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Letter from Gabriel Johnston to the Board of Trade of Great Britain
Johnston, Gabriel, ca. 1698-1752
April 30, 1737
Volume 04, Pages 249-251

[B. P. R. O. North Carolina. B. T. Vol. 10. B. 29.]

My Lords [of the Board of Trade]

Your Lordships letter of the eleventh November came lately to my hands There was a full account of what passed between our Commissioners and those of South Carolina relating to the boundary line in the Minutes of Council from the 25th of March to the 25th of June 1735. But as your Lordships ordered a particular account of that matter I confess I was in the wrong in neglecting to send an Extract from the Council Books. I have now ordered the Commissioners to prepare a Draught of what they have done which I shall transmit to your Lordships by the first opportunity. The running of this Line is farr from being compleated. The Commissioners were put to great charges and endured vast Fatigue Our Assembly refuse to pay them any thing and are very positive it ought to be done at the charge of the Crown. The manner of running it is agreed upon by both Colonies, but it cannot be put in execution untill it is determined who are to pay the Commissioners.

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I am sorry the Attorney General has not after so many years made his report concerning our Laws, it is a great misfortune to every Body concerned in the Government here If they are found to be good and valid notwithstanding the want of so essential a condition as the Approbation of the Board of Proprietors and the Publication of that Approbation at the next Biennial Assembly (which is Mr Smiths objection & mine) His Majesty will have very little to do in this Province for they have taken effectual care to make themselves Independent both of the King and the Lords Proprietors: And as to private Property they may rob orphans and cheat strangers and have these Laws still on their side Even now when we have a Court of Exchequer we cannot get Justice done to the Crown, except in such cases where we can proceed by English Bill. Every Juror is a Tenant of the Crown and will never find for his Landlord. They imagine besides all this that they have a Governour and every other Officer who will not betray his Majesty's Interests in their Power It is only as they reckon to send home a number of complaints, and let the charge be never so untrue improbable and contradictory they are sure they cannot in this Country be at a Loss for Affidavits in what number they please.

I ask pardon for never having yet sent an answer to the annual Queries transmitted me from your Board I flattered myself that before this time I should have been able to send your Lordships some specimens of the finest products of the So of France and Italy which with a good deal of charge and expence I have begun to raise in this Country but have been pretty much retarded by the opposition and murmurs which all regular Governments will meet with in this Province unless most vigourously supported from home. I shall however soon send a particlar answer to these Queries and hope to be able at same time to shew your Lordships of what improvements this Country is capable if duely encouraged.

I have heard much from some Gentlemen lately come from England of a design to send an independent company into this Province. It would be a great happiness to this Country if his Majesty would be so good as to do it. I am satisfied until it is done our Assembly will never build one sufficient Goal in the Province nor put the Militia in any tolerable footing; and how Government can be mentioned or the Lives and Properties of the subjects preserved where the Militia cannot be raised nor the Persons of Malefactors and Debtors secured I leave to your Lordships speedy consideration. This is literally the case here and if not soon remedied must have fatal Effects.

I hope your Lordships will not think I presume too far, in case such a company is sent here if I beg I may have a Commission to be Captain of it. I should not venture to solicite for it if I was not certain that

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his Majesty's service cannot be so effectually promoted here by any other Persons having it. I must also beg leave to represent that thō I have been now Governour of this Colony four years I have the name of a Salary of £1000 sterl yearly I have not yet been able to command £200 St thō I have endured a great deal of Fatigue and trouble & lived at a very great Expence. The currency of this Country is at present so bad that it is impossible out of my Salary to procure from England such things as are absolutely necessary for living here with common decency I must therefore beg your Lops to consider my present mean Provision when any proper Occasion such as this shall offer.

I wish your Lops would also be pleased to consider what the Receiver General has represented to your Board as to the Exchange of the Currency into sterling money. All his Majesty's Officers have been great and willing sufferers by it in order to make the payments of the Arrears of Quit rents more easy to the People, but the full exchange ought certainly to be taken for the future and it would look best if that was done by your Lordships express command.

I am, &c.,

Cape Fear, April 30th 1737