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Letter from Henry McCulloh to Gabriel Johnston
McCulloh, Henry, ca. 1700-1779
July 12, 1743
Volume 04, Pages 1134-1136

To his Excellency Gabriel Johnston Esqre

In my letter of March 1742 I took the Liberty to represent to your Excellency that the Method and form observed in the issuing of Grants were not conformable to his Majesty's Instructions on that head; And therefore prayed that your Excellency for the future would take effectual care that no Grants should pass where the Warrants were not issued and the Grants made out agreable to his Majesty's Intentions signified by his 15th and 16th Instructions to me Copy of which has been also transmitted to your Excellency.

His Majesty in the said Instruction is also pleased to declare, That by his Instructions to his Governors they were enjoined not to grant any more Lands than in proportion to Fifty acres to every person in the Grantee's Family and that it was his Royal Intention that the Lands should be settled and cultivated by the persons for whom the same were so granted.

Before your Excellency received the above Instructions you were pleased for the most part to issue Warrants for Lands without the Parties having first proved their Rights to take up Land under his Majesty's Instructions And since the time you have been pleased to vary this form And that the Parties swear to what they Term their Rights, they are not obliged to declare whether they have not had Grants made out to them under his Majesty's Instructions to the full amount of what they have a Right to claim by virtue of the Number of persons contained in their family nor are they obliged to give any proof of their having settled

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and cultivated or paid Quit Rents for the Lands formerly granted to them, so that the present method of issuing Warrants and Grants is so far from being a restraint upon such as have not complied with the conditions of their former Grants that it gives them an opportunity to claim double the quantity of lands they are entituled to, and the Grants not being made out agreable to the directions given by his Majesty's Instructions naturally raises an opposition to every measure that can be proposed for the Settlement of the Lands and for regulating and ascertaining the Revenues of the Crown. His Majesty has been pleased by his Commission and the Instructions to which the same relate to grant unto me full power to inspect and enquire into the present Method of passing of Grants through the several Offices in this Province and to settle and regulate the same in such manner as the Royal Intention declared in his Majesty's Instructions to his Governours may be most effectually answered.

Which I humbly conceive cannot be complyed with—as his Majesty's Instructions are not observed in the first Instance and that there is no regular stated place for the Officers of the Crown to reside in in order to attend the respective duties of their Office and also that there is not proper Officers appointed to form a Court of Exchequer nor seldom (not even for years together) any Court of Chancery held to enable the Crown to recover its just Rights or to enforce the Settlements of the Lands agreable to the conditions contained in the Grants.

I am informed it has been represented that from the Restrainments that have been laid upon the Land Office it must necessarily prevent the Settlement of this Province But from what cause I cannot comprehend as the quantity of Land which his Majesty has been graciously pleased to allow every person who wants to become an Inhabitant of this Province is more than what they can be reasonably supposed to cultivate. And I humbly conceive that it cannot be presumed with the least colour of reason that the granting of Lands to such as neither have nor shew the least inclination to settle cultivate or pay Quit Rents for the same can be of any advantage to the Crown or to the publick.

I have always had the greatest inclination to encourage such as were willing to form new Settlements in this Province and would contribute all in my power to assist them therein as I am sensible of the great Expence and Trouble (and also of the Publick advantages) that attends the same. But it cannot be inferred from thence that his Majesty's Land ought to be disposed of to such as do not shew the least disposition to comply with the Conditions of their former Grants or pay the Quit Rents that are justly due therefrom Your Excellency since your

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arrival in this Province has granted Lands to the amount of 1047000 acres which at the Quit Rents reserved to the crown amount to £2094 Proclamation Money independent of the Grants formerly issued under the late Lords Proprietors and thō such as have taken out those Grants can have no reasonable plea against the payment of the Quit Rents nor can the Crown have any want of the aid of a Quit rent Law to enforce the payment of the same; yet it will appear by the Receiver General's Books that such as have Grants immediately derived under the Crown have not hitherto paid to the amount of £500 sterl: per ann: I need not explain to your Excellency the Motives that induces the Inhabitants of Albemarle County not to pay their Quit rents And also the reason of their being so very urgent at present to take out Grants for Lands. There can be no objection to such as are new Settlers having Grants in pursuance to his Majesty's Instructions But such as have not complied with the conditions of their former Grants in my humble opinion are not in the least entituled to any favour of that nature. And at this Juncture I apprehend that the issuing of Grants to the Inhabitants of Albemarle County without strictly observing the Rules prescribed by his Majesty may be greatly prejudicial to my Lord Carteret's Interest. Provided that his Majesty is pleased to grant to his Lordship Albemarle County in consideration out of his Lordships Eighth part of the Province of North and South Carolina.

I intended to have waited on your Excellency but my ill state of health prevents me, therefore I apprehend it to be my duty humbly to offer to your consideration the several matters I have above hinted at.

I am &c:
Wm HOUSTON.

Wilmington 12th July 1743.
(Copy.)
I believe this to be a true Copy.