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Letter from Arthur Dobbs to the Board of Trade of Great Britain
Dobbs, Arthur, 1689-1765
December 19, 1754
Volume 05, Pages 153-157

[B. P. R. O. North Carolina. B. T. Vol. 12. C. 45.]

My Lords, [of the Board of Trade]

I herewith send you the Speech I made at the opening of the Assembly with the Addresses of the Council & Assembly, and a message sent to them about the French scheme for ruining the Colonies.

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They met the 12th pursuant to the Proclamation, but as the House that day was very thin, occasioned by several from the Northward being stopped at the Ferries, & several from the Westward upon account of their distance from hence, in order to give them time to arrive, and to give neither Party umbrage I prorogued the Assembly till next Morning; when I sent them a message to attend me in the Council or Upper House, & directed them to choose a speaker, and to return immediately when chosen for approbation, out of 60 members for which writs were issued, 52 appeared, & upon the division for speaker, the northern Members having named Captain John Campbell, elected for Bertie, against Mr. Samuel Swan the late Speaker elected for Onslow, the votes were equal 26 for each, and therefore no election, upon which they sent me a message to let me know the reason they could not attend me; some advised me to prorogue them again until next day, they desired to have my opinion, as the case stood, how they were to act, I told them I thought it an unprecedented Case, but in all cases where there was a right, there ought to be a remedy, and therefore there ought to be a casting vote, for in case the six absent Members should arrive and still three be of each side, there might then be an equality, and therefore I thought the Clerk who put the question must in that case decide it; but as he was no Member, I thought it more prudent to wait the arrival of some of the Members who were hourly expected, and so returned, and left the Assembly to wait until the evening, Mr. Swan who had all the votes he could expect, except the Members from Anson who were not arrived, nor expected that day, and also expecting that 2 of the Members from Currituck would arrive that evening, offered to give it up, but his Southern friends would not consent but upon talking with them separately, they thought it advisable that he should, and after dinner he came to me to acquaint me that to prevent any delay or difficulty, he had prevailed with them to let him decline it, and then Mr. Campbell was declared Speaker and a message being sent to me, I directed them to come next morning, Saturday, for approbation; altho' there may be some little sparring betwixt the parties, yet both have assured me it shall have no effect upon publick affairs or make my administration uneasy, so that I am sanguine enough to hope for a reasonable and speedy supply, altho' the ways & means are difficult, as there is no cash in the Country, and the present Paper Currency not passable in Virginia, but as the Fence rail Law, as they call it, is repealed, and they have now my plan for a permanent Paper Currency by a Loan Office, and the Virginians declaring their willingness to take our Currency, when put upon a certain security, and our obliging the Carolinians to take them back again as cash

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for their goods sold in Virginia; we expect to have our Currency at par, when a good fund is fixed to sink the present paper Currency, they have also my proposal for a Copper Coinage in the Tower before them, to give us small change, which at present they seem to relish. If these be agreed to, then I must get a power to apply the sums at present granted for the fortifications at Ocacoc and Core Sound, to pay the troops we shall be able to raise, which I hope will be 300 men at British pay, in independent Companies, to lessen the expense, and if any further sum is wanted until supplies are granted & raised, I must get a further power to apply as much of the £1800 left for His Majesty's determination, as will give Virginia the benefit of the troops, raised in due time, and if I can get 8d a gallon duty raised upon all spirits and wine imported, to sink the present paper Currency we may hope to get rid of it in a reasonable time, and then the interest of the Bills in the loan Office will be a perpetual fund to answer the contingencies and emergencies of Government, repairing fortifications &c.

