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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from Wills Hill, Marquis of Downshire to Josiah Martin
Downshire, Wills Hill, Marquis of, 1718-1793
April 01, 1772
Volume 09, Pages 274-277

[B. P. R. O. Am. & W. Ind.: No. Carolina. Vol. 210.]
Secretary Hillsborough to Governor Martin.

Whitehall April 1st 1772.


Since my letter to you of the 11th January, I have received your dispatches Nos. 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 and have laid them before the King.

His Majesty having been graciously pleased to extend his Royal Mercy to the six Insurgents who were sentenced to death by the special Court of Oyer and Terminer held at Hillsborough in June last, Enclosed I send you a copy of his Majesty's Warrant to the Recorder of London for inserting their names in the next general pardon that shall come out for the poor convicts in Newgate and it is his Majesty's pleasure that you do in consequence thereof take

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such steps for the discharge of these unhappy persons as have been usual on the like occasions.

The King has been also graciously pleased to give the most favorable attention to your request in behalf of the aged Parents of Robert Matear and I am to signify to you His Majesty's pleasure that the lands which were forfeited to the Crown by his conviction be regranted to his Father and Mother to be held by them for their joint lives and for the life of the survivor.

The young men who were concerned in destroying General Waddell's Ammunition appear to the King from your representation of their case to be also fit objects of his Majesty's clemency, but as the nature of the offence which they are stated to have committed is so very generally described as to make it impossible to form any Instrument by which his Majesty's gracious intentions towards them can be carried into effectual execution here, there seems to be no other method of extending to them the Royal Mercy than by including them in some general act of Grace to be passed by the Legislature of the Colony, and I have the satisfaction to acquaint you that the King approves of what you propose upon that subject and has commanded me to signify to you his Majesty's pleasure that you do recommend to the other Branches of the Legislature to concur with you in passing an act of pardon and Oblivion conformable thereto with such exceptions as shall be thought reasonable and proper, but you are not to give your assent to it without a clause being inserted therein suspending its execution until his Majesty's Pleasure be known.

These marks of the Royal Clemency will I doubt not give great satisfaction to all his Majesty's subjects in North Carolina and assist your commendable endeavours to restore peace and harmony in those parts of the Country where such dangerous commotions have been raised and to extinguish every spark of that Spirit of Disobedience that had like to have proved so destructive to the Colony.

There can be no doubt that the making provision to discharge the Debt which the Province has incurred on account of the late disturbances was, both in Justice and Policy an object of the immediate attention of the Legislature and the means of doing that was a consideration for them alone, for as on the one hand the King's servants had no power to consent to or authorize any Deviation whatever from the Act of parliament for restraining the legal tender of Paper Bills of Credit so on the other hand the province might rest assured

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that the King would concurr with them in any other reasonable measure for effectuating so salutary a purpose.

I am sorry to find that his Majesty's Determination with regard to the Boundary line between North and South Carolina does not correspond with the expectations of the Assembly and I have no doubt that any application they may think fit to make to the Crown in consequence thereof will be heard and examined with proper attention both at the Board of Trade and in the Privy Council. At the same time it is proper I should observe to you the indecent manner in which they express themselves to you upon that subject has not escaped his Majesty's notice.

From the attention I gave to that business while it was under the consideration of the Board of Trade I am warranted to say that the measure which his Majesty has been pleased to adopt in consequence of that Boards representation was not as is invidiously suggested in the Assembly's message recommended with any particular Predelection to the Interests of South Carolina or adopted upon the plan suggested by Lord Charles Montague from which it very essentially differs, on the contrary the opinion formed by their Lordships and their representation of it to his Majesty was founded upon the most impartial consideration of what would be best for his Majesty's service and the general Interest of both Colonies, and if the Province of North Carolina suffers any local Inconvenience from the loss of the Inhabitants of any part of the Lands it deemed its Frontier settlements that Loss must be attributed to their own Indiscretion in forming those settlements and erecting a County in that part of the Country before his Majesty's Pleasure respecting the line of Partition could be known.

I am persuaded Sir that you will believe that I shall at all times regret any measures that may have the most remote Tendency to affect you personally; but I think I should not have done my duty as a faithful servant of the Crown if I had suffered any consideration of Emolument to the King's Governor from granting Lands, to mix itself in the decision of a question of such a nature.

The little attention shewn by Earl Granville to his Proprietary Rights in North Carolina is certainly both a prejudice to himself and to the Public, and your suggestion of the expediency and advantage that would arise to the Crown from a purchase of those Rights entirely corresponds with my own sentiments, but you must be sensible that this is a matter which does not belong to my department.

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I know of no foundation there is for the report you mention to have prevailed of Colonel Mercer's Promotion to a new Government nor of any resolution taken for forming such Government upon the Ohio; but when any favorable opportunity offers of serving Mr Hassel in any situation for which he may be qualified, I shall not fail to attend to your recommendation of him.

Your Civility towards the Spanish Officers mentioned in your letter of the 25th October and the Protection you gave them in the case of their dispute with the master of the English Vessel bound to Cadiz appear to have met with a very ill return in the discontent which you say they expressed at their departure but I have not failed to communicate your letter upon that subject to Lord Rochford, in case those Gentlemen should be so devoid of candour as to make any complaint to their Court upon that subject.

Your application to Vice Admiral Rodney in the case of the vessel detained at La Vera Cruz was very proper, and, as I find by a letter from him to the Lords of the Admiralty, that he has dispatched one of his Squadron to that place to demand the reason for such detention I hope that step will have the effect to procure redress to the Owners for any Damage they may have unjustly sustained by a proceeding that according to their representation of it, appears to be equally inconsistant with humanity, and the good understanding that ought to subsist between the two Crowns.

I am &c: