I take the opportunity by Captain Williams to acknowledge the receipt of his Majesty's instructions: The 28th of June I called a Council, but as my commission had been opened in December last, and the Council sworn in, I only communicated and recorded such instructions as the minutes of the Council of that [date] will certify. About the same time I received Mr Conway's notification of the repeal of the Stamp Act, and as the Assembly then stood prorogued to the 30th of October next, I took the opinion of the Council if an earlier meeting would become necessary, their opinion was in the negative and is contained in the 10th page of the minutes of the Council inclosed. The inhabitants of many counties in this province have been drove to great difficulties for want of corn: The planters have been reduced to feed their gangs of negroes upon their stock of cattle, and upon apples. The scarcity will be relieved the first week in September as they will then begin to dig the potatoes of this country, the usual food for negroes when indian corn is not distributed.
I must beg leave to observe to your Lordships that among the gentlemen named in his Majestys instructions to me Mr Robert[?] Spaight is in the number, a gentleman who died before I came into the province; and Mr James Murray whom I found on my arrival here, President of the Council, is left out of the said instructions. I therefore cannot admit Mr Murray to sit in Council, till I am honored with your Lordships directions on this head.
Mr Murray had my leave of absence from this province for one year which expired last April; he has applied to me for another years leave upon which I have acquainted him how the affair stands, with regard to my instructions, As he is concerned in a Sugar house at Boston I question whether he will ever reside again in this country.
The death of Mr Robert Spaight and of Mr Chief Justice Berry, with the absence of Capt Brice Dobbs, will make three vacancies in the Council; I shall therefore name the following persons for your Lordships choice of Counsellors, Vidt Mr Strudwick, Mr Francisr
The three first I transmitted to your Lordships board when I notified the death of Mr Berry, Mr McGwire is just gone to England; he is a gentleman of very good character in this country and lived with credit in the province. Mr Samuel Swann is a gentleman well versed in the Constitution of this country, and tho' he has not always supported the measures of government, I believe him well inclined at present to my administration.
I shall not have it in my power to give your Lordships a particular account of the state and strength of this country, till after the meeting of the General Assembly; the late disturbances having greatly added to the confusion of all the public offices that I can óbtain no proper returns as yet from them. I have however the satisfaction to inform your Lordships the inhabitants have returned to a cheerful obedience of the laws that the several courts are open, and business carried on as usual.
The inclosed address of the borough of Wilmington, I believe to be the sence of the province as far as it relates to gratitude and loyalty
I am of opinion this province is settling faster than any on the continent, last autumn and winter, upwards of one thousand wagons passed thro' Salisbury with families from the northward, to settle in this province chiefly; some few went to Georgia and Florida, but liked it so indifferently, that some of them have since returned.
The dispatch containing the patents I have granted since my administration will shew to your Lordships the great increase of settlers in the western or back counties. These inhabitants are a race of people differing in health and complexion from the natives in the maritime parts of the province; as much as a sturdy Briton differs from a puny Spaniard; in the present situation of my health, I may include myself among the latter,
The Sachem of the Tuskaroras settled with the Six Nations waited on me last June, to solicit my assistance for the removal of as many of his nation settled on the Roanoke in this province, as were willing to join his people among the Six Nations. As this request was made at the desire of Sir William Johnston, and with the approbation of Mr Stuart, I have allowed them to remove. I am told by Capt Williams in a verbal message from Mr Jones the Attorney General that one hundred and thirty of them will march out of thisn money to purchase wagons provisions &c. for their conveyance and subsistance and that this money is lent on credit of some of their lands 'till the General Assembly can reimburse that expense, by a law for the sale of as much land of theirs as will raise the above sum. There will remain in this province no more than fifty or sixty of that nation.
I am to acquaint your Lordships that Capt John Dalrymple late Commander of Johnston's Fort died the 13th of last month. I have appointed Capt Robert Howe to succeed him under the seal of the province till his Majesty's pleasure is known: there is no pay to the commission, and the perquisites only five shillings proc. for every vessel that comes into this port; this is a fee for his giving the masters of vessels their product bill.
P.S. I received this morning the inclosed letter from the Mayor and Gentlemen of Wilmington.