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Letter from Arthur Dobbs to the Board of Trade of Great Britain
Dobbs, Arthur, 1689-1765
January 19, 1760
Volume 06, Pages 216-220

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[B. P. R. O. North Carolina. Vol. 14. E. 1.]
Letter from Governor Dobbs.

My Lords [of the Board of Trade.]

I have nothing to acknowledge since my last of which I here send you a Duplicate but your letter of the first of August which came to my hands near the close of the last Session which sat longer than usual and at last broke up without passing any Bill for reestablishing any Act for the General Supream Courts of Justice having framed Bills up on Schemes calculated for their private Ends encroaching upon his Majesty's Prerogative the Chief Justices Rights and proposing to pay the Assistant Judges out of the sinking fund which the Council wou'd not agree to nor the other recede from so the Bills were rejected upon which after passing an Aid Bill such as they had agreed to for a scanty company of 30 Men and to pay such of the Militia as were ordered out against the Cherokees and some other Bills I by the advise of the Council dissolved the Assembly to give the Constituents an Opportunity of a new Election to pass proper Bills before new Cabals or Parties are formed to mis lead the Assembly and carry Jobs for themselves.

I herewith send your Lordships my Speech and the Addresses at the opening of the Session and my Speech upon the Dissolution; I also send you a Copy of the Superior Court Bill as it was brought into the House with the Alterations in it up on the second reading, when it was rejected by the upper House upon which the Assembly brought in a new Bill under a different Title which after many Alterations and Amendments continued until the 3d Reading and up on the Assembly's insisting upon applying the fund for sinking the paper Bills to the payment of the Assistant Judges which they would not repay but by a small Tax to commence in 1763, the Council rejected the Bill, a Copy of which Bill I shall also send you when I get the Bills copied that were passed with the Journals: and then your Lordships will see whether Bills framed upon either plan or upon the General Court plan formerly repealed up on Account of the Clause in it for fixing the seat of Government with Courts of Assize and Oyer and Terminer will be most constitutional and advise me which to recommend in case I can have an answer before May, in which Month I propose holding the new Assembly—The Chief Justice Berry was here and I advised with him upon the whole affair, and appointed him one of the Council before the Close of the Session

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according to my Instructions upon their not being 7. Councillors in the Province alive or capable of attending; there having been two suspended and one dead and two out of the Province one at Gibraltar, and the other in South Carolina so that there were but 7. in the Province and one of these Mr. Corbin refused attendance having not attended last May session, nor would attend this Session without making any excuse though properly admonished and Mr. Rieusset who attended the Beginning of the Session having been taken ill and got leave to return and the President afterwards taken ill and scarce able to attend by the unanimous Advice of the Council I suspended Corbin for non attendance and former Prevarications with the Council and upon it swore in the Chief Justice for had the President continued ill there then would not have been a Number to have made a House, so finding it for his Majesty's service and believing it would be agreeable to your Lordships I brought him into Council to assist at this critical time and if his Majesty is pleased to confirm Mr. Corbins suspension as he is now out of Lord Granville's Service I beg leave to recommend Mr. Child the Attorney General now resident here in Lord Granville's Agency as a proper person to succeed him, with the other Gentlemen I recommended before in place of Col. Innes and the two former suspended Members in case their suspension shou'd be confirmed which were Mr. Maurice Moore Mr. Alexander Maccullough Mr. Robert Palmer Surveyor General and Colonel John Sampson and when these vacancies are filled I expect the Council will be steady in supporting his Majesty's Prerogative and the Rights of the people.

I have also sent to your Lordships a Copy of Mr. Barkers accounts who is Treasurer of the Northern District, by which you will see in what Manner the public accounts are carried on, when not brought before and passed by the Council, and not properly audited, when thus undigested and passed by the Assembly having such Influence as Members and Treasurers over the Assembly as to influence them in their favour even to carry points against the Crown by being for Life. Mr. Starkey the other Treasurer for the Southern District has not furnished me with a Copy to send your Lordships and though he has returned an imperfect list of Taxables and a jumbled indistinct Arrear yet his manner of accounting is very irregular, and as he has been constantly acting against his Majesty's Prerogative and still attempting to enlarge the Power of the Assembly at the Crown's expence and is a declared Republican and having by the Honours granted him by the Crown of being Colonel of the Militia in his

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County and the ruling Justice of the peace in the County Courts and being almost sole administrator or Executor over Orphans Estate in his County he has all his Accounts tho' unwarranted passed by the County Courts I by the unanimous advice of the Council have left him out of the Commission of the peace and I have also taken his Commission of Colonel from him that he mayn't by favour of the Crown have an undue influence over the County upon a new Election, as it is improper that a Treasurer should be a Member, and though your Lordships are of opinion very justly that it is improper to have the Bill at present repealed that appoints the Treasurers for Life until the Time the Tax expires in 1763 yet as it is a temporary Law and Tax and has a perpetual Clause slipped into the Bill I believe your Lordships will then think it advisable to repeal that Clause so that the Treasurers may rest as they are until that time.

