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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from Benjamin Dennis to John Chamberlain
Dennis, Benjamin
September 03, 1711
Volume 01, Pages 803-804

[From N. C. Letter Book. S. P. G.]

Goose Creek, 3 Sept 1711.


I met nothing worthy remark till I got into North Carolina, being the 26th, which is distant about a hundred and some odd miles, where I found the people all in confusion and disorder, every one getting their arms, and were in a readiness to go down to a place called Pamplico to take one Colonel Cary who was late president, and had got the Lords money in his hands, and would neither lodge it in the Assembly's hands, nor give them sufficient security for the indemnifying the people from the lords. This put me to a stand whether I had best proceed through such a disorderly country as I perceived that was, or else to go back; but, desiring God's protection and blessing, I resolved to put forward; so sending my horses and guide back, I crossed Roanoke River, and then was obliged to travel six miles on foot, there being no such thing as a horse to be had; at length I got one, and that night reached Governor Hyde's, where I found abundance of men in arms. I was received very kindly, and after the governor had perused a letter from the Honorable Governor Spotswood of Virginia (which was in my behalf), he told me he was designed to Pamplico the morrow, and that there was opportunity for my passage for South Carolina. The next day, being Monday 27th, the governor, with about eighty men, crossed the sound and went up the river Moretto [Moratoc] about twelve miles, and there landed his men, which were there increased to about one hundred and fifty, but left his guns there. We were all obliged to lie in the woods that night, and the next day got to Pamplico (otherwise called Hampton), the place where Colonel Cary lived; but he, having notice of our coming, made his escape to a house of one Colonel Daniels, which was a small way down the river. The governor did dot think fit to pursue him that day, but on the next went down with his men, at which time Colonel Cary had fortified the house with five pieces of Cannon, and had about forty men; they could not bring him to any terms that was reasonable, and finding

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they were so well fortified, marched back again without any action. There was a young gentleman, a relation of Governor Hyde, killed by accident. June the 1st, the governor, with his men, marched up the country again, and I remained at Hampton waiting for my passage, the vessel being not then ready; during my stay here I lodged at one Major Gale's, a very civil gentleman, at whose house the people met each Sunday, where a young gentleman, a lawyer, was appointed to read prayers and a sermon, they having no minister. I understood they had a gentleman sent them by the honorable society, but he could not live among such an unaccountable sort of people, and was removed up in the country. Colonel Cary, finding the governor gone, infused into the people that that Assembly was not duly elected, and that Governor Hyde was not governor, having no commission sent him, and therefore he could not comply with their demand; and one Mr. Roach, a merchant, which are proprietors, backing the said Colonel Cary, with assuring the people that Colonel Hyde was not designed governor, raised the affections of the people toward Colonel Cary, and incensed them against Governor Hyde, Colonel Pollock, and other gentlemen of the governor's council; what the end will be I know not, being obliged away from this place.

My reason for insisting so long on this subject is to let you see partly the management of this country, the inconstancy and unaccountableness of this people, who are of such a factious temper, that they are ready to follow any one that will head them, let the design be what it will; and all is purely for want of sense and reason. I really think there cannot be a people in the world like them; indeed the country is good, pleasant, and fruitful, and if inhabited with honest and industrious people, would exceed all the places I have yet seen.

Sir, yours, etc.,