To the Honorable the General Assembly of the State of North Carolina:
The memorial of James Iredell, one of the subjects of the said State, on behalf of Henry Eustace McCullok, Esq., at present an absentee out of the same, humbly sheweth:
That Henry McCullok, Esq., father of the said Henry Eustace McCullok, having many years since purchased and settled at a very great expense a considerable tract of land in the back parts of this State, and after much labor and fatigue, bestowed upon this object, residing principally in England, his son, Henry Eustace McCullok, came out to this country some time about the year 1761 and continued to reside constantly in it until the year 1767, chiefly occupied in settling the concerns of the said land upon a regular and satisfactory footing.
That in the year last mentioned the said Henry Eustace McCullok went to England, partly to have the happiness of seeing his only surviving parent and other near connections in that country and partly to solicit at the British court some indulgence concerning quit rents, to which he conceived his father was reasonably entitled under the particular circumstances of his case, which had been distressing to him in a very great degree.
That after this business was accomplished, there being a profound peace between Great Britain and America, and no prospects of so unhappy a dissension as has since taken place, the said Henry Eustace McCullok was induced to continue in England, principally, as your memorialist believes, from a sense of duty to his father, who was then very old and infirm, and had had the misfortune to lose all the rest of his family, which made him extremely anxious to enjoy the comfort and satisfaction of his son’s company during the remainder
That in the month of October, 1772, the said Henry Eustace McCullok returned from England (having before that time received a conveyance from his father of all his property here), and continued in this country many months, and when he again went to England (which was in June, 1778) he was charged with public affairs of much consequence to solicit in the capacity of agent for the then Province of North Carolina, with which office he had been for a considerable time honored.
That it was not till January, 1774, any symptom appeared of a great contest arising between Great Britain and America, at which time the destruction of the tea at Boston furnished a pretense for the vindictive acts of Parliament that followed, and which were of such a nature as to make the great and dignified opposition which appeared at America indispensably necessary, and which every friend to both countries earnestly flattered himself would be attended with the desired success, when it was seen the good sense of America was not to be imposed upon by any finesse, nor its spirit and union to be awed by any desperate or partial measures of resentment.
That from this period until the fatal commencement of hostilities, and even until very near the time when a necessity which every wellwisher to his country deplored urged an immediate and total separation between Great Britain and America, it was scarcely supposable that so unnatural a war could be long suffered to continue, when the purpose of it on the part of the aggressors was to deprive an innocent people of constitutional and charter rights which their ancestors had ever enjoyed, and without which they themselves must become despicable in the eyes of all mankind.
That for sometime before, and constantly after the Declaration of Independence, the difficulty of coming from Great Britain to America with an intention of residence was very great, since if coming either in British or foreign vessels persons were liable to be taken and confined as prisoners either by one party or the other, and the British in particular had at times so cruelly treated their prisoners as to deter a man in any but the most desperate case from exposing himself to the danger of so unhappy a calamity.
That these difficulties appeared to subsist in their full force until the memorable acts of the British Parliament at their last session,
That in this advanced period of the contest, when the weakness of Great Britain was acknowledged, and peace, with all its blessings (it must have appeared) would in a short time most probably solely depend on the wisdom and discretion of the American country, there was no reason to suppose the enemy would have any desire to distress private gentlemen by preventing them going to their estates; and therefore, in the month of August or September last, a great number of American gentlemen, among whom was the abovesaid Henry Eustace McCullok, arrived in the packet from England at New York.
That since the arrival of the said Henry Eustace McCullok at New York your memorialist has received two letters from him, one of a more general kind that your memorialist begs leave to submit to the inspection of your Honorable body at the same time with this memorial, and by which there seems reason to fear he has met with unexpected detention; the other concerning private business of much consequence, which he is also ready to produce if it be desired, and the purport of which, requiring papers of near concern to some relations in England, made it of extreme importance for Mr. McCullok to receive them if possible before he left New York.
Your memorialist further takes the liberty to observe that he has the greatest reason to believe the said Henry Eustace McCullok has always been firmly attached to the cause of American freedom, since in the course of a long and frequent correspondence between him and your memorialist, which subsisted till an intercourse of private letters between the two countries was totally prohibited, he often expressed himself in terms highly friendly and affectionate to America, and repeatedly asured him that nothing but the duty he owed his father detained him in England, and that whenever he should be unhappy enough to lose him, it was his fixed and determined purpose to come and settle in this country. It will appear by two affidavits that he has only persevered in the declaration of such political principles, even in very trying and dangerous situations,
Your memorialist begs leave to add, that he has been informed by Thos. Frohock, Esq., who for a considerable time acted as Mr. McCul lok’s agent, that he has given his own assumption for the payment of the last two years’ taxes on account of Mr. McCullok’s estate.
Your memorialist, therefore, firmly relying on the honor and justice of the General Assembly, and with great humility presuming that the absentee law ought not to be rigorously carried into effect against persons situated in the above circumstances, takes the liberty to submit to their consideration the case of the said Henry Eustace McCullok, and prays that no absolute forfeiture of his estate may at present take place, but that the consideration thereof may be deferred some reasonable time longer, in order to enable him to make his defense in person, which your memorialist is persuaded he will hasten to do as soon as it is possibly in his power.