Documenting the American South Logo
Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Advanced Search Options
Memorandum from Henry McCulloh to the Board of Trade of Great Britain concerning his actions as Commissioner of the Quit Rents for North and South Carolina
McCulloh, Henry, ca. 1700-1779
November 08, 1741
Volume 11, Pages 45-54

[B. P. R. O. South Carolina B. T. Vol. 11 g. 70.]

8th Novber 1741.

To the Right Honble the Lords Commissioners for Trade and Plantations.

The Humble Representation of Henry MacCulloh

Most humbly submitted

May it please Your Lordships,

In obedience to His Majtys Instructions, I have herewith transmitted to your Lordships a particular account of every step I have taken since my arrival in the Province of South Carolina. I had not been long in that Province when to my great surprise I found that the members of His Majtys Council and all the other Officers of the Crown (the Deputy Auditor excepted) were the only persons I had to contend with, the Members of the Commons House of Assembly having upon several occasions shewn the greatest disposition to comply with their duty, informing of a rent roll Bill, and the establishing of proper Rules and Orders for the settlement of the Province In order to effect which, the Assembly were then inquiring into the grievances of the settlers of the Township of Williamsburgh in which township many of the poor settlers were defrauded of their Lands, by several of the Members of the Council and their friends who had procured grants for the lands within the Township (from the late Governors Johnson and Broughton) in direct oposition to His Majesty's 43rd instruction. And I beg leave to take notice to your Lordships that the Commons

-------------------- page 46 --------------------
house of Assembly in the year 1739 were so extreamly sensible of the great inconveniencys and danger that attended the Province in respect to their domestick enemies (the negroes) and that this wholly proceeded from the irregular and unwarrantable methods taken by the Governour and Council in the granting of Lands, that the Assembly appointed a Committee to consider of the most effectual means to relieve the people about Stono from the dangers arising from domestick enemyes and also appointed a committee to consider and report the most proper means for prevention of such dangers throughout the Province. And the Committee in obedience to the said order did Report that Whereas by the late unhappy accident at Stono, it appeared to be absolutely necessary to get a sufficient number of white Persons into this Province. The Committee beg'd leave to recommend that a Bill may be brought in for that purpose to the following effect That every person owning or intitled to any slaves in this Province for every 10 male slaves above the age of 12 years shall be obliged to find and provide one able white man for the Militia of this Province who shall be subject to appear in the Militia and do all the dutyes required by the Militia Law of this Province.

That any person owning or claiming any Lands in this Province over and above the quantity of 4000 acres and under the quantity of 20,000 acres, shall be obliged to find and provide one able white man to serve in the Militia, for every 2000 acres of Land over the said quantity of 4000 acres and under the said quantity of 20,000 so owned or claimed by such persons, And for every 1000 acre over and above the said quantity of 20,000 one able white man to serve in the Militia in this Province over and besides the number of white men such Persons are obliged to furnish for the Militia as aforesaid for or by reason or on account of their slaves as aforesaid.

That every owner of such Lands and slaves as aforesaid who shall be deficient herein his sons and apprentices above the age of 16 years and under the age of 60 years be accounted for and taken as so many of such white persons to serve in the Militia as aforesaid.

That every Person who shall refuse or neglect to comply with the terms aforesaid shall forfeit and pay the sum of £6 per month, for every male white servant or white man, they shall want to serve in the Militia required as aforesaid for the quantity of Lands and slaves held or claim'd by them in this Province.

-------------------- page 47 --------------------

That the moneys arrising by the penaltys incurr'd from the persons deficient in the number of White men to serve in the Militia as aforesaid, shall be apply'd towards payment of a patrol to be imploy'd in those parishes respectively, in which the Lands or slaves lye or be, for which such persons are deficient as aforesaid.

That for the better collecting and levying the said penalties the collectors of the general tax are proposed to be collectors of the said penalty for which purpose the said collectors shall be empowered and deliged to require all persons returning an account of their Lands and Slaves in this Province to return at the same time an account of the number of white men in their respective family's and service. and also the time they have had such persons in their service to the intent it may be more certainly known who are or shall be deficient herein and to levy the said penalty of £6 per month for the time in which any such person or persons shall be found to have been deficient as aforesaid and to return a particular account of such penaltys levy'd to the Publick Treasurer, at the same time as they return their accounts of the general tax, to the intent that it may be duly apply'd towards payment of the patrol of those Parishes and Districts in which such penalty's arise.

