Since my arrival here I have written divers letters to you and others which I hope were laid before the Hon'ble Society so fraught with unpleasant relations of my own and the Countrys circumstances that I am almost persuaded you scarce expected to have heard any more from me I am almost bereft of life and the little sense I had and after a years fatigue and almost a continual bad health am at last together with my family in manifest danger of perishing for want of food we have lived many a day only on a dry crust and a draught of salt water out of the sound such regard have the people for my labours so unworthy of the favor the Society have shewn them in providing Missionarys and sending books so great is their esteem for the Ministry and our endeavours which I can assure you you have on my part been very hearty for the most part but they think I am beholden to them for coming to hear me they will be at no charge or trouble and yet expect I shoud give my attendance notwithstanding in many places there are great Rivers from one two to six twelve and fifteen miles over no ferry boats neither will they be at the trouble of setting me over I am destitute of all help both as to housekeeping and the discharge of my duty to the Society as I would be that will answer the end of his Mission must not only have a good horse but a large boat and a couple of experienced Watermen not knowing when the confusion of this unhappy Country would be over or any settlement made for the church and Ministry after seven months uneasiness in a sorry house I atr Pollcks & that which was Mr Walkers nowe Moseleys I found a newe house and a kitchen upon it half finished t'will cost me a great deal to make it fit to live in Workmen are dear and sence I have about a dozen Acres of clear ground and the rest woods in all 300 acres had I servants and money I might live very comfortably upon it raise good corn of all sorts and cattle without any great labour or charges could once be stockt but for want thereof shall not make any advantage of my land I have bought a horse some time ago since that three cows and calves five sheep and some Fowls of all sorts but most of them unpaid for together with fourteen Bushells of Wheat for all which I must give English goods at this rate I might have had anything that either this Government or any of the neighboring Colonies afford but had I stock I need not fear wanting either Butter cheese Beef or Mutton of my own raising as good grain of all sorts Missioners as the world goes must be planters too if the have families or starve the Salary alone will not do I am forced to work hard with Axe Hoe & spade I have not a stick to burn for any use but what I cut down with my own hands I am forced to dig a garden raise beans peas &c with the assistance of a sorry Wench my wife brought with her from England my neighbours seem to like well of my industry but are far from affording me their assistance in any thing they love to see new comers put to their shifts as they themselves have been and cannot endure to see any body live as well as themselves without having undergone the slavish part and learnt to live independent of others Men are generally of all trades and women the like within their spheres except some who are the posterity of Old planters or have been very fortunate and have great numbers of slaves who understand most handycrafts men are generally carpenters Joiners Wheelwrights Coopers Butchers Tanners Shoemakers Tallow Chandlers Waterman & what not Women Soap makers Starch makers Dyes &c he or she that cant do all these things or hath not slaves that can over and above all the common occupations of both sexes will have but a bad time on't for help is not to be had at any rate every one having business enoo' of his own this makes tradesmen turn planters and these become tradesmen no Society none with another but all seem to live by their own hands of their own produce and what they can spare goes for foreign goods. Nay many live on a slender diet to buy rum sugar and molasses with other such like necessaries which are sold at such a rate that the planter here is but a slave to raise a provision for other Colonies and dare not allow himself to part Chowan perquimans pasquotank, which are very remote from one another the more Southerly place I preached at is above 70 miles distant from the most northerly this has been my circuit for the year last past without any omission on my side if I ever failed of officiating on the day appointed it was for the want of a passage so long as I was on Terra firma neither the badness of the Roads Broken Bridges over dangerous places wet or cold weather in Winter nor the excessive heat even to shifting in the woods for want of air even called me to disappoint a congregation albeit they have often failed to meet me every body would have a Church by his own door every Sunday or not at all The whole Precinct can never meet at one place but must have 5 or 6 meetings in each except they had more zeal for Churches might be so fixed as that all might meet in a few hours either by land or water except bad weather or contrary winds prevent they will not willingly come to weekly lectures in regard to pasquetank is very numerous many Quakers and too many loose disorderly professors of the Christian Religion a very factious mutinous and rebellious people most of them allied to the Quakers and at all times at their Beck ready to oppose either Church or state if required by them whence arise all these troubles for the 3 years past this consideration made me to engage myself to preach two Sundays in 4 and twice in the week day at 4 different places for which some of the more sober part proposed a voluntary subscription but not meeting with the readiness many seemed to express could not prevail with a third of the people to contribute the whole amounted to £23. 58 2d whereof I received £13. 11s 6d the rest will never be paid some have been so plain with me as to say they expected I should have have been altogether in their precinct whereas our agreement was drawn and signed others say they dont think they ought to be at any charge since our society have sent me at their own cost and allow me what theyl Hide has done all that in him lay to bring the Country into good order and promote religion but is therefore hated and threatened with fire and sword and all of his party which you'l easily believe me to be of and therefore not only fare ill but am in some danger My horse happened to break pasture and run into an enemys ground and when taken up some ruffians said had their party known whom he belonged to they had certainly shotr at Ashley River then Sr Nathaniel Johnson being put out by the Whigs this porter brought an order to the Council to chose as was customary in such cases one of their Brethren to be president till a Govr was appointed Mr. Glover a sober discreet and the only man of parts in the country was chosen The Quakers dislike him and by the force of arms thrust in Cary whom the proprietors had deposed into the presidentship here were two presidents one appointed by the Lords proprietors and the other set up by the roguish Quakers neither was obeyed the honest party would not obey Cary and the other Mr. Glover so that for two years and upwards here was no law no justice Assembly or Courts of Judicature so that people did and said what list Olivers days come again Coll Hide arrived but through Coll Teints death had no Commission he was chosen president by all sides after Long debates he persists in Mr. Glovers opinion of not suffering the Quakers who had deputations either forged or granted by those who were not proprietors to be of the Council or have any thing to do in the administration. an Assembly was called with much difficulty We had the majority as to what has been transacted in temporals I must refer you to the President and Council their journal if you can get a sight of it which is laid before the proprietors or a Copy which I believe my Lord Rochester will have to show the Queen and council and beg your pardon and patience while I add what relates to the interest of the Church.
