Documenting the American South Logo
Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Preface to Volume 2 of the Colonial Records of North Carolina
Saunders, William Laurence, 1835-1891
Volume 02

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The second volume begins with the year 1713 and closes with the end of the Proprietary Government in 1728.

But is 1728 the true date? The facts seem to be that on or about the 11th July, 1728, the Crown concluded negotiations with the Proprietors by an agreement for the surrender of their charters; that the colonists were notified thereof on or before the 12th December, 1728; that from and after that date official papers from the colony were sent, not to the Proprietors as hitherto had been the custom, but to the representatives of the Crown; that the Proprietors thought their authority was at an end; that the Judge of the Court of Admiralty, the Secretary, the Council and the Governor of the Province, also, thought the transfer had actually taken place; that upon further reflection an act of Parliament was considered by the Crown authorities necessary to the legal surrender of the government; that the Lords Proprietors expressed great surprise thereat and asked that the surrender be accepted at once, or that they be restored to their rights under the charters; that some time before the 1st June, 1729, an act of Parliament was passed “establishing an agreement with seven of the Lords Proprietors for the surrender of their title,” &c.; that in pursuance of this act a further formal deed of surrender was made by the aforesaid seven Proprietors to the Crown on the 25th July, 1729; that the first Royal Governor did not enter upon the discharge of his duties until February, 1731; that in the interim Governor Everard and the other appointees of the Proprietors continued in office; that the Legislature met and passed laws, using the customary enacting clause, and that it was not until after the arrival of the Royal Governor that there was any requirement that statutes should run in the name of the Governor, Council and Assembly instead of the Palatine and Proprietors.

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Upon this statement of facts it is submitted that the government of the Lords Proprietors came to an end practically in North Carolina in 1728, and not in 1729, as is commonly stated.


In 1712, Colonel Barnwell having been rendered unfit for further service by his wounds, returned to South Carolina, and Colonel James Moore with a second force of Indians came to the help of the colonists in North Carolina. On the 26th March, 1713, Colonel Moore captured the Indian fort on Contentnea creek and thereby virtually ended the war with the Tuscaroras. A treaty was made in which twenty of the ringleaders in the massacre of 1711 were agreed to be surrendered to the colonists for punishment, and King Tom Blunt, as he was called, was recognized as King of all the Tuscaroras who remained. The others are said to have gone to New York, where they became the sixth of the tribes called the “Six Nations.” Blunt seems ever afterward to have been a faithful ally. But the Indian troubles did not end with the Tuscarora war, for as late as 1718 the colonists were still putting troops into the field to “catch or kill Enemy Indians.” As might be expected, the condition of the colony for several years was a deplorable one, the people being “exceeding poor and distressed” because of the war, whereby they were not only decreased greatly in numbers but suffered very much by destruction of cattle, houses and plantations. The war was a cruel one. Every Indian who was captured was either killed or made a slave. The right to make slaves of captive Indians seems not to have been questioned, and the opportunity to exercise this right was the great inducement offered to the South Carolina Indians to come to North Carolina under Colonel Moore and fight against the Tuscaroras. In 1713 Colonel Pollock, then acting as Governor, bought from the Council eight Indian captives at £10 per head for shipment to the West Indies.

War then, as now, an expensive undertaking, and this war saddled upon the colony a debt that could be met only by the emission of paper obligations. The first was in 1712 for £4,000, and the next for £8,000. These were the first paper certificates of public indebtedness ever issued in North Carolina. Up to this time taxation had been levied only upon the

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poll, but to meet the present emergency it was also levied upon real estate. In the course of a few years the colonists found it necessary to resort to still other issues of paper money. In 1714 £24,000 were issued for future needs and to redeem the currency already out. In 1717 the amount then out was supposed to be about £16,000. In 1722 £12,000 were issued, that being supposed to be sufficient to redeem the whole issue then out, less the defaced and lost bills. In the year 1729 also, bills of currency to the amount of £40,000 were issued, rated at 500 per cent. exchange, £10,000 to be applied to the redemption of former bills and the remaining £30,000 to be lent out at 6 per cent. interest on land security, the same to be paid in fifteen years in equal payments. The value of the bills being uncertain, the Assembly reserved to itself the right to declare at their first meeting annually at what exchange the bills should pass.

