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Letter from Arthur Dobbs to the Board of Trade of Great Britain
Dobbs, Arthur, 1689-1765
December 12, 1760
Volume 06, Pages 319-324

[B. P. R. O. North Carolina. B. T. Vol. 14. E. 44.]
Letter from Governor Dobbs to the Board of Trade

Brunswick 12th Decr 1760

My Lords,

I have just returned from Wilmington after holding a very disagreeable session of five weeks continuance to no purpose, where great attempts have been made against His Majesty's just prerogatives and the rights of the Council, and have been obliged to prorogue & afterwards dissolve them without passing a crude undigested Aid Bill tacked again with an Agent, which they insisted as their right to force upon the Crown—As I find a ship just ready to sail for London I have only time to send you the Journals unattested and the two rejected Bills for your information, until I can get the Bills and Journals of the two houses and minutes of the Council properly attested, under the Great Seal which I shall send by the next opportunity and shall beg leave to make some observations on the Transactions of the Sessions to show how necessary it is for His Majesty's service to support me and give me further Instructions where your Lordships shall find them necessary to support the dignity of His Majesty's Government, and quell the Spirit of the Assembly who think to obtrude themselves into the Government and daily claim new priviledges and refuse to obey His Majesty's Instructions. The northern Junto of Child, Barker and Jones being broke to pieces, and none of them attending, Saml Swann the speaker, his brother John in the Council, and John Starkey the southern Republican Treasurer, formed a Junto upon the speakers being disappointed of being assistant Judge, and led the House this Session.

The House was prorogued to the 30th of October but no Quorum appearing in either House I was obliged to prorogue them to the

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first of November; when a Quorum being come to town I sent to them to attend me, but the lower House refused to assemble, so to avoid a dissolution was obliged to prorogue them de die in diem until the 7th of November and though above 25. Members were in town they still refused to meet denying His Majesty's right of constituting 15. to be a quorum, upon which I told them if they did not meet and adjourn themselves, I would no longer prorogue them but let them dissolve themselves—

Upon which they thought proper to meet & altho' there were 31. Members present besides the speaker in express contradiction to His Majesty's Instructions that 15 should be a Quorum and upon their meeting though they refused attending me to make my speech, they came to a resolution that they would stand by their interpretation of their Charter, and not enter upon business without a Majority of the whole House, and ordered warrants to be issued to take the absent Members into Custody, and that their Serjeant's fees should be paid by the defaulters, and then adjourned de die in diem until the 11th at night, and then sent to let me know they would attend and receive my speech, in answer to which after some days they attended me with their address, but entered not in their Journal that they had delivered their address, & consequently did not enter my answer to their Address and therefore have sent your Lordships my answer.

I must also observe that in the manner of passing the Treasurer's Accounts, which they have taken out of the Governors & Councils Inspection and will not allow the auditor or Lords of the Treasury to interfere in their accounts but pass them as they please with or without Vouchers, and keep all their Accounts in the Clerks hands which ought to be kept in the Auditor's Office, so that in forming their Committees of Accounts and Claims they have made the Committee of the Councils attendance nugatory, for the Committee of Accounts & Claims consist of from 7 to 9 of the Members of the Lower House in each; and but 2 in each from the Council, and as all things are carried by a Majority the Council must submit to their Majority, and always sign the report whether partial or not, and this report they think ought to bind the Governor and that he ought to approve of it and issue out his warrants accordingly, this I have refused sometimes to ratify or grant Warrants upon their Report, and now the northern Treasurer has made payments to his favourites without my Warrants, and the Assembly this Session have ordered their Southern Treasurer to pay Publick money without any order from me to pay their Sergeants fees for Members in Custody to secure the Members in the Junto's interest.

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I must further observe to your Lordships the arts they made use of to carry a Majority in the Council to pass the tacked Aid Bill, which had been twice before rejected by the Council—By the Journals they voted that no Bills should be received after the 25th of November, yet delayed bringing in the Treasurer's Bill until the 29th. To explain this artifice to your Lordships I must inform you that Mr. Barker the Northern Treasurer and John Starkey had been appointed Treasurers in the Aid Bill granted in 1754, for a time unlimited, I being then not 6 weeks in the Government, and no person informed me of it until the Bill was passed, this Bill is temporary and the Aid expires in 1763. Mr. Barker having found out Mr. Child's artful designs and the false measures he led him into, and having kept very irregular accounts, if they can be called accounts, intends to quit the Province & therefore sent his resignation under his hand to the Speaker by Mr. Rieussett one of the Council and Collector of Roanoak with a Recommendation to make him Treasurer in his place; this the Speaker secreted from the House 'till near the end of the Session, and according as Mr. Rieussett was to vote in passing their Agent Bill tacked to the Aid Bill they were to make him Treasurer or not Therefore the Treasurer's Bill was to be kept back until the third reading of the Aid Bill, and then was brought in allowed to be filled up by the name of a member of the Assembly, but if Rieussett gave up His Majesty's right by having a foreign clause tacked to the Aid Bill, then it was to be altered at the 3d reading, and Reiussett's name was to be inserted, the bait took, and by his vote the Aid Bill backed with their Agent passed the Council—I therefore whenever I heard the Treasurer's Bill was read in the House sent a Message to the Speaker that as he was Treasurer by an Act, I could pass no Treasurer's Bill without seeing his resignation, or having it entered on the Journals,—upon this Message they altered the preamble of the Bill that Mr. Barker inclined to resign but came into the following Resolutions,

Resolved that His Excellency's taking notice of any matter or thing transacting in this House before being made acquainted with it by this House, and directing Entries in the Journals thereof is inconsistent with the antient liberties and Privileges of this House

So that the Governor was to be the last man in the Province to know the Transactions there, as their Journals were all Kept back from him for 6. or 8. days before they would give time to the Clerk to copy them, and refused him an Assistant Clerk—and every person in the

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Province has a right to know when a Bill is read in the House that they may have time to petition against it if they think it affects them or the public.

