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Report by John Rutherford concerning his actions as Receiver General of Quit Rents, including related depositions and an account of Joseph Anderson's salary as Attorney General
Rutherford, John, 1724-1782
December 1757
Volume 05, Pages 935-939

DOBBS vs. MURRAY AND RUTHERFORD.
[B. P. R. O. North Carolina. B. T. Vol. 13. D. 9, 10, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19,
20, 21, and Vol. 22. p. 264 and 268.]


North Carolina.

To His Excellency Arthur Dobbs Esqre Governor in Council.

The Explanation of John Rutherford Esqre Recr General of His Majesty's Quit Rents, of certain parts of a letter therein mentioned, and his answer to certain Articles of charge against him.1

Your Excellency having caused to be read in Council on the first day of December inst: the Copy of a letter which the said Receiver General wrote to the Right Honble the Lords Commrs for Trade & Plantations dated 19th June 1756, was pleased to order him the Receiver to explain certain paragraphs of that letter which are pointed at in the following Quæres.

Quære 1st In what particulars is the Rent Roll given to you or obtained by you deficient or imperfect?

Explanation. The Receiver never had any Rent Roll from the Deputy Auditor, whose office it is to furnish it, but only an Account of what Lands has been granted since the Receiver has been in Office. Neither has the Receiver ever seen what can be called a Rent Roll. The Account of Lands granted & made out from the Secretary's Office, recites only a few, not all the Patentees names and in every Respect as a Rent Roll is imperfect.

Quære 2nd What did you mean by the obstinacy of the People, Divisions amongst themselves and the distraction of the times of late?

Explanation. For want of a Rent Roll and an Account of what is due to the Crown, many of the people refuse to produce their patents and last receipts neither will they comply with your Excellencys Instructions,

-------------------- page 936 --------------------
to the Receiver General in giving up their last receipts on which head he begs leave to referr to the Depositions hereto annexed No. 1. and also for further explanation of this to the Deposition hereto annexed No. 2.

And by the distraction of the times of late he meant the dread & terror the back settlers were in from Irruptions by the Indians.

Quære 3rd What Act has been passed confirming Titles to Land without a proper regard to the payment of His Majesty's Quit Rents?

Explanation. An Act for securing the payment of Quit Rents due to His Majesty &c. passed Anno Dom. 1754. This Act would have answered all the purposes mentioned in its title had the former Deputy Auditors done their duty but the former Deputy Auditors have not done their duty or any part of it so farr as relates to a Rent Roll, by the second Clause of the above mentioned Act, every person seized or possessed of any Lands in that part of the Province the property whereof is in His Majesty shall within twelve months after His Majesty's Approbation of this Act publickly sygnified tender to be Recorded the Patent, Grant or Mesne Conveyance by which he, she or they hold any tract or parcell of land either in the Clerks office of the County Court where the land lyes, or in the Office of the Auditor General or his Deputy, In case the same shall not heretofore have been recorded.

This Clause is ineffectual because of the great number of Patents and Deeds which are indorsed by the late Deputy Auditors “Inrolled in their Offices” whereas in fact there is not one such inrollment to be found.

Quære 4th What miserable consequences may be dreaded from the making of Paper Currency in the manner done before the date of your letter?

Explanation. The miserable consequences of the breach of publick Faith are Loss of Public and Private credit, degradation of morals, discouragement to industry, ruin of the present Generation by poverty, loss of the rising one for want of Education and many more too long to repeat.

By every emission of paper Currency without interest, redeemable at long periods and compelled to be a tender in all payments, is a breach of Public Faith, and a dispensation with all private contracts. Such were formerly the emissions of this Province continually, and progressively depreciating in Proportion to the sums emitted. This reasoning and these Facts are too evident to require further illustration here.

Quære 5th What ground had you to suspect any new Emission of such Currency as you mention to their Lordships would be permitted?

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Explanation. Your Excellency soon after your arrival here was pleased to publish a private scheme of an Act for making eighty thousand pounds paper Currency, to be issued on loan, taking Lands in security. This Plan however well intended by your Excellency, had it been put in execution, would in the opinion of every person of skill in these matters, that I have conversed with, have greatly hurt the credit and commerce of this Province, and his Majesty's revenue here, for uncultivated Lands in this Government are generally an unprofitable estate, and the value of it arbitrary & fluctuating. And indeed it seems better policy for the promoting the speedy settlement of this Province to lay every person having much uncultivated lands under some necessity of selling it on easy terms rather than to encourage him to keep it by lending him money on the mortgage of it.

But it is unnecessary at this time to trouble your Excellency with long remarks on that Plan as the probability of bringing it into execution seems to cease.