A Bill was brought in, agreeable to the purport of the said report and accordingly the said Report was recommitted to the Committee who brought it in, who had the directions of the house to prepare such a Bill and to have the same ready against the next meeting of the House. And on the 27th day of Novr 1739 Mr Mazyck from the Committee appointed for that purpose offer'd to the House for the first reading a Bill intitled an additional Bill to an Act, intitled An Act for the better securing of this Province from Negro insurrections and for the encouraging of poor Protestants by employing them in plantations. Which Bill was received by the house and read a first time and passed with amendments and sent to the upper house by Mr Attorney Genl. and Mr Dart.

The House of Assembly sent frequent messages to the upper house, in relation to said Bill but the Members of the Council would not condescend so far as to give the Bill one reading but ordered it to lye upon the table. Altho' it is humbly conceived that the passing of this Bill might have been of great service to His Majesty in the discovering ye present possessors of Lands, that it would have greatly promoted the settlement and secured the property

-------------------- page 48 --------------------
of His Majesty's subjects in this Province, yet nevertheless the members of the Council and their friends being greatly concern'd in the ingrossment of Lands and apprehending as I humbly conceive that if the Bill was passed into a Law that it would make them lyable to very great expences, in the settlement of their Lands, they would not give place to any reasons that was offered in favour of the Bill. I have been the more particular upon this subject in order to discover to your Lordships the motives from which the Members of the Council and several of the Officers of the Crown Act in opposition to His Majesty's order. Upon my first arrival in the Province of South Carolina and immediately after I was sworn into my commission, I gave the Secretary and Surveyor General of the Lands a copy of His Majesty's 15th & 16th instructions given in charge to me and desired that they would regulate themselves thereby as far as the same related to them respectively. On the 2nd of April 1741 a Warrant was made out by the Secretary in pursuance of an order of Council the 10th of May 1739. and when the warrant was offered to the surveyor to make out his precept thereon he would not comply 'till such time as he had consulted me. Upon which I gave it as my opinion to him that it was his Duty to attend the Governor and Council and in the most respectful manner to lay before them the copy of the order he had received from me with the instructions thereunto annexed. And that afterwards he should pray the favour of the Governor and Council to give him directions how to conduct himself in this matter and that if it was their pleasure to renew their order to him to run out ye Lands pursuant to the warrant already deliver'd that I apprehended that he was not at liberty to dispute the Governor's orders.

My reason for giving the surveyor this advice was that by a Law passed in this Province Entitled An Act to ascertain the Fees of the Surveyor General for the time being and his Deputy's and to prevent any irregularitys being committed in the Office of the Sd Surveyor General or by any of his Deputy's the Surveyor had been obliged under a severe penalty to take an Oath before the Governour in Council that he would implicitly obey every order and direction that they gave him so that he is not left at Liberty to judge for himself nor to act in Pursuance of any orders he may receive from the Lords of the Treasury provided the same does not correspond

