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Memorandum from the Virginia Governor's Council to the Board of Trade of Great Britain concerning trade and emigration to Carolina [Extract]
Virginia. Council
October 19, 1708
Volume 01, Pages 690-691

[B. P. R O. B. T. Va. 58. Virginia Council.]

October the 19th 1708.

The Councill this day having taken into consideration the severall Inquirys sent from the Right Honlle the Lords Commrs for Trade which were communicated to them by Mr President agreed to the following answers. Vizt

As to that part of the said Inquirys which concerns the removal of the Inhabitants of this Colony into our neighbouring Plantations & the way to prevent the same.

The Councill are humbly of opinion that the chief cause of this Removal is the want of Land to plant and cultivate the most convenient Land yet unpatented being in pamunky neek & on the South side of Blackwater Swamp, and that shutt up by the orders of the Government this has occasioned many families of old Inhabitants whose former plantations are worn out as well as great number of young people & servants just free to seek for settlements in the province of North Carolina where Land is to be had on much easier Termes than here, & not a few have

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obtained grants from that Government of the very same land which they would have taken up from this, if liberty had been given for it. For preventing whereof it is humbly proposed that the bounds between Virginia & Carolina be settled as soon as may be, and that free liberty be given to all persons to take up Land anywhere within the bounds of Virginia on the Terms mentioned in the Charter granted by his Majesty King Charles the second and according to the constant Custom of granting Land in this Country from the first settlement thereof.

Another cause of the Removal of our Inhabitants is the exemption granted in most of the proprietary Governments for being sued for debts contracted in other places, this encourages a great many people of uneasy circumstances or dishonest inclinations to run thither to avoid their creditors & secure themselves a safe retreat, & even in the Province of North Carolina where Virginia debts are pleadable there are such difficulties in the prosecution thereof, partly by the distractions of that Country which has no settled Government & partly by the protection those debtors find among persons of the like circumstances & principles that it is but lost labour to sue for them.

* * * *

As to the Inquiry how & in what particulars the trade of this country is increased or decayed & the reason of such increase or decay.

It is answered that there can't be an exact estimate made how much Tobacco is exported from hence, that being best known to the Honble Commissioners of the Customs but it is very plain the production of that manufacture has been increasing for sevll years, as on the other hand the value thereof hath proportionally decreased, which we conceive is occasioned by the great number of negros imported and the increase of the Inhabitants, who being only imployed in that manufacture, there is much more made than can be possibly vended to any advantage. Another branch of the Trade of the Country is the Indian Trade for skins & furrs in which great quantitys of Course Cloths from England, powder, shott, gunns, hatchetts etc have been vended annually, but that Trade is now like to be totally wrested out of our Hands by the Government of South Carolina who under pretence that the Indian Nations with whom we Trade live within their Government take upon them to seize the effects of our Traders & to impose high dutys equall to a prohibition on all Commoditys carried thither from hence, and the like on the skins brought back this is a new & strange pretence that Virginia who traded with those Indians before the name of Carolina was known should be now abridged especially since most of the Indians with whom we Trade live some hundreds of miles from any of the Inhabitants of Carolina.