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Letter from Nicholas Spencer to [Robert Spencer, Earl of Sunderland], Secretary of State
Spencer, Nicholas, d. 1689
July 09, 1680 - August 20, 1680
Volume 01, Pages 312-313

[B. P. R. O. Colonial Papers.]
SECRETARY OF VIRGINIA TO SEC. OF STATE JULY & AUG. 1680

May it please your Honors

It is now neare six weeks since I gave your honor the trouble of a Letter. I then informed an Assembly was suddenly to sitt, sum̄oned by his Excellency the Lord Culpeper; the results of whose consultations (as it is my duty) I herewith send to your Honors being severall Acts and Orders, together with an Address to his most sacred majesty, imploring his grace of a Cessation from planting Tobacco in the yeare 1681, a request which seems to import such a diminution to his Majesties Customes in the yeare, that it may be feared itt carryes with itt, itts owne deniall, tho' for its imoderation wee are so unhappy as to plead our most important necessities; to be our sole manufacture, and by which hitherto this Country hath only subsisted but now by the excessive quantities made, is soe under foot that itt will be impossible for the Inhabitants longer to support themselves thereby, unless his Majesty will bee graciously pleased to enjoyn a Cessation, & thereby lessen the quantity & consequently advance the price: By which wee may not only hope for that good, butt by the yeares imploymt in other affayres, our people may bee incouraged for the future, to divert part of their Labours, in carrying on some other manufactures & not solely depend upon that uncertayne comodity Tobacco, which at present is so low, that a whole yeares Crop will not advance to the ordinary planter whereby meanely to cloath himselfe and itt is to be feared another yeare will bring us to a more deplorable Condition, there being now upon the ground the greatest Crops that have been known, which when finished together with what remaines in that Country, will

-------------------- page 313 --------------------
be as much if not more, then the ships can carry, of, in two succeeding yeares from whence itt doth consequently follow, if a Cessation bee not the next yeares Labour in Tob: will bee totally spent in vayne

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Right honble yor
Honors most humble &
devoted servant

James Citty
July 9th 1680
* * * * * * * * * * * *

The dispicable & low price of Tob:o inclines the Inhabitants of this Contry to thinke of Cohabitation as a principall meanes to abase the quantity of the Comodity, and amend the quality, and the late Assembly hath made an Act to that purpose, but I much doubt itt may miss itts wished effect, if not totally miscarry, by the multiplicity of places appointed for Townes, viz: one in every County. Butt if all ships were by his Majesty com̄anded to ride at one place in every great River, and in every of those places a Town to bee erected, the design would have the better prospect

Right honble
your most humble & devoted
servant
NICHO: SPENCER.

Augst 20th
1680.