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Minutes of the Lower House of the North Carolina General Assembly
North Carolina. General Assembly
April 04, 1775 - April 08, 1775
Volume 09, Pages 1187-1205

[From MS. Records in office of Secretary of State.]
LEGISLATIVE JOURNALS.


North Carolina—Ss.

At an Assembly began and held at New Bern the fourth day of April in the fifteenth year of the reign of our Sovereign Lord George the third by the grace of God of Great Britain, France and Ireland King, Defender of the faith, &ca, and in the year of our

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Lord one thousand seven hundred and seventy five, being the first Session of this present Assembly.

In the House of Assembly.

The Clerk of the Crown having certified that the following persons were duly elected and returned Representatives for the respective Counties and Towns, Vizt,

Anson—

Bladen—William Salter, James White.

Brunswick—Robert Howe, John Rowan.

Beaufort—Roger Ormond, Thomas Respess Junr.

Bute—William Person, Green Hill.

Bertie—John Campbell, John Johnson, David Stanley.

Town of Bath—William Brown.

Town of Brunswick—Park Quince.

Craven—James Coor, Lemuel Hatch.

Carteret—William Thomson, Solomon Shepard.

Chowan—Samuel Johnston, Thomas Oldham, Thomas Benbury, Thomas Jones, Thomas Hunter.

Currituck—Thomas Macknight, Francis Williamson, Solomon Perkins, Samuel Jarvis, Nathan Joyner.

Cumberland—Ferquard Campbell, Thomas Rutherford.

Chatham—

Town of Campbelton—Robert Rowan.

Dobbs—Richard Caswell, William McKinnie.

Duplin—Thomas Gray, Thomas Hicks.

Edgecomb—

Town of Edenton—Joseph Hewes.

Granville—Thomas Person, Memucan Hunt.

Guilford—

Halifax—Nicholas Long, Benjamin McCulloch.

Town of Halifax—

Hertford—William Murfree, George Wynns.

Town of Hillsborough—Francis Nash.

Johnston—Needham Bryan, Benjamin Williams.

Martin—

Mecklenburg—

New Hanover—John Ashe, William Hooper.

Northampton—Allen Jones, Jeptha Atherton.

Town of New Bern—

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Orange—Ralph Macnair, Thomas Hart.

Onslow—William Cray, Henry Rhodes.

Town of Wilmington—Cornelius Harnett.

Wake—

Perquimans—John Harvey, Andrew Knox, Thomas Harvey, John Whedbee.

Pasquotank—Jonathan Hearring, Isaac Gregory, Edward Everigin, Joseph Reading, Joseph Jones.

Pitt—John Simpson, Edward Salter.

Rowan—Griffith Rutherford, Matthew Lock.

Town of Salisbury—

Surry—

Tryon—William Moore, William Alston.

Tyrrell—Benjamin Spruill, Joseph Spruill, Jeremiah Frazer.

Pursuant to which the following persons appeared Vizt

Messrs. John Harvey, Andrew Knox, Joseph Hewes, Samuel Johnston, Thomas Oldham, Thomas Benbury, Thomas Jones Thomas Hunter, Isaac Gregory. Joseph Jones, John Compbell, John Johnston, Nathan Joyner, Griffith Rutherford, Cornelius Harnett, Robert Howe, David Stanley, Thomas Hicks, William Salter, James White, Ferquard Campbell, Thomas Rutherford, Jeremiah Frazier, James Coor, Lemuel Hatch, Thomas Person, Memucan Hunt, Francis Nash, John Ashe, William Hooper, Ralph Macnair, William Person, John Simpson, Edward Salter, William Thomson, Solomon Shepard, Nicholas Long, Benjamin McCulloch, William Cray, Henry Rhodes, Richard Caswell, Thomas Macknight, Solomon Perkins, Samuel Jarvis, Green Hill, Allen Jones, Jeptha Atherton, George Wynns.

The Clerk of this House waited on His Excellency the Governor and acquainted him that a sufficient number of Members to constitute a House were met, and to desire His Excellency to issue a commission and appoint some of the Members of Council to see them qualified, being returned brought for answer that His Excellency would appoint two of the members accordingly.

The Honble Lewis H. DeRosset and Alexander McCulloch Esquires two of the Members of Council came to the House and the above forty eight members were qualified by taking the oaths by Law appointed for the qualification of public officers and repeating and subscribing the Test.

