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Letter from Josiah Martin to William Legge, Earl of Dartmouth
Martin, Josiah, 1737-1786
May 04, 1775
Volume 09, Pages 1242-1245

[B. P. R. O. Am. & W. Ind.: No. Carolina. No. 222.]
Letter from Governor Martin to the Earl of Dartmouth.

No Carolina New Bern, May 4th 1775.

My Lord,

Since my last letter No 31, I have had the honor to receive by the last post your Lordship's Dispatch No 14, whence I learn with the greatest concern, the unaccountable delay of my letter of the 1st of September last, by which the King and His Majesty's Ministers have been so long unacquainted with the circumstances of this Country, and I regret it the more, as I detailed to your Lordship therein every memorable transaction in this Colony to that time, between which and my return to this place, nothing of the best moment occurred. I can assure you My Lord, that I omit no opportunity of giving your Lordship the most full and faithful accounts of the state, circumstances, and public affairs of this Province, and that I apprehend any delay of my Dispatches must arise from the unfrequency of the Posts between this place and Charles Town, the mail from thence arrives here every fortnight, and is dispatched from hence on the day week succeeding its arrival, if my letters chance to meet that Port just about the time of a Packets sailing, they may get to your Lordship's hands in reasonable time, but if immediately after her departure a long and uncertain interval passes before they are forwarded, depending upon the Passage of the Packets from England to Charles Town.

The very disingenuous and uncandid behaviour of the Council in general, who attended at the time of the convention here in August last, I suspect was governed a good deal by their apprehensions of suspension, upon the representation I had informed them I should make to the King of their extraordinary conduct at the preceding Session of the General Assembly, for which I required and transmitted to your Lordship their reasons in writing, they who persued the blamable conduct in the last instance, being the same members

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who transgressed their duty on the former occasion. At the last meeting of the Council, I thought considering the times, and the loose behaviour of some of the members, it was proper that the Board should qualify anew, since which I must do the Council the justice to say, that as far as my observation went, they acquitted themselves with propriety, and although I think the behaviour of the members, in the two cases referred to, has been highly dishonourable, and unjustifiable, I know not at present how to supply their places better, in case of their removal; popular frenzy seeming by degrees to take possession of the first order of People in this Country pretty generally, owing much I believe, to the false impressions they receive continually from the licentious and inflammatory Newspapers monstrously circulated from Brittain, as well as New England. I am bound to say My Lord, however, that I have not yet had occasion to change my sentiments of the Gentlemen recommended by my Dispatch No 23 to succeed the delinquent members therein mentioned, and they are the only choice that I can make here. Mr McGwire His Majesty's Attorney General took his seat at the Council Board at the last meeting in the room of Mr Marmaduke Jones resigned, and I humbly beg leave to recommend Hugh Finlay Esqre one of His Majesty's Deputy Postmasters General for No America to fill the vacancy occasioned by the resignation of Sir Nathaniel Dukenfield, and pursuant to His Majesty's Instructions to name three persons in every case of vacancy, I would join in nomination with Mr Finlay, Robert Munford and Thomas Macknight Esquires. I have the honor to transmit to your Lordship herewith, a Copy of a Proclamation issued by Lord Dunmore, His Majesty's Governor of Virginia, which His Lordship recently sent to me with the enclosed advertisement of Henderson, who it seems is attempting a Settlement upon the Indian Lands in spite of all Lord Dunmore's and my admonitions.

I beg leave to observe to your Lordship, that the Proclamation sets forth, that His Majesty at the request of the Assembly of Virginia, has permitted the Western Boundary of that Colony to be extended according to a Line run by a Colonel Donelson, & other Surveyors appointed for the purpose. The Line My Lord here called the Western Boundary of Virginia, is the dividing Line between that Colony and Lord Granville's District of this Province running from the seashore to the westward. The continuation thereof has been altogether an exparte proceeding, not authorized by His Majesty's

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Royal Instructions to the Governors of the Two Provinces, as has been usual in all extensions of the Lines between two Colonies, and as this Colonel Donelson has the reputation of being a land jobber, and is complained of by the occupants settled within the limits of Lord Granville's Grant, (but beyond the present Boundary towards the Cherokee Indians) of having invaded the Rights of Lord Granville in this Province, I most humbly submit to His Majesty's Royal consideration the expediency of suspending the granting of Lands contiguous to the Boundary described by Lord Dunmore's Proclamation, until Commissioners are appointed under His Majesty's authority on the part of the two Provinces with the participation of Lord Granville whose interests may be naturally affected by the Boundary in question, as any Grants which shall be made before that line is properly ascertained may very probably be injurious to the Rights of that Proprietor, and will certainly beget endless animosities among the back Settlers of the two Provinces. I am to inform your Lordship, that Mr Edwards the late Deputy Auditor, whose misbehaviour I formerly represented to your Lordship, died here in January, the unhappy man having persued to the last, the same undutiful conduct. Upon his decease, I appointed Mr Archibald Neilson, a Gentleman of much merit, to succeed him, whom I have recommended to Mr Cholmondeley for his confirmation. Mr Johnston the Deputy Naval officer persists also in his very extraordinary conduct, and your Lordship will observe, he is made very conspicuous in the Proceedings of the two Conventions at this Place, in both which he has been appointed Moderator, in case of the death or default of Mr Harvey. I shall therefore think it proper to supercede him, as your Lordship concurs in that opinion, when I can think of a fit person to take the conduct of the naval officer.

Writing from memory, I find I was guilty of a mistake in my last letter, in representing that the collection of the annual Taxes here is not begun until June, and that it commences in March. This error my Lord does not however at all invalidate my assertion with regard to the deficiency of the Treasury for not one farthing would have come into it, in many months after the 5th of April, if a Law had been passed for laying a contingent Tax the last autumn. And now I have returned to this subject it is proper I observe to your Lordship that the Assembly while it labours to execulpate itself, and to lay blame on me, with respect to the poverty of the Treasury, passes over its own neglect to continue the contingent Tax which

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expired in 1773, at the Session in March 1774 (the true cause of the low state of the Treasury) for which I am sure no good reason can be assigned, and with regard to Lists of Taxables, it is well known that there has been no tolerably complete return of them for many years before the suspence of the Inferior Courts, owing to the negligence of the County Court Clerks, but they were not absolutely necessary as a foundation for a Tax, although they are to form a precise judgment of the amount of all the Taxes in the County which are laid upon the Poll.

I have the honor to enclose to your Lordship, the Minutes of Council, and a List of Patents granted upon which previous steps had been taken before the receipt of your Lordship's circular letter accompanying His Majesty's last Instructions with regard to the future disposal of the Crown lands, to which I have conformed, as your Lordship will observe in the strictest manner.

Having by accident omitted to enclose a Duplicate of the Quit Rent Bill with the Copy of my Dispatch No. 29, I now send it herewith.

I have the honor to be &c,