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Letter from James Reed to Richard Hind
Reed, James, d. 1777
July 19, 1774
Volume 09, Pages 1014-1015

[N. C. Letter Book. S. P. G.]
Letter from Rev. Mr. Reed to the Secretary.


North Carolina,
Newbern July 19th 1774.

Reverend Sir,

The Assembly met the 2d of last March and passed an Act to

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amend and further continue an Act, intitled an Act concerning Vestries. This amendment is entirely relative to the poor, empowering Vestries to build workhouses for their reception and the keepers of such house to inflict corporal punishment on such poor under their care as shall behave refractorily. So that the Vestry Act, as it affects the Establishment of the church of England, stands just as before and liable to the same evasions, which I pointed out in my Letter the 17th of March 1773. I wish the amendment had been entirely omitted.

The very thought of whipping the aged and infirm, though a little refractory, is shocking, and such authority ought certainly to be vested in persons of more humanity than is generally to be found in the keepers of Workhouses.

The continuance of the Act is for Ten years, the longest existence that ever was allowed to any vestry act in this province and I sincerely wish the period had been either shorter or indefinite for there is the greatest probability that in ten years the dissenting interest will be strong enough to carry everything in the Assembly, and that the Vestry Act will then receive its quietus. But whether it would be proper to get this act repealed immediately or at some time hereafter on account of the amendment which carries too cruel an aspect towards the poor must be left to the prudence of the venerable Society. Our worthy Governor has frequently condescended to converse with me about it; but what to do or advise at this critical juncture, he seems much at a loss. For I need not inform you that all America is in a most violent flame and every good man would forbear as much as possible adding the least Fuel to the Fire.

I have sent my notitia parochiales as usual and am with the utmost regard Sir, yours &c

JAMES REED.

Notitia Parochialis from Decr 21st 1773 to June 21st 1774—
No of white children & Infants baptized
153
No of black children & Infants baptized
7
No of white Adults baptized
3
No of Communicants
168