Letter from Arthur Dobbs to the Lords of the Treasury of Great Britain
Dobbs, Arthur, 1689-1765
Volume 05, Pages 939-943
Newbern, 26th Decr, 1757.
My Lords [of the Treasury]
The Copy of the Representation and Letter of Mr. Rutherford Receiver General of this Province to the Board of Trade of the 19th of June 1756 with Lord Walpoles Report upon it of the 6th of Janry last transmitted to me the 19th of Janry last from Mr. Martin by your Lordships order did not come to my hand until last August Since that time I had no opportunity of seeing Mr. Rutherford or of meeting the Council until last month when they came here to the Assembly though I wrote to Mr. Rutherford to acquaint him I got these papers to report upon to your
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Lordships as the season was very sickly and he had wrote to me that he had given up the Thoughts of going to England, I thought my answering and observing upon his Letter to the Board of Trade wou'd be fuller and more agreable to your Lordships after I had seen him and enquired into his accounts and Behaviour in the Receipt of the Quit Rents, for he never had produced his Books or accounts to me except two abstracts in a sheet of paper which he swore to but never would audit as he never charged himself with any Rental or returned any Arrear to be made a charge against him in his future Receipt or one Tenant named in the whole account the abstract being only the sums in gross received out of each County and the payments he had made out of it to what persons he pleased without any Warrant from me for the payment I therefore determined to examine into his behaviour in the Council and to inquire into the manner of his Receipts and Accounts and then acquaint your Lordships how they appeared and how he behaved in his Office having received some Informations of an extraordinary nature in the Execution of his Office and Trust I thought proper to examine into it in full Council the result of which you will see by the Minutes of the Council and by an affidavit of Mr. Carruthers to explain more fully what he had swore in Council which had not been fully taken down in the Minutes—upon which I thought proper to suspend him from his Office pursuant to my Instructions from his Majesty until his pleasure is known and have pro tempore put in Mr. Lewis De Rossett one of the Council a Gentleman the best qualified for it that I could find in the Province a good accomptant active and diligent of good capacity and of Integrity who has given good security both to the Crown and to Mr. Rutherford to account with him for half of the Profits in case his Majesty should restore him.
I have also sent to your Lordships his answer to the charge brought against him and to the several Paragraphs necessary to be explained of his Letter to the Board of Trade as also my remarks upon his answer.
Your Lordships will observe that in the answer he gives to the Oath sworn against him by Mr. Carruthers Sheriff of Craven why he gave him a power to stop in his hands out of the Quit Rents he had received the arrear due upon the Establishment of £568.17.9½ to the late Attorney General Mr. Anderson's Executors for which he gave him a full Receipt to charge it in his account that it was in consideration of his allowing him out of it £88.15.1¼ for his own Benefit and therefore gave him the preference to all others to whom arrears were due from the Establishment without doing them equal Justice and this Without any Warrant from me. This in his answer he says he stopped upon account of a private Debt due from Mr. Anderson to Sir Samuel Fludger in London
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which he made up by 3 Articles to £88.15.1¼ and it appears by the accounts he gave in annexed to his answer to the Council the sums were just calculated to make up the Ballance although it was not mentioned when he settled the account with Mr. Carruthers and the 2 last articles are not a fair charge by the Memorandum he entered clandestinely in Mr. Carruthers account but were put in to blind the Council without affidavit or other Evidence to make up a ballanced account Mr. Rutherford appealed to Mr. Rutherfords settled account which was sent for and produced and it appeared upon his Oath that the private account was not once mentioned when the stoppage was made and the account settled, but about 10 or 12 months after the account was settled Mr. Rutherford desired the Sheriff to let him see his account and book and after keeping it some time he returned it and under the account without his privity he entered a memorandum that the private Debt was not included in the above account and one of the articles of the private account of £26 Virga
Currency he advanced to £52 proc: which with a charge of discount upon the Notes was made to tally with the stoppage of £88.15.1¼ to this Mr. Rutherford made no Reply which aggravated the first crime.
