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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from Josiah Martin to Wills Hill, Marquis of Downshire
Martin, Josiah, 1737-1786
August 15, 1771
Volume 09, Pages 16-20

[B. P. R. O. Am. & W. Ind: No. Carolina, Vol. 218.]
Letter from Governor Martin to Earl of Hillsborough

North Carolina, Newbern
August 15th 1771.

I have the honor to inform your Lordship, that I arrived here on the 11th instant from New York, after a passage of nineteen days, which is frequently accomplished in four or five a circumstance the more mortifying to me as I had been detained there by illness, long beyond my expectations, formed on the flattering encouragement of my Physicians. I suffered my Lord during my tedious confinement all the anguish, that a man may be supposed to feel under the apprehensions of being suspected of delinquency highly aggravated by seeing Govr. Tryon in my place, engaged in quelling at the expence of great fatigue & toil a dangerous insurrection at a time, that I found myself utterly incapable of relieving

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him from ye difficult situation, to which honour & duty pressingly called me. The ability and address with which that gentleman has acquitted himself leaves me nothing to lament on the Publick account, but for myself I feel sensibly in being precluded all share of the honour, attending this very seasonable & glorious exertion of the loyal spirit of this Province, so happily directed by Mr Tryon to secure respect to the laws & to give vigour & stability to His Majesty's government. Arriving here on Sunday, I did not until Monday morning, cause His Majesty's Commission to be published, which being done with all usual solemnity I took upon me the Administration of government & issued immediately a Proclamation, for continuing Officers in their respective Employments receiving from the hands of Mr President Hasell, the seal of the Province from the hands of that gentleman. I have also received the late Governor's instructions, together with your Lordship's dispatches No. 1, & 2, and a duplicate of the former, His Majesty's most gracious speech at the conclusion of the last session of Parliament, & from Acts relating to America. The arrival of Governor Tryon at New York on the 8th of July, just when I was on the point of departure, in firm persuasion that I should meet him here and his assurances of the peaceful state of this country engaged me to postpone my embarkation a few days, in the hope of deriving usefull information & instruction from him concerning the affairs of this Province, in which I was not disappointed and I should be wanting in justice to that gentleman if I omitted this occasion to acknowledge my great obligations to him for his free and open communication of which I should have more availed myself, if he had not been occupied as he was, between business and ceremony, on his arrival in his new government. By his advice and that of Mr President Hasell a gentleman of great experience in publick business and a zealous friend to government, I am induced to meet the present Assembly according to its Prorogation on the 10th of October next, not in consideration only, of the great inconvenience that would attend a general election at this season of the year but in assurance, that the present House of Assembly, by whose Act the expence incurred in suppressing the late insurrection was authorized and of which a Majority took a personal share in that service, will think themselves Engaged to provide for it without delay. This I consider as a matter of the last importance since it cannot be doubted that any difficulty in
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this business would have a tendency to abate that glorious spirit of loyalty on a future Emergency, that hath manifested itself in the late commotions here and which I conceive it right by all means to maintain & cherish. I trust my Lord, that upon this ground I shall be justified in departing from the express letter of His Majesty's 12th Instruction, whereby I am directed to call immediately a New Assembly. It is computed, that the charge of raising forces &c in consequence of the Act of the last session of the General Assembly, will amount to £40,000 Currency, a large sum to the funds of this Country! At the beginning of the preparation against the insurgents Mr Tryon found only £500 in the Treasury, to supply therefore the present exigence, the Treasurer of the Southern district agreed to pay the Governor's Warrants, by promissory notes, an expedient which very well answered and it was the only one that could enable the Governor to pursue the measures that the violence of the times made necessary, while he depended upon the resources of the Provinces, And without it his whole plan must have been defeated as appears by the default of the Northern District whose Treasurer did not employ the same substitute for money. Hence a new species of Currency hath arisen on the faith of Public Credit, more obnoxious to counterfeit than any that hath yet obtained, as being signed by the Treasurer alone, whereas all the Paper bills heretofore emitted have borne various signatures and yet been found liable to that mischief. It has been I understand already represented that the Paper Currency of this Colony has been peculiarly discredited by the great quantity of Counterfeit money that has entered into circulation, with the various emissions. And it is an evil so pernicious in its consequences, that I am persuaded your Lordship will think it deserving immediate attention. The only remedy appears to be a new Emission of such extent, as may admit of the extinction of all the former emissions, supply the present exigences of the Province and be sufficient medium of circulation in this growing Country, the credit and commerce of which calls loudly for such aid and reformation.

