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Memorandum from the Board of Trade of Great Britain to George III, King of Great Britain concerning acts of the North Carolina General Assembly concerning churches
Great Britain. Board of Trade
June 03, 1762
Volume 06, Pages 720-723

[B. P. R. O. North Carolina B. T. Vol. 23. p. 201.]
Report of Lords of Trade to the King

Whitehall 3rd Jan 1762

To the King's most Excellent Majesty.

May it please Your Majesty.

We have had under our consideration two Acts passed in your Majesty's Province of North Carolina in May 1760. Entitled An Act for establishing Vestries and An Act for making Provision for an Orthodox Clergy and having also referred these Acts to the consideration of the Lord Bishop of London (as has been usual in Cases of the like nature) We beg leave humbly to lay before Your Majesty the annexed Copy of the Letter in which his Lordship has been

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pleased to give us his observations and Opinion upon them And we humbly represent to your Majesty

That in the year 1755 an Act comprising the Purposes of the present Two was passed in North Carolina, which being found in many of its Provisions to affect Your Majesty's Rights of Patronage and Presentation to Benefices and to interfere with the Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction belonging to the Crown was for the reasons set forth in our humble Representation of the 27th of Febry 1759. repealed by his late Majesty's Order in Council dated the 3rd March following The present two Acts do not only revive several of the exceptionable Provisions of that repealed Law, but in some of their Clauses do also contain matter of new and greater Objection. We therefore think it Our Duty humbly to state to your Majesty such observations as have occurred to us upon each of the said Acts

And first with respect to the Act for Establishing Vestries, the Clause which ascertains the Qualification of Vestry Men does not require that they should be (as undoubtedly they ought to be) members of the Church of England. It enacts that it shall be sufficient for each person elected to that Office to declare that he will not oppose the Doctrine and discipline of that Church This is an instance of new Objection to which the repealed Law of 1755 was not liable it being by that Act required as a necessary qualification, that each Vestry man should declare his conformity in the most express words

2. By the 85th Article of your Majesty's Instructions (an instruction which was founded on an application of the Bishop of London to the Lords of the Council for Trade in the year 1677 and has ever since been universally given to the Governors of all the Colonies in America) Your Majesty's Governor is directed to take care that every Orthodox Minister be one of the Vestry in his respective Parish. By the Letter of this Act it is not provided that the Minister shall be of the Vestry and by the Spirit and general construction of it, we should rather incline to think it means to exclude him.

With regard to the 2d Act for making provision for an Orthodox Clergy, we observe

1st that although it settles a salary (more ample than was provided by the former Law) and establishes the Fees of the Clergy yet it does not effectually secure to them the enjoyment of such Salary and Fees, there being no penalty inflicted on the persons who shall refuse or neglect to pay them, nor any power of recovery given to the Minister.

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2. This Act vests the Right of Presentation of every Parish in its respective Vestry, for twelve months after a vacancy, but should that term expire and no Minister be presented the Lapse of that Turn is not reserved to your Majesty in which instance this Act of 1760, is still more objectionable than the repealed law of 1755.

3. The latter part of this Act concerning the punishment of Ministers guilty of immoralities appears to us unnecessary, as the matter is already provided for by the laws of this Kingdom and improper as it may be construed to interfere with the Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction belonging to your Majesty.

For these reasons we are humbly of opinion that the said two Acts should receive your Majesty's disallowance.

But before we conclude we must humbly beg leave to take notice of two other Objections with respect to the conduct of your Majesty's Governor in passing the said two Acts, which our duty will not permit to pass over.

1. That there being in each of these Acts a Clause repealing all other Acts and every Clause and Article thereof for so much as relates to any matter or thing within the purview of the present, Mr. Dobbs in assenting to such Clauses was regardless of the directions of the 18th Article of your Majesty's instructions which require him “more especially to take care that no Act whatever be suspended, altered continued, revived or repealed in general words, but that the Title and date of such Act so suspended altered, continued, revived or repealed be particularly mentioned and expressed in the enacting part.”

2. That although these Acts are in effect only revivals of a Law repealed by his late Majesty liable not only to most of the Objections upon which that Law was annulled but to others from which it was exempt, Your Majesty's Governor in contradiction to the direction of the 19th and 20th Articles of your Majesty's instructions, has given his Assent to them without any Clause of suspension and has suffered them to have immediate operation before your Majesty's Pleasure could be Known. In our humble Representation to your Majesty of the 3d of Decembrr last upon some Acts of North Carolina for establishing Courts of Justice we fully stated to your Majesty how essential it is to the constitution of the Colonies and the just Government of the Mother Country, that those Instructions should be strictly observed and we are sorry to have occasion so soon to take

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notice of another instance of Mr. Dobbs's inattention to those instructions.

All which is most humbly submitted

Additional Notes for Electronic Version: The date given on the document does not appear to be correct. The Board of Trade mentions a letter written by Richard Osbaldeston in May, 1762 and the Board of Trade Journals indicate that this memorandum was written in June, 1762. This memorandum enclosed a letter from Richard Osbaldeston - See Related Documents.