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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
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Letter from Arthur Dobbs to the Board of Trade of Great Britain
Dobbs, Arthur, 1689-1765
February 08, 1755
Volume 05, Pages 330-334

[B. P. R. O. North Carolina. B. T. Vol. 12. C. 52.]

My Lords. [of the Board of Trade]

Having wrote fully to your Lordships a little before the breaking up of the Session of Assembly what occurr'd to that time I refer you to it,

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as I expect to get this sent by the Gibraltar Capt Sprey via Virginia who returns to England, I herewith send to you all the Journals I can get ready with the most material Acts pass'd in the Assembly, and the others shall go by the next opportunity, a list of what I send I shall enumerate below; I sent your Lordships by my last a list of Taxables so far as I could get it fixed by the returns made to me which was not compleat nor cannot be perfected untill I get a new return from the negligence of the County Clerkes. I now send you an abstract of the Shipping enter'd in this Province at a Medium of last 7 years so far as it has been returned to me, but it not being compleat by reason of Mr. Reussets absence the Collecter of Roanok his Deputy being dead I would not send their returns until I got the whole; I have also sent your Lordships a Duplicate of my reasons for desiring an alteration to the Boundary Line formerly agreed to by the Commissioners which had not been executed, and have again wrote to Mr. Glenn to lay before Your Lordships what Boundary Line he thinks proper for South Carolina with his reasons to support that his Majesty may determine it without loss of time as there are perpetual Quarrels among the Settlers near the Line when one takes out a Patent from this Government another goes to South Carolina and takes a Patent for the same there which is never refused and endeavours by force to get possession altho it be Northward of 35° which was intended for the Boundary by the late Commissioners and this Evil is daily increasing and sometimes ends in Death and the Survivour cannot be brought to Justice as he gets into the other Government; so that I hope your Lordships will advise his Majesty to fix a proper Boundary Line without loss of Time in what manner he thinks most equitable for his service and good of the Colonies. I have also sent your Lordships Duplicats of my Letter in answer to my 128th Instruction and a Memorial sent from hence upon it which I apprehend would greatly improve the Trade of Britain Ireland and these Colonies, which I hope your Lordships will take into your consideration and know the Sentiments of the Merchants and Members of Parliament upon it and if thought proper to have Petitions given in to the Commons to repeal so much of the Acts of navigation or other restraining Acts with proper restrictions so as to inlarge the Trade of the Colonies so far as it shall appear to be beneficial to the Trade of Britain. It is not possible for me to get a return of the number of Births and Burials as there are no Parish Clerks or any Registry of them until I can get a Law pass'd for that purpose I need not make any observation upon the Quit Rent Law except the article of the Tobacco and Indigo which are to be inspected as we are preparing a general inspecting Law against
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next Session, and a Law is now passed for inspecting Tobacco, but as these are fixed at a very low price one at 3 farthings English per pound and the other at 2s 3d per pound I cannot imagine they will be ever offer'd in payment I advised to have a clause that in case the market price ever fell below that medium that a new one should be struck at a Medium of Seven years and fixed again for a Term of years, but they did not come into it however as I shall be able to fix a good Rent roll by it and have Lands resurvey'd the quantities already granted having been greatly abused very often double the quantity as are mentioned in the Patent and in some instances three or four times as much, the Surveyers having often made out Plots in their Chambers, and only marked one Tree in the Survey and run lines on their chart of suitable bearings and then the possessors have mark'd Trees, and extended their Lines without regard to their length which showes the necessity of resurveying even at his Majestys expence where others are intimidated to apply for new Surveys I in my last gave my reasons for agreeing to the Vestry and Church Bill (altho I could not secure the presentations to the Crown) without a Suspending Clause as I thought it for his Majestys Interest and the Colonies to get so good an Establishment immediately fixed considering the number of Sectaries who are against all Establishments and the danger of their increasing if we dont fix a Parochial Clergy and we may perhaps get it amended, as we have secured the Vestry Men to be for the Common Prayer and Liturgy and the Clergymen to be presented to be regularly ordain'd and certify'd by the Bishop of London and as it has not a Suspending Clause his Majesty may at any time hereafter repeal the Law by which the Bill takes place immediately which is of consequence here to have an immediate establishment so that I hope you wont blame me for so far transgressing my instruction, as the Bishop of London also told me he was for laying hold of any Establishment and was therefore for postponing the repeal of the last Law untill we could get it amended. In the fixing the Courts of Justice and circuit Courts I preserved his Majestys Right in obliging the Assembly to apply to me for his Majestys nomination and approbation of the Places which they recom̄ended so as to confirm his Majesty in his Right and refused passing a Bill upon that account for which I gave them my reasons upon refusal a Copy of which I herewith send your Lordships; So that the Assembly and I have thank God parted in perfect Harmony which I hope will continue and that Peace and unanimity will prevail in the whole Province They have paid me my expences in bringing away the French for improving Silk, and to fix them on a Plantation