-------------------- page 49 --------------------
with such orders as he may receive from the Governour in Council. And I likewise conceive that by my commission I am not impowered to direct any Officers of the Crown to act in opposition to the Governours orders but only to direct them in any case where the Governour may think proper to contradict any order given by me in pursuance of his Majesty's Instructions that the Officer to whom the Governour may give such orders should serve him with a Copy of such instructions as he may have received from me that the Governour thereby may be made accountable to your Lordships from his conduct therein. The Warrant before refer'd to was made out by the Secretary ten days after the order was given by me to the Surveyor and was in every respect contrary to His Majesty's 42nd Instruction. But at the same time I never gave any particular direction to the surveyor as it related to that Warrant other than what is above set forth. When the surveyor waited on the Governor in Council he laid before them his Majesty's 15th & 16th Instructions which he had received in charge from me. Upon which the Governor in Council renewed their order to him for the granting of a precept to his Deputy's. And then the Governour and Council immediately enter'd into the resolutions, which I have taken the Liberty to transmitt to your Lordships and ordered their tipstaff to go for me that I might answer for my conduct in giving such instructions in charge to the Surveyor without first consulting the Governour and Council therein. I accordingly waited on the Governour in Council and upon my coming into the Council Chamber the Governour ordered the Clerk of the Council to read to me ye resolutions they had entered into and afterwards desired me to answer for my conduct for giving such orders to the Surveyor without first communicating the same to their board. In answer to which I told the Governour in the most respectfull manner that as the affair in question was a matter of great consequence I cou'd not take upon me to give an answer immediately but that if His Honour would be pleased to order the Clerk of the Council to make me out a copy of the several resolutions then read to me that I would by the next Council day give an answer thereto in Writing, the Clerk of the Council was directed to comply with my request and upon recet of the same from him I drew up the declina tory Plea, which I have herewith transmitted to your Lordships. The Procedings of the Governour and Council in this particular I
-------------------- page 50 --------------------
hereby conceive to be altogether inconsistant with His Majesty's Instructions to the Governour to support and protect me in the execution of my office and in several particulars must have an exceeding bad tendency as it throws my commission into contempt and would remove from me the only power I have granted me by commission Namely that of being at free Liberty to publish His Majesty's orders and Instructions and to require a due obedience to be paid to the same. And as several of the Members of the Council are party's in most of the frauds that have been committed if the Council are left at Liberty to explain to me the orders of the Crown, I do not apprehend that it would be in my power to do my duty in the execution of my Office. But on the other hand it is most humbly committed to your Lordship's consideration whether the free exercise of the powers granted to me can have any ill tendency as by my commission I have not any executive power as the Governour and Council is at Liberty provided they see I go from my Duty to order such Officers as I may give instructions to not to obey me and also that I have not the least power in any case whatsoever to enforce an obedience to the orders of the Crown other than that of representing any denial or neglect of duty in the Officer. And in this the whole power of my commission subsists for whilst it is apprehended by the Officers that they will meet with due punishment in case of denial or wilfull neglect of duty they will pay a due regard to such directions as I may give in behalf of the Crown but where all credit is removed from me by the proceedings of the Council and some of the principal Officers of the Crown in that Province particularly Mr Attorney General and the Secretary and Receiver General of the Quit Rents it cannot be expected that the Tenants of the Crown in this Province will pay any regard to such summons's or orders as I may give them in pursuance of my Instructions.

What has been done by the Council I have in all humble manner represented to your Lordships as above And shall now beg leave to represent to your Lordships that I have been credibly informed and assured by several persons that Governour Glenn wrote over to Mr Attorney General that the people need not in the least be alarmed at my coming over for that he would take effectual care to prevent me from carrying my designs into execution and he further assured him that I was in no manner of credit

-------------------- page 51 --------------------
or esteem with my superiors at home: And in support of what he said he wrote Mr Attorney that I had attempted to get the Quit rent Law repealed and also petitioned His Majesty in Council to be a Member of his Majesty's Council in South and North Carolina and that he had found means to defeat me in both these particulars. My Lords it would give me the greatest concern imaginable to represent any thing to your Lordships but what I really apprehended to be founded in truth and I would not have troubled your Lordships with mentioning the contents of those Letters But that I apprehended by Mr Attorney General showing of Sd Letters they have had a very ill effect in the Province. I gave notice to Mr Attorney General that I would represent this matter to your Lordships and desired that for my satisfaction that if the letters were not to the effect above mentioned that he would be pleased to shew them to me Which he denied to do and only told me that he had read the two letters he had received from Mr Glenn wherein mention was made to me to no person which he apprehended wou'd inform me of the contents. What I am most humbly to pray from your Lordships is that your Lordships wou'd be pleased to recommend it to His Majesty to lay his commands upon Mr Attorney General to produce the said Letters and that I shall have a power granted me to examine Mr Attorney General upon oath before the Chief Justice and to bring such persons as I may think proper to summons in order to prove what I have above represented if the informations given me should prove false this will be doing Mr Glenn a piece of Justice But on the other hand if they shall prove true your Lordships condescention in taking notice of this matter will have an exceeding good effect in the Province.

I shall now beg leave to represent to your Lordships that altho' I have given Mr Hammerton who acts as Receiver General of the Quit rents and also as Secretary of the Province repeated orders to make me out a state of the arrears of Quit rents due to his Majesty till the 25th of March 1740. And also a copy of the Receipts as entered in his Books And as Secretary that he wou'd make me out a list of all warrants and grants that have been issued since the year 1730. Yet I have not been able to get him to do anything in relation to what I have given him in charge nor do I expect that he ever will comply in making out a regular and fair account of the Quit rents as I am purswaded that he is in

