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Memorandum from the Board of Trade of Great Britain to George II, King of Great Britain concerning government in North Carolina
Great Britain. Board of Trade
March 14, 1754
Volume 05, Pages 81-108

[B. P. R. O. North Carolina. B. T. Vol. 21.]

Representation of the Lords of Trade to the King. 14 March 1754

May it Please Your Majesty,

Since We received Your Maj. commands to prepare a Draught of Instructions for Arthur Dobbs Esquire whom Your Majesty has been pleased to appoint your Governor of the Province of North Carolina the President of Your Maj. Council of the said Province has transmitted to us a Collection or Body of all the public Acts or Laws of Your Maj. said Province now in force & usuge there which have lately been revised by Commissioners appointed by an Act of the Assembly of that Province for that purpose & confirmed in full Assembly.

Upon an attentive review of these Laws a great variety of considerations have arisen upon points relative to the general state of Your Maj.

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said Province upon which it will be necessary for us to receive your Maj. orders & determination before we can prepare a Draught of Instructions proper to be laid before Your Majesty We therefore think it our duty to submit to Your Majesty our observations & opinion upon such of these Laws as appear to us to be illegal improper or unnecessary or which any way affect your Majesty's Royal Prerogative in the interest and welfare of Your Maj. subjects inhabitants of that Province.

An Act for the better ascertaining the number of Members to be chosen for the several Counties within this Province to sit & vote in General Assembly and for establishing a more equal Representation of all His Maj. subjects in the House of Burgesses. Passed the 28th November 1746.

The preamble of this Law sets forth that the inhabitants of several of the Northern Counties had assumed to themselves the privilege of choosing five persons to represent them in General Assembly without any pretence for such claim while those of the Southern & Western Counties who are more numerous and contribute much more to the General Tax are represented only by two Members which inequality had been attended with great inconvenience & therefore enacts that every County erected already or to be erected shall for the future choose two Representatives to sit in General Assembly and that fourteen Members shall constitute a quorum of the Assembly.

This Act having been transmitted to us by Mr. Johnston late Governor of this Province a petition was soon after presented to your Majesty on behalf of the inhabitants of the Northern Precincts or Counties of Chowan Perquimans Pasquotank Currotuck Bertie & Tyrrell complaining of the said Governor for having passed the said Act in an illegal & improper way and praying to be reinstated in their just rights and privileges.

This Petition having been referred by Your Majesty to the Lords of the Committee of the Privy Council was by their Lordships referred to us to consider thereof and to report our opinion upon it.

Upon a hearing before us of the Petitioners in consequence of the said Reference it appearing that they were not able to prove the allegations of their petition for want of evidence We made our report to the Lords of the Committee of Your Maj Council and submitted whether it would not be proper that orders should be given to admit the Petitioners to examine witnesses in the Province in support of the Petition as also to allow the like liberty to the Governor to examine witnesses on his part and to direct him to return his Answer to the Complaint contained in the said Petition and to transmit copies of the Minutes of the General

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Assembly and of such other papers as might be necessary for Your Maj. full information in this affair.

In consequence of this Report the Lords of the Committee of Your Majesty's Council were pleased to direct that a copy of the said Petition of Complaint should be transmitted to Gabriel Johnston Esq. Governor of the said Province requiring him to return his Answer thereunto in writing with all convenient speed and that the Complainants or their Agents should be at liberty to take copies of all Records in any of the Public Offices in the said Province touching the matters complained of as the said Complainants or their Agents should think necessary to support the said Petition of Complaint and that the same should be delivered to the Complainants or their Agents signed and authenticated in the usual manner under the seal of the Province upon paying the usual fees for the same and that free liberty should also be given to all such persons as the said Complainants or their Agents should name as also to all such persons as the said Governor should name to make affidavits before the Chief Justice and Judge of the Court of Admiralty of the said Province or either of them of what they knew touching the premises particularly as to the practise of the said Province with regard to a majority of the Assembly being present before any Business could be proceeded upon and likewise with regard to the number of Representatives sent by each of the Northern Counties to the General Assembly from the year 1696 to the year 1746 And that such Chief Justice and Judge of the Admiralty Court or either of them should summon before him or them such persons as the Complainants or their Agents should name as likewise such as the said Governor should name and take their affidavits and examine them upon such Interrogatories as should be exhibited for that purpose which the said Governor was to signify to the said Chief Justice and Judge of the Admiralty Court as soon as might be and that the Complainants or their Agents should deliver unto the said Governor copies of such Affidavits or Depositions as should be made or taken in this matter on their part as also that the said Governor should deliver unto the said Complainants or their Agents copies of his Answer & of such Affidavits and Depositions as should have been likewise made on his part within the space of three months after the receipt of the said Order as also that within thirty days after receiving each others Proofs the said Governor should in like manner exchange with the said Complainants or their Agents the Replies that should be made by Affidavits or Depositions before they were transmitted And that the whole matter should be returned under the seal of the said Province within the space of six months from the time that the said Order should be served upon the said

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Governor of the Province of North Carolina and that the said Govr should transmit the Minutes of the General Assembly of the said Province in November 1746 with the names of such Members as were present at their first Meeting, the names of such as were sworn in afterwards and the whole number present during the continuance of that Session and also attested copies of some of the Writs issued for calling Assemblies antecedent to the year 1736 if the same form had been constantly observed And if there had been any variation in the form of those Writs then to send copies of such as had so varied & also copies of the returns upon such Writs together with a copy of the Order of the Palatine's Court in the year 1696 directing five Members to be chosen for the Northern Counties and that the same should be properly authenticated under the seal of the said Province and transmitted at the same time with the aforementd Proofs and Depositions whereof the said Governor of North Carolina the Chief Justice & Judge of the Admiralty Court and all others whom it might concern were to take notice and govern themselves accordingly.

In consequence of this Order the papers & other evidence thereby acquired were transmitted and laid before their Lordships who referred them to us with directions to proceed in the examination of this affair and make our further Report Whereupon We humbly beg leave to represent to Your Majesty That the points upon which the legality or illegality the propriety or impropriety of this Act depend are

1. The right which the inhabitants of the six Northern Counties claim of sending five representatives each to the General Assembly.

2. The necessity of a majority to constitute a quorum of the Assembly and

3. The manner in which the Act in question was passed.

With respect to the two first of these points it will be necessary to revert to that period when first an Assembly was constituted in this Colony and to state such Regulations as have from time to time been made with respect thereto and by what authority the several places which now send Members to the Assembly have been empowered so to do

In 1663 soon after the Grant made by King Charles the Second of Carolina to the Lords Proprietors they by a Commission under their hands and seals erected all that part of the Grant which lay to the North East of Chowan River into a distinct & separate County by the name of Albemarle County.

