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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
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Minutes of the Board of Trade of Great Britain
Great Britain. Board of Trade
January 10, 1749 - November 10, 1749
Volume 04, Pages 936-945

[B. P. R. O. B. T. Journals. Vol. 57. P. ...]

At a Meeting of his Maj. Commrs for Trade and Plantations

The Earl of Halifax
Mr Pitt
Mr Grenville
Lord Dupplin
Mr Fane.

Tuesday Janry 10th 1748/9

Read a letter from James Abercromby Esq. dated 10th Janry 1748/9 acquainting the Board that the legislature of the Province of North Carolina have appointed him their Agent in Great Britain and inclosing the extract of a letter from Mr Johnston Governor of that Province relating to the difficulties he is under in his correspondence with the several offices.

Tuesday January 24th 1748/9

Read a letter from his Grace the Duke of Bedford dated 23rd Janry 1748/9 signifying to the Board that complaints were made by several persons against Gabriel Johnston Esqre Governor of North Carolina & that it is His Maj. pleasure that the Board do require the attendance of the said persons and report to him a state of the case with their opinion thereupon.

Ordered that the Secretary do write to Messrs Corbyn Morris Danbus & Child as also to Mr Abercrombie Agent for the Province of North Carolina whose names are mentioned in the above letter to desire their attendance at the Board to morrow morning at eleven o'clock.

Wednesday January 25th 1748/9.

Mr Corbyn Morris and Mr Child attending as had been desired upon Complaints made by them to his Grace the Duke of Bedford against Gabriel Johnston Governor of North Carolina together with Mr Abercromby

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agent for that Province in behalf of the Governor the letter from his Grace the Duke of Bedford mentioned in the preceding minutes was read and Mr Morris being asked what he had to offer with respect to any misconduct of the Governor in the administration of that Government he acquainted their Lordships that he should submit what he had to offer with respect to the Govrs conduct under three Heads 1st His contempt and disobedience of the Crown's Orders particularly in neglecting to correspond with the Government 2ndly His passing Acts for issuing Bills of Credit without suspending clauses and 3rdly appointing suspected persons to offices of trust. That the first of these points would be proved by their Lordships office whereby it would appear that he had never transmitted any accounts of the affairs of that Government nor altho' many depredations were made upon that coast during the war had he sent any account thereof nor any Acts passed there or other public papers which by his instructions he is directed to do. That with respect to the second point it appeared by letters from some of the Officers of the Government there that he had passed an Act in April last for issuing bills of credit without a suspending clause contrary to his instructions by which means all credit in the said Province was destroyed and the Merchants greatly prejudiced but as he had neglected to transmit the records this could not be any other ways proved than by the letters before mentioned That with respect to the third point Mr Child the Attorney General who was present wd inform your Lordships of the Governor having appointed one Mr McGregor who had been in the rebellion in the year 1715 a Justice of the Peace when the late Rebellion was carried on here which said McGregor had twice refused to take the oaths to His Majesty's government though he did at length take them.

Mr Abercrombie Agent in behalf of the Governor said that he never knew accusation against a Governor introduced without some regular form by which the Board might be able to judge & determine thereupon and the party accused to make his defence and therefore he desired that the complaints might be delivered in writing and that he might have a copy thereof in order to return an answer thereto.

Whereupon the parties were ordered to withdraw and their Lordships taking the same into consideration agreed pursuant to the Duke of Bedford's letter to proceed upon such information as should be given to them by these persons now attending and lay before his Grace a state of the case as it appeared to them and the parties being called in and Mr Morris informed that their Lordships were ready to hear what he had further to offer he said that in order to justify what he had alledged and as a proof that it was not defamation he should beg leave to ask Mr Child

