powered by google
Documenting the American South Logo
Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Advanced Search Options
Letter from Charles Craven to Charles Townshend, Viscount Townshend
Craven, Charles
May 23, 1715
Volume 02, Pages 177-179

[B. P. R. O. B. T. Proprieties. Vol. 9. Q. 46.]
GOV. CRAVEN TO SEC. LORD TOWNSHEND.

23 May 1715.

Rt Honble

The Neighbouring Indians with whom we have had a long and continued Amity, haveing for almost these two months last engaged themselves in a most bloody war against this part of his Majesty's Dominions, I held myself obliged to give your Lordship a plain and true account of the present State of this Colony being well assured that it will be as soon as possible laid before his Majesty by your Lordship.

I have no necessity to acquaint your Lordship, that South Carolina is of all the Dominions belonging to the Crown of Great Britain in North America, the utmost frontier haveing the Spaniard at St Augustin or Florida and the French at Movill on the great River Mechassipi on the South and on the South West: St Augustine is not above seventy Leagues from our Settlements, from which place we have reason to believe Our Yamasee Indians who first began this warr upon us have received their principal incouragement to Attack us. These Yamase's being look'd upon by other Nations to be the most warlike, have prevailed with almost all the rest to become their Confederates and Allies so that we compute that we have at least 3000 Indians engaged against us, all of them till now entirely in our Interest and with whom we had a constant Trade and commerce.

About the middle of Last Aprill one of the said Yamasee Indians gave Some Hint to a Trader or two that lived amongst them of the horred design they had been sometime contriving to cutt of all the English and become sole Masters of their fine and flourishing Plantations, this astonished the poor people, and caused them to begg only so much

-------------------- page 178 --------------------
time as they could come to me to Charlestown and returne again, and they assured the Indians that any thing would be done to give them Satisfaction, with which they seem'd Contented.

The two Traders made all the Dispatch, rideing night and day, to acquaint me with what had happened; upon which the Council was called, and we dispatched the Messengers to let the Indians know that some of our Chief men should meet them forthwith at a place appointed, to hear and redress their Complaints and Grievances if they had any. The Indians waited for the return of the Messengers, but they had not been with them above twelve hours, but without more adoe they were knock'd on the head by the Indians, with Several more white people who were barbarously Tortured and Murthered by them.

The adjacent Settlements were some of them imediately destroyed by the Indians but most of the people escaped by wonderfull Providences; this horrible and amazeing account of Several Massacres being brought to me from Several hands, I soon mounted a Party of Men, and with them together with a small number of Indians who live among us, I marched to attack the Yamasees before they were joyned by other Indians; It pleased God to give us Success against a much more numerous Party of Indians, They received an unexpected Defeat from our handfull of men with the loss of Eleven men killed outright and twenty wounded on our side The Enemy having suffered very much in this Engagement, insomuch that haveing lost several of their chief Warriors and abundance of them being wounded, they flew from their Towns and Settlements and left their Provisions and good Plunder for our men they have not as yet been so hardy as to shew themselves but Keep in unaccessable Swamps and unapproachable fastnesses

The Country is now very active in Fortifying Several Places. which may hinder the Indians from comeing lower into our Settlements, and is so Industriously Employed for their defence that all manner of other Business is laid aside, so that there will be hardly any Rice or other provision Planted which will therefore be much wanted next year.

I humbly beg your Lordships pardon whilst I presume to acquaint you further that I take all suitable measures for the Preservation of the Colony besides white men (which I am sorry to say it are but few, being not above fifteen hundred in the whole Province and they too at great distances from one another and dispersed in several Forts) I have caused about two hundred stout negro men to be enlisted and these with a party of white men and Indians are marching towards the enemy: but the greatest discouragement I meet with is the want of arms and amunition

-------------------- page 179 --------------------
for which I am now sending to New England but I am afraid they cant sufficiently supply us. besides I am endeavouring to bring off some of the Confederate Indians and make them our Friends again by presents and by all the most probable waies can be thought of It is great pity my Lord so fine and flourishing a Country should be lost for want of men and arms a Country so beneficial to the Crown by its trade and once so safe to other Colonies by reason of the vast number of Indians it was in alliance with I have no occasion therefore to press your Lordship to consider that if once we are driven from hence the French from Movill or from Canada or from old France will Certainly gett footing here if not prevented and then with their own Indians and with those that are now our Enemies they will be able to march against all or any Colony on the main and threaten the whole British Settlements.

People here are under such a dreadful Consternation and Surprize haveing the most barbarous enemy on earth to deal with that they are many of them for going off but I shall take all Imaginable care to prevent this Evill and have made them somewhat easy by giving them assurance that his most sacred Majesty will send them a speedy and sufficient Supply of everything.

I am persuaded your Lordship will be pleased to use your best offices for this Assistance and preservation of this hopefull Province, which without timely supplies from the Crown, will be in the utmost danger of being overrum by the Heathen Enemy; Your Lordship will most certainly lay the Calamities now befallen a distressed people to heart and forward every thing which may tend to their security which will infallibly receive Everlasting acknowledgments from them and from no one sooner than from

May it please your Lordship
Your Lordships
Most obedient humble servant
CHARLES CRAVEN.

South Carolina May 23d 1715