Mr Caswell and Mr Macknight waited on his Excellency the

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Governor, to inform him that the Members had qualified, and that they waited to receive his commands—being returned, reported to the House that His Excellency would send a Message for the Members to wait on him.

Received from His Excellency the Governor a verbal Message by His Secretary desiring the attendance of the Members in the Palace at 12 oClock.

The Members waited on His Excellency the Governor in the palace when he was pleased to direct that they return to the House and make choice of a Speaker.

The Members being returned to the House Mr. Samuel Johnston proposed and set up John Harvey Esquire who was unanimously chosen Speaker, and placed in the Chair accordingly.

On motion ordered Mr Knox and Mr McCulloch wait on His Excellency the Governor and acquaint him the House had made choice of a Speaker and desire to know when they shall wait on His Excellency to present him—being returned informed the House His Excellency would send a message when he would receive them.

Received from His Excellency the Governor a verbal message by his Secretary requiring the immediate attendance of the House in the palace.

The House waited on His Excellency the Governor in the palace and presented him their Speaker whom His Excellency was pleased to approve of. Then Mr. Speaker requested His Excellency to confirm the rights and privileges of the House, and that no mistake or error of his might be imputed to the House, to which His Excellency was pleased to answer, he would support the House in all their just rights and privileges, and then made a Speech to His Majesty's Council and this House.

Mr. Speaker with the House being returned Mr Speaker reported that His Excellency the Governor had made a Speech to the Council and this House, a copy of which to prevent mistakes he had obtained and laid the same before the House.

Then on motion ordered the said Speech be read. Read the same and is as follows, to wit,

Gentlemen of His Majesty's Honble Council, Mr Speaker & Gentlemen of the House of Assembly,

I have now met you in General Assembly in hopes, that dismising every cause of private dissension from your minds you will

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calmly, unitedly and faithfully apply yourselves to the discharge of the high and important office of Legislation in which you have so great a share according to the Constitution of this Country, that calls upon you for relief, at this time, in a most peculiar and pressing manner.

I look, Gentlemen, with the extremest horror and concern to the consequences of the violent and unjustifiable proceedings in some of His Majesty's Colonies of this Continent, where in many places, the innocent, unwary, and ignorant part of the people have been cruelly betrayed into measures highly inconsistent with their duty and allegiance to our most gracious Sovereign, and the State; that tends immediately to involve them in the most embarrassing difficulties and distresses, and which, if persued, must inevitably precipitate these Colonies, from their present unparalleled state of prosperity, into a train of miseries, most dreadful to contemplate, whence ages of time will not redeem them to their now envied felicity. You, Gentlemen, are bound by your duty to the King, to the State, and to this people, as well as I by mine, to obviate the contagion of these evil examples in this Country, and to defend it, if possible, from the ruin and destruction to which they plainly lead. I see with infinite concern the unhappy influence they have already had among us. The meetings to which the people have been excited, the appointment of Committees; the violences these little, unrestrained and arbitrary Tribunals have done to the rights of His Majesty's Subjects; the flagrant and unpardonable insults they have offered to the highest authorities of the State, by some of their Acts which have been made public; and the stop that has been put in some of the Counties, to the regular course of Justice, in imitation of the unwarrantable measures, taken in other Colonies, but too plainly evince their baneful progress here; and loudly demand the most effectual exertion of your restraining and correcting powers. You are now, Gentlemen of the Assembly, by your duty to yourselves and to your constituents, most peculiarly called upon to oppose a meeting of Delegates which the people have been invited to choose; and who are appointed to assemble at this very time and place in the face of the Legislature. This illegal meeting, pursuant to my duty to the King and to the Constitution of this Country, and from regard to your dignity and the just rights of the people, I have counteracted; and I shall continue to resist it by every means in my power. What can this mean Gentlemen? Are you not the only lawful Representatives

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of the people in this Country, and competent to every legal purpose? Will you then submit to see your Constituents misled to violate their dearest privileges by wounding your dignity, and setting up Representatives derogatory to your just power and authority? This, Gentlemen, is an insult to you of so violent a nature that it appears to me to demand your every possible discouragement, for its evident tendency is to excite a belief in the people that they are capable of electing Representatives of Superior powers to the members of your House; which if it can possibly obtain must lead to obvious consequences, to the destruction of the essence, if not the very being of an Assembly in this Province, and finally to the utter dissolution and overthrow of its established, happy constitution. This, Gentlemen, among others I have before mentioned is one of the fatal expedients employed in some of the other Colonies, under the influence of factious and wicked men, intent upon promoting their own horrid purposes, at the hazard of their Country's ruin. I hope they have been adopted here more from a spirit of imitation than ill principles, and that you, clearly discerning the mischiefs with which they are pregnant, will heartily concur with me in opposing the first dawnings of so dangerous a system.

