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Letter from the Lords Proprietors of Carolina to Charles Eden
Carolina. Lords Proprietors.
March 26, 1715
Volume 02, Pages 173-174

[B. P. R. O. B. T. North Carolina. Vol. 6. P. 33.]

To Charles Eden Esqre


It having been represented to Us that an Act of Assembly was pass'd in Our Province of North Carolina in Novr 1713, that all Persons who have taken up any Lands there, and have not paid the purchase Money within three Months after the Date of the said Act, otherwise any other Person might lawfully purchase the said Land paying the purchase Money to our Receiver General.

This Law indeed seems plausible and intended for Our Service (tho' at the same time We think the Assembly need not have made any Law relating to the purchasing of Our Lands) but we are given to understand that a very ill Use has been made of this Law, and under Colour thereof several poor Persons who have lost their Husbands or Fathers, or have otherwise been reduced by the late War, and are consequently objects of Compassion have for want of the payment of their purchase Money at three Months end, been dispossessed and other Persons (several whereof are Our officers) did pay the purchase Money for the said Land with an Intention to sell the same at great Advantage. If this be the truth of the Case, there has been the greatest Oppression and fraud imaginable

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practis'd under Colour of Law, for by this means the Poor people who by the Calamities of the War have been render'd incapable to pay the purchase Money within the time limitted have lost their Lands, and the Rich Men by payment of the first purchase Money have got possession of the same to their own Advantage but to the ruin of several poor Widows and Orphans.

If this appears to be the Case, We will highly resent it and censure such of our Officers who have been concern'd in these ill Practices, and We require you strictly to examine this matter and make your Report of the truth thereof by the first Opportunity.

We in the meantime are of Opinion that the Persons who are turned out of their Lands by the unjust Advantage that has been taken of this Law shou'd have their Lands restor'd to them again upon paying back the purchase Money with the Interest thereof within a year after your Receipt of this to those persons who advanc'd the same under Colour of that Law, and that such persons who by the War have been utterly disabled from paying the purchase Money shall be assisted by Our publick Money they giving Security for paying Principal and Interest to Our Receiver General within three years.

And if any Difficulties shall happen to arise upon Lands having been transferr'd from one to another so that some parcels of those Lands may now be in Possession of Persons who have purchas'd bona fide at considerable Rates beyond what was the Original Price of those Persons who procured this Law for obtaining this very Advantage, We commend this and all other intricacies that may arise to the Assembly, and We hope they will provide for the same, it being our Intention that the poor Original Purchasers shou'd not be defrauded.

We are
Your very loving friends

St James' March 26th 1715.