Documenting the American South Logo
Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from William Byrd to George Burrington
Byrd, William, 1674-1744
July 20, 1731
Volume 03, Pages 194-195

[B. P. R. O. North Carolina. B. T. Vol. 9. A. 19.]

Virginia. the 20th of July 1731.


I had the honour to receive your Excellency's letter for which I return you my humble thanks, I think by some samples I have known of that Country it will cost a pretty deal of trouble to bring it into order and a less spirit than yours will never be able to affect it, people accustomed to live without law or gosple will with great Reluctance Submit to either.

It must be owned North Carolina is a very happy Country where people may live with the least labour that they can in any part of the world, and if the lower parts are moist and consequently a little unwholesome every where above Chowan, as far as I have seen, people may live both in health and plenty. T'is the same I doubt not in all the uplands in that Province but no place has so great a character for fertility and beauty of scituation, as the Haw old field which lye on the North branch of Cape Fear River and I fancy that is the very spot your Excellency has chosen because it answers both in distance and quantity to what you say you have purchased.

-------------------- page 195 --------------------

I should be very glad to follow so good a pattern as yours to make such distant Lands profitable in my time, it is true the soil is good and capable of bringing anything that the Climate will allow, but the labour of transporting the fruits of our labour to a market or to navigation makes all the difficulty however as our habitants come to multiply which to me is a distant prospect such remote Estates will be valuable. In the mean time if I could receive Instruction from your Excellency how to make an immediate advantage of a high-land territory I should be prodigiously obliged to you.

I am sorry your late assembly was so resty as to oppose the matters you was pleased to recomend to them I make no doubt but that the proposals you made to them were very just and consequently the Fault lay on their side for not complying with them.

I should be glad to know upon what terms his Majesties lands are now to be taken up in that Province, how great the Quit Rent and in what specie to be paid, your Excellency will be pleased to forgive those questions because they proceed not from curiosity but from an Inclination to increase my terra firma there if the expence be not too great and the obligation for seating too troublesome.

In the mean time I wish you all the success in the world in bringing the chaos into form and reducing that Anarchy into a regular Government in so doing you well deserve to your statue erected, or which perhaps is better to have your sallary doubled. I suppose if my Lord Carteret should not part with his share of Carolina it will be laid out for him in South Carolina as being commonly fancyed to be the finer clymate I'm informed there is a subscription in England for setling an hundred familys of poor Debtors on Savana River which I fear will prove a grave for them, they had better send them to North Carolina

I am Sir your Excellencys most obedient humble servant

This is the copy of a letter I received from Mr Byrd of Virginia I sent the Original to the Speaker of the House of Commons.

Geo: Burrington.