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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
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Letter from John Urmston to David Humphreys
Urmston, John
May 01, 1717
Volume 02, Pages 278-279

[From N. C. Letter Book of S. P. G.]
MR. URMSTONE TO THE SECRETARY.

North Carolina May 1st 1717

Sir

I have nothing to add to nor alter in my last Letters per Captain Luckese Commander of a Brigantine bound for London dated Jany 29th & copy per via Boston Feby 2nd last past save that I am still struggling for life in this wretched place. If a sloop expected from New York with

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flour & Biscuit do not arrive within these 10 days I shall not have a morsel of Bread to eat. I have had no Beef in my house these six months nor anything else save fat pork and that almost gone. I got by chance a barrel which has been in salt 18 months; it is profitable victuals a little goes a great way: I have no other eatables; peas and Beans I am like to have some but neither Bacon nor Butter to eat with them—Jovial living. The country is in a miserable condition; we lost almost all our Hoggs and abundance of cattle are lately dead in all parts of the Government, of the murrian and mire. I have been a great sufferer that way; out of my poor stock, I have lost to the value of £30 very near.

If I must linger out my days here I must have a couple of Negroes and a woman all born among the English, the woman used to house work. If the Honble Society could spare them out of Coll. Codrington Estate I would allow more than would buy six others newly come from Guinea, new negroes are of no use to me. My Parochial account is very short; from Michaelmas to Lady day I baptized 17 Infants was not able to go abroad by land for want of Horse, nor by water having nobody to row me, nor wherewith to hire and if I had men will not be hired. I went this winter 7 times to the Church in the neighbourhood (i e that is 4 miles distance) and met not a congregation; so indifferent are our Gentry in their Religion they had rather never come to church than be obliged to pay me any thing, they cannot endure the thoughts of it: they wonder I do not leave the country and their debt would be paid; that is the way they have treated all of my Function before me and would have the world believe they are no changelings. This comes per via Boston under cover to Mr Jek your collector there.

I am, sir, your most Humble Servt.
JOHN URMSTON.