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New Bern Novembr. 9th 1754.

To the Rt. Honble. & Honble. the Commissioners of Trade &c.

My Lords

Upon My leaving Virginia the 23d of Octobr. after Consulting with Mr. Dinwiddie and Coll: Sharpe, to whose Letters I beg leave to referr. I made the best of my way for this place. About the Boundary Line of this Province. I met the Messengers I had Sent to Cape Fear, to the Presidt. upon my landing in Virginia, and had an account from the President, that he had sent to summon the Members of the Council to meet him here the 29th, to receive me, and Swear me into the Governmt, So that I found my stay in Virginia had occasiond no Delay in Busyness since I could not have been Sworn before the 30th, and I arrivd here on Thursday the 31st, having Call one day at Edenton, by a Ferry above 8 miles over, by a Contrary Wind so fresh, that the Ferry Boat Could not sale. The President and Mr. Murray met me at Bath Town; when I arrivd here there were only two mane of the Council arrivd, Mr. Rutherford and Mr. Swann, Chief Justice Hassell having been detaind at his Circuit Court at Edgcomb, So that I had but 4 to Swear me, but as it was Chiefly Matter of Form the Material to begin upon Busyness, I took the Several oaths requird, and then administred them to the Councillors present, according to My Instructions; and after reading over Some of the Most Material Articles, gave orders in council for Issuing a Proclamation for Dissolving the Assembly that day, and for Issuing Writs next day, to Elect 60 Members persuant to my Instructions; who by the practice here are to be Elected on the same day, which I appointed for to be on the 26th Instant, and the Assembly to meet here on the 12th of December 40 days from the <Last> of the Writs; on Saturday the 2d after Swearing Mr. Hassell, I by advice of the Council orderd a Proclamation for all Officers to hold their Places till further Orders, and then publishd by Proclamation the Repeal of Several of the Laws which were Necessary immediately to be Known, But the Laws about the Courts of Justice, the Law about Elections, and those for erecting Counties, &c., as it might occasion a Confusion at present, we thought it prudent not to publish the Repeal of those until the Assembly met, or after the first Prorogation to prevent Delays and Disputes as well as about the Right of the Members, as we had not time to make out Charters without postponing the Assembly, which might Delay us in Assisting Virginia.

I then directed Circular orders to be sent to the Colls. & Captains of the Militia to send me an exact List of the men in their several Districts, capable of Bearing Arms with an account how they were Armd, and what Ammunition they had; to be returnd to me by the 12th of Decembr. (and then Enquird into the State of the publick Stores, and with Concern must Inform your Lordships, that there is not one Pound of gunpowder or Shot in Store in the Province, nor any Arms, and those given to us by his Majesty are not yet arrivd from Virginia; tho Dearly Expected, nor upon enquiry can I find that there are Twelve Barrels of gunpowder in the Province, in Traders hands; and that they Sell at 2 Shillings per pound Currency, and shot in proportion.) 

I at the same time sent orders to the Registers and County Clerks, to send me a return upon oath, of the number of Taxables, distinguishing how many whites and Blacks, and also an account of the numbers of women & children. 

I shall also by the first opportunity send orders to the several Collectors or <pass> Officers, to send me a List of the vessells return’d inwards or outwards, distinguishing from what Parts, for 7 years past; and also what Number of Negroes have been Imported, in that Time and an account of the gross and net produce of the several duties, fines forfeitures, &c for 7 years, in order to Know the State of the Revenue raised by the Laws of the Province, and what Care is taken of the Collection. 

