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R O Y A L G O V E R N M E N T HEN NORTH CAROLINA was acquired by the Crown, the people saw no sudden or dramatic change in their government. The offices of governor, Council, Assembly, and courts, as well as other administrative agencies, remained asthey had been. The Crown merely took the place of the Lords Proprietors as the immediate source of power. After a little while, however, North Carolinians began to detect a definite change in the efficiency and the spirit of government. A strong executive, capable of sustained policy, succeeded a weak, constantly changing executiveand an uncertain policy. This made possible a stability of purpose and a strength of administration that had been impossible under the proprietorship. The change also moved the province more fully into the stream ofimperial affairs. Administration of the colony was under the direct supervision of the Crown (George II from 1727 to 1760, and George III from 1760 until the American Revolution) and various royal agencies such as the Privy Council and the Board of Trade. Although the board's role was only advisory, its advice was sought frequently and generally followed. The Board of Trade developed a firm colonial policy, and displayed consistency and tenacity in following it. In general , it tried to preserveand strengthen the political dependence of the colonies on the mother country and to bind them together into an economically selfsufficient empire. With these objectives in view, it sought (i) to reduce the colonialgovernments to asingle administrativetype; (2) to set aside, whenever possible , the colonial charters; (3)to make governors, judges, and other officials independent of colonial assembliesby providing fixed salaries for them; (4) to control the courts by commissioning judges to serve during the king's pleasure; (5) to restrict the growing power of colonial legislatures by a liberal use of the royal prerogative in determining a quorum, calling, proroguing, and dissolving the Assembly, and vetoing legislation; and (6) to amplify and strengthen the Navigation Acts and the powers of enforcement officials. 87 4 Wi Imperial Conflicts When efforts were made to implement these policies in North Carolina, officials met vigorous opposition. This waslargelythe result of different viewsas to the authority of the Crown on one hand and the rights of the people on the other. Imperial causes required the subordination of local interests. The Crown acted in the belief that its authority in colonial affairs rested in the royal prerogative , and it began to direct colonial affairs through long lists of detailed instructions that it maintained were binding on both the governor and the Assembly. Moreover, instructions were cumulative—those issued to one governor were considered applicable to allof his successors. They also were considered confidential between the governor and the Crown; he did not have to reveal them in advanceof their application unless hechose to do so. These "rules"were not inlinewith the thinkingofNorth Carolinians. They insisted, and sometimes with considerable energy, that the powers of the Crown were still restricted by the Carolina charter, and that the Crown was bound to administer the affairs of the colony in accord with the provisions of the charters issued to the Lords Proprietors . On occasion they even cited the charters astheir "constitution" when demanding that their rights as Englishmen be recognized. These opposing theories, together with clashingimperial and local interests, caused a lot of misunderstanding. The Crown, intent on the larger affairs of the empire, simply ignored the rights and concerns of the colony. The colony naturally put its own affairs first and never tried to understand or sympathize with the policies of the Crown. The result wasinevitable. Controversies between the governor, in upholding the prerogative of the Crown, and the Assembly, in championing the rights and privileges of the people, marked the whole political history of North Carolina asaroyal colony. Many of these differences were trivial in themselves, but behind all of them lay the important issue of whether the colonial Assembly was to be a truly legislativebody, representing the will of the people, with the power of independent judgment and action, or whether it was to be simply a means of registering the royal will as expressed through instructions to the governor. The men appointed by the king to govern his royal province of North Carolina from 1729 to 1776 were not so much favorites of the court asthey were good, deserving Whig party members who supported the aims of the party to limit royal authority and promote that of the...


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