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Letter from William Tryon to Thomas Villiers, Earl of Clarendon
Tryon, William, 1729-1788
December 08, 1764
Volume 06, Pages 1057-1059

[From Governor Tryon's Letter Book.]
Letter from Governor Tryon to Lord Hyde, Post Master General.

Wilmington 8th December 1764.

As the utility of establishing a Post thro' the Southern Province of this Continent has been a subject of conversation between your Lordship and myself I have been curious in my enquiries since my arrival here relative to the probability of effecting such a design. As one step towards it, the Assembly of this Province has this Session voted a sum of £133⅓ this currency value according to the present exchange nearly £67. Stg. to be paid annually to his Majesty's Deputy Post Master General on this Continent if he will undertake to carry a Post from Williamsburgh, to Charlestown once a fortnight, charging the customary postage on letters. This proposal

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is to be made by the Province to Mr. Foxcroft, one of the Postmasters residing at Williamsburgh. It will be needless for me to inform your Lordship of the numberless inconveniences which attend this Province for want of such a communication; inconveniences which must extend to every Province to the Southward. I will state one case which will hold good at least to all the new settled Provinces; should any of them be under the circumstances of danger or actual invasion, how should the alarm be given to the Northern Provinces, from whom they must expect succour? if by shipping, that is precarious; if by express by land, I am credibly informed that such a conveyance is equally or more precarious, as the messenger may ride the horse he setts out on possibly two hundred miles before he can furnish himself with a second, and when he comes to a hut of refreshment, in this wilderness, finding no entertainment for his horse, the saddle and bridal are taken off, and the beast turned into the woods to provide for himself; When the messenger wishes to proceed, three or four days perhaps is taken up in pursuit of his horse; this I am told frequently happens to travellers in this Province. The Post I am informed is regularly established from New York to Williamsburgh; therefore if your Lordship and Mr. Hampden would give such directions as should continue the communication at the same intervals of time, on to Charlestown, these Provinces would immediately feel the benefit of such a channel. It has happened that dispatches from the public boards at home, have laid six weeks at Charlestown before they have been delivered at Brunswick in Cape Fear River. Capt Lobb of his Majesty's Sloop Viper, stationed off this coast has informed me he received two letters from Lord Colvil dated from Halifax, one in June and the other in September last sent to Virginia to be forwarded, both which came to him about a fortnight since; these are inconveniences as incontestable as the facts I mention; and which I flatter myself will not fail to convince your Lordship how beneficial a Post will be to his Majesty's affairs as well as to the interest of his commercial subjects in the Southern Provinces, I doubt not but South Carolina will be very willing to contribute their mite to this cause: It only wants encouragement from home to begin the work. It would be most convenient for the Post (centering in at the northward of this Province) to pass thro' the Towns of Edenton, Bath, New Bern, Wilmington, and Brunswick: I mention this route as they lay most commodious for fixing the stages, and likewise the
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nearest Towns on the seaboard. The distance from Williamsburgh to Charlestown is as follows Vizt,

From Williamsburgh to Edenton
100
miles
From Edenton to Brunswick
200
From Brunswick to Charleston
180
Total from Williamsburgh to Charlestown
480
miles

If it should be found more convenient to carry the post thro' the Town of Halifax in this Province, instead of Edenton, it might be left to the discretion of the Deputy Post Master here

Another petition I have to lay before your Lordship is, that his Majestys packet ordered to Charlestown may in its return home be ordered to touch at Cape Fear River, if to stay only one week; this would be but a small distance out of her course, as she goes within twenty leagues of the bar of Cape Fear River when she crosses the Gulph Stream. The packet might come to an anchor off Fort Johnston, with the greatest security, about two leagues within the bar of the river. This indulgence would afford the Governor and the other Crown Officers a more safe and regular conveyance for their dispatches home than it is possible for them to obtain at present; for tho' the opportunities of ships going to England are frequent, all the masters are not to be trusted with dispatches of any importance; and more particularly in time of war. This indulgence would likewise give credit to a Province which in a future day may not be the smallest object of the Crown's attention. The entrance over the bar is esteemed equal to that of Charlestown. I assure your Lordship I invite the Packet into a river, by nature inferior by account, to few in this part of the world; and when the back country is well inhabited, will support an extensive commerce. The distance from Charlestown bar to that of Cape Fear is sixty leagues and has been frequently run in twenty hours.

If the Packets calling at Cape Fear every voyage, should be thought to occasion too much delay, it would be a great point gained, if it might call every other voyage, Exclusive of other advantages, the report of his Majesty's Packet touching at North Carolina would give a credit to the Province, and convince merchants that the entrance of Cape Fear River is formidable only in its name.

Your Lordships assistance in the execution of these plans will be very acceptable to this Province and much oblige your Lordships &c