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The 8000£ granted and 1000 in hands of the former grant not expended is put in my disposition to raise a Company of 100 men for Virginia and another of 50 for the defence of this frontier untill November 1756—I propose going up to the Mountains in Summer and fixing upon a proper Place to build a Fort in for the security of our Frontier and Indian Allies and employ them in erecting it and in the meantime after our General Courts and Sittings of Chancery is over in the beginning of April propose going in a Vessel along all our Islands and Inlets as far as Topsail Inlet at Core Sound and view the harbour at Cape Lookout and fix upon the proper places to erect Two Forts for which the money hath been granted some time and therefore hope your Lordships will approve of my application for an Independant Company to be fixed upon this establishment as soon as this expedition is over. So that the Company raised to assist Virginia upon their return may Garrison the Forts without any charge of transporting them from Europe—There was no other way so proper to raise the supply and to answer contingencies as borrowing part from the Sum raised for the Forts and Emitting the remainder in the Bills which I was instructed not to Emit without an immergency; as they granted 9d per pole to sink the £8000 in Seven years and 18d per pole to pay £2500 in three years which will refund the sum of £2000 borrowed from the Fort money and will raise the credit of our paper currency which is now Current by our union thro' the whole Province and we hope will pass in Virginia as the Ballance of Trade is in our favour from thence so that they will return it to us in our own Bills and as they seem'd determined to prepare a Bill next session upon my Plan for a Loan Office upon Land security I hope we shall with its assistance sink in a little time all our outstanding Bills which now are about £15000 besides what has been struck by the Act passed last March for £40000, of which there remains £11500 as yet not Emitted but appropriated for building Churches and purchasing Glebes attending his Majestys pleasure and the Assembly seem'd inclinable to add to the Pole Tax or Duties already appropriated to sink the Paper Bills next Sessions; It will be also found much for his Majestys Service to have a Revenue Officer fixed at Ocacock Inlet to examine all Ships and take a Manifest of their Cargoes upon Oath that come over that Bar, for the Sound within is so large with many numerous Navigable Creeks on each side in Albemarle Sound Pamticoe and Neuse Rivers that they may discharge great part of their Cargoes Spirits Wine &c and all prohibited Goods before they come to the discharging Ports and by landing them they Swear only to the remainder of their Cargoe This Officer may be paid out of the duties raised here by the several collectors for the Port Duties now transmitted

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to the Comissioners in England with [which] will be doubly repaid by the increase of the Port duties which are now in great measure lost; I have mentioned it to the Lords of the Treasury and Commissioners of the Customs as it will be proper to have a Person of worth and Integrity fixed immediately there at a proper Salary—Having wrote fully to the Lords Commissioners of the Treasury the difficulties I ly under in answering the 30th 76th and 77th articles of my instructions in relation to the Books of accounts I was order'd to transmit to them by the Auditor and which I am ordered to transmit also to your Lordships and also the accounts of the Receiver General upon his Receipts destinguishing which are audited and which not and the extracts of all Receipts and accounts from the year 1716 requiring him to exhibite to me all Books and vouchers Kept by former Receivors and to make strict enquiry into the methods used in collecting and accounting for the Quit Rents, and acquaint the Lords Comissioners of the Treasury and your Lordships my proceedings thereupon, I must beg leave to refer your Lordships to that Letter having proposed what I thought would be of Service in case their Lordships liked the method, and your Lordships approved of it or any other instruction you should think necessary for his Majestys Service that his Majesty shall order I should do my utmost to put in execution; In which I have also made great complaints against the Surveyor General of these Colonies who has never been here since the time of his first appointment so that I cannot obey my instructions relative to him. These are the most material things I have to mention at present your Lordships may depend upon my utmost endeavours to keep up the spirit against the French, to expedite the march of the Company and to promote his Majestys Interest and improvement of the Colony to the utmost of my power, in which neither care nor application shall be wanting.

I am with the utmost Regard &c
ARTHUR DOBBS.

Newbern ye 8 February 1755


Additional Notes for Electronic Version: Account of the shipping and slave trade in North Carolina was enclosed with this letter - See Related Documents.