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Memorandum from Richard Jackson to the Board of Trade of Great Britain concerning acts of the North Carolina General Assembly [Extract]
Jackson, Richard, 1722-1787
February 03, 1775
Volume 09, Pages 1121-1122

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[B. P. R. O. No. Carolina. B. T. Vol. 19.]
Report of Richard Jackson Esqr on Thirty Two Acts passed in North Carolina in March 1774.

To the Right Honourable the lords Commrs for Trade and Plantations.

May it please your Lordships,

In obedience to your Lordship's Commands signified to me by Mr Pownall, I have perused and considered two Acts passed by the Governor Council and Assembly of North Carolina in March 1774, Intituled,

“An Act for Establishing Inferior Courts of Pleas and Quarter Sessions in the several Counties in this Province, and for regulating the Proceedings therein.”

“An Act to Establish Courts of Oyer and Terminer and General Gaol Delivery, and for vesting in the several Inferior Courts of Pleas and Quarter Sessions the power of appointing Jurymen for the said courts of Oyer and Terminer, and Regulating the Proceedings therein, and also for constituting the Judges thereof a Court for hearing and determining Appeals and Writs of Error,”

Which are so manifestly inadequate to the necessities of every Civil Government, particularly in that the Inferior Courts, established by the first, and consequently the appellate, jurisdiction created in the other are limited to causes of so small value, that nothing but a comparison of this system of Judicature with the state of a country that has none, can be urged on their behalf, yet it is evidently unfit that the decision of causes even of twenty pounds value should be entrusted to persons so little acquainted with legal Proceedings, as the Justices in most of the counties of North Carolina probably are. Your Lordships will however observe that besides that some utility may be expected even from these Imperfect Acts. They will probably expire by the Flux of the time to which they are limited, before an order for their Disallowance.

I have also perused and considered another Act passed by the same Assembly in March 1774 Intituled “An Act to oblige Vessels having infectious Distempers on Board to perform Quarantine,” and I am of opinion that in case your Lordships shall not deem the Fetters imposed on the Trade of His Majesty's Subjects too high a price to pay for the security in view, and in case the oath imposed

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on the Masters of Vessells shall in the Execution of the Law be so far varied from the Words of the Act as to insert the Words, to the best of his knowledge and belief, an addition I think not inconsistent with a reasonable construction of an Act, which does not insert an Oath verbatim, the same is not improper in point of Law, and may probably secure the Province against some of the greatest calamities incident to human nature.

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All of which is submitted &c.,

3d Febry 1775.