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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Petition from George Burrington concerning quit rents in North Carolina
Burrington, George, 1680-1759
March 1730
Volume 03, Pages 77-78

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[B. P. R. O. North Carolina. B. T. Vol. 8. A. 3.]

[March 1730.]

To the Right Honble the Lords Commissioners of His Majesty's Trade and Plantations.

The humble Representation of George Burrington, Governor of North Carolina vizl

The Inhabitants of said Province are exceeding poor and distressed ariseing from the calamitys of the well known warrs with the Indians of the said country whereby they were not only decreased by great numbers who therein perished, but the remr suffered from such incursions by the destruction of their Houses, Cattle & Plantations, which from his great care and application (when Govr for the Proprietors) together with the low price of quitt rents encouraged a multitude to resort thither and settle, whereby the abovementioned miseries are greatly restored and repaired.

Dureing the warrs with France, that Nation frequently landed and plundered the sea coasts, to prevent which they the said Inhabitants were absolutely obliged to be at great expenses to guard for the preservation of their propertys by establishing a force to repell them, which must ever be their care in point of any hostilities commenced by the French (tho' not foreseen) or any other Nation.

This Province hath many Islands therein, of which few are inhabitable from their scituation, as seated in the Main Land and Sea which together with the illconvenience of the Sand Banks prevent all large mercantile Vessells to pass and that thro'out the Country (Cape Fear river excepted) from the shallow inletts to such said Rivers which causes all Merchandize to be brought in small vessells thither or by land, either from Virginia or other neighbouring Colonies, where there are open Ports, and this occasions all the European Commoditys thither brought to be at least 5s in the pound dearer than in any such Ports and adjoyning Colonies, and for the same reason the produce of North Carolina in return is sold per 5s in the pound cheaper than in said Virginia and other adjoyning Colonies, by which manifestly appears the difference in profitt of ½ in trade.

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As North Carolina followed the rule and method of the adjoyning Colony of Virginia by settleing ye Quit Rents of Lands therein to be paid at 2s for each hundred acres (which does not exceed 4d English money) it's reasonable to believe that if such Quitt Rents are advanced so as to exceed the rates paid in Virginia, the Inhabitants must of course judge themselves rather oppressed than relieved, which will deterr them from cultivating an increase of Lands, when they must be more expensively obteyned than by their Neighbours, which will certainly prevent them from engaging as they flattered themselves to doe, on the Province becomeing the property of the British Crown.

Which should certainly be avoyded for that North Carolina has vast tracts of Land not improveable by the Power of man some part thereof being Pine barren Land which can never redound to the least advantage of the Owners (except once in 20. or 30. years) when they gather there from a small quantity of light wood to make pitch and tarr, and many vast tracts there are very low and exceeding wett, in soe much that noe place thereon can be found to raise the least structure to dwell in, and attended with the great illconvenience of the overflux of the Rivers almost thro' out the Country, which terryfy all from any attempt of seetleing there which occasions a just fear of perishing by water and that in some places even for 30 miles together, as particularly on Roanoak River and soe in generall tho' in different degrees.

His Majesty's Subjects in North Carolina have in every sigular occasion (many of which have offered) evidently demonstrated their zealous loyalty unto His Majesty and His glorious Ancestor (particulars of which would be too tedious to enumerate) attended with a constant singular bravery, for which reasons and considerations it's humbly suggested that without regard to the previous reasons They are justly entituled to claym His Majesty's protection and that with the indulgence of shareing his Royal Favour by being placed on the same Basis of payment of Quitt Rents as are the other of His Majestie's Subjects in North America

Which with due regard to your Lordpps is submitted to your well experienced wisdome & Judgment by

Your Lordpps most obedient
Most humble Servant