I have the honor herewith to transmit to your Lordship the Acts passed last session of Assembly, at the same time I take the liberty to make a few comments on some of them.
“An Act for founding, establishing, and endowing of Queens College in the town of Charlotte, in Mecklenburg county,”
Is but the outlines of a foundation for the education of youth. The necessity for such an institution in this country is obvious, and the propriety of the mode here adopted must be submitted to his Majesty. Though the President is to be of the established church and licensed by the Governor, the Fellows, Trustees and Tutors I apprehend will be generally Presbyterians, the college being promoted by a respectable settlement of that persuasion from which a considerable body marched to Hillsborough in September 1768 in support of government.
“An Act to encourage the further settlement of this Province,” Was enacted on behalf of several ship loads of Scotch families which have landed in this province within three years past from the Isles of Arran, Durah, Islay and Gigah but chief of them from Argyle Shire and are mostly settled in Cumberland County. The numbers of these new settlers are computed at sixteen hundred men, women and children. The reason they alledged for coming to America was that the rents of their lands were so raised that they could not live upon them, and those who were mechanics were particularly encouraged to settle here by their countrymen who have been settled many years in this province.
“An Act to prevent the exportation of unmerchantable commodities,”
Provides for several material improvements in the packing and shipping of naval stores as recommended by your Lordship in consequence of the London merchants memorial to that purpose.
“An Act to ascertain Attorneys fees,” As also an additional and explanatory Act to an Act Intitled “An Act to regulate the several Officers fees within this province, and to ascertain the method of paying the same and to tax law suits,”
Are two most salutary laws and I expect will prove in their operation very satisfactory and beneficial to the country.
“An Act to regulate the issuing of Marriage Licenses,”
Will better secure than formerly the fees due to the Governor and give him a summary way of calling the clerks regularly to account with him; a habit little known or practiced among some of them.
“An Act for authorizing Presbyterian ministers regularly called to any congregation within this province, to solemnize the rights of matrimony under the regulations therein mentioned.”
This Act I apprehend might be found by the Bishop of London, to whom I presume it will be referred, liable to great objections, therefore it was passed with a suspending clause till his Majesty's pleasure should be known. If it is not thought too much to interfere with, and check the growth of the Church of England, I am sensible the attachment the Presbyterians have shewn to government merit the indulgence of this Act. The House of Assembly by their Journals have set forth at large their reasons for framing this Bill; a testimony that plainly evinced the Presbyterians were the strongest party in the House.
The Acts for erecting four new counties seemed a measure highly necessary from the too great extent of the counties they were taken out of. The erecting Guilford County out of Rowan and Orange Counties was in the distracted state of this country a truly political division, as it separated the main body of the Insurgents from Orange County and left them in Guilford.
“An Act for the more speedy recovery of all debts and demands under five pounds proclamation money within this Province.”
This Law I conceived came within the spirit of my instructions, but when I reflected on the madness of these times, and the great jealousie the people entertained of the courts and officers, I thought that this law might have the purpose of calming the minds of such whose hearts were fixed on the success of this Bill, more especially as its duration was but for two years, and an appeal reserved from the Magistrates to the County Courts.
“An Act to encourage and support the establishment of a Post Office in this Province.”
The encouragement though small given by this law will greatly facilitate the passage of the post across the many ferries in this country and be a means of more punctuality in the rider as well as assistance to him under difficulties.
“An Act for granting the Chief Justice a salary out of the contingent Fund,”
Provides a salary for the Chief Justice in lieu of fees, handsome and honorable, and equal to the abilities of the Province. It was moved that the law should be without limitation but without success.