In 1667 the Proprietors appointed Samuel Stephens Esq. to be their Governor of Albemarle County with a power of nominating twelve persons to be of his Council and to call an Assembly of twelve persons to

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be chosen from amongst the Freeholders until the Country should be divided into Parishes Districts or Divisions and then each Division District or Parish was to send two Representatives who with a Governor & Council were to form a General Assembly

In 1669 the Proprietors of Carolina framed a Model of Governmt for the better ordering and ruling their Province commonly known by the name of the Fundamental Constitutions of Carolina.

By these Constitutions it was directed that a Parliament should be held once in every two years to consist of the Proprietors or their Deputies the Landgraves & Cassiques and one freeholder out of every Precinct.

The Proprietors again in 1679 framed a new set of Fundamental Constitutions with some little variation as to the succession of Officers and they were sent to the Governors of the several districts in Carolina which were then three viz: Albemarle Craven and Clarendon.

These Constitutions however were never received or acknowledged by the people and in 1693 were laid aside by the Proprietors themselves.

With these Fundamental Constitutions the Governor of Albemarle had instructions to issue Writs to the four Precincts of that County requiring them to elect each five freeholders to be their Representatives in Assembly who were to govern themselves according to the rules laid down in the Fundamental Constitutions

In 1691 Colonel Ludwell was appointed Governor of all Carolina with instructions from the Proprietors to call a General Assembly to consist of twenty Members viz: five for Albemarle County five for Berkeley County five for Colleton County and five for Craven County and when any new County was erected and should make it appear that there were forty freeholders inhabitants of it to have a privilege of sending four Members to the Assembly and then the whole to be reduced to four for each County.

The said Governor was further directed by additional instructions to appoint a Deputy Governor of North Carolina if he thought proper and if he should find it impracticable for Albemarle County to send Delegates to the General Assembly to direct Berkeley & Colleton to send seven each & Craven six

The same powers & directions given to Colonel Ludwell were given by the Proprietors to Mr. Smith & Mr. Archdale his successors in the Government of Carolina in 1693 and 1694 the latter of whom at a Palatine's Court holden in 1696 ordered Writs to be issued out to the several Precincts of the County of Albemarle for electing five Burgesses for each Precinct and the Precinct of Pamplico without the limits of Albemarle to the

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Southward in the County of Archdale was erected into a County by the name of Bath and empowered to send two Members to the Assembly.

In 1705 Bath County was by an Order of a Council of the Proprietors Deputies divided into three Precincts by the names of Pamplico Wickham and Archdale each of which was by the said Order empowered to send two Members to the Assembly.

Some time after this the particular time not appearing the three aforementd Counties were by the succeeding Govrs appointed by the Proprietors erected into four Counties by the names of Beaufort Hyde, Craven & Carteret each of which sent two Members to the Assembly and in 1715 two Towns were erected in the Southern District by the names of Bath Town and Edenton the first of which was empowered by an Act of the Legislature to send one Member to the Assembly.

In the same year an Act was passed in North Carolina entitled an Act relating to the Biennial & other Assemblies which directed that each Precinct in Albemarle County—viz: Chowan, Perquimans Pasquotank & Currotuck should send five Members to the Assembly and each Precinct in every other County or Counties then erected or thereafter to be erected to send two but this Act was repealed by Your Majesty in Council dated 21 July 1737.

In 1722 a new Precinct was by Act of Assembly erected out of the County of Albemarle called Bertie Precinct and empowered to send five Members to the Assembly as was Tyrrell Precinct in the year 1729.

In 1729 the Crown purchased the Sovereignty of both Carolinas from the Proprietors and also ⅞ths of the Property of the Lands which purchase was confirmed by Act of Parliament and in consequence thereof Your Majesty appointad a Governor of North Carolina with a power of calling Assemblies according to the Laws and usage of the said Province.

It appears from the Journals of the first Assembly called after the Crown's purchase that the Assembly consisted of forty one Members, Viz:

For Chowan Precinct
5
Perquimans
5
Pasquotank
5
Currotuck
5
Berty
5
Tyrrell
5
Beaufort
2
Hyde
2
Craven
2
Carteret
2
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Edenton
1
Bath Town
1
Newburn
1
41

During the administration of Govr Burrington the first Governor the following Precincts were erected in the County of Bath by the Governor's order, Viz:—New Hanover, Edgecombe, Bladen, and Onslow, the two last of which were confirmed by Act of Assembly in 1734.

In 1733 Gabriel Johnston Esqre was appointed Governor of the Province and the first Assembly which met after his arrival was composed of 49 Members Viz:

For Chowan
5
Perquimans
5
Currotuck
5
Pasquotank
5
Bertie
5
Tyrrell
5
Beaufort
2
Hyde
2
Craven
2
Carteret
2
Edgecombe
2
New Hanover
2
Bladen
2
Onslow
2
Edenton
1
Bath Town
1
Newburn
1
49

In 1736 the Writs issued by the Governor for calling Assemblies which before that time directed the four Northern Counties to send each five Members were altered and they were directed to send not any particular number, but Representatives only in general words.

During the administration of Governor Johnston part of Bertie County was by Act of General Assembly erected into a separate County by the name of Northampton County & empowered to send two Representatives to the Assembly and the same Act directs that Bertie County for the future should send but three and at the same time Edgecombe County which had been erected by Gov. Burrington and had sent two

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Members to the Assembly was confirmed in that privilege by Act of Assembly.

In 1739 the Town of Wilmington was erected by Act and empowered to send one Representative to the Assembly and in 1746 a little before the passing of the Act in question two other Counties were erected by Act of Assembly in the Southern District called Granville and Johnston and empowered to send each two Representatives.

From the foregoing statet therefore it appears that at the time of passing this Act the Province was divided into seventeen Counties and four Towns that four of these Counties in the County of Albemarle viz: Chowan, Perquimans, Pasquotank & Currotuck had from the first establisht of an Assembly chosen each five Representatives that the other two in the same County viz: Bertie & Tyrrell had been empowered by the Acts by which they were erected to send the like number and did actually send the like number until Bertie County was limited to three by the Act which separated Northampton from it and that the other eleven Counties in the Southern District commonly called Bath County had never sent more than two each.

Since the passing of this Act two other Counties have been erected by Act of Assembly in the Southern District by the name of Dupplin & Anson.

As to the second point Viz: the necessity of a majority of the whole Assembly to constitute a quorum of the Assembly We most humbly beg leave to represent to Your Majesty,

That by the Charter granted to the first Proprietors of Carolina 1662 they had a power of making Laws with the advice assent and approbation of the freemen of the said Province or of the greater part of them or of their Delegates or Deputies and in a Declaration soon after published by the Proprietors setting forth the encouragement to be allowed to persons who should settle in the Province they declare that they will empower the major part of the Freeholders or their Deputies or Assembly men to be by them chosen out of themselves to make their own Laws.