As an object of the greatest consequence to all the Colonies, I would recommend it to your first attention, to employ your utmost care and assiduity, to remove those false impressions by which the engines of sedition have laboured to effect, but too successfully, a most unnatural division between the parent State, and these Colonies, which under her protecting, indulgent, fostering care, have attained to a degree of prosperity beyond all example. The basest arts have been practiced upon the innocent people, and they have been blindly led to partake in guilt, to which their hearts are confessedly averse; and thus step by step they will be seduced from their duty, and all the bonds of civil Society will be destroyed unless timely remedies are applied. This, Gentlemen, is a melancholy prospect, that must seriously alarm every good subject, every humane, every honest man; and it will be your duty, as guardians of the Constitutional rights of the people, vigorously to oppose proceedings so manifestly subversive of their freedom and happiness. Be it your care then, Gentlemen, to undeceive the people, to lead them back from the dangerous precipice to which an ill spirit of faction is urging them, to the paths of their duty; set before them the sacred tie of allegiance, by which, as Subjects, they are bound to the

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State, inform them of the reciprocal benefits which their strict observance thereof entitles them to; and warn them of the danger to which they must expose their lives and properties, and all that they hold dear, by revolting from it. The frequent occasions you have had in your several capacities, as Members of the Legislature and Majestrates most solemnly to swear this allegiance which is an implied duty upon every subject, of every State, where it is not professed and declared, must have brought it home to your consideration, and you are therefore certainly well qualified to explain the obligatory nature and importance of it to the people. They will naturally look up to you for a rule of conduct in these wild and distempered times, and I have no doubt that, taught by your example, they will immediately return to their duty and obedience to the Laws; and gladly free themselves from that tyranny which illdirected zeal and lawless ambition, by all the Arts of misrepresentation and delusion, are courting them to submit to. I have the high satisfaction to tell you, Gentlemen, that I have already received signal proofs of the steady loyalty and duty of a great number of the good people of this Province, and I have the fullest assurance that many more will follow their laudable example.

These, Gentlemen, are very favourable presages upon which I congratulate you, and which, I persuade myself, your prudent conduct will improve, to the honor and advantage of your Country.

The State of the Colonies is at this time, the subject of the deliberations of the grand Council of the nation; from whose wisdom and justice, they have everything to expect consistent with the principles of the British Constitution, and the general welfare of the Empire, while they continue in the duty they owe to it.

The confessed generous character of Britain, and the magnanimity of our most gracious Sovereign, who through the whole course of his reign, has uniformly made the happiness of his people the object of all his views, and the rule of all his actions, insures it to them. On this great arbiter of British rights, it therefore becomes you to rely, with the fullest confidence, and to deserve by a dutiful behaviour, its favourable regard. If a precedent could be wanting, as I cannot suppose it is, to induce you to such a right conduct, one of the most respectable of the Colonies, affords it to you: and you will see, without question, how highly improper it will be, at such a conjuncture, to countenance any measures of a contrary nature. If the people of this Colony have any representations

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to make to the Supreme powers of the State, you are the only legal and proper channel of their applications; and through you they may be assured of every attention, to their dutiful petitions. You Gentlemen I dare say esteem too highly the rights of the people committed to your guardianship, and know too well the limits of your own power, to consign them to any other hands, that must not only be disqualified to serve the people but will infallibly divest you of that dignity and consequence which belongs to you as their lawful representatives.

