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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from Josiah Martin to William Legge, Earl of Dartmouth
Martin, Josiah, 1737-1786
February 26, 1773
Volume 09, Pages 373-374

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

North Carolina New Bern, Febry 26th 1773.

My Lord,

I have the honour to inform your Lordship, that the neglect of the Members to meet according to the Prorogation (common in this country) obliged me further to prorogue the General Assembly from the 18th to the 25th day of the last month, when the House of Assembly was fuller, as I am informed, than it has ever been at the beginning of a Session.

I now transmit to your Lordship herewith, Copies of my Speech to both Houses of Assembly at the opening of the Session on that day, and of their Addresses, and my Answers, by which last, your Lordship will perceive, I then entertained the fairest hopes, that such a temper would govern their deliberations, & such measures be adopted, as could not fail to distinguish the Session honorably; these were formed upon the information I had received, that the people had made a better choice of Representatives than usual, and upon my own Assurance, that I had nothing in Command from His Majesty to propose, that could cause the least difficulty or embarrassment.

These favourable appearances, my Lord, lasted until the 24th instant, when the House of Assembly presented to me a Bill “to Amend and continue an Act passed in the year I768, for Establishing Superior Courts” etc, that by its limitation, would expire at the end of the present Session, which my duty obliged me to reject, as being repugnant to His Majesty's Royal Instructions, relating to the attachment of effects of persons who have never resided in the Colony, the Clause of that Act objected to by the Lords of Trade, in their Lordships' letter of the 12th of December 1770, to Governor Tryon (which I conceive to have been the foundation of the King's Instruction) being only somewhat more favourably modified, with regard to persons in Europe, by an extention of the time thereby allowed, to defendants, whose effects were attached, to plead, or replevy. This indispensable conduct of mine turned the attention of the House of Assembly immediately to the instruction that had lain before it unnoticed (as it would seem) from the 29th of last

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month, when I communicated it to that time, and I was yesterday informed, that there was a temperate but firm resolution in the majority of the House, rather to be without Courts of Justice, than conform to the direction of that Instruction.

If this disposition shall prevail my Lord, my pleasing presages will have been ill founded, but whatever may be the event, I do assure your Lordship, nothing on my part shall be wanting to bring the Session to such conclusion, as may be most conducive to the Public Welfare, and consistent with the honor of His Majesty's Government, and my Duty to my Royal Master.

I have the honor to be &c