Sir, [Secretary of Board of Trade]
Governour Johnston by his letter to me, seems very desirous to have their Lordships Opinion in regard to the methods he has taken in collecting the Quit Rents; the Planters there have hitherto paid their arrears of Quit Rents without any considerable Opposition but it is now to be feared from the many letters they have received from this, insinuating to them that the Governours conduct is not approved, that they will not submit to the payments of their Quit Rents so readily as they have hitherto done, therefore I imagine that it will be entirely necessary that their Lordships should express themselves fully on this head before the next Collection of the Quit Rents in the Spring; as that will be a means of keeping the people quiet and makeing them the more readily comply with their Duty; and as their Lordships have approved the errecting of a Court of Exchequer I humbly conceive their Lordships can be under no difficulty in ordering the Governour to put the Laws of that Court into Execution, against such persons as refuse to pay their Quit Rents.
The practice of the people of the Colony for a long time past of Boxing pine trees for Turpentine and burning of light wood for pitch, without takeing out any regular pattents for the Lands, has been of great
The Priviledge they claim in their Biennial Assemblys of meeting without any Writt or summons from the Governour, appears to me very extraordinary and to be entirely inconsistent with his Majesty's priviledges, therefore I doubt not but their Lordships will immediately take notice of it and instruct the Governour how to proceed.
The favour I am to beg of you is that you wou'd recommend it to their Lordships to take the Governour's letter into consideration as soon as possible as there will be an opportunity of conveying their Lordships answer, by way of Virginia in about ten days and in case their Lordships shou'd disapprove of any part of the Governour's conduct (which I hope they will not) that in such case they will be pleased to write the Governour two letters the one only to contain such things as their Lordships approve of, that he may be at the liberty of shewing it to the people of the Colony, and the other to contain such matters as their Lordships are pleased to direct in a private matter, I am sir