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some questions relative thereto whereupon Mr Child acquainted their Lordships that he did not appear before them either as an evidence against or accuser of Mr Johnston but should readily for their information answer all such questions that should be asked him as far as he knew of the matter and being asked what he knew concerning Mr McGregor on the Governor's appointing him to any office of trust he said that when he arrived in that Province as Attorney General it being in the time of the Rebellion he observed that a Capt. McGregor who he believes and heard was a Captain of the Militia but could not tell behaved in any extraordinary manner and appeared much elated when any little success attended the Rebels here and therefore he thought proper by virtue of his office to tender him the oaths which he twice refused and at length took but he has heard that he was often with the Governor. He likewise acquainted their Lordships that he had received a letter from a correspondent in the Province acquainting him that the Governor had passed an Act for issuing Bills of Credit and being asked whether the Province was not in great confusion and irregularity he said that when he arrived there he found affairs in so confused a state and such disagreements amongst the people that he determined not to stay there and accordingly he left it in less than a twelvemonth That while he was there he heard complaints of injunctions being issued out of the Court of Chancery to stop the execution of judgments given by the Inferior Courts and Courts of Chancery seldom held for as the Council who with the Govr composed the Court of Chancery lived in distant parts of the Province it was usual for such injunctions to be granted by the Governor upon petitions as a Court could not be soon got together and that no Court of Chancery was held while he was there that he likewise heard complaints of the Governor not living at the seat of Government his house being a hundred miles distant and that the public offices were likewise at a great distance and being asked by Mr Abercrombie whether he had ever heard that the confusion in the affairs of the Government was owing to any misconduct in the Governor or whether it was not owing to the discontent of the inhabitants of the Northern Countys he said that he had heard that the Northern Countys had shown great discontent by being abridged by a late Act of that privilege of sending five Members to the Assembly.

Mr. Morris then informed their Lordships that Mr. Danbury (who had not attended pursuant to a letter from the Secretary to him for that purpose) as also Messrs Corbyn Macculloh Arthand Joye & Townshend could give their Lordships further information with respect to the affairs of the Province and the Governor's conduct therein their Lordships

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agreed to proceed further in the consideration of this affair tomorrow morning and the Secretary was directed to write to the above Gentlemen to desire their attendance at the Board at eleven o'clock.

Thursday January 26th 1748/9
Earl of Halifax
Mr. Pitt.
Mr. Leveson
Mr. Grenville.
Mr. Dupplin

Mr. Morris attending as also Messrs. Townshend Macculloh Corbyn and Arthand with Mr. Abercromby Agent in behalf of Mr. Johnston Governor of North Carolina their Lordships desired Mr. Morris would lay before them such further information as he should think proper with respect to the conduct of Mr. Johnston Whereupon he acquainted their Lordships that he should proceed upon the three points he proposed yesterday and some further proof that the Governor might justly be suspected of disaffection to His Majesty as also such other collateral facts as should appear from the information of gentlemen that were present That with respect to the Governor's contempt of the Crown's orders and as a proof of his disobeying them he desired that an Act passed by him of abridging the Northern Countys of their privilege of sending five Members each to the Assembly without a suspending clause might be read as also the 23rd Article of his Instructions whereby he is directed not to pass Acts of an extraordinary nature without a suspending clause whereupon the parties were ordered to withdraw and it appearing to their Lordships that proceedings had been had at this Board upon a petition of the inhabitants of the said Northern Countys against the said Act and complaining of the Governor's proceedings thereon and that orders had been sent over to the Governor in consequence of a representation of the Board upon this affair to transmit all evidence relative thereto and his Answer to the complaints against him their Lordships agreed that it would not be proper that Mr Morris should proceed upon this article it being a matter already before the Board for their determination and the partys being again called in Mr Morris was informed thereof whereupon he desired Mr Townshend would inform the Board what he knew concerning the present confusion in the affairs of the government of North Carolina and whether he did not apprehend it arose from the Governor's misconduct who said that he had dealings in the Province about three years ago & carried on his correspondence through Boston or South Carolina there being no direct trade thither that the Colony was in great distress and confusion and scarce better than an asylum for fugitives