Let me hope Gentlemen, that laying aside all passion and prejudice you will calmly, and with one accord, pursue such a line of conduct, in these points of general concern to America, as may be most likely to heal the unhappy differences now subsisting between Great Britain and her Colonies. Consider how great an opportunity you now have, to serve, to save your Country; to manifest your loyalty to the best of Kings, and to demonstrate your attachment to the British Constitution, the most free, the most glorious and happiest political system in the whole world. If you consult but for a moment, your own interests and welfare, and the happiness of this people, I cannot be disappointed in my hopes that you will avail yourselves of the occasion. Be it your glory, Gentlemen, to record to latest posterity, that at a time when the monster sedition, dared to rear his impious head in America, the people of North Carolina, inspired with a just sense of their duty to their King and Country, and animated by the example of its Legislature stood among the foremost of his Majesty's subjects, to resist his baneful snares, and to repel the fell invader of their happiness. Thus, Gentlemen, you may redeem your sinking Country to prosperity! thus you will acquire to yourselves immortal honour and renown! while a contrary conduct must inevitably plunge this once happy land in horrors beyond all imagination; whence nothing can recover it, but the generous hand of Britain, interposed to save you from your own destruction. Thus, Gentlemen, I have set before you, upon principles of your duty to the Constitution, and the welfare of your Country, the necessity of discouraging to the utmost of your power, the illegal meetings into which the innocent people have been betrayed, and the unlawful establishments and appointments they have been led to give their sanction to. I have also stated to you the more especial obligations you lie under to prevent that meeting to which the people have been invited to send deputies here at this

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time, and I have fully admonished you of the ruinous consequences of a different conduct. In addition to these powerful motives, Gentlemen, I am authorized to say, that the unwarrantable measure of appointing Delegates to attend a Congress at Philadelphia now in agitation, will be highly offensive to the King, and this I cannot doubt, will be reason with you of the greatest force to oppose so dangerous a step.

Your next attention, Gentlemen, is due to the particular state of this country, that calls for your strictest regard.

The exhausted state of the public Treasury, the large demands upon it that remain unsatisfied, the dues of public officers that are unpaid, call loudly for your attention to the ill condition of public credit, and the Finances of this Country, and I trust you will not fail to pay that regard which is due to points of so great importance. I heartily wish with regard to matters of finance and modes of Taxation, as well as to the regulation of the Treasury, to draw your attention to the admirable Systems of New York and Maryland, in which last Colony public credit is established upon the firmest basis, but the example of every other Colony, with regard to the latter article, I am sorry to say it, is better than has been yet adopted here.

You have now, Gentlemen, fair opportunity to restore to this Province by a Law for the permanent establishment of Courts, that great store of political blessings arising from a due and regular administration of Justice, of which I have long lamented to see it deprived. I have received His Majesty's determination upon the proposed regulations with regard to proceedings by attachment, which have been the apparent cause of this misfortune. This I shall communicate to you in the course of our Session, and I hope it will obviate all the difficulties that have occurred on this subject. When the establishment of courts shall come under your consideration you cannot fail to see the necessity of making provision for the Judges, and the propriety of that provision being adequate and honorable, and suitable to officers of so high dignity and importance.

Mr Speaker and Gentlemen of the House of Assembly, I cannot doubt that you will see the same necessity for supporting the usual establishment of Fort Johnston, founded upon the same principles of public utility that have induced you to maintain it during so long a series of years.

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Gentlemen of His Majesty's Honorable Council, Mr. Speaker and Gentlemen of the House of Assembly, I am sensible that the advanced season of the year requires your attendance on your domestic affairs; and I shall be therefore glad to find, that your unanimity in the conduct of the very important business you are now met upon, affords me opportunity to conclude your Session, speedily, and happily. On my part I do assure you nothing shall be wanting to promote these good ends.

JO. MARTIN.

New Bern, 4th April 1775.

Then on motion ordered His Excellency the Governors Speech lie for consideration 'till tomorrow morning.

On motion James Green Junr is appointed Clerk to this House, James Glasgow assitant, Benjamin Fordham Mace Bearer, Francis Lynaugh and Evan Swann Doorkeepers.

Mr Jonathan Hearring one of the Members for Pasquotank County appeared.

Then the House adjourned till tomorrow morning 10 oClock.


Wednesday 5th April 1775.

The House met according to adjournment.

This House being informed that Mr Isaac Edwards who was elected Member for the Town of New Bern is dead—On motion ordered the following Message be sent to His Excellency, the Governor, to wit,

To His Excellency Josiah Martin, Esquire, Captain General, Governor, &ca,

Sir,

This House being informed that Mr Isaac Edwards who was elected Member for the Town of New Bern is dead, therefore desire your Excellency will be pleased to direct the Clerk of the Crown to issue a writ for electing a Member for the said Town to sit and vote in this present Assembly.

JOHN HARVEY, Sp.

