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North-Carolina Assembly




North-Carolina, ss.

At an Assembly begun and held at Newbern the fourth day of April, in the fifteenth year of the reign of our Sovereign Lord George the Third, by the grace of God of Great Britain, France, and Ireland, King, Defender of the Faith, etc˙, and in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and seventy-five, being the first session of this present Assembly:

The Clerk of the Crown having certified that the following persons were duly elected, and returned Representatives for the respective Counties and Towns; viz:

ANSON County. — (None.)

BEAUFORT. — Roger Ormond, Thomas Respess, Jun.

BERTIE. — John Johnston, David Stanley.

BLADEN. — William Salter, James White.

BRUNSWICK. — Robert Howe, John Rowan.

BRUTE. — William Person, Green Hill.

CAVERN. — James Coor, Lemuel Hatch.

CARTERET. — William Thompson, Solomon Shephard.

CHOWAN. — Samuel Johnston, Thomas Oldham, Thomas Benbury, Thomas Jones, Thomas Hunter.

CURRITUCK. — Thomas Macknight, Francis Williamson, Solomon Perkins, Samuel Jarvis, Nathan Poyner.

CUMBERLAND. — Farquard Campbell, Thomas Rutherford.

CHATHAM. — (None.)

DOBBS. — Richard Caswell, William McKinnie.

DUPLIN. — Thomas Gray, Thomas Hicks.

EDGECOMBE. — (None.)

GRANVILLE. — Thomas Person, Memucan Hunt.

GUILFORD. — Nicholas Long, Benjamin McCulloch.

HALIFAX. — Nicholas Long, Benjamin McCulloch.

HERTFORD. — Needham Bryan, Benjamin Williams.

JOHNSTON. — Needham Bryan, Benjamin Williams.

MARTIN. — (None.)



NEW-HANOVER. — John Ashe, William Hooper.

NORTHAMPTON. — Allen Jones, Jeptha Atherton.

ORANGE. — Ralph McNair, Thomas Hart.

ONSLOW. — William Cray, Henry Rhodes.

PASQUOTANK. — Jonathan Hearring, Isaac Gregory, Edward Everigin, Joseph Reding, Joseph Jones.

PERQUIMANS. — John Harvey, Benjamin Harvey, Andrew Knox, Thomas Harvey, John Whedbee.

PITT. — John Simpson, Edward Salter.

ROWAN. — Griffith Rutherford, Matthew Lock.

SURRY. — (None.)

TRYON. — William Moore, William Alston.

TYRRELL. — Benj˙ Spruill, Jos˙ Spruill, Jeremiah Fraser.

WAKE. — (None.)

For the Town of BATH. — William Brown.

BRUNSWICK. — Parker Quince.

CAMPBELTON. — Robert Rowan.

EDENTON. — Joseph Hewes.

HALIFAX. — (None.)

HILLSBOROUGH. — Francis Nash.

NEWBERN. — (None.)

SALISBURY. — (None.)

WILMINGTON. — Cornelius Harnett.

Pursuant to which the following persons appeared, viz: John Harvey,
Farquard Campbell,
Richard Caswell,
Andrew Knox,
Thomas Rutherford,
Thomas Macknight,
Joseph Hewes,
Jeremiah Fraser,
Solomon Perkins,
Samuel Johnston,
James Coor,
Samuel Jarvis,
Thomas Oldham,
Lemuel Hatch,
Nathan Poyner,
Thomas Benbury,
Thomas Person,
Griffith Rutherford,
Thomas Jones,
Memucan Hunt,
Cornelius Harnett,
Thomas Hunter,
Francis Nash,
Robert Howe,
Isaac Gregory,
John Simpson,
John Ashe,
Joseph Jones,
Edward Salter,
William Hooper,
John Campbell,
William Thompson,
Ralph Macnair,
John Johnston,
Solomon Sheppard,
William Person,
David Stanley,
Nicholas Long,
Green Hill,
Thomas Hicks,
Benjamin McCulloch,
Allen Jones,
William Salter,
William Cray,
Jeptha Atherton,
James White,
Henry Rhodes,
George Wynns.


The Clerk of this House waited on his Excellency the Governour, and acquainted him that a sufficient number of Members to constitute a House were met, and to desire his Excellency to issue a Commission, and appoint some of the members of Council to see them qualified.