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but he could not take upon him to say from whence that distress arose but apprehended from the want of a regular government that the debts of merchants who had dealings there were generally desperate and no redress could be obtained and he believed that if the Province was in a state of regularity a direct trade would be carried on thither And in order to prove the Governor's having passed a Bill for issuing paper money Mr Corbyn produced a letter to him from Mr Moseley Baron of the Exchequer in North Carolina dated 13th Sept. 1748 acquainting him that a Bill had passed in that Province in April last for a new emission of Bills of Credit proclamation money to exchange old Bills that are worn out and granting 6000£ for erecting forts in different parts of the Province wheupon Mr Morris observed that this Act could not be passed without a suspending clause for being to exchange old Bills it was not likely that the possessors of such old Bills would give them up for Bills under a suspension and that with respect to the forts two or three persons under the Govrs influence took the money and employing a few Negroes to throw up a little ground by way of Fort charged the Province with the Bills. Mr McCulloh likewise produced a letter from Mr Anderson Judge of the Admiralty dated 30 June 1748 acquainting him that a law had been passed in that Province for 21,250£ in Bills of Credit Proclamation money without a suspending clause for exchanging the old Bills erecting Forts & contingencys of Government and that Commissrs were then stamping the Bills. Mr Morris likewise informed their Lordships that there had been a Speech of the Governor's to the Assembly upon the occasion of passing this Bill printed in the South Carolina Newspapers transmitted to the Carolina Coffee House and seen by many gentlemen but had since been taken off the file and secreted by some person Mr Macculloh acquainted their Lordships that in the year 1735 £40,000 in Bills of Credit equal to £10,000 Sterling was emitted by the Province and that by the Act for emitting it the interest was applied for sinking the Bills but that in 1738 the legislature passed an Act for applying the interest to the payment of their own services Mr Morris then said that with respect to the last Article of the charge their Lordships were already informed of his appointing a suspected person to offices of trust and he should now lay before them such information as could be obtained of the Governor's own disaffection and he desired Mr Danbuz would acquaint the Board with what passed betwixt him and the Governor upon his carrying him the news of the defeat of the Rebels at Culloden Whereupon Mr Danbuz said that he was at Cork when the news of the Rebels defeat was brought thither that he soon after sailed for North Carolina where he went on shore and acquainted the Governor who received it very coldly and he
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happening to have a list of the Rebel chiefs killed and taken prisoners, the Governor upon reading it expressed a concern for them as many of them being his acquaintance and schoolfellows—that he had several times been with the Governor before on occasion of letters which he brought to him from the Offices here and was always kindly received till this time And altho' this was the first news of this event there was not rejoicings made which occasioned much surprise and Mr. Danbus being asked whether he had ever brought any letter from Govr Johnstone to England he said he never had tho' it was usual with him to call upon the Governor a week or a fortnight before his ship sailed for that purpose. Then in order to prove the issuing injunctions upon judgments of the inferior Courts and not holding Courts of Chancery Mr. Morris called upon Mr. Arthand for an account thereof who acquainted their Lordships that he went to Carolina in the year 1739 and resided there until the year 1742 where he acted as an Attorney and had many causes in the Courts there in most of which as well as all other Actions injunctions were granted by the Governor as Chancellor upon an application to him and no Court of Chancery held for determining thereupon and that there was great irregularity in entering up judgments by the Clerk of the General Court and none or very imperfect records kept The issuing injunctions and not holding Courts of Chancery was confirmed by Mr. Corbyn and Mr. Macculloh who said that he remembered but three Courts held in seven years and in order to show their Lordships how far injunctions had been carried he acquainted them that one Mr. Lithgow a gentleman of credit in that Country having purchased a plantation from one Mr. Grey on which plantation Roger Moore one of the Council was at the time of such sale cutting down timber and burning Lightwood to make tar Mr. Lithgow would not suffer Mr. Moore after he had made the purchase to carry off the tar upon which Mr. Moore did it by force and threatned to sue Lithgow for Barretry afterwards Lithgow having determined to leave the Province in order to reside in New England for his health and having accordingly disposed his affairs for that purpose was embarked for his departure when Roger Moore applied to Mr. Rice Secretary of the Province and made oath that he intended to take out an action of £2,000 Sterling against Lithgow and desired a Warrant to seize him which was granted him and Mr. Lithgow was accordingly forcibly taken from the ship upon which he was embarked Whereupon he gave in bail the next Court of Assize and brought in a Bill of Indictment against Moore and Rice who thereupon applied to the Governor to stop the proceedings and he accordingly issued an injunction and would not allow the matter to be tryed.

