Newbern 19. Decr. 1754
I herewith send you the Speech I made at the Opening of the Assembly with the Addresses of the Council & Assembly, & a Message sent to them about the French Scheme for ruining the Colonies. They met the 12th. pursuant to the Proclamation, but as the House that Day was very thin, occasion'd by several from the Northward being stop'd at the Ferries, and several from the Westward upon Account of their Distance from hence, in order to give them time to arrive, and to give neither Party Umbrage I prorogu'd the Assembly 'till next Morning; when I sent them a Message to attend me in the Council or upper house, & directed them to choose a Speaker, and to return immediately when chosen for approbation, out of 60 Members for which Writs were issued, 52 appear'd, and upon the Division for Speaker, the Northern Members having named Capt. John Campbell, elected for Bertie, against Mr. Saml. Swann the late Speaker, elected for Onslow, the Votes were equal 26 for each; and therefore no Election, upon which they sent me a Message to let me know the Reason they cou'd not attend me; some advised me to prorogue them again 'till next Day, they desired to have my Opinion, as the Case stood, how they were to act, I told them I thought it an unprecedented Case, but in all Cases where there was a right, there ought to be a Remedy, and therefore there ought to be a casting vote, for in Case the six absent Members shou'd arrive & still 3 be of each Side, there might then be an equality, and therefore I thought the Clerk who put the Question must in that Case decide it; but as he was no Member, I thought it more prudent to wait the Arrival of some of the Members who were hourly expected, and so return'd, and left the Assembly to wait until the Evening. Mr. Swan who had all the Votes he cou'd expect, except the Members from Anson who were not arrived, nor expected that Day, and also expecting that 2 of the Members from Currituc wou'd arrive that Evening, offer'd to give it up, but his Southern friends wou'd not consent, but upon talking with them separately, they thought it advisable that he shou'd, & after Dinner he came to me to acquaint me that to prevent any Delay or Difficulty, he had prevaild with them to let him decline it; and then Mr. Campbell was declared Speaker, and a Message being sent to me, I directed them to come next morning, Saturday, for Approbation, altho there may be some little sparring betwixt the parties, yet both have assured me it shall have no Effect upon publick Affairs, or make Administration uneasy, so that I am sanguine enough to hope for a reasonable & speedy supply, altho' the ways & Means are difficult, as there is no Cash in the Country; and the present paper Currency not passable in Virginia, But as the Fence rail Law, as they call it, is repeal'd, and they have now my plan for a permanent paper Currency by a Loan Office, and the Virginians declaring their Willingness to take our Currency, when put upon a certain Security and our obliging the Carolinians to take them back again as Cash for their Goods sold in Virginia; we expect to have our Currency at par, when a good fund is fix'd to sink the present paper Currency, they have also my proposal for a Copper Coinage in the Tower before them, to give us small Change, which at present they seem to relish. If these be agreed to, then I must get a Power to apply the sums at present granted for the fortifications at Ocacoc and Core Sound, to pay the Troops we shall be able to raise, which I hope will be 300 Men at British Pay, in independent Companies, to lessen the Expense, and if any further sum is wanted until Supplys are granted & raised. I must get a further Power to apply as much of the £18000 left for his Majesty's Determination, as will give Virginia the Benefit of the troops rais'd in due time, and if I can get 8d. a Gallon Duty raised upon all Spirits and Wine imported, to sink the present paper Currency, we may hope to get rid of it in a reasonable time, and then the Interest of the Bills in the Loan Office will be a perpetual fund to answer the Contingencies & Emergencies of Government repairing fortifications &c.
