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Letter from William Tryon to Theodorus Swaine Drage
Tryon, William, 1729-1788
July 09, 1770
Volume 08, Pages 217-218

[N. C. Letter Book S. P. G.]
Governor Tryon to the Reverend Mr Drage.

Newbern 9th July 1770.


I lament to find by your Letter of the 29th of May last, that you have met with so unjustifiable an opposition to your Establishment in St. Luke's Parish, while at the same time I congratulate you on the laudable and virtuous support you have experienced from the friends of the Established Church, a Religion that was engrafted upon, and grew up with the Constitution of this colony, A Religion that has ever since been recognized and upheld, and was by Act of the Legislature in 1765 established upon the most solid foundation.

-------------------- page 218 --------------------

The intemperate zeal of the Dissenters I am inclined to believe arose from mistaken principles. Their Seniors must know their persuasion is a Sect under the Act of Toleration, and the limited powers granted them by the Legislature of this country.—This is ever implied in His Majesty's Instructions to me wherein He commands me to permit a liberty of “conscience to all persons (except “Papists) who are contented with a quiet and peaceable enjoyment “of the same, not giving offence or scandal to the Government.”

I confess I have a pleasure in acknowledging myself greatly obliged by the support the presbyterians have afforded Government in my administration, and it will be a circumstance of peculiar concern to me to have them sully the merit of their late public services, by pursuing measures which are in manifest violation of the rights and liberties of their fellow citizens, by throwing difficulties and obstructions in the way of the maintenance and free exercise of a Religion established by the Laws of their Country. I would appeal to the reason and judgment, and not to the passions of those Gentlemen, how far it may prove impolitic in the issue, to the interests of their persuasion should they carry any further their opposition to the legal Settlement of a Clergyman in St Luke's Parish—I claim no concessions but what are equitable and constitutional, but the Rights of the Country as well as those of the Crown, It is my duty to maintain as long as I am invested with such important trusts.

If after your presentation and Induction, the Letters for which I herewith have the pleasure to send you, you should apprehend the least difficulty would attend the collection of your Salary in the County, the memorials you mention to be presented to the next General Assembly from the Members of the established church, would be a very equitable and expedient measure, and I have not the least doubt but they will meet with proper redress.

I entertain the highest opinion of the temper, moderation and good sense with which you have conducted yourself through this whole business, and which I consider as an earnest of the blessings your parishioners will receive from your Ministry.

I should be glad to obtain at the next Assembly a List of such Members of the Church of England as are qualified to serve in the commission of the peace as the Council may think it advisable to add some of those Gentlemen to the present Commission.

I am Sir with much regard &c