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Then Mr. Abercromby acquainted their Lordships that he had no answer to make to accusations so extremely irregular null of themselves and unsupported with any evidence but hoped their Lordships would grant him a copy of the Report they should make on this affair Whereupon all parties were ordered to withdraw.

Tuesday February 7th 1748/9.

Their Lordships took into consideration the complaints of Mr. Corbyn, Morris and others against Mr. Johnston Govr of North Carolina, and ordered the draught of a letter thereupon to his Grace the Duke of Bedford to be prepared in answer to his Grace's letter to them referring the said Complaints mentioned in the Minutes of the 24th of last month.

Thursday [Tuesday] Febry 14th 1748/9.

Read a Memorial from Mr. Jas. Abercromby Agent for the Province of North Carolina dated the 13th inst. setting forth the irregularities of the Complaint lately made against the Governor of that Province and his not being at liberty to object thereto desiring he may be heard in defence of his Constituents before the Board shall make any report thereupon and that he may for that purpose have copies of such Articles of Complaint as have been admitted by the Board in order to transmit the same to the Parties concerned for their Answers thereto.

Wednesday Febry 15th 1748/9.

Mr. Abercromby attending as had been desired their Lordships acquainted him that having received a Memorial from him relative to a late hearing at the Board upon complaints against Mr. Johnstone Governor of North Carolina setting forth that he has not been at liberty to object to the irregularity and informality of the accusers and as their Lordships apprehended he was at liberty when he attended upon this affair to have made what objection he had thought proper they desired to know what he meant by saying he had not such liberty Whereupon he acquainted their Lordships that as the persons who were accusers were particularly mentioned in the Duke of Bedford's letter to this Board which was thereby required to call the said persons before them to examine into the complaints he did not think himself in that case at liberty to object to them Their Lordships then acquainted him that with respect to what he desires in the said Memorial of having copies of such articles of the said Complaint as have been admitted by the Board and that he may be heard in defence of his Constituents before any report was made thereupon no such Articles of Complaint had been laid before the Board in

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writing and no report was as yet made upon this affair nor had their Lordships determined in what manner they should lay the same before the Duke of Bedford.

The draught of a letter to his Grace the Duke of Bedford relating to the complaints of Mr Corbyn Morris & others against the Governor of North Carolina having been prepared pursuant to the Minutes of the 7th inst. was laid before the Board agreed to and ordered to be transcribed and signed February 20th

Wednesday June 21st 1749

Read a letter from Mr Johnston Governor of North Carolina to the Board dated at Edenton 28 Dec. 1748 acquainting the Board with his not having received the Order of Council to send over evidence relating to the petition of the five Northern Counties in that Province against an Act passed there to abridge their privileges.

Ordered that Mr McCulloh be desired to attend the Board on Wednesday the 28sh inst. upon the subject of the said letter.

Wednesday June 21st 1749.

Read Copy of an Order of Council dated 16 March 1748/9 approving the draught of an additional instruction prepared by this Board for Gabriel Johnston Esq. Governor of North Carolina empowering him to make a Grant or Grants of land to certain Palatines in that Province &c.

Thursday July 6th 1749.