In this great crisis in the affairs of the colony, brought about by the war, the Lords Proprietors, instead of extending a helping hand to save their property from destruction by the Indians, were avaricious enough to demand their rents in silver, a requirement that the people of the colony in the best of times were unable to meet. Indeed, owing to the great scarcity of coin in the country, the colonists had years before been compelled to make the ordinary articles of traffic a legal tender at certain fixed rates established by law, and suits were brought for so many pounds of tobacco for example, instead of for so much money in pounds, shillings and pence.


In 1713, the Proprietors having forbid further hostilities toward Cary and his adherents, and Governor Hyde having died, Colonel Pollock became Governor as President of the Council, and peace and better order obtained in the government. Pollock admits in one of his letters that the Quakers, under his administration, were good citizens, a fact doubtless due in great degree to the cessation of hostilities against them.

In 1715, North Carolina had an opportunity to repay South Carolina in kind for her prompt and generous assistance after the massacre in 1711, for in 1715 the Yemassee Indians made war on the whites in South Carolina,

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and put the government there to great straits. North Carolina thereupon at once sent to South Carolina, under the command of Colonel Maurice Moore, what forces she could. The aid thus extended was gratefully acknowledged by the South Carolina Assembly, who having invited Colonel Moore to the floor of the House, thanked him in person through their Speaker for the services he and his men had rendered.

Bath was made a Port of Entry this year. Prior to this time the coast, it seems, was divided into two districts for the collection of customs, one being the District of Currituck and the other that of Roanoke. In the course of time the increase of population to the southward and the decrease in water at Currituck and Roanoke Inlets made other Ports of Entry necessary.

In this year, also, was made the first revisal of the acts of Assembly that has come down to us. This revisal left sixty-nine statutes in force, to-wit: “The six confirmed acts,” as they were called, six other acts specially excepted from repeal, and fifty-seven other acts, then formally enacted, some new and some old.

In 1716, Governor Eden and Governor Spotswood of Virginia seeing the difficulties in the way of determining the boundary line between the two colonies, agreed upon the compromise line which was finally run in 1728, and is to-day the dividing line between the two States.

In 1718, a change was made in the manner of selecting the members of the Council. Hitherto each Lord Proprietor had appointed a deputy and these deputies composed the Council. From this time, however, the appointment of deputies ceased and the members of the Council were named as such by the joint action of the Proprietors.


In 1719, South Carolina threw off the Proprietary Government and claimed and received the protection of the Crown. She was led to take this step not from any advanced views in regard to government, but because, in the straits to which she had been reduced by the Indian war, the Crown only was able to extend the help necessary to her existence. Appeal after appeal having been made to the confessedly helpless Lords Proprietors, and in vain, the colony sought and found refuge in the strong arms of the King.

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This action of South Carolina aroused great indignation in the bosoms of the Governor and Council of North Carolina, so they said, and very naturally, as they were appointees of the Lords Proprietors, and in conscience and truth men might well be excused for not being in haste to get under Royal rule. It is true too, doubtless, that the weaker the government was the better suited it was to the tastes of the people of North Carolina. It mattered not to them whether it was called Royal or Proprietary, for until they took the government into their own hands they knew it only by the burdens it imposed. Whatever protection they enjoyed came from themselves.


About this time, or a little before, were sown the seeds of a dispute as to the boundary line between North and South Carolina, a dispute that did not end until 1815. Its origin was something after this wise: The Lords Proprietors determined to erect a third government in their province of Carolina with the Savannah river as boundary between it and South Carolina. The proposition to form a new government, with the Savannah river as the northern boundary (substantially what the present State of Georgia is) threatened South Carolina with fatal contraction of territory.

