Documenting the American South Logo
Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from Thomas Woodward to John Colleton
Woodward, Thomas, Sir,
June 02, 1665
Volume 01, Pages 99-101

-------------------- page 99 --------------------
[B. P. R. O. Shaftesbury Papers. Bdle. 48. No. 4.]

Honerd Sir

I understand by Mr Drummond and Mr Carterett that you and the rest of the Right Honorable the Lords Proprietors of the Province of Carolina have appointed me to be Surveyor for your Countie of Albemarle Wherein (“Pray be pleased to assure your Lordships”) I will endeavour to serve you faithfully, and to the uttermost of my Power promote your Interest. And though I know it befitts not me to dispute your comands but rather to operate them Cœca Obedientia yet (by your Honors permission) I cannot omit to performe another part of my dutie (so I am though unworthy) one of the counsell here to give you my opinion concerning some passages in the Instructions your Honore sent us. First for the bounds of the Countie of Albemarle fortie miles square will not comprehend the Inhabitants there already seated. And sixteen hundred square miles may be laid out by runing only on the Verges of the Rivers and Creekes where generally men seat and where (for the most part) the plantable land lies so disadvantagious to your Honores Interest, and the Inhabitants Welfare; that no reasonable line of communication will be able to unite them either for defence or Traffick. So that I conceive it will be most comodious to bound this Governmt. On the south side with the North end of Croatan Island Thence west to Morattuck, Including all the Branches thereof, Thence North as far as your Patent extends Then East to the Sea; And to prohibit all Persons for some time from seating beyond there bounds as also not yet to seat up Morattuck: Which bounds though they are greater than your Honors Instructions allow for Albemarle countie yet are they not more than will consist well with one Governmt. It being (in my opinion) very inconvenient to erect divers Governments to have Passage through one-anothers Territories or Inletts: as Maryland having no Inlet for shipping but through the Capes of Virginia. May (if any difference shall happen between those two Governments) in a high measure feel the Inconvenience And the Inhabitants of all the streams or rivers within this Government must be supplyed with Commodities from such Vessells as shall arrive through Roanokea Inlett which for ought we can perceive must always be of very small burthen. for although Capt Whitties vessell this winter at her coming in found fifteene feete water, yet her going out she had but eleaven feete and though she drew not eight foote water, struck twice or thrice notwithstanding they had Beatoned the Chanell and went out in the best of it, at full sea; so uncertaine are all those Inletts.

-------------------- page 100 --------------------
There is another Inlett at Wococock or Wococon which hereafter may serve for an other Government betweene this and Cape Feare, if to your Honore it shall seem Convenient.

Next the Proportione of Land you have allotted with the Rent, and conditione are by most People not well resented and the very Rumor of them dis-courages many who had intentions to have removed from Virginia hether: Whilst my Lord Baltamore allowed to every Persons imported but fiftie acres; Maryland for many yeares had scarce fiftie families, though there Rent was rather easier then in Virginia; but when he allotted one hundred Acres for a Person, it soone began to People. and when he found them begin to increase, he brought it to fiftie a head againe So if your Lordships please to give large Incouragement for some time till the country be more fully Peopled, your Honore may contract for the future upon what condition you please But for the Present, To thenke that any men will remove from Virginia upon harder Conditione then they can live there will prove (I feare) a vaine Imagination, It bein Land only that they come for.

I shall give you Sr Francis Bacons owne words in his Essay of Plantation

“Planting of Counties is like planting of Woods, for you must make account to loose almost Twenty yeares Profitt and expect your recompense in the end: for the Principall thing that hath bin the destruction of most Plantations hath bin the hastee drawing of Profit in the first yeares.”

And it is my Opinion, (which I submitt to better Judgements) that it will for some time conduce more to your Lordshipe Profit to permit men to take up what tracts of Land they please at an easie rate, then to stint them to small proportions at a great rent, Provided it be according to the custome of Virginia which is fifty Pole by the river side, and one mile into the woods for every hundred acres; there being no man that will have any great desire to pay Rent (though but a farthing an acre) for more land than he hopes to gaine by. Rich men (which Albemarle stands in much need of) may perhaps take up great Tracts; but then they will endeavour to procure Tenants to helpe towards the payment of their Rent, and will at their owne charge build howseing (which poore men cannot compasse) to invite them: Besides to have some men of greater possessions in Land then others, will conduce more to the well being and good Government of the Place than any Levelling Paritie To reduce Planters into Townes, is here almost impossible; when the country is Peopled and com̄erce increased it may more easily be effected, by appoynting Ports and Marketts whether not only Merchants but all Tradesmen and

-------------------- page 101 --------------------
Artificers will resort for habitation, and in short time lay the foundation to superstructures of Townes and Citties; Alwayes Provided there be a course taken for procuring a coine with out which no Towne nor Markitt can well subsist: And this can no way be effected but by the ballance of Trade; And therefore I doe most highly applaude your Lordshipe designe of making Wine in this Country: for I am confident that if the value of the drinke only within Twenty yeares past brought into Virginia had been Imported in Silver; Virginia would have had more money for the number of her English Inhabitants then most if not the most opulent countrys have in Europe. But Sr I begin now to go beyond my last If my zeale to this Place (which I have many years endeavoured and encouraged to seate) transports me to this kind of building Castles in the Aire, I hope your Goodnesse will be pleased to excuse me since I perceive there are some well willers to this Place in England doe the like: I shall therefore conclude with this humble request that you will be pleased to entertain thes Truth for a Maxim

Those that live upon a Place are best able to Judge of that Place Therefore the Petition of the Generall Assemblie that was here convened will diserve your Honors serious consideration; of which with theire other proceedings likewise, I doubt not but our Noble Governor will give you a true Accompt, he being by the Assembly therewith intrusted And if in any thing (besides the Publique) I can serve your Perticular Interest Command

Your most faithfull and most humble servant

I make no question but Mr Carteret our Secretary will answer all your expectations for I assure you he is Diligent; and the Spanish Proverb tells us.

Que la buena Diligencia, es la Madce de la Buena Ventura.

Albemarle Counties June 2nd 1665.


To the Honorable
St Jameses
these present

2nd June 65