Being returned, brought for answer that his Excellency would appoint two of the Members accordingly.

The Honourable Lewis H˙ De Rosset, and Alexander McCulloch, Esquires, two of the members of Council came to the House; and the above forty-eight Members were qualified, by taking the oaths by law appointed for the qualification of publick officers, and repealling and subscribing the test.

Mr˙ Caswell and Mr˙ Macknight waited on his Excellency the Governour to inform him that the Members had qualified, and that they waited to receive his commands.

Being returned, reported to the House that his Excellency would send a Message to the Members to wait on him.

Received from his Excellency the Governour a verbal message by his Secretary, desiring the attendance of the Members in the Palace at 12 o' clock.

The Members waited on his Excellency the Governour in the Palace, when he was pleased to direct that they return to the House and make choice of a Speaker.

The Members being returned to the House, Mr˙ Samuel Johnston proposed and set up John Harvey, Esquire, who was unanimously chosen Speaker, and placed in the chair accordingly.

On motion, Ordered, Mr˙ Knox and Mr˙ McCulloch wait on his Excellency the Governour, and acquaint him the House had made choice of a Speaker, and desire to know when they shall wait on his Excellency to present him.

Being returned, informed the House his Excellency would send a message when he would receive them.

Received from his Excellency the Governour a verbal message by his Secretary, requiring the immediate attendance of the House in the Palace.

The House waited on his Excellency the Governour in the Palace, and presented their Speaker, whom his Excellency was pleased to approve of.

Then Mr˙ Speaker requested his Excellency to confirm the rights and privileges of the House, and that no mistake or errour of his might be imputed to the House; to which his Excellency was pleased to answer, he would support the House in all their just rights and privileges, and then made a Speech to His Majesty' s Council and this House.

Mr˙ Speaker with the House being returned, Mr˙ Speaker reported that his Excellency the Governour had made a Speech to the Council and this House, a copy of which, to prevent mistake, he had obtained, and laid the same before the House.

Then, on motion, Ordered, the said Speech be read.

Read the same, and is as follows, to wit:

Speech of the Governour

Gentlemen of His Majesty' s Honourable Council, Mr˙ Speaker, and Gentlemen of the House of Assembly:

I have now met you in General Assembly, in hopes that, dismissing every cause of private dissention from your rninds you will calmly, unitedly, and faithfully apply yourselves to the discharge of the high and important office of legislation, in which you bear so great a share, according to the Constitution of this Country, that calls upon you for relief at this time in a most peculiar and pressing manner.

I look, gentlemen, with the extremest horrour and concern to the consequences of the violent and unjustifiable proceedings in some of His Majesty' s Colonies of this Continent, where in many places the innocent, unwary, and ignorant part of the people have been cruelly betrayed into measures highly inconsistent with their duty and allegiance to our most gracious Sovereign and the State, that tend immediately to involve them in the most embarrassing difficulties and distresses, and which, if pursued, must inevitably precipitate these Colonies from their present unparalleled state of prosperity into a train of miseries most dreadful to contemplate, whence ages of time will not redeem them to their now envied felicity. You, gentlemen, are bound by your duty to the King, to the State, and to this People, as well as I, by mine, to obviate the contagion


of these evil examples in this Country, and to defend it, if possible, from the ruin and distraction to which they plainly lead.

I see with infinite concern the unhappy influence they have already had among us. The meetings to which the people have been excited, the appointment of Committees, the violences these little unrestrained and arbitrary tribunals have done to the rights of His Majesty' s subjects, the flagrant and unpardonable insults they have offered to the highest authorities of the State, by some of their acts, which have been made publick; and the stop that has been put in some of the Counties to the regular course of justice, in imitation of the unwarrantable measures taken in other Colonies, but too plainly evince their baneful progress here, and loudly demand the most effectual exertion of your restraining and correcting powers.

