Dec 26, 1754
Whereas the present as well as future Happyness of Mankind essentially depends on the know= ledge & practice of true Religion: and a permanent & certain provision for an Orthodox Clergy may conduce to the Encouragement of pious & learned Ministers of the gospel to settle and reside in the several Parishes in this province to the Advancement of the protestant Religion and Encouragment of Virtue or Morality Be it enacted by his Excellency [text above] (Dele) Arthur Dobbs Esquire, ^(And the) Governor, by and with the Advices [text above] (Dele) of Consent of His Majesty's Council and 6 general [text above] (Dele) assembly of North Carolina [text above] (Dele) it is hereby [text above] (Dele) enacted by the Authority of the same that this government be and it is hereby Divided into Distinct parishes in the Manner following that is to say St. Pauls Parish in Chowan County Berkley Parish in Perquimons County St. John's Parish on the Southwest side of Pasquotank River and St. Peters 9 Parish on the ^(North) East side of Pasquotank River in Pasquotank County Currituck parish in Currituck County Society Parish in Bertie County St. Andrews Parish in Tyrel County St. Thomas's parish in Beaufort County St. georges parish in, Hyde County Northwest parish in Northampton County St. John's parish in Granville County St. Mathews - Parish in Orange County St. Luke's Parish in Rowan County St. Davids , , Parish in Cumberland County St. Gabriel's Parish in Duplin County St George's Parish in Anson County Edgecomb Parish in Edgecombe [begin crossed out] 14 [end crossed out] County St. Martin's Parish in Bladen County St. [begin crossed out] Alexander and St. Philips Parish in New Hanover County [end crossed out] [text below] St. James parish on the East Side of Cape Fear River and Saint Philips parish on the West Side of Cape Fear River [begin crossed out] in Northampton County [end crossed out] from the Mouth of the said River running up the North West River to the bounds of the County. Inclusive of the Island at the mouth of the North West and North East Rivers commonly caled Eagles - 274 Island, [text above] (in New Hanover County) St. Patrick's Parish in Johnston County - Christ Church in ^ (Parish) in Craven County St. John's parish in Onslow County and St John's ----- Parish in Carteret County. And be it further enacted by the Authority aforesaid that the Freeholders of each respective parish aforesaid - " - - " - " - " - shall or they are hereby impower'd as directed to meet on the first Monday aftor the Tenth day of June next after the Ratification of this act at the Court house or place where the County Court in each respective County 22 aforesaid is or shall be held ^(or at the normal place of Electing Vestrymen) and on Easter Monday every third year thereafter then or there to choose or elect from afore Parish 23 Freeholders to serve as Vestrymen for the three years next insuing which Vestrymen so chosen shall by the Constable [text above] Dele [text above] (together with the Minister of [??]) 24 or Constable [text above] (Dele) ^(by the Sheriff or his Deputy) in each of the said parishes respectively be summoned to meet at the Church and where there is no Church at the Court House or Place where the County Court is or shall be held within forty Days next after such 26 Choice to qualify themselves according to [hole] of this act; and if the [text above] (Dele) said Constable [text above] (Sheriff's Deputy) or Constables [text above] (Dele) or any of 27. Them [text above] (Dele) shall neglect or refuse [text above] (Dele) to summon the Vestrymen aforesaid he or they so neglecting [text above] (Dele) or refusing shall forfeit [text above] (Dele) & pay the Sum of twenty shillings proclamation Money for each [text above] (Dele) & every Vestryman not summoned as aforesaid who shall 29. reside within [text above] (his) the District of such [text above] (Dele) Constable to [text below] (Dele) be levyed and applyed as herein after directed. Dele And that the Election may be made in a fair open manner Be it enacted by the authority aforesaid that at 31. all Elections of Vestry Men hereafter to, be made the Sherif of the County ^(or his Deputy) shall attend at the Court house of y. County 32. or place where the County Court is held in Case there is [text above] (Dele) no Court house ^(or usual place of electing Vestrymen) and there take the votes in the following manner that is to say he shall open the polls at ten o Clock in the forenoon and after Proclamation to the freeholders to come & give their Votes for Vestrymen shall take a List of the names of the Voters and of each person [text above] (Dele) for whom each [text above] (Dele) Voter ^(who) shall give his [text above] (Dele Their) Suffrage which shall