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Letter from Arthur Dobbs to the Board of Trade of Great Britain
Dobbs, Arthur, 1689-1765
February 28, 1760
Volume 06, Pages 226-229

[B. P. R. O. North Carolina. B. T. Vol. 13. D. 60.]
Letter from Governor Dobbs to the Board of Trade.

Brunswick 28th Feb 1760

My Lords,

I refer you to my Letter of the 19th January in which I wrote at large all the Occurrences of the last Sessions, which I send with the several Journals Bills etc, since which some difficulties have arisen about the Charters to some of the Counties and Towns which have formerly sent Members of which I must inform your Lordships and receive your Opinion upon in issuing future Writs upon calling Assemblies, all the Counties which had been appointed by Acts of Assembly and had been repealed by His Majesty in 1754, and had been reinstated again without any Clause to elect Members have taken out or applied for Charters except Tyrrel formerly a 5 Member County, and New Hanover County, the last not having been repealed

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by His Majesties Order, and the two Towns of Edenton and New Bern which I find stand upon a Clause of a Bill not then repealed. I must therefore lay their several Claims or Objections to take out Charters before your Lordships that you may be apprized of my reasons of allowing and disallowing of their several Writs, until they take out Charters or until His Majesty's pleasure is Known by new Instructions against future Elections.

As to Tyrrel I find their only Objection is that they are to have for the future only 2 Members in lieu of 5 formerly, which I think by my Instructions I am not impowered to grant, as none of the Counties in His Majesty's District nor any new erected Counties have more than 2 since I am instructed as near as I can to bring the Northern & Southern Districts to an equality, but I can't lessen the Numbers elected in the four Northern Counties of Chowan, Pequimons, Pasquotank and Currituc, which altho' they are very small Counties and 5 Members each and as I have divided Edgcomb County and made Halifax County out of it which will send 4 Members instead of 2 when undivided Lord Granville can't complain that 3 Members are taken from the small County of Tyrrel, besides for the conveniency of Chowan, Bertie & Northampton Counties I have erected Hertford County out of these, which will have two Members more in lieu of one taken from Bertie by Charter which formerly sent three, and the other taken from Tyrrel, so that Lord Granville's District will still have the same number of Members in Assembly.

New Hanover County stands yet unrepealed by your Lordships not having found out how they are entitled to be a seperate District and to send Members New Hanover I find was appointed by a Bill passed 27th November 1729 Chapt 10 under the Title of an Act for regulating Vestries etc in which nothing appears relative to New Hanover Precinct, this Act is not inserted among the printed Acts only the Title with this remark in the margin “Repealed by Act April 4th 1741 except that Clause which erects New Hanover into a District. The Bill which repeals it in 1741 Chap 23d is entitled an Act for Establishing the Church for appointing Parishes and the method of electing Vestries which in the 21st section repeals that Bills so far as relates to the Church Vestries etc. This irregular method of not knowing the contents of the Acts by the Titles prevented your Lordships from repealing that Law, and his Majesty having repealed the last Act in 1741 the former remains in its full force for these reasons I can't refuse issuing a Writt for that County for this New Assembly. if your Lordships think it necessary that they should take out a

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Charter to supply his Majesty's Prerogative, I believe you will think it advisable that His Majesty should repeal that Bill, or give me further Instructions upon it.

The Case of Edenton's and New Bern's right of sending Members is founded on a general Clause in an Act of the Proprietors the 19th January 1715 entitled, An Act for appointing a Town in the County of Bath Chap. 52, Sections 33d 34th & 35th, by virtue of which Bath sends a Member, & also Edenton and New Bern upon the general Clause of every Town in the Province being allowed to send Members when they shall have 60 families resident in them. These Clauses I believe were overlooked when His Majesty thought he had repealed the Edenton Law, by repealing the Act of the 1st of August 1740, which confirmed their power of sending a Member, and therefore Edenton, Bath Town and New Bern are still empowered by Law to send Members, and am therefore obliged to issue Writs to these Towns at this Time, and hope that in these Instances I have pursued my Instructions as far as I can do by Law, But your Lordships will consider whether it may'nt be advisable to repeal the Bath Town Law, as all future Towns when they have 60 families will send Members without having Charters from the Crown, & so lessen His Majesty's Prerogative.

As there are several displeased with me for steadily adhering to my Instructions, and seem desirous to make a Breach in the Province by setting up of Northern and Southern Interests especially the Treasurers, who are not pleased at my sending over Copies of their irregular Accounts, and some others at their head, who hope to gain in Case I should be guilty of any mistakes, and I am told have as much as they could delayed and prevented the Counties from taking out Charters saying it is unconstitutional, and only a scheme of mine to get fees contrary to Law, lest I may err and they should make any Clamour against me which might reach your Lordships, I must state that point to you, and have your Orders or Instructions upon it.

Upon the Repeal and reenacting of the Counties without a power of sending Members but by taking out of Charters, the County of Orange and Town of Brunswick applied by Petition for Charters, as there was no fee mentioned in the fee Bill for taking out of Charters under the Great Seal, I advised with the then Attorney General Mr. Robert Jones, and asked him what I should take as a fee for each Charter I said I thought I could not take less than £5, he said he thought it was too little for such a Privilege for ever and thought

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£10 proc. [money] was little enough, which according to the Discount is 5 Guineas, a Guinea passing for 40 shillings, and a pistole for 30 shillings, besides what they might give to the Secretaries upon which he took out Orange Charter and sent me the fee, as did also Brunswick. I therefore in pursuance of his advice have continued to take that fee, for as the Assembly give nothing to the Governor but such Perquisites, & neither allowed me for House rent, nor even my Expences in going to Philadelphia to serve the Province and the Public which all other Provinces allow, I thought a fee which does not amount to 1 penny per taxable was but a reasonable fee, and might [not] hurt future Governors, which is not more than a Justice of Peace in Ireland pays for his Commission, but upon hearing of the Complaint they would make against me, I have deposited the fee, and will not make use of it until I have your Lordships approbation, or if too much, shall return the whole or what part you shall think proper to instruct me to do, submitting the whole to your Lordships.

I am with due Regard
My Lords &c
ARTHUR DOBBS.