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Letter from Thomas Pollock to the Lords Proprietors of Carolina
Pollock, Thomas, 1654-1722
September 20, 1712
Volume 01, Pages 873-876

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[From Pollock's Letter Book.]
A TRUE COPY OF A LETTER TO THE LORDS PROPRIETORS DATED SEPT 20th 1712

May it please your Lordships

Amongst the many and great judgements it hath pleased God to inflict on the poor people of the north part of your Province of Carolina, the death of Governor Hyde is none of the least. For thereby we have not only lost the great interest we had with your Lordships, but also with the neighbouring Governments; and albeit he and the Council have used their utmost endeavours to unite and reconcile all differences among the people, in order to which (according to the purport of your Lordships' instructions to him) have issued out a proclamation, pardening any that had any hand in the late rebellious practices, excepting only Col Thomas Cary, Mr John Porter Senr, Edmond Porter, Emanuel Low, Mr Roach, and two or three more here, who have been chief instruments in stirring up the people. Yet notwithstanding, it hath not produced the desired effects, the people still continuing stubborn & disobedient; some few evil disposed persons still blowing up the coals of dissention amongst them, to the great hindrance of carrying on the wars against the Indian Enemies.

The real desire to serve his Majesty, your Lordships, and the poor people here, with the impertunity of the council here, have forced me to accept of the administration at this time when the country seems to labor under insuperable difficulties, when in more peacible times I have refused it. And I assure your Lordships, that I will faithfully and truly serve you to the utmost of my power and knowledge, until you are pleased to appoint some other In the mean time think it my duty, as briefly as I can, to lay before you the true state of the country.

The people of this country are greatly impoverished: them at news and Pamptico having most of their houses and household goods burnt, their stocks of Cattle, hogs horses, &c, killed, and carried away and their plantations ruined by the Indians: they forced to secure themselves in forts; as we likewise on the south southwest shore of Chowan, where I live, are forced to do, Then, we in Albemarle County are forced to supply those in News and Pamptico with grain, and the forces we send from hence, likewise the Ashley River Indians; whereby our trade is ruined, their being no grain nor little or no pork this two or three years to send out; so that what few vessels comes in can have little or nothing. unless

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a little pitch or tar: so that many have not wherewith to pay their debts, and but few that can supply themselves with clothing, necessary for their families. Then the public is several thousand pounds in debt for mens wages employed in the country's service, ammunition, provisions, vessel's hire, agents, and messenger's charge to our neighbouring governments, and several other things too tedious to trouble your Lordship with.

The Indian war continuing still, disention and disobedience as much as ever amongst the people, which with the want of ready pay to pay off the people that have been out in the countrys service, is the greatest mischief of all: so that albeitt in our last Assembly we had an act made, that every person that would not go out in the country's service against the Indians should forfeit and pay five pounds towards defraying the charges of the war: Notwithstanding which act few or none would go out; albeit Governor Hyde was just beginning to put the Law in execution, when he died there being now but 130 or 140 men in all at News with Col Mitchell and Col McKey, who are commander for the expedition against the Indians, too fw in number to conquer the Tuscaroras; only in hopes of getting some men from this county, and also are in Expectation, (by letters from Governor Craven and our agent) of Indians from South Carolina to assist us. There has been likewise some Tuskarora Indians with the Governor of Verginia and pretend a great willingness to a peace, In order to which, they are to be with him against the 28th of this Instant September, where we send in likewise two agents Mr Tobias Knight, and Major Christopher Gale; not with any expectation of the Governor of Verginia making a peace for us for that would be dishonourable to your Lordships, and a means to render us contemptible to the Indians, but to see what articles they propose. But I believe this pretending to peace is only for delaying of time, until they get their corn gathered in their forts, and until they see if they can have any help from the five nations, Confederate nations of Indians, commonly called Senecas. Your Lordships may see by this brief relation, what inextricable difficulties we are plunged into; our enemies strong, and numerous, well provided with armes and ammunition; our people poor, dispirited, undisciplined, timorous, divided, and generally disobedient, and not only a great want of armes and ammunition —— but likewise the poor men who have been out in the service of the Country for want of their pay are in want of Clothing, so that they are not well able to hold out in the woods in the cold weather after the Indians. And if the Government of South Carolina had not assisted us, with their

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Indian in probability News and pamptico had been deserted, and I believe a great deal more of the Country by this time. And in all probability, if Col Barnwell had done his part, albeit the most part of his Indians had left him, the war had been ended by this time. For Col. Mitchell a Swiss Gentleman who came in with Baron Graffenried, having continued to draw the trenches within eleven yards of thie fort, being only palisades and had raised a battery very near, and had planted two great guns, had got great quantities of lightwood and combustible faggots to fill all up between the end of the trenches and the palisades so that the Indians within the forts (who were in a manner of that had any hand in the massacre) would have surrendered on any terms; yet he made a sham peace with them, and let them all go, which he and they both broke in a very few days after. The taking of this fort (where the most of our Enemy Indians were) would have discouraged the rest so much that they would have either complied on our terms, or left the country, and would have encouraged our people much in taking so many slaves. And albeit Col Barnwells Indians killed 40 or 50 Cores, Bare River, River Neuse and Matamusket Indian men, and took near upon 200 of their women and Children, yet in all the time he was here, not above 30 Tuskarora Indians were killed, that we can hear of: the others being small nations not able of themselves to hurt us. All these things I doubt not Governor Hyde hath given you a large account before this time. I hope your Lordships will consider our distressed condition, being greatly in want of armes and ammunition.

I hope the consideration of the great extremity we are brought to, that we are Christians, Her Majesty's subjects, and your Lordships' tenants, the venturing of our lives and spending our Estates for the preservation of your Lordships' land, will move your Lordships to assist us by such ways and means as your Lordships shall think fit: especially with armes and ammunition, or 20 [Big-guns] and round shot answerable, 200 small, good, with fixed firelocks, — — — —— — or 000 gun flints, which I hope sufficient to carry on and finish the war, and may be a publick magazine to be kept always ready for the defence of the country. Also think it my duty to inform your Lordships, that there is several tracts of land, that people have taken up and surveyed, upon pretence of purchase, some three four and five years since, and some longer, without either settling or (paying for) the same: which hath been a great hindrance to the settling of the (people); and seems to me a great damage to your Lordships, they paying no rents for the same. and we having had several disputes in Council, but could not determine any thing therein,

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wherefore would earnestly desire your Lordships' instructions thereanent; and whereas your Lordships seem to incline that our laws shall hold in force only two years, I shall lay before you the great inconveniences thereof. First: several benificial laws would (fail) which we could never be able to revive again, as the vestry act, which empowers the vestry to build and keep in repair Churches and Chapels, and to raise stipend for the ministers of the Church of England; which act was great struggling obtained when the (Quaker?) party were not so numerous as they are now; and albeit they are not permitted to sit themselves in the assembly, yet, being the most numerous, they choose such members as are guided and directed by them, and (one) commonly worse than they themselves would be. Then it would give a great opportunity to every Governor or President, every two years to impose on the people by his refusing to give his consent to the passing of the laws, unless his demands were allowed, which hath been (to my knowledge) very prejudicial to the Country, and by it sometimes we have been without any laws at all of our own in force. I leave it to your Lordships' consideration, if it would not be as well to have the body of our laws sent to your Lordships to confirm, or disallow, or suspend, which of them you shall think convenient.

I shall add no more, but that peace and prosperity of this your Lordships' country shall be the chief endeavour of him who is