2 (I Have also directed Mr. Rutherford the Receiver Genl. to make out Immediately his acct. of Receipts and Payments, and arrears standing out upon the Quit Rents, and to make out a Rentroll, distinguishing the quantity of Land granted by Patent, from those by warrant, in each County; in order to transmit the Account to your Lordships, & to the Lords of the Treasury; and have directed Mr. McCulloh the Auditor, to meet him, that no time may be lost in doing it, in the best manner they can, altho' it may not be perfect, which cant be until a true Survey is made of each County; and where the Counties are divided between the King and Lord Granville I submit it to yr. Lordships, whether you want apply to his Lordship, to send orders to his Agents here, to pay in the expense in proportion to the number of acres which shall appear to be in his Part of each County; as this Survey cant be done without expense, I submit it to your Lordships whether you want apply to the Treasury, for an order. to the Receiver Genl to pay the expense out of the Quit Rents; as it must ascertain and greatly Increase the Rentroll and Receipt; by discovering the quantity of Lands granted in each County, and consequently discover what Surpluss Lands are held, above what is granted by Patent, as the total of the grants ought to make of the total of the Survey in each County; if no surpluss Lands are held by Patent, for I apprehend the Assembly will give no allowance for that purpose.)

3 (I have acquainted Mr. Rutherford that the Lords of the Treasury had agreed to give 5 per Cent: to the Sherrives of each County, in case they gave Security to receive & pay unto him the arrears and growing Quit Rents, in their Several Counties, over and above 10 per Cent at present allowed to him; which will make them exact in the Receipts, as it will be their Interest to receive it; and without it I apprehend the Quit Rents will never be regularly Receivd by Mr. Rutherford, for tho' I have no reason to doubt his being an honest man, yet I believe he is quite Indolent, and am told gives himself no trouble to go about to Collect the Quit Rents; whether his being marryd to the late governors young widow, makes him unwilling to go abroad; or whether it is his natural inactivity I can't tell; but Im told he has receivd very little of late, under pretense that he would wait my Arrival. It certainly requires a Person of Activity, as well as a carefull and good accomptant, to be employd in that Receipt, and is a Place not to be given out of favour. I submit it to your Lordships, whether it may not be proper upon his getting this allowance, to let him Know either from your Lordships, or from the Lords of the Treasury, that if the best Rentroll be not made out, that can be done until there is a Resurvey; in which he Shall have all the Aid I can give or procure to him; and that the whole recoverable Arrear and Rent, be not immediately Levyd by distress; that upon my making a Return, that the account Rentroll & Receipt is not complyd with; and laid before me, to be transmitted, that I Shall have power to Suspend him, and to nominate another pro tempore, until his majestys pleasure be Known, who Shall Succeed him; this may perhaps raise him out of his Lethargy.)

I Have directed the late President and Secretary Murray, to lay before me all the Papers relating to the late Law for Issuing out the Paper Currency, and the several Payments made upon it; and what remains in Bank out of the £22000 Issud; and that they may make up a State of the whole, to be sent to yr Lordships, in Justification of themselves and the Council; and at the same time that the Treasurer appointed by the Assembly, should lay before me the State of the former paper Bills, and what Sum was Standing out, when the last were Issued; and the funds appointed, with the Annual Receipt, appropriated to pay it off; and how these Sums have been applyd. This must take up time as the Treasurers dont live here, and have not attended me. I apprehend I shall be greatly delayd in Busyness, since none of the Council, nor publick officers reside here, being all dispersed, 7 of the Council near Cape Fear, 2 at Edenton, one at present, in virginia, & 2 in England; notwithstanding this is the most Central Place, and of late supposd to be the Seat of Governmt. and Courts of Justice; and no meeting can be had of the Council, or publick Officers without sending expresses, which travel very slow, and at great expense; and no Fund for Contingencies to pay it. I came here the 31st past.,the 2d of november Mr. Swan begd leave to go home, Mr. Rutherford did the same next day, so that I had only 3 left to consult with; on the 6th President Rowan went home and on the 8th Secretary Murray, and with him Chief Justice Hassell, who holds a Circuit Court next week at Wilmington; they alledge their Books are all at Cape Fear, so that I shall get no Busyness done nor any to meet me until the Assembly the 12th of december. 

Altho the Chief Justice seems to be a good natured man, and bears a good Character here in private Life; yet as he has neither Capacity nor Law, sufficient to be Chief Justice, that your Lordships may procure for us a worthy good Lawyer for Chief Justice, it is my duty to let you Know that the Busyness of the Court has so much Increasd here, that the President Rowan Informs me that the Chief Justices Fees amount annually to above £860 Currency, besides his Salary on the Quit Rents, and £200 allowed for going the circuits. It may in a little time be enough for two Judges, as Busyness Increases. 

