powered by google
Documenting the American South Logo
Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Advanced Search Options
Report by Richard Beresford concerning general conditions in South Carolina
Beresford, Richard
June 23, 1716
Volume 02, Pages 229-233

[B. P. R. O. B. T. Proprieties. Vol. 10. Q. 77.]
MEMORIAL FROM Mr BERESFORD, REPRESENTING THE PRESENT STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA.


(23rd June 1716.)

To the Rt Honble the Lords Commissioners of Trade and Plantation. May it please your Honours

The present State of South Carolina is as follows.

That Province having for a year past been engaged in Warr with the Indians Numbers of its Inhabitants have been destroyed by Fire and sword and many more have deserted the Place.

The small number of whitemen (fit to bear arms) that are left continue to desert the Province and had not the Government of Virginia and North Carolina sent to their assistance about two hundred men (for part of whom they were obliged to consent to Terms almost impossible to be complied with) many more if not the greatest part of the present Inhabitants would in all probability have deserted. The whole Province being thus distressed and despairing of further assistance from other American Colonies as also from the Honorable the Lords Proprietors of that Province, were under a necessity of making application to the King and Parliament to enable 'em to subdue or reduce their Enemies to Reason.

-------------------- page 230 --------------------

Accordingly their Case by Petition from their agent and severall Merchants of London trading thither was on the 9th of Augst last laid before the Parliament and after an Examination before the Committee. The Honorable House of Commons were pleased to address his Majesty to send to the assistance of Carolina such supplies as in his great wisdom should be thought needfull, the charge of which to be made good in the next aides

Whereupon his Majesty was graciously pleased to send a sufficient Quantity of arms & ammunition but the unnatural Rebellion obstructed sending men.

By advices since the said Stores of War were sent which came with Petition from the Upper and Lower Houses of Assembly of that Province to his Majesty for relief and protection it has been represented that a supply of men and money is the chief of what they stand in need of without which they are in the greatest danger of loosing that Province, the remaining small number of its Inhabitants being almost wearied out through continual fatigue and the charge insupportable.

A second Petition from the Agents Merchants and others to the King praying that some of the Rebels who petitioned for to be transported might be sent to Carolina to serve in the time of their Extremity until better provision could be made for them was under the consideration of his Majesty and the Lords of the Council. By other Letters and advices received the beginning of March last from the most interested and credible Inhabitants it appeared that notwithstanding they had made peace with one Nation of their Indian Enemies they were still obliged to employ all the force of Whitemen they could raise together with many of their black slaves against those Nations of Indians who were the forwardest to begin the War and have since com̄itted the greatest Barbarities.

All which Representations and Applications being made to this Government and also by proper persons here made known to the Honourable the Lord Proprietors and no sufficient assistance sent them. About the beginning this instant June arrived here from that Province another address to the King and a letter from the Assembly there very plainly setting forth their present State which having been shown to the Honourable the Lord Cartwright and others the Lords Proprietors of that Province they have signified their dislike thereto and as we have too much reason to fear will not only refuse to consent to what may be necessary on their parts but also endeavour to invalidate the said Representation which obliges us the more earnestly to make all the application we are able that the condition of those distressed subjects may in the most effectual manner be laid before and come under the consideration of his Majesty and

-------------------- page 231 --------------------
the Government with the greatest Expedition. The objections answered and the Province assisted by this Nation with men and money which if timely effected may prevent the destructive confusion if not utter ruin of that Frontier to the French Spaniards and Indians of all the English Plantations on the Main of America whose scituation and Extent makes it capable of improvement in the best of commodities and Trade, on which subject we beg your Honours Patience will suffer us a little to enlarge and also to deliver some copies of the yearly imports and exports of the Province before their present troubles and thereby to expose the designs of the French and make known the advantages which will accrue to this Nation by preventing them and encouraging the cultivating of that fruitful Land. By many former circumstances as well as by the late Letter from the Assembly of Carolina there is too much reason to be assur'd that the French (who live and trade with the Indians from Quebeck and along the Lakes of Canida and Southward too and down the great river of Messisippi to Fort Morilla scituated on a River near the Mouth of the said great River with the Bay of Mexico) have stirred up and encouraged severall Nations of Indians to this War.

And as the French have of late years (very far with the bounds of the Charter of Carolina) settled themselves on the back of the improved part of that Province by which they are as near those Indian Settlements who were in alliance with Carolina as the English there are, and thereby having possessed themselves from the Northermost part of the Sea to the Southermost on the back of all the most valuable Brittish Plantations and Colonies on the Main of America and having with them very numerous Nations of Indians. Tis too obvious what they (especially South Carolina) must expect whenever a Rupture with France may happen if not before It's also as obvious how formidable the French will grow there during Peace, considering how industrious they are in frequently supplying their Settlements with People &c. An Instance of which we were let to know by late advices from France that shipping with Men and Women were going from Brest to their New Colony Luciana on Missisippi which by the small number of Inhabitants in Carolina the French had the opportunity to begin and by the present troubles with the Indians are encourag'd to encrease.

