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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
October 25, 1772
Volume 09, Pages 347-350

[B. P. R. O. Am. & W. Ind.: No. Carolina. No. 220]
Governor Martin to Secry Hillsborough.

North Carolina New Bern,
Octr 25th 1772.

I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your Lordship's Dispatch No 9.

The directions which your Lordship has been pleased to give me therein concerning the appointment of County Clerks, under the Clerk of the Pleas, during pleasure, I will punctually observe, when the Law for the Constitution of Inferior Courts of Pleas, shall come under the consideration of the Legislature, at the next Session, and it will give me great satisfaction to find such Provision an effectual remedy of the evils which now arise from the tenure of those offices. I cannot take upon me to say, My Lord, that the Council will relinquish willingly the power it now holds by the participation of its Members in the Court of Chancery, but their attendance on that business, without reward, so seldom as twice a year, and for a short time, is considered so great an hardship that I am inclined to think they would not greatly feel, or regret the loss of a priviledge they do not themselves think well established and that they exercise with such seeming reluctance. I have thought it behoved me to say that much in answer to your Lordship's objection; and in my own justification for proposing the measure that I some time ago had the honor to submit to your Lordships consideration, not meaning to urge it furthur, which I should think inconsistent with my Duty & the respect I owe to your Lordship's sentiments upon all occasions. I am satisfied to have brought a matter of so great importance before your Lordship, and please myself with the assurance that the Court of Chancery of this Province (the business of which is daily augmenting)

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will at a proper time be put upon a footing to give the relief designed by a Court of Equity; and which under its present circumstances it does not seem calculated to afford.

I have much to lament My Lord that I have been induced by the Representations of some considerable persons in this Country, to grant by the advice of his Majesty's Council a Charter to Tarborough, not long before the Receipt of your Lordship's last dispatches, by which your Lordship recommends such measures to be previously submitted to the consideration of Government, which I shall make the rule of my conduct for the future; although I am not without doubts, which I humbly request your Lordship will be pleased to resolve, whether that restriction with respect to Charters, extends only to cases like that of Campbelltown, where a new Charter was granted on the surrender of the old one, or generally to all cases wherein Charters may be sollicited. The pretentions of Tarborough are founded on its convenient situation for Trade, which in this Country appears to be in such a state as to require every encouragement that may derive it to proper Channells, and they will appear more fully to your Lordship on the minutes of Council hereafter to be transmitted.

I am much concerned to find your Lordship does not admit the Expediency of allowing the Importation of foreign salt to this Colony, and considering the ground on which your Lordship's objections stand, I dare not presume to ask or expect, however I may wish a farther consideration of that measure although I am persuaded it would be of the greatest advantage to this Country, and I do believe I may venture to affirm, that its productions make it an object more deserving such indulgence than any other of His Majesty's Colonies except Newfoundland.

In consequence of the resolution taken with regard to the Insurgents who petitioned to surrender themselves, which I had the honor to communicate to your Lordship from Hillsborough, those wretched offenders appeared at the Superior Court there and entered into recognizances on the 23rd of last month, two days before I left that place. Their whole behaviour in Court and during their stay of a few hours in town, is reported to have been most perfectly decent and submissive, and I have the satisfaction to assure your Lordship that the part of this Country which last year exhibited such scenes of confusion and disorder, enjoys at this time in common with the rest of the Province profound peace and tranquility.

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On my route from Hillsborough I made a detour to take a view of the Northern Counties as far as Halifax, among which those of Granville & Bute have great preeminence, as well with respect to soil and cultivation, as the manners and condition of the Inhabitants, in which last respect, the difference is so great, that one would be led to think them people of another Region. These advantages arise I conceive from the vicinity of Virginia, from whence I understand many people, invited by the superior excellence of the soil have imigrated to settle in these Counties.

At my return to this place on the 7th instant, I found I had made a Circuit of 800 miles in somewhat more than three months, this part of my duty My Lord, I have performed not without difficulty and at very considerable expence for which I shall be most gratefully recompensed if my endeavours are found conducive to the public welfare, nor can I wish for an higher reward but my Royal Master's approbation of my humble services.

Since I have made myself better acquainted with the people of this Country, I am of opinion my Lord that the Counties in general cannot afford more than five Magistrates fit to be Judges in the Inferior Courts. I would therefore humbly propose that number to be the greatest Quorum, instead of seven recommended by my letter No 18.

In the course of my journey through the Interior Country, I received the Militia of the three Counties of Orange, Guilford, and Chatham, which were the principal theatres of the late disorders, chiefly with a view to bring the people together that I might form my own judgment of their temper and dispositions and I availed myself of these opportunities to reprehend them for their past egregious offences, to exhort them to future good behaviour, to explain & inforce their civil duties, and obligations, and to assure them of my utmost protection and support in their just rights, as well as my firm resolution to maintain the Laws inviolate, and to punish with every lawful rigour any relapse into sedition and violence. The behaviour of the people was everywhere decent and orderly, beyond what had been known upon similar occasions as, I am informed and I hope My Lord that time will show I do not vainly flatter myself in thinking I left them impressed with a just sense of their duty to His Majesty and their Country, and that my earnest & well intended labours to restore the peace of this Colony have not been altogether abortive. Considered in a military light, nothing I do assure your Lordship can be imagined more contemptible in all respects, but numbers,

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than those Assemblages of people in Arms, they were truly such a burlesque representation of soldiers, such a mockery of my beloved profession of arms, as did not fail to excite in me some silent, indignant and painful emotions.

I have much reason to believe My Lord, that the Master and Crew of Mr Simpson's Vessel misrepresented the treatment they received at La Vera Cruz, in order to conceal their own iniquities, and the quantity of money they are said to have brought back, almost assures me that they were partakers in the plunder of the Vessel, which they alledged to Mr Simpson in their letters from thence to have been confiscated with her Cargo by the Spanish Governor's authority, and I have accordingly communicated my information and suspicions to Admiral Sir George Rodney.

In the Expectation that I may receive Instruction upon the several arrangements I have submitted to your Lordship's consideration, and particularly with regard to a Law for the more effectual collection of His Majesty's Revenue of Quit Rents, which your Lordship encouraged me to expect some time ago, and upon representations of general convenience, I have prorogued the General Assembly of this Province, from the 10th of December to the 6th of January next.

I am to acquaint your Lordship, that I have displayed His Majesty's most gracious Acts of beneficence to the family of Benjamin Merrill, and to the aged John Matear, and I had the satisfaction to see them received with the most dutiful and lively gratitude.

I have the honor to be &c