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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from Alexander Spotswood to the Board of Trade of Great Britain [Extract]
Spotswood, Alexander, 1676-1740
July 26, 1712
Volume 01, Pages 861-863

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[B. P. R. O. B. T. Virginia. Vol. 13. O. 128—Extracts.]

Virginia July the 26th 1712.

My Lords,

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It is with very great concern that I find myself still obliged to represent to your Lordships the unhappy situation of affairs in the neighbouring Province of North Carolina; for since the hasty peace concluded with the Indians (of which I gave your Lordships an account in my last) the forces sent from South Carolina are returned home, and the Indians have committed two fresh massacres, and it is not likely they will stop there, if there be truth in what one of their Chiefs concerned in the first massacre hath lately confessed at his execution, that the senequas have promised them a powerful assistance by the latter end of next month, who are in their way to fall on some of the Tributary Indians on our Frontiers, and what seems to confirm this is the account I have just now seen in a letter from the Secretary of New York to the Governor of North Carolina, that the French have been very active to persuade the Senequas to join the Tuscaruros, and it is to be feared prevailed with them. The conduct of the Government of North Carolina from the beginning of this Indian was has been so unaccountably irregular, that it has rendered all the measures I was willing to enter into for their assistance ineffectual, and I hope when I have mentioned a few instances thereof, your Lordships will not judge me only an idle spectator of the miserys of my Fellow subjects. For first, when I had engaged our Assembly to vote a considerable supply for the succour of that Province, their Assembly which was then sitting, instead of acting in concert with ours, fell into such heats among themselves, because they could not oblige the Governor to admitt into their former offices, the most notorious fomenters of the late rebellion, that they would take no measures against the common enemy: and to this behaviour of theirs may in a great measure be attributed that of our burgesses, who fell from their first resolutions and could not thereafter be prevailed upon to give assistance to a people so wanting to themselves. Next, when I had by a solemn Treaty made in the presence of our Assembly, engaged the upper towns of the Tuscaruros to join in cutting off those concerned in the massacre, and had communicated the same to the Governor of North Carolina. That

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Government instead of concurring with me in the stipulations that provided solely for their succour, and the relief of their captives; rather chose to denounce war against all the towns in general, and without waiting to see whether those upper Towns would perform any of their engagements, they immediately fell upon those very people who (how little soever they designed to execute their promises) hereupon argued that we had violated ours. And lastly (for I will not trouble your Lordships with all the instances I could give) When their whole Assembly joined in an Address to me last spring, beging an aid of 200 men for the better carrying on the War and in that address told me that they had raised £4000 whereby the succours sent from hence would be provided for. I thereupon made extraordinary efforts to assist them with 200 white men and Indians as your Lordships will observe in the Journal of the Council the 24th of April last and accordingly directed the Rendevouze of those Forces on the 10th of May; yet upon my meeting the Governor of North Carolina to adjust certain preliminarys for the better carrying on the service and the subsistance of the Troops, I found that Government never intended to furnish so much as provisions or be at any manner of expence for them but on the Contrary had laid 10 per cent on all the provisions carryed into that Country, so that the Forces sent to their assistance must not only be paid and subsisted at the Charge of this Government, but must also pay a duty for the victuals they eat, while they were imploy'd in the defence of that Country; and besides this I found the Commander of their Forces had of his own head, clapt up a peace with the Indians upon very odd and unaccountable Conditions, which nobody expected to last long, and it seems he did not intend it should; for he soon after surprized some towns, and carryed off a great many captives of those who looked upon themselves as secure under the Treaty he had made with them, and by that means he has entailed a new War on the people of North Carolina in which he was resolved to have no share, having imediately after set sail with his prisoners to South Carolina, and the two Massacres I have abovementioned have been the imediate consequences of this Mr Barnwells Treachery. These irregular proceedings, both discourage and disable me from assisting the unfortunate People of that Province, who must be forced to abandon all their settlements on Neuse and Pamplico Rivers and thereby encourage the Heathen to further attempts both on the other parts of that Country, and on our Frontiers: and I must sitt down under the mortifications of seeing myself unable to protect her Majesty's subjects, untill a nearer approach of danger convinces the people of this Colony of their error in not making
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timely provision to hinder the growing power of the Heathen, and alarms both Countrys to act more vigorously for their mutual defence. It was but the other day that a party of the Tuscaruros killed 3 and wounded two Nottoway Indians our Tributarys as they were hunting near our Inhabitants, which seems only a prelude to what we may expect after their conjunction with the Senequas.

I understand by some traders lately come from South Carolina that they make great clamours there, as if our Indian traders had assisted the Tuscaruros with ammunition; but I'm persuaded your Lordships will find enough on the Council Journals since September last, to refute that report, and to satisfy your Lordships that this Government hath taken all imaginable care to prevent any such Commerce.

Your Lordships will observe by our Journals that even the trade with the western Indians has been shutt up ever since last October, out of consideration for the province of North Carolina, but finding that trade still carried on by the people of South Carolina, and that those Indians have no correspondence with the Tuscaruros I have again by advice of the Council, opened the same for our Inhabitants, lest it should be lost to us, and the Indians obliged to sue to the French for those supplys which South Carolina can't furnish them, but still with this precaution of taking 300 bond of every one of our Traders, not to trade with, nor go near the Tuscaruros or any other Nation in Alliance with them. The nations with whom this Trade is carry'd on live severall hundred miles from the Tuscaruros. And as our Traders assure me they must travel at least fifteen hundred miles to come at the most considerable of them who live on the back of the mountains in the latitude of Virginia If this be true (which I shall know more certainly at the return of our Traders to whome I have given directions to make observations of the latitude) your Lordships will no doubt think it still more unreasonable, that the Carolina men should impose dutys and seize the goods of her Majesty's subjects for barely passing through this Country.

Since my last I have had the honour of your Lordships of the 1st of February 1711/12 and shall always rejoice when any part of my administration is acceptable to your Lordships.

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