As soon as the Seat of Governmt. is fixd which I apprehend at present will be upon Neuss River, above this Town, as far as it may be navigable for flat Bottomd Boat, in Case I find the Lands good, and Situation healthy; as it will be nearer the Back Settlements which Increase very fast, and is most Central, and this Town will still be the place where the Merchants will Reside and Ships be Enterd and both the Gentlemen to Northward and Southward, seem to like it, as the great Ferries at Edenton and Bath will be avoided; and it will be Equally near to Cape Fear, as this Place, and more healthy; I submit it to your Lordships whether it wont be necessary to oblige at least 5 of the Council, to Reside at or near the Metropolis, or at least so many in Rotation for 3 months at a time, to Expedite publick Busyness; and save the Expense of Expresses, and also to oblige the Receiver Genl., Auditor, and other publick officers, to fix and keep their offices there, and attend by them Selves or proper deputies, and Clerks, that their Journal Books may be Inspected; that it may be Known that they are doing their duty, for at present each lives upon his Plantation, and never attend but upon Summons, the Receiver Genl. above 100 miles to the Southward, and the auditor 100 miles to northward, how then can they meet with the Secretary, to make out a Rentroll or attend their offices; so that they never meet but at Assemblies, or phaps at a general Court; I must therefore beg yr. further Instructions about it, and in Case they dont attend, by them Selves, on Sufficient Departure, whether I Should not have a Power to remove them, or at least Suspend them, till his majestys Pleasure is Known. 

I was in hopes to have got 2 or 300 men raisd at 2d of Decm. in Independant Companies, to Lessen the Expense; the Regimt. having been disbanded in August for want of Payt. and upon account of their desertion for not being allowd 3 shillings pr diem; But find there is not £2000 left of the 22000£ Emitted; Except what is appropriated to the Building the Two Forts, which I cant dispose of; and the disbanded officers are Exclaiming for want of their pay, from June till August, when they were disbanded; so that I can't act till the Assembly meets and empowers me nor gives any Support to Governor Sharpe in Case he Shoud have an opportunity of making any Impression upon the French before winter. 

As I can do no more at present, I propose going to Cape Fear, and see what they are doing at the Fort, and make a Report to yr. Lordships of the Condition of it, and give further Directions about it, and by seeing so much of the Country can form a Judgment where to fix the Seat of governmt. 

1 (As your Lordship may observe in how weak a Condition the Colony is, for want of Ammunition and Stores; I Humbly hope that you will move his Majesty to allow us 20 or 30 barrels of Powder, and a proportional Quantity of Balls; which if not otherwise to be had, shall be repaid out of the Powder duty which I expect will be Raisd by Act of Assembly; Since at present we have no Credit, and must pay double Price, if any is Imported by Merchants.)

I Shall furnish my Self with all the proceedings and Facts relative to the Boundary with South Carolina; to Support what alterations we Shall desire to be made in the Boundary line, for his Majestys Service and the good of this Colony; and Shall then write to South Carolina, and desire them to lay answers before yr. Lordships for what alterations they think proper to have made, upon account of that Colony; and when you will have both transmitted to you, yr. Lordships can then properly represent to his Majesty, what you Shall think, will be the most Equitable Boundary, and most for his Service and for the Benefit of Each Colony; But as I Expect Mr. Glen will be Soon removd, I dont propose doing it Sooner, as he is too opiniatned and Self Sufficient to have any dealings with him. 