In 1663 when the County of Albemarle was first erected as has been already mentioned the Govr of Virginia was empowered by the Proprietors to appoint a Governor & six Council who were to have a power by & with the consent & advice of the Freeholders or Freemen or the major part of them their Deputies or Delegates to make Laws.

By the Instructions given to Govr Stephens in 1667 to call an Assembly it was declared that they should have a power of ascertaining their own quorum provided it was not less than ⅓ of the whole number.

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By the Fundamental Constitutions it is declared that the quorum of the Parliament shall be one half of the Members.

By the Instructions given to Col. Ludwell & his Successors in the Government Messrs. Smith & Archdale concerning Assemblies they are empowered with the advice & consent of the Deputies of the Proprietors the Landgraves and Cassiques and the Deputies of the Freemen or the major part of them to make & ordain Laws Statutes and Ordinances.

It does not appear from any Books or Papers in this Office what was the regulation or usage with respect to the Quorum of the Assembly from the year 1694 to the year 1715 when the Biennial Law was passed by which it was enacted that a Quorum of the House of Burgesses should not be less than one half.

It is to be presumed that this Rule was observed while this Act remained in force and it does appear that at the first Assembly called by Mr. Burrington a majority of the Members was present the first day of the Sessions and that on the first of January 1734 the first day of the meeting of the first Assembly called by Mr. Johnston the succeeding Governor he adjourned them on account of there not being a majority present.

As to the 3rd Point viz: the manner of passing the Law We must beg leave humbly to represent to Your Majesty That it appears by the Journals of the Assembly that the Assembly by which the Law was passed met first at Newbern on 12 June 1748 and were prorogued to the 28th November to be then held at Wilmington that they met at Wilmington on the said day 14 Members being present when the Bill now in question was moved for and brought in & read and ordered to be sent to the Council the next day That on the next day it was received back and read a second time and that it was read a third time and passed the next day.

This method of proceeding in passing this Act is represented by the Northern Counties as a design of the Governor to ensnare and entrap them the Town of Wilmington to which they were prorogued being 200 miles from their habitations and where it was not possible for them to attend & that the 14 Members present were all of the Southern district as well as the Council which advised the Governor to take this step.

That Your Maj. Governor of the said Province in order to show the propriety and necessity of the law & to justify his passing it acquaints us in a letter dated 9 March 1746 that the Northern Counties having 31 votes out of 54 and being generally united under the conduct of a few designing men who found their account in keeping public affairs in confusion they had made the Governor & Council and the remaining Members

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of no weight in the Legislature for they could not so much as meet unless they thought fit to be present & after they were met if they did not like any Bill they withdrew privately and then the majority of Burgesses being absent no more business could be done so that the very being of Assembly depended on their whim and humour and not on the King's Writ and Governor's Proclamation and Prorogation.

That this was no imaginary consequence but a real effect which has happened more than once within four years when he had waited with the Council for 3 or 4 weeks and been obliged to separate without doing any one thing.

That when he prorogued the Assembly in June 1746 to the middle of November following then to meet at Wilmington they entered into a formal Agreement not to attend and to engage as many of the other Members as they could influence to stay at home.

The questions arising upon a consideration of the foregoing points were various and as great difficulty occurred to us upon each of them in point of law, as many Laws had been passed by Assembly who had sat and acted under the authority of the Law in question and proceedings had been had and judgments given by Courts established by Laws passed by them We thought it our duty to state our doubts to Your Maj. Attorney & Solicitor General and to take their opinion upon them & having received their report We shall humbly beg leave to submit to Your Maj. judgment the several questions which occurred to us upon these points with their Answer thereto which are as follows

Qu: Have all the six Counties viz: Chowan, Perquimans, Pasquotank, Currotuck Berty & Tyrrell or any of them or which of them a right to elect five Representatives to serve in the General Assembly

Answer. Tho' the case seems very carefully & accurately stated We are afraid of giving an official opinion upon so important rights where no question has arisen upon which the parties can have an opportunity to be heard In general as the four Counties first named from the first establishmt of an Assembly are said to have chosen each five Representatives and the two Counties last named were empowered by the Acts of Assembly by which they were created to send each the like number and Berty County by a subsequent Act was limited to three We are at a loss to find out upon what foundation an objection is made to Berty County sending three and the rest five Representatives each.

Qu: Is a majority of the Representatives necessary to constitute a quorum of the Assembly?

Answer. It dont sufficiently appear to us that a majority of the Representatives is necessary to constitute a quorum of the Assembly. Such a constitution is very extraordinary and liable to great inconvenience

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Qu: Was the Law in question legally & properly passed?

In answer to this Query Your Maj. Attorney & Solicitor General referred to an opinion which they had before given on this question viz: that the Act appeared to have been passed by management precipitation & surprise when only 14 Members were present and that it was of such a nature and tendency and had such effect and operation that the Govr by his Instructions ought not to have assented to it though it had passed deliberately in a full Assembly and that they were of opinion that the Act was not proper to be confirmed

Qu: If it should be thought proper to repeal the Law can the Crown by virtue of its own prerogative make any alteration with respect to the places which send Representatives to the Assembly or direct what number of Representatives each place shall send?

Answer. Tho' it may not be advisable for the Crown to impeach rights heretofore granted & enjoyed We think as the Province grows more peopled & cultivated the King may erect Towns & Counties and give them the privilege of choosing Representatives and to preserve the King's prerogative we think it ought rather to be done in this way than by Act of Assembly.

Qu: If the said Law should be repealed Will the Acts of the Assembly of the said Province held in consequence of the said Act which Acts were subsequent to the passing of the said Act of 1746 but previous to the repeal of it become void & illegal by such repeal.

Answer We apprehend the Acts of Assembly are good till repealed and consequently void only from notification of the repeal.

Upon the whole as Your Maj. Attorney & Solicitor General seem to be of opinion that the Northern Counties have a right to send each five Representatives and that the Act was not proper to be confirmed We shall without troubling your Majesty with any further observations upon it humbly propose that it may be repealed but in order to obviate the manifest inconvenience & prejudice which must arise to Your Maj. service and the interest of that Province from the pretended right which is claimed of having a majority in the Assembly to transact business which Your Maj. Attorney & Solicitor General are of opinion does not sufficiently appear to be necessary We would humbly propose that the Quorum of the Assembly should be fixed & ascertained by Your Maj. Instructions & limited to such a number as Your Maj. shall judge most proper and expedient and as it is represented to us that the number of the Assembly is now increased to sixty We humbly submit whether 15 may not be determined to be a proper quorum.

