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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from John Rutherford to the Board of Trade of Great Britain
Rutherford, John, 1724-1782
June 19, 1756
Volume 05, Pages 586-589

[B. P. R. O. North Carolina. B. T. Vol. 12. C. 114.]
Letter from John Rutherford Receiver General to the Board of Trade.

North Carolina 19th June 1756.

May it please your Lordships,

Thō I have had the honor to be of His Majesty's Council & Receiver General for this Province for some time, I did not know till very lately and that by accident, that it was my duty to lay before your Lordships a state of Affairs which His Majesty has been pleased to entrust me with. The state of all my accounts audited by the Deputy Auditor for this Province shall be forwarded to your Lordships by the first opportunity from Virginia as soon as I have seen Mr. McCulloh who lives nigh to

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Virginia about 200 miles from hence, which I shall do soon. The great Disproportion betwixt the sums received and which ought to be received will no doubt surprise your Lordships but cannot be wondered at seeing that I have never as yet had any Rent roll delivered me. It is true I have a Copy of the quantity of Lands granted from the Secretary's Office which I paid for & charged in my accounts but these accounts are so imperfect that they are of very little service, add to this the obstinacy of the people, the divisions amongst them especially of late in these distracted times and the great pains taken by them in general to have an Act passed confirming them in their Titules to their Lands without any proper regard to His Majesty's rents being paid. Such an Act was passed last Assembly entituled an Act for confirming the People in the possession of their Lands, notwithstanding that the very clauses in this Act for that of the last mentioned purpose were then lying before your Lordships for His Majesty's approbation which imperfect Act does as little answer the purpose specified in the Preamble as any ever passed in this Province. All which on perusal must be so evident to your Lordships that I have no occasion to say further on this subject. I am in hopes I shall be able to do without any Quit Rent Law at all with the Assistance of the Officers of the Crown. I humbly submit it to your Lordships consideration whether or not it is not necessary that as speedily as possible some Gentleman learned in the Law should be appointed Chief Baron of Exchequer to this Province who may be directed to hold Courts of Exchequer at least three times yearly (at such times and place as his Excellency the Governor in Council shall direct) with proper Instructions how he is to proceed particularly in the following causes that may come before him. In the Case where the subjects destroy the timber and lightwood &c. without any right or warrant for their so doing. In the Case where Lands have been taken up and no Quit Rents paid nor any distress to be found on the Lands. In this latter Case it is submitted whether the Lands might not be sold for the benefit of the Crown by order of the Court of Exchequer, which would be more for the benefit of the Crown than declaring the Lands vacant & allowing others to take up these lands. It is humbly submitted to your Lordships whether or not on condition the People record de novo their Patents & Deeds in the Clerk of the Crown or Register's Office by a certain time, a Copy of the Records being transmitted to the Deputy Auditor & by him to the Receiver General, their titules shou'd not be confirmed to them, and as the principal objection to passing an Act for this purpose is the hardship in the people being obliged to record their Patents & grants where they have already been at all the necessary expence. It is submitted in this
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Case whether the same might not be done at the expence of the Crown payable out of the Quit Rents. If some such method is not taken to procure a Rent Roll It will be impossible to procure a Rent Roll for the Deputy Auditor whose duty it is to procure it for the Receiver General & without which your Lordships will easily judge it is not practicable for the Receiver General to do his duty. It is submitted to your Lordships whether or not the division lines betwixt South & North Carolina & Earl Granville's division line ought not to be settled as soon as possible the which having hitherto not been done, has been, & at present is, the occasion of numberless disputes amongst ourselves & has very near thrown us into troubles with the Catabau Indians. All which his Excellency Mr. Dobbs has represented to your Lordships. I have only further to take notice of the miserable consequences of the Inhabitants of this place being allowed to make paper Currency in the manner they have hitherto done and are but still too inclineable to do, which can answer no purposes but to cheat men of Property by having half the value of what is owing to them paid in imaginary money. It is of great prejudice to the Officers of the Crown to the Inhabitants themselves if they cou'd or wou'd be made sensible of the ill effects of this bad policy, which must cut them off from all commerce with the neighboring Provinces & ruins their credit in Great Britain. Proclamation money thō it is not very plenty & a great demand for it for cheating of Creditors paying of Taxes & Quit Rents yet a Pistole in gold 16s 6d which ought to be equal to 22s cannot be purchased for 30s a Dollar worth 4s 6d cannot be purchased for 8s & if for the future they are allowed to make a currency otherwise to be called in, in a short time, & made payable by the Treasury in sterling money only or in rated Commodities by Inspectors Notes this Province will be a prey to the neighbouring Provinces & not only be of no service but a burden & disgrace to the Mother Country This will be evident to your Ldps & no doubt will be properly provided against. I have with the greatest pains & difficulty got a statement of what is due from this present Establishment but have in vain attempted to get a tolerable state of the credits due for this Province, neither is it indeed possible in the present confusion of affairs in this Government I have been lately with all the Sheriffs but one, who collect the Quit Rents, & am hopeful these now employed who are very diligent will do as well as can be expected without a Rent Roll which at present is in no man's Power to give till there are other regulations. I must entreat your Ldps permission to go from hence to England for a few months as both on account of my health & private Affairs is absolutely necessary. I shall then do myself the honor to receive your Commands
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& strictly to follow what instructions yr Ldps may be pleased to give me in charge. Mr. Starkey a man of fortune who has for many years past with unspotted integrity and honor acted as one of the Treasurers for this Province and who can give good security has offered to act in my place 'till my return. I am with the greatest respect &c.,