be for neither more nor less than twelve and the Votes shall be given by Ballott in the same manner as has heretofore been customary for electing of Bishopes openly [text above] (Dele) and the poll kept open till Sun set unless the majority of the freeholders there present shall agree to have it closed sooner and the sheriff shall then cast up the number of votes given for each candidate and declare the twelve who shall have the greatest number of Suffrages to be duly elected and in case of an equality of votes among any of the Candidates the Sheriff shall have the casting vote and in no other Case give his vote, and to prevent Disputes concerning who shall be understood to be a freeholder Be it further inacted that no person who hath not an Estate real for his own Life or the Life of some other person or an Estate of greater Dignity in fifty acres of Land in the parish for which such Election shall be made shall be deemed a Freeholder within the meaning of this act and any one of the Candidates may in Case he suspects any person going to give his Vote hath not a 44 freehold within the meaning of this act object to such person giving his Vote and ^(require) the Sherif to tender him an Oath [text above] (or affirmation. concerning his Qualification which Oath ^(or affirmation) the Sherif is hereby impower'd & directed to administer in the following words to wit you shall swear ^(or affirm) that you have been possess'd of a freehold of fifty acres of Land for three Months past in your own Right in the parish of [blank] and that you have not given your vote before in this Election so help you god and be it further enacted that no person under the age of twenty one years shall give his Vote for the Election of vestrymen in any parish. And to enforce the attendance of the Freeholders at all future Elections of Vestry ^(man) Be it further enacted that every Person qualified to vote for Vestrymen in the several & respective parishes shall and he is hereby required duly [hole] 274 /1/
\2\ attend & give his Vote at all future Elections at the time and in the Manner as is herein before directed unless prevented by some bodily Infirmity or legal Disability under the penalty of Twenty Shillings procl money. .3 to be recover'd by ^(Warrant in the hand and seal of any Majistrate within the County) by action of Debt in any Court of Record wherein [text below] (Dele) no Essoign protection or Wager of Law shall be allowed.
And be it further enacted that if any person shall hereafter at an Election of [text above] (Vestry-Men) give his Vote who is not possess'd in his own Right of an Estate for Life or an Estate of higher Dignity of fifty acres of Land in the parish for the Vestrymen of which he shall give his Vote such person shall forfeit five pounds proclamation [upside down text](275) Money to be recover'd by action of Debt Bill plaint or Information in any [text below] (Dele) ^(the County) Court of Record [text below](Dele) by such person as will sue for the same wherein no Essoignr Injunction Protection of Wager of Law shall be admitted and where such action shall be brought the opus prob and it shall lie on the Defendant.
And be it further enacted the the Authority aforesaid that no person shall be admitted to be of any Vestry within this gover(ment??) [torn] that doth not within forty Days after his being chosen by the freeholders as is before directed take the oaths by Law appointed for the Qualification of publick officers & ^(repeat) subseride the following Declaration [text above] (to wit) I A. B. do declare that I will [crossed out text above] (not oppose) conform to [text below] (Dele) the Liturgy of the Church of England as it is by Law established: And all and every person chosen and summoned as is herein before directed who shall refuse or neglect to do the sam shall if he be not a Dissenter from the Church of Englan forfeit & pay the Sum of Forty Shillings proclamation Money to be levyed & applied as is herein after directed and if any person or persons chosen as is herein before directed shall neglect or refuse to make & subscribe the said Declaration the other persons chosen as aforesaid or the Majority of them shall and may after their having taken the oaths and repeatd and subserided the aforesaid Declaration & choose another or other Freeholder or Freeholders in place of him or them which shall so refuse or neglect to take the Oaths aforesaid or to repeat and subseride the said Declaration And such person or persons as shall be so chosen & elected by the Vestrymen in Manner aforesaid shall after his or their taking the oaths and repeating the Declaration aforesaid be deemed & held to be legal Vestrymen to all Intents & purposes as if they had been elected &chosen by the Freeholders of the County.
