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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Minutes of the North Carolina Governor's Council
North Carolina. Council
March 18, 1771 - March 19, 1771
Volume 08, Pages 536-540

[From MS. Records in Office of Secretary of State.]

At a Council held at the Council Chamber at the Palace in New Bern on 18th March 1771,
His Excellency the Governor
The Honble James Hasell Esquire
The Honble Robert Palmer Esquire
The Honble Martin Howard Esquire &
The Honble Samuel Cornell Esquire

The Governor laid before the Board a letter he had intercepted of Rednap Howells to James Hunter dated from Halifax 16th February last and ordered the same to be read and inserted in the Journals—Read the said letter which is as follows,

Halifax Feb. 16th 1771.

Respected Friend,

On my setting out for Hallifax my horse fell sick which detained me some time so that on my arrival here I had certain information

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that Herman was at liberty; so that I found it needless to raise the Country but I am satisfied it would be easily done if occasion required, however I have animated the people here to join the Regulation; on Saturday come 2 weeks they are to have a meeting for the purpose. If it once takes a start here it will run into the neighboring Counties of Edgecomb, Bute and Northampton and this will undoubtedly facilitate Justice to poor Carolina. I will now inform you of such things as I have learnt since I left home. At New Bern the Governor called a general muster of 1,100 men; after treating them at yours and my expence he tried to prevail on them to march against the rebels but on one man's absolute refusal he ordered him to turn out of the Ranks for a Traitor which he very readily did and all the Regiment followed or were following him; the Governor perceiving his mistake says Gentlemen you mistook me I only meant should they come down and destroy all your livings would you not fight them; they answered yes on which he dismissed them, they then gathered in Companys of 6, 8, 10 & 12 growling and swearing would the Mob come down they would join them. In Dobbs a general muster was called for the same purpose, but only seven men attended. I am informed the Clerk's places in the New Countrys are parcelled out among the Quality; one Cooper is designed for your Country but if you suffer any rascal to come there may eternal oppressions be your lot: as I cannot solely depend on the Irish ahead pray you will reserve that morsel for yours to serve; for as the whole province is in your favor you may do as you list in that respect. I understand Butler and you are to be outlawed; despise it laugh at it—We hear that the Governor has sent a proclamation to you importing as the French and Spaniards are now at war with us, it's a pity to breed a civil war among ourselves; that the Chief cause of the trouble was the counterfeit money for which the great men were to blame; artful V—n! if he could have raised the Province on us he would have told another tale. However if this be true the day is ours in spite of Lucifer—I give out here that the Regulators are determined to whip every one who goes to Law or will not pay his just debts or will not agree to leave his cause to men where disputes; that they will choose Representatives but not send them to be put in jail; in short to stand in defiance and as to thieves to drive them out of the Country. I leave the plan to your consideration from your sincere friend

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His Excellency judging the contents of the above letter a plain declaration of the principles of the Regulators and observing that their wicked [designs] were daily taking deeper root in the Province thinks it expedient if with the advice of the Council to raise as soon as the necessary preparations could be made a sufficient body of forces from several Regiments of Militia and to March with them into the settlements of the Insurgents and reduce them by force to an obedience to the Laws of their Country. That while the forces are in their settlements to support the Sheriff in the levying the taxes due from those people; to protect the Election of a new member for Orange County in the room of Herman Husband expelled and to aid the Commissioners in running the dividing line between Orange and and Guilford Countys; none of which Acts of Government can be carried into execution unless strengthened with a military force.

The Regulators making publick declarations they will pay no regard to the Laws passed last Session, as is certified and particularly set forth by the Association signed and presentment made by the grand jury assembled the 11th Instant, in this Town (under a commission of special Court of Oyer and Terminer) for receiving Indictments against the Insurgents and who have actually found sixty one Bills against these people—The Governor therefore upon these considerations desired the opinion and advice of the Board respecting the propriety of his Intentions to raise the Militia forces for the protection of Government.

The Board taking the same into their serious consideration, It is their unanimous opinion that the most effectual measures to reduce the people calling themselves Regulators be pursued by raising a body of sufficient forces from the Militia and marching against them with all expedition.

Mr Maurice Moore and Mr Henderson Associate Judges desired to wait on the Government in Council and delivered in at the Table the following letter relative to the opinion of Council of the 27th of February last—Vizt,


Your Excellency having signified to us your opinion, that it is expedient that the Chief Justice, Associate Justices and Attorney General should attend the ensuing Superior Court at Hillsborough, We do acquaint Your Excellency that we have conferred together upon the subject, and considering the violences committed there the

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last Court, And being well informed that the disturbances and distractions in that district are rather increasing than declining—We submit it to your Excellency as our opinion, that we cannot attend that Court with any hopes of transacting the business of it, or indeed with any prospect of personal safety to ourselves.

His Excellency Governor Tryon.

March 18th 1771, New Bern.

His Excellency then desired the opinion of the Board whether the reasons set forth in the foregoing letter are sufficient for the Judges not giving their attendance at the next Hillsborough Court. It is the opinion of the Board that the reasons are sufficient.

At a Council held in the Council Chamber at the Palace in New Bern 19th March 1771—
His Excellency the Governor
The Honble James Hasell Esquire
The Honble Martin Howard Esquire
The Honble Robert Palmer Esquire
The Honble Samuel Cornell Esquire

His Excellency laid before the Board the following letter of Mr Henderson and desired their opinion thereon.

New Bern 18th March 1771.


Whereas there are sundry Persons in Granville County who have been charged with the crime of making, uttering and passing counterfeit proclamation money and public bills of Credit of this Province and in particular one Robert Pryor and William Wharton are now actually under recognizance for their appearance at the next Court to be held at Hillsborough on the twenty second of March, instant, And as I am informed by the Justices who swore and examined the witnesses against them that those persons with many others residing in the same County and elsewhere are certainly guilty of the said offences, And as from the public disturbances in the western parts of this province no Superior Court of Justice will be held at Hillsborough on the said Twenty second day of March so that it may justly be supposed unless some extraordinary measures are speedily

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taken, those dangerous offenders elude publick Justice, Therefore do humbly submit it to Your Excellency as my opinion that a special Court of Oyer and Terminer to be held at Oxford in Granville County (where I think it may sit without danger of being obstructed by the Insurgents) would be a real benefit to this province in General, and to those parts in particular.

I am Your Excellency's most Obedt
most dutiful and obliged hum. servt

His Excellency Governor Tryon—

It is the opinion of the Board for the reasons set forth in Mr Henderson's letter that a Court of Oyer and Terminer would be a very proper measure at this Time.

Ordered a Commission of Oyer and Terminer issue accordingly.