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Letter from Arthur Dobbs to Philip Bearcroft
Dobbs, Arthur, 1689-1765
January 22, 1760
Volume 06, Pages 221-224

[From the North Carolina Letter Book of S. P. G.]
Letter from A. Dobbs to the Secretary.


Brunswick, 22d Janry 1760.

Revd Sir—I have your favour of the 6th of August, with the Box of Books you mentioned for the Missionaries. I have delivered Mr. ____ MacDowell his parcel, as he is fixed in this Parish, where he discharges his duty to satisfaction and is an exemplary good liver & deserves encouragement or to be made a Missionary, if the Society's

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fund can afford it. I have also given Mr. Smith your letter, who is fixed in the neighboring Parish at Wilmington. I shall send the other parcels to the other Missionaries, Stuart, Read & Earle, by the first opportunity by sea from hence, as the carriage by land will be expensive to them & shall distribute the valuable books the Society has sent to them or to the other clergy or gentlemen qualified to read them, as we have some deists sprung up in this Province; I am much obliged to the Society, for the appointment of Mr. Read & Mr. Earle their missionaries, in this Province, where we are so destitute of Clergy, and their Parishes which generally take in a whole county are so very extensive, that the charge of attending many chapels is very great as well as laborious. I wish that your admonishment of Mr. Myer may have a good effect. I observe in his return to you, he mentions his having baptized above 300 whites & 60 Negroes in one year; I wish it may be true, as I am informed he does very little duty. I am loath to load him with facts from publick shame, so hope he will be able to justify his character & conduct which ought to be established to procure honor to his mission.

The most serviceable thing I can recommend to the Society at present upon the visible increase & extent of these colonies by the manifest interposition of Providence in our favour is, that they would recommend it to his majesty to send over some Clergymen with Episcopal power, if they dont prevail to have at least 2 Bishops fixed on this Continent for the Northern and Southern districts, that they might ordain and visit the clergy and see how they perform their duty which at present, tho' they should have no other episcopal jurisdiction or spiritual courts, except in separating the faulty from communion would I'm persuaded have a good effect; for I find what difficulties the Society is under in procuring proper clergymen to officiate here, in extended forests (tho' not deserts) when too many take orders, with a view to a maintenance or preferment; this would encourage the colonies to set up schools for the encouragement & instruction of youth, and from the colleges now erected, we might prepare our youth for ordination without the expense & hazard of going over to England to be put in orders, which would in some time lessen the sectaries, which so much abound in this and the neighbouring colonies; this my good Lord Bishop of London told me he wished to have done, and that his, so extensive diocese was lessened, and I hope methods might be found out to give such bishops or Clergymen with Episcopal itinerant powers a

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suitable maintenance, to promote so laudible a work. I am sorry that there are such difficulties in procuring clergymen & school-masters of good characters to come over to this Province, & hope the Society will think it of as great moment, to increase missionaries in this Province (which contains about 80,000 whites besides negroes) nor have we but 8 resident Clergymen as in the Northern Colonies, who tho' they have not Episcopal Clergy yet have other instructors which give them Christian Principles, when there is a total want here, having only strollers who set up for teachers, without any regular instruction, and many of them immoral Livers. Pardon me sir for this address which I think so necessary for promoting the success of the Gospel in this Province.

I lately Recd a Letter from Mr. Ichabod Camp from Middleton in Connecticut, who I find is a missionary there at a small allowance. He says that what he has there cannot support him & is inclinable to come here, if there is any encouragement; but I find that if he removes without the consent of the Society that he will lose his mission. I shall let him know the encouragement given here & that we have sufficient vacancies for many, and in case the Society should continue his mission upon his removal, shall desire him to obtain leave from the Society in order to encourage him to reside here, and perhaps this may induce others to come from the northwards, since we have such difficulty in getting any from England.

We have had a session of Assembly here to reenact and amend some Laws repealed by his majesty in Engld one of which was the Vestry Bill, which had taken the nomination to livings from the Crown; but the Assembly was so employ'd in framing other Laws, which in the end miscarried that they could not attend to have a proper Law, so only established a vestry Law for one year to enable them to lay tax for the maintenance of the Clergy, pursuant to the last Law, which settled £100 per ann & £20 for a Glebe as there is to be a new assembly elected to sit in May, we have thoughts to establish a general fund out of which the Clergy is to be paid as in So Carolina, if the assembly will be prevailed upon, to pass such a bill & then every Parish would endeavour to have a Clergyman and Church in their own Parish.

It gives me great pleasure that the Society accepts of my endeavours, to encourage Religion & Morality in this Province. I pray God to bless their endeavours for the general good of the Church,

I am Reverend Sir
Your most Obdt Humble Servant
ARTHUR DOBBS

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P. S. March 12th, the Cautawbes nation is almost destroyed by the Small pox. not forty fighting men left alive.