The Tuskerora Indians who are at present here amount to 100 men & 200 women and children, they came to make their acknowledgments & to make complaints that some of the Northern settlers forbid their hunting in the winter on their grounds, I have assured them of my redressing any wrong done to them, and altho' they live in the middle of this Colony, yet I have by the consent of the Assembly given them a small present of about £25 value to shew our other Indian allies that we are desirous of their living with us as brethren, and sharing in all our priviledges. I expect that the Catawbas may also come here, and we ought to give them a present, but our present poverty and want of credit will be a difficulty; if I can by my diligence increase his Majesty's quit rents considerably, so as not only to pay the Establishment, but also the arrears in a short time, I would humbly hope that your Lordships would represent it to his Majesty, that we might have a power to apply as much as he shall think proper out of the superabundant quit rents, in presents for those and such other Indians as we can gain into our allyance. I am preparing a paper to shew what proceedings have been in settling our Southern boundary with a plan of what I think will be the proper line, with reasons to support it, & shall immediately write to South Carolina that they may do the same, and then lay the sentimts of both Provinces with their reasons to support the boundary that each proposes for your Lordships consideration, to be laid before His Majesty to determine it as he shall judge it most for his service, and the good of each Colony; for it is absolutely necessary that a line should be immediately determined, and if it should be left to be determined by these two Governments

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it would meet with almost infinite delays; and probably we should never agree, but will gladly submit to whatever his Majesty orders, when the whole state of the Boundary expected by each Province, with their reasons for the alteration they desire are laid before His Majesty—I wrote fully to Lord Hallifax the state of our fort at Cape Fear, and the necessity there is for an independent Company, to which I refer; the letter went by a ship from Cape Fear, this I expect will go by Captain Byrne in the Sea Flower bound for London, who I expect is not yet sail'd from Ocacoc, but am uncertain whether he maynt have sailed before this gets down to Ocacoc which would occasion a further delay.

I have not yet got in the number of the militia and taxables, but they are now bringing them in. I find it will be of more service to relax me of some of the instructions about cultivation, for I find it is not practicable to get 5 acres improved in one year 3 is as much as they can do, and go on with other improvements at the same time; and as the present settlers, who are out of the pine lands improve their Plantations as fast as they can, it would discourage their taking of Lands, to oblige them to do more than they can accomplish; and I am still of opinion that it is better to give to rich settlers, who come from the Northward, tho' they have not at present a right to so much from their number, 640 acres provided I don't exceed that quantity, for they will not remove for a small farm, when they can get more in other Provinces, who don't stint them so much, I shall find great difficulty in getting a proper rent-roll, there is not one plot or chart of any Survey lodged in any office, in the King's part of this Province, there being only one which is annexed to the Patent, the only entry in the Secretary's or Auditors Office, being only the bearings of the lines, as entered in the Patents, so that upon reexamining the Patents to get duplicates of the Charts, which I must do, before I can do justice to the Crown, I am afraid it will appear that different Surveyors have entered into the surveys of those who went before them, & that the plots will not tally with each other as they ought, but probably may overlap one another & in many cases there may be great Vacancies not granted at all, but occupied by the neighbouring Patentees, but I am determined to go through them regularly County by County until I can compleat the rent roll & keep all the Officers to their duty, & after properly dividing the Counties, when I give them Charters, & fixing the boundaries of each County, I will have duplicates of every chart lodged in the proper office to prevent future frauds, for want of proper places to keep the Offices in & to preserve records upon account of the changeable state of this Province, whenever a Receiver General, Surveyor General, Secretary or Auditor dies, all papers die with them, for the Successors say

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they have got no papers, or if any those very insignificant, from their Predecessors, which I must beg leave to say is owing to the Appointment of improper persons who know nothing of the Business, & therefore neglect it, & leave it all to their Deputies or Clerks, who only work for themselves, & not for the Publick; every Officer or Clerk going to his Plantation, & neglecting the publick business—So that I expect a great deal of trouble, & a thorough application to put things into a proper order, to do justice to his Majesty, & to the people in the Province,—The Assembly having voted £8000 & an Address to his Majesty, which they propose to present to me to morrow, as the Vessel leaves this to morrow morning, lest the ship should be sailed from the Bar, I send this by her, & probably shall write with the Address, & get a sloop that goes off in the evening to carry it to the ship, in case she has not sailed, & therefore shall conclude, being with the greatest respect, My Lords, Yours, &c.,

ARTHUR DOBBS.

Decr 19th 1754.