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Governour' s Speech considered in Committee


The Order of the Day being read, for taking into consideration his Excellency' s Speech,

On motion, Resolved, The House resolve itself into a Committee of the Whole House.

The House resolved itself into a Committee of the Whole House accordingly, and chose Mr˙ Andrew Knox Chairman, and after some time spent therein, came to several Resolutions.

Then Mr˙ Speaker resumed the Chair, and Mr˙ Chairman reported that the Committee that had taken under consideration his Excellency the Governour' s Speech, and came to several Resolutions thereon, to wit:

Resolved, That the Committee to be appointed to prepare an Address, in answer to the Governour' s Speech, be instructed to express that the Assembly of North-Carolina have the highest sense of the allegiance due to the King;


the oath so repeatedly taken by them to that purpose, made it unnecessary for them to be reminded of it. That it has always been their pleasure to express, and will ever be so to testify by their actions, that allegiance which, however, they profess to owe to His Majesty as their Sovereign, who was by the same Constitution which established that allegiance and enjoined that oath (happily for his subjects) solemnly bound to protect them in all their just rights and privileges, by which a reciprocal duty became incumbent upon both.

That it is the undoubted right of His Majesty' s subjects to petition for a redress of grievances, and to remonstrate against them either in separate or collective capacity, and that in order to agree upon such petition or remonstrance, they have a right to collect themselves together; and while they conduct themselves in a peaceable and orderly manner, they deserve not to be called an illegal meeting, or to have the imputation of sedition cast upon them. The Assembly, therefore, can never deem the meeting of the present Convention at Newbern, in order to appoint Delegates to petition for a redress of grievances, an illegal meeting, nor conceive it derogatory to the power and authority of the Assembly, or wounding to its dignity; and that though the Assembly are the legal Representatives, and perhaps adequate to every purpose of, the people, yet the frequent unexpected prorogations, some of them proclaimed so late that many of the Members, did not receive information thereof till their arrival in Town, gave the people no reason to expect that the Assembly would be permitted to meet till it was too late to send Delegates to the Continental Congress at Philadelphia; a measure which America in general, and this Province particular, thought absolutely necessary, and which, as it is the full sense of our constituents, we, as their Representatives, highly approve.

That the Assembly are entirely ignorant of, and do not believe that any base arts have been practised upon the people of this Colony, in order to lead them from their duty but that the steps they have taken have resulted from a full conviction that the Parliament of Great Britain had, by a variety of oppressive and unconstitutional proceedings, made the measures they pursued absolutely necessary. That therefore his Excellency' s asserting that such measures have been owing to base arts practised upon them by wicked and designing men, is not only an injustice done to the people, but manifestly tends to weaken the influence which the united petitions of His Majesty' s American subjects might otherwise have upon their Sovereign for a redress of those grievances of which they have such a right to complain, and that therefore the Committee be directed, in the strongest terms, to refute such assertion.

That the House would feel inexpressible concern at the information given them by his Excellency of his being authorized to say that the appointing Delegates to attend the Congress now in agitation would be highly offensive to the King, had they not recently received undoubted information that His Majesty has been pleased to receive, very graciously, the united Petitions of his American subjects, addressed to him by the Continental Delegates lately convened at Philadelphia; and that, therefore, they can never suppose that a similar application to the Throne will give offence to His Majesty, or prevent his receiving any petition for redness of grievances which his subjects have a right to prefer, either separately or unitedly.

That the Committee appointed by the people in the several Counties and Towns in this Colony, in consequence of the Resolutions of the Continental Congress held at Philadelphia, were the result of necessity, not choice, as the only means left them to prevent, as far as in them lay, the operation of those oppressive and unconstitutional Acts of Parliament, endeavoured to be imposed upon America by Great Britain; and that the Assembly have not been informed of any steps taken by those Committees but such as they were compelled to take from that necessity, and for the salutary purpose aforesaid.

That the Assembly would be glad to receive information of any marks of loyalty to the King, given his Excellency by the inhabitants of this Colony, had not the manner in which that information was conveyed seemed to be intended to establish a belief that a great number of the people of this Province were disaffected to their Sovereign. That, therefore, the House instruct their Committee to do justice


to the good people of this Colony, whose Representatives they are, by bearing testimony to the world in their answer to the Governour' s Speech, that His Majesty has no subjects more loyal than the inhabitants of North-Carolina, nor more ready, at the expense of their lives and fortunes, to protect and support his person, crown; and dignity. That if, however, by the signal proofs his Excellency speaks of, he means those Addresses lately published in the North-Carolina Gazette, said to be presented to his Excellency, his congratulations thereupon can in no way be acceptable to the Assembly, but from the consideration that in so numerous a Colony so few could be found weak enough to be seduced from their duty, and prevailed upon by the base arts of wicked and designing men, to adopt measures so contrary to the sense of all America, and so destructive of those just rights and privileges it was their duty to support.

That the Committee be instructed, also, to express the warmest attachment to our sister Colonies in general, the highest compassion for the sufferings of the Town of Boston in particular, and the fixed and determined resolution of this Colony to unite with the other Colonies in every effort to maintain those rights and liberties, which, as subjects of a British King, they possess, and which it is a duty they owe to posterity, to band down to them unimpaired.

Resolved, That the Committee be instructed to account for the deficiency of the Public Funds.

That the Committee express their sense of the necessity of the establishment of Courts of Justice, and their willingness to adopt any plan which they may judge adapted to the circumstances of the Country.

That the Committee be instructed to express that the exhausted state of the Finances, and the particular circumstances of the Country render it inconvenient and unnecessary any longer to support the establishment of Fort Johnston.

On motion, Ordered, The foregoing Resolutions be instructions to the Committee to he appointed to draw up the Address in answer to his Excellency the Governour' s Speech.

On motion, Ordered, That Mr˙ Howe, Mr˙ Hooper, Mr˙ Johnston, Mr˙ Hewes, and Mr˙ Macknight, be appointed a Committee to prepare an Address in answer to his Excellency the Governour' s Speech, and report the same to the House for approbation.

Then the House adjourned till to-morrow morning 10 o' clock.