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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
July 06, 1774
Volume 09, Pages 1007-1008

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

Whitehall, 6th July 1774.


I have received your dispatches Nos. 22, 23 and 24, and have laid them before the King.

The first of which states at large the Proceedings of the last Session of Assembly, with your reasons for having dissolved them, and your resolution not to suffer a new Assembly to meet, until you have received His Majesty's further pleasure upon what has passed, relative to the Establishment of the Courts of Justice.

The resolution of the House of Assembly, entered upon their Journals of the 24th of March, are certainly of a very extraordinary nature, and combined with the obstinacy of their conduct respecting the Courts of Justice afforded a reasonable ground for the step you took of dissolving them.

The account you give of the nature and provision of such Laws as have been passed, relative to the Courts of Justice (for the Laws themselves have not been received) makes it essentially necessary to the well being of the Colony that the new Assembly should meet as soon as possible, and as I have already, in my letter to you of the 4th May, signified to you His Majesty's final resolution, in regard to the Laws of Attachment, I hope that letter will arrive in time, to prevent any inconvenience that might arise from the meeting of the Assembly being postponed. It is upon the effect of the Instructions contained in that letter and upon the conduct of the new Assembly in respect thereto, that the future welfare of the Province will in a great measure depend; and although I think the behaviour of a part of the Council, as stated by you in your letter No. 23, has been very unjustifiable, yet I am unwilling to advise the King to adopt the measure you recommend, before I am apprized of what may have been the issue of the Instructions I have given, and of the part which the Council may take in respect thereto.

As I have not yet received from the Treasury Board their sentiments upon the Quit Rent Bill, you formerly transmitted to me, there will be full time for a consideration of the Clauses you propose to be added; and I will not fail to press their Lordships for an attention to the Act of 1754, and, if they have no objection will take the

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proper steps for its confirmation. If the Assembly shall not think fit, upon the expiration of the Salary allowed for the support of the Chief Justice, to re-enact that provision, the propriety of giving him an adequate salary in some other shape, will certainly become a proper object of consideration, but at present it seems to be premature.

I am fully apprized of the merit and amiable character of Captain Collet, and lament exceedingly the disappointment he has met with, by the refusal of the Assembly to make a proper provision for the Establishment of Fort Johnston, but I cannot take upon me to recommend that the Crown should take upon itself the expense of the Establishment of a Fort that, according to your own state of it, seems calculated merely for the security and convenience of the commerce of the Colony.

You certainly did right in suspending the Collector of the Customs at Port Currituck, at the request of the Commissions of the Customs; but, I do not see anything in this case, that makes it necessary for me to give you at this time, particular instructions respecting your conduct in general to Officers in that Branch of the Kings's service.

I am &c.