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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from John Urmston to David Humphreys
Urmston, John
June 22, 1717
Volume 02, Pages 284-286

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[From North Carolina Letter Book of S. P. G.]

North Carolina
June 22nd 1717.


You will say my other Letter of the same date needed no additions but cannot avoid acquainting you that by the same opportunity comes one of our great Dons upon an Embassy from the whole country fraught with complaints against the Governor (I suppose I shall not escape) he is a Clergyman's son in Yorkshire bears the great name of Gale, I know not how near a kin to the late Dean of York. he has a little smack of school learning, was sometime Clerk to a country attorney at Lancaster, the occasion of his coming into this hiding place is unknown to me tho' I suppose not uncommon with other our worthy Patriots a great show of Learning gained him great Esteem among the Beast in the woods he has past long for an Oracle, gone through all the Offices in the Government save that he is said now to push for, i e, that of the Governor.

Upon the breaking out of the Indian War he went to South Carolina for assistance there he prevailed with Mrs Blacke one of the Proprietors to make him her duty (depty); in his return he was taken prisoner by the French and carried to Martinio, at length he came back to us, was for his good offices and sufferings, presented with a purse of money, made Colonel of Bath County then the heat of the war but by reason of his unfitness laid that down and being deemed learned in the Law was made Chief Justice of the whole Province Being arrived to this High Pitch of supposed grandeur he grew very impertinent, he hath often opposed me in matters relating to church discipline and all the authority he had could assign was the practice of a poor country Parson his father, I believe him equally knowing in everything else he pretends to, In our debates when he had no other answer he would appeal to his dignity and Imaginary power which he thought gave authority enough to all he asserted, nay he did not stick once to rebuke me for contradicting him telling we were not equals and that I ought to pay a greater defference to what he said, how false soever; as to the first I was entirely of his mind and as to the latter I cannot see why I should be borne down by such a Blockhead when I had good authority for what I said, he intends to dethrone the Governor, this is publicly known and if he succeeds him not then he will come

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Missioner, but this is only whispered, for if not forced he would not be thought to take up with so mean a station.

His complaints against the Governor, I must confess are not altogether groundless, his honor has acted towards all men very arbitrarily not to say unjustly, his treatment of me has been very base and scandalous, yet he never break my Head without giving me a plaster not always healing, for after having trampled upon and prostituted me to the people in order to curry favor with them it is no such easy matter to effect a thorough cure; what signifies such favors as subjects a man to daily affronts and abuses, we have been often at variance: I have resented his ill usage more than once, have not visited him for several months together, but the greatest difference we ever had was owing . . . . . this Incendiary, my Lord Chief Just—fs . . . . . and now he with a pack of Knaves and seditious rascals is combined to set us all in flames and rather than not gain his point he will do his utmost to subvert that little settlement we have with the greatest difficulty attained to in Church and Government. This is not the first voyage he has taken upon the like Errand and if the Proprietors will harken to such a Bout few then they must never hope to see this a settled country.

I cannot say but the Governor is a strange unaccountable man, having all that either the Land or Sea service furnisheth t'wards the making a complete ruffian besides some great accomplishments acquired in his voyages along the coasts of America, a stranger to him would straight imagine upon a slight acquaintance that he had been a boatswains mate who are commonly the greatest reprobates in a man of war, fit only to command the forecastle Gang, and seeing the Genius and temper of this People are so like to the said Gentry, there cannot be a fitter man to govern here, the Lords will suffer by the change and we shall be like the Frogs in the Fable. He is well known to Collll Handyside late Govr of Jamaica and I believe Councell Kittleby has some knowledge of him.

As to my particular I care not what this sower of Sedition can say against me, it has been his constant Business to oppose me in every thing I went about in furtherance of the great errand I was sent upon; This is he that chiefly hindered me from having the Library sent in by the Revd Dr. Bray in my custody as was intended by the Donor, this is he that first started a notion that the Society did not expect the Country should make any provision for me, they having allowed me a sufficient maintenance, this is the copper smith for he hath done me much harm; and if he applies himself to the Society it will easily appear what a fit person he is to make a Priest of and how much he hath benefitted by that excellent

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collection of Books which have been injuriously detained from me. I excuse not the Govr in many things but cannot think him so black as he will be represented nor would I have him changed except we be assured of a better who will scarce be found to act a part in our comedy—I am, Sir, your most humble servant

JOn URMSTON Missionary

P. S. I have gained mightily upon the Govr since the Death of his wife, who a strange meddling troublesome proud woman, and put him often upon doing that which he had no mind to; I believe for the future we shall always have a good understanding. I wish he may find favour with the Honourable Society so as to prevent his being twined I have heard say counsel Kittleby was not his friend: if a member of the Society he may be pursuaded to act for him, Tis in his power to do the Govr good service and to stop the mouth of this Babler.