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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
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Petition from George Burrington concerning his salary as Governor of North Carolina
Burrington, George, 1680-1759
1736
Volume 04, Pages 164-166

[B. P. R. O. North Carolina. Am: & W. Ind: No. 593.]

To the King's Most Excellent Majesty the Petition of George Burrington late Governor of North Carolina, most humbly sheweth,

That your Petitioner was appointed Governor of the said Province in the year 1730, and then received your Majesty's warrant to be paid seven hundred pounds per annum, for a salary out of the Quit rents, during the whole time your Majestys petitioner remained Governor no order was given, nor taken to collect those rents, for which reason the Petitioner receiving no part of his salary was necessitated to give premiums and borrow large sums of money upon interest, to defray his expenses; all which sums at this time remain unpaid, to the great impoverishment of the Petitioner, who has now due to him the salary for four years & seven months.

Your Petitioner was commanded by one of the royal Instructions, to cause perfect surveys to be made, and drafts drawn, of the ports, and harbours in North Carolina, and send them to the Board of Trade, which proved very difficult, tedious and expensive, yet was compleatly effected, and perfectly finished by the diligence & at the expence of the Petitioner, who has not hitherto received any reward, nor even reimbursement, of what he expended in performing that difficult and necessary work.

Your petitioner when Governor of North Carolina faithfully & diligently performed his duty, to the utmost of his power and abilitys, always endeavoring to promote the welfare & happiness of the people, but was much obstructed, and in a great measure prevented from compassing his just and honorable designs, by the opposition he received from William Smith Esqre Chief Justice Nathaniel Rice Esqre Secretary, & John Montgomery Attorney General; who not satisfyed with the publick opposition they constantly gave your Petitioner in his proceedings

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did moreover continually use their endeavours to defame him, by inventing and spreading scandalous stories, void of truth, contrived and published to blast his reputation, and destroy his character to compleat that wicked design, the aforesaid William Smith audaciously presented to your sacred Majesty a petition containing several articles of complaint against the Petitioner, in which he was represented as a most unjust Governor a copy of that Petition being brought into Carolina and read in open Council, them complaints were proved to be false, and scandalous by many depositions then sworn to by Gentlemen of undoubted reputation & entered into the Council Books. Your Petitioner both in his publick & private writeings, desired to obtain a hearing in order to justifye his conduct and actions, that justice was not granted him, but he had the deplorable misfortune to be so misrepresented to Your Majesty as to be removed, without ever knowing the causes that brought upon him an undeserved disgrace & dismal ruine.

Sometime before Gabriel Johnston Esqre your Majesty's present Govr of North Carolina arrived in that Province, William Smith now Chief Justice Nathaniel Rice Secretary, John Montgomery Attorney General, with some others their confederates, did contrive and attempt to assassinate your petitioner, then actual Govr there by shooting him with pistoles, from which danger he was rescued by the sudden and unexpected interposition of some courageous men who came to his assistance. Your petitioner believes it was by directions from some persons in England, that Smith, Rice & Montgomery were prompted to murder him, because authentick accounts of that detestable attempt, being transmitted to the Board of Trade, yet their Lordships had no regard to them. Bills of Indictment were found in North Carolina against Smith, Rice, Montgomery & their confederates concerned in the attempt made to slay your Petitioner: conscious of the baseness of the action attempted, they fled by night, and hid themselves in Virginia, there they continued till your Majesty's present Govr landed in North Carolina, who immediately distinguished the assassins by his favours, every one of them being placed in some employment. Prosecution against the Offenders dropt, to the great scandal of Government, regret of all the honest men in that Province, & in high breach & violation of the said Governor's oath of office.

Your Petitioner is able evidently to prove, that by the contrivances of his enemys, Your Majesty's service in North Carolina was neglected; no answers could be obtained in his letters for the better settlement, & establishment of North Carolina, which were omitted, he verily believes purposely to run the Province into confusion, thereby to form a pretext for removing him from his employment.

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Your Petitioner most humbly prays your Majesty to take his extraordinary hard case into your royal consideration Be graciously pleased to order the immediate payment of his salary so long due to him, and that your Majesty in regard to truth justice & your own service, will also be graciously pleased to direct that the actions & behaviour of your Petitioner, dureing the time he was Govr of North Carolina, and the conduct of his adversarys to be examined in the most honorable Privy Council, that he may be enabled to justifye himself, and most humbly hopes being found innocent of any crimes to be restored to the royal Favour, and obtain such relief & reparation as your Majesty in your great wisdom and goodness shall think proper, &c.