Sent by Mr Hatch and Mr Coor.

The House being informed that the returning officer of Guilford County having neglected to make due return of the Writ of Election for the said County whereby one of the Members is deprived of a seat in this House,

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On motion ordered that the said officer be sent for, and brought in Custody to the Bar of the House to answer for such his conduct.

Then the order of the day being read, Resolved the House resolve itself into a Committee of the whole House tomorrow morning, to take under consideration His Excellency the Governor's Speech.

Then the House adjourned till tomorrow morning 10 oClock.


Thursday 6th April, 1775.

The House met according to adjournment.

On motion ordered that Mr Ashe, Mr Rhodes, Mr Thos Rutherford, Mr Hunt, Mr Shepard, Mr McCulloch, Mr Caswell, Mr Hewes, Mr Hill, Mr Thomas Jones, and Mr Gregory, be a Committee of Privileges and Elections, and that they have power to send for persons and records, as the case may require.

On motion ordered that Mr Harnett, Mr Hewes, Mr Knox, Mr Cray, Mr Samuel Johnston, Mr Hunt, Mr Jarvis, Mr Howe, Mr John Campbell, Mr Macknight, Mr Hooper, Mr Macnair and Mr Long be a Committee of Public Accounts, and that Mr Ashe, Mr Oldham, Mr John Johnston, Mr Allen Jones, Mr Perkins, Mr Thos Jones, Mr Simpson, Mr Ferquard Campbell, Mr Benbury, Mr Rhodes, Mr Gregory, Mr Edward Salter, Mr Fraizer, Mr William Person and Mr Jarvis be a Committee of Public Claims in conjunction with such of the members of His Majesty's Honble Council as they shall think fit to appoint, and that the following message be sent to the Council, to wit,

Gentlemen of His Majesty's Honble Council,

This House have appointed Mr Harnett, Mr Hewes, Mr Knox, Mr Cray, Mr Samuel Johnston, Mr Hunt, Mr Jarvis, Mr John Campbell, Mr Macknight, Mr Hooper and Mr Macnair, and Mr Long on the Public Accounts. And Mr Ashe, Mr Oldham, Mr John Johnston, Mr Allen Jones, Mr Perkins, Mr Thos Jones, Mr Simpson, Mr Ferquard Campbell, Mr Benburry, Mr Rhodes, Mr Gregory, Mr Edward Salter, Mr Fraizer, Mr William Person and Mr Jarvis, a Committee of this House, to settle and allow public Claims in conjunction with such of your Honors as you shall think fit to appoint.

JOHN HARVEY, Sp.

Sent by Mr McCulloch and Mr Gregory.

On motion ordered that Mr William Salter, Mr William Person, Mr Howe, Mr Stanley, Mr Coor, Mr Shepard, Mr Poyner, Mr Hunter,

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Mr Ferquard Campbell, Mr Caswell, Mr Thomas Person, Mr Wynns, Mr Long, Mr Ashe, Mr Atherton, Mr Francis Nash, Mr Rhodes, Mr Knox, Mr Joseph Jones, Mr Edward Salter, Mr Griffith Rutherford, Mr Fraizer, Mr Hewes and Mr Harnett, be a Committee of Propositions and Grievances.

The order of the day being read for taking into consideration His Excellency's Speech,

On motion Resolved the House Resolve itself into a Committee of the whole House. The House Resolved itself into a Committee of the whole House accordingly and chose Mr Andrew Knox Chairman, and after some time spent therein came to several Resolutions. Then Mr Speaker resumed the Chair, and Mr Chairman reported that the Committee had taken under consideration His Excellency the Governor's Speech, and came to several Resolutions thereon, to wit,

Resolved that the Committee to be appointed to prepare an address in answer to the Governor's Speech be instructed to express that the Assembly of North Carolina have the highest sense of the allegiance due to the King; the Oath so repeatedly taken by them to that purpose made it unnecessary for them to be reminded of it. That it has always been their pleasure to express and will ever be so to testify by their actions, that allegiance which however they profess to owe to His Majesty as their Sovereign, who was by the same Constitution which established that allegiance and enjoined that oath, happily for his Subjects, solemnly bound to protect them in all their just rights and privileges by which a reciprocal duty became incumbent upon both.

