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Letter from Josiah Martin to Richard Terrick
Martin, Josiah, 1737-1786
June 20, 1772
Volume 09, Pages 305-307

[N. C. Letter Book. S. P. G.]
Governor Martin to the Lord Bishop of London.

North Carolina New Bern, June 20th 1772.

My Lord,

As I am well acquainted with your Lordship's good disposition to promote all useful knowledge, and above all that of the Christian Religion, it becomes my duty to inform your Lordship that an Act of the General Assembly for establishing a public School in this Town was passed here in the year 1766 in consequence of which Mr. Thomas Tomlinson a man of unexceptionable good character and qualifications was invited here from England by the Reverend Mr. Reed a most worthy Clergyman and one of the Society's missionaries, to take the conduct of it, and that under his auspices and the encouraging countenance of that venerable Society it promised to become an Institution of the greatest utility until the Trustees of the School actuated by most unjust resentment and taking advantage of a most extraordinary and unreasonable power given to them by the Act of Assembly dismissed him from his charge without

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notice, and without complaint or reprehension; colouring since, their arbitrary proceeding, with general suggestions of neglect which they cannot in one instance prove although repeatedly called upon to do so by the injured Mr. Tomlinson, it hath grieved me extremely to find it out of my power to redress this worthy man, but the Act of Assembly vests the Governor with a power perfectly nugatory, making his Licence necessary to the appointment of a master while the absolute power of dismission and removal of Masters is reserved to the Trustees, and requires not his consent or participation, thus, My Lord, the Kings Governor is rendered the mere Instrument of the Trustees power, which they have most capriciously exercised in the present instance, and who being ignorant and uneducated men, are as little capable of judging of the merits of a pedagogue, as inclinable to do justice.

Matters of this nature falling particularly under your Lordships notice as a patron of religion and letters, and a coadjutor in the laudable and pious designs of the Society for the propagation of the Gospel whose countenance and encouragement hath been heretofore extended to this Institution I humbly beg leave to urge to your Lordships consideration, as a member of His Majestys most honorable privy council the expediency of recommending the aforementioned Act of the General Assembly of this Province for His Majestys Royal disallowance, as depriving the Governor of power with which he ought to be invested, to oppose the injurious and arbitrary proceedings of the Trustees, who left to the free exercise of their caprice must ruin an Institution that might under proper regulations become of the utmost advantage to society, by promoting useful knowledge. I have lately written to the Earl of Hillsborough on this subject, and I have every reason to believe that your Lordship will find that virtuous nobleman and able Minister disposed to concur with your Lordship, in all such proper measures as may be taken on the occasion.

Nothing has been done during my administration concerning Ecclesiastical affairs I shall steadfastly labor for the better establishment of our clergy, and until they can be put upon some more independent footing, I think it will not be good policy to augment their number in this Province.

Mr Hobart Briggs and Mr. McCartney clergymen in this Province having been strongly recommended to my good offices by all the principal persons thereof. I have reported their good conduct to the

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Society for the propagation of the Gospel and recommended them for a continuation of their Missionarys Salaries, to which I could wish to ensure success by engaging your Lordship's protection of them.

I have the honor to be, My Lord, &c.,