Carolina being the only Southern Frontier of all Brittish America both to the French and Spaniards who have sheltered those very Indians who comenced this present War with the English it is humbly presumed that a settlement of his Majestys Subjects on one of the Bahama Islands (now inhabited only by a few scattered English Settlements notorious for being without Government &c) with a small garrison there it being on the

-------------------- page 232 --------------------
Eastermost side of the Gulf of Florida, and the like Settlement and Garrison on Port Royall Island adjoyning the main land of Carolina on the opposite side of the Gulf, and as occasions might be vessels appointed to attend that short Cruise would be the greatest security imaginable not only to Carolina but to other American Colonies possest by the English.

Those Islands being a very pleasant and profitable Climate when protected and encouraged will very soon florish and fill with Inhabitants and in some measure deter the French from increasing their Settlements on Mesissipi for as much as it will be difficult for any ships to come through the Gulf (as all Spanish Galloons and French from Mesissipi and Morilla are obliged to) but they will be discovered. Port Royall Island hath an extraordinary Harbour for shipping by all Pilots allowed to be the best upon the coast of Carolina having about four fathom Water on the most difficult Entrance and abounds with Provisions and Naval Stores and amongst the Bahama Islands it is beyond doubt there want not the like advantages for such an undertaking.

That in time of Peace it is much more adviseable to make such Settlements on the said Islands than in time of War is humbly presumed wants no Demonstration.

Carolina being thus circumstanced and capable of affording greater quantity of valuable produce than any other part of British America, as the best of Rice in abundance, all manner of Timber for building, shipping in great plenty, Pitch, Tar, Turpentine, Rossin, Indigo and Silk which has been manufactured in London and proves to be of extraordinary Substance and Lustre omitting to mention the great quantity of provisions and other necessarys it affords the Plantation. 'Tis humbly hoped the King and Parliament will be of opinion that it merits a particular notice and Protection.

That Colony being capable of producing sufficient quantities of many of the aforesaid commodities not only to supply great Brittain but several other parts of Europe the first costs of which being paid for in british manufactorys and the whole freight redounding to his Majestys Subjects are circumstances worthy the notice of the Legislature.

If the Inhabitants of Carolina and the Bahama Islands were more numerous and protected it is not doubted but that several other productions would thrive well in that climate as sentchanel, sugar, Fruit Coffee Olives Spanish vines Drugs and Cotton Wool & has been tryed & comes to perfection not to enlarge on the mines of silver if not gold which are expected to be found in the Appalatia Mountains, scituate between the Frenches new settlement on Mesisseppi and the improved Part of Carolina.

-------------------- page 233 --------------------

There are also great quantitys of Cedar & Cypress far exceeding any Norway Deals being free from Knots of curious white colour, great lengths proper for floring of the most magnificent Buildings. The Cedar for some uses far exceed any other sort of wood and at the request of some Noblemen and Gentlemen of this Nation hath been brought into this Kingdome but the Importers being obliged to pay duty for it as Sweetwood amounts to a Prohibition the further Importation thereof has been quite discouraged our navigation lessend and and given to Foreigners of whom we purchase in part with Money and loose the advantage of Freight

RICHd BERESFORD.

A DEMONSTRATION OF THE PRESENT STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA.
The value of the Province the year before the Indian War vizt Lands, Negroes, Stock Merchandez and all other Proffitt and Improvements by an Assembl the sum total amounting to
£709,763
The value of the Province is diminished by destruction, desertion &c: at least a third which is
£236,587
The Bills of Credit made current before the War and now extant are
£44,000
The Debts and Bills since the War
£140,000
The value of Ten thousand Negroes at Twenty pounds each which being the only thing the Inhabitants can carry with them when they desert the Province or improve their Lands and subsist themselves with, while there they will never part with and therefore the sum of them to be deducted which is
£200,000
The remaining sum to be exosted before their Debts will be equal to the value of their Lands and other Stock after which (in point of Interest) it seems to be equal for the Inhabitants to leave the Province or stay & pay the Debt if their Troubles were at an end, but if the War continue & the Inhabitants remain on the Land there is too much reason to fear they will be reduced to the miserable condition of their Neighbours in the Bahama Islands, which we hope his most gracious Majesty the King under God will timely prevent
89 176
£709 763