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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from Arthur Dobbs to Daniel Burton
Dobbs, Arthur, 1689-1765
March 29, 1764
Volume 06, Pages 1039-1041

[From North Carolina Letter Book. S. P. G.]
Governor Dobbs to the Secretary.

Cape Fear, Brunswick, March 29. 1764.

Revd Sir,

I have had no letter from you since July 16—1762 in answer to mine of the foregoing March, it will therefore be proper to return thanks to the Honble Society for the acceptance of my good wishes & inclinations to support the true apostolic Protestant Religion in this Province & to reform the morals of the ill instructed inhabitants & further to thank them for their pious zeal & due attention to promote true religion & the reformation of their manners by Procuring more pious clergymen and missionaries to come over & reside in this Province.—The situation of affairs relating to the church is somewhat different to what it was when I wrote last, Mr. McDowell the Missionary of this Parish died last November of a lingering disorder, which has deprived us of a clergyman; & Mr. Teal who I recommended last year to be put into orders finding upon his return that the parishioners of Wilmington in New Hanover County were divided; he thought he could be of no service & went to So Carolina where he was immediately inducted into a vacant Parish & is fixed happily there. we have therefore only at present 6 clergymen in the Province, 4 of which perform their duty diligently in the towns of Edenton, Bath, New Bern & Halifax: the three first being missionaries, the other 2 Mr. Moir & Miller, by all I can hear, do not behave as clergymen ought. Mr. Moir who lives at a distance from me as I am informed by Gentlemen who live in the neighborhood, has no parish performs very little casual service; he has been endeavouring to procure a certificate of his good behaviour, but I am informed with very bad success from any men of rank or character, he lives upon a plantation penuriously & inhospitably; and lays out his salary

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as missionary in England to retire to & live upon when he loses his support as missionary; his character as I am informed is to stir up and make divisions in the neighbourhood instead of Promoting Peace & love; having observed that he made a return to the Society of great numbers of negroes & others baptized by him, I enquired into it & was informed by gentlemen in his neighbourhood that they never heard of any number baptized by him,—as to the other, Miller, who I had the misfortune to recommend to be ordained upon my 1st coming over, upon a petition of many inhabitants of Rowan county; he has since changed from Parish to Parish under strong suspicion of living irregularly these are all we have to do duty in 29 counties or parishes & this is likely to be the case where we have no Bishops or Parsons with Episcopal Powers to visit the clergy & to confirm & confer orders.

We have at present about 24,000 white male taxables in this Province & consequently near 4 times the number of souls & above 10,0001 black male & female taxables & our number daily increasing, with few or no schools for the education of youth, and only a few lay readers to serve the several chapels, erected in the several counties; this is the reason of our sloth, Indolence and Immoralities & occasions numerous sectuaries, of all denominations except Papists having many strollers Particularly anabaptists or dippers there being so few qualified to give regular baptism, when this is considered & the increasing british empire on this continent I am convinced that his Lordship of London will willingly part with so great a part of his diocese & join in soliciting to Procure Bishops & others with Episcopal Powers to ordain & visit the clergy in the several Provinces on this continent & to erect proper schools for the education of youth for a succession of persons qualified to be put into orders, since so few of good pious characters, can be persuaded to become missionaries here & few qualified are in circumstances to be sent over to receive orders in London;—I after some struggles since my last have got a better bill for the maintenance of the orthodox clergy, by increasing their income until glebes can be purchased for them, but could not prevail with them to give up the Parsonage to the Crown & Bishop of London, and so have not the nomination nor a right to induct them regularly.—I have also in this last session, passed a much better vestry bill, wherein the incumbent is to be always one of the vestry & they have a power to raise 10d upon

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every taxable person annually in each county to be applied to build churches & Glebe Houses & to furnish all glebes and also to maintain schoolmasters in each parish so that they will have a considerable sum in their power to raise over & above what will maintain a clergyman & schoolmaster in each county, most counties having above 1000 taxables & few under 800, besides which I have applied to the Lords of trade to recommend it to his Majesty to allow a considerable sum in Paper currency now lying in the Treasurers hands, which had been first issued in order to erect churches & to purchase glebes, which had been borrowed & applied to the support of the public service during the war, and has since been repaid by the Public taxes, which had not been issued at first until his majestys pleasure was known that they may now be reissued & applied as at first designed to build churches & purchase Glebes & to erect public Buildings we have also at present settled all affairs with the catawba Indians & ascertained their bounds; I had before recommended it to the Society to have given an allowance to a schoolmaster to settle among them, & I would have added to his salary during my continuance in this government; Since which time the nation by the Small Pox, has been reduced from 300 warriors to about 60 & as they are now settled in the middle of our planters, I would recommend it to the Society to fix a missionary or schoolmaster who might be also established for mecklenburg county, who are mostly now Presbyterians or other foreign Sectaries & may be of great use in those back western frontier settlements & hope you will also send us over a pious clergyman to be missionary in this Parish of Brunswick in room of Mr. McDowell deceased & also a clergyman for the neighbouring county of New Hanover at Wilmington; and afterwards as soon as they conveniently can, to our other counties such who are likely to do their duty & not barely to come over for a maintenance.

I shall only further beg the prayers of the Honorable Society that I may perform my duty in the station his majesty has appointed me, and am Revd Sir

Your most obdt humble Servant


1 See page 1027 ante. If these be the correct figures the white population in the colony must have been about five times greater than the black.—Editor.