Documenting the American South Logo
Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Advanced Search Options
Letter from the Board of Trade of Great Britain to Arthur Dobbs
Great Britain. Board of Trade
August 06, 1755
Volume 05, Pages 413-417

-------------------- page 413 --------------------
[B. P. R. O. North Carolina. B. T. Vol. 22. P. 184.]

Lords of Trade to Governor Dobbs. Aug 6th 1755.


We have received your several letters to Us dated the 9th of November and 19th of December 1754, the 4th and 11th of January, 8th of February and 10th and 19th of May 1755 with the several Papers transmitted with them and having taken such Measures thereon as appeared to us to be proper, We think it our Duty to acquaint you therewith and to give you Our sentiments upon the several points contained in these Letters as shortly as the importance of them and the great variety of Matter will admit.

The measures you took upon your Arrival in your Government to obtain an exact and precise Knowledge of the true state of it were very prudent and you was no doubt the better enabled from the result of your enquiries to form a judgment what steps were proper to be taken for putting it into a necessary posture of Defence Nothing can more strongly mark out the little Attention, which was given to the Affairs of this Province during the Administration of the late Governor and of his Successor Mr Rowan, than the weak and defenceless State in which you found the Publick Stores, wherein you tell us there was neither Powder, shot or Arms, This appeared to us to be of so great importance in the present situation of Affairs, that we thought it Our Duty to lay such parts of your letters as relate to this point before His Majesty and to propose that the Powder and small Arms requested in your letter of the 9th of November and also the Cannon and Stores represented in your letter to the Earl of Halifax to be necessary for the Fort at Cape Fear should be forthwith sent out to you, and We doubt not but Orders have been given accordingly.

We did likewise lay before His Majesty those parts of your letters which relate to the expediency of having an Independent Company stationed in the Province but We are not acquainted whether any or what Orders have been given thereupon.

The Method you pursued to come at a true Knowledge of the State of the Quit-Rents and Grants of Land and the Directions you gave to the Receiver General and other Officers for that purpose are very much to be commended and that nothing might be wanting on our part to assist you in your endeavours and to promote the Plan you have laid down for putting His Majesty's Revenue upon a more certain and regular establishment for the future We thought it necessary to communicate

-------------------- page 414 --------------------
such parts of your letters as relate to these points to the Lords Commissioners of the Treasury and as this Matter is certainly within their Department to desire they would give such directions therein as should appear to them to be proper We agree with you in opinion that an exact survey of the several Counties will be the best means of ascertaining the true quantity of Lands granted and consequently improving the Quit-Rents and therefore we hope you will speedily receive Orders from the Treasury upon this point, We must however acquaint you that the Earl Granville to whom we communicated that part of your letter of the 9th November, which proposes his being at a certain share of the expence, declines concurring in this Measure for Reasons which you will find in the Copy of a letter from his Agent, Mr Child, to our secretary herewith inclosed.

Upon a more minute consideration of the Instructions to you relating to the Terms upon which you are to make Grants of Land it appeared to us that those Terms might be considered as too severe, especially by those who were desirous of taking up Lands upon the Frontiers near the Mountains. We have therefore laid that part of your letter, which contains a Proposal, that you may be allowed to grant six hundred and forty Acres to any one Person (which we find to be the Quantity ascertained, by an old Law of the Province) before his Majesty with Our Opinion that such an Alteration will be expedient and for His Majesty's Service but We apprehend the Lords of the Council have not yet determined upon it. The same observation occurred to us with respect to the Terms of cultivation and if they shall upon trial be found to be impracticable or so difficult to be complyed with as to operate as an Obstruction to the settlement of the Colony, We see no objection to the regulating this Matter by a provincial Law as has been done in Virginia provided the operation of such a law be suspended till His Majesty's Pleasure be known.

The favourable Reception you met with upon your Arrival in your Government from all ranks of the People gave us great pleasure, we look upon it as a happy Presage of future Peace and Tranquillity in your Administration which cannot fail of having the effect to render North Carolina an happy and flourishing Province. The Attention which the Assembly shewed to the several Matters which you recommended to them at their first Meeting, the Zeal and Spirit which they exerted in providing for the Assistance of the Virginians and for their own Defence and the decent and proper Manner in which they express their sense of his Majesty's paternal regard to them in revising the State of the Province cannot fail of recommending them to His Majesty's Favour and

-------------------- page 415 --------------------
Protection, and we hope that when the Acts passed by them in their first session which are now with Our Counsel for his Opinion in point of Law, come to be considered they will be such as we can lay before His Majesty for his Approbation, That which relates to the Quit-Rents and registering of Grants is opposed by Lord Granville's Agent and we have at the request of Mr Abercrombie declined entering into a consideration of it, till he has had an Opportunity of giving in his Answer to the Objections brought against it, it would give us great satisfaction if these Objections could be cleared up or removed, because We should be very sorry to have the Zeal of the Assembly damped by the Repeal of a Law which though it may be liable to Objections in the manner of framing it appears to us in the general view and intent of it to be calculated for His Majesty's Interest and Service.

