Documenting the American South Logo
Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Advanced Search Options
Letter from Gabriel Johnston to the Board of Trade of Great Britain
Johnston, Gabriel, ca. 1698-1752
July 10, 1735
Volume 04, Pages 14-15

[B. P. R. O. B. T. North Carolina. Vol. 9. A. 60 and 64.]

My Lords, [of the Board of Trade]

I have the Honour to send along with this a Copy of the Heads of the Quit Rent law and a Copy of the Bill as it was when rejected by the Council Your Lordships will no Doubt observe the Reasons which Induced the Council to lay it aside viz the paying the King his Rents in Commodities at so High a rate and at so many different Landings that the Expense in collecting them would have been Intollerable and in the End His Majesty would not had six pence neat per 100 acres

I have likewise sent a copy of the State of the Blank Patents the originals of which I transmitted by the way of South Carolina about six weeks ago The Gentlemen concerned were very fond of representing their Case to your Lordships at first But for what reasons I cannot tell they seem to be so cool about it now that I am not able to Guess whether they will make any defence or not, But I Hope this will not occasion any Delay in the order I shall expect from your Lordships on this subject I have ordered four or five of the Blank Patents to be proceeded against in His Majestys Court of Exchequer Lately Erected Here. And shall be sure to send your Lordships a Copy of the proceedings as soon as matters are brought to any issue. Several of our people have begun very modestly to Question whether His Majesty Has a power to Erect a Court of Exchequer here without an act of their Assembly Their Arguments are Borrowed from a Book published by Mr Morris Late Chief Justice of New York As my Instructions are very plane and

-------------------- page 15 --------------------
positive on this Head I shall not trouble myself with any of their Quibbles It would not however be amiss to send the opinions of some Eminent Lawyer on this Subject It has been a great Loss to me that I have never yet had the opinion of the Attorney and Sollicitor General concerning the validity of our Laws thō it was Laid before them eight months before I left London

In my Last I observed to your Lordships that it was a Great detriment to the Revenue that we Had no receiver General who resided within the province when I ordered the arrears of Quit rents to be collected I found they began to raise a clamour that as Mr Hammerton resided in South Carolina all the Ready money and bills of this County would be carried thither in order to take away all pretence for this complaint by the Advice of His Majestys Council I appointed a receiver who lives in the province until the Kings pleasure should be known some months after this upon Mr Hammertons coming into this province I took care to acquaint him with the Reasons of my proceeding which however were so far from satisfying Him that he immediately joined himself to those very people who fomented the abovementioned clamour, and who have left nothing undone to prejudice His Majesties Revenue At last he had the impudence to fix up an Advertisement dischargeing his Majesties subjects from paying their rents as required by me in a proclamation published Last April he took care Indeed to fly the province as soon as he had done this otherwise I should soon have made him sensible of his presumption, But as this madness of His may have a very bad effect at so critical a time as this as the people here want only a Handle for not paying their rents and as it is the Highest fault to his Majesties Government Here If it is not taken notice of in the manner it Deserves, I shall really think myself very hardly dealt by. If any servant of the Crown is conived at when Guilty of so gross an effront and of Obstructing the service of his Majesty. In so unsettled a Colony as this is, It will be Impossible ever to bring matters to a Happy settlement

I thank God I have no Quarrel with any Body in this Country upon my own account If I have any Enemies they are Enemies to the just Rights and Revenues of the Crown and while they remain such their friendship shall never be courted by

My Lords yours &c

Cape Fear
July 10. 1735.