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Memorandum from Arthur Dobbs to the Lords of the Treasury of Great Britain concerning John Rutherford's actions as Receiver General of Quit Rents
Dobbs, Arthur, 1689-1765
December 1757
Volume 05, Pages 950-954

Remarks upon the several Articles and Answers given in to them by Mr. Rutherford in Council.

His answer to the first article about the Rent Roll is in a great measure true, and the auditor could not make him out a regular Rent Roll except of these Lands that were entered in the Secretary's Books but a Rent Roll from these Books he owns he had got such as would be made out which by an account I have of them amounts to above £3000 per annum procl and thō there may be some mistakes in it yet he ought to have charged himself with that Rent Roll and where any of the Lands were not found or any mistakes in it, he in the Column for Observations ought to have discharged himself by it, until the Lands could be found out or ascertained by the Sheriff from their List of Taxables but upon getting an allowance of 3 per] cent for the Sheriffs he left the whole upon them to receive and took what they received without a return of any arrear from them without mentioning any Observations of Lands not to be found or entering down any arrear to be a future charge against him.

As to the second Query about the Obstinacy of the people their Divisions and Distractions of the Times, his answer is that many refused to shew their patents or give up their last Receipts as directed as appears by affidavits annexed and the Disturbances in Anson where they disputed the Limits between the two Provinces.

Was it not then his Duty to complain of their denying to give up their last Receipts which wou'd been made easy at once by ordering the Sheriffs to take attested Copies of their last Receipts to produce to the auditor to fix the arrear and was there any pretence not to destrain according to the Dates of the Patents entered in the Rent Roll which wou'd if a wrong charge have obliged the patentee to have produced his patent and if a Sheriff or Receiver General is to be intimidated from receiving his Majesty's Quit Rents by a Tenants Threats in a Colony amenable to the Laws he is not fit for his Office but it seems no person was distrained and the distraction in the Province is only that

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in Johnston County there was a Riot once upon draughing men from the Militia and no Distractions in any other part of the Province except in a small part of Anson County and those chiefly upon Mr. McCulloh's Grants near the Boundary Line upon which no Quit Rents are yet due.

3rd Query. What act has been passed confirming Titles to Lands without a proper regard to the payment of Quit Rents his answer is the Act for payment of Quit Rents in 1754 and sets forth some reasons against it.

This Query was entirely of his own and Mr. Murray's making and does not answer his complaint in his letter to the Lords of Trade he there complains of a Law passed in 1755 and his answer is against the Quit Rent Law passed in 1754 under a suspending clause and therefore is not properly yet an Act which he says in his Letter he can do very well without but how he could complain of the cause for quieting possessions passed in 1755 which is entirely in favour of the Crown after 20 years quiet possession to save the Tenant from old dormant Titles to Lands when they are to pay up all the Quit Rents and arrears at the rate of four shillings procl per 100 acres for the whole 20 years in case patents are lost and mislaid and no Quit Rents have been paid shou'd come from him to the Lords of Trade I can't imagine.

The fourth Query about the Paper currency is very true if more Bills were intended to be issued but even for the aid of the Crown none have been issued since I came over but the £18000 struck before not to be issued without leave from his Majesty and for the repayment of them funds were granted to pay them off in 5 and 7 years and nothing has been issued since but Treasury Notes to bear Interest for a year and funds given to raise the sum in a year. There are now procl Bills for about £50,000 yet standing out which are at a considerable discount but as he justly observes that issuing more paper currency would be a great prejudice to the publick and depreciate the Bills can he justify his friend and Director Mr. Murray to issue out a paper currency without Limitation and to give them a Sanction by endorsing that he will receive them in Quit Rents under pretense of paying his friend the arrears due to him from the Establishment in preference to others to whom much more is due and from limiting the Notes to pass only in 4 Counties to allow him afterwards to have them Current over the whole province where any Quit Rents or arrears are due is acting with his eyes open in opposition to the Interest of the Colony as Mr. Murray has done contrary to his Duty as one of the Council by circulating a paper currency to depreciate the Bills issued by Act of Assembly and afterwards refusing to take them unless where they would take goods from him at an unreasonable price or for Debts due to him.

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5th Query. What grounds had you to suppose there would be any new Emission of paper as mentioned in your Letter to their Lordships? This is a Query of Mr. Murray's own drawing as all these answers are to enable him to bring in a plan I proposed for a Bill upon my first coming over for passing paper Notes upon payment of Interest upon Land Securities according to the plan of the Pensylvania currency which was never attempted after finding that there was already £40,000 in Bills struck and to be issued besides Old Bills of near £20,000 more at the same time he allows there was no probability that it should be attempted.