That it is the undoubted right of His Majesty's Subjects to petition for a redress of Grievances and to remonstrate against them, either in a separate or collective capacity, and that in order to agree upon such petition or remonstrance, they have a right to collect themselves together, and while they conduct themselves in a peaceable and orderly manner, they deserve not to be called an illegal meeting, or to have the imputation of sedition cast upon them. The Assembly therefore can never deem the meeting of the present Convention at New Bern in order to appoint Delegates to petition for a redress of Grievances an illegal meeting nor conceive it derogatory to the power and Authority of the Assembly or wounding to its dignity, and that though the Assembly are the legal representatives, and perhaps adequate to every purpose of the people, yet the frequent

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prorogations, some of them proclaimed so late that many of the Members did not receive information thereof 'til their Arrival in Town, gave the people no reason to expect that the Assembly would be permitted to meet 'til it was too late to send Delegates to the Continental Congress at Philadelphia, a measure which America in general and this Province in particular thought absolutely necessary, and which as it is the full sense of our constituents, we as their representatives highly approve.

That the Assembly are entirely ignorant of, and do not believe that any base arts have been practiced upon the people of this Colony in order to lead them from their duty, but that the steps they have taken, have resulted from a full conviction that the Parliament of Great Britain had, by a variety of oppressive and unconstitutional proceedings, made the measures they pursued absolutely necessary. That therefore His Excellency's asserting that such measures have been owing to base arts practised upon them by wicked and designing men, is not only an injustice done to the people but manifestly tends to weaken the influence which the united Petitions of His Majesty's American subjects might otherwise have upon their Sovereign, for a redress of those Grievances of which they have such a right to complain, and that therefore the Committee be directed in the strongest terms to refute such assertion.

That the House would feel inexpressible concern at the information given them by His Excellency of His being authorized to say that the appointing Delegates to attend the Congress now in agitation, would be highly offensive to the King, had they not recently received undoubted information that His Majesty has been pleased to receive very graciously the united petition of His American Subjects addressed to him by the Continental Delegates lately convened at Philadelphia and that therefore they can never suppose that a similar application to the Throne will give offence to His Majesty or prevent His receiving any Petition for a redress of Grievances which his subjects have a right to prefer either separately or unitedly.

That the Committees appointed by the people in the several Counties and Towns in this Colony in consequence of the resolutions of the Continental Congress held at Philadelphia, were the result of necessity, not choice, as the only means left them to prevent as far as in them lay, the operation of those oppressive and unconstitutional acts of Parliament endeavoured to be imposed upon America

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by Great Britain, and that the Assembly have not been informed of any steps taken by those Committees, but such as they were compelled to take from that necessity, and for the salutary purpose aforesaid.

That the-Assembly would be glad to receive information of any marks of Loyalty to the King given His Excellency by the Inhabitants of this Colony, had not the manner in which that information was conveyed seemed to be intended to establish a belief, that a great number of the people of this Province were disaffected to their Sovereign. That therefore the House instruct their Committee to do justice to the good people of this Colony, whose representatives they are by bearing testimony to the World in their answer to the Governors Speech, that His Majesty has no Subjects more loyal than the Inhabitants of North Carolina, nor none ready at the expence of their lives and Fortunes to protect and support his person, crown and dignity. That if however by the signal proofs His Excellency speaks of, he means those addresses lately published in the North Carolina Gazette, said to be presented to His Excellency, his congratulations thereupon can in no way be acceptable to the Assembly but from the consideration that in so numerous a Colony so few could be found weak enough to be seduced from their duty, and prevailed upon by the base arts of wicked and designing men, to adopt measures, so contrary to the sense of all America, and so destructive of those just rights and privileges it was their duty to support.

That the Committee be instructed also to express the warmest attachment to our Sister Colonies in general, the highest compassion for the sufferings of the Town of Boston in particular, and the fixed and determined resolution of this Colony to unite with the other Colonies, in every effort to maintain those rights and liberties which as Subjects of a British King they possess, and which it is a duty they owe to posterity to hand down to them unimpaired.

Resolved that the Committee be instructed to account for the difficiency of the public funds.

That the Committee express their sense of the necessity of the Establishment of Courts of Justice and their willingness to adopt any plan they may judge adapted to the circumstances of the Country.

That the Committee be directed to express, That the exhausted state of the Finances and the particular circumstances of the Country, render it inconvenient and unnecessary any longer to support the establishment of Fort Johnston.

