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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
March 23, 1775
Volume 09, Pages 1174-1176

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

No Carolina, New Bern, March 23d, 1775.

My Lord,

The hostile preparations and Gasconadings of the People of New England of which we receive daily accounts and the dispositions that the Virginians discover to adopt their plans of resistance have made me consider it my duty to take the best measures in my power to support his Majesty's Government in this Province to which the contagion of their ill example has already reached. To this End My Lord I have written a letter to Governor Gage Commander in Chief of his Majesty's Forces on this Continent of which your Lordship will receive a Copy herewith enclosed requesting eventually an aid of arms and ammunition which, distributed in the hands of the King's loyal subjects here whom I should be able to draw forth in case of an emergency, among which is a body of Highlanders whose principles have given me the fullest assurance of their loyalty and attachment to his Majesty and on which I am persuaded I could firmly rely, I trust would give me sufficient strength to maintain the Sovereignty of this Country to the King if matters should be urged to the extremity that the undutifull and disaffected seem to threaten. In case of need My Lord I have no doubt that I could form a very usefull and serviceable Corps out of the Highlanders in this Country; and when his Majesty shall think proper I will engage to raise a Battalion of them that would do credit to the service; In consideration of which I should humbly hope his Majesty would be graciously pleased to restore me to the Rank I held in the Army in the year 1769, when I was obliged on account of my ill health to leave the service and to which I have ever felt the strongest inclination to return when it shall be consistent with the duty of my Civil Employment as in the present times I humbly conceive it will appear to be.

I Shall be heartily glad to find my Lord that the modifications of the Proceedings by attachment allowed to be adopted here by your Lordship's letter No 10, remove the ostensible obstruction to the passing of admissible Court Laws in the Assembly. I confess I am not without apprehensions that the latitude his Majesty has been graciously pleased to grant with regard to enacting the modes of proceedings

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of other Colonies against Persons resident in Virginia and So Carolina will prove a new source of discontent instead of being received as an indulgence, for I fear it will be thought hard to be restricted here in the use of attachments to Debtors in those adjoining Colonies while the Inhabitants of other Provinces are at liberty to employ that process against Debtors in all parts of his Majesty's Dominions.

I have the honor to transmit to your Lordship herewith the form of a Bill for the effectual Collection of his Majesty's and Earl Granville's Revenue of Quit Rents to which I have made some additions that I think material with regard to the duty of County Registers &c. Since I transmitted the former plan to your Lordship, I have received many complaints from persons holding Lands immediately under his Majesty's Grants in this Province or by Titles derived therefrom that they have been obliged to take out New Grants for the same Lands in So Carolina since by the late line of Boundary established by his Majesty's Royal Instructions between this and that Colony such Lands have been comprehended within the limits of the last named Province and as such proceeding does not seem to be warranted by law and that the Grantees have furnished me with a printed advertisement in support of their assertion I think it my duty to transmit it to your Lordship as the best evidence I can furnish on the occasion.

In spite of all the measures taken by the Superintendant of Indian Affairs the White people are continually obtaining from the Indians Cessions and Leases of the Lands they hold and under these pretences the Settlements are extended far beyond the present established Boundaries between this Province and the Indians I submit to your Lordship's consideration the expediency of his Majestys making further purchases of the Indian Lands. There prevails an opinion I find which is industriously cultivated by Henderson the famous invader I mentioned in my last letter to your Lordship that people may take up lands of the Indians by lease although they cannot purchase of them without militating against the King's Proclamation of the 7th of October 1763, and accordingly I understand his bargain with the Cherokee Indians that at first I understood to be a purchase is now reported to be a Lease for 999 years of a tract of Country four hundred miles square to which I am informed many of the wretched and desperate people of this Province talk of resorting upon the invitation given out by Henderson whose doctrine

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is clearly in my opinion contrary to the express words as well as to the meaning and design of the Royal Proclamation referred to—Now I am upon this subject I wish to be favored with your Lordship's construction of the latitude given to Proprietaries by that Proclamation, and whether conformable thereto Lord Granville is at Liberty to extend the possession of his Grant by purchase from the Indians beyond the present limits of this Province without the previous consent of his Majesty by whose Royal Authority the Boundary between his Lordship as well as the King's district of this Province and the Indians was established. My reason for requesting your Lordship's Instruction touching my power over officers of the customs here was that your Lordship in your letter No 1 seeming to doubt of its extending to suspension in the case of Mr Malcolm mentioned your intention of consulting with Lord North about it and gave me hopes of receiving the King's commands in consequence thereof with regard to Officers in that department of his Majesty's service over whom I humbly conceive it may be necessary to establish some immediate check than the Board of Customs in America whose remote situation prevents its interposing so suddenly in these distant Provinces as the public interests may require.

I have carefully dispersed the two packets of Pamphlets that I have received from your Lordship's Office and I am hopefull they will produce good effects. There is a Printer of the name of Rivington in New York whose merit is really signal in the present times, he having in spite of all the menaces and intimidations that have been practiced upon him published at the expence of much of his custom many good and spirited pieces in defence of Government that I am persuaded have answered the best purposes from the indefatigable pains that have been taken by the Sons of Liberty in the several Colonies to deprecate them and to prevent their circulation.

I have the honor to be &c