Read a Memorial of Mr Henry McCulloh appointed by his Majesty in 1739 Comr for supervising inspecting and controlling the revenues and grants of lands in the Provinces of South and North Carolina complaining of several hardships and injustices done to him by the Governor and other Officers of the Province of North Carolina.

Ordered that the Secretary do write to Mr McCulloh to desire his attendance at the Board tomorrow morning at eleven of the clock upon the subject of the said Memorial.

Friday July 7th 1749.

Mr. McCulloh attending as desired was informed that their Lordships intended to transmit a copy of his Memorial mentioned in the preceding Minutes to Mr. Johnston the Govr of North Carolina for his answer to the charge against him therein contained whereupon he prayed their Lordships that Commissrs might be appointed to take evidence of both parties and that all such parties [papers] as should be required in support of the charge might be transmitted under the seal of the Province whereupon he was ordered to withdraw and their Lordships after some time spent in

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the consideration of this affair gave directions to the Secretary to transmit a copy of the said Memorial to Mr. Johnston the Governor of the said Province for his answer thereto and desire him to return such depositions and proofs in his behalf as he should think giving liberty at the same time to Mr. McCulloh or any other person concerned to make affidavits before any Judge or other Magistrate of what they knew concerning the said Complaints the said proofs and affidavits to be mutually interchanged and twenty days allowed for reply of affidavits or otherwise to be likewise interchanged and transmitted to their Lordships without loss of time that he do also enjoin the Secretary to give copies from the records to the complainant or any other concerned of any papers required by them to make good their charge and that all depositions as well as copies of any records be transmitted under the seal of the Province and Mr. McCulloh being again called in was acquainted therewith. Their Lordships at the same time acquainted Mr. McCulloh that they having received a letter from Mr. Johnston Governor of North Carolina dated the 28th Dec. last wherein he acquaints them that he had not received the Order of Council requiring him to transmit over evidence relative to the petition of the Representatives of the five Northern Counties in that Province they desired to know at what time the said Order was transmitted by him to the Petitioners Whereupon he said he hoped their Lordships would excuse his not attending on Wednesday the 29th of last month pursuant to notice given him for that purpose but that he was prevented by a dangerous illness of his son that he received the Order from the Council Office the 18th Aug. last and sent it in the same month and another copy some time after that the first miscarried and he learnt from a letter which he received from North Carolina dated in January last that the second copy was but then arrived.

Friday July 14th 1749.

Read a letter from Mr Johnston Govr of North Carolina to the Board dated at Edenton May 10th 1749 acquainting the Board with his having sent an Answer to the Complaints of Peter Payne & against him and vindicating himself from the accusation of being a Jacobite.

Wednesday July 19th 1749.

Read a letter from Mr Johnston Govr of North Carolina to the Board dated at Edenton the 4th April 1749 containing his reasons for passing an Act for emitting £21,350 in Bills of Credit without a suspending clause & transmitting the following public papers Vizt Minutes of Council from 21 March 174⅞ to 15 October 1748. Copy of all the Laws passed in North Carolina from Novr 1746 to Octr 1748.

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Ordered that the said Laws be sent to Mr Lamb for his opinion thereupon in point of law as soon as conveniently may be

Ordered that a copy of the above letter from Mr Johnston and also an extract of so much of one mentioned in the minutes of the 14th inst. as relates to his vindication of the charge against him for being a Jacobite be prepared together with the draught of a letter for inclosing the same to the Duke of Bedford.

Thursday July 27th 1749.

The draught of a letter to the Duke of Bedford inclosing copies of two letters from Mr Johnston Governor of North Carolina ordered to be prepared by the Minutes of the 19th inst. was laid before the Board and signed

Wednesday Augt 2d 1749.

The draught of a letter to Mr Johnston Governor of North Carolina in answer to several from him was laid before the Board agreed to and ordered to be transcribed

Friday November 10th 1749.

Read a letter from Mr Johnston Govr of North Carolina dated at Edenton 15th July 1749 giving the Board an account of the present state of his Maj. Council in that Province.