Letter from Benjamin Hill to Henry McCulloh
Volume 04, Pages 1097-1100
Dear Sir, [to Mr. McCulloh]
I have herewith transmitted all the proofs that could be got to support your Complaint against His Excellency our Governor. Upon shewing
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your power of Attorney to Mr. Barker and Ormond could not prevail on either of them to act by it; their reasons were that though they acted before on the Complaint of the Northern People yet they received such ill treatment from His Excellency that if they now appeared again for you, and more particularly on your own Complaint they expected no less than to be silenced. The Governor and his friends have given out in speeches that everything he and the Assembly have transacted since 1746. is approved of by the Board of Trade and withall add that yours is only a trifling complaint in order to shew, you have done something in your Office in hopes thereby to obtain your Sallary, the which last his Excellency said to me when I waited on him to shew the Memorial & Order of Council. At which time I desired from him an Order to the Secretary, to make out such Copys of the records, as we required; he said there needed no such Order, for that the Secretary would make out what Copys we required, paying his Fees, to which I replyed, I doubted it; for that by the former Order of Council we applied to him for attested Copys of the Currency & Agent Acts, which he refused; His Excellency replied he had given the Secretary that Order by reason that he had not transmitted to the Board of Trade, the Copys of these particular Acts; and that we should not be before hand with him. I also applied to him for an Order to any Magistrate to take Depositions, which he positively refused, saying he would appoint none but the Chief Justice, who lived at Cape Fear, nor would any Magistrate act without an Order from his Excellency, which is the true Cause that we are so short of our proofs relating to the management of illegal administrations, however you had one of Dr. Bluchhalls sent in our Proofs, and one now of Thomas Ryan, of the many that have been transacted.
You mention in yours dated the 3rd November last that we omitted to send the proper evidence in relation to the rent roll and Currency Acts, tho' the cause of which omission, we then fully acquainted you with, and how we were refused the Copys of them, which makes us think that you overlooked Mr. Barker and Ormond's Deposition which we thought was as full proof as could be made on the Secretary's refusal and that he was so ordered by the Governor.
Sir, on the eleventh of June last I exchanged proofs with his Excellency and have had no opportunity of transmitting them sooner. I have languished for several months under a complication of Disorders before and since I received your Complaint against our Governor. Nor could I prevail on any person to serve him as you directed, nor to exchange the proofs, so that I was obliged to wait on his Excellency tho' scarce
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able to stir abroad. The rough usage our Agents received on their performing their duty on the last Complaint intimidated every friend from acting in this Affair; only Thomas Parker was prevailed on to draw your Interrogatories, at Newbern & Edgcomb, so that if any of your proofs are wanting or short of your expectation, it is to be attributed to the dread of power, & terrible apprehensions under which we all groan and languish, for in short it is all friends opinion, that if our already transmitted Complaints, and such full proofs as are already sent you to corroborate and support them, are rejected at home, it is vain to hope, or attempt any further redress of our Grievances. For if such violences are tolerated and such unheard of Tyrannies be countenanced the Northern people in general may, and do really with dread expect, there are innumerable more to be inflicted on them (for this only indubitable cause) their applying where they properly expected redress. Nor have they forgot when they complained of the first arbitrary acts committed under and by this Governor, in a mild manner to the then Chief Justice, that if such arbitrary acts were carried on they would cause the people to rise in defence of their liberties. He replyed, that was what they (meaning the Government) wanted; for then the Government would have all their Estates. I need not animadvert, you know our unhappy circumstances, and can form as clear a judgement thereof as any person living. Nor do we doubt your utmost endeavours to procure our redress. But our Fear encreases from our Governor's late proceedings; for when he prorogued his petit Assembly to September next we were bigg with hopes that we should have had redress before it met, but not long since the Governor issued his Proclamation for them to meet at Newbern the third instant, and has declared to his Favourites that he has had an Account as well as directions from Home, that they had nothing to do but to make such alterations in their new Quit rent Law, as it is supposed Earl Granville desires; and when he has transmitted the said Law so rectified and altered, Home, both it, and all they have done since the year 1746 are to receive the royal Approbation.
Upon perusal of the Depositions you will find in the Governor's proofs the artful interrogatories exhibited to Mathew Rowan Esqre and his as artful Answer, In ours, Houstons on the same subject, as clear and fair an answer, as their's dark, subtle & intricate.
Also John Rice's artful Deposition, vizt That all petitions from 1741 was by him drawn in the forms thereto annexed, but neither does he swear (nor was) there any right proved or required, from 1743 to this time, but inserted by him in the Petitions for Form, and to tally with the order of Council.
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We also herewith send you three original Grants procured from the Owners, part of the many issued in this part of the Province, and pray you will remit them after the use intended; it is [to] support John Wynns, Benjamin Wynns and Nath. Coopers Depositions. And we are in hopes they will (if any proofs will) clear up to the Council Board and Earl Granville, the corrupt practices of the Governor in managing the land office. Besides all persons that have obtained Grants from Earl Granville's Agents are under the greatest concern, that they are neither secure nor safe under them, dreading that a blank Grant may come (which may antedate their Grants) many years hence, which now lies dormant. The fear of which prevents numbers from endeavouring to take out warrants, or settle in this part of the Province.
By Marmaduke Kimboro's Deposition you will see the the fraud done to him & Earl Granville by the Governor's and the Earl's Agents.
Mr. John Campbell, Mr. Alexander McCulloh and Cooper's Depositions clear up Mr. Griffith's evasive Deposition, which the original Patents corroborates. We neither have nor can procure a Copy of this Assemblies proceedings as yet, though we are informed that they have completed everything according to the Governor's desire, which will no doubt be transmitted to their Agent with speed. So that we have no hope left but the success of your management under God, to prevent Our & Posterities being subjected to the arbitrary will of this and all succeeding Governors. I sincerely condole you on the loss of your promising son James; it has been likewise my misfortune to lose my son Ben. We must submit to the will of God. My best wishes attend Mrs. McCulloh Henry and Miss Penelope and are sincerely offered for your health and happiness And am Sir, &c.,
Bertie County. No Carolina July 23rd 1750.
P. S. On perusing the dates of the Grants and of the Surveyors returns of the Plotts to them annexed you will discover how long prior the dates of the Grants are to the Warrants and the returns of the Surveys were made.
Letter from Mr. Benjamin Hill to Mr. McCulloh dated Bertie County July 23. 1750. informing him he could not obtain the Governor's Summons for evidence in his behalf.