They afterwards upon the Councils altering the name of the Treasurer

Resolved—That it is the inherent right of this house to nominate persons to be appointed Publick Treasurers of this Province, and that the Council's nomination should not be admitted as a precedent hereafter.

I shall not mention the purport of my message to them and their address upon offering the Bills, as they are entered in their Journals, a copy of which is inclosed, but must observe that upon ending the Session and proroguing them for a day to reconsider the indigested Aid Bill, and to Know whether they would expunge the tacked Clause upon which I had rejected the Bill, they again directly brought in the Bill in the same words only making the Agents clause the main title of the Bill and first clause; and then adding the Aid Bill to the other, and though they were before so exact that upon wanting one member to make up 35 the majority of the House, the Speaker went twice with the House and the Mace to a sick member in order to make a quorum, yet this new Agent and Aid Bill was read 3 times and passed without having a Majority present, so inconsistent were their actions, upon this I summoned the Council to meet me and laid before them the following reasons for dissolving the Assembly and that each Member should sign his name who were for or against the dissolution;—this they refused to do, and tho' some of them would willingly continue the Assembly, they declared that I had a right to dissolve them, and I might act as I thought proper.

As I have sent your Lordships the original Bill offered to me which I rejected, I think it my duty to point out the insufficiency & crude nature of the Bill, which I was kept a stranger to until sent to me to peruse before I should pass or reject the Bill—As Sam Swann, John Swann & John Starkey were three of the Issuers of the Bills, the sum granted was to be made as large as possible that they might have the more to emit the Bills, and so were to amount to £16,494. Currency, they therefore instead of giving one field Officer to the 5 Companies formed a regiment and appointed 3 field Officers at £15. 12. 10. per diem, and would not allow them to be Captains of 3. of the Companies, but were to pay 3. Captains besides to add to the expense; though the Assembly of South Carolina gave 22 dollars

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bounty money, yet to prevent raising men speedily they only gave 40 shillings Currency, a guinea in value; Bounty money which would have delayed the service until it would have been too late to cooperate with the others, they had 100 men in each Company and raised independent of them 40. men more to guard Fort Dobbs, and Johnston without allowing Commission or non commission Officers to command them, in order to depreciate the Currency by too great an emission, when directed to employ above £6,000. lying in the Agents hands in England, which would amount by remitting here to near £12,000 Currency, they never took that money into consideration for reasons I shall mention below when I treat of the Agent they wanted to impose on the Governor and Council, but would issue more paper money to be made a legal tender, and would provide no tax to take place before January 1763. tho' next years poll tax does not exceed 4 shillings 11 pence per taxable, a very moderate tax—And in case the Cherokees should make peace and submit in 2 months, and the Troops disbanded, perhaps £10,000 might remain locked up in the Treasurers hands for his emolument, and was not to be burnt or to issue to take up the torn or disused Paper Bills, which generally fall upon the poor, but by the Bill were to be applied towards future contingencies, which were not to be applyed by the Governor and Council but were to be disposed of by the General Assembly who thus usurped a share in the Government, and would take upon them to apply it when they met to pay their stipends, or continue it in the Treasurer's hands, so that the Aid would have been in itself nugatory; however as the next best thing I could do for His Majesty's service, as the Province of South Carolina can't near compleat their regiment for want of white men, I gave Governor Bull early notice to send up his Officers with levy money and have directed our disbanded Officers to endeavour to keep the men together to enlist in their Troops by getting so great a Bounty, and hope by these means they will near compleat their Regiments with disciplined Troops—I have herewith also sent you my speech after the short Prorogation and the Assembly's last address to me, and you will find by the clause for appointing Bacon Agent that they had paid him at a salary of £200 a year from the 1st of October last which sum was to be paid to him out of the Publick Treasury & of the money received from the Treasury in England which was to be paid to him by the following Committee of Correspondence by Bills to be purchased by said Committee, which makes it evident their new Agent was to take it out of the Agents hands in which it is lodged in England, and
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was intended to be sent over to them in specie, and then they were to remit him back his salary upon what terms they liked to make a profit out of it to the Committee and their friends. The Committee was to consist of 3. of the Council and 5. of the Assembly or the majority of them, four of which were the Speaker, his Brother, his nephew and Treasurer Starkey, his dependant, and 2 others his friends only L. De Rossett and Harnet being independant, and none of the governing Junto, who would not be called upon to make a Majority.

I am, with the greatest regard &c
ARTHUR DOBBS.