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Letter from Josiah Martin to William Legge, Earl of Dartmouth
Martin, Josiah, 1737-1786
April 20, 1773
Volume 09, Pages 635-638

[B. P. R. O. Am. & W. Ind.: No. Carolina. No. 220.]
Letter from Governor Martin to Lord Dartmouth.

No. Carolina New Bern, April 20th 1773.

My Lord,

I have the honor to transmit to your Lordship herewith, for his Majesty's consideration, a Bill intituled “An Act for vesting in certain persons therein named, Two Acres of land at the Indian Town, in Currituck County, as Trustees for erecting a Chappell thereon, and for enclosing a Burying ground.”

I was consulted upon this Act my Lord, before it was brought into the House of Assembly, at the late Session, and on the first view, I thought it might be passed, with a suspending Clause, but on a closer attention to it, I apprehended it came under the description of the 21st Article of his Majesty's Royal Instructions, and wanted the forms,

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thereby made requisite to intitle it to the Royal Sanction. I communicated these sentiments to the gentleman who proposed the Bill, and he agreed in opinion with me that it might be better transmitted for previous consideration, than passed under any circumstances of imperfection, that might condemn it in the last stage. Wherefore my Lord I rejected it, with assurance to him that I would put it in a train of acceptance, as soon and as far as I should be able.

The object of this Bill I am persuaded, cannot fail to recommend it to your Lordship's favour, and if the plan, shall be in any sort exceptionable, I flatter myself your Lordship will be pleased, as soon as shall be convenient to point out its defects, and the amendments it shall need. I cannot help taking an interest in the fate of this Bill my Lord, for besides that it is calculated to found a Chappel in a part of this Country where there is no place of Divine Worship, that is in itself a design highly praiseworthy. I am desirous to promote its success as the pious work of Mr Macknight, who is the patron of the Institution a gentleman of character, and a member of the House of Assembly, of greatest weight & abilities. I confess my Lord I know not, that this Bill in point of matter, is liable to objection, but on the ground of its not reserving to his Majesty's Governor the right of Presentation to the Chappel, which I apprehend to be donative in the Crown, to any other person or persons, according to the Royal Pleasure.

I have now the honor to submit to your Lordship's consideration a petition of the Freeholders, and Inhabitants of the Town of Beaufort in the County of Carteret. The whole scope and design of it your Lordship will observe, is to obtain the privilege to send a Representative to the General Assembly, which they ask as matter of favour. At the same time, that they claim it as a right, under an Act of the Assembly pass'd in the year 1715 Intituled “An Act for appointing a Town in the County of Bath, and for securing the Public Library belonging to St Thomas' parish in Pamplico.” By which it is declared that every Town, having sixty families, shall be entituled to send one Burgess to the General Assembly. Under this Law, my Lord, the Assembly already unwieldy, will, in process of time, become a very great evil, in the Constitution of this Province, and upon this Principle, I humbly think it may be worthy your Lordship's consideration, whether that part of the said Act, is not fit to be repealed. It is true my Lord, the Town of Beaufort, is advantageously situate for commerce, but there are no persons of condition

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or substance in it, and the Trade that was formerly carried on through that Channel, is now derived almost entirely to this Town, since it became the seat of Government, which has promoted its growth exceedingly, by inviting many considerable Merchants to settle in it. In my humble opinion my Lord, it will be good policy, to prevent the enlargement of the Assembly, whose present Bulk makes it embarrassing, and which the people are even aiming to increase, by new creations of Counties and Towns.

A Bill passed the two Houses of Assembly at the late Session, for the third or fourth time, as I am informed Intituled “An Act for erecting parts of the Counties of Halifax and Tyrrel into one distinct County and Parish and for other purposes therein mentioned,” which although not tending to increase the number of Representatives contained I thought regulations inconsistent with the 14th Article of the King's Instructions, being directory of the number of Representatives to be sent thereafter by the County of Tyrrell reserving to his Majesty the right of Granting Representation to the new erected County. The case my Lord is this. Tyrrell County has heretofore always sent five Representatives to the General Assembly, and in consideration of a portion of it being taken off to make another County, The Inhabitants for Tyrrell propose by this Bill to send only three for the future, hoping that the Crown to which the power is thereby reserved will call by writ, two Members for the new County, by which it is certain no augmentation will be made of the Assembly, and my reason for rejecting the Bill was that I knew not how far I might be justified in passing without a suspending Clause, an Act that abrogated an ancient charter privilege, and that also obviously fell under the restrictions of the 30th article of his Majesty's Instructions, as well as that above mentioned, for abstracted of these considerations my Lord, there is undoubtedly good reason for the Division of this County that is near seventy miles long, and only eight miles wide. I shall hereafter transmit to your Lordship this rejected Bill for your better information, and I shall hope to be honoured with your Lordship's sentiments on the subject of it, before the next session when it will be again proposed.

Your Lordship will receive herewith a draft of the Line of Boundary, between this Province and that of South Carolina as run last summer by the Commissioners appointed by the Governors of the two Provinces, pursuant to his Majesty's Royal Instruction. This I should have transmitted to your Lordship before, but I was in hopes

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of procuring a fairer Draft, to lay before His Majesty, being disappointed however in this expectation, I think it inconsistant with my duty to withhold it any longer. The enclosed is an original Draft made upon the spot, and certified by the Commissioners and Surveyors of the two Provinces. I shall endeavour to furnish your Lordship hereafter with a neat copy of it, for I am really ashamed to send this ill done original. I have communicated to Lord Charles Montague, the second refusal of the Assembly of this Province to defray the charge of Establishing this Boundary, (which your Lordship will observe in the Journals of that House) and reminded him of his assurance, that the legislature of that Colony would bear the whole expence, before the service was undertaken.

I have prorogued the General Assembly called by writ on the 1st day of next month to the 4th day of October next, for the reasons I offered to your Lordship in my last letter.

I have the honor to be &c.