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On motion ordered the foregoing resolutions be instructions to the Committee to be appointed to draw up the Address in answer to His Excellency the Governor's Speech.

On motion ordered that Mr Howe, Mr Hooper, Mr Johnston, Mr Hewes and Mr Macknight be appointed a Committee to prepare an address in answer to His Excellency the Governor's Speech and report the same to the House for approbation.

Then the House adjourned 'till tomorrow morning 10 oClock.


Friday, 7th April, 1775.

The House met according to adjournment.

Mr Howe from the Committee appointed to prepare an answer to His Excellency's Speech, informed the House they had prepared the same, which was read. On motion ordered the same stand as the Address of this House, and is as follows, to wit,

To His Excellency Josiah Martin, Esquire, Captain General, Governor, &ca,

Sir,

We His Majesty's most dutiful and loyal Subjects, the Members of the Assembly of North Carolina, have taken into consideration your Excellency's Speech at the opening of this Session.

We met in General Assembly with minds superior to private dissentions, determined calmly, unitedly, and faithfully to discharge the sacred trust reposed in us by our constituents; actuated by sentiments like these it behooves us to declare that the Assembly of this Colony have the highest sense of their allegiance to the King of Great Britain, to whom alone, as our constitutional Sovereign, we acknowledge allegiance to be due, and to whom we so cheerfully and repeatedly have sworn it, that to remind us of the oath was unnecessary. This allegiance all past Assemblies have upon every occasion, amply expressed, and we the present Representatives of the people shall be always ready by our actions with pleasure to testify sensible however, that the same Constitution which established that allegiance and enjoined the Oath in consequence of it, hath bound Majesty under as solemn obligations to protect Subjects inviolate in all their just rights and privileges, wisely intending by reciprocal dependence to secure the happiness of both.

We contemplate with a degree of horror the unhappy state of America involved in the most embarrassing difficulties and distresses,

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by a number of unconstitutional invasions of their just rights and privileges, by which the inhabitants of the Continent in General, and of this Province in particular have been precipitated into measures extraordinary perhaps in their nature, but warranted by necessity, from whence among many other measures the appointment of Committees in the several Towns and Counties took its birth to prevent, as much as in them lay, the operation of such unconstitutional incroachments, and the Assembly remain unconvinced of any steps taken by those Committees but such as they were compelled to take for that salutary purpose.

It is not to be controverted that His Majesty's Subjects have a right to petition for a redress of Grievances, or to remonstrate against them, and as it is only in a meeting of the people that their sense respecting such petition and remonstrance, can be obtained, that the right of assembling is as undoubted; to attempt therefore under the mask of authority, to prevent or forbid a meeting of the people for such purposes or to interrupt their proceedings when met, would be a vain effort unduly to exercise power in direct opposition to the constitution.

Far be it from us then Sir, even to wish to prevent the operations of the Convention now held at New Bern, or to agree with your Excellency in bestowing upon them the injurious epithet of an illegal meeting. They are Sir, the respectable representatives of the people, appointed for a special and important purpose, to which, though our Constituents might have thought us adequate, yet as our meeting depended upon the pleasure of the Crown, they would have been unwise to have trusted to so precarious a contingence, especially as the frequent and unexpected prorogations of the Assembly, (one of them in particular, as if all respect and attention to the convenience of their representatives had been lost, was proclaimed but two or three days before the time which had been appointed for their meeting) gave the people not the least reason to expect that their Assembly would have been permitted to sit, 'til it was too late to appoint Delegates to attend the Continental Congress at Philadelphia, a measure which they joined the rest of America in thinking essential to its interest.

The House, Sir, neither know nor believe that any base arts have been practiced upon the people in order to lead them from their duty, but we know with certainty that the steps they have taken proceeded from a full conviction that the Parliament of Great Britain

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had by a variety of oppressive and unconstitutional proceedings made those steps absolutely necessary. We think it therefore a duty we owe the people to assert that their conduct has not been owing to base Arts practiced upon them by wicked and designing men, and have it much to lament that your Excellency should add your sanction to such groundless imputations, as it has a manifest tendency to weaken the influence which the united petition of His Majesty's American Subjects might otherwise have upon their Sovereign for a redress of those grievances of which they so justly complain.