In his letter to the Board of Trade he makes great complaints against the paper currency and that if any more were issued it would depreciate the Bills they being now considerably under par yet whilst he was sensible of this publick loss he allowed his friend and adviser Mr. Murray one of the Council to issue printed notes under hand and seal without limitation to be allowed in payment of Quit Rents with Interest a specimen of which I enclose to your Lordships which he himself endorsed or accepted to give the same a Sanction and directed the several Sheriffs to take them in payment of Quit Rents which was an effectual way to depreciate the paper currency of the Province which he said was with an Intention that Mr. Murray might be paid his arrear due from the Establishment giving him the preference to others without any orders for it, upon this Sanction Mr. Murray issued Notes of his own to be allowed in the Counties of New Hanover Onslow Duplin and Bladen and upon the success he had in the issuing of these he then issued Notes to be allowed in Quit Rents over the whole province where any were due to his Majesty and refused to pay them in provincial currency or in anything but for Quit Rents or for Debts due to him, or for Goods brought for him at what price he pleased to sell them which at least is 300 per cent currency upon sterling money. they said he had issued but few, for which no Evidence appeared and can't tell where it would have ended if they had not been stop'd by Proclamation and after their defence the Council without a Negative voting Mr. Rutherford guilty of a
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misdemeanour in his Office I suspended him until his Majesty's pleasure is known and both him and Mr. Murray from the Council. Upon examining into Mr. Rutherford's Securities I find they are very good but must observe that by a misinformation to the late Governor he only gave £2000 security when the 2 preceeding Receivers gave £4000 he or his friends having told the Governor they had only given £2000 althō the Quit Rents were always increasing. He complains with Reason that he had not a compleat Rentall from the Deputy Auditor which I believe is true, as no regular Books were kept nor any accounts audited from which he could make a charge, and many records lost or mislaid there being no Offices fixed so that upon the officers death all the papers in his house were lost or destroyed. But he allows he had taken out an account of the Patents entered in the Secretary's Office from which a Rentall may be made such as cou'd be made of which the auditor sent me a copy which 2 years ago amounted to above £3000 per ann: this currency which is increasing every year and don't find at a medium since he has been Receiver that he has received £800 per ann: I believe much less but as he has never produced or left with me either Book or Account but only 2 Abstracts he swore to and carried away with him I can form no Judgment of his Receipt but there never has been any charge against him by either Rentall or Arrear to be a cheque upon him or to furnish out an annual Rentall so that the Auditor had no account to audit but his abstract sworn to before me, nor could make out any annual charge against him in this manner have the Quit Rents been received the Receivers Indolence and other avocations taking up his time and now upon his Majesty's allowing the Sheriffs 5 per cent the whole trouble is thrown upon them, upon the whole from his misbehaviour in this Town and County of Craven where I reside I have reason to fear the like things may be done where I can't have Information and as he is but an indifferent Accomptant Indolent and entirely lead by Mr. Murray I can't expect that his Majesty's Receipt of Quit Rents will ever be put in order or properly received and attended to in case he is restored, and whoever is appointed if he ben't a good Accomptant active and diligent and of Integrity and a good character in Business but only accepts it to make it a Sinecure I despair of seeing the Receipt put in a proper order and the concealed Lands found out and a proper Rentall and cheque upon the Receiver General in order to have his accounts properly audited.
I have no friend that I could or would recommend to it, the Gentleman I have given it to pro tempore was an entire Stranger to me when I arrived here, and have appointed him entirely upon account of his good character Capacity Activity and Diligence in his private affairs and his
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Behaviour in the Council and upper house where he appears to act a fair part without embarking in parties but promotes his Majesty's Measures according to his Duty.
I submit the whole to your Lordships Consideration to do in it what you think most for his Majestys service and Interest which has hitherto been too much neglected in this Province.
Unless misdemeanours are properly punished and I be supported in doing my duty I can't expect to do his Majesty Justice in the Receipt of his Majesty's Quit Rents and preserving his just Prerogatives here, where every province is endeavouring to gain from the Crown by adding to their Priviledges and cramping his Prerogative nor can I prevail with the Republican Assembly to submit to my Instructions from his Majesty having not the power of rewarding his friends with a place of £10 per ann: profit the Assembly insisting upon naming the persons if they raise money for the Publick service.
I am with great respect, &c.,
Additional Notes for Electronic Version:
This letter enclosed a report from John Rutherford, with Dobbs' response, and notes printed by James Murray - See Related Documents.