I also laid your Lordships Memorial of April 1739 [1759] upon the Complaint of the Merchants about the Paper Bills of Credit before the Assembly. His Majesty's Instructions in pursuance of it not having arrived here till near the end of the Session which I then also laid before them But they would not be prevailed upon to frame any Bill to the purpose recommended for these Reasons That if any Bill should pass to prevent those Bills already passed from being a legal Tender it would immediately depreciate our present Bills to a discount of 300 p cent or perhaps more as happened to the Bills called the old Tenor which formerly fell from one pound to ten pounds discount and if such a Bill should pass and new Bills be issued hereafter without being a legal Tender neither old nor new would be current in Trade As there is n't present neither Gold nor Silver current in the Province it would effectually prevent Quit Rents from being received or any publick Taxes due to his Majesty for then distresses cou'd be only taken and if offered to sale there would be but few Buyers for want of Bullion to pay for them, and if a few persons had hoarded up a little Bullion they might purchase such Distresses at what price they pleased being a Monopoly to them This would raise a flame and the Government who have no regular force in the Province would be insulted and would have no Power to enforce the Law as appears by the late Riots to the Northward where Mr. Corbin was carried away by force.

The Assembly were also surprized to hear of such an Application to your Lordships as they can find no Merchants of any Weight from this Province who joined in the application nor had heard of any Creditors in England who had made such a Complaint and

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therefore alledged they were persons drawn into petition by private sollicitations of Persons of no Weight—For in this Province where protested Bills have been sued for with Damages the Jury generally give Damages with Interest equal to the discount upon Bills and not according to the nominal value of 33⅓ p cent the proportion of paper Bills to sterling Money.

As this Instruction which I will and must adhere to until released from it has put an effectual stop to the issuing any future Notes for the publick service the Assembly had no other Method to raise the supplies for the current service to join in obtaining Justice from the Cherokees and to support the small company of Provincials till All Saints next, but by borrowing so much again from the Bills repaid to the schools as much as Answered the present Emergency (which thank God is now over by obtaining Justice and a future peace from the Cherokees) and what was due for Claims and the Expences of the Assembly to be paid in again by 1s 8d Tax for 3 years which sum when repaid is to be subject to his Majesty's Orders whether to be issued for building of schools or to be burnt with the other paper Money by the sinking fund.

As this Province suffers so much for want of a proper education of their youth as well as for want of a pious Clergy I leave it to your Lordships whether you won't think it prudent to advise his Majesty to allow it as it is paid in to be issued again towards the building of schools as well as other sums borrowed from the Bills for building churches and purchasing Glebes for the use of the Clergy and let the paper Bills be burnt annually by the sinking fund, for notwithstanding the Complaint of the paper discount the Province will in a few years be petitioning for a further currency of paper as there wont be a sufficient sum to pay Taxes and Quit Rents and to carry on Trade until by our Industry we get a Ballance in Trade which can only bring in Bullion to us.

I think it proper to inform your Lordsps that the smallpox has got among the Indians the Cherokees and Catawbas and the accounts we have from these last are that great numbers have perished but as they have all dispersed in the Woods to avoid it they say there are not 40 of their Warriors left in their Towns and should they be much diminished so as not to make up a Nation they talk of removing to join the Creeks when I know the certainty I will further inform your Lordships and then you will form a Judgment how much land to allow them about their Towns I have passed a Bill to have Fort Johnston finished in two years time by private

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contract for £2900 to be paid out the powder money granted for a Term of years by the Assembly.

The Assembly proposed to apply the Fines and Forfeiture towards the payment of the assistant Judges Salaries but upon my informing them that I cou'd not pass the Bill without having his Majesty's previous consent they desisted, but as scarce any fines or forfeitures have been recovered if his Majesty should consent to have them so applied they might pass a Bill to have them properly collected which can't be done now without an Exchequer Court which it has been thought adviseable not to push for.

If your Lordships should think it adviseable to have a general court Bill with Courts of Assize and Oyer and Terminer you will find it proper to fix the seat of Government and have all the Offices kept together I therefore should be glad to know whether his Majesty would have the late Bill for fixing the seat of Government repealed here or will repeal it at home or whether he will approve of having it fixed as it is by that Bill and in case any money is allowed from the Parliament to this Province whether his Majesty wou'd apply a part of it to finish these publick Buildings since now no Bills can be issued upon that account I can't tell how that Money can be applied for as the Assembly have not applied for any Agent to be appointed and therefore it must lie over till next session. I dont doubt but the Chief Justice and Attorney General will acquaint your Lordships with the Objections made against the rejected Bills and therefore shall refer to their Letters.

I am with due respect My Lords &c.,
ARTHUR DOBBS.

Brunswick
19. January 1760.


Additional Notes for Electronic Version: This letter enclosed other documents - See Related Documents.