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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from John Urmston to William Taylor
Urmston, John
June 12, 1714
Volume 02, Pages 130-132

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

North Carolina June 12 1714


You say in yours of Decr 18 1713 which came to hand two days ago that mine to Mr Hodges dated Octr 22nd 1712 was at last communicated to the Board. I wonder what has become of divers older as well as fresher date of far greater moment. I gave bond for the books which Mr Gordon should have brought me but left with Revd Mr Wallace late Minister of Richetan on James River Virginia where greatest part of them still are. I did indeed after the decease of Mr Adams demand his books but was denied them and so will every one that is not musket proof—the Vestry pretend that they are appropriate to that Parish so that I believe neither Society nor their Missionarys will ever be the better for them, they'l do by them as the gentry of Bath have done with that famous Library the Revd Dr. Bray sent in here as of £100 value—make waste paper of their Books rather than the clergy should have them such is their esteem of our functions in all other respects were it in their power they would deprive us of food and raiment too—I and my pore family are brought to that pass: I brought £50 worth of Books with me, they are mostly destroyed in the way & through want of safe custody apparel & necessaries we had sufficient but now being forced to sell our bedding cloths off our backs & all the movables we could spare for a little provisions—we are destitute of goods & naked & instead of Books I've gotten a parsel of Tools fit for all trades set up for my Library which I am forced to make as much use of as I should do of Books had I leisure contempt enough without any fault of mine I call God and all good men to witness: but such is the fate of the greatest part of the Ministry,

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thanks to the mismanagement of the reformation and the worldly mindedness of too many who have the good fortune to know the great Men and some by merit but more by indirect not to say unlawful ways have attained to great preferments yet the contempt brought upon us the inferior rank reaches unto them their pluralities of fat benefits does not screen them from partaking with us but they can better bear it—Nil habet insese divirus Paupertas—

You say complaint has been made that some indiscreet & negligent actions have exposed me to the hatred and contempt of the people. it is no wonder for, 'twas so from my first setting my foot into this wretched hole 'tis well I have any discretion left since I am almost bereft of the little sense & reason I was once Master of, my sacred character is sufficient to draw hatred & contempt upon me from a pack of profligate & loose people & zealous sectarists whose whole endeavour it is to load me with reproaches—This colony chiefly consists of such our Vestries not excepted, however I procured after 7 months entreaty many long & tedious Journeys & voyages sometimes 3 or 4 days abroad with 3 servants divers appointments & as many disappointments I got I say 7 of our Vestrymen together at last who persuaded with much difficulty to draw up an account of the state of this Parish which had not been obtained did not they fear Coll Nicholson would come in and be displeased with them at the request of the sd Colln I communicated both this & that from the Society to all the Parishes within this Government but hear not of any thing done save in my Parish the great reason of our Vestrymen their unwillingness was fear of being obliged to do some thing for me it being then pay time & great plenty of all sorts of provisions yet pore was put by, neither the £45 ordered in Decr 1714 & then due nor any thing from the time since that could be obtained nor ever liked to be they were forward enough to magnify their poverty & beg further assistance of the Society but in very deed worthy of none—These Vestrymen you'l say, can be no better than enemies to me, nay two of them were professed anabaptists & 3 vehement Scotchmen Presbyterians one descended from Quakers & I believe never Baptized & still I suspect no friend of the Church yet these very men in their said account will take all such accusations alleged against me, tho' unjust in all other respects yet have done me that justice even before I know I was accused I cannot but lay it very much to heart that the Society to harken to the complaint of some idle person & so regardless of the repeated requests I've made for their assistance and directions in many difficult cases & the frequent dismal relations of my misery which increases daily upon me; I am now in

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manifest danger of starving for want of bread & except am relieved as soon as the wheat is reaped I know not what to do: the sloops from N. England sweep all our Provisions away—We have twice as many vessels this year as ever were wont to come, there are above 7 now waiting like as many vultures waiting for our wheat & more daily expected they sell their goods at exorbitant rates & thus we are rendered poor no marvel I suffer then for come what will out, let who will go unpaid, Rum long sweet'n alias Mollasses glystr Sugar must be had—I've nothing to buy any thing with but Bills: £20 in English goods would do me more good than any years salary in this way of managing but how to come at that now I know not since we are not allowed attornies—I had one as I supposed a Friend but the worst of Enemies, sent me but one remittance since I left England but never was worthy to know what nor of what value till the other day when in a huff by reason of my complaint of ill usage he has sent an account of all his management—I could not so much as hear from him; he charges me with the postage of a multitude of Letters—I never wrote to him but sent one inclosed to some of the Society but fear they were not all delivered he paid what Bills he listed & has sent others back protested which puts me to an unnecessary charge and endless shame and disgrace; for want of goods I've been forced to draw upon the Treasurer supposing my friend to be dead; he said he could not supply me by reason of my salary was not duly paid, once stopped because I had left my cure and again for drawing upon the Treasurer what must I do in such case: I've drawn more than my Salary will pay by Michaelmas next—my plantation must be paid for or I must turn out and whither to go I know not I have not a morsel of either Pork or Beef against Winter nothing to buy with nor can I draw hard fate. will nothing draw compassion? I was not sold a slave to Egypt nor yet deserved to be banished to the Gyaril. must I make brick without straw & my task be increased: I hope for Milder Task Masters—and after all my unparelled hardships & fatigues for 4 years together be still told that I am idle & negligent of my cure I challenge all the clergy in the Church to equalize what I have done & suffered for so long time together if I continue here I hope for better encouragement as if I fail therein & am forced to come home—care will be taken of

Sir &c

I shall comply with my duty & your instructions in my next Notitia Parochialis that I am preparing but have not now time to finish—