You are now, gentlemen of the Assembly, by your duty to yourselves and to your constituents, most peculiarly called upon to oppose a meeting of Delegates, which the people have been invited to choose, and who are appointed to assemble at this very time and place in the face of the Legislature. This illegal meeting, pursuant to my duty to the King and to the Constitution of this Country, and from regard to your dignity and the just rights of the people, I have counteracted, and I shall continue to resist it by every means in my power. What can this mean gentlemen? Are you not the only lawful Representatives of the people in this Country, and competent to every legal purpose? Will you, then, submit to see your constituents misled, to violate their dearest privileges by wounding your dignity, and setting up Representatives derogatory to your just power and authority? This, gentlemen, is an insult to you of so violent a nature that it appears to me to demand your every possible discouragement, for its evident tendency is to excite a belief in the people that they are capable of electing Representatives of superiour powers to the Members of your House; which, if it can possibly obtain, must lead to obvious consequences, to the destruction of the essence, if not the very being of an Assembly in this Province, and finally to the utter dissolution and overthrow of its established happy Constitution.

This, gentlemen, among others I have before mentioned, is one of the fatal expedients employed in some of the other Colonies, under the influence of factious and wicked men, intent upon promoting their own horrid purposes at the hazard of their Country' s ruin. I hope they have been adopted here more from a spirit of imitation than ill principles, and that you, clearly discerning the mischiefs with which they are pregnant, will heartily concur with me in opposing dawnings of so dangerous a system.

As an object of the greatest consequence, to all the Colonies, I would recommend it to your first attention to employ your utmost care and assiduity to remove those false impressions, by which the engines of sedition have laboured to effect (but too successfully) a most unnatural division between the Parent State and these Colonies, which, under her protecting, indulgent, fostering care, have attained to a degree of prosperity beyond all example. The basest arts have been practised upon the innocent people, and they have been blindly led to partake in guilt, to which their hearts are confessedly averse; and thus, step by step, they will be seduced from their duty, and all the bonds of civil society will be destroyed, unless timely remedies are applied. This, gentlemen, is a melancholy prospect, that must seriously alarm every good subject, every humane, every honest man; and it will be your duty, as guardians of the constitutional rights of the people, vigorously to oppose proceedings so manifestly subversive of their freedom and happiness.

Be it your care, then, gentlemen, to undeceive the people; to lead them back from the dangerous precipice to which an ill spirit of faction is urging them, to the paths of their duty; set before them the sacred tie of allegiance, by which, as subjects, they are bound to the State; inform them of the reciprocal benefits which their strict observance thereof entitles them to; and warn them of the danger to which they must expose their lives and properties, and all that they hold dear, by revolting from it.

The frequent occasions you have had, in your several capacities as Members of the Legislature and Magistrates, most solemnly to swear this allegiance, which is an implied


duty upon every subject of every State, where it is not professed and declared, must have brought it home to your own consideration, and you are therefore certainly well qualified to explain the obligatory nature and importance of it to the people. They will naturally look up to you for a rule of conduct in these wild and distempered times, and I have no doubt that, taught by your example, they will immediately return to their duly and obedience to the laws, and gladly free themselves from that tyranny which ill-directed zeal and lawless ambition, by all the arts of misrepresentation and delusion, are courting them to submit to. I have the high satisfaction to tell you, gentlemen, that I have already received signal proofs of the steady loyalty and duty of a great number of the good people of this Province, and I have the fullest assurance that many more will follow their laudable example. These, gentlemen, are favourable presages, upon which I congratulate you, and which I persuade myself your prudent conduct will improve to the honour and advantage of your Country.

The state of the Colonies is at this time the subject of the deliberations of the grand Council of the Nation, from whose wisdom and justice they have every thing to expect consistent with the principles of the British Constitution and the general welfare of the Empire, while they continue in the duty they owe to it. The confessed generous character of Britain, and the magnanimity of our most gracious Sovereign, who, through the whole course of his reign, has uniformly made the happiness of his people the object of all his views, and the rule of all his actions, insures it to them. On this great A rbiter of British rights it therefore becomes you to rely with the fullest confidence, and to deserve, by a dutiful behaviour, its favourable regard. If a precedent could be wanting, as I cannot suppose it is, to induce to such right conduct, one of the most respectable of the Colonies affords, it to you ; and you will see, without question, how highly improper it will be, at such a conjuncture, to countenance any measures of a contrary nature. If the people of this Colony have any representations to make to the supreme powers of the State, you are the only legal and proper channel of their applications, and through you they may be assured of every attention to their dutiful petitions. You, gentlemen, I dare say, esteem too highly the rights of the people committed to your guardianship, and know too well the limits of your own power, to consign them to any other hands that must only be disqualified to serve the people, but will infallibly divest you of that dignity and consequence which belong to you as their lawful Representatives.

