Documenting the American South Logo
Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from Alexander Spotswood to the Board of Trade of Great Britain
Spotswood, Alexander, 1676-1740
November 07, 1711
Volume 01, Pages 816-818

-------------------- page 816 --------------------
[B. P. R. O. B. T. Virginia. Vol: 13. O. 118.]

Virginia November 7th1711.

My Lords,

The last letter I had the honour to write to your Lordships of which the inclosed is a copy gave an account of my intended progress to our Southern Frontiers to meet the deputys of the Tuscaruro Indians. Accordingly having drawn together to Nottoway town against the time appointed the Militia of the three neighbouring Countys consisting of upwards of 1600 men; five of the great men of that Nation arrived very opportunely just at the time I had brought the Militia under some discipline; and were not a little surprized to find there so great a body of men in such good order. After entring into Conference with them I found both by their discourse, and also from what my Messenger assured me of his observations while he was in their Towns, that they were very desirous to continue in peace with this Government and seemed much concerned that any of their Nation should have joined in the Massacre in Carolina. I then proposed to them either to carry on a war against those Indians upon the promise of rewards to be paid them, or to join with her Majesty's Subjects of Carolina for extirpating those Assassins, and that for the better assuring us of their future good behaviour they should deliver two children of the great men of each town to remain as Hostages and to be educated at our Colleges. But as they had no Authority to conclude anything without the concurrence of the rest of their Nation, they desired time to informe their Townes and promised to returne with an Answer by the 20th of this month and I'm in great hopes to obtain what I have proposed by the readiness they have already showed in this meeting, as well as their frankness in procuring the liberty of the Baron de Graffenried upon the demand I made of him, who was to be conducted home to Carolina the next day after my Messenger left their Country.

The delivering their children as hostages will not only prove the most effectual security for their Fidelity, but may be a good step towards the Conversion of that whole Nation to the Christian faith and I could not hope for a more favourable Conjuncture to meet this demand than now when they are under great apprehensions of our Resentmts for the late Barbaritys committed in Carolina, and the impressions made on them by

-------------------- page 817 --------------------
the appearance of so great a force as I then show'd them. I took this occasion to renew a Proposal I formerly made to our tributary Indians for sending some of their children to be brought up at the College, and though it has hitherto been judged a matter so impracticable that the Governors of the College have thought it in vain to attempt it and have chosen rather to be at a great expence for buying Indians of remote Nations taken in War, to be educated in pursuance of a Donation left for that purpose by Mr Boyle, yet I have prevailed so far by offering to remitt their whole tribute of skins so long as they kept their children at the College, that the King of the Nansemonds has already sent his son and Cousin, the Nottoway and Maherines have sent each two of their Chief mens sons to be brought up to Learning and Christianity; and the Queen of Pamunky upon seeing how well those Indian children are treated has engaged to send her son and the son of one of the Chief men upon the same Foot and I also expect another boy from the Chickahominys. As the remitting their Tribute is one of the conditions for their keeping their children at the College, and I believe a strong motive to engage their compliance, so if it should happen to be disapproved and revoked by succeeding Governors, because it lessens their Income, it may occasion their recalling their children and consequently prove a discouragement to the design of their conversion. And therefore I humbly offer to your Lordships consideration that her Majesty may be moved to signify her Approbation of my yielding this branch of the Governor's perquisites, and if that be thought too great a prejudice to my successors I shall if your Lordships think fitt, propose another Fund by which her Majesty may be enabled to give an equivalent for this Loss, which I shall beg leave in that case to lay before your Lordships and I hope the Example I have sett, with what I have recommended in my speech to the Assembly on that subject, will prompt them to settle some Fund towards the Education of the Indians, since that already given to the College by the deceased Mr Boyle, will be too small for the maintenance of so great a number as are like to be there in a short time.

That your Lordships may be informed of the affairs under the consideration of this Assembly I take the liberty to inclose a copy of my speech at the opening this Session, and shall by the next opportunity (which I expect in a short time) give your Lordships an exact account of their proceedings, together with the progress of my negotiations with the Tuscaruro Indians, which I'm now obliged to break off by reason of the sudden departure of the ship, in which this is intended

-------------------- page 818 --------------------
I am with all due respect
My Lord,
Your Lordships
Most dutifull and most
Obedient Humble Servant.


Recd 24th May 1712
Read 11th Decr 1712