The lower House of Assembly of North Carolina having passed several resolves against his Excellency the Governor and me, equally
As to the second which relates to my being Secretary and having been guilty of several palpable frauds and sets forth a flagrant instance of one said to be committed four years ago which you will see by my answer is totally false, since so far from giving myself the preference (that no impartiality to myself in my own Office should be suggested) I gave up my right to the land under the circumstances mentioned in my answer upon oath; and the said Joseph Such has peaceably enjoyed it since.
Now my Lords under these circumstances I hope you will think I have discharged the trust reposed in me with honor, as to this charge and as to the General one of palpable frauds being committed, I defy the whole Assembly to prove my being guilty of a dishonest or mean thing in the execution of my Office, or that I ever extorted any Fees but by Law allowed me, and I am and always shall be ready to vindicate myself against any dirty insinuations which by party violence or envy may be thrown out against me, and when your Lordships has a full view of the whole transaction I dare say you will think I do not deserve such treatment, and also when by Party violence my Place was intended for one Robert Jones a Lawyer of this Province a Pretext was to be found out for removing me and Mr. Child was to get him fixed in my place, your Lordships may judge how difficult it was to find anything against me (altho they set forth the many irregularities and palpable frauds which happened during my appointment) when for a single instance or the least color of a fault, they were obliged to have recourse to the above affair which happened nigh four years ago, which I humbly conceive must to every unprejudiced person appear as a convincing proof of my having discharged the trust reposed in me with that Honor and justice that so great a Trust requires, and that nothing but envy, Party and a premeditated malice could induce the persons concerned to be guilty of such an unjust and cruel resolution against any Persons character, who had not the liberty to justify himself and hinder his reputation from being falsely exposed, or even knew of it until six days after the session was over, and this also had another sting intended to make the Governor odious in the eyes of the people for
As to the third resolution by the proofs annexed to my defence you will see that is equally false, malicious and scandalous and that my having whipt the Person therein mentioned, was not under color of law, or executed by any judicial authority, but only my private resentment, for having under his hand treated my wife with the greatest indignity, and to the prejudice of her character, and which I dare to affirm any Person would have done under the like circumstances, for in this new settled country as the most of the people are from mean originals, they don't much stand upon character, which makes it incumbent upon those that do, to exert themselves in their own defence and tho' my heat of passion was so great, upon the first notice of it, yet I only whipt him moderately in order to discover the author of so villanous a libel, and I am persuaded had not Party violence been carried with so high a hand, nothing would have been said upon that affair, as everybody was satisfied he deserved much more for offering to meddle with persons of character, and he himself was so convinced of deserving such treatment that he forgave me, and never offered to sue or indite me for it, but to have the affair so highly aggravated, misrepresented and placed in such a point of view, plainly shews the malignity of such a resolution, and that Party Violence was the only spur to it.
Now, My Lords, it is also requisite to inform your Lordships that my appointment, as well as fourteen other Gentlemen, was only to hinder the Courts from dropping, for want of adjournment in case of the sickness, or other accident happening to the Chief Justice to hinder his being at the Court the first day, and that neither I nor any other of the Associates had had one farthing by such appointment, but on the contrary was at a good deal of expense on such occasions, which plainly shews the Governor could not get any Lawyer to act under such circumstances as the Gentlemen of that Profession don't understand such empty inducements, and it was necessary to appoint Gentlemen in the neighbourhood who would take such trouble upon them and I hope your Lordships considering the Provocation will upon the whole affair being laid before you, not impute it as a fault, but only look upon it as the effects of the first transport of passion, without the cool deliberation and exercise of reason which would have widely altered the case.
Upon the whole I hope for your Lordships favour & protection, whilst I acquit myself in the Office I have the honor of holding