7. March 1763.
I wrote and sent to Your Lordships what Papers and Journals I had ready relating to the late Session of Assembly last Month, to which I refer Your Lordships, since that Time I have got the attested Copies of the several Acts pass'd last Sessions which I now send under the Province Seal—The most material Bills which any way relate to Great Britain, or the Governmt. in General, or to Trade, have separate Seals annexed to them, the other Bills which only concern the interior parts of the Province, as not so material to Britain, are joined under one Seal, which contains several together.
You will find by the Journals the Great Struggles we had to keep in such parts of the Superior Court Bill as His Majesty approved of after their having laid aside the obnoxious Clauses objected to as being against His Majesty's Prerogative, particularly of having Judges appointed wth. proper Salaries, wch. the Council insisted on that they were obliged to drop the first Superior Court Bill, and bring in another Bill with a different Title, and though in several Clauses it will be found improper, yet I was obliged to comply with it as a temporary Expedient for 2 Years, until His Majesty's Pleasure can be known wt. Alterations or Amendments may be made to it before it expires,
although ^otherwise^ the Province must have remained without Courts of Justice, and at present I can't get proper Persons to accept of being Associate Judges.
The Inferior Court Bill I also pass'd for the same Term of two Years, as it depended upon the other, after they had struck off the Clauses objected to, and lessened the Sum from 50 to £20 this Currency.
I also passed an Orphan Bill separate which limits the Estate to £20 Value this Currency.
The Assembly also brought in an orthodox Clergy Bill, and a Bill for establishing Vestries. I was at a great Loss to know the true Reasons given for the Repeal, as Your Lordships Letter of June last only mentioned the Repeal, and said you wod. send me over the Reasons for it, and Objections made to it, and no such Letter has since come to my hand, only the order for the Repeal from the Council. I therefore told them I wod. pass temporary Bills, provided they wod. make the Clergymen of the Vestry, & to preside in it according to my Instructions, and the Orthodox Clergy Bill, if they wod. give up the Advowson and Presentation to the Crown, this last they wod. not do, but gave the Crown a power to try the Person if irregular or immoral. I therefore found myself under a Dilemma ^either to pass the Bill^ without a temporary Clause, wch. they concealed from me until the last day that they sent the Bill ready engrossed for the passing in order for my Perusal, or deprive the Clergy of the Stipend allowed to them—This I thought more advisable than to have no established Clergy in the Province.
I find the principal Objection they have against the Clergy's being established by the presentation of the Crown and Induction is the Difficulty they find in having them suspended or degraded upon account of Immoralities or Neglect of their Cure, as there are no Bishops nor persons invested with Episcopal Power to censure or degrade them, and most who come over ordained in England come to get Bread without a View to the Cure of Souls, and in that Case cou'd not be removed by them. This Objection can only be obviated by recommending it to His Majesty to erect Bishopricks in the present extensive Empire of British America with the Apostolic Powers of Ordination Confirmation, and of the suspending and Degradation of immoral or irregular Clergymen or for Neglect of their Cures, without any Ecclesiastical Courts wch. may affect the Bodies or Estates of Men, but only if Expulsion from their Community and Absolution after shewing themselves Penitent for their Crimes, I shod. then hope that they wod. give up by a Law the Presentation & Power of Induction to the Crown, notwithstanding the prevailing Sectaries here.
As to the Vestry Bill I told them I wod. pass it wth. a temporary Clause for 2 Years, provided they wod. make the Clergymen one of the Vestry, and to preside in it, this several assured me they wod. comply with, and this Bill they kept back to the last ^from being^ ingrossed and compared until within half an hour of passing the Bill, thinking I wod. overlook it, upon wch. as I found it without allowing the Clergymen to be one, or making it temporary, I rejected the Bill, until I cou'd have Instructions about it with the Reasons for repealing it.
I think it also proper to inform Your Lordships that a Bill for dividing New Hanover County tho' petitioned for by the Majority of the County was rejected by the Assembly, because it was in His Majesty's District, because I refused passing a Bill for dividing Granville County in the Northern District, without further Instructions from His Majesty, until a greater Number of Counties shod. be made in His Majesty's District to counterballance the Northern 5 Member Counties who at present outvote and overrule the Southern Members, and refuse all Taxes, for these five, 5 Member Counties, all hang together and overrule the Assembly, and all these Counties together very little exceed one of the Western Counties, so that without lessening their Influence they are at present a Clog upon Government, as well as upon Lord Granville's Agents in his private Estate.
If the Assembly shod. make this a Point, I hope you will think it advisable that His Majesty shod. again recal the Instructions I had to allow the Assembly to erect Counties, and allow of the Governor's erecting them by Charter. Before this point was started, they had passed the Bill for dividing Anson County, and erecting Mecklenburgh County being the Western Frontier and very far extended.
I am with the greatest Regard
Your Lordships most obedt
Letter from Govr. Dobbs dated 7 March 1763, containing his Observations upon several Acts and transmitting.
Read May 3 1763