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We would further humbly propose that the Govr should be forbid to pass any Law whereby the duration of the said Assembly should be limited or ascertained or any other regulation made relative thereto contrary to Your Maj. rights & prerogative and that in order to remedy the inconvenience which may arise from one part of the Province having a larger proportion of Representatives in the Assembly than the other Your Maj. Governor should be instructed as the Province grows more peopled to erect such and so many Towns & Counties in the Southern District with the privilege of sending such a number of Representatives to the Assembly as that each different district or division a reasonable and just proportion And as Your Maj. Attorney & Solicitor General seems to be of opinion that the erecting Towns & Counties by Provincial Laws and giving them the power of sending Representatives is improper & inconsistent with Your Maj. prerogative We would humbly propose

That the following Laws which have been passed in the Province from time to time for erecting Counties Townships or Precincts and declaring what number of Members they shall send to the Assembly as also for regulating the Assembly & its proceedings be repealed And that Your Maj. Governor be directed to confirm the rights of the several Towns Precincts or Counties by Charters of incorporation.

The Acts relative to the above points are as follows

An Act appointing that part of Albemarle County lying on the west side of Chowan River to be a precinct by the name of Bertie Precinct passed in 1722.

An Act for incorporating the Sea Port of Beaufort in Carteret Precinct into a Township by the name of Beaufort passed in 1723.

An Act to appoint that part of Albemarle County lying on the south side of Albemarle Sound & Morattuck River as high as the Rainbow Banks to be a Precinct by the name of Tyrrell Precinct passed in 1729.

An Act to confirm & establish the Precincts of Onslow and Bladen and for appointing them distinct Precincts passed in 1734.

An Act for erecting the village called Newton in New Hanover County into a Town & Township by the name of Wilmington & regulating & ascertaining the bounds thereof passed in 1739.

An Act for confirming Titles to the Town Lands of Edenton for securing the privileges heretofore granted to the said Town & for the further encouragement and better regulation thereof passed in 1740.

An Act to confirm and erect that part of the Province called Edgecumbe County into a County by the name of Edgecumbe County and for establishing the said County a Parish &c. passed in 1741.

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An Act for erecting the upper part of Bertie County into a County by the name of Northampton County and for regulating the limits between Society Parish and the North West Parish of Bertie &c. passed in 1741.

An Act to regulate elections for Members to serve in General Assembly for the several Countys to declare who shall be qualified to vote in the said election &c. passed in 1743.

An Act for erecting the upper part of Craven County into a County & Precinct &c. passed in 1746.

An Act for dividing Edgecumbe County & Precincts and for erecting the Upper part thereof into a County and Parish by the name of Granville County &c. passed in 1746.

An Act for erecting the Upper part of New Hanover County into a County and Parish by the name of Dupplin County &c. passed in 1749.

An Act for erecting the upper part of Bladen County into a County & Parish by the name of Anson County &c. passed in 1749.

The next Act we shall beg leave to lay before Your Majesty is entitled An Act for forming a rent roll of all the Lands holden in this Province for quieting the inhabitants in their possessions and for directing the payment of quit rents passed in 1748.

This Act appears to us to be of a very extraordinary nature & very greatly to affect Your Maj. prerogative & revenue & the rights of Your Maj. subjects.

But before we proceed to state the provisions of it or make any observations thereon We shall humbly beg leave to lay before Your Majesty a detail of the several regulations which have been made with respect to Grants of Land & Quit Rents in the Province from the first granting of the Charters to the Proprietors which appears to be absolutely necessary in order to the clearly understanding upon what Titles & under what conditions the inhabitants hold their Lands & consequently forming a proper judgment on this Act.

By the declaration of privileges published by the Proprietors of Carolina soon after the date of the Charter every person going to settle there was to have 100 acres of land for himself 50 for every servant capable of bearing arms and provided with a fire lock & sword and 20 for every woman servant and to pay ½d per Ann : per acre quit rent.

In 1667 the Governor of Albemarle was directed to make Grants of Land within his Province upon the following conditions viz: every Freeman or Freewoman being Master or Mistress of a Family was to have 60 Acres for themselves 60 for every man servant capable of bearing arms and 50 for every other servant and every servant was to have 50 Acres for themselves at the expiration of their servitude and all Grantees of Land were to pay ½d per ann : per acre quit rent.

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In 1668 the Proprietors by an Instrument under their Hands & seals dated 1st May which Instrument has since been commonly called by the name of the Great Deed of Grant declared that the inhabitants of Albemarle should hold the Lands to be granted to them under the foregoing proportions upon the same terms & conditions that Land was then actually granted in Virginia upon which [most] was at 2s per every hundred Acres.

This Instrument upon which the inhabitants of Albemarle county do to this day lay great stress appears however to have been only a temporary power of Attorney to the Governor of Albemarle revocable at pleasure & this not only from the nature of it but also from different regulations being soon after established with respect to the conditions upon which Grantees were to hold the Land for by the Instruction given to the Governor of Albemarle by the Proprietors in 1679 he was directed in all Grants to reserve a rent of one penny per acre per annum and to allow 60 acres of land to every settler above the age of 16 the like quantity for every servant capable of bearing arms and 50 for every other servant.

By the Instruction given to Col. Ludwell who was appointed Govr of all Carolina in 1691 as has been already mentioned, he was impowered to sell Land in the following manner viz 6,000 Acres to any person upon payment of one shilling per acre in pieces of eight at 5 shillings per piece.

The like power of selling Land was given to Gov. Archdale in 1694 reserving however a rent of one shilling for every hundred acres per annum with an allowance to receive the rent in commodities if money could not be had The price fixed by the Proprietors upon the sale of land was £20 for every thousand acres near the sea and £10 per 1000 higher up in the Country.

The said Governor had likewise a power of granting lands reserving a quit rent of ½d per acre per ann : upon all lands to the Southward of Albemarle County.

Sir Nathaniel Johnson who was appointed Govr of Carolina in 1702 had the like power of selling & granting lands upon the same terms & conditions.

In 1708 the Proprietors directed their Governor to let lands at ½d per ann: per acre but no one person to have more than 640 acres.

The power given by the Proprietors to their Governors of selling & letting Lands having been greatly abused by them they came to a resolution that no more land should be sold or granted but by themselves at their Board in London This resolution was accordingly signified to

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the Governor but was soon after receded from by the Proprietors and the Land Office in Carolina for selling & granting of land again opened to the people but the Governors still continuing to abuse their powers to the injury of the Proprietors they in the year 1715 ordered it to be again shut up and that no Land should be disposed of but by themselves in London.

Notwithstanding this injunction from the Proprietors to the Governor not to sell or grant any more lands it appears that in the year 1724 the then Govr & Council gave leave to people to take up lands in the County of Bath upon condition of paying 3s for every hundred acres and cultivating the lands in two years.

