so vile in itself and void of truth.
I repeat my concern that you are prevented from rectifying the misdoings of the two former Assemblys, and wish you all a safe return to your several PlantationsGEO. BURRINGTON.
The 8th of Novr 1733.
The Burgesses return'd to their House and ordered the same to be entered, and then departed.