Let me hope, gentlemen, that, laying aside all passion and prejudice, you will calmly, and with one accord, pursue such a line of conduct in these points of general concern to America, as may be most likely to heal the unhappy differences now subsisting between Great Britain and her Colonies. Consider how great an opportunity you now have to serve, to save your Country, to manifest your loyalty to the best of Kings, and to demonstrate your attachment to the British Constitution — the most free, the most glorious and happiest political system in the whole world. If you consult but for a moment your own interest and welfare, and the happiness of this people, I cannot be disappointed in my hopes that you will avail yourselves of the occasion. Be it your glory, gentlemen, to record, to latest posterity, that at a, time when the monster Sedition dared to rear his impious head in America, the people of North-Carolina, inspired with a just sense of their duty to their King and Country, and animated, by the example of its Legislature, stood among the foremost of his Majesty' s subjects, to resist his baneful snares and to repel the fell invader of their happiness. Thus, gentlemen, you may redeem your sinking Country to prosperity; thus you will acquire to yourselves immortal honour and renown: while a contrary conduct must inevitably plunge this once happy land in horrours beyond all imagination; whence nothing can recover it but the generous hand of Britain, interposed to save you from your own destruction. Thus, gentlemen, I have set before you, upon principles of your duty to the Constitution and the welfare of your Country, the necessity of discouraging, to the utmost of your power, the illegal meetings into which the innocent people have been betrayed, and the unlawful establishments and appointments they have been led to give their sanction to. I have also stated


to you the more especial obligations you lie under to prevent that meeting to which the people have been invited to send Deputies here at this time, and I have fully admonished you of the ruinous consequences of a different conduct. In addition to these powerful motives, gentlemen, I am authorized to say, that the unwarrantable measure of appointing Delegates to attend a Congress at Philadelphia,, now in agitation, will be highly offensive to the King, and this, I cannot doubt, will be reason with you of the greatest force to oppose so dangerous a step.

Your next attention, gentlemen, is due to the particular state of this Country, that calls for your strictest regard.

The exhausted state of the publick Treasury, the large demands upon it that remain unsatisfied, the dues of publick officers that are unpaid, call loudly for your attention to the ill condition of publick credit and the finances of this Country, and I trust you will not fail to pay that regard which is due to points of so great importance. I heartily wish, with regard to matters of finance and modes of taxation, as well as to the regulation of the Treasury, to draw your attention to the admirable, systems of New-York and Maryland, in which last Colony puiblick credit is established upon the firmest basis; but the example of every other Colony, with regard to the latter article, I am sorry to say it, is better than has been yet adopted here.

You have now, gentlemen, a fair opportunity to restore to this Province, by a law for the permanent establishment of Courts, that great store of political blessings, arising from a due and regular administration of justice, of which I have long lamented to see it deprived. I have received His Majesty' s determination upon the proposed regulations with regard to proceedings by attachment, which have been the apparent cause of this misfortune. This I shall communicate to you in the course of your session, and I hope it will obviate all the difficulties that have occurred on this subject. When the establishment of Courts shall come under your; consideration, you cannot fail to see the necessity of making provision for the Judges, and the propriety of that prevision being adequate and honourable, and suitable to offices of so high dignity and importance.

Mr˙ Speaker, and Gentlemen of the House of Assembly:

I cannot doubt that you will see the same necessity for supporting the usual establishment of Fort Johnston, founded upon the same principles of public utility that have induced you to maintain it during so long a series of years.

Gentlemen of His Majesty' s Honourable Council, Mr˙ Speaker, and Gentlemen of the Home of Assembly:

I am sensible that the advanced season of the year requires your attendance on your domestick affairs, and I shall therefore be glad to find that your unanimity in the conduct of the very important business you are now met upon, affords me opportunity to conclude your session speedily and happily; on my part, I do assure you, nothing shall be wanting to promote these good ends.


Newbern, 4th April, 1775,


Then, on motion, Ordered, His Excellency the Governour' s Speech lie for consideration till to-morrow morning.

On motion, James Green, Jr˙, is appointed Clerk to this House; James Glasgow, Assistant; Benjamin Fordham, Mace Bearer; Francis Lynaugh and Evan Swann, Doorkeepers.

Mr˙ Jonathan Hearring, one of the Members for Pasquotank County, appeared.

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