And a few years after this about the time of or soon after the Crown's purchase of Carolina Sir Rich. Everard then Governor for the Proprietors made large Grants of Land to the amount of 400,000 Acres at the rate of £20 for every 1000 Acres upon the pretence of raising money to pay the expense of running the Boundary Line between North Carolina and Virginia the charge of which did not amount to more than £2000 & therefore he ought not at that rate to have granted more than 100,000 acres. Before the aforementioned Grants it appears that he also granted 167,611 acres at 6d per hundred acres 91,752 acres at 2s per hundred acres and 30,582 acres of land lapsed for want of cultivation. We must likewise beg leave humbly to represent that it appears that the Patents for the 400,000 acres were issued in a most shameful & improper manner being drawn up signed & sealed in due form but the persons names the number of acres the description of the Boundary & the sums paid for them left blank and so issued from the Secretary's Office just as the Clerk or other Officer thought proper without any previous survey which was essentially requisite to make the Grant valid.

This irregularity gave rise to such endless & exorbitant frauds that it has not been possible at this day to come to any exact knowledge of the state of these Grants

By the Act of Parliament passed in 1729 for establishing the Crown's purchase of the Carolinas from the Proprietors there is an exception as to all Grants made antecedent to the 10 Janry 1727 whereupon several of the possessors of these Grants filled up the Blank antecedent to that date which is fully proved from a great number of grants of 1725 & 1726 being entered in the Records after Grants of the years 1729 & 1730.

By the instructions given to Mr. Burrington appointed Govr of North Carolina after the Crown's purchase he was directed to give his assent to an Act for remitting the arrears of quit rents due to the Proprietors

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which by the deed of sale were made over to the Crown provided that by the same Act all Possessors of land in the Province did register their respective Grants by which they claimed such lands in the Auditors Office and that every person possessing land by virtue of grants from the Lords Proprietors should for the future pay the annual quit rents reserved upon such Grants and that the salaries & fees of all Officers should for the future be paid in Proclamation money.

The Govr was likewise directed to get an Act passed for enforcing cultivation within a reasonable time and he was empowered to grant lands upon the following conditions Viz: 50 Acres for every white or black man Woman or Child of which the Grantees family should consist at the time of making the Grant and he was to take care in laying out the lands where they laid contiguous to a river that not above ¼ of the land bordered upon the river that is that there should be four chains in depth backwards for every chain in front leaving a free passage for all to and from the river & the quit rent reserved upon all lands was to be 4s Proclamation money upon every 100 Acres.

This last provision of paying the quit rents in Proclamation money the people have never yet been bourght to comply with alleging that by a Provincial law they were at liberty to pay them in commodities at a certain rate and tho' a quit & a Register law was soon after Mr. Burrington's arrival passed by the Assembly yet as it allowed the people to pay the quit rents in rated commodities it was for that & other objections made to it rejected by the Council after which nothing was done either with respect to registering the Grants or any other matter which Mr. Burrington was directed by his Instructions to endeavour to settle arising from the want of harmony & agreement between the different branches of the Legislature and the disputes and controversies amongst the other Officers of the Crown.

In 1733 Mr. Johnston was appointed Govr of this Province with the same instructions as to the obtaining a Register Act inforcing cultivation granting of lands and the quit rents to be reserved thereon as were given to his predecessor Mr. Burrington and with particular Instructions to examine into the state of the Blank & other Patents Granted by Sir Richard Everard since the year 1728 and to transmit an account thereof and if he found any Grants which had not passed thro' the essential & requisite forms he was to cause prosecution to be made by the Attorney General for vacating such of them as had been fraudulently obtained and as it had been represented that the reason why the quit rents of North Carolina were not duly ascertained & collected was because the Officers of the Crown did not receive proper encouraget for

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their trouble Your Majesty was graciously pleased by your Royal Sign Manual in Sept. 1733 to make the following establishment of Salaries payable annually out of the revenue of quit rents, viz:

To the Governor
1000
Auditor.
100
Chief Justice
70
Baron.
40
Surveyor General.
40
Secretary
70
Attorney General
80
Clerk of the Crown
25
Charges of the Exchequer Court
30

Armed with these Instructions and encouraged by so large an additional support Mr. Johnston did erect a Court of Exchequer with a view to carry on prosecutions therein against the forementioned irregular & fraudulent Patents he likewise transmitted a state of these Patents with a copy of the Grand Deed from the Proprietors to the people of Albemarle in 1668 and the Acts relative to rated Commodities upon which the people founded their claim to pay their Quit Rents in such commodities all which were in 1736 referred to His Maj. Attorney & Solicitor General for their opinion.

As the state of this case contains nothing more than what has already been set forth We shall not trouble Your Majesty with a repetition of facts, But as this matter is of great consequence with respect to any future regulations which may be made relative to these points We humbly beg leave to insert the questions stated to the Attorney and Solicitor General with their Answer to each question.

1st Question—Whether any of the Patents granted after the Proprietors had ordered the Land Office to be shut up can be deemed valid other than such as were granted by order in London?

Answer—We are of opinion that such Patents may be good notwithstanding that order to shut up in the Land Office if the Lords Proprietors were either made privy to those Grants or after they were made received the consideration for them otherwise we think they cannot be supported.

2d Question—Whether such Patents as were granted after the King's purchase by the Lords Proprietors Governor before the new Governor arrived from the Crown particularly such as appear to have been entered in the Secretaries Books after advice received in the Province of the King's purchase are to be deemed good?

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Answer—We are of opinion that none of the Patents mentioned in this 2d Question can be deemed good.

3rd Question—Whether as the Act of Parliament made upon the Crown's purchase from the Lords Proprietors & what clause in it that was for quieting possessions of Grants takes notice of such only as bore date before 1727 If it does not give room for a strict examination into all such as were issued subsequent to that time and if such Grants appear to have been irregularly made they ought not to be voided? but as to such as were granted for defraying the expense of running the Boundary line if the Crown in such case ought not to bear that expense?

Answer—We think it proper to observe that the clause referred to in this Query does not put it upon the Patents bearing date but being actually made before 1st Janry 1727 & considering the extraordinary circumstances attending these Grants and that the Crown had no notice of them at the time of the purchase there is great reason for strict enquiry into the validity thereof and to avoid them for such irregularities But as those that were granted for defraying the expense of the Boundary Line seem to stand in a much more favorable light We think it reasonable some indulgence should be shown to such Purchasers by regranting on the terms of the purchase what they or their Assigns have actually cultivated and by repaying a portion of the consideration money for the rest.

4th Question—Whether such Patents as were drawn up and signed with Blanks and not registered in the Secretary's Office for some years afterwards shall be deemed good and if their not being registered is not an evidence of fraud?

Answer—We are of opinion that in general such Patents as were executed with such Blanks as are mentioned in the case tho' filled up afterwards are void, But if they have been attended with a long possession & not obtained fraudulently or irregularly in any other respect We think they ought to be now supported And as to the circumstance of not being registered in the Secretary's Office for some years afterwards it not being stated how far or within what time such Register is necessary to the validity of such Grants nor for how long it was neglected We cannot form any judgment what influence that will have upon the Patents.

