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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Instructions to Josiah Martin concerning riots
George III, King of Great Britain, 1738-1820
Volume 08, Pages 515-516

[B. P. R. O. B. T. N. Carolina. Vol. 24. P. 221.]

Additional Instruction to our Trusty and Wellbeloved Josiah Martin Esqre Our Captain General and Governor in Chief in and over

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Our Province of North Carolina, in America, or in his absence, to the Commander in Chief of the said Province for the time being, Given

Whereas it hath been represented unto Us that a Law was passed in Our Province of North Carolina in 1771, intitled, “An Act for preventing Tumultuous and riotous Assemblies, for the more speedy and effectual punishment of the Rioters, and for restoring and preserving the public peace of this Province,” enacting among other things, “That upon indictment found or presentment made against “any person for any of the Crimes described in the Act the Judges “or Justices of the Court, shall issue their Proclamation to be affixed “or put up at the Court House and each Church and Chappel of the “county wherein such crime was committed, commanding such offender to surrender within 60 days and stand Tryal, on failure of which “he shall be deemed guilty of the offence charged in the Indictment “found or presentment made and it shall be lawful for any one to “kill and destroy such Offender and his Lands and chattels shall “be confiscated to the King for the use of Government,” which said clause appears to Us to be irreconcilable with the principles of the constitution, full of danger in its operation and unfit for any part of the British Empire; But whereas it hath been also further represented unto Us, that the said Act, which also contains many useful and proper regulations for the preservation of the Public Peace of our said Province of late disturbed by Outrages and Insurrections of a very dangerous nature, is by its own limitations upon the point of expiring and that the total repeal of it might in the present state of Affairs, have very fatal consequences and revive that seditious spirit (not yet wholly subsided amongst some of the Inhabitants) which has been productive of so much tumult and confusion, We have therefore not thought fit to disallow the said Act, but it is nevertheless Our express Will and Pleasure, that in case it shall be found necessary to enact any new Law within our said Province of North Carolina for preventing tumults and riotous assemblies you do take especial care that the said laws be framed as near as may be agreeable to the Laws of this Kingdom and that you do not give Assent thereto, unless the same shall appear to you to be entirely free from the Objections stated to the clause before recited.

Additional Notes for Electronic Version: These instructions most likely date from 1772, as they were probably written in response to an Order in Council from April, 1772 (see documents csr09-0104 and csr09-0106).