Documenting the American South Logo
Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Advanced Search Options
Letter from William Tryon to William Petty, Marquis of Lansdowne
Tryon, William, 1729-1788
January 31, 1767
Volume 07, Pages 430-434

[From Tryon's Letter Book.]
Letter from Governor Tryon to Earl of Shelburne

Brunswick 31st January 1767

I have the honor to transmit to your Lordship twenty nine Acts passed the last session of Assembly: I shall make mention of such of them only as I think require further explanation than what is contained either in the preamble or body of the Acts.

The Treasurers Act which appeared to threaten some disagreement in the legislature was settled after some difficulties arising between the Council and the Assembly in the mode of the nomination of the Treasurer; This circumstance is stated in the Journals

-------------------- page 431 --------------------
of the Council and the Assembly particularly in the address of the Assembly. The latter insisted that the nomination of a Treasurer should take its rise in their house, tho' they do not dispute the Council to have a negative on that nomination as well as the Governor. The Council urge they have an equal right of nomination with the Assembly; this the Assembly have not concurred with; therefore to avoid future contentions in the appointment of the Treasurers I greatly wish to be honored on this material point with his Majesty's commands.

The Act for confirming the Lease made by the Tuscarora Indians to Robert Jones &c, &c appeared to be a necessary step to reimburse the money that was advanced to transport one hundred and fifty five Indians from the Tuscarora tribe settled on the eastern banks of Roanoke river to the Six Nations on Susquehanna river.

The removal of these Indians was effected at the particular request of Sir William Johnson and with the approbation of Mr Stuart, Superintendant of Indian Affairs. This lease is advantageous to the proprietor of the soil, Earl Granville, as it lets him into the immediate receipt of the Quit Rents which he had no claim to while the Indians lived on that land. The sum advanced for the removal of these Indians and the contingencies amounted to near two thousand pounds proclamation money. The remnant of this tribe are one hundred and four, men, women and children and occupy about half the tract of land allotted them by Act of Assembly passed in 1748, a large proportion for their numbers.

The Act for erecting an Edifice for the Governor and his successors was carried by a great majority in the Assembly. The five thousand pounds voted for the house and offices will be short of the expence of erecting them. The public having entrusted this building to my care and management, I have employed Mr Hawks, who came with me out of England to superintend this work in all its branches. He was in the service of Mr Leadbeater. Mr Hawks has contracted to finish the whole in three years from the laying the first brick which I guess will be in May next. He goes soon to Philadelphia to hire able workmen, as this province affords none capable of such an undertaking. I shall send as soon as possible the plan and elevation of this house and offices for his Majesty's approbation. Contracts for essential materials are also made which makes me hope no unnecessary delay will be occasioned from a deficiency of workmen or materials.

-------------------- page 432 --------------------

An Act entitled “an Act appointing the method of distributing Intestates estates,” passed in 1762 having been repealed by order of his Majesty in Council was this last session re-enacted free I hope from former objections.

The Act for establishing a School House at Newbern I must beg leave to observe is the first established in this province by Legislative authority: The master of the school must be of the established church of England and obliged to obtain a licence from the Governor for his qualification.

The Act to amend an Act entitled “An Act, for establishing a Town on the Land formerly granted to William Churton, Gentn” establishes the Town of Hillsborough in Orange county. This Act will tend much towards the increase of the settlement of that part of the back country, as well as to civilize the inhabitants thereof. Its situation is upon a rich red clay soil on the north bank of the river Eno (a branch of the Neuse river) which divides it from the Occanechy mountains, distant from the Virginia line twenty five miles. It lies almost centrical to the towns of Halifax and Salisbury being one hundred miles from each and is one hundred and sixty miles N. W. of Newbern and one hundred and ninety nearly north of Wilmington. Tho' there is at present scarce twenty families inhabitants I am of opinion it will be in the course of a few years the most considerable of any inland town in this province.

The Act to amend an Act entitled “An Act concerning Marriages” has more objects in view than appears on the sight of it. The Marriage Act passed in 1741 to which it has relation entitles every Justice of the Peace to marry by licence. In abuse of this privilege many Justices performed the marriage ceremony without licence first had and obtained and took the fee allowed to the Governor, most generally dividing the spoil between the Justice and the Clerk of the county who gave the bond and certificate. Another tendency of this Act was to prevent the frequent abuses by rascally fellows who travelled thro' the province under the title of ministers of the Presbyterian and other sectaries and who being beggars in concience as well as in circumstances sought all opportunities to perform that sacred office to the great prejudice of the country. It is also to be observed most of the justices in the back or western settlements are Presbyterians, who by the Act of 1741 had the power to marry by licence: Therefore upon the whole I do not conceive the allowing the Presbyterian ministers the privilege to marry in their usual and

-------------------- page 433 --------------------
accustomed manner can be of any real prejudice to the established Church especially as the marriage fee is reserved to the ministers of the parish; and the licence to be granted under the hand and seal of the Governor, this last provision prevents the former abuses in the application of the fee collected. The Act also provides a summary and effectual method for the Governor to oblige the county court clerks to account for the fees due to him: a recovery tho' an equitable one, was never yet secured but in temporary laws.

An Act to amend an Act entitled an Act for rendering more effectual the laws making lands and other real estates liable to the payment of debts was framed for the present relief of the distresses of the inhabitants occasioned in some measure for want of a larger medium of trade: I must desire leave to refer your Lordship to the petition of the inhabitants of Pasquotank county mentioned in the Journals of the Assembly page 55; this will shew your Lordship the distresses of that county; a distress similar tho' in a lesser degree to many other counties in the province. The currency of the country is less than seventy thousand pounds proclamation money, whereas in the opinion of the merchants and traders, two hundred thousand pounds would be barely sufficient for the circulating medium of this province under the present increasing state of its commerce. The taxes paid into the Treasurers hands by the Sheriffs, partly thro' neglect and embezzlement of the Sheriffs and partly from deficiency of specie and paper currency does not amount to more than one third of the tax levied on the taxable persons. The Receiver General of the Quit Rents has assured me the inhabitants in his Majestys district of the province have not money to pay the Quit Rents. As the duration of the last mentioned Act is only for one year, I should be glad, before its expiration, to receive his Majesty's commands how far in his wisdom these distresses may be alleviated if not wholly removed. The above considerations my Lord are all that appear to me to be necessary to mention on the subject of the Acts inclosed.

Your Lordship will herewith receive a Bill that passed the Assembly and the Council, entitled “An Act for allowing time for the payment of the duties on wines and spirituous liquors.”

The country duties laid upon wines and spirituous liquors imported into the several ports of this province are six pence per gallon and one penny extraordinary duty on the imports into Neuse river for the purpose of the support of the school at Newbern.

-------------------- page 434 --------------------

The receipt of these duties are at present the only revenue the public can depend upon [with] any degree of punctuality in point of payment; Whereas should the merchants be allowed three months credit on their giving bond and security it would open a door for many law suits, as most of the small traders and many considerable merchants would possibly rather have their bonds put in suit, at the expiration of three months; than pay the duties; By the delays of the courts at law it might be two years before the public could get into possession this branch of its revenue; It would likewise have been the indirect means of shutting out the importation of some specie which is frequently brought in by order of the merchants to pay the country duties; an usage that would be rarely practiced if the merchants had three months or in fact two years credit; Besides as 4d of the six pence duty is appropriated to sink the paper currency I thought it injurious to the public to retard the abolition of a currency at present so nicely counterfeited that few can distinguish the true from the false. Upon these principles my Lords I rejected the bill

I am &c