5th Question—Whether such Patents as were given out without any description of the Boundaries and not preceded by regular Surveys returned into the Secretary's Office are to be deemed valid?

Answer—We are of opinion that the want of the description of the Boundaries or of preceding regular surveys is not of itself sufficient to destroy such Patents unless such circumstances were the known requisites necessary to such Grants & even in that case if the Proprietors have had

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the consideration & the lands have been enjoyed accordingly without fraud we think such Grants ought to be deemed valid.

6th Question—Whether those Grants issued by virtue of Warrants that had lain by many years are to be deemed good notwithstanding the Grants assigned them were taken out irregularly and particularly those after 1727.

Answer—We are of opinion that the circumstance of there having been warrants before the Grants issued is not of itself sufficient to support Grants that would otherwise be irregular & void tho' upon the general question of fraud that circumstance may probably be of service to the Grantees according to the particular circumstances of each case whether such Grants issued before or after the year 1727.

7th Question—As it is alleged by the Governor that many of the people that hold lands by virtue of the Patents formerly granted under the Lords Proprs possess much greater quantities than they ought to hold by the words of the said Grants Has not the Crown the power to resurvey such lands? and in case any fraud should appear what steps must the Crown take to recover its right?

Answer—We are of opinion that whoever possesses a much greater quantity than they ought to hold by the words of a Grant made since Janry 1727 is liable to have the same resurveyed on behalf of the Crown But as to Grants made before 1727 upon surveys actually made, we apprehend (if they were otherwise good in law) they are excepted by the Act 2 Geo. 2d out of the sale to the Crown and therefore not liable to be now resurveyed And as to such cases wherein a resurvey is proper and yet the Grants are valid in law We are of opinion that the proper way is by information in the name of the Attorney General of the Province in a Court of Equity there in order to have the real quantity set out and the excess pared off for the benefit of the Crown.

8th Question—In case any of these Grants appear to be voidable in law what is the proper method to have the same vacated?

Answer. We are of opinion that the proper method for the Crown to recover its right except in the instances mentioned in the answer to the last question is by an information of intrusion in the proper Court in the Province & in case of error thereby appeal to His Majesty in Council.

This state of the case with the questions upon it and the Answers thereto were transmitted by this Board to Mr. Johnston for his guidance and direction and several ineffectual methods were tried by him for obtaining a quit Rent & Register Laws conformable to his Instructions but without success the people strenuously insisting upon paying the quit rents in rated commodities

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At length however in 1738 he gave his assent to two Acts the one entitled An Act for providing His Majesty a Rent roll for securing His Maj. quit rents for the remission of arrears of quit rents and for quieting the inhabitants in their possessions & for the better settlement of His Maj. Province of North Carolina the other entitled An Act declaring what shall be deemed sufficient cultivation of lands already granted or to be hereafter granted by His Majesty & for ascertaining the manner of granting lapsed lands.

By the first of these acts great room was left for frauds upon the Crown in registering of grants & two great a power was given to the Govr & Council in matters determinable in the ordinary course of law It likewise admitted of the quit rents being paid in paper money or rated commodities & empowered the Governor Council Attorney General Receiver Genl & an equal number of the House of Burgesses to regulate the course of exchange annually which last clause was complained of by the Merchants.

As to the second Act the method prescribed for enforcing cultivation appearing to be improper & liable to be evaded by the Planter who might be thereby released from the terms and conditions on which they received their Grants this Act together with the one was disallowed by Your Majesty & repealed by Your Maj. Order in Council dated 27 day of November 1740.

Soon after the repeal of these Laws Your Majesty was graciously pleased by your Order in Council dated 14th day of August 1740 to make certain new Regulations with respect to the method of granting lands in both Carolinas and to direct that all persons petitioning for lands should previous to the obtaining a Warrant thereon prove their right before the Governor & Council when at least four Members of the Council should be present not having any concern or interest in the lands petitioned for, and that if the lands so petitioned for were granted the Warrants for granting the same should be drawn up & signed by the Governor in Council & made returnable by the Surveyor within twelve months at furthest from the date thereof & that a particular description of the lands so petitioned for be inserted in the Warrants and that before the Warrants should be delivered to the Surveyor a Docquet thereof should be entered in the Auditor's Office there and that in default of any of the said particulars being observed the said Grants should be void That when the Warrants should be returned the Grants to be made in due form expressing the terms & conditions upon which the Warrants were issued & the lands surveyed That the said Grants should be registered in six months from the respective dates in the Secretary's

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Office and a Docquet thereof in the Auditor's Office and on default the Grants to be void : Copies of all which entries were to be transmitted to this Board & to the Commissrs of Your Maj. Treasury within twelve months from the date of them.

Notwithstanding these & the former Regulations established by Your Maj. Instructions, notwithstanding the great encouragement given to the Officers by the aforementioned establishment little care has been taken to improve and ascertain the revenue of Quit Rents & there is great reason to believe that great irregularities have been committed in the manner of granting lands, it appears by an account of the annual receipt of Quit Rents in North Carolina from the year 1741 to the year 1748 inclusive that the receipt of the four first years of that time from 1741 to 1744 amounted to £4003.1.2d and the receipt of the four last years from 1745 to 1748 inclusive to no more than £1261.7.1. which at a medium is £323.6.9¼ per ann: and very large sums appear to be due to the late Governor and to all the other Officers which must be discharged before the Salary of the present Governor can take place & who must therefore unless his salary be paid out of some other fund remain for many years without any support.

The great decrease in the Quit Rents of the Province must not be here entirely imputed to the want of a Quit Rent law another great cause of that decrease is the Grant made by Your Majesty to the Earle Granville in 1744 of all that part of the Province which lyes between the Northern boundary next Virginia and the latitude of 35 degrees 34 minutes to the South with the arrears of Quit Rents annual rents issues & profits thereof in lieu of his Title to & interest in one ⅞ part of both Provinces which said Tract of land is more than one half of the Province of North Carolina.

We come now to consider the law in question whereupon we must humbly beg leave to represent

That the first clause in the Act directs that all lands holden in the Province by any Grants or Titles whatsoever under the Lords Proprietors shall be registered in the manner thereby directed within twelve months under the penalty of Five Pounds

Upon this occasion we think it our duty to observe that this clause appears to us in every light the most partial and the most improper that could have been framed in a Bill which by the Title of it appears to be general for as it does not extend to lands granted by the Crown it can neither operate as a mode of security to the Grantees nor as a Regulation for the better ascertaining the Revenue and as the quantity of lands in that part of the Province which now remains in his Majesty held under

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Grants from the Proprietrs is very inconsiderable there is greater reason to believe that this law was partially calculated to take effect in one part of the Province only.