(I find it will be impracticable to have a Resurvey made to find out the surpluss Lands held by the Planters Patents, in ordr. to detect their frauds, without having an Independent Company Establishd here; to Support the Surveyrs. on their Survey, where any are obstinate; for a Surveyr. who had been directed to resurvey a Plantation, upon his attempting only to Enter the Land was Shot by the Planter, who fled for the Murder, but am told his Son or family Still remain on the Land; this hath so intimidated the Surveyrs., that none will venture without a guard to protect them where the Planter is obstinate, and as I Expect Fort Johnston will be soon Tenable, and a sum is granted for Erecting a <Trail> at Portsmouth near Ocacoc, and also considering the murder lately Committed by the French Indians at the Back Settlements of which, President Rowan tells me he acquainted yr. Lordships, it will be necessary to Erect a Fort beyond our farthest [Sites?] to protect that frontier, and our Indian Allies; and it is also necessary to Support the Customhouse officers, & to prevent an Ilicite Trade; I hope therefore yr. Lordships will represent to his majesty the necessity there is of having a Company of 100 men Establishd here for these purposes; in ordr. to have his majestys approbation of laying an Estimate of the Expence before the Parliamt.) Before I left London I lodgd An Memorial to the Same purpose before the Council. I am informd Since I came here that there is a Gentleman (who they say is very well qualifyd for it) now Ingaged in surveying the whole Sea Coast from Cape Romain beyond Winyew, to Cape Henry in Virginia; which is at present done by Subscription; if I find he is qualifyd for it, I will joyn in it and Incourage him all I can, as it will be of great Benefit to our Trade and Safety to our Ships. 

I mentiond the Copper Coinage, which I had applyd for to the Treasury to be Coind at the Mint at our Expense, for this Colony, to the members of the [Council?] who were here; and also the Plan of an Act for a Loan office, instead of a paper currency, a copy of which I left with your Lordships; and they seem to relish both, as they will opinate together, and are of opinion they will be both gratefull to the Assembly, and may prevail with them to give larger Supplies to Sink the present Currency the Sooner; and for giving them So great a Benefit which they much want, it may Enduce them to comply with other demands; I therefore think of Printing the Plan of the act, to give to each of the members for their consideration when they meet. 

I Submit it to your Lordships Consideration, whether it may not be of [Service] to his majesty and this Colony, to Inlarge my Instructions relative to the grant of Lands; so that I may not exceed 640 acres in any one Patent; for I find there are no Lands in the Colony where there is any quantity together, not patented but at the Back Settlements, near the Mountains, there being none now that are good near any navigation but what are patented, except where there may be overpluss Lands discovered or marshes and Swamps; upon the resurveys, and therefore no grants can be made near the Sea Coast, or River navigation, and the Settlers who are Coming in hundreds of waggons, from the Northwards to take up Land in the back Settlements, employ either some of their own People to come bef[ore] them, to look out for Lands; or Some of their friends already settled here and they desire to take up of or 5 or 600 acres to accomodate 2 or 3 families to go in the same grant, and as more take up Land there, but with a View to Cultivate and Improve them, as fast as they can, all the back Settlers being very Industrious Cultivating Indigo, Hemp, Flax, Corn &c: as well as breeding horses, and other stock, they ought to be indulgd being a frontier at present, much more than those near the Shore, who only took of Lands for the sake of light wood, to make Pitch Tar and Turpentine, and then gave up their Lands, having only taken out warrants; Besides there is no danger now of their not taking out Patents, upon their warrants, for President Rowan has Introduced a method to prevent it by obliging those who take out warrants for a Survey, to lodge the Money for their Patents, and for registring them when taken out upon return of the Survey, and before they get possession, and then their Patents are made out upon return of the Survey, so that his majestys Quit Rents are securd, and Cultivation Inforced properly, and the country settled to the Satisfaction of the People, by not giving large grants to any one Person. This method I believe yr. Lordships will approve of, when Expected by the new Settlers, and you will please to give me Instructions accordingly. 

