Memorial by Arthur Dobbs to the Treasury, 1754
To The Right Honourable Henry Pelham Esqr. and To The Rest of The Lords Commissioners of His Majesty's Treasury.
The Memorial of Arthur Dobbs Esqr. His Majesty's Governor of the Province of North Carolina in America
That in the year 1729 upon his Majesty's purchasing the Respective Interests of seven of the Lords Proprietors of the Provinces or Territories called Carolina, in the Charters granted by King Charles the Second to Eight Lords Proprietors, There remain'd an undivided Eighth of the Grant by the said Charters vested in the Earl Granville, then Lord Carteret, which was also in the Acts of Parliament made for establishing & confirming the said Purchase saved & reserved to the said Earl and his Heirs in Right of the above Charters.
That His Majesty by his Royal Warrant of the 25 Septembr. 1733 directed to the Auditor & Surveyor General of all his Colonies in America, and to the Receiver General of his Quit Rents arising in his Province of North Carolina Ordered & appointed an Establishment, amounting to the whole to £1455 ⅌Ann[um], to be paid to the Governor & several other Officers, therein mention'd for the time being, & to their Successors, out of His Majesty's Royal Revenue of Quit Rents arising in the said Province of North Carolina.
That afterwards, Vizt. in the year 1744, His Majesty Did, by & with the Advice of the Lords of his most Honourable Privy Council &c., Grant & assure unto the said Earl Granville & his Heirs one divided Eighth part of the said Provinces, To Hold the said Earl in Severalty; In Consideration of the said Earl's having conveyed released & confirmed to his Majesty the other seven parts thereof, and his Rights and Interest in the Government of the same.
That the said Earl having accepted an Allotment of his said divided Eighth out of that part of North Carolina, which is next adjoining or contiguous to Virginia, whereby the Intersection of the seven Eighths of the Charters purchased, by His Majesty as aforesaid was prevented His Majesty's Revenue of Quit Rents arising in North Carolina became lessend & reduced, by His Majesty's like Revenue in South Carolina became raised & Advanced, and so much the more considerably as South Carolina is a better cultivated & more improved Country than North Carolina is, or is likely to be for want of good ports & of a staple Commodity to supply the European & other Markets.
That His Majesty's said Fund of Quit Rents arising in North Carolina, so charged with the above mention'd Establishment as aforesaid, was by the above means, rendered greatly defective & insufficient for the annual payment or Discharge of the same.
Your Memorialist also further sheweth to our Lordships, That, previous to, and in order to obtain the said Establishment, an Estimate was made of the yearly Value of His Majesty's said Revenue of Quit Rents in North Carolina; which did then appear to be a sufficient Fund for defraying the said yearly Charge on the same.
But afterwards, upon the Applications of the several Officers of the Crown for their Salaries under the abovementiond Establishment, It was found That the said Revenue of Quit Rents in North Carolina, so charged wth. the same, was insufficient by almost Two Thirds for the Payment of their several Demands.
That upon an Enquiry & Examitiation into the Cause of the said Deficiency, It was discovered That, besides the Allotment to the Earl Granville as aforesaid, The said Estimate had been wrongly taken, Scilicet, from the Numbers of Warrants which had been made out to diverse people for the surveying of particular Tracts of Land, upon which Warrants Quit Rents are not payable, the same being only leading Steps to, or introductory of subsequent Patents: Whereas the said Estimate ought to have been made from the Number of Patents, which had been taken out in pursuance of such Warrants of Survey from wch. Patents the Payment of Quit Rents does only commence.
That it has since been also found, That very many of the said Warrants of survey had been granted to fictitious Names, or to particular persons, to serve immediate purposes only; for upon the Granting of such Warrants the party enters into possession, & being in Possession has an Opportunity of shipping the Lands of the Timber to The Consequence of which was, that few Patents were taken out in pursuance of such Warrants (all the purposes they intended by the same being answered) but great Numbers of, ‘em, that had been prepared for Claimants in Consequence of their said warrants, are still remaining in the Secretary's Office in the said Province, To the great Expence and Loss of the particular Officers belonging to it, as well as to the great Reduction of the aforemention'd Estimate wrongly so made of the said Revenue.
That great Difficulties are even found in the collecting of such Quit Rents in North Carolina, as are due to his Majesty from real Tenants; occasion'd by the Operation of many bad laws, that have been from time to time enacted in that province, & which are yet unrepealed; Such as the Law relating to Distresses, which vests the property of the Goods distrained, at whatever appraised Value, in the plaintiff, or party distraining, as a full Satisfaction for his Debt or Dues. The Law that rates particular Commodities at extravagant prices, & makes them good Tenders in Discharge of Quit Rents & other Debts. And that which exempts Negro's & other the most valuable Goods or Effects from being distrained. And also by the Want of a good Rent Roll; which cannot possibly be obtained, till an Act shall be passed in the said province for a general Registry of the Titles of all the Tenants of Lands within the same; Whereby the above, & all other Frauds, will be detected; & It will be discover'd how great a quantity of Lands have been, and still are, holden without Quit Rents being paid for the same.
The Consequence of all which is, that an Arrear of several thousand pounds is now due to the Officers of the Crown (or to the Representatives of such as are deceased) under his Majesty's Gracious Grant above said; who have for several years served in their different Stations, Some with little, & Others without any Remuneration, under great Difficulties & Distresses, as appears by some of their Memorials now lately presented to your Lordships for Relief.
Your Memorialist therefore humbly prays, as his Majesty's said Fund of Quit Rents arising in North Carolina (which still remains, under the Difficulties & Mismanagements aforesaid, to be the only Fund for defraying the said Establishment, notwithstanding the aforemention'd allotment & Reduction) is at present so insufficient to answer the aforesaid annual Charge thereupon, & much more so to pay off the said Arrears,which will otherwise be continually increasing & accumulating, That your Lordships will be pleased to lay before his Majesty the State of his said Fund of Quit Rents in North Carolina, so charged as aforesaid; Together with the Deficiency thereof; And also the Arrears due on the said Establishment; To the End that your Memorialist's Sallary (which is but a reasonable Allowance for supporting as well the Dignity & Honour of his said Office of Governor, as for a Compensation to him for the Hazards Fatigues & Labours which he must necessarily undergo in the Execution thereof) may be made payable out of some other fund; Until such time as the said Arrears shall be paid off, and His Majesty's said Revenue of Quit Rents be put upon a better footing; Which Your Memorialist has good hopes will, under proper Direction and Management, for which no Endeavours of his shall be wanting, be, in a short time sufficient to answer the whole of the aforemention'd Establishment
All which is most humbly submitted to your Lordships to represent to his Majesty in such Manner as to you in your great Wisdom shall seem meet.
Quit Rents N. Carolina
J.W. Do. Read after 1743
Pelham Ld. of the Treasury