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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Petition from Thomas Child concerning Gabriel Johnston's government
Child, Thomas, fl. 1745-1767
December 15, 1748
Volume 04, Pages 927-928

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To the most noble John Duke of Bedford, His Majesty's Principal Secretary of State for the Southern Province.

The Memorial of Thomas Child, His Majesty's Attorney General of the Province of North Carolina, most humbly sheweth,

That your Memorialist in the year 1746 had the honour to be appointed by his most sacred Majesty, Attorney General of the said Province, and soon after went over thither, where he immediately began to apply himself to the Duties of his Office, but had the misfortune to find the Province in the deepest state of Confusion, occasioned as he humbly apprehends, by the misconduct of the present Governor Gabriel Johnston, in neglecting to support any order, or form of Justice in some Cases, and in others, arbitrarily enforcing illegal and unjust measures, insomuch that your Memorialist seeing and experiencing, after a fruitless stay there, that it was impracticable for him to execute the functions of his Office, was necessitated to leave the Country to his very great loss & disappointment.

That your Memorialist from the Duty he owes to the Crown as its immediate and most zealous servant, and from the nature of his Employment in the said Province, as his Majesty's Attorney General, most humbly offers the following Representation, as the just Causes of Complaint against Mr Johnston's Administration.

That the Courts of Chancery, wherein great & frequent occasions arise for redress, are seldom or never held By which neglect, a great number of Causes have been depending for a shamefull space of time, & still remain undetermined.

That Injunctions out of Chancery are indiscriminately granted to stay Executions on Judgments obtained at Common Law; and the said Courts of Chancery not being regularly held, the Parties are deprived of an opportunity to shew Cause for dissolving them: Whereby they loose the benefit of Verdicts in their favour; and the legal course of Publick Justice is stopped.

That Administrations of Intestates Effects are granted without any regard to the Directions of the Laws in those Cases: and revoked, without a hearing of Parties, or sufficient Cause shewn for it.

That Persons are put in Commissions of the Peace who are neither duly qualified, nor Capable of executing them, so that the most absurd, as well as the most partial Proceedings continually happen. And Persons notoriously disaffected to the present most happy Establishment, are not only countenanced, but placed in offices of Trust or Benefit.

That a New Paper Currency, to the Amount of above 20,000 lbs: has been issued by the said Governor's procurement; and forced upon the People of the said Province, whereby Merchants or Traders & Proprietors

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of Lands are unjustly oppress'd the Country greatly involved in Debt; and the Communication of Trade with other Colonies, and the Mother Country in particular, almost totally suppressed.

Hence the Credit of the Province is reduced to the lowest state, and the Country become only an Asylum or Refuge for People of desperate Fortunes & scandalous Characters to retreat to from other Colonies.

Which is most humbly submitted by My Lord,

Your grace's most, &c.,
Attorney General of the Province of North Carolina.

R. the 15th of December 1748.