At first the northern part of the province was described as that portion of it lying “north and east of Cape Fear,” and the southern part as that part lying “south and west of Cape Fear.” As early, however, as 1665, the county of Craven was described as lying south and west of Cape Roumania, Craven constituting the southern part, Clarendon undoubtedly belonging to the northern part of the province, and for years the Santee river was recognized as the real boundary. The county of Clarendon becoming very soon once more a wilderness, uninhabited save by Indians and beasts, the question of boundary was one of no practical importance. When, however, threatened with the Savannah river as her southern boundary, South Carolina very naturally became keenly alive to the importance of her northern line, and sought at once to fall back northward from the line of Cape Roumania and the Santee river to what she claimed to be the earlier line of Cape Fear and the Cape Fear river.

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Certainly with the Savannah river for one boundary and the Santee for the other, South Carolina would indeed have been in a narrow strait, and it was natural for her to make a vigorous fight for a larger share of the province in which she and her northern sister had lived so long as tenants of the same owner. On the other hand, to have made Cape Fear river the boundary would have been equally hard on North Carolina. In point of fact it never was a boundary, and in this connection it must be borne in mind that while the Cape was known as Cape Fear from the beginning, the river was first known as Charles river, then as Clarendon river, after which it came to be called the Cape Fear river.

It was not until after the purchase of the province by the Crown that anything like the present line was indicated, and then it was done after consultation with the proposed Governors of the two colonies, and doubtless as an equitable compromise between the Santee and Cape Fear lines.

The change in tone of South Carolina toward North Carolina after her transfer to the Crown, was very marked. When she too was a proprietary government she was kindly enough, but immediately she got under royal rule her airs of superiority generally were worthy of the Virginia officials in their most arrogant days. The South Carolina agents in London went so far, in 1720, as to ask that North Carolina be blotted out, one part to be given to Virginia and the other to South Carolina, for the reason that it was the receptacle for all the rogues on the main land in America. In 1722 they were formally instructed by their Legislature to urge that North Carolina be made a dependency upon South Carolina. See documents of those dates.

But there was some excuse for South Carolina, remembering to what straits she was about to be reduced by the formation of a third government by the Lords Proprietors.


In 1722, Governor Eden died, leaving a reputation tarnished, as many think, by the not groundless suspicion of having been the protector and partner of pirates. The Secretary of the colony, Tobias Knight, who was also a member of the Council, was formally accused of being an associate in crime with the notorious pirate commonly known as “Teach,

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the Pirate,” or “Bluebeard.” The Governor and Council quite as formally investigated the charges and gravely pronounced him entirely innocent. It was to this scandal that Colonel Moseley referred when he told Governor Eden he could find men to arrest him, but could find none to arrest pirates.

In 1722, Beaufort was made a Port of Entry.

In January, 1724, George Burrington was sworn in as Governor of the colony, and in July, 1725, was removed from office. The reasons for his removal are not given officially, but it was officially suggested by the Lower House of Assembly that it was because he was suspected of a design to transfer North Carolina to the Crown, as South Carolina had been transferred in 1719. His prompt re-appointment by the Crown after the purchase of the colony from the Lords Proprietors would seem to indicate that there might be some truth in the suggestion. But if a tithe of what was sworn to as to his violence, both in speech and action, be true, the wonder is that he got away from the colony alive, and not that a conspiracy was formed to kill him, as he alleged.

Sir Richard Everard succeeded Burrington and continued to act as Governor until Burrington's second appearance on the scene, when he came as a Royal Governor. He fully sustained the character attributed to Burrington for bad language and violent, lawless action. This declaration may seem harsh, but it is submitted that the documents printed in these volumes demand that it be made. It will be borne in mind, too, it is hoped, that Eden, Burrington and Everard, and in fact the government officials generally were, then, not North Carolinians but needy adventurers, who came over here to make their fortunes at the expense of the colony—a cormorant brood in that day, at least, not equalled in America.


Inured to danger, and accustomed to meet it unaided, and seeing no strength in the government over them, save that which lay in their own strong arms and brave hearts, the people of North Carolina, as might have been expected, felt but little respect for the Lords Proprietors or their representatives. When the government was in accord with the

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people, it was well; when it was not, so much the worse for the government, for the people were stronger than the government.

In 1675, when the colony was only twelve years old, the people turned out their Governor, Colonel Jenkins. How many Governors they turned out before that time we do not know. There were then not more than 1,500 males, of all ages and colors, in the colony.

