In obedience to his Majesty's commands and in respect to such Gentlemen who may have any concern in the Matters herein treated of I apprehend that it is a duty incumbent on me to inform the Gentlemen to whom this notice is addressed what his Majesty's Instructions (to the Commissioners of the Quit Rents) are in relation to them.
1st In relation to such Gentlemen as claim lands in Albemarle County in right of what has been generally termed their Grand Deed or Charter his Majesty has signified his Pleasure in the following Terms. namely.
Whereas many disputes have been ocasion'd by the pretended rights of persons in Albemarle County in North Carolina by virtue of what they term their grand Deed or Charter being in fact as we are given to understand only a Temporary provision: Yet nevertheless in order to settle and determine the property of such persons as claim lands in that County under that right you are to permit all persons claiming Lands in the said County by virtue of such Patents under the Lords Proprietors before the year 1727. to hold those Lands subject to the rate of two shillings sterling Quit Rents only per: hundred acres or if they shall insist to pay their Quit Rents in the product of that Country such product shall be brought at their own charge unto the next Port or Place where the King's Receipt is held and there be valued on the foot of sterling money by sworn appraisers.
By what is usually termed the Grand Deed or Charter admitting it to have been in force and to have subsisted till the time of his Majesty's Purchase (which in fact is otherwise) all the rights and privileges that can possible be claimed in right of said deed, is, that the Gentleman of Albemarle County shall hold their Lands upon the same terms and conditions that Land was usually granted in Virginia in 1668—The Deed of Grant refered to expressly mentioning “That such as shall come into the said County of Albemarleth November 1618. or by consequence may be justly collected out of the same or out of the Letters Patents whereon they are grounded To be held of our sovereign Lord the King his heirs and successors for ever as of his Mannor of East Greenwich in free and common soccage and not in Capite or by Knight's service yielding and paying unto our sovereign Lord the King his Heirs and successors for every fifty acres of land hereby granted yearly at the Feast of St Michael the Archangel the free rent of one shilling which payment is to be made yearly from year to year according to his Majesty's Instructions of th 12th of September 1662. Provided that if the said ———— nor his assignes do not seat nor plant nor cause to be seated or planted upon the same land within three years next ensueing the date hereof Then it shall be lawfull for any adventurer or Planter to make choice thereof and seat on the same.”
Having for your further information given you a true state of the grants that were made out in Virginia in the year 1668. I shall beg leave to observe to you that neither by the Grants that were made out in Virginia nor by any Title or privilledge convey'd to the Inhabitants of Albemarle County in right of what is usually termed their Grand Deed or Charter That the Inhabitants of said County have not the least Title or Privilledge to assume the payment of their Quit Rents in Commoditys.
I am well appraised that what has led many of you into mistakes is. That soon after the Restoration the Quit Rents of Virginia were settled by Act of Assembly to be paid in Tobaco's at 2d per] lb. and that they were received upon that foot till the year 1684 at which time the King repurchased the soil from the Earl of Arlington and Lord Culpepper to whom by Letters Patent it was granted for 31 years. Upon this purchase the King declared that rather than take Tobaco's at the price then rated he wou'd accept of a piece of Eight for a Crown Sterling which offer was not generally accepted of the Law still subsisting Therefore in the year 1686. the King ordered a repeal of the said Law at the same time declaring by His Instructions to his Governour that he would accept of Tobaco at 1d per lb. And thus it hath continued ever since under a Standing Instruction to the Gov: to cause the Quit Rent Tobaco to be sold yearly by inch of Candle which is the Warrant as well for the receiving of it as for the sale of it.
By the State which I have given you of the Proceedings of the Crown in relation to the Law above refer'd to it fully appears that the said Law in the repeal thereof was considered as a Law enacted contrary to the powers vested in the Governour Council and Assembly as void and nullety in itself for otherwise the said Law could not have been repealed so as to make such as held Lands under the Earl of Arlington and Lord Culpepper subject to any new conditions in the payment of their Quit Rents.
Gentlemen I have endeavoured to demonstrate to you that by the deed of Grant you have not the least Title to any Priviledge enjoyed by His Majesty's subjects in Virginia other than what is comprized within the Terms and conditions set forth in their Grants.
That the Law above refer'd to was considered by the Crown as void in itself and that if it had been otherwise that the Deed of Grant does not intitle you to any Privilledge enjoyed by the Planters of Virginia in right of their Municipal Laws.
The offers the Crown has been graciously pleased to condecend to make you in the aforegoing Instructions are very favourable and I hope in duty to His Majesty you will thankfully accept of them—the method and form to be observed in the receipt of your Tobaco is not fully pointed out to me by my Instructions but as I apprehend by the whole tenor of my Instructions that his Majesty's
I shall therefore in obedience to what I humbly conceive to be his Majesty's gracious intentions under the said Instructions and as a Temporary Expedient to prevent all disputes in the ensuing Collection of the Quit Rents give the necessary directions to the Receiver General of the Quit Rents.
