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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Report by the Board of Trade of Great Britain concerning an act of the North Carolina General Assembly concerning settlement
Great Britain. Board of Trade
November 12, 1707
Volume 01, Pages 672-673

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[B. P. R. O. B. T. Maryland.]

To the Queen's most Excellt Majesty

May it please your Majesty

Colonel Seymour Your Majesty's Governor of Maryland having transmitted to us the Copy of an Act lately passed in North Carolina Entitled An Act to encourage the settlement of this Country, We humbly take leave to lay the same before your Majesty, with our humble opinion thereupon.

The purport of the said Act is as follows.

That no persons that shall after the Ratification thereof transport themselves into that Province shall be arrested sued or Impleaded in any Court, or be Imprisoned for any Debt, whether the same be by bill Bond, or other Reckoning, or account whatsoever contracted before their Arrival in that Province, till & after five years after their said Arrival Excepting such as who shall be indebted to your Majesty or to the Government in which they lived before their coming thither; And it further excepts all persons transporting themselves from your Majesty's Colony of Virginia, and such who have contracted Debts within 6 months before their arrival in the said Provinces.

The said Act further provides that if any person so transporting themselves, and having had the benefit of this Act, shall depart out of that Province, and afterwards return again, shall not then receive any benefit by the said Act.

Upon this we humbly take leave to represent to your Majesty that notwithstanding the exceptions in the said Act, it appears to us to be of very pernicious consequence to your Majesty's Province of Maryland, and the other more Northern Plantations: For that the Encouragement & Protection by this Act given to such who shall retire thither is such that great Numbers of Debtors (particularly in Maryland, where the generality are much indebted to the merchants in this Kingdom) will be induced to quit their settlements and withdraw themselves to Carolina, where by virtue of this Act they may continue 5 years exempted from the payment of their just debts which mischief if not timely prevented. will very much lessen Your Majesty's Revenue in the Duty's upon Tobacco; wherein we are the more confirmed by what Your Majesty's said Governor of Maryland has writ us Vizt That several families have already removed themselves thither, where they may be out of the reach of their Creditors.

We further humbly represent to your Majesty, That This Act not being Consonant to reason, nor agreeable to the Laws and Customs of this Kingdom, which the Lords Proprietors are Obliged to observe in the passing of Laws, the said Act ought to be repealed. But that Your

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Majesty may be fully Apprised of this matter, We humbly lay before Your Majesty the Opinion of Your Majesty's late Attorney and Solicitor General Upon a former Act of Carolina, which Opinion we conceive applycable in All respects to the present Act Vizt:

That by the Grants of that Province made by his late Majesty King Charles the second, bearing Date the 24th of March in the Fifteenth and 30th of June, in the seventeenth years of his Reign, a power of making Laws with the Assent and Approbation of the Freemen there Inhabiting, is granted to the Proprietors, for the Good & Happy Government of that Province, so as such Laws be Consonant to Reason and as near as may be conveniently agreeable to the Laws and Customs of England; And they were of Opinion that Laws not consonant to reason and repugnant to the Laws of this Kingdom, are not warranted by the said Charters, And that Your Majesty may declare those Laws to be Null & Void; That Your Majesty may Command that the same shall not be put in Execution or observed; And may also require and Command the Proprietors and Assembly of that Province by Act of Assembly to Enact & declare the same to be Null & Void. And your Majesty's said Attorney and Solicitor General were further of Opinion that the making such Laws is an Abuse of the Power Granted of making Laws, and will be a forfeiture of such Power, and that that Power may be seized into Your Majesty's hands by scire facias in the Chancery, on the Patents, or by Quo Warranto in Your Majesty's Court of Queens Bench, if the Laws were Approved and Confirmed by the present Proprietors.

Whereupon having had this matter under consideration, and concurring with the above Report of Your Majesty's said Attorney and Solicitor General; We doe humbly offer that your Majesty be pleased by your Order in Council to declare the said Law, to be null & void, and that your Majesty be further pleased to signify Your Royal pleasure to the Proprietors and Assembly of that Province, that they do not permit the said Law to be put in Execution, but to declare the same Null & Void, as was done by your Majesty's Order in Council of of the 10th of June 1706 upon the Laws therein Mentioned.

The making of such a Law We conceive to be an Abuse of the power granted to the said Proprietors, and a forfeiture of such, their Charters, Which may be Vacated by due Course of Law

All which is most Humbly Submitted

Whitehall Novr 12th 1707.