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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Correspondence between Alexander Spotswood and Edward Hyde concerning the North Carolina/Virginia boundary [Extracts]
Spotswood, Alexander, 1676-1740; Hyde, Edward, 1667-1712
January 21, 1711 - February 03, 1711
Volume 01, Pages 751-754

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[B. P. R. O. B. T. Virginia. Vol. 13. O. 77.]

And now as to that part of yours and the letter from this Council relating to the boundarys, I shall have all the regard possible to it, and will lay it before the Council as soon as these Commissions are perfected which I hope will be to-morrow. And then by the first opportunity after you shall have the result from me, and were it only a matter wherein yourself were concerned I should ever act with the greatest respect possible, but this being a matter of so great a consequence wherein the Queen is concerned and a Charter granted from the Crown to the Lords Proprietors I dare not presume to act of myself in it, but with the approbation of the Council. I have forwarded a letter to Mr Lawson, and am sorry to hear that anything has been acted as it not approved on by you, or anything neglected as might have been done more to your satisfaction. I have great complaints how they in Virginia drive over the Meherron River great stocks of Cattle, which drive stocks of this Colony along with them, and if the owners look after them, they are upbraided with destroying those they have nothing to do with, The Meherron Indians are very insolent and very abusive to our Inhabitants, and kill Cattle and Hoggs of ours, supposing they can have protection from you, I hope you will not countenance anything of that sort, but that there may be a fair decorum kept, till the contraverted bounds be determined and that you will not proceed in drawing the Line till the Commrs of this place join, which I shall endeavour to forward with all the earnestness I can.


I'm sorry to hear that our Tributary Indians disturb or injure any of her Majesty's subjects, and shall take care to prevent as much as I can any ground of complaint as to the Maherines; but if those injurys are done to persons within the contraverted bounds I think they have as little reason to complain as they have Right to be there. I'm sure none of them have had any liberty from this Government to take up land in those parts and I hope the Government of Carolina have had the same

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regard to their own publick engagements not to suffer any encroachments to be made by the Inhabitants of that Province which we have had the more reason to expect from them out of respect to her Majesty in whose behalfe that Land has along been claimed.


I take this occasion to inform you that I have considered your letter, and am willing to putt to further Entrys on the North side of Wiccouse, till the meeting of the next Council the 12th of March, by which time I expect to have the Lords Proprietors Instructions to their Commissioners laid before us, and till then can give no further answer to that, reserving withall to the present Possessors and Claimers (by virtue of Entrys & Surveys) their rights which cannot with reason be slighted, because it hath always been taken with good reason, to be within this Government, and shall give orders accordingly. I take it to be necessary also to acquaint you, that the Meherron Indians made an agreement with this Government, that they would not claim any land on the south side of Maherine River. Notwithstanding which they have interrupted the present Possessors of the Lands between Maherine River and Wiccouse Creek, requiring them to leave their plantations without delay within three miles of their town, and have been very insolent therein, which they pretend an authority from your Government for so doing, and are encroaching upon the branches of Wiccouse, which may with reason be hoped will be checked by you. I shall press our Commissioners all in my power to forward the matter, so that they and yours may act in conjunction together, and I would persuade myselfe that you would not precipitate this affair, till our Commissioners join yours, and I have ground to conjecture that Mr Lawson has been or still is under some great disorder, or I should have received an answer to mine which was forthwith sent him upon my receipt of yours.

I shall always be glad to preserve a good understanding and correspondence betwixt the two Governments, and will never be wanting on my side to effect it in all things that I can answer to my Masters.

And tho' in comparison of Virginia ours is an infant Government I promise myself from your candour that no hardships be offered us, till the controverted bounds be fully determined. I am &c

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Since my Letter of the 3d instant I received by Capt: Jones yours of the 29th of January which I had an opportunity next day after the receipt to communicate to the Council, and can't forbear letting you know with how much satisfaction they received the assurances of your readiness to stop further Entrys within the contraverted bounds. and to find in the Government of Carolina a Gentleman whose word can be depended on, after the publick engagements of those formerly in the administration there have proved of no effect, and have been so little regarded that the Surveyor General who was then one of the Council, and obliged himself under his hand to suffer no further encroachments on the Lands in dispute has been the principal occasion of those that have been committed since.

It has been the chief care of those in the administration of affairs here after they understood the pretensions of the Lords Proprietors to hinder the seating of any of the Inhabitants of this Colony on the land in Controversy, to which purpose orders have been issued from time to time to restrain them; and to discourage them the more it was thought necessary to give publick notice that none who did unwarrantably seat themselves upon that Land should be admitted to claim any Right, if it should be determined to belong to her Majesty and for that reason I cannot agree to what you are pleased to intimate in your Letter of reserving to the pressent Possessors and Claimers the Rights they appere themselves to have acquired by virtue of Entrys or Surveys ought to have been made before the bounds had been ascertained, there being no reason why that Land should be taken to belong to the Proprietors untill the disputes are determined since the presumption of right till then is much stronger for the Queen, and there's as little reason that the Inhabitants of Carolina should be on a better foot than those of Virginia. I shall be very glad to have this matter brought to an issue as soon as may be, by the intervention of the Commrs that are appointed for that purpose; but if you will consider how long it has been in agitation I'm persuaded you will not think there has been any precipitation used in negotiating that in the space of ten months (for it is no less since it was first sett on foot) which might have been done in less than one; and if your Commissioners be left to their own inclinations, I'm̄ apt to believe according to what they have acted hitherto, they will find excuses to delay it as many years as they have already done months. For my part as I must plainly declare that

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to proceed with such Dilatoryness is not paying a just deference to her Majesty's commands so on the other hand it cannot be for the interest either of the Queen or of the Proprietors, since whatsoever has the right must in the mean time lose the benefit of the Quit rents, and that loss together with the Distractions among the People through the uncertainty of their titles will be but slenderly compensated by the private gain of your Commrs in the immediate surveys tho' that seems to have been their chief aim in all these affected delayes they have used in this Affair You have yourself been witness how much I have pressed them to proceed and how little effect I have had of their promise, I have now lately had Letters from England Pressing a speedy conclusion of this matter. Wherefore I am fully resolved that if I don't speedily hear that your Commrs intend to proceed in good earnest I shall order our Commissioners to go on without them, and to prepare the best state of the case they can in order to be laid before her Majesty.


Recd 5th June 1711
Read 5th June 1711