The honour I have of being known to most of your Lordships gives me the confidence to trouble you with this Letter I fear you will think
About 2 years since our Governour received his Majesty's Order in Council to appoint Commissioners who in conjunction with others to be named for North Carolina should run a Dividing line between the two Colonys. This line was to begin at Corotuck Inlet and run a due west course to the great mountains. In obedience to this order, our Governour was pleased to name me, Mr Fitz William and Mr Dandridge (all of the Council for the better grace of the Business) to execute such commission. Two eminent surveyors were likewise named to perform the mathematical part, Mr Mayo who made the accurate Map of Barbados, and Mr Irvin, we had also a power to take as many men as we should think proper, both for the laborious part of the work and for our defence against the Indians. We had also a Chaplain allowed us, both for the benefit of Divine service and to christen the children on the Frontiers of Carolina where they are wholly destitute of a minister.
Being thus appointed, we sat out on the 27th of February 1727/8 to Corotuck Inlet, where we met the Commissioners on the part of North Carolina and having concerted the place of beginning the allowance to be made for the variation and other necessary Preliminarys we entered on the Business the 27th of March following. T'is not easy to conceive, My Lords how much difficulty and fatigue we encountered in the low marshy grounds that lay near the sea, our course being right forward, thrō thick and thin and leading often through swamps and miry places not practicable for horses for many miles together. Our way lay through the widest part of the Dismal which is a dreadful swamp of vast extent not less than 30 miles long and 15 in breadth. No humane creature ever had the Resolution to pass over this inhospitable Bogg before, and we found it so intolerable that I believe no man will ever be so hardy as to pass it again Your Lordships will incline to the same Opinion when I assure you that with the utmost diligence we cou'd use it took us up full ten days to mark and measure that small distance. However we had patience enough to overcome this and all other difficulties that stood in our way. We carried on the business with very great alacrity and success til the begining of April when the weather grew warm enough to give life and vigour to the Rattlesnakes. This obliged us to discontinue our work til the return of the cool season, which could not happen til September
Accordingly we met again on the 20th of that month at the place where we had left off and pursued the line with all the Industry we were able.
As to the first of these Questions, how much the Commissioners ought to have for the trouble and expence of this Expedition your Lordships have a Precedent to go by which we humbly hope will guide your Opinions in this case. In the year 1710 two Commissioners Phillip Ludwell and Nathaniel Harrison Esqrs were appointed by our Governor andr Peter Fontain hopes he may have as much as the surveyors, having been very diligent in his Function & having christened above an hundred children among the Gentiles of North Carolina.
Then my Lords as to the second Question out of which Revenue this money ought to be paid I humbly conceive your Lordship will think it most reasonable that it be paid out of the Revenue of 2 shillings per Hogshead since that was given to defray both the constant and accidental charges of this Government. And the rather because this Fund is now in very good condition having several Thousand Pounds in Bank and in no danger of being deficient. Indeed formerly when this Revenue happened to fall in arrear (which was the case when the Payment was ordered to the Commissioners above mentioned) such services have been defrayed out of the Revenue of Quitrent. But at present the case is quite otherwise and there is a large summ in Bank of the Two shillings per Hogshead and consequently the present charge may be more naturally born by that Revenue and the rather because the Quitrents have lately been reserved for more important services.
This my Lord is a faithfull state of our case nor can I imagin that our Pretentions can be at all prejudiced by the purchase that has been since made of Carolina by the Crown Since what we did was by his Majesty's express commands. And notwithstanding such Purchase this work will still prove very advantagious to the Publick by discovering a fine Country which will soon be taken up as far as the great mountains whereby the strong Barrier will be secured to his Majesty's subjects. Besides our line will remain a lasting Boundary between the 2 Colonys which can never conveniently be united into one Government.
And now I ought to ask your Lordships ten Thousand Pardons for giveing so long an interruption to your attention to the Publick service. But as I could not make my case shorter without prejudicing the Justice of it I hope you will be pleased to excuse me, and to believe that I am with all the Respect in the World