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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
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Letter from "A Carolina Planter" to James Davis [as printed in the North-Carolina Gazette]
No Author
November 28, 1777
Volume 11, Pages 812-813

[North Carolina Gazette, (New Bern) December 5, 1777.]

D—t, November 28, 1777.

Mr. Davis,

The Sun's southern declination and my retired life, now and then afford a leisure hour to read or write. As our General Assembly is now sitting, would beg your indulgence of offering a few hints to their consideration, through the channel of your Gazette.

Among the many losses that attend the planter and obstruct his success perhaps none are more so than the damage done by wolves, and other noxious animals among our cattle, sheep, and hogs, and it is known that colts and horses frequently become the prey of such.

As private subscriptions made for the encouragcment of the vermin-killer, are seldom half or even quarter collected and paid, few will now be induced to give up their time for the purpose upon such specious nullities. I presume that a generous encouragement given by law for destroying these devouring animals, would prove an advantage to communities of every situation and calling. I would propose not less than five or six pounds for every wolf killed, and

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in proportion for panthers, wild-cats, bears, and even foxes, that destroy many of our lambs. The gratuity to be raised on the present mode of taxation according to the value of our estates.

It is my own thought which I submit to the judgment of the public, that every grown wolf does 20 or £30 damage yearly, in the compass of their range. And possibly the encouragement I would propose to give for vermin killing, would not on a medium amount to more than 8d. or 6d. or 4d. in the 100 pounds, and the object of that expence would be decreasing yearly, & before many years it would be a rare thing to hear of a wolf &c. doing damage among our settlements, and in proportion as these noxious vermin are thinned and destroyed, our cattle, sheep, and hogs, would augment, like taking the weight out of one end of the scales and laying it in the other. The increase of our live stocks, where no casualities obstructs, may be compared to compound interest, or geometrical proportion in arithmetic. Not to say much about our cattle and hogs, it is evident that our waste lands in this extensive country, is sufficient to raise and graze a hundred sheep for every single one we now have, or can have, when so liable to be destroyed by devouring animals.