The postponing the Publication of the Repeal of the Laws concerning the Counties and Courts of Justice, until after the Meeting of the Assembly appears to us to have been a prudent Measure, the address they presented to you upon this subject and which you transmitted to us with your letter of the 11th January was immediately laid by us before his Majesty with our opinion thereupon which you will find contained in the inclosed copy of our Representation. This Representation has been agreed to and we have prepared the draught from an additional Instruction to you conformable thereto, which has been agreed to and signed by the Lords Justices and We hope will have the effect to answer the Intentions of the Assembly and to obviate all your difficulties upon this point as it not only provides against the inconveniency which is represented to attend the establishing Counties and districts by Charters of Incorporation by allowing you to give your assent to new Laws for that purpose but also as it provides for the Repeal of those Laws, which were not transmitted at the time the Order was made for the Repeal of the others or which have been passed since.

It gave us concern to find that the communication to Mr Glen of your Orders concerning the Boundary Line gave rise to so disagreeable an Altercation between you. As that gentleman's admistration is now however at an end, we shall decline any animadversions upon his conduct. We hope you will find a different Temper and disposition in the present Governor and that you will amicably cooperate in whatever Measures may be necessary to be taken for the general Good of both Provinces. We are thoroughly convinced of the expediency of some speedy determination upon the Boundary-Line but it will be impossible for us to lay before His Majesty our sentiments upon this Matter, until we shall be furnished with the Sense of the Province of South Carolina

-------------------- page 416 --------------------
upon it, which Mr Lyttelton is directed to obtain and transmit to us as soon as possible.

Your letter of the 4th January in which you state the Wants and Defects of the Province contains a Variety of very extensive and important Propositions, which require a very serious consideration. The Alterations, which you propose should be made in the Acts of Navigation would certainly in the general light in which you state it be productive of great Advantages to Our Colonies, but there is such a variety of circumstances necessary to be attended to in the consideration of a Question of this kind that we dare not venture to give an Opinion upon it without a very precise and thorough examination of the effect and Operation of the Laws of Trade in every light and view of them. We are sensible of a great many Errors and defects both in the policy and frame of those Laws and that they do not properly consist and correspond with each other, but we cannot but think that it would be dangerous to enter into an Examination of them with a View to one inconvenincy only and therefore whenever the circumstances of the Times will admit of a consideration of this Matter, the whole must be entered into together and whenever that takes place, your observations will certainly have their due weight.

As we shall always think it Our duty to give countenance and support to whatever may be proposed for the Advantage and benefit of the Colonies in general or of any particular Province, We shall not fail to give due attention to your Proposals of a copper coinage and Papercredit whenever they come properly before us, but as the first of them is as we apprehend at present under the consideration of the Lords of the Treasury and as the Assembly have not entered into a consideration of the other, We are neither authorized nor enabled to give an Opinion upon them. We are however sensible that these are Measures which if properly executed may be attended with great Advantages to the Province but the merit or demerit of them will depend upon the Manner in which the Acts for carrying them into execution are framed.

The Zeal and regard which you have shewn for his Majesty's service and the Welfare of the Province, in personally taking a general survey of it with a view of fixing upon a proper Place for the Seat of Government and providing for the Defence of the Sea Coast, are very much to be commended and you may be assured that the two important Propositions, which have been the Result of your labour and Search will be properly attended to. We have no doubt from the Account and description you give us of Stringer's Ferry upon Neuse River, that it is a proper place for the Seat of Government but we are inclined to believe that His

-------------------- page 417 --------------------
Majesty will not think it advisable to give any positive directions, without having the sense of the People taken upon it in the next Session of the General Assembly. And we are the rather of this Opinion as it appears to us that such directions would be ineffectual, unless there are Assurances from the People that they will make a proper Provision for erecting publick Offices and for such other Services as will necessarily require expence We therefore think it adviseable that you should lay this matter before the Council and Assembly and propose a joint address to His Majesty upon it. The fortifying and securing the Harbour at Cape Look-out appears to us in every light to be a very necessary and proper Measure and we have accordingly laid your Proposition before the Lords Justices for their Directions upon it and when they have been signified to us, we shall not fail to acquaint you with them. So we bid you heartily farewell and are

Your very loving friends, &c.,

Whitehall Augst 6th 1755.