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Letter from Alexander Spotswood to the Board of Trade of Great Britain [Extract]
Spotswood, Alexander, 1676-1740
July 25, 1711
Volume 01, Pages 779-783

[B. P. R. O. B. T. Virginia. Vol. 13. O. 94.—Extract.]
COLONEL SPOTSWOOD TO THE BOARD OF TRADE JULY 25th 1711


Virginia 25th July 1711

My Lords

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Having now given your Lordships the present state of affairs in this Colony I should not have added to your Lordships trouble if the unhappy Commotions in our neighbouring Province of North Carolina, did not oblige me to represent the same as a matter that may very sensibly affect the peace of this Colony without the application of proper remedys. One Colonel Thomas Cary being some years agoe appointed Deputy Governor of North Carolina under Sir Nathaniel Johnson, was afterwards removed by an Order of the Lords Proprietors and a President chosen to take on him the administration; but it was not long before Mr Cary being joined by certain Quakers entrusted by the Proprietors in some part of the administration gathered together a rabble of the looser sort of People, and by force of arms turned out the President and most of the Council, and by his own authority assumed the administration of the Government. In the mean time the Lords Proprietors appointed Collonel Tynte Governor of South and North Carolina, and Mr Edward Hyde to be Deputy Govr of the northern Province, who was to receive his Commission from the former. Mr Hyde arrived here last summer

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but before his arrivall Coll: Tynte dyed; so that he found himself thrown into a Country without any Power or Credentials, except some private Letters from some of the Lords Proprietors, however by these he gave so good satisfaction of his being the intended Governor for that Province that every one that could pretend to have Deputations from the Lords Proprietors, and among the rest Coll: Cary joined in a Petition to him to take the administration as President of the Council until his Commission for Governor should arrive. Accordingly he was sworne, proceeded to settle Courts of Justice, which had been interrupted during the Course of the former troubles, and called an assembly. But Mr Cary and those of his Party finding their Interest decline and fearing to be called to acconnt for many unwarrantable actions and oppressions whereof they had been guilty began to find fault with their own election, protested against the meeting of the Assembly as now [not] called by lawfull authority and endeavoured to stir up the people to throw off their obedience to the established Government. Upon which the Assembly ordered Mr Cary and some of the Chief of that Party to be taken into Custody and proceeded to pass a Law obliging Mr Cary to account to the Proprietors for their dues, which he had refused to pay for the subsistance of the Palatines according to their Order, and added some other Clauses perhaps too severe to be justify'd, wherein it must be confessed they shewed more their resentment of their ill usage during Mr Cary's usurpac̄on (as they call it) than their prudence to reconcile the distractions of the Country, but of this your Lordships will better judge by the copys of the Laws and Address which are here inclosed. It was not long before they found their power was too weak to enforce the execution of the laws they had passed. For Mr Cary having made his escape out of custody, had again recourse to his old friends the Mobb, of which he drew together so great a number, and fortify'd his house with great Guns and other warlike Stores, that when the Government had taken a resolution to apprehend him, they found it impracticable to attempt it, Mr Cary did not long content himself to stand on the Defensive, but fitting out a Brigantine of six Guns, furnished him by a leading Quaker of that Province, with some other Vessells equipp'd in a warlike manner, he again declared himself President, and went to attack Mr Hyde and his Council at a place to which they had retired for their safety. It was then I receaved pressing applications from them for assistance from hence to enable them to defend themselves against this Insurrection. Whereupon having advised with the Council, it was thought fitt in the first place to offer my mediation for accomodating their differences believing that Mr Hyde
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would be prevailed on to suspend the severity of the Laws against Mr Cary untill the Proprietors pleasure were known, and that this being once obtained Mr Cary would be contented to sit quiet and suffer the Government to go on in the way to which he himself had agreed. Accordingly I sent a gentleman very fittly qualify'd for transacting an affair of that nature to offer my Mediation to both partys, and writt to them the letter of which I here send your Lordships the copy: and because I was in some doubt whether Mr Cary would yield to a peacable accomodation I also writt another Letter (of which I have enclos'd a copy) to be deliver'd him in case he rejected the former, intending that if fair means would not prevail on him, he might at least be frighted into a Compliance by the expectation of a Superior force from hence. Mr Hyde and his Council readily embraced the offer made them, declaring themselves ready to yield to any terms that could in justice or reason be expected of them, but Mr Cary obstinately rejected all offers of accomodation. Tis true at first he made a shew of accepting the Mediation, but soon show'd that he had no other intention in it, than to seize Mr Hyde and his Council by drawing them to an interview separated from their Guards, which he treacherously attempted to execute in violation of his own promise and agreement. After his disappointment in this design, he would never agree to any place of conference where Mr Hyde could rely on the safety of his person: he was with great difficulty persuaded to declare what his demands were, and after a copy of them was obtained he positively refused to sett his hand to it and tho' he had notice given him by the Gentlemen I sent thither that every one of his demands would be agreed to with some necessary explanations even that would not content him, but warned the Mediator to retire for he was resolved to treat no otherwise than with Arms. Matters being now come to the last extremity Mr Hyde and his Council again pressed for assistance by a joint Letter of which I send your Lordships the copy: and having had the unanimous opinion of her Majesty's Council here, that there was now no other way left but that of force to put a stop to this Dangerous Insurrection, and that it was conformable to her Majesty's Instructions to assist Mr Hyde and those in the legal administration of that Government, I thereupon ordered the Militia of our Frontier Countys to draw together designing to march a Detachment of them into Carolina, and at the same time to obtain a reinforcement of Marines from her Majesty's ships of war here, to be sent in their boats to the sound of Chowan for securing the Brigantine and armed vessells with which Mr Cary had been enabled to insult the Government
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and overawe the people, But the Commodore of our homeward bound fleet, judging it the least part of his duty to do any service to this Country, positively refused to afford me any assistance either of men or boats: tho upon my first communication of that project to him he seem'd to approve it and that I also represented to him how serviceable his boats might prove in transporting the pork I had ordered to be bought up in Carolina for the Queen's service: and tis only owing to that disappointment that I have been obliged to lay aside the thoughts of getting any Pork from thence, which I wish may not be a disadvantage to her Majesty's service in another place. In the mean time I receaved advice that Mr Cary had attempted to put in execution his chief design of seizing Mr Hyde and his Council that he endeavoured to land a party of his men, while at the same time he attacked them with his Cannon from his Brigantine; but finding he was like to meet with some resistance, and the courage of his Mobb not being so great in action as in imagination, he gave over the attempt, and is since retired to a remote part of the country, whither it is impracticable to march the Militia from hence to attack him. He is there gathering a greater force and threatens to bring down the Tuscorure Indians to his assistance. I have sent what Marines could be spared from our Guard ships to the assistance of that Government, in hopes by that means to satisfy the People that they are mistaken in what their Quaker Polititians have infused into them, that this Government had no authority, nor would ever meddle in their quarrels and if this will not do, I shall still endeavour (notwithstanding the almost insuperable difficultys of marching Forces into a Country so cutt with great Rivers and without any conveniency of carriage) to put an effectuall stop to these confusions, which give so great apprehensions to her Majesty's subjects of this Colony, who reflect that the fatal rebellion raised here, which cost the Crown a great expense of treasure to quell, sprung from much less dangerous appearances; especially since Mr Cary has threatened to act another Antegoa Tragedy, to which his own desperate Circumstances and the wretched Crew he has gott together seem like enough to prompt him. It is no small concern to me to find in two or three of our frontier countys where the Quakers have got the greatest footing such a reluctancy to undertake anything against Cary and his Party, which I understand is owing to the crafty insinuations of that sort of People, who not only have been the principal Fomenters of the distractions in Carolina but make it their business to instill the like pernicious notions into the minds of her Majesty's subjects here and to justify all the mad actions of that Rabble by such arguments as are destructive to all Government.

