Documenting the American South Logo
Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from Josiah Martin to William Legge, Earl of Dartmouth
Martin, Josiah, 1737-1786
January 26, 1775
Volume 09, Pages 1114-1116

-------------------- page 1114 --------------------
[B. P. R. O. Am. & W. Ind.: No. Carolina. No. 222.]
Letter from Governor Martin to the Earl of Dartmouth.

No Carolina, New Bern, Janry 26th 1775.

My Lord,

I have the honor to acquaint your Lordship that being detained at New York by repeated returns of illness and afterwards by disappointment of a vessel I had engaged to bring me hither until the season became too rigorous to hazard my return to my station on the uncertainty of a sea voyage at such a time of the year, I set out by Land on the 7th of December and arrived in this Province on the 9th instant and at this Town on the 15th.

Here, My Lord, I received from the hands of Mr President Hasell your Lordship's dispatches numbered 11, 12 & 13 together with your Lordship's circular letters of the 19th of October and 2nd of November, to all which I shall pay the strictest regard.

The assurance that Mr President Hasell had that the Assembly at its meeting in the present Temper of the people here would precipitately adopt and give sanction and approbation to the measures of the Philadelphia Congress, induced him to prorogue it from time to time during my absence, and upon the same principle I have further prorogued it to the 27th day of March next, hoping that the Assembly of New York now sitting will in the meantime afford an example of moderation which the Assembly here may be induced to follow, and seeing also that if his Majesty's disallowance of the inadequate and new fangled laws for the constitution of Courts of Justice passed at the last Session (of which I have never thought without a blush of condemnation) shall not sooner abrogate them they will by their own limitations expire after a Session held at that time, as will also the law for the appointment of Treasurers that has been one great source of party and embarrassment which circumstances will give full opportunity to the Assembly to adopt a better plan of Courts or in case of its refusal afford free scope to the King's Prerogative to erect constitutional and effectual Courts for the administration of Justice. All which reasons I trust, My Lord, will be my sufficient justification for postponing the meeting of the Assembly.

I cannot find adequate acknowledgments to make to your Lordship for the polite, obliging and condescending manner in which

-------------------- page 1115 --------------------
you are pleased to promise me the most indulgent consideration of my conduct in giving my assent to the very extraordinary laws of the last Session for constituting Inferior Courts and Courts of Oyer and Terminer. I flatter myself your Lordship will do me the justice to believe that nothing could have engaged me in that measure if I could have supposed it might be imputed to me as a breach of duty to my Royal master to whom I am in heart devoted upon every principle. I considered the plan, ineffectual and contemptible as it was, might tend to rescue the Province from total disorder and that a short experiment of it might bring forth that conviction of its futility which I had in vain laboured by reason and argument to produce, and herein I am not disappointed, but I shall ever deplore the having effected even a good purpose by means your Lordship shall think unjustifiable.

I consider it my duty to give your Lordship a detail of my observations on the descriptions of the several Colonies I passed through on my way hither from New York but the deep affliction with which the loss of my eldest son who died eight days after his return here has overwhelmed myself and my whole family hardly permits me to write so much as I have done and will I hope excuse me to your Lordship for not being more full at present. This my Lord is the third of my dear children which this most baneful climate has brought untimely to the grave within the space of three years.

In this Province as in all others to the Northward Committees have been chosen by the people to carry into execution the measures of the General Congress. Your Lordship will judge of the spirit of these extraordinary Tribunals by the proceedings of that of Halifax County (of which I herewith enclose a copy) towards a very worthy and respectable merchant of that place. I am ashamed to see at the head of it Mr Jones whom I formerly recommended to your Lordship to fill one of the vacant seats in the Council here, but frenzy seems to have taken possession of men but too generally all over the continent at this time.

I cannot conclude without assuring your Lordship that the worthy Mr President Hasell has conducted the affairs of Government here to my entire satisfaction during my absence. This Gentleman hopes My Lord that your Lordship will admit as his excuse for not acknowledging the receipt of your Lordship's dispatches which

-------------------- page 1116 --------------------
came to his hands before my arrival that he daily and continually expected my return.

I have the honor to be &c.