His Excellency informed the Board that under the suggestion of the Lower House of Assembly that the 1s. poll tax, and the duty of 4d. per Gallon on spirituous liquors had already produced their effect and that therefore those taxes should no longer be collected, the public Treasurers had been induced to omit the said poll tax in their lists delivered to the Sheriffs to regulate their collections, and these being the only remaining funds appropriated to their sinking the large sum of proclamation money now in circulation, His Excellency desired the Opinion of the Board what measures were proper to be taken to prevent the ill consequences that might attend a Procedure so inconsistant and contrary to the public faith.
The Council were of opinion that it is expedient for the Governor to issue a proclamation strictly requiring the Sheriffs to collect the said Poll Tax as the Law directs, and in case of failure that they
By His Excellency Josiah Martin Esqr Captain General, &c. &c.
Whereas by an Act of Assembly of this Province in the 22d year of His late Majesty, intitled “An Act for granting to his Majesty the sum of £21,350 Public Bills of Credit of this province at the rate of proclamation money, to be applied toward building of fortifications in this Province, payments of Public Debts, exchanging the then present Bills of Credit and for making provision for defraying the contingent charges of Government,” and continued by a subsequent Act passed in the 27th year of the reign of his said late Majesty intituled “An Act for granting to His Majesty the sum of £40,000 in Public Bills of Credit at the rate of Proclamation Money, to be applied towards defraying the expence of raising and subsisting the forces for His Majestys service in this Province to be sent to the assistance of His Majestys Colony of Virginia and other purposes therein mentioned,” A Poll Tax of one shilling per head, on all taxable persons, and a duty of four pence per gallon on all wine, rum, or other spiritous liquors imported or brought into this province either by Land or water, was then imposed or laid (And whereas it has been not only suggested but industriously reported, that the said herein before recited Laws have produced the intended effect, by raising from the People the whole sum emitted upon the Credit of those funds, and consequently that the said Taxes ought to cease and be no longer collected, which suggestion contains a fallacy and very gross misrepresentation of the fact, the money arising from the said Poll Tax and duty having been partly diverted to other services, and great part thereof being still remaining in the Hands of the Sheriffs and Collectors, who have not yet accounted with the Treasurer for the same, by means whereof there is still extant and in circulation a considerable sum in the said publick Bills of Credit, for the sinking of which the said Poll Tax and duty are the only remaining appropriated Funds, and which the Public Faith stands engaged to continue until other Funds are established for its extinction, or until by these the same
Given under my hand, and the Great seal of the said Province, at New Bern, the 29th day of January in the twelfth year of his Majestys Reign Anno Dom 1772.