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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from the Cape Fear Company to the Lords Proprietors of Carolina
Cape Fear Company
August 06, 1663
Volume 01, Pages 36-39

[Mass. Hist. Collections—Third Series—Vol. I., P. 56. Reprinted from Hawks's History of N. C.]

From London, August, 1663. At a Meeting of Adventurers about Cape Fayre.

London, Thursday, August the 6th, 1663.

At a meeting of several persons, who have, with several others of New England, subscribed themselves as adventurers for the carrying on a plantation in Charles River on the coast of Florida.

1. Whereas a paper in the name of the right honorable the Earl of Clarendon, lord high chancellor of England, George, duke of Albemarle, and divers other right honorable persons, to whom the whole coast of Florida hath been lately granted by his most excellent majesty, hath been sent down to the said adventurers, referring to certain proposals tendered to their said lordships, as the proper act and desires of the said adventurers, and being an answer to the said proposals; the said adventurers, upon diligent inquiry, not being able to find out who should be the author of the said paper, do judge it their duty, in all humbleness, to acquaint their lordships that they are altogether strangers to it, and know nothing of the delivery of it.

2. That upon consideration, nevertheless, of their lordships' said paper, and of several concessions, privileges, and immunities therein freely offered by their lordships for the encouragement of the said adventurers, and for the further promoting of the said plantation of Charles River, the said adventurers cannot but acknowledge the greatness of the favor

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and condescension of their said lordships to them, upon the confidence and assurance of which they erave leave further to represent to their lordships—

3. That as they were invited at first to be subscribers to the said plantation of Charles River, by several persons of New England, so the great motive that did principally induce them to the said subscription was the liquid and clear assurance that was given them, that the said New Englanders, had an equitable title to the harbor and soil of the said river, together with the lands adjacent; and that though many others of quality had long before indeed sailed upon the coast of Forida, and had settled and taken possession of some other part of that large and vast country, yet that the said New Englanders, and they only, were the first that did ever, bona fide, set foot in that particular harbor, and that did find out the entrance and discovery of the said river.

Which thing, as it hath been confidently represented from these of New England unto the said adventurers here, so, upon the very ground of that as a truth, as also of the general custom in that and other plantations (as well Dutch and French as English), that all that buy lands of the chief kings in those places (who only challenge to themselves the having a right to the sale of them), shall enjoy the absolute benefit and property of them against all persons, English or others; the said New Englanders having purchased the said river and soil, and lands adjacent, of the said kings, did so far presume upon the interest of the said purchase, together with the said discovery, as to give directions to several of their friends here immediately to apply to his majesty for a patent for the said river and soil, as belonging (according to their apprehension) of right to them, and as no way doubting the obtaining thereof, as may appear by the copy of their said letter hither.

4. The said adventurers further humbly represent, That as upon these grounds, and these only, they became invited to share in the adventures of those in New England, and to cast in at first a small sum for an assistance or supply to the said undertaking; so, forasmuch as the said adventurers here do act but as a minor part of those other adventurers there, and as wholly intrusted also from those there, they find not themselves qualified or enabled to do any thing therefore here that may prejudice or conclude the other adventurers there, in that which may be their just pretension or supposition of a right, how weak or how much mistaken soever the ground of that right may possibly appear, which they determine not.

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The said adventurers further humbly represent—

5. That there cannot be any easy encouragement for the planting of the lands of the said Charles River immediately from hence, by reason of the excessive and insupportable charge that would attend such an undertaking of transporting and supplying all things necessary for the said plantation, at so great and so extraordinary a distance; that as the undertaking, therefore, of the said plantation, and vigorous prosecution of it with men, cattle, and all other provisions as shall be judged necessary for the accomplishing and completing so great an engagement and action, must rationally be begun in, and set forth from, some other of the plantations abroad; so none is humbly conceived to be so fit to supply all those necessaries in abundance at first, and to do it at so easy a rate, as that of New England is.

But forasmuch as all the English living in the several colonies of New England have ever held and enjoyed the benefits granted to other corporations, and have ever had, as well as some other plantations, full liberty to choose their own governors among themselves, to make and confirm laws with themselves, with immunity also wholly from all taxes, charges, and impositions, whatsoever, more than what is laid upon themselves by themselves; it is therefore the humble opinion of the said adventurers, and (as what they fear) is humbly tendered to the considerations of their lordships—

That the said several adventurers in New England, who have some of them considerable interests and estates there, how much soever they have declared their willingness, forwardness, and resolution to transport and remove themselves and their respective families unto the said Charles River, and to settle there, will nevertheless decline the said resolution again; and will not, by any arguments that may be used by the said adventurers here, be induced to unsettle themselves, and to run all the hazards that must be considered in such doubtful undertakings; nor, if willing, will be able to persuade others to join with them there, if they shall hear, or be acquainted beforehand, that no one of the said privileges before mentioned, and which have hitherto always been enjoyed by them, are like to be allowed or preserved entire to them.

The said adventurers do further represent, that at the present the undertaking of the plantation of the said Charles River lieth under some obloquy, that hath given a check to it; some that were sent from New England thither, in order to the carrying on the said settlement, being come back again without so much as sitting down upon it; and for the better justification of themselves in their return, have spread a reproach

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both upon the harbor and upon the soil of the river itself; which check, if now also seconded with a discouragement from hence, in reference to their government, or with an intimation that they may not expect in the same river the same usual and accustomed privileges, that all the said colonies of New England, with other colonies, have ever had, it is humbly feared that all thoughts of further proceeding in the said river will be wholly laid aside by them.

Wherefore, inasmuch as the said adventurers here have only power to return back to those of New England what they shall receive as the pleasure of those right honorable persons that are the lords patentees; forasmuch, also, as from the several discourses had and favors already received, the said adventurers here cannot but have a strong confidence of their lordships' inclination and propenseness to give all just and possible encouragement to undertakings, so public as all things of this nature are; the said adventurers could not find any way better how to discharge the faithfulness of that duty and respect which becomes them to demonstrate towards their lordships, than thus candidly and sincerely to state to their lordships the nature of their adventure, partnership, and subscription with others, the nature also of their dependence on others, as being but a minor part to them of New England, and as having their discretions here intrusted, at furthest, no further than for the obtaining and securing such things, too, for them of New England, as are pursuant to the directions sent hither from them, and as they here shall judge may most tend to a satisfactory and lasting encouragement to them.