As it is of the most important nature, so it may be presumed, it will be the first business of the ensuing session, to provide for the expence incurred by the late service of the Militia Forces. And as I conceive the difficulties that will occur upon this occasion, must be foreseen by your Lordship, I hope before it comes on, that I shall be honoured with His Majesty's instructions for my guidance

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in it. And I cannot help earnestly expressing my wishes that it may be seen expedient to procure the advantage of a new Emission of Paper Currency, to this Province as a circumstance essential to the publick Credit.

In consequence of the Proclamation issued by Governor Tryon after the Action with the Insurgents, I am informed, upwards of six thousand persons have taken the Oaths to government.

Colonel Waddell not having yet made his Return I am not able by this conveyance to report to your Lordship with precision the number of men nor of the arms collected from them but I hope to do it very soon; the last accounts from the Country of the insurgents assure me of its perfect tranquility, so that at present I do not see any measures necessary to be taken, but such as may be conducive to the healing of the people's minds to extinguish the remembrance of past evils and to obviate all just grounds of future discontent. To these points My Lords, I shall diligently apply my mind, pursuing in all cases, such measures, as shall appear to me most likely to advance the Honor of His Majesty's Government and the true happiness of his People, the constant object of his Royal care.

I have signified to Sir Nathaniel Dukenfield and Mr Jones His Majesty's gracious appointment of them to be Members of the Council in this Province notified by your Lordship's letter No. 1. This nomination your Lordship will find makes up the number of the Council thirteen, ten being named in His Majesty's Instructions besides the Lieut Governor. Signal disadvantage I conceive may accrue in this Province from the widely scattered situation of its Members of which two only are resident, at this time in or near Newbern, which is become the fixed seat of Government and made extremely delectable by the accommodation provided at great charge to the Province according to the elegant taste of Mr Tryon. When Mr Strudwick arrives, there will be three members of the Council here, which is a Quorum, that I am justified in acting with upon emergencies only, and all the other Members live at the distance of One hundred miles, at least.

At my qualification, I was surprised to find that the Oath of Abjuration as attested by the Act of the Sixth year of his Majesty's Reign was not in use in this Province and that it had never been prescribed by authority. I have not been able to obtain it, but I have taken measures to procure it and as soon as I do, I shall take

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care it be duly administered pursuant to his Majesty's Instructions, which with respect to this matter I have not had it in my power literally to comply with.

Governor Tryon having assured me that he had transmitted to your Lordship, a full account of his operations against the Insurgents I forbear to enter upon a subject of which he is so much better qualified to treat.

I have reason to believe that many of the outlaws who made their escape from the Action, have taken Sanctuary in the back parts of So. Carolina and I shall think it necessary to advertise Lieutenant Governor Bull of my information on this head that he may provide against the annoyance that such fugitives may hereafter give to that Province if they are suffered quietly to establish themselves.

Mr President Hasell, upon whom the Administration of Government devolved, on Governor Tryon's removal to New York and of whom I have the most honorable testimonials from that Gentleman, has put into my hands sundry copies of the description of the swedish method of making Pitch and Tar, transmitted from your Lordships office, which I shall take especial care to disperse in such manner as may best answer your Lordships wise and good intentions of improving those Manufactures in this Colony. I shall not fail to use my endeavours for the revival of the Quit Rent Bill when I am furnished with the instructions your Lordship encourages me to hope for, in relation to that matter.

It is with the truest pleasure, I receive your Lordships congratulations on the late addition to his Majesty's Royal Family, an event that must diffuse universal joy through the hearts of His Majesty's subjects and which, I feel with peculiar delight and satisfaction

I have the honor to be with the greatest respect &c