Monday the 18th instant about 50. of the Gentlemen of Brunswick New Hanover and Bladen Counties waited on the Governor at his seat near Brunswick on his circular letters to them for that purpose when his Excellency was pleased to communicate his sentiments to them relative to the Stamp Act to the following purport:—He began by assuring them he would with pleasure exert his interest and influence in England in endeavouring to promote the prosperity of this colony by every means in his power consistent with his duty to his King and country; and should think himself happy in displaying that duty if he could at the same time contribute to the service of his Majesty's faithful subjects of this Province.
He mentioned and with moderation censured the conduct of some of the Colonies where the Officers of the crown had been insulted their houses pulled down, their furniture and effects destroyed and his Majesty's property invaded by burning the stampt paper sent from England; and expressed his hopes that no violence of that sort might be attempted, in case the stamps should at any time arrive here representing the danger of such proceedings and the disagreeable consequence which might attend them—The Parliamentary Right of Taxation he said he would by no means at that time enter
On these Proposals, the gentlemen, after retiring to consider them, waited on his Excellency the next morning, with the following Address:
The Gentlemen to whom your Excellency was pleased to communicate your sentiments, yesterday relating to the Stamp Act, unanimously beg leave to return their most hearty thanks and acknowledgments for the obliging manner in which your Excellency express your desire of rendering this Province all the important service in your Power.
As your Excellency's known sincerity leaves no room to suspect you would make any professions without an intention of performing them; and as your Family, Fortune, and Interest in England, will always give considerable Weight to your remonstrances, we cannot but applaud the happy distinction of this Province, which has a
The alarming Tendency of the Stamp Act, which for some months past, has excited the attention of America has given us an opportunity of considering its fatal Influence with that deliberation which the Importance of the subject requires, and we cannot on this occasion suppress discovering to your Excellency that every view of this Act confirms us in our opinion, that it is destructive of these Liberties which, as British Subjects, we have a Right to enjoy in common with Great Britain.
To our Sovereign we owe, and shall always be ready to testify by our Conduct, every Act of Loyalty and Obedience consistent with the Rights of a free people; and we most sincerely pray, that the British Throne may never want Heirs of the present illustrious House of Hanover to secure that happy constitution: But the Extention of the Stamp Act, by a melancholy presage of America being deprived of all, or most of the British Privileges, naturally suggests to us, that the submission to any part of so oppressive and (as we think) so unconstitutional attempts, is opening a direct inlet for Slavery, which all Mankind will endeavor to avoid.
For these Reasons it is with great pain we are obliged to dissent from what your Excellency has been pleased to mention of your paying the Stamp Duties on the Instruments enumerated in the Proposal; nor can we assent to the payment of the smaller Stamps: An Admission of Part, would put it out of our Power to refuse with any Propriety, a Submission to the Whole; and as we can never consent to be deprived of the invaluable Privilege of a Trial by Jury, which is one part of that Act, we think it more consistent as well as securer conduct to prevent to the utmost of our Power, the operation of it—At the same time, we assure your Excellency, that we will upon every occasion, avoid and prevent, as far as our Influence extends, any Insult or Injury to any of the officers of the Crown; but must confess, that the Office of Distributors of the Stamps is so detested by the People in general that we dont think either the person or Property of such an Officer, could by any means be secured from the resentment of the Country.
The connections between Great Britain and the Colonies, we by no means desire to interrupt or weaken but most ardently wish the Prosperity of both may be promoted, by the Encouragement of Commerce, and the Advancement of our mutual Interest.
And we can with equal sincerity, assure your Excellency, that we will at all times, in our respective stations, cheerfully contribute all in our Power, to render your Excellency's Administration, happy easy and honourable.
To which his Excellency was pleased to return the following Answer; Viz
To the Gentlemen of New Hanover, Brunswick and Bladen Counties:
Your Answer to my Proposals for the Circulation of the Stamp-Duties, should the Stamps arrive in this Province, is very agreeable to me as far as it expresses Loyalty to His Majesty; and your Assurance to contribute to the Honour, Ease and Happiness of my Administration; but at the same time I cannot help regretting, that my Intentions of Service to this Province at this Juncture, have so little a Prospect of Success, nor to lament the Consequences I apprehend, from the Resolution you Gentlemen have adopted.
Monday last died, and Yesterday was very decently interred, Mr George Weakely, formerly an eminent Merchant here.
The following is a genuine Copy of the Letter to Doctor William Houston, appointing him Stamp-Distributor for this Province.
Stamp-Office London. July 11th 1765.
I am ordered by the Commissioners, to acquaint you, the Lords Commissioners of his Majesty's Treasury, have been pleased to appoint you to be Distributor of Stamps for North-Carolina: you are therefore on Receipt hereof to write to this Board to propose two responsible Persons in England to be bound with you, in the Penalty of Two Thousand Pounds. As this Duty takes place on the first of November next, and no Stamps can be sent you, until your Bond is executed, you are desired to be as expeditious as possible.I am your humble servantJAMES BRETTELL, Secretary.