Letter from William Bull to William Legge, Earl of Dartmouth
Bull, William, 1710-1791
Volume 11, Pages 248-250
[B. P. R. O. America & W. Indies. Vol: 229. No 90.]
Charlestown. May 15. 1775.
Mr Irving Receiver General of His Majesty's Quit Rents for this Province put into my hands the enclosed Petition to the King with an apology for the paper on which it is written as truly representing the condition of the Petitioners which I presume to transmit in that humble dress rather than that they should lose time in its being returned to them in order to make its appearance in a form more suitable to the King's Majesty being confident that the Royal Goodness will discern and consider any reasonable request it may contain through every cloud of homely undress.
When the temporary Boundary Line between South and North Carolina was run in 1764. many who had received Grants of Land from the Governr of North Carolina were found to be South of the Line. Upon their application to me I thought and so advised
-------------------- page 249
them if they entered their Grants in the Auditor's Office of this Province with a discharge from the Receiver General of His Majesty's Quit Rents in North Carolina, it would give them an equitable right to possess their Lands in quiet without further expence, as Justice would be done to the King in complying with the Terms of the Grant which many accordingly conformed to. But some Persons having by surprize obtained a Grant in this Province for Lands that had been granted by the Governor of North Carolina an ejectment was brought and judgment given against the validity of the North Carolina Grant. This encouraged others to obtain Grants in the like ungenerous manner and thō the North Carolina Grantee deterred by this precedent yielded his possession, the hardship and equity of this case induced the Governor and Council to give what relief was in their power by publishing notice that such Grantees should have the preference of new Grants for these Lands. Many applied and received new Grants; others relying on the equity of their case obstinately refused. Thō the Deputy Surveyors were forbid to lay Warrants upon Lands so circumstanced many Grants were obtained by surprize as it was difficult for the Governor to discover such practises. By these means many North Carolina Grantees were ruined, all were much prejudiced. And lately a further mode of prevention has been adopted. Exceptions are inserted in Grants to make them void if they are for Lands formerly granted by North Carolina. As these may nevertheless be eluded, I beg leave humbly to suggest to your Lordship a means that would beyond doubt secure them in their possession which I would not presume to make use of without the Royal permission as it is disposing of the King's land. It is to establish and confirm all such Grants to the Grantee, or Person holding under him, which have not yet been new granted by the Governor of this Province, by an Act of the General Assembly which is submitted to your Lordship's consideration.
I have nothing new to add to my last letter relative to the Proceedings of the discontented in this Province. They continue in the same temper. The account of the Skirmish or Engagement between the King's Troops and the Provincials of Massachusets near Lexington on the 19th of last month seems to produce effects here very different from intimidation.
-------------------- page 250
On the 10th instant Barnard Elliot Esqre resigned his seat as a Member of his Majesty's Council.
I have the honor to be with the greatest respect,
Most obedient and
Most humble servant
To the right honblo the Earl of Dartmouth his Majesty's Principal Secretary of State for America at Whitehall.