In 1676, the Lords Proprietors declared that the North Carolinians did not understand their own interests, and would not regard the interests of the Proprietors.

In 1677, 1678 and 1679, Miller and Eastchurch were turned out and the Culpeper Rebellion prevailed.

In 1680, the Lords Proprietors reported to the Crown that since 1676 there had been no lawful Government in North Carolina.

The next unfortunate was Seth Sothel, or Southwell, whom, in 1689, the Assembly formally banished from the colony for one year, and from the government for all time. He was surprised, so the story goes, upon his own plantation and “clap't into a Logg House” and there kept prisoner until “he renounced the Government and took and subscribed a strange oath.” Now Sothel was not only a Governor, but a maker of Governors, for he was a Lord Proprietor, and as such a chartered absolute master of the soil, if not of the people as well, of Carolina. But for all that, the North Carolinians would not have him, and his brother Lords Proprietors would not attempt even to force him upon them unwillingly.

In 1690, Governor Nicholson reported that the North Carolinians were a very mutinous people.

In 1708, 1709, 1710 and 1711, Glover and Hyde were turned out, and the Cary Rebellion, so-called, prevailed, until suppressed by a military force from Virginia.

In 1710, Governor Spotswood, of Virginia, said the Governor of North Carolina was on so precarious a footing, and his authority so little, that he was forced to submit to others.

In 1711, he said the North Carolinians were so used to turning out their Governors that they thought they had a right to do so.

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In 1712, Governor Pollock, of North Carolina, said the people were still stubborn and disobedient, and that pardon and amnesty had not produced the desired effect.

In 1715, the North Carolina Assembly, under the lead of Moseley,

Resolved, That the impressing of the inhabitants, or their property, under pretence of its being for the public service, without authority from the Assembly, was unwarrantable, a great infringement of the liberty of the subject, and very much weakened the government by causing many to leave it.”

This was the defiance flung by the people, through their Assembly, publicly, formally and officially, into the teeth of Governor Eden and his Council. Nor were the colonists any more complaisant to Burrington and Everard than they had been to Eden and Hyde. North Carolina was never a bed of roses for Colonial Governors. After ten years: personal knowledge of the people, Governor Burrington wrote officially to the Board of Trade, saying:

“The Inhabitants of North Carolina are not Industrious but subtle and crafty to admiration, allways behaved insolently to their Governours, some they have Imprisoned, drove others out of the Country, at other times sett up two or three supported by Men under Arms All the Governours that were ever in this Province lived in fear of the People (except myself) and Dreaded their Assemblys

“The People are neither to be cajoled or outwitted, whenever a Governour attempts to effect any thing by these means he will loose his Labour and show his Ignorance * * * They insist that no Publick money can or ought to be paid but by a claim given to and allowed by the House of Burgesses.”

In a word, as Urmstone, the Missionary, said, the people respected no authority that did not emanate from themselves, and a Lord Proprietor, even if there in person, was “no more regarded than a ballad-singer.”


From the documents printed thus far it will be seen that for many years the colony was of very slow growth, and that the reasons therefor were,

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1. Neglect of the Lords Proprietors, who devoted themselves to building up the colony at Ashley river and left the one at Albemarle severely alone, to be cared for as best it might. From the very outset Ashley river was their objective point, and to its settlement they bent all their energies, as is evident from their instructions to Yeamans when sent to Clarendon.

2. Want of Ports for Heavy Shipping.—Without ports there were of course neither towns nor commerce save the coast trade, which was easily monopolized by the enterprising traders of the older colonies in New England that had been settled long enough to accumulate capital. But it was not upon the commerce of the colony only that the want of ports acted injuriously. For the want of suitable ports negro slaves were not imported directly into North Carolina, and the planters there were forced to buy from Virginia and South Carolina. The slaves so bought, as experience proved, were both high in price and poor in quality, and in this very important particular North Carolina was at great disadvantage, compared with Virginia and South Carolina.

