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Letter from William Tryon to Henry Seymour Conway
Tryon, William, 1729-1788
December 26, 1765
Volume 07, Pages 143-144

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[From Tryon's Letter Book.]
Letter from Governor Tryon to Right Honble Hy. Seymore Conway

Brunswick, 26th December 1765

In obedience to his Majesty's commands communicated to me by the honour of your letter of the 12th of July last, It is with concern I acquaint you that the obstruction to the Stamp Act passed last Session of Parliament has been as general in this province as in any colony on the continent, tho' their irregular proceedings have been attended with no mischief or are by any means formidable. I am much of opinion that whatever measures are prescribed and enforced by his Majesty's authority to the more formidable colonies to the northward will meet with a ready acquiesence in the southern provinces without the necessity of any military force. The first intelligence of the general alarm which was spread against the Stamp Act in this Colony was in October last, at a time I lay extremely ill of the fevers of this country which with repeated relapses I have experienced these five months past, I was very impatient to seize the first opportunity to communicate my sentiments to the merchants and gentlemen of New Hanover, and Brunswick counties, who are the persons that carry on the Commerce of Cape Fear River (and where I imagine the Stamps would arrive) on the then situation of public affairs. On the 18th November near fifty of the above gentlemen waited on me to dinner, when I urged to them the expediency of permitting the circulation of the Stamps, but as my health at that time would not allow me to write down any speech, I must beg leave to refer you, Sir, to the inclosed Carolina Gazette of the 27th November in which you will find nearly the substance of what I declared and proposed to the above gentlemen. Their answer and my reply are inclosed. Two days before the above meeting Mr Houston the distributor of the Stamps was compelled in the Court House at Wilmington, and in presence of the Mayor and some Aldermen to resign his office. The Stamps arrived the 28th of November last in his Majesty's Sloop, the Diligence, Captain Phipps, Commander, but as there was no Distributor, or other officer of the Stamps in this Country after Mr Houston's resignation, the Stamps still remain on board the said ship. No vessels have been cleared out since the

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first of November from this river, or from any other in this province that I have received intelligence of. Some merchants from Wilmington applied to me for certificates for their ships, specifying that no Stamps were to be had, which I declined granting, referring them to the officers of his Majesty's customs; They have been as assiduous in obstructing the reception of the Stamps as any of the inhabitants. No business is transacted in the Courts of Judicature, tho' the Courts have been regularly opened, and all Civil Government is now at a stand, This stagnation of all public business and commerce, under the low circumstances of the inhabitants, must be attended with fatal consequences to this colony, if it subsists but for a few months longer. There is little or no specie circulating in the maritime counties of this province, and what is in circulation in the back counties is so very inconsiderable that the Attorney General assured me, that the Stamp duties on the instruments used in the five Superior Courts of this province would in one year require all the specie in the country; the business which is likewise transacted in the 29 Inferior or County Courts the many instruments which pass through the Sheriff's hands and other Civil Officers these the Land office and many other instruments used in transaction of public business were the reasons which induced me to believe the operation in all its parts impracticable and which likewise prompted me to make my proposals for the ease and conveniency of the people, and to endeavour to reconcile them to this Act of Parliament.

On the 20th of last month I opened and proclaimed my commission at Wilmington where I consulted his Majesty's Councils if any measures could be proposed to induce the people to receive the Stamps. They were unanimously of opinion that nothing further could be done than what I had already offered. I have issued his Majesty's writs for a new election of Assembly, but shall not meet them till next April at Newbern.

As the arrival of Dispatches from the public Boards is extremely uncertain here at all times, but more particularly precarious in the present time, I should wish, Sir, that any commands you honour me with might be inclosed to the Governor of South Carolina or to Mr Barron the Post Master General, residing in Charles Town with orders to forward them to me by express.

I am, Sir &ca

Additional Notes for Electronic Version: This letter enclosed a copy of the North Carolina Gazette - See Related Documents.