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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from James Reed to Daniel Burton
Reed, James, d. 1777
July 02, 1771
Volume 09, Pages 5-7

[N. C. Letter Book. S. P. G.]
Revd Mr Reed to the Secretary.

North Carolina
Newbern July the 2d 1771.

Reverend Sir,

On Saturday last our worthy Governor took leave of this Province, and sailed from hence to the Government of New York. By this removal the clergy have lost a powerful advocate and a very sincere friend, and as the Bishop of London had granted him full power and authority over the clergy, during his residence amongst us, I thought it needless to write to the Society, so long as I had the happiness of living under his immediate notice and inspection, being very sensible that his Excellency would not fail to acquaint both the Bishop of London and the venerable Society with every thing material relative to the clergy and the Establishment of the church of England in these parts.

The Society I presume have been informed of an Act passed the last Session of Assembly authorizing Presbyterian Ministers to solemnize the rights of Matrimony, But lest by any accident the

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Governors Letters should have miscarried I have sent you a printed copy of the Act, inclosed. By the preamble, you will perceive, that the Dissenters are very numerous in the Frontier Settlements. These settlements, Sir, have been the Seat of the late Riots, and of a very dangerous Insurrection and considering the great zeal with which the Bill was pushed by the Dissenting interest, and the dangerous Situation of the province from such a formidable number of mal contents, the Governor acted with the greatest prudence in passing the Bill with a suspending clause. For upon the fate of this, other Bills were dependent: and it was good policy to keep the Dissenters in as good humour as possible, at such a critical juncture. Should this Act receive the Royal assent, it would be a fatal stroke to the church of England, but as the Insurrection is entirely quelled I flatter myself with hopes that the Act will meet with a repulse.

I am sorry to inform you that our little Academy is not in the most flourishing condition. The scarcity of money and the dearness of Board very much disappointed Mr Tomlinson's expectations, and obliged him to dismiss a very able assistant. He never wants sufficient employment for himself, and has generally upwards of Thirty Scholars, children of the Inhabitants of the Town, But several that live remote, and are desirous of sending their children, cannot get money to defray the expence of Board and Tuition, so that the benefit of the school at present is too local, and confined in a great measure to the Town of Newbern. However, I hope the Legislature will very shortly find out some expedient to remove this obstacle and that the School will become more generally useful.

I had the satisfaction last Summer to Baptize the Honorable chief Justice of this Province. He was bred and born an Anabaptist, but had never been baptized, and as I suspected that he might still retain a particular liking for Anabaptism, I offered to baptize him by total Immersion. But he refused and said his prejudices were vanished, and that he regarded the moral more than the mode, Ever since he has been a constant communicant. I have likewise baptized since Christmas last about one hundred and thirty White children, Two white Adults, and seven black children in my own parish, and about Twenty five White children and one Adult in St. John's Parish.

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If you would condescend to inform me of the fate of inclosed Act, as soon as possible, the favor will be gratefully acknowledged by Sir,

Your most obliged &c
Missry in Craven County.

P. S. The Reverend Mr Stewart the Society's Missionary at Bath died last Spring and has left a widow and four children, and his affairs in great confusion.