In answer to the complaints made against Mr. Rutherford in Council he answers to evade his having stop'd £88.15.1¼ for his own Benefit upon his allowing the Sheriff Carruthers to pay himself out of the Quit Rents the Arrears due to Joseph Anderson's Executors £568.17.9¼ he has produced a false account made out on purpose to make up the sum stop'd which had never been produced or demanded from Mr. Carruthers at the Time of settling his Account with him and making the stoppage he then having allowed Mr. Rutherford that £88.15.1¼ in consideration of his giving him the preference to others to whom great arrears were due upon the Establishment as appears from the Minutes taken in Council and an affidavit taken since herewith sent as several of the particulars he then swore in Council were not taken down and entered in the Council Minutes which were not contradicted by Mr. Rutherford particularly that no such Articles of £20.11.4 due to Sr Saml Fludger or £52 due to Dr Cathcart and assigned to him £17.6.8 charged upon discount of the paper Currency which if the other Sums had been charged could not be charged as procl is not at any discount by Law but is here brought in to make out the sum £88.15.1¼ though never produced or demanded by Mr. Rutherford when the stoppage was made but that 10 Months after Mr. Rutherford desired to see the Book with the settled Accounts and after keeping it some time returned it with a Memorandum under it as appears by Affidavit put in without Mr. Carruthers privity as if it had been entered at the Time of settling the accounts wherein he mentions two sums not allowed in that account vizt £15 odd English amounting to £20.11.4 and £26 odd Virginia Currency which in his account given in his answer he has turned into £50 odd Proclamation Money in order to make the Ballance tally with the £88.15.1¼ stop'd for his own use which being given in upon Oath Mr. Rutherford did not deny which confirmed and added to his first fault

2d Complaint upon his giving a sanction to Mr. Murray unlimited Paper Currency in receiving them in Quit Rents and ordering the Sheriffs to take them in payment for Quit Rents and giving him the

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preference in paying him his arrear and so doing Injustice to others who ought to have been paid in proportion.

As the whole answer was penned by Mr. Murray as was also the letter to the Lords of Trade as Mr. Rutherford seems to be entirely under his Influence as his answer to this is principally to favour Mr. Murray here he avows the giving him an Obligation to be accountable to him for the Surplus Notes if any which plainly shews he might issue to what sum he pleased upon the Quit Rents over and above what was owing to him from the Establishment having an Obligation from him for that indulgence.

For the doing this he gives 3 Reasons that his Predecessors had admitted of Orders from the Officers of the Crown for sums of greater value. this was denied as nothing could or ought to be paid upon their Orders nor Debentures from the Auditors without a Warrant from the Governor and here he had no Warrant nor I beleive a Debenture from the Auditor.

The second reason is quite contrary to Truth the Tenant can't be eased since he can pay in procl Bills with as much Ease as he must give Goods for both, and it is quite false that it does not depreciate the Currency for it is now at Discount if no other Notes passed and Procl was wanted for payment as well as Gold and Silver then they must raise the paper currency by selling their Commodities cheaper which now bear an exorbitant price occasioned by buying Goods at above 300 per cent procl above English prime cost in Sterling Money in order to purchase Bills which must in time have raised the currency to par in order to pay their Quit Rents and other Taxes, but issuing other notes thō not compelled to take them yet having the sanction of the Receiver General to enable them to be circulated in Quit Rents must depreciate the paper currency or prevent it's rising to par he says the sums issued upon these Notes of Mr. Murrays are inconsiderable of this there was no proof but his own Word, and yet he supposes that many more might be issued than wou'd pay Mr. Murrays Arrears as he took his Obligation to pay him the overplus and it would be an intended fraud as he would not pay his own Notes but in Debts due to him or for Goods sold, which was to bring all people who had Notes to his shop, to take goods at what price he was pleased to put upon them.

Mr. Rutherford's third reason is that the sum issued was only £320—and none now stood out but £88. Thus he vouches for what Mr. Murray issued as if he was privy to all he issued thō he endorsed but a few as he says only 30; and that there was no more standing out than £88, when we had Evidence that one Sheriff had about £100 in them and one

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Gentleman paid above £100 in Quit Rents in them and they were not only dispersed through four Counties New Hanover Onslow Dupplin and Bladen but sent up to Storekeepers in Cumberland to pass them; after which he issued Notes to be circulated throughout the Province so that there was no limitation and what he here advanced was not confirmed by any Oath or other Evidence so that by the Accounts given many more were issued and to be issued until stop'd by the Proclamation for none could tell when they had such a Sanction where it wou'd end

ARTHUR DOBBS.


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