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Letter from Arthur Dobbs to Daniel Burton
Dobbs, Arthur, 1689-1765
March 30, 1762
Volume 06, Pages 709-710

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[From North Carolina Letter Book. S. P. G.]
Governor Dobbs to the Secretary,

Brunswick Mar 30th 1762.

Revd Sir.

Finding by the public papers that Dr. Bearcroft, Secy to the Society for propagating the Gospel in Foreign parts is dead I must tho' unknown to you, direct this to you who succeeds him as being a corresponding member, not having had a letter from him for above 2 years. I imagine that a long letter that I wrote to him to be laid before the board miscarried, in which I stated the affairs of the Apostolic Church in this Province since which time notwithstanding the Laws, I got enacted & amended for the support of the established clergy, the number of clergymen are diminished instead of increasing & the inhabitants are rather becoming more dissolute & sectaries & Idleness increasing for want of clergymen & proper schoolmasters to educate youth there being not even a Parish Clerk in the Province to serve as a Schoolmaster or reader upon occasions where clergymen are wanting or when attending the out chapels, as most counties contain only one Parish; this Province therefore demands a further supply of Missionaries or clergymen to be sent over. The provision made at present for them by Law is £100 per annum this currency and £20 in Lieu of a house & glebe until they can be provided, besides which in most Parishes, they may receive near £50 by marriages & when they are allowed to make excursions to neighboring counties, who want clergymen, they are allowed handsomely for it. however as our currency at present is much depreciated by issuing notes to raise Supplies, for our necessary defence, it makes a considerable abatement & what is a further discouragement is, that the several parishes provide only annually for their incumbents & therefore I cant properly induct them & ascertain their residence, & the reason the vestry gives for this practice is, that they oblige the clergy to do his duty & attend properly, which, as there is no Bishop or superior with Episcopal jurisdiction over them, they will be apt to neglect their duty—I therefore think it of infinite consequence & the duty of the Society to address his Majesty, that he would appoint 2 Bishops at least for this continent or clergymen with Episcopal Powers to visit the clergymen, confirm & ordain, proper persons within these colonies (as a sufficient number can't be obtained or procured to come from Europe) with a power of

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suspension & degradation of the clergy, for immoralities or Heresies or for neglect of their cures, with a power of inflicting mild censure & discipline upon the laity, by depriving them of church communion where dissolute & profligate, this, with a provision for parish schools to educate youth in christian principles would soon improve the Province, get rid of sectaries & encourage the inhabitants to become industrious, in my former letter I proposed sending over a schoolmaster with a proper appointment to civilize & convert the Catawbas Indians & that I would add to it, during my residence, that nation consisted then of 300 warriors in strict friendship with us, since that time by the small pox getting among them they are reduced to 60 warriors, with a proportionate number of old men women & children & have quit their Town in this Province & have removed into So. Carolina, where they have laid them out a township.

I propose at the assembly which meets next week to recommend their making a Law, to empower each vestry to raise a small tax, for a clerk & Schoolmaster in every Parish, the town of Wilmington & Parish is now without a clergyman, Parson Smith having been refused to be restored to his mission has been made a chaplain in a man of war, and our Parson here talks of leaving us as he expected to be made a missionary, but has heard nothing of it I beg leave therefore to recommend it to the board that they would if Possible appoint more missionaries to this unfortunate Province, where sectaries are increasing & corruption of manners, where we have but 7 clergymen to near 30 Parishes, most of them counties & one of them Mr. Moyer an abandoned missionary who does little or no duty, without a Parish & totally neglects his mission.

I heartily pray for success to the Society in their laudable design of propagating & spreading the Gospel particularly in this extensive continent

I am Revd Sir &c
ARTHUR DOBBS.