That by this Act all Patents registerd in the manner thereby prescribed will become valid and there is a clause which declares 20 years possession to be a good Title without any exception to fraudulent or irregular patents granted by Sir Richard Everard after the Crown's purchase commonly called the Blank Patents.

It likewise admits of the Quit Rents being paid in Commodities at a certain rate which is contrary to Your Maj. Instructions whereby the Quit rents are directed to be paid in Proclamation money.

For these reasons We humbly beg leave to lay this Act before Your Majesty for Your Maj. disallowance & to propose in the place of it such regulations with respect to Grants of Land & the Quit Rents within Your Maj. said Province as appear to us to be for Your Maj. interest the increase of your Revenue and the welfare & better settling and improving the Province of North Carolina

That one hundred acres be granted to every person being Master of a family for himself and fifty acres for every white or black man woman or child of which his family shall consist at the actual time of making the Grant subject to the payment of a quit rent of 4 shillings Proclamation money per ann: for every hundred acres granted.

That every Grantee upon having proved that he has fulfilled the terms & conditions of his Grant shall be entitled to another Grant according to the foregoing provisions.

That the Grantee be obliged by the terms of his Grant to clear & cultivate at the rate of five acres in every year to every hundred contained in his Grant in failure of which the Grant to be void and that the payment of the Quit rents do commence within two years from the date of the Grant on failure whereof the Grant to be void.

That all persons having intention to apply for grants appear before the Governor and at least four of the Council not having any interest in the lands applied for in order to prove their rights upon oath.

That upon due proofs of such rights the Governor do sign a Warrant for making out such Grants accordingly.

That a Docquet of the Warrant be entered in the Auditor's Office.

That the said Warrant be delivered to the Surveyor General with orders to make a survey of the lands & to return the Warrant within six months with an exact description or Plan of the lands mentioned therein.

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That upon the return of the Warrant a Patent be made out in due form conformable to the foregoing conditions which are to be fully expressed in the aforementioned Warrant.

That the said Grant shall be registered within six months from the date thereof in the Secretary's Office and also an entry made in the Auditor's Office copies of which entries & registers to be transmitted to the Lords of the Treasury & to this Board within six months from the date thereof.

That every person be obliged to give security not to enter upon or cultivate his land until a Patent for the same be finally completed & entered as aforesaid.

That the Governor do immediately upon his arrival direct a strict examination into the state of all Warrants & Grants of land as well such as were made by the Proprietors as those since the Crown's purchase within that part of the Province the property of which remains in Your Majesty as also into the accounts of the Collectors Receivers & Auditors of the Revenue in order to make out an exact account of the Quit Rents which have been paid or still remain due to Your Majesty and that a full state of the whole be transmitted home to be laid before Your Majesty

That all Grants as well from the Lords Proprietors as from Your Majesty be registered & that it be recommended to the Govr to get a proper law for that purpose.

That all persons having lands under Grants from the Proprietors before the 1st of January 1727 be obliged to produce their Titles before the Govr in Council & if it shall appear that the Grantees are in possession of more land than is expressed in their Grant be required to take out fresh Grants for such surplusage subject to a quit rent of four shillings Proclamation money for every hundred acres and in case of refusal to comply with this condition that an information be lodged in the name of the Attorney General of the Province in a Court of Equity there in order to have the real quantity set out and the excess pared off for the benefit of the Crown.

That where the original Grants are lost or destroyed & full proof of such Grants cant be made nor of their tenor & condition such person be permitted to take out a new Grant for the land so claimed subject to the aforementioned Quit Rent of four shillings Proclamation money for every hundred acres & all the conditions of a new Grant

That such as can bring full proof of their having Patents from the Proprietors before the 1st Janry 1727 & of the terms & conditions of the Patents be permitted to hold the lands upon the same conditions upon which they were first granted tho' the Patents be destroyed or lost.

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Persons holding lands from the Proprietors since the 10th Janry 1727 to have new Grants upon the terms & conditions prescribed by the Instructions the land to be subject to a resurvey or upon refusal to admit a resurvey the land to be forfeited.

All persons possessed of Warrants for lands who have entered there-upon without a proper Grant to be obliged to complete their Grants conformable to the foregoing Regulations in failure whereof the Governor to regrant such lands to any other persons applying for the same.

All Persons who have obtained Grants and have not yet entered upon their lands or cultivated them to be obliged to enter upon and cultivate the same within six months after proper notice given in failure of which the Grants to be void.

All Grants irregularly made since the Crown's purchase in a manner contrary to or inconsistent with the former instructions to be declared void and the Grantee to be obliged to take out new Grants upon the foregoing terms & under the foregoing regulations.

In the year 1736 Your Majesty was graciously pleased to direct that one million two hundred thousand acres of land should be set out & granted to Henry McCulloh and others his Associates for the settling of Foreign Protestants upon the following terms & conditions That they should settle one white person for every two hundred acres within ten years from the date of the Grant & also at the expiration of that time to pay four shillings Proclamation money for every hundred acres.

It appears from an examination into the state of this Grant that in consequence of this order the Petitioners did take out 96 Grants making in the whole one million two hundred thousand acres of which about four hundred & seventy five thousand is included in that part of the Province claimed by the Earl of Granville and the remaining quantity of seven hundred & twenty five thousand to the southward of his Lordship's line upon which according to the terms of the Grant there ought to have been three thousand six hundred and twenty five people settled but of which there are no more than eight hundred & fifty four actually settled; the Grantees however have three years remaining from the date of their Grant to complete the settlement in the proportion of one person for every two hundred acres.

As the making exorbitant Grants of lands in this Province to persons who want ability to cultivate & improve them has been of great prejudice to Your Maj. service & interest We thought it our duty to enquire into the state of this Grant to the end that Your Maj. might give such instructions to Your Govr concerning it as should appear to Your Maj. to be necessary and proper And we would humbly propose that Your

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Maj. Governor should be instructed that when the term allowed the Petitioners to complete their settlement is expired he should accept of a surrender from the Grantees of such part as shall not be settled according to the foregoing proportion of one person for every two hundred Acres and empowered to regrant such land so surrendered to any other persons applying for the same And that the present Grantees shall be released from the condition of being obliged to pay quit rent for such land so surrendered taking care however that proper measures are taken to secure the payment of the quit rents upon such part as shall be settled by admitting the Possessors holding under Grants or Leases from the original Grantees or Proprietors to attorn to the Crown for payment of their Quit Rents and to register the Grants by which they hold their lands.

And as complaint has been made to us by Mr. McCulloh that he has been greatly disturbed & molested in the quiet possession of his Grant by the late Govr & others acting under his authority who have taken upon them to grant to other persons lands before set out & granted to him pursuant to Your Maj. Order We would humbly propose that an Instruction should be given to the Governor to maintain & support the said Grantee & his Associates in their just & legal rights & in the quiet possession of their lands.