Among the Acts which are repealed by your Lordships Representation, there is one Entitled, an act to put in force in this Province the Several Statutes of the Kingdom of England, in South Britain, therein particularly mentiond, which Laws passed in the Session of Octobr. 16th 1749, Chapter 1st; but there is another act which passed the Same Session Chap6th, Entitled An Act to Confirm the Several Acts of Assembly of this Province there in mentiond as revised by the Commrs. appointed by an act to Revise and Print the Laws &c., and Such other Laws of this Province as haveing passed Since Said Revisal, and to direct the Printing of the Laws, which I believe <wewill think proper to have repealed, for in the 4th Section, there is a Clause That all and Every Act & Acts, Clause and Clauses, Section and Sections, of all and every [Act] and Acts of the General Assembly of this Province in the Said revised Laws or [Acts] of the Said General Assembly, mentiond to be Obsolete, expired, and repealed, and the Title with such hereby granted & declard to be obsolete, expired, and repealed, and the Title with Such [Acts] only to be printed. By this Clause and repealing the above Law Chapt. 1st, [an] Act, entitled an Act for the more Effectually observing the Queens Peace, and Establishing a good and lasting foundation of Governmt. in North Carolina. I think <illegible>ds repealed, which I believe was not your Lordships Intention; as so good a Law<illegible> he got passd again in this Province; For the Title of this Act is only Enterd and [printed] in the Book of Laws, mentiond Chapr. 31st 1715, with this marginal note [provi]ded for by Statutes Enforced in this Province by Act Octobr. 16th 1749 Chap: 1st., Such being the Law above mentiond lately repealed in Council, it Cant be provided for [in] that act, and therefore Stands repealed by their Book of Statutes, by the above Clause, which Declares those Laws whose Titles only are printed, to be Obsolete, expired and repealed; untill that Law be also repealed; when you look into the Law of the Queens Peace, you will see the usefullness of it, and then can Judge whether it ought to be Continued, and if so this last Law ought also to be repealed. 

I think it proper also to acquaint yr. Lordships, that there are Some other Acts which upon Recollection you may think proper to have repealed, with those already repealedviz. an Act passd in 1715 Chap: 52d for appointing a Town Ship in the County of Bath &c. - which erects Bath Town into a Borough, with a Power to send a Burgess to the Assembly, when they Should have 60 Houses in Town. Also two additional Acts, Besides the act repealed, which was passed in 1739, for the erecting the village of Newton in Hanover County into a Town and Town Ship by the name of Wilmington, viz. one passed in 1739 Chap: 4th, for the Better regulation of the Town Calld Wilmington in New Hanover County &c.which reenacts the Making the Town a Borough, and to Send a Member to the Assembly. And an Act passed in 1745 Chap: 10th for the better regulating the Town of Wilmington &c; which appoints markets, the appointing of which is also the Prerogative of the Crowns, you will please to Consider whether those also ought not to be repealed. An Act also passed in 1752 Chap: 6th, which divided part of Granville Johnston & Bladen Counties, into a County and parish by the name of Orange County &c.; and also an Act passed in 1753 for erecting the County of Rowan neither of which were repealed, and altho Orange County was erected a year before the other, yet it was overlookd, and it was omitted in my Instructions to send members to the next Assembly, altho it was allowd to Rowan; and therefore I did not think proper to send out a Writ for Orange, Contrary to my Instructions, which limited me to the Several Counties mentiond, and to the number of 60 members There hath also been a new County Erected Since, in the Assembly held in March last, Calld Cumberland, as also Brunswick Town into a Borough; which you will See in the Laws of last Sessions sent over to you Since I left England, by President Rowan; I Believe yr. Lordships will represent all those Laws fit to be repealed as soon as possible, otherwise I Shall be obligd to Issue out writs for the members, and hope for yr. Instructions to give a Charter to Orange County, as well as to the Rest, and to know whether I Shall do the Same to Cumberland County, and Brunswick Town, or whether the two last may be ours, until I See whether it is necessary for his majestys service, and the Conveniency of the Colony. 

Im afraid I have tired yr. Lordships, and therefore Shall only assure yr. Lordships that I Shall do my utmost when the Assembly meets, to write and Hop up their Spirit against French Incroachments, and their villanous Scheme; and to promote a mission in the Colonies to act in Concert against them; and beg leave to assure you, that I am with the Greatest Respect.

My Lords yr. Lordships most Obedient & most Humble Servant

Arthur Dobbs

North Carolina.
Letter from Arthur Dobbs Esqr. Govr. of North Carolina, dated at Newbern ye 9th. of Novembr. 1754. acquainting the Board with his Arrival there ye 31st. of October last, & taking upon him the Administration of that Government.

Recd. March ye 12th
Read April 6 1755.

C. 44.