-------------------- page 52 --------------------
arrear to the Crown at least £1500. sterling By an account which I took from his books he appears to be indebted to the Crown the 25th of March 1738. £1283, 5, 11 Procln Money but he has since that time given himself credit for several sums of money which he says he paid but for which he cannot produce Vouchers there is one sum in particular of £539, 5, 11. Procln money which he charges as paid to the Attorney General but upon my enquiring of him whether the Receiver had paid him any such sum he told me he never had received any such sum But that Mr Hammerton had engaged to pay him interest for the arrears of his sallary till such time as it was paid up. Upon examining Mr Hammerton's Books I found that he seldom or never brought himself indebted to the Crown at such times as he received the Quit rents by himself and that all the arrears that appear to be due is upon the Returne of his Deputy's accounts which were stated very clearly this gives me great reason to suspect that he has not made fair entry of the Receipts of Quit Rents ect: I am still further confirmed in this opinion by the Informations I have had from Mr Saxby who acted as one of his Deputy's that it appeared that when the Planters produced their last receipts for the payment of Quit Rents that they are in general but very little in arrear. Mr Hammerton is also greatly indebted to private persons and as I am informed he discharges many of the same by allowing such persons as he is indebted to to answer Quit Rents to others that are considerably indebted to the Crown. Mr Hammerton complains that the Quit Rents delivered to him by the Deputy Auditor is very irregular which is true but then it proceeds from the Auditor's not having it in his power to make out a list of the mesne Conveyances that have been made by the Original Grantees of the Crown and where any such have been entered in the Auditor's office he has always added them to the Rent roll without making a double entry which makes the amount of the Rent roll appear much greater than it really is and renders it extremely difficult to cheque the Receiver Generals accounts. I have made the Depy Auditor sensible of this error and pointed out a method to him by which the same may be remedied and as he has upon all occasions shewed a proper zeal for his Majesty's service I do not doubt but that he will be able to furnish the Auditor General with a perfect Rent roll in less than 12. months The only method by which I could
-------------------- page 53 --------------------
form a Judgement of the Quit rents of the Crown in So Carolina was by examing into the Provincial Treasurer's account of the Land Tax and by that it appears that there are 2.496'000 Acres of land returned upon which the land tax is paid and upon the best computation I cou'd make allowing for the different Quit Rents reserved under the late Lords Proprietors and under the Crown the Quit Rents will amount to about £2750. Proclt Money per annum exclusive of the Lands granted within the Townships which by the year 1747. will amount to at least £700 more and this sum I am purswaded may be regularly collected whenever the Lords of the Treasury shall think it proper to remove Mr Hammerton from his employment of Receiver General Provided the Sd employment is put into hands of a person who is acquainted with the affairs of the Province.

I humbly apprehend my Lords that by the above representation it will appear that the oposition that is given to me by the members of the Council and by several of the Officers of the Crown proceeds from the irregularitys they have been guilty of and also from the restriction they are put under in the land office by which means their fees are greatly lessen'd I have transmitted to your Lordships all the Vouchers I could possibly obtain at present in support of the above representation but when the proceedings of the Land Office and such minits of Councils and Assembly as I have directed the respective Clerks to make me out are laid before your Lordships they will fully prove the truth of what is here represented. There are several other matters which I shall hereafter submit to your Lordship's consideration namely with respect to the Regulations which I humbly conceive are absolutely necessary to be made in the method and form to be observed in the return of the Minits of Council and Assembly for as they stand at present I conceive it to be very difficult for your Lordships to form a right judgment of what they are doing in the Plantations And I shall also endeavour to point out to your Lordships the great inconvenience that attends the permitting of His Majesty's Governours in the Plantations to pass Laws of an unusual nature or by which the property of His Majesty's trading subjects are affected without incerting a suspending clause and that in many cases where laws are passed in the Provinces and sent home to be laid before his Majesty for His Majesty's approbation of the same that without

-------------------- page 54 --------------------
waiting to know His Majesty'e pleasure thereupon they pass other Laws quite altering the purport and design of the former so that if the Crown approves of the former Law it is quite changed by the latter and if the Crown disapproves of the former Law. in that case the last Law will be in force from this cause it proceeds that there have been so many changes in the Paper Bills of Currency in America.

The delay given to me by the want of the returns of the accounts which I have desired from the several Officers and the ill state of health that I have been under for several months past has prevented me from giving that dispatch to business which I would otherwise have done—I have given directions to Mr Hammerton and also to the Clerk of the Assembly to transmit to your Lordships the Minits of Council & Assembly which will fully prove what I have represented to yr Lordsps in relation to the proceedings of the Assembly in the year 1739. And also in regard to what steps the Assembly have taken with respect to the Petition prefer'd to them by the Letters of the Township of Williamsburgh.—

I am with the greatest submission
May it please yr Lordsps yr Lordsps most oblidged &
most obedient humble servant

Cape Fear North Carolina
8th of Nov:ber 1741.