And be it further enacted by the Authority aforesaid that the Vestrymen of each and every parish respectively or a Majority of them shall and they are hereby directed within sixty days after Easter Monday yearly elect & choose out of the said Vestry two persons to execute the office of Church Warden in each & every respective parish and if the persons elected Church Wardens as aforesaid [hole] them shall refuse to execute the Said Office he or they so refusing shall forfeit & pay Forty shillings proclamation money to be levyed & applyed as is herein after directed and the Vestry shall immediately proceed to choose in the Room of him or them who refuse to execute the said office another or other Church Warden or Church Wardens out of the said Vestrymen Provided that no person whatsoever shall be obliged to serve as Church Warden in any parish for more than one year at the Expiration of which the 32. Vestry shall again choose another to succed him [crossed out] (O.C.)
And be it further enacted that the Church Wardens or in Case they refuse or neglect any three or more of the Vestry in each parish respectively shall have full power & authority to call the Vestry together at [phrase stricken out] any time and upon any occasion they shall judge necessary by Warrant or Warrants under their hands directed to the several Constables of the several districts in each respective parish who shall be obliged to execute the same according to the Tenor thereof under the penalty of ten shillings for each Vestryman in such Warrant named who he shal fail to summon: and every Vestryman who shall refuse or neglect to attend the Vestry agreable to such Summons shall forfeit & pay the same of ten shillings proclamation Money for every such neglect unless he can shew sufficient Cause for his so doing to be admitted by the Majority of the Vestry at their first meeting to be [?] as is herein after directed.
and be it further enacted by the Authority aforesaid that the Vestries of the several parishes shall have full power and Authority upon the Death or Removal out of their respective parishes of any Church Warden or Church Wardens before the time limited for the executing the said office is expired to elect and choose out of the Vestry another Church Warden or Church Wardens in the Room offered of the person or persons so dead or removed out of the parish as aforesaid which Church Warden or Church Wardens is elected shall serve until the time appointed by this act for the Election of Church Wardens.
And for the better collecting and paying the said Taxes be it further enacted by the Authority aforesaid that the [phrase stricken through, marked "delete"] Vestry of each Respective parish shall Act and is hereby authorized & empowered to nominate & appoint such person as
3 They shall think fit by the name of the Collector of the Parish Taxes shall collect & receive the aforesaid Taxes. The person so appointed giving Bond with sufficient Securities that he will duly collect & receive the said taxes and pay and satisfy unto the Creditors of the Parish all Taxes levyed for such purpose and the surplus of any to the Vestry & their [?] for the use oof the Parish which taxes shall be collected at the time and in the manner that publick taxes ought by law to be collected and shall be allowed five p Cent. for his trouble and have full power and Authority by virtue of this Act upon neglect or Refusal of payment of the said tax or any part thereof by any person or persons chargeable therewith to distrain the goods and Chattels of the party refusing ^[or neglecting] and if the owner thereof shall not pay what is due within five Days after such Distress such shall & may lawfully sell by Auction the goods so distrain'd or so much thereof as shall be sufficient to satisfy the said Tax and the charges of Distress & Sale returning the overplus if any to the Owner But shall give notice of the Sale by setting up an advertisement in writing at the Church Door in the parish or at the most publick place of worship where there is no Church and by publishing the same among the people immediately after Divine Service on the next Sunday after the Expieration of the said five Days which sale shall not be more than three Days nor less than six Days after notice so given and shall be good & effectual in Law against all persons whatsoever and if the Vestry of any parish shall negect or refuse to lay a sufficient TAx to satisfy the parish Creditors in such Case all & every the Vestrymen of the parish neglecting or refusing shall be liable to the action of the party grieved his or her Executors or Administrators for all Damages which he or she shall sustain by such Refual or neglect.
