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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from John Urmston to David Humphreys [Extract]
Urmston, John
October 18, 1718
Volume 02, Pages 309-311

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

North Carolina 18th 8ber 1718


—— America and the Climate Kills many I am Informed there have 9 or 10 Clergymen died in Virginia since I came into America, and not many less in South Carolina, some are of opinion that my life is owing under God to poor living sparing and ordinary diet with much exercise and sometimes hard labor—but age makes me abate of the latter so that I feel my fare will be worse if that can be, I set out to-morrow to a place near a hundred miles off, must cross a broad Water near 12 miles in a

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canoe, where Mr Keith stopt when in the province, where I hope to get a little beef and pork if I fail we shall inevitably Starve, and to go a begging will avail little. I've tried that nay more than once, my family have had little else for sometime, but a little boiled corn such as others feed their Hogs with, and now and then mush, alias hasty Pudding made of Indian Meal, or rather water Porridge such as is eaten in the north of England, and would be good food had we a little salt butter to it. The longer I stay here the poorer I growe—Apparel, and Household stuff wear out, and how to recruit I knowe not, my Salary as managed will not keep us, nothing is to be expected from the Parish I cannot prevail with the Vestry Men to meet, the Governor has endeavor'd to cause them but in vain he has Difficulties enough to grapple with, this Country abound with Men of all sorts and fashions, opposers of all that wish well (to) it, the spirit of contradiction reigns here, they are not to be governed, but by methods of their own contriving, like no religion but one of their own making and will be served in their own way—I have more than once, desired that I might receive half my Salary yearly at Barbadoes, either by Bills of Exchange, or General Letter of Credit. I want many things, from them, my Bill will not pass there for want of an indorser, which is wanted in other Governmts, also to my great disappointment Goods are to be bought nowe in Virginia at the first cost in England, a Couple of Good Slaves, that speak English, and that have been used to plantation Work, and a Wench for the House I want sore; my son is grown up and hath great offers made him in England 'tis not justice to make a negro of him, as he has been for several years, work a hoe and axe, and may live like a gentleman in England, which he must never expect to do here, there being but few of that degree among us I am denied one of the greatest Comforts of Life in conversation, with either the living or the dead, the Library at Pamptichoe, sent in for the use of Clergymen by Dr. Bray in all appearance will be to all destroyed, that place being abandoned and so will all the country be in a short time, for fear of 7 or 8 Indians, the remnant of some of the Towns are destroyed in the late War, who with the assistance of some from the North, and South, do great mischief and threaten the whole Colony, so helpless are we and a prey to ev'ry body, that will attack us the Books Mr. Gordon should have brought in, and did of right belong unto me, were left with Mr. Wallace late Minister of Reekotan in Virginia, and those Mr. Adams left at his death and demanded by me are detained by the Worthy Gentn of the Vestry who say they are appropriated to that Parish, and no man shall have them except he'll reside, which I would
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not do for £500 per annm Now I beg as I have often done, once more that the Honble Society may procure an order from the Proprietors to the Govr and Counsel for the delivery of the said Library and those Books in Carratuck, which the said Mr. Adams brought in or else send in others These several requests, I have made more than once, and if they came to hand; I cannot see why I have no answer, except the Society will oblige me to leave the country, the people would be well pleased, for by that means they would avoid paying me £240 which is due to me and were it not for the hopes of receiving that money one day I should be equally willing to leave them for I am quite weary of my life I was in hopes of selling my plantation for half worth and whenever I part with it 'twill be at that day yet I must do it unless the Society will comply with what is desired and let me have a favorable and kind answer with all speed. These are from Sir

Your most humble servt