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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from Andrew Miller to Thomas Burke
Miller, Andrew
February 22, 1774
Volume 09, Pages 826-827

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

North Carolina, New Bern,
January 13th 1774.

My Lord,

I have the honor to transmit to your Lordship herewith, copies of the Journals of the late Session of the Council and General Assembly of this Province, together with Transcripts of the Bills for establishing Superior and Inferior Courts, that were agitated between the two Houses. The first, as I before reported to your Lordship, was thrown out by the Council; and the latter was depending before

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that Board, at the time of the Prorogation. Hence you will perceive my Lord, that the Assembly still insists upon the regulations with regard to Attachments, and the limitation of the jurisdiction of the Superior Courts, designed by the Bill past at the former Session, under a suspending clause, but, that your Lordship may see, at one view, the points of difference between those Branches of the Legislature, I have directed the Propositions of each to be inserted in the Bills together, distinguishing them by a note in the margin, and the sense of the two Houses upon them, will appear to your Lordship at large, in the Messages entered on their respective Journals.

It is matter of the greatest concern to me, that the Assembly in its proceedings on the 7th and 8th of December has betrayed such untoward dispositions; and of no less, that the House by its Message to the Council, on the 20th has left so little hopes of any change in its sentiments and measures. It is proper that I observe to your Lordship, upon this message that there is in it an allusion to a form of Oath, prescribed in the Bill, which never had any existence in it. The regulations concerning Attachments that your Lordship permitted me by your letter No. 6 to propose, were inserted by the Council, as general directions, to the Courts or Magistrates impowered to grant those Writs: but no form of Oath whatever was prescribed. Since my last letter, my Lord, I find the people I then called moderate, and whom I represented as wishing only to exercise the custom of foreign Attachment, with the same latitude it has in London, and the other commercial cities of England, while they will be contented with that mode of proceeding, against the effects of the Inhabitants of Great Britain here, (which the People of this Province suppose enables them to seize the effects of the Colonists in that kingdom) yet hold it indispensible that they be allowed to proceed according to the former mode practised here, against persons of this Country, and of the other Colonies.

On the 9th of December, your Lordship will observe, the House of Assembly resolved nem. con. that a tax of one shilling per Poll, and a duty of four pence per gallon on spiritous liquors, imposed by an Act then recited, for sinking an emission of Paper money, ought to cease, although it is notorious, that there is yet in circulation, a very large portion of that emission. This measure was taken before, in the first Session held after my arrival in this Government, and a Bill actually passed both Houses to discontinue these taxes, But it appearing to me, inconsistent with the Public faith, and repugnant

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to the Act of Parliament relating to the Paper Currency of the Colonies, passed in the 4th year of His present Majesty's reign I rejected it and I should have thought it my duty to resist upon the same principles now the Bill of like nature, that was depending at the Prorogation, if it had been offered for my assent.

Your Lordship will receive herewith, a copy of a charter granted by the late Governor Dobbs, to the Town of Wilmington, with a surrender thereof by the Freeholders, and a Petition for a new Charter, upon a different and more convenient Plan. This my Lord, I should not have hesitated to grant, if the Earl of Hillsborough, on a like occasion, had not communicated to me, his Lordship's opinion, that it would be proper, in cases of that sort, to have the previous sanction of Government, as it is of importance to the regulation of that Town. I shall be happy to receive your Lordship's permission to grant a Charter agreeable to the Petition of the Inhabitants, as soon as your Lordship shall have considered the matter.

I think it proper to advise your Lordship, that at the time His Majesty's order in Council, forbidding the passing any further grants of the Crown Lands, arrived here, a great number of Warrants of survey were out, and that the People who obtained them, will be much discontented, if they are not allowed Grants of the Lands, they had then entered, upon the terms, to that time held forth by Government. I hope, too, your Lordship will think this expectation not unreasonable, considering that these Entrants of Lands relying upon the faith of Government, to fulfill the conditions which invited them to become Tenants to the Crown, having paid their money, and gone as far as they could to establish legal Titles to such lands as they had entered, certainly acquired thereby an equitable claim to them upon the same conditions.

As I feel it most severely, I flatter myself, your Lordship will pardon me for observing, that His Majesty's restriction hath cut off the principal source of His Governor's revenue in this Province, where the emoluments arising from the ordinary business of his Office, are next to nothing, the loss of at least one thousand pounds pr annum my Lord, that accrued from granting the Crown Lands, is a vast defalcation of my little income, that, at best, hardly sufficed to support the dignity of my station, and which I do aver to your Lordship upon my honor, will not now maintain me, even decently, with the strictest economy. Its deficiency too my Lord, I shall feel

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continually more, and more, for the improvement and population of this Country great as the latter has been, keep no pace with the prices of Provisions, and all the necessaries of life in it, which have actually advanced, since I came to this Government, in August 1771, some articles thirty & many ninety pr Ct. I humbly hope therefore, that your Lordship will be pleased to take these circumstances into your consideration, and move His Majesty to grant some equivalent support to His Governor of this Colony.

Mr Howard, His Majesty's Chief Justice here, has requested me to transmit to your Lordship his Letter & Memorial inclosed, and the great merits of this Gentleman's character & his steady zeal in the service of Government, engage me to recommend his case, in the strongest manner, to your Lordship's favorable attention.

As it appears by the Journals of the House of Assembly that a Petition is to be presented to His Majesty on the subject of the Law of Attachment, the point on which the difficulties with regard to the Court Laws have principally arisen, I hope your Ldp will approve my intention of recommending to the General Assembly, at the next session in March (if they will not adopt the mode of proceeding by Attachment according to the regulations I before proposed by your Lordship's authority) to leave that matter altogether out of question for the present, and await the issue of their application to the Throne upon it, & in the meantime to establish Courts for the General Administration of Justice, in comparison of which, the object they so strenuously contend for, is of little consequence.

I inclose herewith, a weekly paper printed at Wilmington in this Province, under which head, in the last page, your Ldp will see what disingenuous representations are made to inflame the minds of the People, & to continue the unhappiness of this Country, which is already so great, as to render my situation comfortless and uneasy as it can be, while I enjoy the pleasing consciousness of discharging my duty to His Majesty faithfully.

I have the honor to be &c.,