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Letter from James Moir to Philip Bearcroft
Moir, James, d. 1767
March 26, 1745
Volume 04, Pages 754-756

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[From North Carolina Letter Book of S. P. G.]

Brunswick March 26. 1745

Revd Sir, [to the Secretary]

During these six Months past, I have officiated only one Sunday out of this Parish. I had also accepted of an Invitation to celebrate the Holy Sacrament of our Lord's Supper in another & gave notice thereof the Sunday before But being Credibly informed on the Monday That the Vestry expressed some Resentment at my leaving them of a Sunday, I instantly dispatched a boy with a Letter of excuse. Acquainting the Gentlemen who had invited me, That I was apprehensive my Compliance with their Request would involve me in a Law Suit with the Vestry which I was firmly resolved to avoid by all means, As long as I resided among them. Not to mention the notorious Contrariety of this conduct to the least Tincture and appearance of Charity, I shall only enquire how far the Liberality of our Vestries can intitle them to lord it over me in this manner & the Venerable Society may form a Judgment from the following Particulars.

I have formerly hinted that my Salary is very ill Paid. They either do not Pay at all or when they do it is in such a way as turns to little or no account. The essential Branch of the Constitution of this Province methinks is to do as little justice as possible to Creditors they do not seem to be any wise solicitous even to save appearance in this respect. This has discouraged the importation of Goods & emboldens such as dare trade with us to insist upon the most extravagant prices. Yet one cannot persuade the Inhabitants of this Province that they are anywise to blame in this case. They are angry indeed that they have not Goods imported on reasonable terms as the two neighbouring Colonies. However to do them justice they do not boggle at the Price for if the Merchant gets the better of them here they know how to be up with him in the Payment.

For two years and upwards I have been endeavouring to recover by course of Law my first years Salary which was £161. Currency that is £16. 2. sterling, But have not been able to obtain Judgment & when I do they can Pay me with less than the third part of the real value by over rating Commodities which the Law obliges us to take in Payment. This years Salary they have paid in Rice (delivered to the Inspecter as I hear) at six shillings three pence Sterling Pr Hundred and it sells in Charles Town for very little above two Shs Stg. Besides the misfortune here is Tho' I were willing to sell it at One Sh Sterg Pr Hundred there is

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no Merchant to buy it No Vessel to carry it off and should it be all summer in this hot Climate as possibly it must, I do not know if it will be worth anything in the Fall. They cannot pay my Salary for the preceeding Year in Rice, at this high rate because they did not bring it to the Inspector before the First of February 174¾ and they would not do it then because it was worth the money the Law rated it at, Nor would they Pay it that Year in Bills of Paper Currency, because they did not begin to sink in value then, for the Law that emitted them enacts that they shall pass Current in all Payments till the End of April 1745. The Assembly met last November & no Provision was made to indemnify such as shall have the Paper Currency in their Hands after the limited time. A great majority was of the opinion that the loss should be intirely to the Present Possessors, and that no Reparation of Damages should be made by the Public that reaped the advantage of the Emission, and hence it is that some months ago our Paper Currency is of little Service but to such as are in Debt, and thus such as are Creditors may expect to be paid off before next May with a little waste Paper, Notwithstanding His Excellency the Governor has done all he could to prevent it, I believe I should not be much mistaken if I said He had ordered the Assembly to meet again about the beginning of April, that He might give them another opportunity of doing Justice to every Man in the affair of the present currency. Some Members of the House are in hopes He may succeed, others tell me this must inevitably prove as fruitless as any of His former attempts. As concerning their words I pronounce nothing. But all I can gather from their actions is that whatever their attainments may be in other respects they are pretty well versed in the American Lotteries of cancelling any kind of obligations by the easy Method of over rating a Commodity or by causing Paper Bills of credit to be issued out where there is no Fund to support them.

My Letters of April & October have informed the Venerable Society How I agreed with this Vestry to continue their Minister another Year upon their promising to find me a House, They imagine their promise is made good by giving me leave to Lodge in the Garret of a little House, Below it serves for a Chapel of a Sunday & a School thro' the week days. My Slave cooks for himself in the open Air, & I am obliged to shift from place to place for a dinner or a Supper Frequenting their Taverns or Public Houses of Entertainment much against my inclination indeed, for I think them the very worst upon the face of the Earth in more respects than one & what is still more provoking they wonder that being thus situated I do not fancy myself in Paradise sometimes.

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I have many other particulars of this nature to add, But your patience must be tired out already & I must own it is with reluctance that I so much as think of them, Pray be so good as to bear with me a little longer Now that I am taking the liberty to tell you My Resolutions, I never received a Letter from you but that dated March 23, 1741 & it is evident from my Letters to you that I have but a poor opinion of the generosity or Fidelity of our Vestry, what then, perhaps you may say, Why I am resolved to wait for advice from the Venerable Society & propose in the mean time to Perform the Duties of my Function to those of our Communion within the several Parishes & Districts of my Mission & since Mr Garcia's Death have also some thoughts of visiting the Parishes on the other side Neuse before the fall & so much the rather because in so doing I should yield to the Importunities of many & become more capable of giving a just account of this Colony where the Inhabitants of the Southern & Northern Parts are as much divided in Their views & interests as if they composed two different opposite States, After all I do not know if my Health will permit me to take so long a Journey. The Physician tell me it would mightily repair my Constitution to spend one Summer in a colder Climate. This Prescription might have been acceptable enough had the Revd Mr Garcia been still alive. But if I shall find myself under a necessity of complying with it sooner or later Hope the venerable Society will indulge me so far as to suffer me to come to London in the Summer of the year 1746. If these resolutions have the good fortune to meet with the approbation of the Venerable Society, I have my end. If not I have erred thro' necessity and shall always be proud to receive orders & Instructions from them. Since Michaelmas I have baptized 54 white children and one black. I have admitted to the Holy Communion 23 Persons & desire my half years Salary may be paid to Mr Wm Dunbar Merchant in London. I am with the greatest Submission, Revd Sir, Yours, &c.,

JAMES MOIR.