We should feel inexpressible concern at the information given us by your Excellency of your being authorized to say that the appointment of Delegates to attend the Congress at Philadelphia now in agitation, will be highly offensive to the King, had we not recently been informed from the best authority, that His Majesty has been pleased to receive very graciously the united petition of His American Subjects, addressed to him by the Continental Delegates lately convened at Philadelphia. We have not therefore the least reason to suppose that a similar application to the Throne will give offence to His Majesty or prevent his receiving a Petition for the redress of Grievances, which His American Subjects have a right to present, either separately or unitedly.

We shall always receive with pleasure the information of any marks of loyalty to the King, given to your Excellency by the inhabitants of this Colony, but we are greatly concerned lest the manner in which you have thought proper to convey this information, should excite a belief that a great number of the people of this Province are disaffected to their Sovereign, to prevent which it is incumbent upon us in this manner solemnly to testify to the world that his majesty has no Subjects more faithful than the inhabitants of North Carolina or more ready at the expence of their lives and fortunes to protect and support His person, crown and dignity. If however by the signal proofs your Excellency speaks of, you mean those addresses lately published in the North Carolina Gazette and said to be presented to you, the Assembly can receive no pleasure from your congratulations thereupon, but what results from the consideration, that so few have been found in so populous a Province weak enough to be seduced from their duty, and prevailed upon by the base Arts of wicked and designing men to adopt principles so contrary to the sense of all America, and so

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destructive of those just rights and privileges it was their duty to maintain.

We take this opportunity Sir, the first that has been given us to express the warm attachment we have to our sister Colonies in general, and the heartfelt compassion we entertain for the deplorable state of the Town of Boston in particular, and also to declare the fixed and determined resolution of this Colony to unite with the other Colonies in every effort, to retain those just rights and liberties which as subjects to a British King we posses and which it is our absolute and indispensible duty to hand down to posterity unimpaired.

The exhausted state of the public funds, of which your Excellency complains we contemplate with great concern, alleviated however by the reflection that it has not been owing to any misconduct of the Assembly; we were withheld from passing any Inferior Court Law, but upon such terms our duty rendered it impossible to accept, by which means no list of taxables could be taken for the year one thousand seven hundred and seventy three, and consequently no money collected to defray the charges of Government for that year; and as your Excellency did not think proper to meet the Assembly at their usual time of meeting in the fall, no Act could be passed to defray the contingent charges of Government for the year one thousand seven hundred and seventy four; the Treasury by these means deprived of two years' collection of Taxes must consequently be unable to answer the great demands upon it, 'til an Act of Assembly can be passed to enable it to discharge them.

This House, convinced of the necessity of Courts of Justice, would willingly adopt any plan for the establishment of them, which in their opinion is consistent with the circumstances of this Colony, and for independent Judges of capacity and Integrity they would with the greatest pleasure very liberally provide.

We are sorry, Sir, the impoverished state of the public Finances will not permit us to provide for the usual establishment of For Johnston.

The advanced season of the year, which of all other times, made it most inconvenient for us to attend public business will, your Excellency may assure yourself, induce us to forward it with all possible expedition.

JOHN HARVEY, Speaker.
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Resolved that the House do highly approve of the proceedings of the Continental Congress lately held at Philadelphia, and that they are determined as members of the Community in General, that they will strictly adhere to the said resolutions and will use what influence they have to induce the same observance in every Individual of this Colony.

This House having received information that William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, and Richard Caswell Esquires were appointed by the Convention held at New Bern as Delegates to attend the meeting of the Continental Congress soon to be held at Philadelphia,

Resolved that the House approve of the Choice made by the said convention.

Resolved that the thanks of the House be given to William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, and Richard Caswell Esquires for the faithful and judicious discharge of the important trust imposed in them as Delegates for this Colony at the late Continental Congress.

Mr William Brown, the Member for Bath Town, Mr Thomas Respess, one of the Members for Beaufort County, Mr Jonathan Hearring, one of the Members for Pasquotank County, and Mr William Haywood and Mr Elisha Battle, the Members for Edgcomb County, appeared.

The Honble John Rutherford and Lewis H. DeRosset Esquires two of the Members of the Council came to the House, and Mr. Brown, Mr Respess, Mr Hearring, Mr Haywood and Mr Battle were qualified by taking the several Oaths by Law appointed for qualification of Public Officers, and repeating and subscribing the Test.

Then the House adjourned 'till tomorrow morning 10 oClock.


Saturday 8th April, 1775.

His Excellency the Governor by Proclamation was pleased to dissolve the Assembly.