3. Want of Mills.—This was a serious drawback, as it compelled the use of New England flour although wheat grew in Albemarle in great abundance and made the trade with New England very profitable to the New Englanders. The scarcity of mills and the inconvenience arising therefrom are apparent from the existence of a statute passed as late as 1715 making mill-sites public property as it were, upon which any man who would, might put up a grist mill, whether water mill or windmill, if the owner failed to do so. No man in Albemarle might keep a millsite unused. More suggestive reason than this, why, with all their abundance of Indian corn and English wheat, the people of the Albemarle depended upon the New England skippers for flour and meal, even though, as was complained, some of the flour was no better than ballast, could scarcely be devised. Wheat and corn of home production were indeed in the greatest profusion, but meal and flour of home production for want of mills were both scarce in quantity and poor in quality. And hence, doubtless, the origin of the homely phrase descriptive of the diet of the country, “hog and hominy,” hominy in that day not being

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made in mills but in mortars, and hogs being abundant as a consequence of abundant corn and inadequate transportation. According to DeGraffenried, in 1710, “there was in the whole province only one wretched water mill.” The wealthiest people used hand mills and the poorer people pounded their grain in mortars made of oak.

4. Persistent Hostility of the Crown, its Agents and the British Merchants to Proprietary Governments.—North Carolina was not, like Virginia, a Royal Province, but private property that the British Crown had heedlessly parted with and was constantly seeking to regain possession of by purchase, quo warranto, or otherwise. The proceeding would doubtless have been a summary one had it not been that some of the Proprietors were peers of the realm whose rights could not be trampled upon with impunity. This hostility is apparent at a glance, upon inspection of the records, chronologically arranged. Step by step the Crown proceeded, but always in the same direction. In spite of the charters, it was required that the Governors of Carolina should receive Royal approbation before installation, and that they should give bond and security for the discharge of navigation and trade laws; Attorney-Generals for the colony were appointed by the Crown; Admiralty Courts were also created by the Crown to override the local courts; the Crown also assumed the right to repeal colonial laws. In a word, one encroachment after another was made upon the rights of the Proprietors until they gave up the contest and surrendered their charters.

Looking to this end, too, there was a stream of misrepresentation, slander and abuse of the Proprietors constantly flowing from the representatives and agents of the Crown.

5. Enemy Indians.—One would think from our historians that the Red men in Albemarle were the gentlest, if not the loveliest of their sex, and that they lived in the utmost peace and harmony with the pale faces prior to the great massacre of 1711. Yet the records show, as we have seen, that as early as September, 1666, there was an Indian “invasion,” so called, in North Carolina, of such magnitude as to prevent a messenger from leaving the colony, and from the common use of the

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term “enemy Indians” it would seem that hostilities with the Indians were not unfrequent.

The effect of all this in retarding the growth of the country was very great, both in driving old settlers away and in preventing new ones from coming in; so much so that for years after the massacre there was scarcely any perceptible increase in the population. A settlement in which the government was impotent and the Indians hostile, cruel and barbarous, was not an inviting place to stay in or to move to. But for the timely aid the people received from South Carolina the settlement on the Albemarle might have been blotted out as effectually as that at Roanoke, one hundred and twenty-five years before. Certainly for years, even with help from abroad, the colony withered and shrunk under the blighting influence of that horrible massacre and the war that followed.

6. Conduct of Virginia.—The prolonged controversy between Virginia and North Carolina about their boundary line doubtless did much to retard settlement in the disputed territory, but the Virginia Acts of Assembly, beginning in 1679 and continuing until after 1729, forbidding North Carolina tobacco to be carried into Virginia, did a great deal more to retard the growth of the Albemarle settlement. North Carolina having no port of her own and tobacco being her money crop, the Virginia embargo virtually excluded her from the markets of the world.

The productions of the country would seem, indeed, both in quantity and quality, to justify, in great degree, the extravagant praises heaped upon it by the earlier writers, and under different circumstances, doubtless would have made it prosperous. In 1707, Robt. Holden, who had been Collector of Customs in Albemarle as far back as 1679, writing to the Lords Proprietors about North Carolina, says: “It has barred Inlets into It; which spoyles the trade of it and none but small vessels from New England and Bermudas trades there. The soyle is more lusty than South Carolina. It produceth Tobacco; Indian Corne; English Wheat in abundance. Beef, Porke, hides, Tarr and so consequently pitch, and Furs as Beaver: Otter: Fox and Wild Cat skins, deare skins; Tanned Lether, Tallow,” &c.

