Sir [Secretary of Board of Trade]
Governour Johnston has laboured under great difficulties for want of their Lordships declaring themselves in regard to such prudential matters that are in dispute thō his Instructions will warrant his acting as he has done in those particulars. Yet the people put forced constructions on the meaning of them and having been for a long time indulged in acting contrary to them it is not in the Governours power to keep them to their
1. That such as hold Patents under the Lords Proprietors by which they are obliged to pay some one shilling sterling per hundred acres and others two shillings, tender their Quit Rents only upon the footing of Proclamation Money which is Twenty Five per cent worse than sterling, and alledge that by his Instructions he ought to receive it from them in that manner
2. Another difficulty that the Governour meets with is that they will only pay their Quit Rents in Commodity, and others of them will not bring their Quit Rents to the Precinct house but require the Receiver General to come to their respective dwellings there is not the least colour of reason for this excepting in Albemarle county and even there they are certainly lyable to pay their Quit Rents at the Precinct house, it has also been a practice of long standing in the Colony for people to Box pine trees for Turpentine and burn light wood for Pitch and Tarr without taking out Pattents for the Lands the Governour has been much censured for the preventing this therefore it would be of use to him if their Lordships would write to him that they approve his conduct therein and that they would also declare their Opinion how far the people ought to be lyable to Quit Rents, having made waste of the King's Lands, and that their Lordships would at the same time assure him that they will support him in the Execution of his Duty, and that if any persons in the Colony do obstruct him in the same they may expect very little favour from the Crown in the renewal of their Pattents provided any of them are vacated, that that affair is now before the Attorney General and that he will speedily have directions how to proceed.
If their Lordships would think proper to write a letter to this Province it would be of Infinite use at present as the people are made to believe that all that he does is without any Directions from their Lordships and that they also approve of his conduct.