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Memorandum from Henry McCulloh to the Board of Trade of Great Britain concerning land grants and quit rents in North and South Carolina
McCulloh, Henry, ca. 1700-1779
February 16, 1745
Volume 11, Pages 105-108

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[B. P. R. O. South Carolina B. T. Vol. 14. h. 76.]

To the Right Honorable the Lords Commissioners For Trade and Plantation The humble representation of Henry MacCulloh sheweth,

That your Lordships memorialist humbly conceives it to be his Duty to submit to your Lordships consideration the several obstructions he has met with in regulating the Revenue of His Majesty's Quitrents. In the Province of North Carolina etc. And to explain himself on this head Humbly begs leave to lay before your Lordships, A Brief State of Govr Johnston's proceedings in relation to the methods that have been observed by him, in the issuing of Warrants and grants etc.

His Majesty by His 40th and 41st Instructions to the Govr was graciously pleased to prescribe the Rule and Method to be observed in the issuing of Warrants and grants for lands and limits the quantity to be granted, to 50 Acres to each person in the grantee's family, which was to be done by and with the advice and consent of His Majesty's Council in this Province, But the Govr finding that this restraint would be inconvenient to him and lessen the fees he exacted on the issuing of Warrants, took quite a different method, And without any regard had to His Majesty's Instructions, issued Warrants at pleasure, without obliging the parties to prove their rights and for the most part exacted fees from the Warrantee for his having given them Lands without rights, which was look'd upon by the Warrantee, as a kind of purchase and from that reason many of them have rested under their Warrants, for eight or nine years past, without taking out grants for their Lands.

When Govr Johnston received His Majesty's instruction in 1740 (by which he was laid under a greater restraint in the manner of issuing of Warrants and grants) he thought proper to direct that all persons for the future, claiming Lands under His Majesty's Instructions should prove the number of persons in their family and that such proofs should be laid before the Council, but in Order to enlarge his fees and to evade the instructions he had received from the Crown, he did not oblige the petitioners to declare whether they had not formerly received Lands under the Crown by Virtue

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of the very rights they then claimed under nor were they obliged to give any proof of their having settled, cultivated or paid Quitrents for the Lands that were formerly granted to them, and in many instances the Govr issued Warrants without the petitioners having proved their rights. Upon which I took leave to remonstrate to the Govr that if His Majesty's Instructions were not observed in the first instance that it could not be expected that the Officers or Tennants of the Crown would pay any regard to such directions as might be given to them in relation to the Revenue of the Quitrents, That the Inhabitants of this Province were very desirous to take up more Lands and that the only method to bring them to their duty and to recover the Records which from the former method of issuing of grants were very defective was to prevent all persons from having more Lands, untill they could prove by the Recr Genls receipts they had paid Quitrents for what they already held. If this method had been taken when I first arrived in this Province and that the Officer of the Crown had paid the least regard to the directions given them in pursuance of my instructions, it is more than probable that all disputes in relation to the Revenue would have been happily settled, But as the Govr and the other Officers of the Crown have acted in open contempt of His Majesty's Instructions; I have had the misfortune to meet with the greatest insults.

The security of His Majesty's subjects in America in relation to their Rights and properties, and the security of His Majesty's trading subjects from Great Briton to America depends wholly upon a just deservation of His Majesty's Instructions. That the Govr has not acted agreable to His Majesty's Instructions will I humbly conceive appear evident from the several Laws he has passed of a most extraordinary nature, without his first having incerted a suspending clause untill His Majesty's pleasure was known thereupon, namely the late Quitrent Law, which I humbly apprehend broke in upon the rights of the subject and limited the prerogative of the Crown to such a degree, that let the conduct of the Govr and Council be of ever so extraordinary nature, the subject could have no appeal to the Crown therefrom, And after the Govr had notice of the repeal of the said Law the 19th of March 1740-1, the 4th of April following he passed an Act entitled An Act to inlarge the time of enrolling of Lands in the Auditor's

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Office, and proving the quiet possession of Lands, for twenty years pass'd and upwards, This Act differs greatly from the title given to it and was passed only with a view to ascertain all grants that were entered in the Auditor's Office, in pursuance of the late Quitrent Law that was then repealed.

