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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from Richard Spaight to the Board of Trade of Great Britain
Spaight, Richard, 1730-1763
July 21, 1760
Volume 06, Pages 268-272

[B. P. R. O. North Carolina. B. T. Vol. 14. E. 37, 38.]
Letter from Secretary Spaight to the Board of Trade

Newbern 21st July 1760

My Lords,

The lower House of Assembly of North Carolina having passed several resolves against his Excellency the Governor and me, equally

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scandalous and false, it is incumbent upon us to clear ourselves and have the facts fairly stated, which to the honour of the House they never once attempted to do, nay so far from having any of the facts alledged against us proved in the Committee of Grievances as they ought to have been, that the Committee never sat and the Resolutions were formed by a Junto of persons (whose purposes were to be served by a Revolution's taking place by Mr. Child's pretended great interest, who only wanted a pretext for his Friends to act in his behalf,) and at once passed the Committee of the whole House, as a majority previous to that, was engaged by great promises or threats, and was immediately confirmed by the House, and what still shows the villanous intention of those Resolutions in a more striking light is that they previously resolved that if any Member should discover to any person the resolutions entered into, he should be expelled, and thereafter be incapable of sitting in that House, and the resolutions were kept a secret for six days after the Session was closed, on purpose that the resolutions and address to His Majesty should get home before we had it in our power to vindicate ourselves, and that my Lord Granville should get us both dismissed without a hearing; surely they must have had a most horrid opinion of his Lordship to imagine he would join with a faction in favour of one of his agents to deny a Gentleman common Justice to prevent his clearing himself from the low aspersions of a few designing People. I must entreat your Lordships patience while I make a few remarks upon the resolutions which affect me, as to the first which strikes both at the Governor and me, it was never disputed but that I should be allowed one per cent. The Governor, Council and Assembly having past my accounts with such a charge in them, and the late Colonel Innes having been allowed one per cent before, which shows that it was not an unusual charge, and it having passed unnotieed from Assembly to Assembly from the year 1755 until this Session (which if it had been a real grievance would not have been the case,) shows it to be evidently party violence, which makes everything a handle that is possible to serve a turn, and the whole sum on which I received the one per cent amounts to £17771.3.7. Proclamation money, upon which only £177.14.2. like money I received upon it as Commissions, which shows the little foundation for such a resolution, and if it had been of that disservice and a Grievance surely they ought before, and even at the first represent it as an improper step and to desire it might be rectified, and to let it lie dormant for 5½ years and after my accounts were passed without any objection is
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such an evident demonstration of the malicious intention and falsity of the resolution itself as several aids have been since granted which I had not any concern with, as hardly deserves any other notice than that of contempt, which it justly merits, and with which I make no doubt but it will be treated by your Lordships—

As to the second which relates to my being Secretary and having been guilty of several palpable frauds and sets forth a flagrant instance of one said to be committed four years ago which you will see by my answer is totally false, since so far from giving myself the preference (that no impartiality to myself in my own Office should be suggested) I gave up my right to the land under the circumstances mentioned in my answer upon oath; and the said Joseph Such has peaceably enjoyed it since.

Now my Lords under these circumstances I hope you will think I have discharged the trust reposed in me with honor, as to this charge and as to the General one of palpable frauds being committed, I defy the whole Assembly to prove my being guilty of a dishonest or mean thing in the execution of my Office, or that I ever extorted any Fees but by Law allowed me, and I am and always shall be ready to vindicate myself against any dirty insinuations which by party violence or envy may be thrown out against me, and when your Lordships has a full view of the whole transaction I dare say you will think I do not deserve such treatment, and also when by Party violence my Place was intended for one Robert Jones a Lawyer of this Province a Pretext was to be found out for removing me and Mr. Child was to get him fixed in my place, your Lordships may judge how difficult it was to find anything against me (altho they set forth the many irregularities and palpable frauds which happened during my appointment) when for a single instance or the least color of a fault, they were obliged to have recourse to the above affair which happened nigh four years ago, which I humbly conceive must to every unprejudiced person appear as a convincing proof of my having discharged the trust reposed in me with that Honor and justice that so great a Trust requires, and that nothing but envy, Party and a premeditated malice could induce the persons concerned to be guilty of such an unjust and cruel resolution against any Persons character, who had not the liberty to justify himself and hinder his reputation from being falsely exposed, or even knew of it until six days after the session was over, and this also had another sting intended to make the Governor odious in the eyes of the people for

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his appointing me; thus your Lordships may see the weakness and falacy of this resolution.

As to the third resolution by the proofs annexed to my defence you will see that is equally false, malicious and scandalous and that my having whipt the Person therein mentioned, was not under color of law, or executed by any judicial authority, but only my private resentment, for having under his hand treated my wife with the greatest indignity, and to the prejudice of her character, and which I dare to affirm any Person would have done under the like circumstances, for in this new settled country as the most of the people are from mean originals, they don't much stand upon character, which makes it incumbent upon those that do, to exert themselves in their own defence and tho' my heat of passion was so great, upon the first notice of it, yet I only whipt him moderately in order to discover the author of so villanous a libel, and I am persuaded had not Party violence been carried with so high a hand, nothing would have been said upon that affair, as everybody was satisfied he deserved much more for offering to meddle with persons of character, and he himself was so convinced of deserving such treatment that he forgave me, and never offered to sue or indite me for it, but to have the affair so highly aggravated, misrepresented and placed in such a point of view, plainly shews the malignity of such a resolution, and that Party Violence was the only spur to it.

Now, My Lords, it is also requisite to inform your Lordships that my appointment, as well as fourteen other Gentlemen, was only to hinder the Courts from dropping, for want of adjournment in case of the sickness, or other accident happening to the Chief Justice to hinder his being at the Court the first day, and that neither I nor any other of the Associates had had one farthing by such appointment, but on the contrary was at a good deal of expense on such occasions, which plainly shews the Governor could not get any Lawyer to act under such circumstances as the Gentlemen of that Profession don't understand such empty inducements, and it was necessary to appoint Gentlemen in the neighbourhood who would take such trouble upon them and I hope your Lordships considering the Provocation will upon the whole affair being laid before you, not impute it as a fault, but only look upon it as the effects of the first transport of passion, without the cool deliberation and exercise of reason which would have widely altered the case.

Upon the whole I hope for your Lordships favour & protection, whilst I acquit myself in the Office I have the honor of holding

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under the Crown to your Lordships approbation, and that your Lordships goodness will prevent my being overwhelmed by the Torrent of Party prejudice, and that thereby the present faction raised in this Province against Government by the Attorney General may be convinced that no dark and indirect doings will meet your Lordships Countenance or approbation, and relying upon your Lordships known justice and honour

I am, with due respect My Lords &c

Additional Notes for Electronic Version: This letter enclosed a memorandum by Spaight - See Related Documents.