And be it further
Governor or Commander in Chief for the time being to present and the minutes so presented to the parish shall be deemed + held to be the Minister of such parish and intitled to the same Salary + Dues as if the vestry had made the presentation as is herein before directed Provided nevertheless that in case the Vestry of any parish that shall be vacant one Year shall procure some neighbouring [floating text] Dele [end floating text] or other Minister to serve in the Cure of such vacant parish by performing Divine Service [floating text] in three months [end floating text] once [crossed out word] they shall thereby save to themselves & retain the Right of presentation for so long time as such Minister shall serve in the Cure of such vacant parish [???] any thing. Those in [???] to the contrary nothwithstanding [begin crossed out] Dele [end crossed out] [???]
And be it further enacted that any Minister of any parish who shall be guilty of any notorious Immorality in Disgrace of his function and to the scandal of Religion on Conviction thereof before the supreme Court of Justice wherein actions arriving in such parish shall be tryable shall lose his salary + Dues which he woud otherwise be intitled to [???] such parish shall be held + deemed vacant and the Vestry impower'd to, [???] presentation of another of the same manner as if the Minister so convicted had been naturally dead.
And be it further enacted by the Authority aforesaid that the minister of each respective parish shall be [???] obliged to officiate in such parts of the parish and at such times as the Vestry or a majority of them shall direct at the time he shall be received into his parish and in case of failure it shall be lawful for them to with= =draw his salary unless other places shall be afterwards agreedon between such Vestry & minister and ye Vestry in case of such failure may & are hereby impower'd to make the presentation of another minister to such parish as is herein before directed to be done in vacant parishes.
And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid that the Vestry of every parish shall have full power to call every Justice of the peace or other person or persons whatsoever to account on [start text above] & pay to them [end text above] [crossed out word] the moneys and in the hand of him or them belonging to their respective parishes or accrueing or becoming due to the same by Virtue of the Laws of this ordince [text above crossed out] and if any Justice or Justices or other person or persons shall refuse to appear & account as aforesaid he or they so neglecting shall forfeit + pay twenty pounds proclamation money to be recovered by the Church Wardens of the parish for the time being where such money shall become due by action of Debt Bill plaint or Information in [???] C rt of record wherein no [???] protection Injunction [line illegible] [torn] brought [???] by the Church Wardens and the money [hole] or be by them recover'd & received before the Expiration of their Office the Suit shall be carried on to the [???] shall by the succeeding Church Wardens in the name of their predecessors who brought such suit and shall be recover'd by such succeeding Church Wardens to the use of the parish provided that nothing in this act shall be construed to repeal any Church Matter or thing in an act of assembly entitled An Act to enable the Commissioners herein after mentioned to finish the Church already begun at Denton
And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid that the several Sums of money arising + becoming due by reason of the forfeitures + penalties by this act inflicted and for which no Method of Recovery or application is before directed in this act shall be levyed within one week after they shall become due by Warrant of Distress and [begin text on left hand side] 277 [end text on left hand side] from any two of his Majesty's Justices of the Peace within the County where the said penalty or forfeiture shall be incurred and by sale of the Defendants Goods returning the surplus if any to the owners and the money so levyed shall be paid to the Church Wardens for the use of the parish.
And be it further enacted that all & every other act & [deed?] and every clause and article thereof for [???] [???] thereof except as before excepted heretofore made so far as they relate to any matter or contained within the purview of this act is and are hereby repealed and made void to all intents + purposes as if the same had never been made and be it [crossed out phrase] [???]
[begin text on left hand side] X [end text on left hand side] And be it further enacted by the Authority aforesaid that this act shall commence and be in force from and after the first Day of June next and that all acts heretofore legally made and done by Vestry's heretofore chosen and qualified agreeable to the Laws of this Province are hereby Declar'd to be as Good and Valed as if this act had never been made
H - Jan 1, 1755 -
Mr Speaker & Gentlemen of the Assembly
The Bill for appointing Parishes and Vestry's for The Encouragement of an Orthodox Clergy for the advance =ment of the Protestant Religion & for the Direction of the Settlement of Parish accts has been read in the upper House the third time & passed in the same manner you Have, Without Alteration
By Order of the upper house Hu Waddell Clk