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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
September 05, 1772
Volume 09, Pages 339-341

[B. P. R. O. Am. & W. Ind.: No. Carolina. No. 219.]
Governor Martin to Secretary Hillsborough.

North Carolina Hillsborough,
September 5th 1772.

My Lord,

I have had the honor to receive your Lordship's Dispatch No 8 together with two additional Instructions from His Majesty which I shall not fail to make the rules of my conduct in the cases to which they relate and I am to acquaint your Lordship that I have in obedience to the Royal commands signified in the usual manner His Majesty's disallowance of the Act of 1771, for encouraging and supporting the establishment of a Post Office in this Province as declared by the King's order in Council which your Lordship hath transmitted to me.

I derive the highest satisfaction from your Lordship's signification of His Majesty's approbation of my conduct on the dissolution of the Assembly. The measures taken by the Speaker and the Treasurer's which immediately and indispensibly engaged me to that step I do conceive My Lord to have been the pure result and implicit obsequiousness to the sense of the House of Assembly and that they were by no means active abettors of its unwarrantable proceedings the rare good character of the former defends him particularly from

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any suspicion of wilful guilt in that and every other transaction. The Treasurers your Lordship will find are the creatures of that branch of the Legislature in this Colony and therefore not removable by His Majesty's Governor if their conduct should at any time call for his resentment.

Five of the six Criminals who were irregularly liberated at the time of the execution of their confederates while they were only respited until His Majesty's Pleasure should be known have surrendered themselves in consequence of a Proclamation issued upon your Lordship's notification of His Majesty's most gracious pardon to them and I have the pleasure to assure your Lordship that they received with the most grateful and dutiful acknowledgement that mark of the King's Royal Clemency and took the Oath of Allegiance and the other of these Criminals I am informed is dead.

I have just discovered that it has escaped me hitherto to inform your Lordship that in the month of April last I gave permission to discharge a load of salt brought into this Province by a Brigantine bound from Lisbon to New York upon sufficient evidence that the vessel had put into Port Roanoke in this Province through distress and that she could not be repaired and put in condition to proceed on her voyage without unloading having sprung a very dangerous Leak and I most heartily beg your Lordship's pardon for this omission.

Being by no means able to ascertain how far the Laws in this Province while it was a Proprietary have been ratified by His Majesty or are now properly of force with respect to the whole or that part of it still held by one of the Proprietors, I most humbly request your Lordship's information on this subject for I see the Laws of that day make yet a part of the system of Jurisprudence of this Colony one of which intituled “An Act concerning old titles of Lands and for limitations of actions and for avoiding suits in Law” passed in the year 1715 appears to me to be injurious to property and there are others that I think derogatory to the Powers granted by His Majesty to his Governors.

Since I have seen the evils introduced by the malpractices of Attornies here I confess to you my Lord I feel my sentiments much changed with respect to the Act of 1770 referred to in my dispatch No 18, for their intervention is by that Law rendered unnecessary and an appeal is allowed to the parties from the judgment of the Magistrates to the County Court which is attended with inconsiderable expence,

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indeed I am of opinion it will be improved by giving the power to one Magistrate that is now vested in two as it would afford opportunity to exclude a great number of bad men who are now necessarily admitted into the Magistracy.

An Act that was passed at the late Session intituled “An Act to impower the Freeholders of the several Parishes therein mentioned to elect Vestries for their respective parishes has caused great discontent among the Presbyterians in those parishes who pretend it arises not from being abridged of the privilege of becoming Vestrymen but from their being distinguished and put upon a worse footing than the rest of their set. At the time the act was before me I own My Lord I thought it included the Body of Presbyterians in the Province for I could not have entered into the Policy of making distinction in such a case of the same denomination of people, & as they appear to rest their discontent on this ground I hope the Assembly at the next session will be induced to exclude them from Vestries universally which seems to be a measure no less expedient in this Country than consistent with the Laws of Great Britain for the support of the established church.

I have the honor to be &c