I shall next answer the Complaints made by your Excellency in Council—

Quære 1st Why did you stop the sum of eighty eight pounds fifteen shillings & fourpence farthing proc: Money out of the payment of the late Joseph Anderson's Salary as Mr. Joseph Carruthers has sworn?

Explanation. Because as is evident from the original receipt now produced the late Joseph Anderson's executors would have been overpaid the sum of twenty pounds eleven shillings and fourpence Proclamation money and for account of a debt due to Sir Samuel Fludger, Merchant in Basinghall street London, a stated account with the said Anderson's Estate is here annexed.

Quære 2nd Why did you permit James Murray Esqre to issue certain small Bills or notes with a promise thereon that they should be received by you or your Deputy in payment of Quit rents?

Explanation. Mr. Murray having a salary due to him from the Crown for the time he acted as Secretary and Clerk of the Crown in this Province, & having occasion to buy corn and other Commoditys from the Planters, desired leave to make use of this expedient to get payment of his salary & firmly obliged himself to be accountable to me in money for the surplus if any.

This expedient I consented to for the following reasons—

1st Because the receivers my Predecessors admitted of orders from the Officers of the Crown, in the like cases for Quit rents and for sums of greater value.

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2nd Because I apprehended it to be well calculated for easing the Tenant and enabling, nay putting him in mind to pay his rents, and at the same time for discharging the debts of the Crown without depreciating the Currency—No person being compelled to take those notes in payment and the sum issued inconsiderable.

3d The sum Mr. Murray issued in notes was three hundred and twenty pounds, of which there are not more now circulating than eighty eight, and that shall speedily be called in.


North Carolina.

No. 1. The Deposition of Stephen Cade Esqre High Sheriff and Deputy receiver for the County of Johnston in the said Province who having been duly sworn on the Holy Evangelists of Almighty God deposeth & saith

That the Inhabitants in general in Johnston County have refused to deliver up their last receipts and to pay their Quit rents and many of the Inhabitants of the said County say, that they will pay their Quit rents provided they are allowed to keep their last receipts, others again say they will not pay without an account being rendered to them which was not in the power of this Deponent to produce to them for want of a good rent roll, And that they have threatened to take the Law of this deponent should he offer to distrain upon them for their rents which several of the Inhabitants of the said County have dared him to do. And further this Deponent saith that the great disturbances that of late were in the said County were not on account of the Quit rents, but for other matters they complained of about the time of draughting of men for His Majesty's service.

STEPHEN CADE.
Sworn to before me Decr 12th 1757.
John Clitherall


North Carolina.

No. 2. The Deposition of John Hamer Esqre Deputy Receiver for the County of Anson in the said Province who having been duly sworn on the Holy Evangelists of Almighty God deposeth & saith

That for these two years past that this Deponent hath been Deputy receiver for the said County, that there hath been so much divisions and distractions amongst the people in the said County about their lands, that they refuse to pay their rents, and this Deponent saith that he hath received very little since March last, and this Deponent further saith that the people of the said County seems unanimously resolved not to pay their rents till the boundary line betwixt the Provinces of North and South

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Carolina is fixed this Deponent also saith that he has been told should he pretend to distrain for His Majesty's rents he would run the risk of loosing his life. This Deponent firmly believes that if the Bounds betwixt the Provinces were once ascertained that all disputes would subside in the said County in regard to the paying His Majesty's rents.

JOHN HAMER.
Sworn to before me Decr 12th 1757.
John Clitherall.

No. 3. Dr Estate of Joseph Anderson late Attorney Genl with John Rutherford Creditor.

£.
s.
d.
To amount of Acct settled with Mr. Carruthers by his own Account
480.
2.
8.
To Amt of Mr. Anderson's receipt
20.
0.
0.
To Dr Cathcart's note assumed by him due to Sir Samuel & Thos. Fludgers Merchts in Basinghall Street London. Prin: & Interest in Proc:
52.
0.
0.
Difference of exchange betwixt Cash & Proclamation
17.
5.
8.
Total
570.
0.
4.
By Account of Debentures for Salary in Proclamn
568.
17.
4.
Due John Rutherford on this Account
1.
3.
0.
570.
0.
4.

Mr. Anderson was Attorney General from 16th April 1741, to the 27th October 1742, and afterwards from the 6th July 1743, to 17th May 1747, £80. per ann:

A true Copy

RICH: FENNER D. C. C.


———

1 See Council Journals of 12th December, 1757.



Additional Notes for Electronic Version: This report was enclosed with a letter from Arthur Dobbs - See Related Documents.