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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from William Tryon to Wills Hill, Marquis of Downshire
Tryon, William, 1729-1788
March 09, 1771
Volume 08, Pages 522-524

[From Tryon's Letter Book.]
Letter from Governor Tryon to Lord Hillsborought.

Newbern 9th March 1771.

The inclosuress are the six Bills I rejected at last Session of Assembly, I shall here take the liberty to state my reasons for not giving my assent to them.

“An Act to impower the Church Wardens and Vestrymen of the Parish of St Gabriel in the County of Duplin to sell the Glebe in the said County and Parish.”

By the tenor of this Bill the Glebe directed to be purchased is vested in fee simple in the Church Wardens, Vestrymen and their successors for the use of the Parish, by which provision it would have been left discretionary in the vestry to have given or refused the use of the glebe to the minister presented. Whereas an Act for establishing an Orthodox Clergy passed in 1765, clause the 3d expressly directs, “A Tract of good Land to contain two hundred acres at least, shall be purchased by the Vestry as a Glebe for the use of the incumbent of such Parish for the time being and his successors forever.

2dly An Act for securing the Titles of the Freeholders of this Province.”

The Bill tho' beneficial in its general object directs the record books in the Registers Office should be taken out of that office and carried to the County Courts, without any provision made to relodge

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them from whence they were taken, I considered this omission might be the indirect means to carry the Registers Office into the County Courts where no power and jurisdiction is thought too extensive. A Bill of the same purport with this, free of the above objection, was passed at the close of the session.

3dly “An Additional Act intitled An Act to regulate Elections for Members to serve in the General Assembly and to ascertain who shall be qualified to vote at the said election, &c.”

This Bill I conceived replete with objections coming directly within the 15th Article of his Majesty's instructions as well as repugnant to the British Statutes, in impowering the Coroner to take the poll at elections, a practice that would be attended with prejudicial consequences to the police of this country, for while the Coroner was permitted to perform all the duties of a Sheriff without being subject to the same restrictions and penalties with the Sheriff, few persons would be found to accept the office of Sheriff.

4thly “An Act for restraint of Vagrants and for making provision for the Poor.”

The restrictions laid on masters of Vessels by this Bill I considered too severe and what in its operation would be injurious to that freedom of commerce so necessary to be preserved between the mother country and its colony.

5thly “An Act to amend an Act entitled An Act for the regulation of the town of Wilmington.”

The unlimited jurisdiction lodged by this Bill in the Commissioners for laying an annual ground rent on all persons who have piazzas to their houses, I thought improper as the power given the said Commissioners to fix the times for holding fairs and markets was the province only of the Crown or the Legislature.

6thly “An Act to amend an Act intitled An Act for establishing a town on the lands of John and William Russell deceased on the west side of the northwest branch of Cape Fear River near the mouth of Cross Creek by the name of Campbelton.”

This law is objectionable resting in the Commissioners the appointment of the times for holding fairs and markets as in the preceding bill.

Having thus, my Lord, set forth the principal causes of my refusing my assent to the above mentioned bills, I shall before I conclude acquaint your Lordship that in the course of the session I informed some gentlemen of the Assembly that I thought this province should

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do the equal act of justice to the Crown as Virginia had long since done in passing an effectual Quit Rent law, That if the Assembly would frame a Bill giving the Crown the same powers of recovery for the non payment of Quit Rents as is provided in the Virginia laws I would consent, till his Majestys pleasure was known to give up all arrears of Quit Rents due to the Crown to the time of the ratification of the Act by the King, provided the law was put under a suspending clause, it not being in my power I said to dispose of the property of the sovereign, uninstructed as I stood at that time, relative to such a release of Quit Rents. This proposal was accepted by the gentlemen present and the inclosed Bill prepared intitled, “A Bill for the more easy and certain collection of his Majesty's Quit Rents in this province.” On the third reading in the lower House these words were inserted, “Or shall not pay down in Court all arrears of Quit Rents and all costs accrued thereon.” This clause appeared to me to take away the chief force of the bill, therefore acquainted the Council I would not venture to pass it even with the suspending clause unless they could induce the Assembly to dele the clause they inserted, their attempts proving unsuccessful the Bill fell in the Council. Should the plan of this Bill meet with his Majestys approbation, I am of opinion it may be carried into execution in a future session free of the objectionable clause. Many of the members declared out of doors that as it was a Bill of so great importance they chose to consult their constituents before they gave their assent. It met with the greatest opposition from the representatives in Lord Granvilles district (who apparently had no interest in the event) Two thirds of the members in the Kings part were I am told for the Bill as first prepared.