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With corn and wheat and beef-cattle and hogs and poultry and game and fish and fruits in abundance, the colonists ought to have had the best of good living. That Albemarle was a granary of Virginia and her butcher-pen we know. But what availed it if the North Carolina soil was more lusty than that of South Carolina? What availed it if the North Carolina tobacco was better than that of Virginia, as Governor Everard declared it to be? and what availed it if North Carolina “hog and hominy” were abundant to excess? North Carolina had no port and Virginia embargoed her tobacco, her great money crop.

In 1728, Governor Everard reported to the Lords Proprietors that two great causes destructive of the trade of North Carolina were the Virginia embargo and the lack of a free port on the Nansemond River. In the same year, too, the North Carolina Commissioners that ran the line between North Carolina and Virginia, expressed in their journal their regret that the line had not run a few miles more northerly and the consequent “loss of Nansemond River, as it would have given a port for shipping tobacco, which the Virginians, by their hard tobacco act, have restrained, that would leave North Carolina a large and more flourishing country.” There was then no Federal Constitution to prevent embargoes and other like unneighborly acts. There were then no railroads to give one colony access to the ports of another.

Mr. Fitzwilliam, the Surveyor General of the Customs in the Southern Provinces in America, who was also a member of the Virginia Council, protested against the passage of the Virginia Act of 1726, among other reasons, “because the restraining the people of North Carolina from selling or shipping off their tobacco to Virginia, when they have neither shipping of their own, nor ports to receive them, must of consequence force them upon manufactures of clothing for themselves, since they are thus prevented of all supplies by the produce of their labor, and thus by a partial restraint of trade from one part of his Majesty's dominions to another his Majesty's customs are lessened, the consumption of British manufactures diminished, and instead thereof a country which begins to grow numerous laid under the necessity of falling into manufactures of their own, for it is impossible to imagine that a number of people should

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continue long under the want of necessary cloathing without exerting their industry, especially when the country they inhabite is capable of furnishing them with materials.”

These were the causes, and enough they assuredly were, that discouraged adventurers from settling there. North Carolina could reach the world only through hostile channels that gave an unfriendly coloring to everything connected with the Colony. The result was that adventurers went elsewhere. The policy of making the place odious was rigorously enforced, and the days of rose-colored immigration circulars were at an end.


It must not be too readily assumed that the evil days ended with the Proprietary period, and that peace, plenty and prosperity began with Royal rule. As a matter of fact, the colony began its transition toward a better material condition during or perhaps even before the time Burrington was first Governor and before the Proprietors surrendered their charters. His administration as Proprietary Governor was a brief one, being only about a year and a half in duration, yet he says that in that time not less than a thousand families came into the colony and that a far greater number would have come had they not heard of the great scarcity of provisions brought about by a great mortality that prevailed among the stock and a mighty storm that destroyed the corn in the preceding autumn; that great improvements were made in husbandry; that he was just about to inaugurate measures to establish a direct trade with Jamaica to supply the colony with rum, molasses, salt, &c.; that the Cape Fear settlement was in great measure, if not entirely, due to his wise foresight and fostering care; that the militia which, on his arrival, was in strange disorder, was regulated to the satisfaction of all people, and that justice was so duly administered that no complaint was made to him or to the Council and no suit brought against officer, civil or military. How much truth there is in this statement it may not now be possible to determine, though there is doubtless enough to show that the colony had before this time begun to rally from its long years of prostration and was entering upon a career of prosperity and development. Certainly the demand for land was so great that in April, 1724, the Governor and Council upon petition of the

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Assembly, re-opened the Land Office in violation of the instructions of the Lords Proprietors. Mr. Fitzwilliam, too, the Surveyor-General of the Customs, as we have seen, in his protest against the Virginia Tobacco Act of 1726, said the colony had already begun to “grow numerous.”

