As early as 1665, North Carolinians disliked taxes; they especially hated abuse of power and mishandling of revenue. A chief concern for colonists was the land tax. North Carolinians frustration grew into the 1700's, when the new provincial government tried collecting back taxes and the Assembly and royal officials debated the proper role of the government and the land tax.
During a tumultuous political break in 1650s England, many royalists had helped Charles II secure his throne, so once he returned and assumed power, the king started awarding land grants to his political allies. In North Carolina, the suspension of land tax attracted colonial settlers, but not as many migrated as the Assembly had hoped; the 1669 Albemarle Assembly delayed the land tax for a year. The suspensions failed to draw many newcomers because Virginia officials purposefully degraded North Carolinians and used tax breaks to keep landowners in their colony.
The land tax and the sale of land in the state caused many problems, including disagreements among Proprietors, Governors, and the Assembly. The Proprietors wanted the taxes to be paid in sterling, but many Carolinians could only pay with marketable assets. Before 1715, agents seized land for nonpayment of taxes, but in 1715 the Albemarle Assembly disallowed agents from assessing seized property and allowed those assets as payment. During the 1720s, the Proprietors lost more and more control over their colony.
North Carolinians’ irritation with the taxes for their land intensified under the administration of the first royal governor, George Burrington, an enemy of the Proprietors and...