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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from James Reed to Daniel Burton
Reed, James, d. 1777
July 10, 1765
Volume 07, Pages 97-99

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[N. C. Letter Book S. P. G.]
Letter from Mr Reid to the Secretary

Newbern July 10th 1765

Revd Sir:

—You must no doubt have heard of the death of Mr Dobbs our late worthy Governor long before the receipt of this—The great loss which the Clergy have sustained by his decease will, I trust in God, be made up by Colln Tryon his successor At an Assembly held the latter end of last May a bill was passed for the encouragement and establishment of an Orthodox Clergy and so warmly recommended by our Lieut Governour, as to meet with success. By this Law,—tho' our Stipinds are not augmented, yet some of our hardships and grievances are removed. The Right of presentation is given up to the Crown which has freed us from the insolence and tyranny of Vestries and a shorter and much easier method is appointed for the recovery of our Stipinds by Law wherever it may be necessary to have recourse to such a severe and desperate remedy.

We have been favored with another Sermon from the Reverend Mr Whitefield since my last. He arrived here on his return from the Southern Provinces on Thursday evening in Passion Week and as I was very sensible that the People were very desirous to hear him I waited upon him and offered him the reading desk and Pulpit on Good Friday which he thought proper to refuse on account of his Asthma but accepted of the pulpit on Easter Sunday—Several that had been tinctured with the principles of Methodism came a great many miles to hear him, but had the mortification to hear both their principles and practice in general condemned. For his Sermon, the very digressive was clear of enthusiastic Rant and really a good one the substance of it contradictory to some of their principal Tenets and particularly severe against a vile prejudice to which they were very much addicted vizt of making their religion a mere Cloak as pretext for their indolence and sloth. As his name had been frequently made use of here to countenance the principle and practice of an Idle dissolute and disorderly Sect, against which some part of his discourse was particularly levelled—I must say his preaching has been of

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infinite service and I should be glad to see him more frequently provided he would always preach in the same strain.

The box of books which were directed to Mr MacDowd I have forwarded to Brunswick and they are now in the possession of Wm Dry Esqre one of the Members of His Majesty's Council at that place.

I still continue to enjoy the inestimable Blessing of health but my hearing continues a little impaired and I am afraid will never be perfectly recovered—Mr Stewart of Bath has been very sickly of late and talks of going to Boston for a few months—His constitution seems to be a good deal shattered and I wish his intended Voyage may have the desired effect.

The Schoolhouse is now in building and I am sorry to say that the work goes on but very slowly, as indeed all Public Buildings generally do in Infant Colonies. Men Money and Material are wanting but Money chiefly—For I was obliged to take the subscriptions in Notes of hand payable six months after date and tho' most of the money has been due these six months past yet it comes in very slowly and rigorous methods in such cases would be very imprudent—However I have no reason to despond and will spare no pains to complete the undertaking—Mr Tomlinson continues a useful member of Society amongst us, and attends his school with very great diligence—He is still unprovided with an assistant but expects one daily though a little dubious whether the advantages arising from keeping an —— Assistant will be proportionable to the trouble and expence unless he should be so happy as to meet with a person better qualified for such a place than he can reasonably expect according to his Proposal. He has thirty scholars at Twenty shillings proc: by the quarter which acording to the present exchange amounts to sixty pounds sterling per annum, and reaps no other advantages as perquisite whatsoever that I know of—For the people in general are poor and he may think himself extremely happy in being regularly paid according to contract—In this respect he says he has no reason to complain which I am glad to hear for he is the first person I verily believe that ever taught school in Newbern for any considerable time without complaining of bad pay and very loudly, such complaints I have seen nailed up at the Church Door.

I must beg leave further to observe that all sorts of wares and merchandize are excessive dear much dearer I believe in this

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province, than in any other on this continent which may in some measure be owing to our bad navigation but principally to the want of a proper staple commodity—Board is likewise very high not less than Twenty five pounds sterling per annum in any regular decent family and indeed hardly any such families to be found that will take in Boarders on any terms whatever—Mr. Tomlinson is obliged to lodge in a public house which he says is very disagreeable but as the children belonging to the family are under his Tuition—he meets with some indulgence in his expenses and therefore submits to the inconvenience on account of his Interest—A house of his own in the honourable state of matrimony I presume would be agreeable would his circumstances permit and I know of no other method of living that can be attended with the least satisfaction to a regular and virtuous man in this place.

Clergymen you are sensible are greatly wanting in this province but no great arrangement can be given at present for any Clergy to come over upon the sole dependance of the legal stipend—The law allows £133..6..8 Proc per annum a good Glebe House and Glebe Lands (such there is at Bath and nowhere else) or in lieu thereof £20 Proclamation per annum—The total amount of which does not exceed £76..13..4 sterling Marriages and funeral sermons are the only additional advantages which will net a mere trifle after the deducting of travelling charges—But as the British Parliament has thought proper to put an entire stop to our paper Coinage or rather the juggling the paper currency and consequently our legal encouragement will grow daily better and better and in a few years I expect to enjoy a little more of the Society of my Brethren the Clergy. I have made two excursions very lately into remote Parishes, preached for several days together and until I grew hoarse and baptized upwards of two hundred Children and Adults—such journeys are very disagreeable for Churches or Chapels or tolerable accommodations are rarely to be met with—I have likewise visited Saint Johns Parish which is a very small one and contiguous to Craven County four different times during these last six months and baptized Thirty five White Children and one Black and administered the sacrament of the Lords Supper to Thirty nine Communicants at Newport Chapel—