The Assembly was made up of a strange mixture of men of various opinions and inclinations a few Churchmen many Presbyterians Independents but most anythingarians some out of principle others out of hopes of power and authority in the Government to the end that they might Lord it over their Neighbours all conspired to act answerable to the desire of the president and Council I was at this solemn meeting a great part of the time they sat. I preach'd twice before them procured a proclamation for a general fast which was kept on Good friday which otherwise would not have been observed any more than any other day. I administered the Holy Sacrament of the Lords Supper then and did all I could both in public and private discourse to excite them to use there endeavours to establish the Church accordingly they made a very good and proper Act to that End which was to this effect that the worship of God and our most holy religion as by law Established in England should be put in practice and observed here in all particulars as far forth as is compatible with the circumstances of the people a select Vestry of 12 Men in every precinct or parish was thereby appointed all the Burgesses were made members thereof These bound in a penalty to meet in their several parishes on a certain day within 6 weeks after the publication of the Act to chose Church wardens give them power to buy a Glebe build a Church or Churches as there was occasion houses for Ministers provide a sufficient maintenance for them and to use their utmost endeavours to provide that every parish might be supplied with a Clergyman approved of allowed by the Lord Bishop of London I thought it might not be improper to be present at their Vestries at the first that met were very much disordered with drink they quarrelled and could scarce be kept from fighting broke up without doing any thing having first agreed when to meet again when the day came there only met five we pitched upon another day then came but two in another precinct The Vestry met at an Ordinary where rum was the chief of their business they were most of 'em hot headed very averse to go upon business with much ado I prevailed with them to chose two Churchwardens resolve upon building a Church which is very much wanted and tis a shame to be without one since the Quakers have three meeting houses in that and as many in the next precinct whereas we have neither Church nor Chapel in 3 of the precincts and those two we have in Chowan and Pequimans were never furnished ready to drop down that in the former precinct hath neither floor nor seats only a few loose benches upon the sand the Key being lost the door stood open ever since I came into the Country. All the Hoggs and Cattle flee thither for shade in the summer and warmth in Winter
If we are like to have a Church Government I humbly pray that the Society would send some directions to the Govr or me about these Readers for if suffered they'l of ill consequence I have seen it in one ffrench a rascal who was at first one of these and now pretends to the Ministry uses me ill prays extempore and does much mischief he tells people he was ordained by the Nice Chancellor of Oxford shews them something posted on the inside of a Book in Latin which he saith are his letters of Orders I think readers should not be allowed to read the absolution nor the Communion or second service nor yet baptize Children as they commonly do. the Governors assuming the power of granting license to Justices to marry is of ill consequence for by virtue thereof are many adulterous Weddings Christians unequally yoked with Quakers or Heathens I have shewed Coll Hide what the Canons require in that behalf but Governors and men in power will not easily be informed of an insignificant worthless priest. notice ought to be likewise taken of an abuse offered to my character Our blessed Vestrymen who are to establish the Church in Order thereto at the first strike at one of the fundamentals of our constitution in understanding the Act of Vestry otherwise than it was intended in a former Act which the Society did not allow of as you may remember it was said expressly that the Minister should always be deemed a Vestryman which is highly necessary here where they are so great strangers to the business of a Vestry being to amend that act by abolishing that power of meeting annually to hire their Minister for the year ensuing they have omitted that for the Minister being a Vestryman whereupon many will have it that the Minister hath nothing to do in Vestry which is contrary to our Establishment in England and will of course destroy this Act too if so understood this is the contrivance of an Enemy and not of a Vestryman who ought to be Exemplar and pious Christians in the Parishes but there are many of them Presbyterians or Independants unfit for such an office but being burgesses when the Act passed thurst themselves into the number of Vestry with no good intent this you'l say is rather History than a Letter I beg pardon for my prolixity hoping the subject will palliate the irksomeness thereof but perhaps not please I wish in my next I may have cause to change my matter and not as hitherto be obliged to acquaint you with things more disagreeable than in my former letters but we are agrieved the Church presented in danger I myself your creature a sufferer my sole dependence is on the Honble Society all good christians here beg for protection & assistance from you the Eyes of all are upon you hoping for some redress from your great and honble body nothing doubting but that they who are at sor Gordon in his request for £100 was not so unreasonable as many thought it to be for the Society will not consider my charge I pray they may be pleased to advance me £40 over and above what will then be due upon the departure of the next Virginia Fleet, which I suppose will not be before spring I have received nothing from the Society since I arrived here fleets are so uncertain I did hope to be hond ere now with a line or two from you
I wish the Society would write to the Govr & Council about the Library which Dr Bray sent to Bath in Pamplicough thro mistake and being informed that there was the Seat of Government whereas it is the most obscure inconsiderable place in the country I hear Coll Codrington has been a great benefactor to the Society if true it will be an easy matter to order me two Negro's from Barbadoes born there and speak English used to house work and can handle an axe they may be sent by way of Bermudas opportunities are frequent—N B The Vestry of Chowan never met at all, all things are like to remain till the confusions are over which will not be till Coll Hide has his commission if then