Documenting the American South Logo
Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from Giles Rainsford to [William Taylor], Secretary of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel
Rainsford, Giles, b. 1679
February 17, 1713
Volume 02, Pages 16-18

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

Chowan No Carolina
17 Febry 1712/13

Honble Sir

Since my last to you on the 25th of July with deep concern I am forced to tell you that this Country has been miserably reduced by Indian cruelty the Inhabitants are brought to so low an ebb by this unhappy war that rather than expose themselves to their enemies they have most of them quitted their plantations and entirely thrown themselves on the Virginians for relief The Governor of South Carolina has sent Eleven hundred Indians in order to relieve this Government and Col Pollock our President with his council have levied Five pounds on every titheable 6 bushels of corn a quarter part of all their wheat for the maintenance and support of these Ashley River Indians The stocks of our English Inhabitants are all destroyed by their coming to this Country and their

-------------------- page 17 --------------------
poverty is so great that Virginia has given £1000 Sterling to relieve them with 900 yards of Duffle to cloath them so that should they conquer their Enemies without the Charitable support of the proprietors they can never afterwards be able to subsist. This is a true account of the miserable state the Country now labours under as may appear by Governor Spotswood's hint in the inclosed to me. I have already been taken by the Savages in my Journey to one Adams to preach and after a little Conference let go, but guarded by two of them out of the parts. There's scarce a Man even on the North Shore of Chowan River (which borders on Virginia) to be found, and that for the women they wont leave their plantations to go to a house where I make an appointment, to preach. So that very little good at the present juncture can be expected from us. Indeed I have been visited with a terrible seasoning to the great hazard of my life being given over for 3 months together by those that beheld me but it has pleased God to restore me to my former health. The danger of Living here at present is such, that it has obliged me to petition the Governor of Virginia for a living in his parts for six months only, which upon mature deliberation, Hoping that the disorders of the country in that time may be composed, he has condescended to gratify me but with great caution to the Venerable Society whose Missionaries he would no way be supposed to remove I am entertained in Surry parish for the time mentioned conditionally That I return to my duty upon the first happy opportunity of a peace which I have promised to do and by my future diligence I hope I shall answer the pious intentions of the Societys sending me over. I am not so remote but a days Journey will fetch Carolina, and I shall be sent for on any occasion (by Mr. Garrat) where my duty calls for my appearance, my agreement with the people of Surry is from the 25th of March to the succeeding Michaelmas and no longer; and if the Society think fit to stop my salary for that ½ year I must acquiesce and submit to their pleasure; a principle of conscience obliged me to lay before you my proceedings or otherwise I must receive the Societys money as Mr. Urmstone does who has bought a plantation on the confines of Virginia and lives to his satisfaction on the plentiful Income of what the Society allows him, were it in his power to do the Society the services they might expect, yet he has so exposed himself to popular hatred by his wretched way of begging and other indiscretions, I am unwilling to mention, That no single person in the Government will attend his appointment on the score of this selfish principle. I have enclosed the late Governor Hide's letter to me before ever I had seen him with a design the Society should no way be imposed upon where I have
-------------------- page 18 --------------------
an interest I desire no Missionary may be sent over here since I have no way quitted their service only by being forced to it as I may properly say in a time of persecution New Castle in pensilvania is vacant by the removal of Mr Sinclare and should be extreme thankful should the Society be pleased to order me there I wish Sir you would propose it at a General Meeting for I am very uneasy to be hindered from my duty by these unhappy differences. I have drawn upon Mr Hodges our Treasurer for my half years salary ending 25th March next and do almost hope I may receive the succeeding half year. I mean till Michas upon condition I'm ready to attend my duty here on the least notice when occasion requires me—On the account of my late indisposition I have been able only to Catechise children and baptize six Negroes with the advantage of what Good I might do thro' God's blessing by preaching and conference I might truly have starved and been lost were it not for Mr Edmond Kearney a Merchant of Hampton, I mentioned in my last who took great care to supply me with money and necessaries in my late sickness, which mightily reduced my stock by gratifying the Christians and obliged me to take from him this half year's salary beforehand I design to deal with him entirely while I am in your service and not do as some Missionaries continue to buy Goods in London and so neglect the true ends of their Mission, by attending their Markets here to the great scandal of their profession, I earnestly request that you would please to speak to Mr Hodges, that my bills may be honored on the very day of payment since Mr Kearney's civilities to me have been almost inexpressible I have nothing more to add but that I am with all truly Christian gratitude for favors already done me

Your most obliged &c