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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from Thomas Smith to John Pownall
Smith, Thomas
April 18, 1753
Volume 05, Pages 19-21

[B. P. R. O. North Carolina. B. T. Vol. 12. C. 25 and 26.]

18th April 1753.

Sir, [Mr. Pownall]

I am directed by Mr. Walpole Auditor General of the Plantations to transmit to you the following account of what has passed relating to the Quit rents in North Carolina to be laid before the Lords of Trade and Plantation:

Soon after the purchase of the Provinces of North and South Carolina His Majesty was pleased to remitt £5000. arrears to the people there in consideration that they would pass some Laws for the establishing and improving the Quit rents due to the Crown.

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The Governor and Council did pass some Laws in both Provinces relating to the Quit rents but they were found to be so injurious to the rights of the Crown that they were disapproved here by Committees of Council.

Sometime afterwards Governor Johnston of North Carolina came over to England and having represented to the Lords of the Treasury that the reason why the Quit Rents there were not duly ascertained & collected was because the Officers of the Crown did not receive proper encouragement for their trouble, he proposed the following Establishment to be made and paid annually out of that revenue viz:

To the Governor
Chief Justice
Surveyor General.
Attorney General.
Clerk of the Crown.
Charges for the Exchequer Court.

As what would not only answer that end but would, as he alleged, by the diligence and assistance of the Officers from such an encouragement produce a surplus for the service of the Crown beyond the Establishment, which was accordingly granted by His Majesty in September 1733. But so little care was taken by the Governor and Officers to improve and ascertain that revenue that the amount of Mr. Allen's the late receiver General's Accounts for 14 years from 1735 to 1748 both inclusive were £13356 17s 9d sterling which at a medium is about £954 per annum. And you will observe falls very short of the said Establishment. But those accounts were not audited and passed by Mr. Walpole's deputy abroad, nor when transmitted home allowed here being very imperfect and irregular for want of a complete rent-roll and proper Vouchers.

In the year 1744 Mr. Allen transmitted a rent-roll which only consisted of the names of the persons, No of acres and dates of the grants without specifying the annual rent of such Lands or separating the Crown's part from the Earl of Granville's.

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He likewise transmitted another rent-roll with some additional Grants from 1744 to 1748, in the same manner and consequently liable to the same objections.

The Earl of Granville not having agreed to include his share as a Proprietor when the Crown purchased those provinces he obtained in the year 1742, a Grant from the Crown for exchanging his eighth part in both Provinces for an equivalent in North Carolina which Grant having never been entered in the Auditor's Office the extent or value of it does not appear there.

The present receiver Mr. Rutherford seems disposed to act in concert with the Deputy Auditor in North Carolina in making out a proper rent roll agreably to what I suggested in a letter I wrote to him of May ye 6th 1752, by Mr. Walpole's direction for that purpose desiring him at the same time to use his utmost endeavours with the Deputy Auditor to bring the Executors of Mr. Allen the late receiver to a fair and regular account of all moneys he had received from his first appointment to that Office to make out a rent roll exclusive of Lord Granville's share.

I have received from Mr. Rutherford the present receiver, his account of quit rents of North Carolina from the 14th of May 1751, to the 5th of October following amounting to no more than £161 8s 0d sterling.

As His Majesty has been pleased to appoint Mr. Dobbs to be Governor of North Carolina, Mr. Walpole desires you will move their Lordships to give him particular instructions to support with his countenance and lawful authority the Officers of the Crown in causing a rent roll to be made out and for recovering, improving and ascertaining the quit rents due to His Majesty there: and am Sir,

Your most humble servant

P. S. I have sent you a Copy of Mr. Walpole's report to the Lords of the Treasury on Widow Johnston's claim with an abstract of Mr. Allen's account for 14 years.

Additional Notes for Electronic Version: Horatio Walpole's report was enclosed with this letter - see related documents.