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I think it necessary on this occasion to represent to your Lorpships how ill this Country is provided for its defence either against a Forreigne Enemy or intestine commotions: The powder which her Majesty sent hither some years ago is so much wasted, that there's no dependence upon its doing execution even at half distance. I beg your Lordsps will be pleased to move her Majesty for a fresh supply, and that in the mean time the admiralty may give orders to the Captains of her Majesty's ships resorting hither, to exchange from time to time some of their fresh powder for some of ours which will be as proper for their use, in their Signals, Watch guns and Salutes. The Confusions in Carolina have hindered the meeting of the Commrs for setling the Boundaries, but as soon as the affairs of that Country attain any tollerable settlement, I shall press them all I can to come to a conclusion, and hope by the next Conveyance I shall be able to give a good account of that affair. I am with all due respect

My Lords your Lordships
Most dutifull & most obedient humble servant
A. SPOTSWOOD.


P. S. Kiquotan July 28th 1711.

My Lords,

Since I came hither to dispatch the Fleet, I have received advice that upon the arrival of the Marines I sent to Carolina the heads of that mutinous Rabble there are fled and dispersed, and that there is now great hopes that Country will again be restored to peace; the Assembly and Courts of Justice are beginning to resume their functions without fear of further disturbance. The Commissioners for settling the boundarys are just now mett, and I hope they will conclude that affair before they separate; so that I may be able by the next opportunity to lay their proceedings before your Lordships.

There are now further discoverys made of the ill designs of Mr Cary and his party, there being some Affidavitts sent in hither to prove that Mr Porter one of Cary's pretended Council was with the Tuscaruro Indians, endeavoring by promises of great rewards to engage them to cut off all the Inhabitants of that part of Carolina that adhered to Mr Hyde. The Indians own the proposal was accepted by their young men; but that their old men who have the greater sway in their Councils being of their own nature suspicious, that there was some trick intended them, or else directed by a superior Providence, refused to be concerned in that barbarous design.