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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from Alexander Garden to Edmund Gibson
Garden, Alexander, 1686-1756
September 06, 1737
Volume 04, Pages 263-265

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

So. Carolina Charlestown Sept 6th 1737

My Lord [Bishop of London]

I have lately recd a letter from his excellency the Governor of N. Carolina of which the following is a paragraph concerning the ill behaviour of Mr Boyd the Honble Society's missionary in that Colony.

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After having expressed much concern that no farther assistance was to be expected from the honble Society towards the propagating of religion in that Colony than the one Missionary, already there, His excellency subjoins concerning him and says, “But what makes the matter still worse is that this very missionary is one of the vilest and most scandalous persons in the government. I gave you some hints of his Idleness and inclination to drunkenness, when I had the pleasure of seeing you at Edenton; but since that time I have heard such accounts of his behaviour as are really shocking, particularly that on a Sunday, this spring, at noon day he was seen by many persons lying dead drunk (& fast asleep) on the great road to Virginia, with his horses bridle tied to his leg this I have been assured of by several persons of the best credit As he is under your inspection I hope you will take some notice of such horrid practices.” I have also recd a letter, on the same subject, from another very worthy gentleman a member of his Majesty's council & collector of his Quit rents in that province. Concerning Mr Boyd he saith “Whose life and conversation would be scandalous in a Layman, much more so in one of his function. Drunkenness in a most open manner is his frequent practice, & I was told by the chief Justice when I was last at Edenton, that he was found one Sunday in that condition fast asleep, on the road nigh the town in short he is I think a man in all respects of as bad principles as any I have ever seen, considering his education; from whence you will form a judgement how the interest of religion is carried on under his ministry.”

I am so far from the least doubt of the truth of the above informations, that they would have met with entire credit from me, had they come from persons of much less Known Honor & integrity than they do. For when, about 2 years ago, I came thrō that province, in my way from N England to So Carolina, I had such intimations given me, not only by the Governor, but the people of Berty county in general of Mr Boyds ill behaviour, with respect to drunkenness & neglect of duty, that I should certainly have then made a legal enquiry into it, but that neither had I my commission with me, nor could I spare so much time (the winter at hand and at that distance from home) as would have been necessary for that purpose. And as tis now impracticable for me to leave my charge, & go to Edenton (distance from hence about 400 miles) to make such enquiry; All I can do in the case is, thus to transmit it, in the best light I can to the honble Society, not without hopes, that they will soon decide upon it, to discharge that unworthy Missionary from their service, or rather from adding to the real disservice he has already done them.

The Governor & Council of that colony have it much at heart, to obtain a Legal Establishment of a competent maintainance for the Clergy;

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but the unhappy discord, subsisting twixt them & the commons House of Assembly, about civil concerns, has hitherto obstructed it, meantime they think that the pension of £80 per ann allowed Boyd, by the honble Society, would be applyed to the best advantage, if £25 a piece were given to the two Clergymen at Bath town & New Berne, who are in great poverty; & the remaining £30 to some sober clergyman, to be sent over to Bladen Precinct, where the Governor is settled, & where he assures me his neighbourhood are well disposed to join with him, for making it up a handsome maintainance.

I humbly crave your Ldships blessing, & am, My Lord,