Letter from John Urmston to William Taylor
Volume 02, Pages 218-220
[From N. C. Letter Book of S. P. G.]
Mr URMSTONE TO THE SECRETARY.
North Carolina Feby 14th 171⅚
I have lived this place five years in hopes of some provision being made for me here, but now I plainly see they never intended it with great difficulty & charge I prevailed with seven of our Worshipfull vestrymen to meet March 2nd 171¾ in order to answer Col. Nicholson's letter and comply with the demands of the Honble Society, but if you have that account they gave of the Circumstances of their parish, you'll find no mention of what they allowed me, nor could I engage them to resolve on anything notwithstanding I prest them very earnestly. On the 3d of January following the like number with much solicitation were pursuaded to meet again, but 'twas to divide the parish & make two of it, so that they might not be at the trouble of crossing the Sound (and yet they would have obliged me to do it 3 times in a month) they then endeavoured to put me off as before, but at last agreed to allow 110 for the 3 years past. Had I officiated in another parish alternately as the Vestry act empowered me, they ought to have paid me 30£ per Annum in each, but the difficulty of attending upon two parishes being great they offered me the hire of 2 parishes provided I would goe the River, as heretofore, which was not possible for me to do before, I had a canoe and servants & when furnished therewith whilst abroad my family starved at home, so that I was constrained to keep my hands at home and make Corn or we must have fasted. I was very much blamed, and seeing I had not answered their Expectation it was thought great generosity to give me £110 from that time to this I could never prevail with them to meet: I went and wrote to the church warden who was to collect the money diverse times but to no purpose, he never designed it, Another year is expired and now some of the bards tell me, truly they did not hire me the last year, nor will ever employ me more but are Mustering & contriving to pay me as they have done all before me, with lyes and all manner of scandalous stories, lading me with reproach and
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contempt, so that now I am in a fair way to be starved. I have no grain of any kind whatsoever, nor any sort of provisions Save 5 young porkers which weigh about Quarter each and have nothing to buy with; no longer credit at Boston by reason of nonpayment of my Bills in England. I wont to have rum sugars and Mulasses from thence and with that I could buy provisions; we are all naked and the Winters very severe; I have lately lost a Negro he was merely starved for want of clothes and a warm lodging and I shall be obliged to sell the other Negro to keep us till I hear from you which I pray may be with all speed. Here I cannot stay therefore beg I may return home and be allowed my Salary according to the Standing orders of the Society 11.18 Page 56. otherwise I shall not be able to procure us a passage, for my Plantation and all I have will be siezed for debt except my Bills be paid in England, but so many have been sent back protested, that 'tis generally believed the Society will pay no more, at least many here wish they may not, I have been at great charges and trouble in endeavouring to get my house fit to live in with the addition of a couple of little rooms one a shop for me and the other a kitchen to dress our victuals when God sends it, it hath cost me near 100 too besides dyet, lodging and the attendance of all my family for a great part of a year. This order for £110 gained me Credit with the Workmen but being disappointed by the Churchwarden, have been forced to raise all the money I could, have borrowed £50 and some work is still owing for, I owe a servant maid that my Wife brought from England upon Wages, for 4 Years service, the poor Girl is almost naked, many may wonder how I came in such circumstances, but 'tis easily made appear; have no support from the wretched folks I was constrained to anticipate or draw faster than money became due, I had but 50 pbt against Sterling money and gave 5 or 600 pr ct for every thing that I bought except victuals which truly is cheap enough & generally very plentiful; we made most years 50 or 60 Sloops and other Vessels with all sorts of good provisions and God knows reap small benefits by it. Goods are sold at such exorbitant prices, If I could have had the money that has been due to me from the Society invested in Goods, I might have lived handsomely and had a thousand pound in pitch which would have fetch't as much in England clear of all charges. I am told Mr. Rainsford is designed for England in order to be admitted Pensioner again for this miserable place; I wonder at it, for he had tho' a short yet a full taste of the temper and nature of these Ephesian Beasts, & their treatment of Ministers, he had a plentiful reward for the service he did, was laden with Scorn Contempt & Calumny, abundance
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of Scandalous, I hope false, Stories are told of him; tis said, provided I could have removed he would have staid in the Parish and not have taken a farthing of them (which was a very endearing article) for he had a sufficient support from England; if true, I believe he'll be of another opinion now, for he has married a Sorry girl in Virginia, besides his way of living requires a good income; We have had all our Laws revived and amended where needful it was (and still they are confused and simple enough) and 'tis said they are to be sent to the proprietors for their approbation and then be printed it would be well if you could procure a Copy of the Vestry Act, I suppose the Society will not allow of it; for 'tis in the power of every new Churchwarden to continue or not their Minister: Likewise it ought to be specified that the Ministers Salary be paid in the Staple Commodities of the Country, vizt
, Corn, Wheat, Beef and Pork & pitch at his dwelling house for 'tis not with his labour to collect it, but beware such another may never pass and in after ages perhaps these Amendments may be made with the consent of an Assembly, I beg of you to desire the Treasurer to send me an account of all the money paid to my use since my late Attorney refused to act for me he sent me a Balance to Sep 29th
1713 he had then in hand £14: 16: 6 I draw'd a Bill for £10 upon him since that and he sent it back protested I long to know what has become of my money from that time: According to my drafts I shall owe but seven pounds the 25th
of the next month if all my bills were paid, but Mr Jekyl at Boston writes me that my last Bill of £20 payable to him is not paid, and there is another to Thomas Haudrey Merchant for 37£ come back protested, Mr. Tryon said he no effects, and yet since both these, one to Thomas Lee who went from hence for 20£ was punctually paid. If my attorney has received any thing since my acct
he has wronged me: he pretended he would never be concerned for me; & accordingly in one to Mr Hodges I revoked the power given him and desired no more money might be paid to him.
I sent my Journal to Michaelmas last by way of Virginia, date Xber 16. I should be glad to know it came safe for 'twas kept here 3 Weeks and I have no great reason to believe it was opened, if not destroyed you know my seal without doubt We have had no News a long Time from North Carolina, God knows what condition they are in, we have great reason to wish for their success. I am
Sir your most humble Servant