These rules and regulations if properly carried into execution will we hope in some measure restore & establish Your Maj. rights so long neglected & abused and put Your Maj. Province upon a better foot than it hath hitherto been but in order to enforce these Regulations to render them effectual and secure Your Maj. rights it will be necessary that the Governor should be instructed to establish a Court of Exchequer with all the necessary powers rights & privileges incident to such Court without which there is reason to fear these or any other Regulations Your Maj. might think it advisable to make would be greatly if not entirely ineffectual there being no Court established in this Province vested with the proper powers for taking cognizance of matters relating to Your Maj. revenue.

If Your Maj. shall be pleased to approve of the foregoing Regulations We would humbly propose that Instructions should be given to Your Governor of this Province conformable thereto and that the following Laws which have been from time to time passed in that Province which contain Regulations with respect to the granting or surveying of lands payment of quit rents and do any ways affect Your Maj. prerogative & revenue be repealed, Viz:

An Act to put in force in this Province the several Statutes of the Kingdom of England or South Britain therein particularly mentioned passed in 1749

-------------------- page 106 --------------------

It would be needless to trouble Your Maj. with the numberless objections arising to so extraordinary an Act as this is And we hope it will be sufficient for the present purpose to observe that there is a clause in it declaring all the Statute Laws in this Kingdom which are not therein enumerated & made of force (such only excepted which relate to or concern His Maj. Customs & the Acts of Trade & Navigation) not adapted or applicable to the constitution of that Province As none of the Laws of England relative to any branch of the Revenue upon which the Courts of Exchequer & other Courts where Your Maj. rights are pleadable do proceed are enumerated in this Act but on the contrary the Courts of Justice are restrained by this Act from taking any notice of or carrying into execution any Laws not mentioned in it the power & authority of a Court of Exchequer or any other power or authority Your Maj. may at any time think proper to give to the Courts of Judicature in this Province with respect to Your Revenue will be restrained & ineffectual while this Act remains in force.

An Act to direct the disposal of goods taken upon execution & for the better regulating of distresses hereafter to be made for levying of quit rents passed in 1715.

This Act directs that goods taken upon execution for taxes or quit rents if not redeemed within ten days shall be appraised by four substantial freeholders of the County. This we apprehend to be an improper & inadequate method inasmuch as the Appraiser may from connexion or from a consideration that the same thing may some time or other happen to himself be prompted to appraise them at an exorbitant rate and by this means debts due to Your Majesty in sterling or Proclamation money may be paid off in commodities of little or no value and entirely useless to the public receiver.

An Act for preventing disputes concerning Lands already surveyed Passed in 1715.

This Act declares that all surveys already made & Patents granted by any preceding Governors whatever shall be good & valid & establishes Regulations with respect to resurveys inconsistent with those which we have before proposed.

An Act to regulate divers abuses in the taking up of lands and to ascertain the method to be observed from henceforth in taking up & surveying Lands. Passed in 1715.

This Act contains Regulations with respect to the method to be observed in taking up & granting Lands in this Province totally different from the Orders & Instructions which have been given from time to time by Your Maj. relative to the granting of Lands and allows any person to take up 640 acres without limitation.

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An Act for granting an aid to His Majesty to defray the expences of transporting the several troops enlisted in His Maj. service in this Colony and to ascertain the method of paying all taxes and Levys in Commodities and for other purposes therein mentioned Passed in 1740.

This Act allows of all public taxes debts due upon executions &c to be paid in Commodities at a certain rate which method has been found to have been attended with great inconveniences and open to great fraud & abuse and has been disapproved of by your Maj. in other Colonies

An additional Act to an Act entituled An Act for forming a Rent Roll of all the Lands held in this Province for quieting the inhabitants in their possessions and for directing the payment of Quit Rents. Passed in 1749.

An Act to repeal part of a Clause in an Act intituled an Act for forming a Rent Roll of all the Lands holden in this Province and for directing the payment of Quit Rents. Passed in 1750.

We shall now beg leave to lay before Your Maj. our observations upon such other Acts of this Province as are not relative to any of the foregoing points but which appear to us improper and unnecessary.

An Act concerning Escheat Lands and Escheators. Passed in 1715.

This Act establishes Regulations with respect to the manner of granting and disposing of Escheated Lands contrary to Your Maj. Instructions to Your Governors in the Plantations relative to Escheats and inconsistent with Your Majesty's rights.

Public Treasurers to give account Passed in 1715.

This Act directs that all persons who formerly have been now are or hereafter shall be Treasurers Collectors or Receivers of Public money raised by the authority of the Assembly shall be accountable to the Assembly or such Commissioners as shall be appointed by the authority of the same and to no other person or persons whatsoever which We humbly apprehend to be injurious to Your Maj. rights and prerogative and contrary to Your Maj. Instructions to Your Governors of this and the other Colonies

An Act for establishing the Church for appointing Parishes and the method of electing Vestries and for directing the settlement of Parish accounts throughout the Governt Passed in 1741.

This Act deprives Your Majesty of your just and undoubted right to the Patronage and Advowson of all Churches and Chapels in this Province and vests them in a select Vestry of Twelve Freeholders which Vestry is also empowered to determine the quantum of the Minister's stipend or salary and to withdraw it at pleasure.

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An Act to fix a place for the seat of Government & for keeping public Offices for appointing Circuit Courts and defraying the expence thereof and also for establishing the Courts of Justice and regulating the proceedings therein. Passed in 1746.

This Act having been passed at the same time and under the same circumstances as the Law for ascertaining the number of Representatives first mentioned in this Representation We thought it our duty to refer it with that Law to Your Majesty's Attorney & Solicitor General who reported to us that this as well as the other Law appear to have been passed by management precipitation & surprise when very few Members were present and was of such nature & tendency & had such effect & operation that the Governor by his Instructions ought not to have assented to it though it passed deliberately in full Assembly

Besides the Objections made by Your Majesty's Attorney & Solicitor General to the manner of passing this Law there are We humbly apprehend other objections to the matter of it not stated by them. The fixing the seat of Government and establishing Courts of Justice are acts of Sovereignty which belong to Your Majesty alone & therefore ought not to have been done by Act of Assembly nor is it in any degree a justification of this measure that the great inconveniency & confusion occasioned by the want of a seat of Government and of proper Courts of Justice made it absolutely necessary to pass this Law since the same thing might have been done by the sole act of the Governor and Council We would therefore humbly propose that this Act should receive Your Maj. disallowance and that the Governor be directed to establish such and so many Courts of Justice as shall appear to be necessary and proper for the better administration of justice and to consider of the most convenient place for the seat of Government and to make a Report thereof to Your Majesty for Your Majesty's further directions therein.

All which is most humbly submitted
DUNK HALIFAX
JAMES OSWALD
J. GRENVILLE
ANDREW STONE

Whitehall March 14th 1754