Letter from Alexander Spotswood to the Lords Proprietors of Carolina
Spotswood, Alexander, 1676-1740
Volume 02, Pages 14-16
[From Spotswood Letters. Vol. 2. P. 2.]
GOV. SPOTSWOOD TO THE LORDS PROPRIETORS.
February 11, 1712 .
To the Lords Proprietors of Carolina:
Since I have undertaken to concern myself in ye Affairs of yo'r Lord'ps' province of No. Carolina, in my Neighbourhood, I think myself oblig'd to give y'r Lord'ps an account thereof from time to time, more especially in ye present Conjuncture, while the people labour under the presure of an Indian War; and, passing by sundry transactions I have heretofore had w'th that Governm't, (because a relation thereof might be as disagreeable to yo'r Lord'ps as they have been to me), I shall only mention what is at present in Agitation for ye relief of y't unhappy people.
About the beginning of last Novem'r I receiv'd a representation from ye President, Council and Burgesses of No. Carolina, setting forth their deplorable Circumstances, and praying some Assistance from hence. I imediately layed it before our Assembly, then sitting, and that I may avoid troubling yo'r Lord'ps with a long Narrative of the Success thereof, I send herewith a Copy of the proceedings thereupon, which y'r Lord'ps may peruse at y'r Leisure. I shall only briefly tell y'r Lord'ps that with much ado I prevail'd with our Assembly to support y'r Lord'ps' province with Cloathing for 300 Men, and to raise £1,000 for their further relief in such man'r as I should judge proper. Y'r Lord'ps will easily imagine that a Sum so disproportionate to the exigency of Affairs (tho' it must be confesed to be the greatest that ever an Assembly of Virginia gave to be employ'd out of the Country), requir'd a more than ordinary frugality in the managem't thereof to render it effectual for the
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intended Service. For this purpose I thought it necessary to desire a Conference with y'r Lord'ps' Deputys, at some place which they should think most convenient, to concert proper measures for employing this small supply, being in hopes, with the addition of provisions which the Assembly of No. Carolina had engag'd to furnish, I might be enabled to furnish such a body of men to their relief as might in a great measure have dispers'd the Enemy and given some relaxation to their troubles; but whether the arrival of the succours from So. Carolina in the meantime under Colo. James Moore, (consisting, as he informs me, of 850 Indians and 33 white men), made them believe they should have no further occasion of my Assistance, or by what other unaccountable humour they were guided, I cannot determine, but it was above Two Months before I could prevail with them to give me a Meeting, and then, Notwithstanding I took the Trouble of a Long Journey to a place where Mr. President Pollock might easily have come by water, I only found there Major Gale and one Mr. Petterson, but both so far from having any power or Instructions to propose anything for the Service of the Country, that all I found they had to tell me was y't I could expect no provisions from them; that their men had all either deserted the Governm't, absconded in it, or shelter'd themselves under ye Masque of Quakerism, to excuse their bearing arms; and that now they had got the Cloathing, which I have deliver'd to them, they had no men to use them. So that being disappointed both of the provisions I had been promis'd, and of the Assistance of men to Act in Conjunction with what I intended to raise, and every man at the conference agreeing y't if the Charge of the Provisions was to be taken out of ye £1,000 the remaind'r would not suffice to pay such a number of men as in prudence I ought to venture into the Tuscouroro Country; and lastly, all concluding that without some speedy measures taken for the relief of that Province, ye greatest part thereof would be abandon'd to the Indians; I then offer'd to supply the Charge of provisions out of her Maj't's revenue of q't rents of this Colony, provided y'r Lord'ps' Deputys would engage to her Maj'tie all the Lands to ye Northward of Roanoake River and Chowan Sound, for ye repaym't thereof within three y'rs. This could have been no risque to y'r Lord'ps If y'r Deputys had any faith on the public Engagem'ts of their Assembly; or, if that should not have prov'd a sufficient Security to discharge ye Debt, y'r Lord'ps had then three Years either to Continue the paym't of it some other way, or to Obtain her Maj't's fav'r to remit it entirely. On the other hand I only run ye hazard of incurring her Maj't's Displeasure, by breaking upon a positive Instruction, which
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restrains me from disposing of any part of that Revenue without a particular Warrant. I told Major Gale and Mr. Peterson at parting, and wrote by them to the president, that I could not proceed to raise men till provisions were ready for their Subsistance; and I press'd a speedy Resolution; but I have now waited 3 weeks without receiving any answer, and hereby all measures for their Assistance from hence are at a Stop. I cannot but aprehend the ill consequence of this unseasonable delay, for if Colo. Moore should meet w'th any Considerable disadvantage in his Attempt upon the Tuscoururo Towns, it is not to be imagin'd that a body of Men, peic'd up of so many nations of Savages as his is, should be kept together after being once baffled. Nay, if Colo. Moore alone should happen to miscarry, they would imediately disperse, and such a disorderly multitude, let loose among the Inhabitants, would prove as destructive as the Enemy; Since experience has already show'd how litle of discipline or Rule there is among them, and that even Colo. Moore's presence and authority Could not restrain them from such ravages among the stocks of y'r People, where they were quarter'd, as, (if President Pollock informs me aright), hath more exasperated the Inhabitants ag't these Auxiliarys than against the Tuscaruros, their Enemys.