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Letter from James Moir to Philip Bearcroft
Moir, James, d. 1767
March 29, 1743
Volume 04, Pages 621-622

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[From North Carolina Letter Book of S. P. G.]

Brunswick March 29. 1743

Reverend Sir, [to the Secretary]

Being very much indisposed last Fall I could not attempt to visit the counties on this side Neuse till the month of November; But have since that time officiated in all the Parishes within the Bounds assigned me by the Venerable Society—From the beginning of Septr preceeding to the 25th of this instant I have Baptized Six white adults, two men & four women; and 348 white children one hundred of which I'm inclined to believe were betwixt six and twelve years of age—I also baptized two Negro children and admitted to the Holy Communion fifty three persons. Twenty days are not yet elapsed since I received yours of March 23 1741, with great pleasure indeed; it being the first and only one I had the honor to receive—Mr. Marsden was dead some months before the inclosed minute came to hand.

The state of this Province is much the same as was represented in my former Letters & still promises so little encouragement to Itinerant Missionaries that I now despair of seeing even a necessary provision made for them—were it not that I hate complaining I might have easily before this time laid such grievances before the Venerable Society as must convince them that their pious & generous intentions in sending Missionaries to this Province are not likely to meet with a suitable return.

You will Reverend Sir no doubt be persuaded of the truth of what I say when you please to consider that as we have neither Church nor Chappel here, we cannot expect any Glebe or Parsonage House—I am obliged to ride often & great lengths: Horses are bought here at high rates & kept at higher and the Parish allowing no fenced pasture, they happen to be often lost or stolen which renders me incapable of travelling when I would—In the mean time many of the Inhabitants are affronted if I defer riding twenty or thirty miles to baptize a child, tho' they have but lately slipt the opportunity of having it done at the Publick service when performed within a few miles of their House—This being the case every one readily allows that a Missionary ought to have some Pasture ground and a convenient House so situated as to make it as easy as possible for him to ride to the different places at which he is to officiate by the appointment of the present Vestry. But Then the Missionary is to be at all Expense which cannot amount to less than Two hundred pounds Sterling—Even this perhaps might go down were it not that often he has been at this expense; next year comes a New Vestry

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which makes new appointments. The poor Missionary now lives entirely out of the way, he must begin to fence and build again, tho' he knows too well that his former improvements will never fetch him the one half of what they cost him.

Our present situation appears to me most wretched—the Parishes in which we live, and where contributions are raised for us think themselves entitled to all our services: The others within our Missions say their claim is every whit as good because we are the Society's Missionaries in those parts: Thus all partys are not a little dissatisfied as matters now stand, and I'm afraid will continue so to be till they are made fully sensible that the venerable Society will in case of Vacancys, always prefer such Parishes as give the best encouragement and consequently have given leave to their Missionaries to embrace the most favourable terms.

Revd Sir your most, &c.,
JAMES MOIR.