The Tuskerora Indians who are at present here amount to 100 Men & 200 Women & Children, they came to make their Acknowledgmts. and to make Complaints that some of the Northern Settlers forbid their hunting in the Winter on their Grounds. I have assured them of my redressing any wrong done to them; and altho’ they live in the middle of this Colony, yet I have by the Consent of the Assembly given them a small present of about £25 Value, to shew our other Indian Allies that we are desirous of their living with us as Brethren, and sharing in all our Privileges. I expect that the Catawbas may also come Here, & we ought to give them a present, but our present Poverty & want of Credit, will be a Difficulty; if I can by my Diligence increase his Majesty's Quit Rents considerably, so as not only to pay the Establishment, but also the Arrears in a short time, I wou'd humbly hope that your Lordships wou'd represent it to his Majesty, that we might have a Power to apply as much as he shall think proper, out of the superabundant Quit Rents, in presents for those and such other Indians as we can gain into our Allegiance. I am preparing a Paper to shew what proceedings have been in settling our Southern Boundary with a plan of what I think will be the proper Line, with Reasons to Support it, and shall immediately write to South Carolina that they may do the same, and then lay the Sentiments of both Provinces with their Reasons to support the Boundary that each proposes for your Lordship's Consideration, to be laid before His Majesty to determine it as he shall judge it most for his Service, & the Good of each Colony; for it is absolutely necessary that a Line shou'd be immediately determin'd, and if it shou'd be left to be determin'd by these 2 Governments, it woud meet with almost infinite Delays; and probably we shou'd never agree, but will gladly submit to whatever his Majesty orders, when the whole State of the Boundary expected by each Province, with their Reasons for the Alteration they desire be laid before his Majesty. I wrote fully to Lord Hallifax the State of our fort at Cape Fear, and the Necessity there is for an independent Company, to which I refer; the Letter went by a Ship from Cape Fear, this I expect will go by Capt. Byrne in the Sea flower bound for London, who I expect is not yet sail'd from Ocacoc, but am uncertain whether he mayn't have sail'd before this gets down to Ocacoc which wou'd occasion a further Delay.
I have not yet got in the Number of the Militia and Taxables, but they are now bringing them in. I find it will be of more Service to relax me of some of the Instructions about Cultivation, for I find it is not practicable to get 5 Acres improv'd in one year, 3 is as much as they can do, and go on with other Improvements at the same time; and as the present Settlers, who are out of the Pine Lands improve their Plantations as fast as they can, it wou'd discourage their taking of Lands, to oblige them to do more than they can accomplish; and I am still of Opinion that it is better to give to rich Settlers, who come from the Northward, tho’ they have not at present a Right to so much from their Number, 640 acres provided I don't exceed that Quantity for they will not remove for a small farm, when they can get more in other Provinces, who don't stint them so much; I shall find great Difficulty in getting a proper Rentroll, there is not one plot or Chart of any Survey lodged in any Office, in the King's part of this province, there being only one which is annex'd to the Patent, The only Entry in the Secretary's or Auditor's offices, being only the Bearings of the Lines, as enter'd in the Patents, so that upon reexamining the patents to get duplicates of the Charts, wch. I must do, before I can do Justice to the Crown, I am afraid it will appear that different Surveyors have enter'd into the Surveys of those who went before them, and that the Plots will not tally with each other as they ought, but probably may overlap one another, and in many Cases there may be great Vacancies not granted at all, but occupied by the neighbouring Patentees, but I am determined to go through them regularly County by County, until I can compleat the Rent roll and keep all the Officers to their Duty, & after properly dividing the Counties, when I give them Charters, and fixing the Boundaries of each County, I will have Duplicates of every Chart lodged in the proper Office to prevent future frauds; for want of proper places to keep the Offices in and to preserve Records upon Account of the changeable State of this Province, whenever a Receiver General, Surveyor General, Secretary, or Auditor dies, all Papers die with them, for the Successors say they have got no Papers, or if any those very insignificant from their Predecessors, which I must beg leave to say is owing to the Appointment of improper persons, who know nothing of the Busyness, & therefore neglect it, and leave it all to their Deputies or Clerks, who only work for themselves, and not for the publick; every Officer or Clerk going to his Plantation, and neglecting the publick Busyness. So that I expect a great Deal of trouble, and a thorough Application to put things into a proper order, to do Justice to his Majesty, and to the People in the province. The Assembly having voted £8000 and an Address to his Majesty, which they propose to present to me tomorrow, as the Vessel leaves this tomorrow Morning, lest the Ship should be sailed from the Bar, I send this by her, and probably shall write wth the Address, and get a sloop that goes off in the Evening to carry it to the Ship, in Case she has not sailed, and therefore shall conclude, being wth the greatest Respect
Your Lordship's most obedient &
most humble Servant
Letter from Arthur Dobbs Esqr. Govr. of North Carolina, to the Board, dated at Newbern the 9th of Decemr. 1754 transmitting the following publick Papers.
Recd March 18th
Read April 8. 1755.
With four Papers, & Verts.
Printed Journal of the General Assembly of North Carolina, beginning the 19th of Febry. Ending the 9th of March 1754.