Letter from Alexander Elmsly, Agent of the House of Assembly of North Carolina, to Samuel Johnston.
Yours by Captain Scott came to hand in due season, as did the money for Mr Barker, which is at his credit. Your bill £100, order Mr. Ferrear, was this day paid.
Your politics are past my expectations and out of my reach. I thought incorporating you would not only have remedied the disorder, but have given additional vigour to the Constitution; but, excepting our friend Mr Barker, nobody either here or there is of the same opinion; therefore, I shall suppose, for the present, that he and I are mistaken, and wait with resignation the event of the measures adopted on both sides of the water.
On our side they are as follows: The House of Commons have voted by resolve, that if you will tax yourselves for the purpose of
A bill has received the Royal assent for preventing the four New England Colonies from fishing, after the 25th of June next; and another has been read three times in the House of Commons, for restraining the trade of all the associated Colonies to Great Britain and the British West Indies; out of this restraint, however, New York and North Carolina are excepted; the former because their Assembly did not recognize the new laws, the latter for reasons not generally known; they are, however, one or all of the following; 1st Mr Barker and myself, instead of the Petition you sent us (which contained, besides strange inaccuracies, indirect reflections on the Parliament, or the Ministry at least), drew up a Memorial in more decent terms, which we left a rough draught of with Mr Pownall, the Secretary, for his inspection, previous to its being presented to the Board. This was about the 10th of February; in two or three days we called to know his sentiments on it; he told us he had perused it, approved of it and pressed us much and repeatedly to have it lodged as soon as possible, which was done the next day. Two or three days after, Lord North moved for the restraining Bill in the House of Commons, and North Carolina was and still is left out. The next reason is, we have as yet received no account of your Assembly, or rather the Members of it, having ratified the new laws, nor have you been charged with any excesses in the execution of them. The last, and perhaps the best reason is Governor Tryon (who returns to New York immediately) is much your friend, and I doubt not has exerted himself in your behalf accordingly. Whether you will thank us for this distinction, or not; whether it will not be considered opprobrious instead of honourable; whether Mr Barker and myself will be censured or not, as having been, in all probability, instrumental in bringing it about, I do not pretend to say. But in our defence, or rather in mine, for it was with much reluctance he consented to suppress the
You ask Mr Barker to let you know who it was that first moved, here, against your Court laws. Neither he nor I know certainly; but when old Mr McCulloh, as your agent, first received an account of your Court Bill miscarrying, on account of an instruction to your Governor against attachments, he hinted that Lord Hillsborough,
Old Franklin is gone to Philadelphia, some people say to second Lord North's plan of your taxing yourselves; but I know nothing of the matter.
There is an account received that the Transports are sailed from Cork, and next week, the Generals Howe, Burgoyne and Clinton, follow them from hence in a Man-of-War; some of these troops are destined for New York, and two Companies, with a Sloop, are to be sent to Georgia.
Should your Assemblies refuse to adopt Lord North's plan, and our Parliament persevere, you will have another new set of laws soon established.
They say your Seaports are to be turned into garrison Towns, and the people of the Country left at liberty to form any establishment they think proper. Should this regulation take place, I hope you will have no occasion to turn Soldier. Your Governour I suppose will take up his residence amongst the musquetoes, at Breacock, and you will be a Congress or Committee-man, instead of a military man. I like neither Character, but hope you will never have occasion to take upon you the latter especially.
Mrs. Elmsley joins me in compliments and best wishes to you and yours.