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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Memorandum from the Board of Trade to George II, King of Great Britain concerning North Carolina currency laws
Great Britain. Board of Trade
April 10, 1759
Volume 06, Pages 22-24

[B. P. R. O. North Carolina. B. T. Vol. 22. p. 291.]

To the King's most Excellent Majesty

(April 10th 1759

May it please your Majesty,

We have had under our consideration a Petition presented to Us by several Merchants in London who trade to your Majesty's Province of North Carolina, in behalf of themselves and of several Gentlemen and Merchants in and from that Province setting forth the great injury which arises to the trading interest of this Kingdom and of the said Province in general and to themselves in particular from two Acts passed there the one in 1748 entituled,

An Act for granting unto His Majesty the sum of Twenty one thousand three hundred and fifty pounds Proclamation money and for stamping and emitting the said sum of twenty one thousand three hundred and fifty pounds publick bills of Credit of this Province at the rate of Proclamation money, to be applied towards building Fortifications in this Province payment of the Publick Debts exchanging the present Bills of Credit and for making proper Provision for defraying the contingent Charges of the Government etc.

The other passed in 1754 and entituled,

An Act for granting to his Majesty the sum of Forty thousand Pounds in publick bills of Credit at the rate of Proclamation money, to be applied towards defraying the expence of raising and subsisting the Forces for his Majesty's service in this Province to be sent to the Assistance of his Majesty's Colony of Virginia and for other purposes therein mentioned.

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And having been attended by several of the said Merchants and Gentlemen and heard what they had to offer against the said Acts, We beg leave humbly to represent to your Majesty,

That in each of these Acts there is a clause declaring that the Bills of credit thereby to be emitted shall be a lawfull Tender in all payments whatsoever as Proclamation money or as sterling Money at the proper difference there is between Proclamation and sterling, that is to say at four shillings Proclamation money for three shillings sterling.

Upon this Clause the Petitioners observe that the plain meaning and constant Effect of it is that One hundred thirty three Pounds six shillings and Eight pence Paper currency shall be a good and lawfull Tender in payment of a real debt of One hundred Pounds sterling, although in fact One hundred thirty three pounds six shillings and eight pence paper currency will not purchase more than Seventy Pounds Sterling, a Provision which they conceive to be a notorious Breach of publick faith, contrary to Justice and equity and no less inconsistent with the Interest of the Inhabitants of North Carolina than it is prejudicial to the Interested of those in Great Britain who have any commercial Dealings with them in as much as it operates to the total Destruction of the Trade and Credit of the Province, since no man can trust any Property in a Country where such Laws are subsisting.

From these Allegations it appears to Us that the Evils arising from these two Acts are such in their nature and extent as call for the most speedy and effectual Remedy, and to that end we should humbly propose to your Majesty the immediate Repeal of them, did we not consider the infinite confusion which must arise in the Province from the repeal of Acts of this Nature which have been so long since carried into execution and continued in force for so many years particularly the first of them and under which such a variety of Dealings must have been transacted, the Petitioners sensible that such would be the consequence have not requested this species of Redress but conceive that the remedy lately applied in a case of the like Nature in the Colony of Virginia, may be effectual and the most expedient on the present Occasion We therefore humbly offer it as Our Opinion that an Instruction of the like Nature with that which your Majesty was pleased in February last to give to your Governor of Virginia be forthwith sent to the Governor of North Carolina, authorizing and directing him earnestly to recommend it in Your Majesty's Name to the Council and Assembly of that Province to pass an Act for amending

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the two Acts above mentioned and thereby to provide that all Debts and contracts already due or hereafter to be contracted between your Majesty's British subjects and the Inhabitants of North Carolina be made payable in the said Bills of Credit, if the Creditor be willing to accept the same and not otherwise, not according to their nominal value as declared by the said two Acts but according to the real Difference in value between such Paper Bills and Sterling Money at the time of discharging such Debts, and further that the said Governor be forbidden to give his Assent to any future Act for emitting Bills of Credit upon any Occasion whatever, unless he take Care that a Clause to the effect above stated be expressly inserted in such Act.

And it appears to Us, that your Majesty's Quit rents and every other branch of Revenue arising within the Province of North Carolina are by the said two Acts made payable in the same Paper Currency and at the same rate as any other Debt whatever, whereby the said Revenue must be greatly prejudiced, We would further propose that the Governor of the said Province be also directed by the said Instruction, to take especial Care that in the Act to be passed for the Amendment of the two Acts in question and also in every Act which may hereafter be passed for issuing Bills of Credit, a clause be inserted, declaring that the Paper Currency already issued or to be issued shall not be a Legal Tender in Payment of Quitrents or of any Debt of what Nature soever due or to become due to your Majesty.

Which is most humbly submitted

April 10th 1759.

Additional Notes for Electronic Version: This memorandum was enclosed in a letter from the Board of Trade - See Related Documents.