Documenting the American South Logo
Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Minutes of the North Carolina Governor's Council
North Carolina. Council
October 16, 1770 - October 18, 1770
Volume 08, Pages 249-255

-------------------- page 249 --------------------
[From MS. Records in Office of Secretary of State.]

At a Council held at the Council Chamber at Newbern 16th October 1770.
His Excellency the Governor
The Honorable John Rutherford Esquire
The Honorable Lewis DeRosset Esquire and
The Honorable Robert Palmer Esquire

Samuel Cornell Esqr appeared at this Board, and produced His Majestys Mandamus appointing him a Member of this province, bearing date at St James's the 10th day of May last, And also a Certificate from His Excellency the Governor, that the said Samuel Cornell Esqr had taken the Oaths for the Qualification of Publick Officers—And at the same time the said Samuel Cornell took the Oath for the due execution of his Office, and took his seat at this Board accordingly.

His Excellency acquainted this Board that the reason of his calling the Council at this time, was in consequence of dispatches he had received on the 6th Instant from Richard Henderson Esqr one of His Majestys Associate Justices of this Province (inclosing a Memorial from the regulators to the Chief Justice, and his Associates) And also from the Inhabitants of the Town of Hillsborough setting forth the Insults and indignities offered to His Majestys Government, the Superior Court of Justice of that district, and the injuries done to the inhabitants of the said Town, with the Depositions of Ralph McNair Esqr and Josiah Lyon relative to the same All which His Excellency laid before this Board, and desired their opinion and advice on the present exigency. Ordered that the several papers be read—It is the unanimous advice of this Board that the several papers now read, be referred to the Attorney General, for his opinion on the several matters and offences set forth therein, And that he be directed to give his Opinion at full on these subjects in writing, and point out to His Excellency and this Board the most Effectual steps to bring the offenders to condign punishment.

His Excellency informed this Board that in consequence of information made to him, that large sums of the Certificates in 1768 were counterfeited and circulating in this Province, had thereupon

-------------------- page 250 --------------------
consulted with four of the Gentlemen of His Majestys Council (by letter) relative thereto, and agreeable to their Opinion and advice, he had issued the following proclamation Viz

A Proclamation.

Whereas I have received information that the Certificates made & signed in pursuance of an Act of Assembly passed in December, One Thousand Seven hundred & Sixty Eight, payable out of the public Treasury, have been counterfeited and forged and such Counterfeits are now circulating in this Province to a Considerable Sum, to the great Damage and Injury of the Inhabitants, To the end therefore that the persons concerned in forging or uttering the said Certificates may be brought to condign punishment, I have thought fit, by and with the Advice & Consent of His Majesty's Council, to issue this my Proclamation, hereby Offering a reward of Two hundred pounds proclamation Money to such person (except the Offender) as shall discover any of the parties concerned payable on Conviction thereof. And I do also Offer His Majesty's most Gracious Pardon to such Offender as shall first appear and make a discovery of his Accomplices, so that they may be prosecuted according to due Course of Law.

Given under my hand & the Great Seal &c, at New Bern 27th August 1770.

By Command
John London, D. Sec'y.

His Excellency was pleased to lay before this board several letters of correspondence that passed between him, Mr Stewart the Superintendant of Indian Affairs, and one from Mr Cameron the Deputy Superintendant (with a letter from Mr Mitchell Merchant in Salisbury) and desired the opinion of this Board whether any measures can be taken to prevent Richard Paris from settling the Cherokee Lands on the Western Frontiers of this Province—It is the opinion of this Board that as Richard Paris is not an inhabitant of this province, they are at a loss to know what steps to recommend to remedy the matter complained of by Mr Stewart, But that this Government will take effectual care that no settlement shall be formed on the said Lands but under Grants from the Crown.

-------------------- page 251 --------------------

Then His Excellency desired the Opinion of this Board, as the suggestions in Mr Stewarts and Mr Camerons above Letters intimate a dissatisfaction of his conduct towards the Cherokees, whether in the behaviour to the said Indians he has at any time been wanting in attention and regard to their interest—It is the unanimous opinion of this Board, that the suggestions set forth are false and frivolous, and that the discontent of the said Indians appears to have been excited by the Traders settled amongst them.

His Excellency informed this Board, that in pursuance of a petition from the Freeholders in the Town of Hillsborough, he thought fit to Grant a Charter of Incorporation to the said Town, bearing date the 9th day of July last, with a power of returning a Burgess to the General Assembly—Ordered that the said Charter be read, and recorded in the Secretary's Office.

At a Council held at the Council Chamber at New Bern 18th October 1770.

His Excellency the Governor
The Honble John Rutherford Esquire
The Honble Lewis DeRosset Esquire
The Honble Alex. McCulloch Esquire
The Honble Robert Palmer Esquire and
The Honble Samuel Cornell Esquire

The proceedings of the preceeding day were read to Mr McCulloch, he approved of the same.

Mr Attorney General having delivered in his Opinion at this Board agreeable to the Order of Council the 16th of this Instant in the following words, Vizt,

In obedience to the Commands of your Excellency in Council requiring my opinion upon the several Offences set forth in Mr Henderson's letter, Mr Moore's and Mr Lyon's Affidavits together with the petition of the Insurgents, I have attentively perused them, and I am of opinion, to consider them in a distinct and separate view.

That the pulling down Mr Fanning's house and the assaulting of several persons in the Town of Hillsborough, amount only to a riot.

That the menaces thrown out against, and the insult offered to Mr Justice Henderson when in the execution of his Office, and the Insurgents preventing him from holding out the Term there will

-------------------- page 252 --------------------
be construed in Law only a misdemeanour, though of the highest nature.

