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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from George Burrington to the Board of Trade of Great Britain
Burrington, George, 1680-1759
November 14, 1732
Volume 03, Pages 370-372

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[B. P. R. O. North Carolina. B. T. Vol. 9. A. 42.]

May it please your Lordships,

I am honoured with a letter signed by seven of your Lordships dated the 20th of June last by which I have the great satisfaction to understand I may in a short time expect His Majesty's Commands in such matters as relate to His service in this Province, or wellfare of the same; those commands I impatiently wait for and shall obey with duty and reverence when received.

The extraordinary vile and unpresidented Behaviour of William Smith late Chief Justice, & some other Officers in this Government made it necessary for me to write to your Lordships some Paragraphs relateing to myself and them, which I wish there had been no occasion for, that they are couch'd (to use your Lordships words) in a very extraordinary stile I am at a loss to know what may be your Lordship's meaning Couching being not customary to me, but the few lines that require an immediate and distinct explanation, shall pursuant to your Lordships expectation be immediately and distinctly explained. The words as marked by a Black line in your Lorships letter are these following; by which failure of his, Baby Smith will be quite lost having nothing but a few lies to support his Cause, unless he can obtain an Instructor from a Gentleman in Hanover Square. These words upon due consideration I am sensible do require an explanation that your Lordships may know what is the real meaning of them, so proceed to inform your Lordships that the aforesaid William Smith was a very idle drunken young man that he would frequently weep over his cups and was horribly given to fibbing & boasting of his Family and Interest among the good People of North Carolina but to his great misfortune there came two men out of the north that knew Smith his Father and Mother the accounts these men gave of him and his Family was that his Father had been a smugling Trader but broke & had a statute of bankruptcy taken out by his creditors against him and that he had also been concerned in carrying on several trayterous correspondencys against the late King, and that Smiths Mother was a very mean poor family, both these Northern men that knew Smith's Family so well were pleased to say he (Smith) was a Baby and ought to be sent home and whipt att school for talking in a manner

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so false and foolish & ever sence that time he has had the name of Baby added to Smith when People have mentioned him in conversation

I now proceed to Ashe the other Person mentioned in the words now explaining When I first came into this Country to govern the same for the late Lords Proprietors Mr John Baptista Ashe was poor clerke to a very inconsiderable Precinct court, but being informed what family he was off, and haveing been acquainted with several Gentlemen of that name, I gave him a good Place for this Country, caused him to be chosen Speaker of the Assembly and promoted his interests upon all occasions that offer'd, when I returned to England I left the management of my Affairs in this Country to him, which he so managed that instead of improvements I found my Estate and chattells a thousand pound sterling worse then when committed to his care. And Mr Ashe from poor became rich, however I was most extreamly civil and obligeing to Mr Ashe till he endeavoured to fix a vile scandal upon me in an affair between Tate and Harnett in last January which Transaction is in the Council Journals; Mr Ashe by himself and Partisans used many inducements to inveigle the men of North Carolina to advance money for defraying the charges of a voyage he designed to take for England and expences during the time he should solicit his own business and that of North Carolina under the denomination of Agent which he designed to confer upon himself and honour Baby Smith with the same Title, but all his endeavours and designs were frustrated by the stupidity of these People, who were not to be persuaded to part with their money, this unexpected denyal was the reason Ashe did not keep his word in going to England to assist Baby Smith, or Chief Justice Smith in the wicked design he rashly and ungratefully undertook to ruin me that had been his friend and Benefactor; Ashe failing to raise money for the concerted usage remained here, but I am well informed did assist in composeing a sett of horrid crimes calculated to make me odious which were incerted in a Petition delivered by Smith to the Kings most Excellent Majesty I hope your Lordships have seen those complaints and my answer if not be pleased to send for them to Mr Delafay.

I have had several controversys in writing with the said Ashe the last not being gone home I send by this conveyance to Coll: Bladen (altho' his name is not subscribed to the letter I am now answering) a Gentleman all men that have the honour to know will allow to be an excellent judge of such compositions.

I thought Smith would be at a great loss how to proceed in his projected designs against me Upon Mr Ashe's breach of promise in not repairing to London, therefore judged he would want an Instructor, and for

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Hanover Square I might very well think that a fitt place of Instruction, it was there I used to wait upon two Gentlemen for advise and assistance in my own affairs, The right honourable Mr Edgcombe allways generouse, wise and benificent is one of the persons I mean and the other Doctor Sayer dead to my great misfortune whose good sence and humanity was known and experienced by many his friendship to me will appear by many letters I still retain Other Gentlemen of great parts live in Hanover Square, But to be very plain I had strong intimations that Mr Smith would make application to a certain Gentleman liveing there, the reasons I had to believe it as became a man of honour I wrote to the Gentleman himself and others and have had assurances from my friends that I need not in the least doubt his friendship, or think my Enemys could find any countenance from him which I have since acknowledged with great pleasure to myself and I hope entirely to his satisfaction.

My Lords I know my conduct to be blameless and my Enemys vile and implacable in their designs to blast my honour and reputation, and if I know any person in Hanover Square or elsewhere should espouse them, I shall not be afraid to call him to an account but when I am assured to the contrary no person can more openly acknowledge his mistake.

I hope your Lordships will receive this as a very sincere and satisfactory answer and will please to be assured that no Person can have a greater respect for your Lordships and every Member of your Board which I shall on all occasions demonstrate and doubt not of your esteem & favourable reception of everything I lay before You, and hope my Representation of the state of this Country and the account of things here formerly presented to your Lordships have had your approbation

I have now the honour to transmit your Lordships Drafts of Beaufort and Ocacock Harbours in this Province that of Cape Fear River sent some time past I hope you like.

Next month I design to send your Lordships a further state of the Colony and the Council Journals to that time which I hope will give much satisfaction.

I had agreed to give ten Guineas for a Map of the Country which was drawn for me but is sent as I am told a present to Coll: Bladen which is better then if I had pay'd for it being at this time very Poor

I am With due respect Your Lordships Most humble and most obedient servant