That the Gentlemen of Albemarle County who possess Lands in right of Grants which have been made out in pursuance of what they term their Grand Deed or Charter shall be at Liberty to pay their Quit Rents in the following manner, namely Two shillings sterling for every hundred acres of land possessed by them allowing to such as make prompt payment the same discount as is usually allowed in Virginia And to such as pay in good merchantable Tobaco's at 1d per ℔ and per cent disct: for the charge in bringing it to the Publick Stores in each County, and the other four per cent which was formerly allowed under the late Quitrent Law to be apply'd towards answering the charge of the Store Keepers untill such time as provision can be made by the publick to answer that charge.
But as to all such as do not pay their Quitrents within the time limited, that they are not to be entitled to any prompt or discount on payment of their Quitrents.
2dly In relation to such gentlemen as Claim Lands in right of Proprietory patents, His Majesty has been graciously pleased to signify His pleasure in the following terms namely, “And as an Encouragement to such Land holders to come in and be obedient to your Summons, You are to assure them that upon their complyance with such summons We will be graciously pleased as an indulgence to such as hold Lands by virtue of Patents granted by the late Lords Proprietors before the Year 1727 to order their Titles to be confirm'd provided they were in actual possession of the Lands at that time or had surveys regularly made and returned and on condition likewise that they register their grants regularly and claim no more Lands than are mentioned in their Patents and that in case they appear to be in possession of a surplus of land, We are graciously pleased in such case to admit them to take out new patents for the same subject to the Quitrent of 4s. Proclamationrs there. And as to all persons claiming lands by virtue of and under patents derived from the Lords Proprietors since 1727 upon producing to you the same Patents and having the same regularly Endorsed by you mentioning the conditions following, that is to say the paying of 4s. Proclamation money for every 100 Acres contained in their grants and that they bind themselves down to the usual terms and conditions of Settlement. In such case the producing the letters patents and your endorsement thereon shall be evidence of the grantees right, provided the same be regularly registered in the Auditors Office there within six months next after the date of such your endorsement. And whereas Sir Richard Everard when Governor of North Carolina under the Lords proprietors in or about the year 1729 granted several Tracts of land in North Carolina in consideration of the trouble and expence of the commissioners for running the boundary line between that Province and Virginia, We are graciously pleased to declare and grant that every such person or persons as shall fully prove before you and to your satisfaction the right of purchase under that claim shall be allowed to hold their lands on conditions in their grants reckoning every thousand acres of land as an equivalent for Ten pounds sterling due to them or to such persons under whom they lawfully claim. You are therefore hereby required to take such proof or proofs, which proofs when taken, (if found agreeable to our instructions) and your allowance thereof being recorded within six months after in the said Auditors Office shall be sufficient evidence of the original right to ye Quantity of Lands by the said proportion limited, An extract of which proofs you are at the same time to transmitt to the Commissioners of our Treasury, And our commissioners for Trade and Plantations.”
By the aforegoing Instructions it will appear evident that what His Majesty has principally in view is to Establish order and quiet in the Province, which cannot be properly effected without the forming of a proper register or Record in the Auditor's Office, the doing of which is made a previous condition to that of the confirmation of property in the possession of your Lands.
And I doubt not but that on your part you will readily comply therewith: the concessions of the Crown having been very great as it may with Justice be affirmed that this the Titles to the Patents
The Lands (as supposed under the instruction) not having been assigned over to the Commissioners who run the boundary line between this Province and Virginia but only sold in order to discharge the sum then due to them, As this is a new matter which arises under the Instruction I shall represent the same to the Right Honorable the Lords Commissioners of His Majesty's Treasury and I have not the least reason to doubt but that if you in the meantime comply with what I have proposed to you that such orders and instructions will be given by their Lordships as will be fully to the satisfaction of all the Partys concerned.
In relation to such gentlemen as claim lands bye Warrants or grants immediately derived under the Crown His Majesty has been pleased to direct the Commissioner of the Quitrents; that if the conditions upon which the warrants were issued and those grants made out have not been comply'd with, In such eases to give Publick notice in writing, That if they do not comply with the conditions of their grants their Lands shall be deem'd as lapselands. I shall now beg leave to address myself in general Terms to all the gentlemen who may have any concern in the matters above hinted at.
Gentlemen, you are sensible of the advantages that will acrue to yourselves as well as to the publick in the removal of all disputes depending between the Crown and you in relation to the
His Majesty's condescention has been very great in the indulgent terms offered to you and if you do not comply on your part I am commanded to inform you that you are not hereafter to expect the least indulgence from the Crown, but that you will be proceeded against as the law directs, therefore whatever consequences may attend a refusal must be wholy imputed to yourselves.
As it regards myself I beg leave to assure you that I am with the greatest truth