That words (though doubtful heretofore has been the Law, and various the determinations of the Courts at different periods of Time whether they amount to Treason or not) substantively taken are not I think at this day sufficient to convict a man of high treason; but if there is any Act of Violence, or declared intention of acting, consequent thereupon, then they clearly come within the purview of that offence; and therefore the words mentioned in Lyon's Affidavit, when a more minute inquiry can be made into the conduct of the Offenders, will probably turn out to be treason; but it appears to me that the tenor of that Affidavit is too inconclusive to issue warrants for that offence.

As to pointing out to your Excellency and Honours the most effectual steps to bring the offenders to condign punishment, I am apprehensive there is no process that can issue in the present situation of Affairs that would bring about that great end; as no obedience has been paid for some time past to any process whatever by the Insurgents; and who, if apprehended, must under the present Court Law be tried in the district where the offences was committed; a circumstance which, when the recent instances of their conduct are considered, leaves room to apprehend the inefficacy of every measure that may be derived from that source.

I therefore humbly conceive that it would be expedient for your Excellency to convene the Assembly as soon as possible, as it would discover to the Insurgents the activity of Government, contribute to check the progress of any future violence, and give the Representatives of the people the earliest opportunity of making such Laws, and providing for the vigorous execution of them, as may effectually bring the offenders to Justice—And in the mean time if your Excellency should think proper, it might not be inexpedient to direct the Colonels of the Militia in particular Counties to Muster their Regiments; in order to discover what number of Men would act as Volunteers, upon whose conduct when called out some dependence might be placed; and who would be ready to Act upon the most early notice.

These are the steps that appear to me most likely to bring the offenders to condign punishment, and as such are humbly submitted to your Excellency's and Honours Consideration.


Oct. 18th 1770.
-------------------- page 253 --------------------

The same was taken into mature consideration, and His Excellency was pleased to take the opinion of this Board relative to the calling of the Assembly immediately. This Board taking the same into consideration are of opinion that as Col. Fanning has advised His Excellency of the 13th Inst that it is his belief that every thing will remain quiet, till the meeting of the Assembly, and on account of the late severe and present sickness in the province, in order to have a full house, it would be most advisable not to call the Assembly sooner than the 30th of November, to which time at present it stands prorogued.

This Board also recommend to His Excellency that he give orders to the Commanding Officers of the several regiments of Militia in this Province, to call an immediate Muster of their said Regiments, And that His Excellency direct the said Commanders to report to him as soon as possible the number of volunteers, that are willing to turn out in the service of their Country, and also the number of effective men that can be ordered out in case of an emergency.

Ordered that a proclamation issue in the following words, Vizt.

North Carolina—Ss.

By His Excellency William Tryon Esqr &c. &c.

A Proclamation.

Whereas I have received information that a great number of outrageous and disorderly persons did tumultuously assemble themselves together in the Town of Hillsborough, on the 24th & 25th of last month, during the sitting of the Superior Court of Justice of that district, to oppose the just measures of Government, and in open violence of the Laws of their Country, audaciously attacking his Majestys Associate Justice in the Execution of his Office, and barbarously beating and wounding several persons in and during the sitting of said Court, and offering other enormous indignities and insults to his Majestys Government, committing the most violent outrages on the persons and properties of the inhabitants of the said Town, drinking damnation to their lawful Sovereign King George, and success to the pretender, To the end therefore that the persons concerned in the said outrageous Acts may be brought to Justice, I do by the advice and consent of His Majesty's Council issue this my Proclamation, hereby requiring and strictly enjoining all his Majestys Justices of the Peace in this Government to make diligent

-------------------- page 254 --------------------
inquiry into the above recited Crimes, and to receive the deposition of such Person or Persons as shall appear before them to make information of and concerning the same; which depositions are to be transmitted to me in order to be laid before the General Assembly at New Bern on the 30th day of November next, to which time it stands prorogued for the immediate dispatch of Publick business.

Given under my hand and the Great Seal &c. at New Bern 18th October 1770.

By his Excellencys Command
John London, Secretary.

His Excellency the Governor having accepted of Doctor William Houston a tract of Land for 12,500 acres situate in Anson County for which the said Houston obtained a Grant dated 3d March 1745 and assigned the same to His Excellency by deed bearing date 29th of April 1768, Proved and recorded in the registers office for Anson County which said Tract of Land is one of those contained in Grants to Henry McCulloh Esqr, and was allowed of by His Majesty in Council, to be surrendered for want of being seated agreeable to the conditions of the said Grants and Whereas the said tract of 12,500 Acres of Land being found to be very poor and barren, His Excellency never having received any benefit therefrom, Therefore makes a Deed of Surrender to His Majesty of the same in Council, in expectation that His Majesty will be graciously pleased to remit to him the arrears of Quit Rents due on the said tract, at the time of the surrender—Which surrender was accepted of in Council and His Excellency released from all future Quit rents on account of the said Lands and both the Patent and Conveyance to be struck off the rent-roll, and recorded in the Secretarys Office.

P. M. Present as in the Morning

His Excellency informed the Board that as he had received Authentick Accounts of the death of Benjamin Heron Esqr Secretary &c, of this province, He thought proper to appoint John London to Officiate in the Offices of Secretary and Clerk of the Crown, John Hawks Esqr Clerk of the Pleas, William Palmer Esqr to Officiate as Naval Officer and Charles Heron Esqr to officiate as Auditor—Which Commissions were produced at the Board, and the above mentioned Gentlemen, (except Mr Heron who was sick) appeared and took the Oaths appointed for the qualification of Publick Officers

-------------------- page 255 --------------------
subscribed the Test, and took the Oath for the due execution of their offices.