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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from Thomas Tomlinson to Daniel Burton
Tomlinson, Thomas
February 20, 1772
Volume 09, Pages 245-248

[N. C. Letter Book. S. P. G.]
Letter from Mr. Tomlinson to the Secretary.

Newbern, Feby 20th, 1772.

Reverend Sir,

I have the favor of your letter of the 28th of Mar, for which, as well as for your other Favors, I return you my thanks.

I must now request you to present my Sincere Thanks to the venerable Society, for their last Gratuity; & to acquaint them that it is my Intention to give up the School in the Spring.

A close attention to Business in this hot climate, has considerably impaired my health—& I find it absolutely necessary to wind up my affairs, as the people are so much in Arrears to me.

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My principal Reason however, for declining it is, some injurious Treatment which I received last Fall from the Incorporated Society: who, without the least previous public Disapprobation of my Conduct, requested my attendance at one of their Meetings in last September, & in the most indecent, ungenerous and arbitrary manner, attempted to dismiss me from my Office: as will appear by a Copy of their proceedings, taken from the Minutes, which will be transmitted to you by the Revd Mr Reed.

Not contented with this arbitrary Exertion of Power, After having given me an Order,1 in public Meeting, as well for my Salary as for the Education of the poor Children, which had been long due to me, One of the members (to whom two more afterwards joined themselves countermanded (out of Public Meeting, & by his own Authority) the Order which had been given by the whole Society, & forbade the Treasurer to pay me:—So that I have been obliged to commence a Law Suit for the Money.

Under these Circumstances, I was at a Loss, for some time what measures to take. But when I considered in what manner I had been used—That I had been charged with Misdemeanours, without knowing who were my accusers,

That I have been deprived of a Privilege as of one of the meanest of his Majesty's Subjects, by being condemned without a Hearing—and that I had not had even a Moment's warning to provide for myself—Animated with a just resentment against such unworthy treatment, and, at the same Time, not looking on myself as incapacitated from holding my Office till His Excellency shou'd revoke his License; I continued the School as usual;—yet not till I was solicited, in the strongest manner, by all my former Employers to a Man (three of the Families of the discontented Trustees only excepted).

My Remonstrances against their Proceedings availed nothing. I found it had been the premeditated scheme of One Great Man, & 2 of his Adherents (whom I had offended near two years before by correcting and turning out of School some of their children for very notorious offences) to remove me at all Events.

You will not doubt of the undue Influence which One Man has obtained over the rest, when you are acquainted, that all the rest of the Members tamely acquiesced with & severilely submitted to, his

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countermanding of my Order; notwithstanding its being contrary to every Principle of Justice.

Nor have they ever yet dared to resent such an open Outrage offered to the whole Society; as to assert their Rights which he has thus wantonly violated & trampled upon.

I wou'd have petitioned the Governor, in form, to indulge me with a public Hearing; but His Excellency, however desirous of giving me an Opportunity of justifying my conduct, gave me to understand, some time after, that he had no legal Power to interfere in the Case. And the Trustees, on their side, jealous of the Power which was given them by Act of Assembly, absolutely disdained any Authority which His Excellency might or cou'd exert on the Occasion; and, as far as I cou'd learn, looked upon his License to me as no more than a Blank.

Thus you see, I have been precluded from every Avenue of Redress, or opportunity of justification. Yet I have the Satisfaction to acquaint you; that tho' they have succeeded in taking away my Living, it has not been in their power to deprive me of the favorable opinion which the people, in general, have been pleased to entertain of me here. And lest the Venerable Society should be inclined, from what has passed, to form any opinion of me to my Disadvantage; I appeal for every part of my private and public character to our late worthy Governor Tryon—our present Governor (as far as he has had an opportunity of knowing me)—to the Revd Mr. Reed—& to the other Missionaries & Clergymen in the Province, to many of whom I am well known.

Few people pass thro's this Life without being guilty of some Indiscretions, Misdemeanors, or Misconduct, in their respective Stations. It wou'd have been strange had I been an Exception from this general Observation. But even if I had actually misbehaved, I shou'd have hoped that the Character I have hitherto borne would have Skreened me from such Treatment—unless they had found that their former Admonitions, or Reprimands had been lost upon me.

The List of Debts (which Mr Reed will furnish you with) due to me at the Time of my Dismission, the greatest part of which is still due, & for a great part of which I must be obliged to Sue, & in all probability may not recover in less than 18 months, is another Aggravation of their ill Treatment.

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It wou'd amaze an Englishman to hear, that a single Man should be upwards of fifty pounds in my Debt for the Education of their Children. And yet it is no more than Truth.

From whence you may gather, that if I had not been very frugal, & been generously assisted by the Society, it wou'd have been no easy matter for me to have supported myself.

But I shall drop the Subject & refer you to the Revd Mr. Reed, who will trace everything to its Source, & unravel all their Secret Plots & Machinations against me. And I do not doubt but it will appear to you, from a fair & impartial Narrative of Facts, that they have been actuated, in this precipitate Step, by the most vindictive Malice; and been guilty of a most flagrant Abuse of Power.

I am Revd Sir,
Your most obliged &c


1 Copy of this sent in Mr. Reed's Packet.