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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from William Legge, Earl of Dartmouth to Josiah Martin
Dartmouth, William Legge, Earl of, 1731 - 1801
January 08, 1774
Volume 09, Pages 815-816

[B. P. R. O. Am. & W. Ind.: No. Carolina. Vol. 221.]
Letter from Lord Dartmouth to Governor Martin.

Whitehall, 8th January 1774.


It has given me great concern to find, by your dispatch of the 6th of October last, that my letter of the 4th August, containing His Majesty's Orders and Instructions respecting the clause of Attachment in the Court Bills, had not then been received by you; for I think if that letter had come to your hands it would have relieved you from all difficulties on that head and have rendered a Prorogation of the General Assembly unnecessary. But as you say that such Prorogation was very agreeable to the Members on account of their private affairs, I trust it will not be ground of dissatisfaction to them or disadvantageous to the public.

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The objections to the Courts of Oyer & Terminer and General Gaol delivery, under their present Constitution are too trivial to require attention, and as the Law Servants of the Crown do not, as you say, entertain a shadow of a doubt as to the legality of the Courts, I trust that all the King's Subjects will think fit to acquiesce in that opinion, and that the Judges will meet with no obstruction in the exercise of an authority which has already been found so beneficial to the Province.

The King has been Graciously pleased to extend His Royal Mercy to Renald McDugal, and inclosed I send you an authenticated Copy of His Majesty's Warrant to the Recorder of London for inserting his name in the next general Pardon which shall come out for the poor Convicts in Newgate, to the end that you may take such steps thereupon as have been usual in like cases. But it is my duty upon this occasion to observe to you that the Authority given to the King's Governors in America, to respite the execution of Criminals sentenced to death for murder, is of a very delicate nature, it ought to be exercised with the greatest caution; and the ground for the interposition of the royal clemency, ought to be extremely clear in every case.

I hope to be able to transmit to you by the next Packet His Majesty's instructions respecting the future disposal of the King's lands, accompanied with such directions as shall appear to be necessary in the cases stated in your letter.

I am &c,