Documenting the American South Logo
Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from Arthur Dobbs to the Board of Trade of Great Britain
Dobbs, Arthur, 1689-1765
March 07, 1763
Volume 06, Pages 970-972

[B. P. R. O. North Carolina. B. T. Vol. 14. E. 71.]
Letter from Governor Dobbs to the Board of Trade

Brunswick March 7th 1763

My Lords,

I wrote and sent to your Lordps what Papers and Journals I had ready relating to the late Session of Assembly last month, to which I refer your Lordships, since that time I have got the Attested Copies of the several Acts passed last Sessions which I now send under the Province Seal. The most material Bills which any way relate to Great Britain or the Government in General, or to Trade, have seperate Seals annexed to them, the other Bills which only concern the interior parts of the Province, as not so material to Britain, are joined under one Seal which contains several together.

You will find by the Journals the great struggles we had to keep in such parts of the superior Court Bill as His Majesty approved of after their having laid aside the obnoxious Clauses objected to as being against His Majesty's Prerogative, particularly of having Judges appointed with proper Salaries, which the Council insisted on, that they were obliged to drop the first Superior Court Bill, and bring in another Bill with a different Title, and though in several Clauses it will be found improper, yet I was obliged to comply with it as a temporary Expedient for 2 years, until His Majesty's pleasure can be known with alterations or Amendments may be made to it before it expires, otherwise the Province must have remained without Courts of Justice, and at present I can't get proper persons to accept of being Associate Judges.

The Superior Court Bill I also passed for the same Term of two years, as it depended upon the other, after they had struck off the Clauses objected to, and lessened the Sum from 50 to £20 this Currency.

I also passed an Orphan Bill separate which limits the Estate to £20 value this Currency.

The Assembly also brought in an Orthodox Clergy Bill, and a

-------------------- page 971 --------------------
Bill for establishing Vestries, I was at a great loss to know the true reasons given for the Repeal, as your Lordships Letter of June last only mentioned the Repeal, & said you would send me over the Reasons for it, and objections made to it, and no such letter has since come to my hand, only the order for the Repeal from the Council, I therefore told them I would pass temporary Bills provided they would make the Clergyman one of the Vestry, & to preside in it according to my Instructions, and the Orthodox Clergy Bill if they would give up the Advowson and Presentation to the Crown, this last they would not do, but gave the Crown a power to try the Parson if irregular or immoral. I therefore found myself under a Dilemma either to pass the Bill without a temporary Clause, which they concealed from me until the last day that they sent the Bill ready engrossed for the passing in order for my perusal, or deprive the Clergy of the stipend allowed to them this I thought more advisable than to have no Established Clergy in the Province.

I find the principal objection they have against the Clergy's being Established by the presentation of the Crown and Induction is the difficulty they find in having them suspended or degraded upon Account of immoralities or neglect of their cure, as there are no Bishops nor persons invested with Episcopal power to censure or degrade them, and most those who come over ordained in England come to get bread without a View to the cure of souls, and in that case could not be removed by them. This objection can only be obviated by recommending it to His Majesty to erect Bishopricks in the present extensive Empire of British America with the Apostolic powers of Ordination, Confirmation and of the suspending and degradation of immoral or irregular Clergymen or for neglect of their cures without any Ecclesiastical Courts which may effect the bodies or Estates of men but only of expulsion from their Community & absolution after shewing themselves penitent for their Crimes, I should then hope that they would give up by a Law the presentation & powers of Induction to the Crown, notwithstanding the prevailing Sectaries here.

As to the Vestry Bill I told them I would pass it with a temporary Clause for 2 years, provided they would make the Clergyman one of the Vestry and to preside in it, this several assured me they would comply with, and this Bill they kept back to the last from being engrossed and compared until within half an hour of passing the Bill, thinking I would overlook it, upon which as I found it without allowing the Clergyman to be one, or making it temporary

-------------------- page 972 --------------------
I rejected the Bill, until I could have Instructions about it with the Reasons for repealing it.

I think it also proper to inform your Lordships that a Bill for dividing New Hanover County tho' petitioned for by the Majority of the County was rejected by the Assembly, because it was in His Majesty's district, because I refused passing a Bill for dividing Granville County in the Northern District, without further Instructions from His Majesty, until a greater number of Counties should be made in His Majesty's District to counterbalance the Northern 5 Member Counties who at present out vote and overrule the Southern Members & refuse all Taxes, for these five, 5 Member Counties all hang together & overrule the Assembly, & all these Counties together very little exceed one of the Western Counties, so that without lessening their influence they are at present a clog upon Government, as well as upon Lord Granville's Agents in his private Estate. If the Assembly should make this a point I hope you will think it advisable that His Majesty should again recall the Instructions I had to allow the Assembly to erect Counties, & allow of the Governor's erecting them by Charter. Before this point was started they had passed a Bill for dividing Anson County, & erecting Mecklenburgh County being the Western Frontier and very far extended.

I am my Lords &c