The truth is, doubtless, that the colony having at last outgrown the obstacles to its progress could no longer be kept back. The growth of the population shows this. In 1717, Colonel Pollock estimated that there were 2,000 tithables in the colony from whom taxes could be collected, as a basis for a scheme for meeting the public indebtedness. Two thousand tithables mean about 9,000 population, black and white. In 1735, the white population alone was, according to Henry McCulloh, near 40,000; in 1732, according to Burrington, the whites were “full 30,000 and the negroes about 6,000.” From the testimony of Pollock, Burrington and McCulloh, therefore, it would seem that the estimate of population in North Carolina in 1729 usually accepted by historians is much too low. Counting both black and white, the population would seem to have been three times greater. According to the historians, the population was between 10,000 and 12,000. According to cotemporary statements, it must have been nearer to 30,000 or 35,000. The variance is certainly very great, and the weight of authority seems to be against the historians. Beginning with such an underestimate it was, perhaps, only natural that the historians should continue in error as to the population until the taking of a census rendered error no longer possible. But however natural the error was, it might easily have been corrected at a much earlier day than 1790, for there were data of record, some here, and others in the Public Record Office in London, from which a reliable approximation, at least, might have been made as to the population. The figures will be given hereafter.

The happy time was long in coming. Indeed, it may well be doubted whether the history of any other American colony shows a struggle for existence as prolonged as that through which North Carolina passed in the days of her Proprietors, or as hard. But those days of adversity were not without their good results, constituting, as they doubtless did,

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the formative period in the character of the people. Shut in on every side and left to struggle with her enemies as best she might, unaided and alone she worked out her own salvation. Now she looks back to that period of her existence as men look back to the hunger and the thirst, the heat and the cold, the weary marches and countermarches, the hard-fought battles of campaigns in which they have borne their flag to honor and to victory. North Carolina can well afford, too, in this her day of great progress and development, to laugh at the ill temper and ill words of writers and neighbors in her early colonial days, for to-day, as a State, she stands the confessed peer of the proudest.


The purpose of the Crown and of the British merchants to make the colonies mere “hewers of wood and drawers of water” for themselves was unmistakable. The colonies, indeed, were not well planted, even, before an irrepressible conflict began between them and the mother country and her merchants—irrepressible certainly in North Carolina.

The British theory about colonies was that they were permitted for the benefit of the Crown and the mother country. The interests of the colonists in the premises seemed not to be a matter for consideration at all. To this end, all legislation was shaped, that is to say, to increase the revenues of the King and to promote the business interests of England. To this end, particular agricultural products were encouraged, while others were not; to this end, certain manufactures in the colonies were discouraged; to this end, the trade of the colonies was by law controlled in the interest of England; and to this end, in short, whenever a conflict occurred, the interest of the colony was to be subordinated to that of England. This policy was carried so far, that it was even sought by Royal proclamation to control the prices at which foreign coin should be rated for circulation in the colonies, lest the rates should be fixed to the detriment of the King and the merchants.

Such a policy, difficult of execution anywhere, unless colonists were content to be “hewers of wood and drawers of water,” merely, to the people “at home,” was especially difficult of practical execution in the proprietary governments that existed under chartered rights from the

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Crown, conferred by letters patent under the broad seal. Conflicts of interest were of course inevitable, and the local governments being in the hands of the representatives of the Lords Proprietors, their interests were naturally enough first cared for. It followed therefrom that the Proprietary governments, in their practical operations, found favor neither with the Crown nor the business men of England, and the Proprietors being the weaker party in the struggle, it soon became a question of time only when a pretext would be found or invented for enforcing by the surrender of the charters that had been so improvidently granted, the restoration of the provinces to the Crown. Of course such a policy could last only so long as backed by superior force, and in its execution are to be found the seeds that fruited in the American Revolution of 1776.



In printing these volumes “copy” has been strictly followed, the Editor not feeling authorized to take any liberties with the text, a fact that will account for many readings that would otherwise seem to be the result of careless proof-reading. For example, in the Legislative Journals of 1725, John Baptism Cushe appears as the name of one of the legislators. The person intended was without doubt John Baptista Ashe, but for the reason given above the name was printed as written.