In 1738 the Govr passed an Act by which all the Taxes arising by former Acts for sinking the Bills of Currency were applied to the use of himself the Council and Assembly, so that when the Bills expire the 25th of March next there is not one farthing left for the sinking of them. By which the trading part of Great Briton to this Province may be greatly injured, There is also an Act passed in 1740 (which is usually termed the Aid Act) by which all persons that are sued in this Province, have it in their power upon executions being taken out against them to pay the sum due in rated commodities, such as Rice, Beef, Pork, Tallow etc which makes it better for the Creditor to receive any composition the Debtor may think proper to offer him then to sue for the same, There are many other Laws of like nature in this Province which would be to tedious to mention.

Your Lordships Memorialist prays leave further to represent that Eleazer Allen Esqre Recr Gen1 of North Carolina has not 'till very lately deliver'd to the Deputy Auditor, any Accompts of the Receipt of His Majesty's Quitrents.

That the Recr has omitted to give His Majesty Credit for the full amount of the Tobacco's, Beeswax etc received in Albemarle County in 1739 and pretends at present that there was a loss of near Four Hundred Pounds Sterling on the sale of the said commodities altho' at the same time he made a private sale of said goods and refused to deliver in an Accompt in what manner the loss arose That the Recr has taken upon him to discharge His Majesty's Tennants on payment of Less quitrents than what they are liable to by their grants.

That the accompts lately exhibited are all together defective, the Recr not having deliver'd to the Deputy Auditor a specifick accompt of the receipt of His Majesty's Quitrents nor any Vouchers for the sums charged to the Debit of His Majesty's Accompt Current, and that it appears clearly from the accompt that he has charged several sums to the Auditor which have not been paid by him That the Deputy Auditor applied to the Recr on this head

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and asked him, how he could give the testimony of his Oath before the Govr that the accompts exhibited was a true charge and discharge of His Majesty's Quitrents, upon which the Recr told the Deputy Auditor that he mentioned it to the Govr that he had not paid part of the money charged to the Auditor General's Acct. The accompts are certified by the Govr in the usual form. If Mr Allen has sworn to the accompts in the manner they are certified, I apprehend he has sworn to an untruth, but if he did not swear to his Accompts in the manner the Govr has certified them, it is humbly submitted whether such a conduct is not very sensurable. That George Saxby Esqre Recr Gen1 of His Majesty's Quitrents in South Carolina is fallen into a method of taking interest from such Planters, as are in large arrear of Quitrents And in other instances (to my knowledge) he takes advantage of the necessity of the Officers of the Crown and exacts considerable sums from them before he will agree to the payment of their salarys.

That Mr Saxby has made several charges to the Debit of His Majesty's Accompt Current which is not allowed of on the Establishment. That Your Lordship's Memorialist has often applied to Mr Saxby to have his Accompts laid before him and that he would make return of such Planters as are in arrear of Quitrents which Mr Saxby has often refused to comply with.

Therefore your Lordship's Memorialist humbly prays that Your Lordships would be pleased to take the premisses into consideration and that Your Lordships in your great wisdom, would be pleased to determine whether from the nature and design of my Office, there is not much greater and stronger reasons for supporting of me in the execution of His Majesty's commands then there was at first for the appointment of an Officer for the Special uses set forth in my commission.

I am with all submission
may it please your Lordships
Your Lordships most obedient and
most humble servant

Cape Fear, 16th Febry 1744.

[Note.—As the year then began on 25 Mar. of each year, 16 Feb. 1744 is 16 Feb. 1745 by our notation.—W. C.]