Arthur Dobbs Appointed Governor

In 1754, Arthur Dobbs was appointed Governor by the crown. His administration of ten years presented a continued contest between himself and the Legislature on matters frivolous and unimportant. His high-toned temper for royal prerogatives was sternly met by the indomitable resistance of the colonists. The people were also much oppressed by Lord Granville’s agents, one of whom (Corbin) was seized and brought to Enfield, where he was compelled to give bond and security, produce his books, and disgorge his illegal fees. But notwithstanding these internal commotions and unjust exactions, always met by the active resistance of the people, the colony continued to increase in power, and spread abroad its arms of “native inherent protection”. During the entire administrations of Governors Johnston and Dobbs, commencing in 1734 and ending in 1765, a strong tide of emigration was setting into North Carolina from two opposite directions. While one current from Pennsylvania passed down through Virginia, forming settlements in its course, another current met it from the South, and spread itself over the inviting lands and expansive domain of the Carolinas and Georgia. Near the close of Governor Johnston’s administration (1750) numerous settlements had been made on the beautiful plateau of country between the Yadkin and Catawba rivers. At this time, the Cherokee Indians, the most powerful of the Western tribes, still claimed the territory, as rightful “lords of the soil,” and were committing numerous depredations and occasional murders. In 1756, Fort Dobbs about twenty miles West of Salisbury, was built for the protection of the small neighborhood of farmers and grazers around it. Even the thriving colony of “Albemarle county” on the seaboard now felt its growing importance was beginning to call for “more room,” and seek new possessions in the interior, thus unconsciously fulfilling the truth of the poet’s prediction, “Westward the course of empire takes its way.”

On the 3d of April, 1765, William Tryon qualified as Commander in-chief, and Captain-General of the Province of North Carolina. The administration of Governor Tryon embraces an important period in the history of the State. He was a soldier by profession, and being trained to arms, looked upon the sword as the true scepter of government. “He knew when to flatter, and when to threaten. He knew when ‘discretion was the better part of valor,’ and when to use such force and cruelty as achieved for him from the Cherokee Indians, the bloody title of the ‘Great Wolf of North Carolina.’ He could use courtesy towards the Assembly when he desired large appropriations for his magnificent palace; and knew how to bring to bear the blandishments of the female society of his family, and all the appliances of generous hospitality.” 1)Wheeler’s Sketches, I., P. 49. Governor Tryon first met the Assembly in the town of Wilmington on the 3d of May 1765. “In his address, he opposed all religious intolerance, and, although he recommended provision for the clergy out of the public treasury, yet he advised the members of the Church of England of the folly of attempting to establish it by legal enactment. Under such recommendations, a law was passed legalizing the marriages (which before were denounced as illegal) performed by Presbyterian ministers, and authorizing them and other dissenting clergymen to perform that rite.” 2)Wheeler’s Sketches, I., P. 50.


1 Wheeler’s Sketches, I., P. 49.
2 Wheeler’s Sketches, I., P. 50.

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